An Open Letter To Graham Wilson, Mark Johnson’s Spokesperson, Concerning His Pathetic Words About A Teacher

Hi Mr. Wilson.

We’ve met. In 2016, I wrote a post about what the state of North Carolina had done to the public school system over the last few years and Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post published it as part of The Answer Sheet education blog. You were the spokesperson for then Governor Pat McCrory at that time. You contacted Strauss and demanded that the post be taken down because of what you thought was erroneous information.

It stayed posted because I could verify everything. In fact, it’s still there. There was no erroneous information.

Later that summer when the HB2 debacle was staining our state’s reputation, you did what you did best and put words to McCrory’s thoughts that were heard in the ears of the rest of North Carolina blaming others for your boss’s lack of understanding.

“Instead of providing reasonable accommodations for some students facing unique circumstances,” the school district “made a radical change to their shower, locker room and restroom policy for all students.

“This curiously-timed announcement that changes the basic expectations of privacy for students comes just after school let out and defies transparency, especially for parents,” Wilson said in a statement. “The Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System should have waited for the courts to make a decision instead of purposely breaking state law.”

McCrory then became the first incumbent governor in the state’s history to lose a reelection bid – in the same year that NC went for Donald Trump.

It seems that you have that consistency in attacking others for making stands to protect people on behalf of disconnected “public servants.” In the few days before leaving office, McCrory called for a special session that was supposed to be about hurricane relief and HB2 repeal. What happened was HB17.

McCrory’s office through your “mouth” issued this statement just hours before signing HB17.

“Governor McCrory has always publicly advocated a repeal of the overreaching Charlotte ordinance. But those efforts were always blocked by Jennifer Roberts, Roy Cooper and other Democratic activists,” said McCrory spokesman Graham Wilson. “This sudden reversal with little notice after the gubernatorial election sadly proves this entire issue originated by the political left was all about politics and winning the governor’s race at the expense of Charlotte and our entire state. As promised, Governor McCrory will call a special session.”

It was that session that gave unprecedented power to the new state superintendent, Mark Johnson, the official for whom you work for now. He hired you in 2017. I even had a post about that. From Dec. 5th, 2017:


The money used to hire you came from a special “slush fund” given to the enabled Johnson.


That salary you were drawing there was over 20,000 higher than the misrepresented “average” teacher pay and in your time working for Johnson, you’ve seemed to attack many a teacher, especially if that teacher questioned what your aloof boss has done.

And he has done a lot – iPads, iStation contract, skipping chances to meet with teachers during rallies, doughnut eating, and now this latest red-herring: seemingly eliminating the already eliminated common core standards in NC to help garner votes for a weak bid at Lt. Gov.

Yet, something you said today carried just enough weight to call you out.

From today’s N&O:

For the record, Justin Parmenter is not simply a “blogger.” He’s a teacher. In fact, he’s been a teacher about ten times longer than you and your boss have been teachers combined. And he’s not lying. He’s exposing painful truths about your boss’s dealings. He’s fighting for the state’s public schools.

And all you do is attack his integrity with your lack of it.

But I would not have expected more from a person who works for the most enabled man in Raleigh. I would not have expected more from a man who serves as the mouthpiece for a puppet of an official. I would not have expected more from a man who has the habit of working for one-term politicians whose records while in office will be talked about for years to come as the standard of failure.

I would not have expected more from a man whose job is to shield someone who is more concerned with personal gain than fighting for public school students.

Because you have a track record that is consistently pathetic.

Justin Parmenter needs no defending from me. His search for the truth and his drive to help others will never be diminished by your words or actions. His reputation as a public school advocate is unmatched in this state as far as I am concerned and his dedication to his profession is awe-inspiring. I am proud to call him my friend.

But you not only tried to demean my colleague; you went after a teacher. Teachers work together. They collaborate openly and pull resources to help students inside and outside of the classrooms. They fight for a social good even when the very government that is supposed to support public schools fails to do so.

Mark Johnson has been no advocate for teachers. Nor has he been an advocate for public schools. He has been an advocate for glossy flyers and self-promotion and special interest and privatizing public education.

You chose to be his mouthpiece. You chose to be part of the problem. You chose to be an obstacle.

Hopefully, you will not be able to do that for much longer as I hope Mark Johnson’s 2020 election bid looks a lot your election bid in 2016.

And that bit about “Elitist Insiders?” You might want to look in the mirror.


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