When Betsy DeVos became the Secretary of Education after a tie-breaking confirmation vote, she brought with her absolutely zero experience in public school education. In fact, her only “qualification” for the job was an agenda that rubber-stamps those who prop her up.
And there are striking similarities with our own state superintendent, Mark Johnson. While Johnson does have limited experience in the classroom, it seems next to nothing considering that he is the state’s highest ranking public education official. In fact, contrasting Mark Johnson and Betsy DeVos with a veteran teacher very much shows how unqualified both are for their positions and how similar they are to each other.
|Criteria||Betsy DeVos||Mark Johnson||Veteran Public School Teachers in NC Who Have Taught For Five + Years|
|Has a degree in education or went through a teacher preparation program at a college or university||NO||NO||Most all of them. Lateral Entry in most states still requires that teachers take certain preparation courses.|
|Has teaching experience||NO||YES – two school years||YES –|
|Attended public schools||NO||YES – graduated from Louisiana’s equivalent of a Magnet school for math and science||IF 90% of go to traditional public schools, then safe to say MOST OF THEM|
|Sends children to public school||NO||YES||MOST OF THEM, if they have kids|
|Believes vouchers hurts traditional public schools||NO||NO||DON’T MEET MANY WHO LIKE THEM|
|Supports teacher unions and teacher advocacy groups||NO||NO||MOST DO – IF NOT WITH MEMBERSHIP, THEN DO RELY ON GROUPS TO LOBBY FOR THEM|
|Administrated in a school||NO||NO||Most administrators were teachers|
|Been through a principal change as an educator||NO||NO||MOST OF THEM|
|Been through a curriculum change||NO||NO||YES|
|Seen a group of students matriculate throughout an entire school experience from beginning of high school to graduation to another level of schooling||NO||NO||YES|
|Managed budgets for public funds||NO||Served a partial term as a local school board member but was campaigning partially during that time||PROBABLY NOT|
|Talked to teacher advocacy groups||NO||AVOIDS LIKE THE PLAGUE||A GREAT MANY OF THEM|
|Talked with special education advocacy groups||NO||AVOIDS LIKE THE PLAGUE||A GREAT MANY OF THEM|
|Finished an entire term in elected office||NO||NO||NOT APPLICABLE|
|Oversaw a budget that expanded resources for students in traditional public schools||NO||NO||A GREAT MANY OF THEM ON A SMALL SCALE|
|Displayed understanding of IDEA and IEP law.||NO||NO||YES|
|Led a school in a re-accreditation process||NO||NO||MANY OF THEM – IT’S A SCHOOL-WIDE INITIATIVE|
|Participated in a PTSA||NO||NO||MANY OF THEM|
|Coached a public school sport||NO||UNKNOWN||MANY OF THEM|
|Oversaw a budget for a school||NO||NO||ADMINISTRATION DOES THIS|
|Had continuing certification||NO||NO||YES|
|Mentored a younger teacher||NO||NO||YES|
|Had a student teacher||NO||NO||MANY OF THEM|
|Sponsored an extracurricular||NO||NO||MOST OF THEM|
|Written curriculum standards||NO||NO||MANY OF THEM|
|Led a professional development workshop for teachers||NO||NO||MANY OF THEM|
|Published scholarly work on educational issues.||NO||NO||SOME OF THEM|
|Knows difference between proficiency and growth for students||NO||DON’T KNOW||MOST OF THEM|
|Meet With ALL Parents Who Request Conference||NO||NO||YES|
|Keeps Open Channels of Communication with students, parents, administration, and community||NO||NO||YES|
|Does Not Require an Entourage to Explain Concepts of Job||NO||NO||YES|
|Results||United States Secretary of Education||North Carolina State Superintendent||Becoming an Endangered Species|
Furthermore, both Johnson and DeVos have a problem saying “no” to forces that seek to “reform” public education.
Consider the following quotes:
“I have decided to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now I simply concede the point. They are right. We do expect something in return. We expect to foster a conservative governing philosophy consisting of limited government and respect for traditional American virtues. We expect a return on our investment.” – Betsy DeVos, 1997.
“These are things I have learned from my own experience. If I disagree with the policy, I’m not afraid to say ‘no’ to anyone who gave me money.” –Mark Johnson, 2017.
DeVos is well known for advancing “reforms” involved with school choice, vouchers, and charter schools. In fact, she has given large amounts of money to causes that champion those reforms. And Johnson is someone who actually can’t say “no” despite what he said above.
When DPI’s budget was cut by the very General Assembly that extendied him unchecked power over the public school system, did Mark Johnson say, “No?”
No, he did not.
When he said that “local leaders know what we need” for their local schools, did Mark Johnson tell the people pushing for charter takeover with an ISD, “No?”
No, he did not.
Has there ever been a time where Mark Johnson has openly said “No!” to any of the very lawmakers whom he says he might have a disagreement with?
No, there has not been.
Has Mark Johnson ever told the General Assembly “No!” to taking more money out of the budget for public schools to place in a voucher program that has not yielded a positive outcome?
No, he has not.
Has Mark Johnson ever publicly questioned the actions against teachers and the education profession by Phil Berger or Tim Moore?
No, he has not.
Additionally, both DeVos and Johnson seem to attract large crowds of people who do not approve of their performance. DeVos literally has spent millions on security detail as “protection.”
And Johnson seems to leave town when lots of teachers come to talk about education.
Yes, Mark Johnson is North Carolina’s Betsy DeVos.