Mark Johnson’s sudden Common Core hate is a disingenuous campaign stunt

Mark Johnson has been North Carolina’s Superintendent of Public Instruction for more than 3 years. After a disastrous single term he’s not even running for re-election. That’s why it caught people by surprise last week when he came out swinging at Common Core state standards.

Wait, what? Why now?

Because the Republican primary for Lieutenant Governor is three weeks away. Early voting actually begins this Thursday. In a crowded field of Republican candidates, the beleaguered superintendent is hoping to swing some low-information voters his way with a disingenuous campaign stunt.

North Carolina’s State Board of Education voted in April 2017 to revise literacy standards and in June 2017 to revise math standards. Standards were rewritten and the changes were later implemented at the classroom level.

The degree to which the standards changed varies by subject area and grade level, but for Mark Johnson to claim that North Carolina’s schools are still teaching Common Core is just false. As state superintendent he is obviously quite well positioned to know that.

Just like when Mark Johnson bolted at the end of his second year teaching 9th grade science, he simply can’t wait to abandon ship. Stirring up conservative ire against the Common Core may well help him in the primary.

Side note: for old times’ sake, here’s actual video of Mark Johnson leaving West Charlotte High School at the end of his brief teaching career:


Eager to keep his campaign momentum going after the little flurry of media activity he got last week, today Johnson spammed educators and caretakers with emails and texts–leading many to question 1) How did this guy get my personal cell phone number? and b) What’s up with campaigning using state resources?

The subject line of Johnson’s message was “Common Core – Keep or Replace?” and its supposed purpose was to gather stakeholder input through collecting survey data.

But if Johnson really wanted to know what people thought, he failed miserably at avoiding survey bias. Using phrases like “confusing math [and] course content that is not developmentally appropriate for young students” and literally offering your opinion in the sentence immediately preceding the one where you ask for input is not a sound survey technique.

Here’s an excerpt:

Of course, the truth is, Mark Johnson doesn’t want anyone’s opinion about the nonexistent North Carolina Common Core standards. What he really wants is for people to catch a couple misleading headlines and tell their neighbors that Mark is just the guy to stick it to the establishment.

What will it say about North Carolina voters if this shameless strategy propels Mark Johnson to victory in the primary?

3 thoughts on “Mark Johnson’s sudden Common Core hate is a disingenuous campaign stunt

  1. I took my 7th grader out of public school because of Common Core Math and bullies. Not necessarily in that order of importance but both of equal importance for a decent education. She had no books of her own to bring home to study her curriculum. What handouts were given were to be completed in class and turned in to the teacher. How is a parent supposed to help when they cannot see what is being studied? Education Lottery: buy some BOOKS for public schoolchildren. You’ve done little else.

  2. Mark Johnson is nothing but a kiss a@@ politician that is lying to get uninformed voters to believe him. He is going to go whatever gets him votes, not what is good for the State. He has been hated by the educators since the beginning. He supported buying programs and making wholesale changes at high tax dollar costs that was opposed by teachers. He is apparently making nice kick backs from the vendors.

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