May 9, 2019/Press

Deceptive Data: Numbers Don’t Lie, but Mark Johnson Does

Raleigh – Superintendent Mark Johnson’s “misleading” and “deceptive” accountability website has now been revealed as nothing more than another Republican attempt to deceive, lie to, and silence teachers. The website, which was meant to encourage transparency on teacher pay but looks more like a campaign to boost Johnson’s approval ratings, brags that North Carolina’s average teacher pay is higher than the state’s median household income. Many were quick to note this disingenuous comparison skews the data in Johnson’s, and the GOP’s, favor.

From WRAL’s editorial board:

“We’ve shelled out a lot of money for something that is so significantly misleading as to be worthless. The specific “facts” presented may be in and of themselves accurate. But they are displayed in a way that lies to and misleads North Carolinians.”

According to DPI, when comparing median teacher salary to median household income, teachers make almost $1,000 less than the $50,320 household income Johnson cites on the website. An even better comparison from the Economic Policy Institute shows that pay for North Carolina teachers is 26.5% lower than other similar professionals.

Johnson’s accountability website is just the latest from Republicans in a string of shady attempts to deceive, lie to, and silence teachers. Republicans have lied about their delayed and limited teacher pay raises, refused to expand Medicaid, and tried to silence teachers by preventing future teacher rallies. Add Johnson’s smoke and mirrors website to the growing list of Republican attempts to deceive teachers, and it’s overwhelmingly clear that the GOP would rather mislead our educators than make public education an actual priority.

“The GOP’s continued focus on smoke and mirrors over substantive solutions is hurting our children and the future of our state,” NCDP Chairman Wayne Goodwin said. “Yet Republicans would prefer to deceive, lie to, and silence our educators than provide the resources and support they badly need.”

The full editorial is available here. Key excerpts to follow:

  • “When it comes to teacher pay the comparisons are misleading and incomplete.”
  • “Johnson wants us to compare 2018-2019 “average” teacher pay of $53,975 with the “median” 2017 household income of $50,320. But, as North Carolina 6th graders are taught, that’s all wrong.”
  • “Johnson and his patrons in the state legislature’s leadership have been unrelenting in their efforts to camouflage their tax-cutting largess to corporations and penny-pinching education spending as generosity.
  • “Mark Johnson, take down your dashboard.”