Only one of the multiple challengers running for Wake County School Board managed to beat the well-funded progressive incumbents they faced this election cycle.
Karen Carter, a Wake County schools employee and mom with an impressive resume, successfully unseated Bill Fletcher for the District 9 seat.
The results are not official yet, but Carter not only won but she won decisively, bringing in 29,679 votes (54.39%) to Fletcher’s 19,032 votes (34.88%).
“I am deeply honored to be elected by the citizens of District 9 to represent you on the WCPSS School Board. I am humbled by your support and the trust you have placed in me,” said Carter in a statement.
Carter continued, “Thank you to all of the volunteers and campaign supporters who offered their time and assistance. With your continued support and involvement, we can ensure WCPSS remains the first choice and the best choice in education.”
Carter also thanked Fletcher for his years of service. Her campaign team ran an aggressive door-knocking, social media, and neighborhood canvasing strategy which seems to have paid off.
“As a new School Board representative, I look forward to developing mutually supportive relationships with the experienced Board members as we discuss the critical issues in education today. I also look forward to continued collaboration with families, teachers, staff, and students across our county,” Carter said. “Thank you for the opportunity to represent you.”
Daniel Madding, who dropped out and endorsed Fletcher, brought in only 5,222 votes or 9.57% of the total vote. Critics claimed Madding was only in the race to draw votes away from Carter, but it may be Fletcher’s vote total that he ultimately hurt.
Full results from all of the district races can be found at the conclusion of this article
Absentee By-Mail fails to produce “blue wave”
The Democrats’ strategy of counting on absentee ballots to bring in race wins this year seems to have mostly underwhelmed in terms of wins or a “blue wave.” For congressional and statehouse races, the absentee by mail push was effective for large numbers of votes, but those votes did not translate to wins.
There are four ways to vote in North Carolina: Election day in-person, Absentee One-Stop, Absentee By-Mail, and Provisional. Absentee One-Stop is the label used for when a person utilizes early voting in-person. Provisional ballots are those used when a voter’s eligibility is in question.
Carter seems to have used the absentee by-mail aspect to beat Fletcher, pulling down 9,482 Absentee By-Mail ballots to Fletcher’s 6,531.
That absentee number could change slightly, however, due to a collusive consent agreement entered into by the N.C. State Board of Elections and Democrat plaintiffs represented by former Clinton Campaign attorney and high-profile Democrat fixer, Marc Elias. Part of that agreement bypassed the General Assembly, essentially rewriting election law after voters had already begun receiving absentee ballots. Due to that agreement, absentee ballots will be accepted through 5 p.m. on Nov. 12, an additional six days beyond what N.C. law requires.
In the previous 2018 election, Fletcher ran unopposed and brought in 26,101 votes. There were 1,471 write-in votes that cycle. In 2020, write-in candidates accounted for 637 votes.
Curiously, in the Mahaffey-Bergstrom matchup, the Mahaffey received a large number of absentee by-mail votes. Mahaffey’s absentee by-mail votes are 37.79% of her total votes.
Fletcher had been a fixture on the Wake County School Board (WCSB) for over 20 years. His most recent stint on the board began in 2013 and he had previously served on the WCSB from 1993 to 2005.
Fletcher, known for making fantastical statements and gaffes during board meetings, had come under fire in the last five years for promotion of his business dealings while engaged in official WCSB duties. In the last year since the pandemic promoted the WCSB to hold virtual meetings, he prominently displaying his real estate business in the background while on video or Zoom meetings. In the past, it was also documented that his business stationery was for newsletters and official WCSB activity notices.
Fletcher was also caught on camera openly lying about charter schools. In the video, he makes claims that charter schools selectively take students and are costing the district money.
Charter schools in North Carolina are public schools, yet they receive a minimum of $1,100 less in funding than their traditional district counterparts. By law, charter schools cannot pick their students, but rather if a grade level is full a blind lottery must be held to fill the seats. Read the facts about NC Charter Schools.
A look at all of the candidates
There were seven officially filed challengers for WCSB seats this year. Roxie Cash, Keith Sutton, Jim Martin, and Christine Kushner ran unopposed, but write-in campaigns against Martin and Kushner popped up over time.
The full list of 2020 candidates, their websites, and bios can be viewed here.
Mary Beth Moore was one of the write-in candidates. She waged a campaign against Jim Martin after arrogant and dismissive responses to parents and the public who voiced concerns about a variety of topics, including the reopening schools.
“In all forms of communication, he has been persistently arrogant, condescending, and dismissive. When presented with information from doctors that there has been an uptick in the mental, emotional and physical well-being of students he dismissed the claims as conditions that are status quo,” Moore wrote about why she decided to challenge Martin.
Martin won the race with 37,028 votes or 89.05%.
Parents will get what they voted for
Martin and his fellow incumbents have already turned their sites to implementing Black Lives Matter themed ‘racial and social justice’ measures in both the classroom and in personal development training for teachers.
The district’s Office of Equity Affairs (OEA) has openly promoted the use of “social justice standards” produced by Teaching Tolerance, the education system indoctrination arm of the disgraced Southern Poverty Law Center. In that same vein, the OEA has issued a “call to action” to implement more white privilege and social and racial justice training for teachers as well as lessons to be implemented in the classroom. The call to action is paired with an “equity in action” plan that features quotes from Marxists like Paolo Freire, a socialist who “contributed a philosophy of education which blended classical approaches stemming from Plato and modern Marxist, post-Marxist and anti-colonialist thinkers.”
The OEA has in the past actively pushed history course materials tied to Howard Zinn, the infamous revisionist historian and self-described Socialist whose work is not only historically inaccurate but anti-American. It should also be noted that the OEA has gained support from the N.C. Association of Educators (NCAE). In September, the NCAE President promoted a “Pledge to Participate” in Black Lives Matter at School “Year of Purpose.”
The WCSB will also likely resume course to reassign children in the district using a “socioeconomic index,” effectively upending neighborhood school assignments.
The WCSB has failed to return all students to school despite state, national and world health officials stating schools are not ‘super spreader’ locations and children under the age of 18 do not seem to spread the virus at the same levels that adults do.
One reason is that the district over-invested staff in it’s “Virtual Academy” with over 70,000 students opting into that plan. The district has also relied on county-level case data to make decisions, seemingly ignoring private and charter schools operating with little to few issues. The WCSB also deemed certain grades to be ‘too large’ to effectively return to full-time instruction using social distancing methods.
WCSB’s COVID-19 response has resulted in only K-3 students returning full-time this semester. Elementary students in grades four and five have been forced into cohort rotation schedules for the rest of the first semester, with one week at school and two weeks resuming remote instruction. The first time grades 4-12 may be able to return full-time will come with the start of the second semester in mid-January.
Most recently, the WCSB has taken the draconian measure of banning parents from attending their child’s sporting events – even ones outdoors. Parents of athletes outraged by the move have begun a Facebook group to fight back, with some daring the district to enforce the measure by vowing to attend events anyway.
“Enough is enough,” one parent wrote. “Our kids have missed so much already and this move is just going way, WAY too far.”
Results of the Wake County School Board races as of Nov. 8: