The transformation of Superintendent Pascal Mubenga

Durham Public Schools (DPS) superintendent Dr. Pascal Mubenga raise some eyebrows with his recent remarks about charter schools.  According to the News & Observer,

If parents would check charter school achievement data, they would see for themselves that those schools are not serving students well, he said.

“Go on line, check on the report card,”he said. “As much … we struggle a little bit [with academic achievement] and we’re going to fix [that], look at the charter schools, they’re not doing well.”

If Durham is not careful, Mubenga said its schools will become segregated like they were in the 1950s.

“We’re going to segregate our schools, and that’s not good,” Mubenga said.

This is a much different tone than comments he made as superintendent of Franklin County Schools.  In a 2016 EdNC article, Mubenga said,

“We know we have to be competitive,” he says. “We’re not the only option for students anymore and that means we have to show them why our schools are better.”

Notice that Mubenga went from “show parents that the district is better” to “show parents that charters are worse.”  The former is indicative of someone who embraces competition.  The latter is indicative of someone who demonizes competition.

Clearly, the transformation is the product of different scenery.   DPS has been at war with charter schools for a decade, complaining that there is a disproportionate share of charter seats for a county of its size.  They would like nothing more than the state legislature to prohibit the expansion of charters in their county.  As long as Republicans are in charge of the legislature, that will not happen.

Until then, Mubenga will pander to his employers and supporters, namely the anti-charter DPS school board and parents who remain loyal to the district.

Terry Stoops / Vice President for Research and Director of Education Studies

Terry Stoops is the Vice President for Research and Director of Education Studies at the John Locke Foundation. Before joining the Locke Foundation, he worked as the progra...

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