September 28th, 2022
To Chairman Eric Davis and the North Carolina Board of Education,
On August 30th, the NC State Board of Education had a working session. Included in the working session agenda was a presentation on an equity framework from the California-based National Equity Project (NEP). This framework grounds itself in controversial ideologies that include Communist philosophy. Presented by state board employee Maria Pitre-Martin, NEP’s equity framework emphasizes “liberatory and resilient systems” and is used for “[d]eveloping equity consciousness (internal and external awareness of systemic oppression and its effects).” I will attach the pdf from the working session to this letter. The National Equity Project–on its front webpage–proposes, “It is our legacy to fight for our collective freedom. We will win.” What does this have to do with a sound and basic k-12 public education?
In case you need a short explanation, “liberatory” means liberation from systemic oppression, more specifically the systemic oppression of the liberal order and capitalism. You can read more detail about liberation here. Liberation is a fundamental goal of Critical Social Justice, a critical theory with origins from the Frankfurt School. (Founded by a Marxist scholar, the Frankfurt School expanded Marxism beyond an economic theory into a cultural one.) One famous “liberatory” movement–there are many including the Viet Cong–was the radical Black Nationalist or Black Panther movement, which proposed violence in the 1960s and 1970s for “collective freedom.”
Perhaps you think I am exaggerating, and the “liberatory system” meant in this “equity framework” is not the same concept used by communist revolutionaries. This is no misrepresentation, however. The latest blog post from the National Equity Project is “We Need Black August Now More Than Ever,” complete with a picture of activists from the Revolutionary People’s Party. The author of this post is a member of the National Equity Project. He writes, “But what better way to teach about revolutionaries than by being a revolutionary!” The author discusses George Jackson, a criminal and founder of a prison gang named The Black Guerilla Family. In his Prison Letters, Jackson wrote, “I met Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Engels, and Mao when I entered prison and they redeemed me.” I should not have to teach you that this list includes some of the most murderous tyrants in history.
I have requested a recording and transcript of this working session from Maria Pitre-Martin and communications director Blair Rhodes. Ms. Rhodes wrote that there isn’t one and then ignored my follow-up email. Yet this is a public session. Is the State Board trying to hide this information?
Last November, I alerted you to concerns about Iheoma Iruka from the UNC Frank Porter Graham Institute (FPG), a presenter during your fall 2021 working session. She proposed mandatory racial equity training and culturally responsive teaching. In writing to Superintendent Truitt about my concerns and the slippery slope to communism, Truitt responded that it was a “big leap” from equity and culturally responsive training to communism. Equity, as in the social equity being discussed, is defined originally as adjusting shares to make citizens and groups more equal, therefore requiring an administrative system to redistribute not only economic capital but also of social and cultural capital as well. As you can see, it is not such a “big leap,” as the Board trains in an equity framework based on “collective freedom” and “liberatory systems”—key fundamental concepts in communist revolutions. These materials make Iruka and FPG look like revolutionary lightweights.
Furthermore, after my warnings about Iruka and FPG, I discovered that the $7 million Frank Porter Graham-NCDPI contract from federal IDEA funds was used to introduce Critical Race Theory statewide to preschool teachers of disabled students. Public records demonstrated that the NCDPI collaborated in this venture with FPG. This led to multiple national news stories, radio broadcasts, and thousands of calls to the NC legislature demanding an end to the contract. The people of North Carolina do not want this in their education system.
So nearly a year later, have you, Chair Davis, learned from this national embarrassment? It appears not. You are now indoctrinating those involved with board working sessions in communist equity frameworks with direct links to the violent Black Power movements of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Searching through the National Equity Project website, one would have to be oblivious and ignorant not to recognize its anti-liberal, communist propaganda. The “Project” has nothing to do with education of K-12 students; it has everything to do with ideological activism. If you have any explanation as to how presentation of this material without any viewpoint diversity is justifiable, please comment within the next 48 hours.
Nancy Andersen, MD
No Left Turn in Education, North Carolina Chapter Head
Education First Alliance-NC, Board Member