There is no doubt that Mark Johnson is the most enabled man in Raleigh.
There is also no doubt that Phil Berger and Tim Moore are especially happy to have such bundle of legal noodles spun into a ball of knots. It creates ambiguity and gives them a narrative to continue their privatization of public schools.
In actuality, Mark Johnson is a gift to them.
But there is a silver lining to this. Why? Because it further exposes the ineptitude of Johnson and gives North Carolinians a clearer idea of the overall plan of Berger and Moore to dismantle public education. It also gives voters who support public education impetus to do something about what is happening.
Consider this – a corporate attorney who taught for two school years through a program that historically does not place many long term teachers into the public schools, who did not complete a full term as a school board member and has never had a child in the public schools was elected in the most contentious election year in recent memory to become state superintendent. After he was elected and before he took office, he was granted more power as a state superintendent by a gerrymandered legislature in a special session that was thought to be called to repeal HB2. He has spent his entire term “embroiled” in a legal battle with the state board of education that is controlled by the same political party and literally has been a non-public figure while a budget that expands vouchers, keeps charter schools from being regulated, lowers per pupil expenditures for traditional public schools, and cuts the budget for the very department he is supposed to run.
Furthermore, he was given $700,000 to hire people loyal only to him to do tasks that already were fulfilled by DPI personnel. Legal funds were given to him through taxpayer money. He never publicly showed support for teachers in recent events like the class size chaos or the rally and march in Raleigh this past month.
When DPI’s budget was cut, he did not stand up to the NCGA, but rather took a million dollars to perform an audit that confirmed that DPI actually was underfunded and understaffed.
Rather than support teachers openly, Johnson has shown more enthusiasm in eating doughnuts.
Slow to act when it pertains to public schools, he sure was quick to release a statement on today’s ruling which he perceived as a victory for himself.
Then the state board released this statement:
Seems as if both sides claimed victory. The reality is that schools will still suffer from Raleigh’s policies.
- The General Assembly confirms state board members in office.
- The General Assembly a state superintendent who rubber stamps the policies and wishes of that General Assembly.
- The General Assembly allowed them to spare in court over powers that the state superintendent never had before.
The General Assembly is the common denominator here.
Then there is one simple solution to rid the state of this ALEC designed quagmire: VOTE THEM OUT.
Vote out those in the General Assembly who enable this superintendent and actually encourage this mess. If there is not a super-majority in the General Assembly for the current establishment, then there is automatically a check in place against the policies that have hurt public schools in the first place.
When 20,000 teachers, staff, and public school advocates went to Raleigh to march and rally, it forced the NCGA to pass their budget within a committee rather than a bill open for debate and amendments. That’s fear.
North Carolina has 100 counties (with 115 LEA’s), each with a public school system. According to the Labor and Economic Analysis Division of the NC Dept. of Commerce, the public schools are at least the second-largest employers in nearly 90 of them—and the largest employer, period, in 66. That means teachers represent a base for most communities, the public school system. And we are strong in numbers.
If thousands can show up for a day in Raleigh with so many traveling so far, imagine how many can march to a ballot box in November.
We have five months. Educate as many people as you can.