Major Announcements for Our Public School System But Only For a Private Audience: Mark Johnson’s February 19th Gathering

This invitation went to people throughout the state yesterday from the Office of the State Superintendent. It is for a dinner and a program.


As a public educator and a taxpayer, I did not receive my own invitation. And it makes the point that “NO TAX DOLLARS WILL BE USED FOR THIS EVENT.”

While February 19th is not on a weekend (it is a Tuesday), being able to reserve the Raleigh Convention Center Downtown in the state’s capitol requires some pull. That probably means that the money is coming from donations or strong outside interests.

And NC has wealthy interest groups with a vested “interest” in our public schools.

Remember when Jeb Bush came to town last June? He made a guest appearance with Mark Johnson at a Q&A session attempting to highlight positively spun educational reforms in North Carolina.

Alex Granados of reported on it in “New education organization brings Jeb Bush to town.” He opens,

Grow Great NC, Inc., a new group focused on education reform, kicked off its first official day as an organization yesterday by bringing former Florida governor and presidential candidate Jeb Bush to town. Bush took part in a question and answer session with state Superintendent Mark Johnson at the City Club in downtown Raleigh, and spent much of the time highlighting his state’s educational achievements and congratulating North Carolina leaders on taking Florida’s lead. 

Not much has been heard from Grow Great NC, Inc., but that does not mean it is not working behind the scenes.

BEST NC has held various legislative “gatherings,” the most notable in recent memory was when it brought Michelle Rhee two years ago to NC in January of 2017 in which select invitees were able to hear about Rhee’s failed reform initiatives.

The featured speaker at this particular “Innovation and  Leadership Dinner & Program” is Kelly King, the CEO of BB&T.

It should be noted that Kelly also a board member of BEST NC.

But what is probably the most eye-opening part of this “invitation” is that it will be  “INCLUDING MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENTS FOR OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM.”

So a public official for the state is using his office’s power to have a private gathering with a private audience paid for by private money highlighted with a keynote address by a board member of a group that wants to “reform” public education  but remains fairly private about it in order to announce what will happen with public education?

Of course. It is Mark Johnson we are talking about. No wonder it won’t be a public announcement.

And I have yet to hear about a teacher receiving such an invite.

ACTUALLY, I have received verification that some teachers have received invites. They are teachers with the BEST NC FIT  program