About Mark Johnson’s Press Release Concerning Local Districts’ Reading Diagnostic Choices: Again He “Misrepresents”

Last week Mark Johnson issued this press release in an attempt to bolster a fragile ego and possibly make it appear that his tenure as state superintendent has had its positives.

Here’s the meat of the release:

Earlier this year, Superintendent Johnson and DPI developed a plan to allow districts to select their own diagnostic tools from a list of approved vendors. As a result, five vendors were approved for local districts to choose from. 

Superintendent Johnson said that other states are now watching closely as North Carolina employs this innovative approach in schools. 

“I am pleased to report today that based on conversations I have had with other leaders, the nation is watching North Carolina with excitement because we have innovated in a way that others want to emulate,” said Superintendent Johnson. “I want to express my gratitude to the team at DPI who helped bring into action our idea of being able to use multiple K-3 reading diagnostics across the state for the Read to Achieve program.” 



“The nation is watching.”

“Others want to to emulate.”

Those words and phrases sound strong. And “innovation” was a buzzword for Johnson. He even created an “office” in DPI with the title Deputy Superintendent of Innovation.

The problem with Johnson’s claim here (as well as with others he has made in the past) is that it’s not true.

What happened with allowing local districts to have a choice in diagnostic tools is not new.

In fact, it’s being late to the game.


Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.

All of those states already had a state-approved list of vendors for their districts to choose from.

That’s not innovation. That’s trying to appear innovative. Nothing really new about that with Mark Johnson.