Letters to the Editor

10/11 Letters: Mark Johnson: Why I disagree with the NC Board of Education

Board of Education

The writer is state superintendent of schools.

I often disagree with the N.C. Board of Education, especially when they prioritize bureaucracy over classrooms. In 2016, my predecessor chose to use the State Superintendent’s operating budget for sponsoring conferences and paying for meals for hundreds of attendees. In 2017, the Board of Education, which sued to try to keep control of the state education agency, used $380,000 to pay for lawyers in courtrooms rather than resources in classrooms.

They have their priorities, and I have mine.

I travel the state often to avoid becoming yet another Raleigh insider who never meets face-to-face with constituents. I frequently hear about the delay in response time caused by bureaucracy. I also get to see firsthand how N.C. teachers make use of iPads to help provide better, personalized opportunities for students.

In 2019, my team and I made operations at DPI more efficient and, consequently, had money in the budget at the end of the fiscal year. We decided to use those funds to directly support classrooms.

I ran for office to be an agent of change. I knew that meant establishment insiders and media elites would never like me. But I work for the people of North Carolina.

Mark Johnson, Raleigh

Medicaid expansion

Regarding “Expanding Medicaid could cut access to doctors,” (Oct. 10):

In his op-ed Sen. Jim Perry cites data showing that the number of primary care physicians in North Carolina has dropped, while the population has increased.

A major problem here is that few people can afford to attend medical school. Higher education in this country is becoming more and more unreachable for all but the wealthiest. Student loan debt is economically crippling. We do ourselves no favor in continuing down this path.

I agree with the senator that Democrats and Republicans need to work together — in good faith — to come up with solutions to these important issues.

Keeping needy people from having the benefits of health care should not be considered a solution.

Gayle Schaefer, Durham

Wood-frame is safe

Regarding “Stick-built apartments are a rising risk in the Triangle” (Oct. 6 Opinion):

When completed and the code-required safeguards are in place, wood-framed, multifamily construction is safe and has been proven so in thousands of similarly built projects across the U.S.

The March 2017 Metropolitan Apartment fire in Raleigh was a construction fire and, although tragic, resulted in no injuries or loss of life.

Fires in occupied buildings are typically fed by the contents of the building, not the structural materials.

In 2017 this was witnessed in the London skyscraper fire and the Honolulu condominium blaze. Both structures were built using concrete and steel, yet still proved fatal to more than 80 people.

Phil Mitchell, Raleigh

Stand up to China

I would like the NBA to stand up to the Chinese dictatorship, but I am worried they’ll back down.

No dictatorship has the right to tell any American how to define freedom of expression.

America turned its back on the country of Tibet. It is now the Tibetan region of China.

Now America is turning it’s back on Hong Kong. Taiwan is next. We Americans need to oppose, not appease, all dictatorships.

Chuck Mann, Greensboro

Burr’s legacy

Sen. Richard Burr has valiantly chaired the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, by most accounts fairly, thoroughly and in deference to the Constitution.

As Sen. Sam Ervin did during Watergate, Burr has said he will not run for re-election, leaving him free to avoid grandstanding. As Burr’s committee winds up its work investigating foreign disruption of U.S. elections he should turn its attention to studying whether President Trump and his allies disrupted U.S. intelligence work and our constitutional principles and processes.

“Our citizens do not know whom to believe...,” Ervin said as he opened the Watergate hearings. “We believe that the health, if not the survival, of our social structure and of our form of government requires the most candid and public investigation of all the evidence.”

Michael Gery, Roanoke Island

Trump’s betrayal

In an attempt to justify his stab in the back of the Kurds, President Trump pointed out that they did not support us in World War II. Further research reveals that they did not support us in the French-Indian War either.

Can somebody send this guy to school?

Paul D. Naylor, Durham

Greta, et al.

From a concerned elderly scientist: Let’s hear it for the kids! Greta Thunberg and children all over the world are marching to show their concern about climate change. They know what it means for them. So do we! Let’s march with the kids.

Jack Lynn, Southern Pines