Have You Read John Hood’s Latest Education Article?

If you lean conservative in North Carolina, you’ve likely read Carolina Journal or are possibly familiar with the John Locke Foundation.

If so, you know John Hood is the head of John Locke and as such is thought of as libertarian/conservative. I used to think so too.

Now, this is a hunch, but I think he’s either running for office or expecting a gubernatorial appointment. It’s also possible he is spending too much time rubbing elbows with liberals Educrats who think ‘all our kids belong to them’.

Why do I say that?

Just read Hood’s most recent latest education article.

Mark my words: This article is a set up piece for something coming down the road later on.

Read the whole thing carefully and pay attention to the words he chooses.

On Common Core, all due respect, Mr. Hood has been relatively clueless from the start. He hasn’t done his close reading nor apparently has he listened to the parents any more than the Governor or DPI has.

All of them seem more concerned with what business wants that they have ignored the ultimate stakeholders and decision makers of their ‘product’: the parents. Reality check — We call the shots with our kids, not you.

Here is what he says about Common Core and the Commission, which if you recall was the idea of John Lock Foundation’s Dr. Terry Stoops.  Emphasis is mine:

For example, whatever comes of the new commission reviewing the Common Core State Standards, lawmakers of both parties agree that North Carolina ought to have high academic standards and a clear, rigorous curriculum to implement them. Student mastery of this curriculum ought to be assessed in part by a battery of tests that allow for valid comparisons across schools, districts, and states. And when schools as a whole or teachers in particular demonstrate a consistent pattern of delivering higher-than-average student gains on these tests — or receive high marks from other evaluations — their efforts ought to be financially rewarded and replicated as much as possible in other classrooms.

Well, that paragraph could have been written by Achieve, Inc. or any Common Core tied entity.

Did you like how Hood tied the “battery of testing”  of “this curriculum” to teacher evaluations and compensation? That’s the same song and dance routine that Arne  Duncan and the Obama administration are doing.

You think teachers in this state are pissed off now? Just wait. Go head. Try to tie their compensation to the fundamentally flawed Common Core and it’s pack of crappy tests.

The next section is where Hood pretty much telegraphs his support for Senator Tillman’s bill to make Superintendent an appointed position.

Similarly, politicians, educators, and the general public have long struggled with North Carolina’s goofy governance structure for education. The governor appoints most of the state board of education. The state superintendent of public instruction is independently elected. The General Assembly legislates education policy, subject to gubernatorial veto. Elected school boards and appointed district superintendents implement policies at the local level.

Most agree we need a different system to create clearer lines of authority and accountability. My own preference is to make the state school board look more like the state community college board: a mixture of gubernatorial and legislative appointees who are then responsible for hiring a CEO. But other models may be worth considering, too.

Pretty sure Hood has higher aspirations than head of a Libertarian think tank.

Bipartisanship is rare in this country.  Education is one area where we do see crossing of party lines. It’s people, not the powers that be who are crossing those lines.

Having said that, people are not crossing party lines to get behind a national set of standards brought in with no transparency that states are now locked into with illegal grants and waivers. They are not crossing party lines because over-testing our kids and data mining the crap out of them.


The people are crossing party lines before they want Common Core and the gaggle of problems it has with it to be gone.

They want local control back. They want less testing. They want to have confidence in public schools again; but the more the fed and private, unelected entities intrude, the more that confidence erodes.  Just look at the homeschooling spike. A shift is in progress; parents are taking control back.

I didn’t intend to pick a fight with this article, but I guess I might have.  I’ll say that this frustration here isn’t rooted in actions by Democrats, but by those considered allies until now.

It is getting very tiresome for conservatives in North Carolina to have a super-majority in this state, yet be constantly fishing knives out of our backs.


About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a freelance journalist and is currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_
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