Local tech CEO bankrolls consultants, universities, and politicians in an effort to control the state's education spending and inserts a political agenda into the classroom.
By: Sloan Rachmuth and John Woodard
Last week, it emerged that North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein is threatening to transfer $1.7 billion of taxpayer dollars from the state's general fund to the Department of Public Instruction. The money would go to implement reccomendations from a report drafted by consultants.
People wondered where the $2 million to fund the report came from. In analyzing all the details, it became evident that the Leftist agenda and Critical Race Theory (CRT) were at the core of this development.
WestEd, a San Francisco-based educational consulting company, produced the Leandro report to suggest ways the state could comform to Supreme Court ruling in Leandro v. State. WestEd claims to be a nonpartisan organization, however it trains schools and districts on ways to implement CRT and SEL programs. The group has a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Education and CASEL to promote SEL in schools across America.
Here are the findings and recommendations of WestEd’s Leandro report:
A qualified and well-prepared teacher in every classroom
A qualified and well-prepared principal in every school
Increase high-poverty schools funding
Start state assessment system and school accountability system
All of these elements of education accountability seem reasonable - they are things lawmakers will do anyway.
The following points made in the report are troubling:
Comprehensive staffing for learning that go beyond classroom instruction to address — social and emotional development, physical and psychological health
Massive resource allocation for social-emotional learning (SEL)
Offering social and emotional support to students (psychiatric services, in-school therapy)
Brokering student-support services (healthcare) with community partners
Government-funded Pre-K (the Biden plan)
Currently North Carolina Public Schools is facing a literacy crisis worsened by school closues during the pandemic. 71% of economically disadvantaged students in the state are failing. Intensive tutoring and other education resources will help them, not SEL lessons based in transgenderism and CRT.
WRAL reports that the far-left Belk Foundation and Z. Smith Reynolds helped fund the WestEd report, but that the Goodnight Foundation was the largest private donor.
Jim Goodnight is the founder and CEO of SAS, a global analytics software company based in Cary. Goodnight is a billionaire with an oversized influence in the state's education policy, because of his equally oversized donations to politicians.
Here in North Carolina, Goodnight ‘maxed out’ at $5,400 to the following Republican lawmakers now sitting on education committees according to OpenSecrets:
Senator Deanna Ballard - Co-Chair Education Appropriations, Co-Chair Senate Education committee
Senator Mike Lee - Co-Chair Education Appropriations, Co-Chair Senate Education committee
Senator Joyce Krawiec
Senator Amy Galey
Senator Lisa Barnes
Senator Vickie Sawyer
Senator Hugh McInnis
Senator Vickie Sawyer
Senator Kathy Harrington
Rep. John Hardister, Chair of House Education Appropriations
Rep. John Bradford
Goodnight also donated $5,400 to Superintendent Truitt’s campaign, and his wife Ann gave another $5,400. Speakers Phil Berger and Tim Moore were also recipients of the Tech-king's largesse, each getting $5,400.
Lt. Governor Mark Robinson, the state's fiercest critic of CRT, did not receive Goodnight's cash.
The public donation records we reviewed do not indicate that Goodnight donated to Democrats serving on education committees. However at the Federal level, the billionaire is a big player. In 2020, he contributed $4,446 to Democrats Rafael Warnock and John Ossoff in Georgia, $1,666 to Stacy Abram’s group Fair Fight, $2,000 to the DNC, and $10,800 to Joe Biden's campaign according to the Federal Election Commission's website.
In addition to funding the WestEd report, Goodnight funds CRT in North Carolina K-12 classrooms. He put his name and money behind the hiring of a ‘Goodnight Distinguished Professor in Education Equity’ who will explicitly train new teachers on CRT.
As of last Friday, we have not heard back from Senators Ballard and Lee after asking them to comment on Goodnight's support for CRT.
North Carolina's public school families are being attacked in a variety of ways. Billionaires like Jim Goodnight are doing everything in their power to change our education system in order to usher in a Marxist agenda while lawmakers sit idly by. The parents in Virginia, however, defeated the Leftist machine to halt the indoctrination of children and the destruction of the state’s public school system.
Let us follow Virginia’s lead to defeat billionaire radicals like Goodnight before it is too late.
Part one of a three-part series on Jim Goodnight's influence on North Carolina's public education system. Check back next week for part two.