When news yesterday revealed that NCDPI had hired Dr. Terry Stoops from the libertarian think tank John Locke Foundation to be an advisor to Supt. Catherine Truitt, of course it sent shock waves around the state.
It doesn’t feel so shocking this morning. Actually, it makes total sense.
Look at this tweet:
“I’m heading over to become part of the establishment?” Don’t think so. He’s heading over to keep expanding the “establishment” that his current and probably “still will be” boss has been building for years.
All of the reforms that have negatively impacted public education in NC over the last 10+ years have had the fingerprints of one man and his cronies on them: Art Pope. Either directly or indirectly, he has led the fight to privatize public education in NC.
Well over two-thirds of the campaign contributions reported for the second quarter of 2020 for Truitt’s campaign for State Superintendent came from donors whose actions and interests run totally antithetical of supporting public schools.
Including Art Pope.
Pope bankrolls a few entities like the John Locke Foundation in the state that trumpet his libertarian ideals. He was also the first budget director for Gov. Pat McCrory, a man who cowered under people like Berger, Tillis, Moore, and others who sought and still seek to “reform” public education in NC. It’s also worth noting that Truitt was a senior education advisor to McCrory.
And here’s Dr. Terry Stoops of the John Locke Foundation, that entity founded by Pope. Stoops founded his own charter school in Wake County.
I don’t believe Stoops has “mixed feelings” about this move. It seems more like its part of a bigger plan.
Go to Sen. Phil Berger. From Politics North Carolina in June of 2021:
Look how Berger has positioned himself rather surreptitiously as the big influence over NCDPI. It really ramped up when Mark Johnson was state super.
This is what the organization for DPI looked like when Johnson took office.
Consider the reorganization that occurred at DPI last summer after the final decision of the lawsuit between the state board and Mark Johnson.
Below is what it was prior to the new reorganization.
This is what it looks like now because Johnson “reorganized” DPI.
The first thing to notice is that on the older chart some positions were titled with ALL CAPS and had a thicker border surrounding them. That meant that these people were Dual-Report Positions. In short, they answered to both the state board and to Johnson (now Truitt). However, that went away on July 1, 2018.
What that means is that those people who held (or hold now) those positions not only answer to Johnson (now Truitt) alone, but he has total control over what they do (or the person who controls Johnson/Truitt),
Also in the older chart, Johnson (now Truitt) reported to the state board. In the new one, the state board of education does not even really have any ties to DPI except through an internal auditor. It’s like they do not exist, which is just what the powers that run the NCGA (Berger) wanted.
In actuality the organizational chart at DPI looks more like this:
Phil listens to Art.
Terry still is loyal to Art.
That seems to be why Terry is now in DPI. Berger would love having him in DPI, even if Truitt goes on to other ambitions in 2024.