“Leaders don’t ask teachers what they think” – Mark Johnson Is Actually Right, But…

Too often in education, leaders don’t ask teachers what they think before the leaders design new education initiatives.” – Mark Johnson in a video announcement on November 25, 2019. 

That remark came at the 37-second mark of the video tagged above.

No truer words have been said – except Mark Johnson forgot to tell you a few things.

Specifically, he didn’t say that he was one of those leaders who ever really listened.

No. Questionnaires, surveys,  and glossy flyers do not allow for dialogue, much less speaking and listening. And there have been times when teachers have literally come to Raleigh to talk about public education.

One time it looked like this:


Johnson wasn’t there listening.

When teachers have to take to the streets and form lines in front of schools before the bell rings to bring attention to conditions in our public school system, then there is a deliberate shunning of the teaching force.

When a budget is held hostage by the very leaders that Johnson says needs to listen to teachers but who also prop Johnson up as a state super, then this video is nothing but hot air on the internet.

It is insulting to be asked by a lameduck “educational leader” to “make your voice heard” on another emailed video when it is apparent to so many that none of the leaders to whom Johnson refers really does not want to listen to teachers.


And in all of his spewing about reducing testing, Mark Johnson still has not mentioned changing the school performance grading system to accommodate schools not being measured so much by tests.

NC is the only state (out of 16 which use a school grading system) that puts more emphasis on proficiency than growth and counts proficiency for 80% for a school performance grade. That proficiency is calculated by student test scores. Reducing testing but not changing the school performance grading dynamic ultimately leads to a rather negative effect: fewer tests will have much more power over proficiency grades for schools. In other words, fewer tests now have much more effect on schools. That’s increasing pressure on schools and students.

But will Johnson do anything about that?


Because there has been no hint in his three years in office that he actually listens to teachers himself.