The State Superintendent Needs Someone to Speak For Him – Someone Who Speaks With Details Is Preferred

State Superintendent Mark Johnson has begun to use the $700,000 of tax payer money given to him by the NC General Assembly to begin hiring people who can help carry out his nebulous, amorphous, and ambiguous agenda that has been long in the making but short in the doing.

That $700,000 dollars is specifically for Johnson to fill positions that report only to him as he seems to have a hard time collaborating with others on the state board to make sure schools have what they need.

As WRAL reported late last week,

North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson has begun hiring new staff for his office, using $700,000 in taxpayer money given to him by the General Assembly this year.

Johnson can create up to 10 full-time positions and hire staff without approval of the State Board of Education, a key provision lawmakers granted him as he battles the state board in court over control of the public school system.

He recently received budget approval from the North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management to create three positions, and more are expected later. According to OSBM, the three positions and budgeted amounts approved for the salaries (excluding benefits) are:

Remember that that $700,000 is a special budgetary gift from the same NC General Assembly which slashed the Department of Public Instruction’s budget by over 20% in the latest two-year budget.

Remember that that $700,000 is a special budgetary gift from the same NC General Assembly that financed Johnson’s lawsuit against the State Board of Education which has called into question Johnson’s need to be enabled just to produce results in his job.

And that second job listed above? The Information and Communication Specialist who will make more than almost every teacher with the highest credentials and most advanced degrees and certification who has been working in schools for longer than Johnson has been alive? That job is for a spokesperson.

That’s right. Johnson is hiring someone to speak for him. Just him.

Do not let it be lost on anyone that the Department of Public Instruction, which Johnson “leads,” already has a communication specialist. The problem is that that spokesperson would speak for the entirety of DPI, not just Johnson alone. As WRAL relates,

Johnson also plans to hire a communications specialist who will work directly for him. DPI recently hired a new communications director, Drew Elliot, but he serves both the superintendent and state board. In a phone interview Thursday, Elliot said the superintendent wants his own communications specialist because he has a “renewed focus on communication.”

Hopefully that “renewed focus on communication” will involve actually communicating things like details and direct answers.

Hopefully that “renewed focus on communication” will involve actually communicating directly with all school systems throughout the entire year unlike over the summer when Johnson ordered a vital list serve portal to be shut down.

Hopefully that “renewed focus on communication” will involve actually communicating direct answers instead of giving ambiguous responses like he did in the last state school board meeting when he was asked about his views on the cuts to DPI and the new principal pay plan.

And hopefully that “renewed focus on communication” will involve finding someone who has more experience in being a spokesperson than Johnson has in being an educator and instructional leader.

That shouldn’t be too hard. There’s probably another person from McCrory’s administration ready to take on the task.

Or maybe Sean Spicer or even Anthony Scaramucci?