Video: Superintendent Mark Johnson still doesn't get it on teacher pay comments, NC deserves more leadership and less whining

According to the News & Observer, State Superintendent Mark Johnson described the base starting salary of $35,000 for teachers as “good money” and “a lot of money” for people in their mid-20s. Johnson’s comments were criticized by some school board members for failing to reflect all of the challenges faced by teachers. In tuesday’s Council of State meeting, Johnson doubled down on his comments.

To hear Mark Johnson tell it, he is sitting alone at the table, ready to engage in a meaningful conversation about how public education is affected by the rural urban divide. But here’s the thing, school board members and educators are not ignoring Johnson’s efforts. They are raising legitimate concerns about specific out of touch comments Johnson made about teacher pay that minimize the very real concerns of educators.

Johnson likes to tout his classroom experience, having spent two years in the classroom, two on a local school board, and having just finished his first year as Superinendent. With those 5 years of experience in public education, if he were still on the teacher pay scale he’d be making $38,300 – less than a third of the $127,561 he currently makes with the same amount of experience in public education as an elected official.

If Johnson engaged with state board of education members who raised concerns instead of lamenting to the Council of State, he might discover that his lack of eloquence is not what’s being criticized. It’s his lack of understanding. If he wants to be a leader maybe he’d spend more time putting forth a meaningful plan to raise teacher pay to the national average than on “non sequitur” rants to no one in particular.