If you are a parent of a child in NC’s public schools, you may have received the following email from Mark Johnson:
It came to my personal email.
I have never given my personal email to Mark Johnson. So how did he get it? There could be no other answer than his office took them from local school systems. And getting lots of emails seems to be something that a man who is rumored to be running for higher office would want.
Remember the “alternate” website that Johnson had created in the wake of Hurricane Florence that detoured people from a .gov website to a .com website which collected email addresses? In fact, it mimicked a campaign website in almost every facet.
And the actual survey to see if parents think there is over-testing? That’s simply a ruse. A red herring. A distraction. From many things.
Johnson ran his campaign on reducing testing. He hasn’t done anything about that. He is almost halfway through his term in being “urgent” in transforming public education, yet he has been nothing but complicit to the NCGA’s testing culture. It’s almost as if he claims that he remodeled the house when all he did was clean up one room by putting everything in the hall closet.
Johnson offered a “Welcome Back to School” video to teachers in August of 2017, and while it seemed to say all of the “right” things, listening closely to what he did actually state and claim was a very good indication of the intentional disconnect that he has with our state’s public school system.
Here is the link: https://youtu.be/B5Dwf–SoVs.
As he talks throughout the 3 and ½ minutes of the video, the transcript of his words were shown.
In that video message above, he says, “We have already eliminated tests such as the ASW’s, PISA, duplicative math tests.”
To claim that he has spearheaded the elimination of the ASW’s and the PISA is laughable. Why? Because the ASW’s were not a test. ASW was the Assessment of Student Work evaluation component for teachers of subjects that were not tested by state tests. In fact, ASW’s were eliminated because of budget cuts.
And the PISA? That’s the Program for International Student Assessment that is regarded as one of the best measures of how US students compare to their global counterparts. Only 5-6 thousand US students take the test per year. So, what Johnson is saying is that he stopped 150 students (approximately) in NC from taking a two-hour test that many in his political party use to argue their viewpoints about the deficiencies of public education.
Consider also that the state now requires every high school junior to take the ACT and according to what was mandated last year, if a student does not make a high enough score and have a certain GPA, then those students will have to take a remediation component their senior year on top of what his/her academic load is already (it has not actually been enforced – probably because of budget cuts).
What Johnson really has done is shown a reliance on testing and paying someone else to measure our kids.
Go to December of 2017. That was when Johnson presented a new school report card interface and “updated features” so that the public can view school report cards (https://ncreportcards.ondemand.sas.com/src/index). It has a lot of bells and whistles.
The letter attached to that new release by Johnson seemed well-meaning. The text can be found here – http://www.ncpublicschools.org/src/welcome/.
Yet, no matter how much glitter and glam can be used to create an interface that appeals to the eyes, it doesn’t cover up the fact that those measurements the state uses come from …………… STANDARDIZED TESTS!
Look at the web address for the school report cards – https://ncreportcards.ondemand.sas.com/src/. That “sas” represents SAS, the same SAS that controls EVAAS which measures schools by a secret algorithm. That “.com” means it’s maintained by a commercial entity. It gets paid taxpayer money.
And he sends a survey to parents asking if they think that the state tests too much?
It has six questions. Only one of them deals with testing.
- The first asks what grade your student is currently in.
- The second asks what school system your student is in.
- The third is this:
- The fourth is about whether I as a parent find it easy or hard to help my child with homework in math or language arts.
- The fifth deals with my view of whether my student’s education is personalized enough.
- The sixth asks if I want to enter in information for another child.
Only one deals with testing. The rest deal with promoting his version of personalized instruction (which is about using technology to replace teachers), ability to help with homework (which boils down to socioeconomics), and how many kids I might have in public schools.
There is no place to offer comments.
Once I have answered those six questions for each of my students, I then come to a final screen.
I get a chance to win money. A gift certificate. $250 dollars.
That does not sound too ethical coming from a superintendent who is using his office to collect emails for a possible run at Lt. Gov. while being a puppet and rubber stamp for the policy makers who hope to weaken public education to keep driving reforms that a real state superintendent would defend public schools from.
But what it really means is that Mark Johnson is more committed to being complicit to the current testing culture as it is. Why? Because he has never shown in his actions that he would fight the current establishment in order to actually reduce testing.