Education

NC superintendent to make 'major literacy announcement' Monday

Posted March 31

State Superintendent Mark Johnson at Ephesus Elementary School in Chapel Hill on March 15, 2017.
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— State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson plans to make a "major literacy announcement" Monday, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

He will unveil his plans at East Garner Elementary School at 2 p.m. and will read to kindergartners during his visit.

DPI spokeswoman Vanessa Jeter said the event will be an "opportunity to find out more about what the superintendent's priorities are in getting books in the hands of kids." She declined to provide more details ahead of Monday's event.

This will mark one of the first detailed priorities Johnson has revealed since becoming state superintendent in January. He has spent much of his time traveling around North Carolina on a statewide listening tour, meeting with department staff and speaking about his three guiding principles – urgency, ownership and innovation.

Johnson has also spent part of his time embroiled in a legal battle with the State Board of Education over who should have more power over North Carolina's public schools. The state board, which remains in power while the lawsuit winds through court, was not aware of Johnson's literacy announcement

"It was news to me. I have not been involved," said State Board of Education Chairman Bill Cobey.

That's not unusual, according to Cobey, who said former Superintendent June Atkinson did not alert the board to every news conference she held.

"I'm hoping and believing (Johnson's announcement) is consistent with our efforts on literacy," Cobey added. "June's announcements were always consistent with what the board was trying to get done. ... The closer we can stay together and coordinate on issues the better."

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  • Matt Smithe Mar 31, 4:11 p.m.
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    He earned a Juris Doctor from UNC- Chapel Hill. Based upon your argument I am going to assume that your education is significantly less extensive than Mr Johnson's. Do you care to make an actual argument against him or are ad hominem attacks the extent of your contribution on this matter? I don't know if I am a fan of Mr. Johnson but I can't help but to think that a new perspective has value given that what we have been doing for that last 50-80 years has only resulted in a slow decline in educational quality.