Mark Johnson is a Republican running in North Carolina for Superintendent of Public Instruction. The Superintendent is the person in charge of the Department of Public Instruction which governs teacher licensing, K-12 curriculum, state-mandated testing, and the $9.2 billion state school budget.
The current occupant, June Atkinson (D-NC), is running for reelection and is strong proponent of Common Core. While it was thought she might retire, she is running and has primary opposition from retired principal Henry Pankey.
Johnson is a lawyer in Winston-Salem, a member of the Winston-Salem Forsyth County Board of Education, and is an alumnus of Teach for America who taught high school in Charlotte. According to Andrea Dillon aka Lady Liberty 1885 who is staunch Common Core opponent, Johnson has told her he is not a fan of Common Core.
What makes me leery of Mark Johnson is a personal contribution to his campaign by our longtime friend Mike Bloomberg. Bloomberg and his daughter Emma have donated a combined $5,200 to Johnson’s campaign. Johnson says he doesn’t know why the Bloombergs made the donation. He said, “Some of his people mailed a check to me.”
Sorry, dude, but checks like that come with obligations to the donor. Just ask Virginia AG Mark Herring. If Johnson wins, will he be expected to fight to keep schools gun-free zones? Or will he argue before the General Assembly that they should overturn the law which allows concealed carriers to keep their firearms in locked vehicles on school property? Will Everytown’s joke of “gun safety” training be mandated in NC schools?
Johnson has amassed a substantial war chest with over $173,000 cash on hand at the end of 2015. By contrast, his opponents, Dunn school teacher J. Wesley Sills and Alamance County pediatrician Rosemary Stein, had less than $5,000 combined in their campaign accounts. That’s a lot of money for down ticket office.
Early voting has started in North Carolina. One thing I do know is that Mark Johnson will not be getting my vote. Lady Liberty likes Dr. Stein and I think I’ll give her a look.