State Board of Education member resigns citing “trajectory towards activism”

Chasteen's resignation letter points to controversial changes to the state's social studies standards, activism by the board

N.C. State Board of Education seal

RALEIGH — Gov. Roy Cooper will be getting a chance to appoint a new member to the North Carolina State Board of Education.

Todd Chasteen, the northwest education region representative, resigned on Feb. 1, 2022.

While Board Chair Eric Davis’ mention of the resignation during the monthly meeting of the board on Feb. 2 seems to have gone largely unnoticed until now, although no time was wasted in removing Chasteen’s bio, which disappeared the board’s website by Feb. 4.

North State Journal reached out to Chasteen for comment but has not yet received a response.

Todd Chasteen

Chasteen’s resignation letter obtained by North State Journal cites the controversy over the updates to the state’s Social Studies Standards which were passed in the early months of 2021.

“In full transparency, in February when the board passed Social Studies Standards by a slim majority, standards that many of us concluded, and thousands of parents agreed, were unproductive, regressive and unhelpful to the students of this wonderful state, it became more difficult to see where I could add value,” Chasteen wrote.

Critics, including, Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, pointed out the revisions to the social studies standards contained Critical Race Theory and social justice components. Robinson was very vocal over the revisions, which he called “politically charged.”

“I think they are divisive, and I think they, quite frankly, smack of a lot of leftist dogma,” Robinson said at the Jan. 27, 2021, board meeting.

The state’s first black lieutenant governor also said there were “code words” like “systemic racism” which give students a negative view of the country and was adamant that the “system of government we have in this nation is not systemically racist. In fact, it is not racist at all.”

Chasteen wrote in his resignation letter that he sees a “trajectory away from education and towards activism.”

“The trajectory away from what some of us believed actually helped students, away from education towards activism, became much more likely, if not inevitable,’ wrote Chasteen. “With that trajectory almost certain to follow unless parents engage on a large scale, it made it evident that it was time to step down as a member of the North Carolina State Board of Education. This letter is my official resignation as of February 1, 2022.”

“Although I disagree with the direction of the board, I care for and think fondly of each board member, advisor and the DPI team,” Chasteen wrote in closing.

When asked for comment on Chasteen’s departure and his resignation letter, Davis responded in an email with a single sentence.

“We will miss Mr. Chasteen on the State Board and appreciate his service to the public school students of NC,” Davis wrote.

Chasteen was first appointed in July of 2014 by former Gov. Pat McCrory. He hails from the Blowing Rock area of North Carolina and has served in a legal counsel capacity for Samaritan’s Purse, the charity outreach group formed by the late Billy Graham’s son, Franklin.

Read Chasteen’s full letter:

About A.P. Dillon 1257 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_