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NC education board member leaves, citing social studies row

February 8, 2022 GMT

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina State Board of Education member has resigned, citing in part the panel’s charged debate last year over new social studies standards for his departure.

Todd Chasteen of Watauga County, who resigned Feb. 1, joined the board as an appointee of then-Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, North State Journal reported. The term of Chasteen, who works for Boone-based Samaritan’s Purse, was supposed to expire in about a year.

In early 2021, the board’s Democratic majority approved new standards that would have teachers discuss racism, discrimination and the perspectives of marginalized groups.

Republican members called the new standards anti-American and painting an overly negative picture of the nation’s history and institutions.

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Chasteen’s resignation letter to Chairman Eric Davis says that as many concluded the standards “were unproductive, regressive and unhelpful to the students of this wonderful state, it became more difficult to see where I could add value.”

“The trajectory away from what some of us believed actually helped students, away from education towards activism, became much more likely, if not inevitable,” he added.

Supporters of the new standards said they would provide an honest education to students, with multiple viewpoints and perspectives.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper gets to fill the vacancy created by Chasteen’s departure.