Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson discusses education at Durham roundtable

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson is no stranger to controversy, and his views on education have been the subject of much discussion, with a focus on voucher programs and prioritizing parental choice over public schools.

He spoke Tuesday night at an education roundtable, hosted by Americans for Prosperity and The LIBRE Initiative. Robinson also elaborated on his views in an excerpt of his book, and CBS 17 obtained a copy.

Robinson emphasized parental choice in education in the roundtable discussion. His book talks about the need for voucher programs and more charter schools. “We might see a mass exodus from the public schools entirely,” the book states.

“If those public schools are not doing the job for our students and people to go elsewhere that should be their right,” Robinson said Tuesday night.

CBS 17 asked Robinson how he would ensure that public schools are able to perform for their students.

“We do that by trying to staff them with people who are going to be talented enough to keep those places doing what they need to be doing,” Robinson replied. “If they can’t, it’s just, quite frankly, like any other business. There should be competition that exists, and if parents choose to pull their children out of those schools, then so be it.”

In response to Robinson’s education priorities, North Carolina Democratic Party spokesperson, Kate Frauenfelder, released this statement:

“The Lieutenant Governor made clear that he has no interest in ensuring our kids receive a high-quality education after suggesting science and history ought not be taught in our elementary schools. No one should take him seriously on this issue.”

Frauenfelder is talking about a passage in Robinson’s book that concerns student achievement.

It reads, in part, “The way to do this is to demand proficiency in reading, writing and math in grades one through five. In those grades, we don’t need to be teaching social studies. We don’t need to be teaching science. We surely don’t need to be talking about equity and social justice.”

When asked, Robinson said he didn’t say that schools shouldn’t teach science and social studies.

“We’re not talking about not teaching science to elementary school children,” he said. “What we’re talking about is putting reading, writing and arithmetic– making them paramount in elementary school,” he said. “In grades one through five, the concentration should always be on those essential elements.”

The North Carolina Educators Association released the following statement:

“North Carolina Public Schools are open and welcoming to all students, regardless of their background, income, or how they identify.”

“The future of education in North Carolina can once again be great, but we must focus on fully funding our schools, placing more value on the profession, and involving everyone in the community – from parents to stakeholders – in the decisions that will make North Carolina’s education system top notch.”

Robinson’s book, “We Are The Majority: The Life and Passions of a Patriot” is scheduled to be released Sept. 13.