State Superintendent Mark Johnson sends controversial message about Common Core

Alexander Mayhew, Photography Editor

Photos by
State Superintendent Mark Johnson

State Superintendent Mark Johnson sent out a link to a poll Feb. 11 asking, “Do you want us to eliminate Common Core and present new standards to the NC Board of Education for their approval?”
The email/text was sent out to hundreds of thousands of North Carolina parents and teachers with a link to a letter with a poll attached. The poll asked these questions: Are current education standards in North Carolina providing an effective path to success? Are you familiar with Common Core? Should Common Core be used in North Carolina public schools? Should North Carolina public schools put more focus on teaching U.S. history and civics? Should North Carolina public schools put more focus on teaching financial literacy? The text was very controversial for many people. Many thought that this was a political move.
“I felt like it was tied to politics you know because we’re in that time it was expected to some degree, or at least because we’re desensitized,” said Farrall Hilton, art teacher at Athens Drive.
Hilton believes this a political move to attract attention. She said it was to be expected in this political climate we almost expect to see these extravagant moves.
“An example of [Johnson’s] continued shameless self-promotion,” said Abee Boyles, a parent of two Durham students, regarding the text messages.
Boyles believes this is just a way to get his name out as someone against common core and to show off to the candidates running against him.
“I work in the public sector and feel [Mr.] Johnson has abused his ability to access my email and phone contact information to promote his own agenda and political aspirations,” Boyles said.
Boyles reinforces the statement that Johnson used her contacts to help get his name out there as someone against common core. Contacts that parents and teachers give the state to use for emergencies. Just to move his political ideas forward.
Johnson and his spokesman at the state Department of Public Instruction (DPI), Graham Wilson, defended the texts and emails Feb. 11 as legitimate efforts to reach out to parents and teachers for input. The messages were criticized by parents and teachers as spam or a political effort using contact information from a state database.
“On an issue as important as state standards for students, we want to hear from as many stakeholders as possible, not just the same Raleigh insiders. So, we used modern technology to better communicate directly with parents and teachers,” Johnson said in a statement about the text messages.
Although Johnson is running for office, “that doesn’t mean that his duty to the people to improve our public school system stops,” said Wilson.