Nearly 100 people have signed a petition urging the North Carolina Parent Teacher Association (NCPTA) to rescind an invitation to State Superintendent Mark Johnson to speak at the organization’s annual convention.
“Superintendent Mark Johnson is welcome to come and listen to panels, workshops, and parents,” the petition states. “However, due to his own past actions and in-actions he should not be given the privilege of addressing the convention.”
The petition was started by Susan Book, a public schools advocate best known for her work with Save Our Schools NC. She serves on NCPTA’s special education inclusion committee and is active in Wake County PTA.
Book knows there’s little chance the NCPTA will rescind the offer to Johnson to speak. But she hopes the petition will raise awareness about Johnson and his views on public education.
“We have a superintendent who isn’t a champion for public education,” Book said. “PTA is for public education. There are some members who don’t appreciate him being asked. This was not a decision that everyday members approve of.”
NCPTA had not returned phone calls by late Friday afternoon.
Johnson could not be reached late Friday afternoon.
Book’s petition cites numerous instances in which she believes Johnson has not acted in the best interest of public education.
The most recent example was Johnson’s new N.C. School Finances website, which has been widely criticized for misleading and inaccurate data.
Johnson was taken to task because the website compares average teacher salaries to median household income and wages across the state.
Book also noted Johnson’s support for a plan to give teachers $400 to purchase school supplies. Teachers have been critical of the proposal because it doesn’t come with any new money attached.
“I believe it’s important for someone like [Superintendent] Mark Johnson to listen to everyday parents and our struggles with public education, but I think asking him to speak is going too far as an endorsement to his policies,” Book said.
Book said she hasn’t made up her mind whether to boycott Johnson’s appearance.
The convention takes place May 17-18 at UNC Charlotte-City Center.