This week I received confirmation that Mark Johnson, the state school superintendent, is now following my personal twitter feed through his office’s official twitter account.
Even have the proof.
And I absolutely welcome it.
There are around 100,000 teachers in this state. Mark Johnson’s official twitter account currently follows 442 people (as of this post), mostly political leaders and pundits. There may be between 50-100 educational professionals he may be following. Not all of them are teachers.
That seems to put me in select company, but I imagine it may not be for my glowing reviews of his term. In fact, anyone who has read this blog knows that I have been very critical of his performance or rather lack of performance in an almost ten-month tenure that has produced platitudes, nondescript “reforms,” and refusals to offer details.
This blog has been an act of advocacy for public education here in North Carolina. I teach in a public school. My children attend public school. My son requires additional help because of a developmental delay. Public schools are woven into almost every fabric of my life.
As a veteran teacher I have what many may call “tenure,” but rather it is what should be called due-process rights. It allows me to advocate loudly for students, teachers, and schools against what I consider atrocious actions taken to weaken the state’s public school system, a system that was considered not long ago the most progressive in this part of the country.
Those very powers that are engaging in these “reformation” projects have a propped-up representative in the office of DPI, and that person is Mark Johnson.
So, I hope that he truly follows this twitter account and consider following the actual twitter account of the blog that I write – @ragecaffeinated.
In fact, I hope he tries to follow the twitter account of every teacher willing to allow him to follow him. Simply send his account a request for him to follow you. For someone who wants to infuse as much technology into schools as well as conduct “listening tours,” this would be accomplishing two “goals” with one action.
I also hope that the state superintendent reads the posts that question his lack of action in the face of the very many policies that weaken our schools such as:
- Budget cuts
- Unregulated charter school growth
- HB17’s power grab
- The Innovative School District
- Principal Pay Plan
And that’s just a few.
I wish he not only read them, but he responds to them fully explaining why he has taken or not taken action or clarifying his stance and the reasons behind them.
The ten months that Johnson has been in office is equivalent to the length of the yearly contract that teachers have in schools. The state superintendent’s insistence that he has been handcuffed by the state board with this lawsuit over power of the state school system seems to have been his only excuse for inaction.
Within ten months, the average teacher has delivered content, taught skills, nurtured young people, differentiated instruction, planned lessons, developed curriculum, organized preparation, managed conduct, assessed, professionally developed, provided feedback, remediated, tutored, meet with all parents and students who request it, set expectations, been consistent, coached, and mentored among many other things.
All of that is done as lawmakers continue to “redefine” what powers teachers have in classrooms and what teachers are responsible for. Maybe some people could say that teachers still do the job despite being “handcuffed” by bureaucracy.
But even if the superintendent does not respond to anything on the blog, I do hope he checks my twitter feed. The main profile picture is of my son, Malcolm. He happens to have special needs and needs his teacher assistant to help him succeed.
Maybe each time the state superintendent sees Malcolm’s face, he could imagine Malcolm asking him what he is doing to ensure that all elementary grades still have teacher assistants.
Maybe even provide some details.