Mark Johnson Is No Longer State Superintendent, But Not Much Has Changed

Actually, there might be a couple of differences.

There is not a school inbox full of platitudinous emails that ask teachers to take rigged questionnaires.

No glossy flyers.

No iPads to store in warehouses that were bought surreptitiously with funds that could have been used elsewhere.

But the similarities between Mark Johnson’s tenure as state super and Catherine Truitt’s first few months in the job are numerous.

1. There is that need to do an initial tour to “listen.”

When I took office as State Superintendent, I embarked on a statewide listening tour to hear directly from educators, parents, and community and business leaders. Now I am able to focus on priorities highlighted by teachers from Murphy to Manteo. I believe appreciating teachers means listening to their concerns and working to support them” – Mark Johnson from “Ways to show our teachers appreciation” from on May 8th, 2018 (

2. Both have tried to help save the disastrous Read to Achieve initiative with silver bullet solutions in which an out-of-state vendor was “chosen” to receive lots of NC money.


3. Both had campaigns financed by those who want to privatize our public schools.

Mark Johnson’s 2016 campaign had the following contributors:

  • Jonathan Sackler of Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin.
  • John Bryan, the founder of the Team CFA based in Oregon which is a charter school chain.
  • Steuart Walton is CEO of Game Composites. He’s part of the Walton family (Walmart).
  • The Roger Bacon Academy Charter School Chain that has four different campuses in North Carolina. 
  • And LEE which stands for Leadership in Education Equity. It is a spin-off of Teach for America of which Johnson is an alumnus.

Over two-thirds of the campaign contributions reported for the second quarter in 2020 or Truitt’s campaign came from donors whose actions and interests run totally antithetical of supporting public schools.

Two donors represented an out-of-state for profit charter school chain.

Two represented the private entity that controls the surreptitious algorithms that produce EVAAS scores and then calculates damaging school performance grades.

One was a recent chariman of ALEC.

One was a chancellor of an online university that received monies from the state to start up in NC. That person wase also the candidate, Catherine Truitt.

4. Both were scared/are to meet with NCAE.

5. Both have not (did not) adhere to the findings of the Leandro Report.

6. And both have never stood up to the likes of Phil Berger.

So much so that this diagram from Mark Johnson’s tenure has hardly changed.