Wake County Schools

Wake parent, MVP math agree to drop lawsuits against each other

Posted October 29, 2019 3:14 p.m. EDT
Updated October 30, 2019 12:30 p.m. EDT

— A Cary parent who was sued for libel and slander for criticizing a controversial math curriculum used in the Wake County Public School System said he and the math company have agreed to drop their lawsuits against each other.

In a joint statement Tuesday, attorneys for parent Blain Dillard and Utah-based Mathematics Vision Project, also known as MVP, announced "dismissal of the litigation between them."

"The parties have agreed that MVP will dismiss its complaint against Mr. Dillard and Mr. Dillard will dismiss his counterclaim against MVP," the statement said. "The lawsuit was pending in the Fourth Judicial District Court in Utah. Resolution of the parties’ dispute involves no restriction or limitation on the ability of either MVP or Mr. Dillard to speak and comment publicly about math curricula and other issues of public concern to the educational community."

MVP announced in July that it was suing Dillard, a father of three, and accused him of commencing a crusade against the company and acting with reckless disregard by making false and defamatory statements with the intent to harm MVP's reputation. The lawsuit accused him of libel and slander and tortious interference with business relations.

In September, Dillard countersued the company, asking that MVP pay his attorney's fees and damages, anywhere from $50,000 to $300,000. He previously said he was "innocent of all allegations."

Friends and supporters of Dillard created a GoFundMe account to raise money for his legal defense. As of Tuesday, they had raised more than $16,000 of their $30,000 goal. Dillard said Tuesday that all money raised will go directly towards his outstanding legal fees.

MVP's curriculum, which Wake schools began using in 2017-18, encourages students to work together to solve problems instead of relying solely on the teacher for instruction. Dillard has spoken at numerous Wake County Board of Education meetings and with the news media about his dislike of the curriculum, which he says caused his 10th grade son to go from being an A and B math student to failing the subject in a short time period.

In August, Dillard walked up to the microphone during public comment at a Wake County Board of Education meeting, placed tape over his mouth and held up signs about the first amendment and said he doesn't want to be sued again.

In addition to his public comments, Dillard created a website, blog and Facebook group dedicated to sharing his criticisms of the program and the Wake County school system's use of it. He has also filed numerous public records requests to get information and has emailed math teachers in both Wake County and Utah to get their thoughts on the program.

The Wake County school system has invested more than $1.4 million in MVP math since the program launched and plans to spend up to $125,000 more for an outside review of the curriculum this fall. Board of education members have stood by the curriculum but said more can be done to enhance communication between schools, teachers, students and parents.

So far, 16 parents have filed formal complaints with the district about MVP math. But opponents of the program say many more parents have shared concerns on a Parents of MVP math students Facebook group, which has nearly 2,000 members.