Today Billy Ball posted as the lead education report on NC Policy Watch a piece concerning an ethics inquiry about the relationship between Mark Johnson and other lawmakers with Apple in the time before a magical purchase of iPads were made this past month with “discovered” funds.
It is damn fine journalism and it highlights the now unilateral decision making that is running DPI. There are questions that need to be answered and accountability enforced. Blow is the summary provided by Ball.
· Months before a $6 million purchase of Apple iPads, the company spent more than $5,300 on meals, transportation and lodging for the benefit of Superintendent Mark Johnson, three state lawmakers and two local superintendents at their Silicon Valley headquarters.
· It’s not the first time tech companies courted state officials. Google has spent thousands on luxury hotels and upscale dinners for state lawmakers with budget powers.
· Superintendent says trip had “informal” approval of state’s ethics officials.
· In bypassing approval by Department of Information Technology, iPad purchase may not have followed terms of state’s contract with Apple.
· Public officials face different standards under the ethics law, so it’s unclear whether North Carolina ethics laws were broken.
· Ethics advocates say state’s laws were intended to stop “wining and dining” of public officials (http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/2018/08/30/pw-exclusive-prior-to-multi-million-dollar-ipad-purchase-apple-bought-meals-hotels-transportation-for-north-carolina-leaders/).
What the hell is “informal approval?”
It is a thorough and lengthy report that does not lose momentum. Yet, toward the end, there is an interesting portion that highlights some insights by Rep. Craig Horn.
““I don’t expect to be put up at the Waldorf Astoria, but I don’t expect to be put up at the Red Roof Inn either,” said Horn. “Also, I don’t expect to be eating at McDonald’s. I expect to be treated as an adult and as a professional.”
It is interesting if one looks at Horn’s observations in light of the teaching profession.
That whole idea of being treated as a professional seems to be something that this NCGA has totally forgotten when it comes to how it has treated the teaching profession.
It might just as easy to take Horn’s intention and reword it in the framework of teaching: “I don’t expect to be teaching in rooms that look like Oxford University, but I don’t expect to be teaching in rooms in bad need of repair. I also don’t expect to have to have a second jib to make ends meet. I expect to be treated as an adult and as a professional.”