Best News for NC Public Education Advocates to Come in a Long While – The New Appointees to the State Board of Education

This past summer, three members of the State Board of Education resigned their posts for one reason: to help public schools.

From a post this past August on this blog:

When Bill Cobey announced his resignation from the State Board of Education in July effective in September, it seemed coincidental.
But maybe not.
Since then two other members have submitted resignations from the SBE.
Alex Granados reported today for
“Also since the resolution of the Supreme Court case and reorganization at DPI, Cobey, as well as Board Member Becky Taylor, both announced their resignations. Today, Board member Greg Alcorn added his name to that list, announcing his resignation in a letter to Governor Roy Cooper” (
Granados then reminds readers that all three of these people were selected for their terms by Pat McCrory. They are republican appointees. They have submitted resignations during Roy Cooper’s term, a democrat.
“Since the vacancies have occurred prior to the end of the Board members’ terms, Cooper can appoint new members to finish out their time on the Board without seeking legislative approval. Appointees to the State Board require legislative confirmation if they are being appointed to full terms, but not if they are filling a premature vacancy.
That may be particularly helpful to Cooper, who has had trouble getting his appointees through the General Assembly.”
Cooper can fill their spots with people he deems loyal to his agenda until the terms end next March.
Imagine if there is a “blue-wave” in November and Cooper gets a legislature that confirms permanent replacements he specifically appoints.
The entire SBE changes complexion.
Because three people took an action to try and create a check and balance within Raleigh that seized power of the public school system and placed it in the hands of a person who bends to the will of those who want to privatize public education.
What those three people did was to help students and public schools. They placed principles before politics.

Those three positions have now been filled with three public school advocates.

From Billy Ball yesterday in NC Policy Watch:

On Wednesday, Cooper appointed Greenville’s Jill Camnitz, a former local school board member in Pitt County; Charlotte’s James Ford, a former state teacher of the year in 2014-2015; and J.B. Buxton, an education consultant from Raleigh and former administrator in the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.

Because they are filling vacant seats, they will not be subject to confirmation by the state legislature. That’s noteworthy because the GOP-controlled General Assembly stonewalled previous Cooper appointees to the board, including Buxton.

And lawmakers voted down Buxton’s appointment to another seat on the board in June without any explanation.

Having Ford and Buxton on the SBOE is a much needed victory for public schools in North Carolina. Both are well-known for their advocacy for public schools and Ford’s work in creating racial equity and seeking social justice is especially welcomed by many.

I have had the pleasure of meeting Ford on a few occasions and Buxton once. I left those meetings impressed. I have not had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Camnitz, but look forward to that possibility.

But what might be more important to this teacher, having Ford on the State Board of Education puts teacher on that bench, and if anything a teacher’s voice really needs to heard.

Especially if Mark Johnson is around.