Wednesday, March 13, 2024

The NC Chamber of Commerce Fears Michele Morrow


On March 6th, the day after the primary that saw Republican incumbent Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt get kicked out by Republican voters (after one term) and replaced by an ideological wrecking ball named Michele Morrow, a home-schooler and very determined enemy of public education as it has evolved in the 21st Century. Morrow will be on your ballot come November to run the Department of Education, up against Democrat Mo Green.

On March 6th, the day after that thunderbolt of Truitt's defeat -- unexpected -- unimaginable, really, that a moderate professional like Catherine Truitt would get bumped off the ticket by someone considered a nut -- the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce put out an astounding official statement warning that the primary win of Michele Morrow was a threat to the state's "business climate" (and if you immediately flash on Dan Bishop and those people passing the Bathroom Bill in 2016 and costing the state billions in moola and years of bad press and worse memories, you would be right). Gov. Pat McCrory signed the Show Us Your Gender Act in March of 2016 and the stars fell on North Carolina in a media catastrophe that lasted until they repealed the law a quick year later in 2017.

The Chamber evidently thinks that Michele Morrow is another bathroom bill waiting to metastasize. 

"When both parties move to the opposite ends of the political spectrum," wrote the Chamber's political director, "it erodes the quiet, bipartisan work necessary to move our state forward. Moderating voices in each caucus will be replaced with partisan ideologues that cause division and create controversy."

Division and controversy -- very bad for business

Here's a video of Morrow interviewed by Bill O'Neil for WXII. She complicates the political equation by sounding reasonable (there has been indeed an explosion of gender fluidity, but whether you can blame the schools for that and not pop culture seems debatable). She scapegoats the teaching of history for daring to admit the historic evidence that white people have made some bad choices for owning Black people and squeezing Indians into the corner. And Morrow can get fairly giddy about sending more tax dollars to private academies and thus starving public education. And incidentally, she took some of her kids to the January 6th siege of the Capitol, though she says she never went into the building.

She says that in addition to banning books that lean too far into any kind of sexual awareness, she wants books about "traumatic experiences" also banned from school libraries. "But couldn't a book bring some comfort to you to know you're not alone?" asked O'Neil. "No," sez Morrow, decisively, as though the word "comfort" had triggered an odd antipathy.

Her persuasiveness coupled with her calm demeanor make her seem a kind of coherent culture analyst. She has noticed some blatant blunders by education bureaucrats that areactually blatant blunders. But it's how far backward you're willing to go to balance the scales that gives one plenty of pause about Morrow. There is on-line an extended video of her laying out her platform (and incidentally her personality) in a Zoom presentation to the Pasquotank PAC. (The Pasquotank PAC, named for the county, "promotes Republican and Unaffiliated Conservatives in Northeastern North Carolina." Lord help me but I find her persuasive, and I can see her appeal. She talks well and without visible notes and makes sense of things for the MAGA crowd who want everything razed to the ground.

In other words, she has to be stopped.

Maurice "Mo" Green, Democrat

Mo trails behind him a distinguished career in education: Executive Director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation from 2016-2023. More than seven years as superintendent of Guilford County Schools. Before that, general counsel of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, then chief operating officer and then deputy superintendent. He began his career as a lawyer in private practice after doing two United States judicial clerkships. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics and a law degree, both from Duke University. (Indebted to PamsPicks for the details.)

He's about as establishment as you can get. And Morrow is a disestablishmentarian. The clash alone ought to give you the willies when it comes to deciding if our public education will teach inclusiveness as part of the fabric of our Republic.

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