…that’s exactly why he is on it. Remember this is Mark Johnson we’re talking about.
This past week Johnson in an attempt to remain somewhat relevant in Raleigh launched a rather interesting task force that had no current teachers or reps from the most populous areas of NC where COVID-19 has been most prevalent. Here is that list.
Two days ago, this blog looked at some of the people on the list including the man at the very bottom, Jonathan Felts, who at one time identified himself as the unofficial spokesperson for Mark Johnson.
“Felts, a former George W. Bush White House staffer, professional GOP consultant and senior advisor to former Gov. Pat McCrory, says he’s taking no pay for his work in the office of new Superintendent Mark Johnson.
That includes providing updates and statements to the press on behalf of Johnson’s state office and offering scheduling details for the superintendent as he embarks on a statewide listening tour. Felts emphasizes his official title is transition chairman for Johnson, nearly two months into the new superintendent’s tenure in Raleigh.”
But there is a lot more to this individual than just altruistic intentions. It has a lot to do with Jeb Bush.
Felts is a leader of an entity called Grow Great NC. Remember when Jeb Bush came to Raleigh in June 2018? He made a guest appearance with Mark Johnson at a Q&A session attempting to highlight positively spun educational reforms in North Carolina.
That’s from a summer meeting in June of 2018. There’s Berger. There’s Johnson. There’s a lot of older white men. And there’s Jeb Bush at the head of the table.
Alex Granados of EdNC.org reported on it in “New education organization brings Jeb Bush to town.” He opened,
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.
Jeb Bush was the man who came up with the school performance grading system that NC modeled its version after. Bush was also the person who came up with a program called “just Read, Florida!” which was the model for NC’s failed Read to Achieve initiative. And of course, Jeb is the brother of George W. for whom Felts served as a staffer. George W. brought high-stakes testing to the forefront with No Child Left Behind.
The Secretary of Education under George W. at that time? Margaret Spellings, who would become the President of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill when Pat McCrory was still governor.
Adrian Harrold Wood, who authors the iconic Tales of an Educated Debutante blog and who is also a fierce advocate for public education, wrote a post in 2018 about Grow Great NC when it brought Jeb Bush to town. It’s more than worth revisiting today.
And now Felts is on this task force.
What a coincidence.