Op-Ed: I’ve been a teacher for 30 years. Michele Morrow would ruin NC public schools.

Op-Ed: I’ve been a teacher for 30 years. Michele Morrow would ruin NC public schools.

The Republican candidate for NC Superintendent of Public Instruction, Michele Morrow. (Photo via Morrow's campaign)

By Justin Parmenter

June 20, 2024

A veteran North Carolina teacher and activist on why he believes the Republican candidate for the state’s top education job is unfit and dangerous.

The November 2024 election is shaping up to be one of the most consequential in North Carolina history, with the most extreme Republican candidates imaginable running to lead our state for the next four years.  

At the top, we have convicted felon Donald Trump, who attempted a coup the last time he lost and appears more intent on scorched-earth revenge than actual leadership this time around.  For governor, we’re looking at legendary homophobe Mark Robinson, who vows a complete ban on abortion with no exceptions.  In line to enforce NC’s election laws as attorney general is Dan Bishop, the author of the infamous HB 2 who also helped spark January 6 by spreading 2020 election lies, then voted against a bipartisan investigation of the insurrection.

But the most radical candidate of them all has got to be the Republican nominee to lead all K-12 schools as Superintendent of Public Instruction: Michele Morrow.

As a 30-year veteran teacher, I can tell you that there are a couple of qualities that are imperative for leadership in education.  One is wisdom gained through experience, and the other is an observable pattern of integrity and respect for others.  

Morrow’s candidacy for the top education post in North Carolina scores an “F” on both counts.

Michele Morrow has never held a leadership position in education, let alone worked in North Carolina schools.  Her children have never attended our schools because she chooses to homeschool them.  Morrow has regularly branded the North Carolina public schools she now wants to lead as “indoctrination centers” and urged others to avoid them just as her family has.  

While there is nothing inherently wrong with homeschooling, this choice does mean that she has zero actual insight into our public schools.  Rather, her understanding of North Carolina education has been filtered through radical groups such as Education First Alliance and Moms for Liberty, whose whole reason for existence is to drum up hostility toward public education anywhere it may be found.  This blank resume should not inspire confidence in voters that Morrow would have the capacity to be an effective leader at North Carolina’s Department of Public Instruction.

The current leader at the Department of Public Instruction, Superintendent Catherine Truitt, is also not confident that Morrow is up for the task.

In an interview with Education Week, Truitt said, “​​In the few opportunities that I was actually sharing space with her in a panel or debate, I was shocked by her complete lack of understanding of how public schools function and what the job of state superintendent is.”

Michele Morrow herself acknowledges on her Ballotpedia campaign survey that integrity and honesty are principles most important for an elected official.   Her survey responses for her failed 2022 Wake County school board campaign indicated that respect and kindness are essential elements of good teaching.

If Michele Morrow is all about honesty and integrity, why did she delete her Twitter account shortly after winning the March primary?

Op-Ed: I’ve been a teacher for 30 years. Michele Morrow would ruin NC public schools.

It’s because back when she didn’t want your vote, Michele Morrow’s actions regularly demonstrated she lacked those qualities she admits elected officials should have.

Fortunately the internet is forever, and Morrow has left a whole lot of receipts as to why her complete absence of respect, kindness, and basic integrity disqualifies her from leading North Carolina’s education system.

North Carolina deserves elected officials who want to be seen for who they really are, not wolves in sheeps’ clothing like Michele Morrow who try to erase their whole identity from the public consciousness in order to swindle voters.  

Morrow has a long history of calling for prominent Democrats to be executed for treason, including North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Hillary Clinton, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, and non-politicians such as Anthony Fauci and both Bill Gates and his ex-wife Melinda.  

Bill and Melinda’s “crime” appears to have been committing nearly $2 billion to COVID vaccine development and distribution as of December 2020, when Morrow called for them to be executed as “vaccine mongers.”

Op-Ed: I’ve been a teacher for 30 years. Michele Morrow would ruin NC public schools.

Here’s Morrow calling for president-elect Joe Biden to be killed as a traitor, apparently for recommending that people wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which killed more than 77,000 Americans in December of 2020 alone.

Op-Ed: I’ve been a teacher for 30 years. Michele Morrow would ruin NC public schools.

Michele Morrow also said Obama should be executed for treason and suggested that his death by firing squad be broadcast on television. 

Op-Ed: I’ve been a teacher for 30 years. Michele Morrow would ruin NC public schools.

Morrow’s hatred toward those with opposing political beliefs also extends to people who practice religions other than hers.  The Twitter account she attempted to remove from public consciousness shows she believes Islam—as in, the whole religion practiced by nearly a quarter of the world’s population and more than 130,000 people  in North Carolina—is “evil.”

Op-Ed: I’ve been a teacher for 30 years. Michele Morrow would ruin NC public schools.

Michele Morrow also believes that those 130,000 North Carolina Muslims do not deserve political representation, as evidenced by her call for Muslims to be banned from holding elected office.  

Op-Ed: I’ve been a teacher for 30 years. Michele Morrow would ruin NC public schools.

Morrow apparently is unaware that the United States was founded by European colonists seeking religious freedom, and Article VI of our Constitution specifically says “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

Michele Morrow also has a problem with people speaking languages other than English.  In 2021, she shared a video on social media after a particularly traumatic visit to Dollar Tree. 

In the video, she expresses her outrage after hearing four languages other than English while shopping at Dollar Tree, saying “I have never seen this many people that don’t speak English at one time in a Dollar Tree” and adding the unsubstantiated theory that they may have been “bused here from the border.” 

Morrow also throws in a little transphobia for good measure, saying there were men at the Dollar Tree who were “not dressed like men.”

She punctuates her rant with an oddly mismatched comment invoking “the hope of Jesus,” who I’m pretty sure didn’t speak English OR wear pants.

See for yourself:

According to this year’s data, we have 162,778 English learners in our schools, representing an increase of 10% over last year. There are 389 languages spoken in homes across North Carolina, including 267 just in Wake County, where Morrow resides.

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, which Michele Morrow will lead if she wins the November election, currently values that language diversity.

DPI’s official stance is that it “fosters mutual understanding” and provides a “rich multicultural tapestry within the state’s educational landscape.”

Op-Ed: I’ve been a teacher for 30 years. Michele Morrow would ruin NC public schools.

Our K-12 school system, which serves more than 1.5 million children, deserves a highly qualified leader with the experience and integrity to inspire confidence in both the families we serve and the professionals who serve them.

Here’s hoping voters turn out to say “No!” to North Carolina’s least electable candidate in November.

Author

  • Justin Parmenter

    Justin Parmenter has been a 7th grade language arts teacher at South Academy of International Languages in Charlotte since 2006. He was named a finalist for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Teacher of the Year in 2016. He writes about public education and politics at "Notes From the Chalkboard."

CATEGORIES: EDUCATION
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