Opinion: Why Mo Green is the education leader I’m choosing for my kids and my state

Photo: Getty Images/Mint Images

By Belle Boggs

May 22, 2024

As the school year winds down, my two daughters—a kindergartener and a fourth grader in Chatham County Public Schools—have been learning about career choices. The fourth grader has been certain she wants to be a marine biologist for years now, but the kindergartener goes back and forth. Sometimes she wants to be a teacher, sometimes a famous singer.

The career lessons they receive in their guidance classes vary by grade, but they both know that whatever career they eventually pursue, they’ll need years of study and practice so they can do the job well. My kindergartener will need to take voice and dance lessons if she wants to be a performer, or study pedagogy and subject matter if she wants to teach. The fourth grader has college and grad school all mapped out, and is excited to one day work in a lab where she’ll study octopuses. Thanks to their excellent teachers, they both know they’ll need to be prepared.

But preparation and practice appear to be opposite to the career strategy of Michele Morrow, the Republican running for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. This job oversees more than 2,500 public schools across the state and an $11 billion budget. The Superintendent of Public Instruction manages more than 1,000 DPI employees; advocates and informs the state about the needs of public schools; and guides and supports our 115 districts with curriculum, finance, professional development, and more.

Morrow is a registered nurse and homeschooler who has never led a large organization, studied education, or worked in a public school. Her primary experience with the public has been through showy activism opposing the work of public schools and public servants, such as filing a criminal complaint against Wake County Public Schools over library books and calling for the execution of President Biden and Governor Cooper.

In 2022, as a candidate endorsed by extremist group Moms for Liberty, she ran for a seat on the Wake County School Board and lost. In her current race, she’s again endorsed by Moms for Liberty, and proposes eliminating the State Board of Education and forcing children with special needs into separate classrooms where they’ll “just focus on learning life skills.”

By contrast, Mo Green, the Democrat running for the office, is highly qualified, not to mention familiar with ADA regulations that would make some of Morrow’s ideas illegal. Mo Green is a longtime resident of North Carolina who has a law degree from Duke, and whose two adult children are proud graduates of North Carolina Public Schools.

Green was deputy superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, the second-largest school system in the state, and superintendent of Guilford County Schools, the third largest. He directed the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation for seven years, awarding grants in support of public schools and education. In each of these positions, he has worked with large budgets, diverse teams, and has served many thousands of children and families. He is endorsed by the North Carolina Association of Educators and many other educational leaders and organizations.

Most importantly, Mo Green believes in public schools and cares deeply about public education.

Because that’s the other thing my daughters are learning about choosing a career: to put in the years of study, effort, and practice needed to become excellent at something, you need to choose something you care a lot about, something you believe in—not something you want to take down from the inside.

If Michele Morrow wants to get involved in public education from a place of knowledge, she could advocate for school nurses, who in some districts are split between six schools and who have long been underpaid by our legislature. But that’s the thing about candidates like Morrow, who operate by advocating for ideology rather than people—she’ll never work on behalf of our teachers and school staff, and she won’t work on behalf of our kids either.

That’s why my family is supporting Mo Green, a candidate who reveres the work of educators, believes in the strength of our students, and understands the challenges and goals of North Carolina’s many public school families. He’s prepared for the job, and is the kind of leader I’ll be proud for my kids to look up to.

Author

  • Belle Boggs

    Belle Boggs is a writer and professor who lives in Chatham County, where she also edits The Frog Trouble Times, a free environmentally-focused newsletter about parenthood and childhood, with her family.

CATEGORIES: EDUCATION

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