#ncpol: An impressive trio seeking GOP nod for DPI top job

A frustrated parent. A frustrated teacher. And a frustrated education policy-maker.  That pretty well sums up the field of Republican candidates for state education superintendent who made their way to Pinehurst Thursday night for a candidate forum.  All three are vying for the honor of knocking off the zombie currently holding thesills top DPI job — in between shootings of ‘The Walking Dead.’

(I have to say that I learned more about education policy than I think I ever have in any other venue.  The organizers of this forum did a great job.)

Wesley Sills:   He is the frustrated teacher.  The Harnett County native is hitting the campaign trail with some of his students making the case for teachers struggling to educate kids under outrageous regulatory burdens handed down from above.  His platform includes adding rigor to the state’s curriculum, increased emphasis on reading, writing and other aspects of literacy; more flexibility in the classroom, more local control, less testing, and increased teacher pay.

Rosemary Stein:  She is the frustrated parent — and an Alamance County pediatrician.  Stein has been a leading statewide opponent of commoStein_Rosemary-1-3-1n core — instead favoring classical education, which focuses on correlating learning with a child’s development.   She’s a fan of increasing parental involvement in the education process, as well as the use of phonics as a teaching tool.  Stein also favors reforming current ESL (English as a Second Language) efforts so that there is more immersion than isolation.  (Currently, she says, kids are pulled out of class to attend ESL sessions — causing them to miss other education opportunities.)

Mark Johnson: He is the frustrated policy-maker.  Johnson is a Forsyth County school board member and corporate counsel for an IT firm located in that county.  Johnson is a fan of local control and an advocate of  ”smart, measured implementation of technology in all classrooms”. He is also a critic of what he calls ”over-testing” by the incumbent DPI superintendent.markj

As far as character and overall personal qualities go, it’s an outstanding field.  I think any of the three would represent the GOP well in the general election.  It all comes down to what you think the right direction is for public education:  More of a focus on time-tested fundamentals or a shift toward more technology skills? Experience within the education field — two of the three have public school classroom experience — or someone who can think outside the box and offer innovative ideas from her position outside the educational arena? 


6 thoughts on “#ncpol: An impressive trio seeking GOP nod for DPI top job

  1. Johnson received maximum donations from Mike Bloomberg per finance reports. Do we need NY big government statism in our nc schools?

  2. Bless his heart but Sills’ call for “increased” rigor is a pipe dream as long as (Pat McCrory supported) Common Core is in place. Lady Liberty 1885 has just exposed nanny/New Yorker (!) Bloomberg support for Johnson, which should immediately raise red flags. Stein is the only candidate who is first calling for the end to Common Core, seeking to replace it with a tried and true, proven classical curriculum (which is taught at most private schools) and addressing ESL which no other candidate including June Atkinson (this is what we get with 14 years of failed leadership) has even mentioned. She seems like our best hope for our children.

  3. I was at this forum. I wrote most of the DPI questions asked. Dr. Stein was far out of her depth and it showed, though I agree with the need to link teaching to developmentally appropriate stages. Mr. Johnson was hitting popular bullet points but his confusion and support of for-profit charters is misplaced. All three said common core needed to go. Johnson and Sills seemed to believe local control was best (I agree) but only Sills actually is living in the trenches of what we’re up against. I can’t say I’m sold on any of the three, but Sills was At least an honest, invested and first-person candidate.

  4. As a former school board member from the 11th largest school district in North Carolina, I wholeheartedly support Dr. Rosemary Stein’s platform. She genuinely cares about our children and as a pediatrician understands what is educationally appropriate at each stage of development. As a parent of four children – one in public high school and three valedictorians studying at MIT and NC State, I want the kind of leadership Dr. Stein will provide in ensuring North Carolina has high academic standards that are developmentally appropriate for our children.

  5. Dr. Stein has been out there all over NC promoting better school standards for students for at least three years. She is articulate, smart and understands how to improve our schools for our students – that’s what schools are for: students, not teachers or administrators.

    Get rid of Jane Atkinson for good, finally. Get rid of the cancer of Common Core.
    Vote for Dr. Stein.

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