"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Kevin Johnson Goes Rhee/Klein/Gates on Sacramento

America, let me introduce you to the second clueless former basketball player pushing the corporate brand of school reform: Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson (thank goodness they have a school board and not mayoral control!).
Kevin was a great point guard with the Phoenix Suns. He could dish out assists and score with the best of 'em. But his education reform agenda - with a white paper released yesterday - was developed after the Education Summit held in Sacramento earlier this year. Here's the agenda from the summit:
A Summit Hosted by Mayor Kevin Johnson

AGENDA as of 2-13-09

7:00 am – 8:00 am Registration

8:00 am – 12:30 pm Morning Plenaries
Welcome: Kevin Johnson, Sacramento Mayor

Panel Discussion: Educational Options
Panel Discussion: Accountability for Results
Panel Discussion: Human Capital

12:30 pm – 2:30 pm Working Lunch
Summit Discussions: Sacramento Focus

2:30 pm – 3:00 pm Closing Session
Report-out from Summit Discussions
Closing Remarks: Kevin Johnson, Sacramento Mayor

Featured Speakers:

o Reverend Al Sharpton
o Cory Booker, Newark Mayor
o Joel Klein, Chancellor, New York City Department of Education
o Michelle Rhee, Chancellor, DC Public Schools

Confirmed Panelists:

Larry Berger, CEO and Co-Founder, Wireless Generation
o Tim Daly, President, New Teacher Project

o Josh Edelman, Executive Officer, Chicago Public Schools Office of New Schools
o Mike Feinberg, Founder, Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP)
o Howard Fuller, Board Chairman, Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO)
Larry Rosenstock, Chief Executive Officer, High Tech High
o Don Shalvey, Founder, Aspire Public Schools [My note: Shalvey is now with the Gates Foundation]
Two thirds of the EEP stooges, Rhee, Feinberg, Gates, CPS, and a host of pro-charter advocates. KJ's white paper reflects the panelist's points of view: bring in TFA/alt. track teachers, bring in New Leaders for New Schools, push more charter schools and EMOs, give each school a grade based on test scores (a la NYC), tie teacher pay to standardized test scores, and use market-based rationale to improve school systems.
KJ's flashy assist attempt will likely result in a turnover (now the privatizers and charter advocates have the ball!). There's a metaphor Duncan might understand.


  1. For a brief moment, I thought your diary was about Keith Johnson, head of the Detroit Federation of Teachers. Perhaps it's because this morning, hundreds of Detroit teachers demonstrated against the "contract" they've been offered just as school is about to start: 10% pay cut, 5 years with no raises, etc. with merit pay likely just around the corner. Many of the usual suspects you mention in this diary, are influencing what's happening here. Detroit is in deep trouble, courtesy of the incredible corruption of the district board and administration. Our district has been placed in the hands of a financial manager, Robert Bobb, who is tasked with cleaning up years of corruption in the district. That part is good. However, he is transforming the Detroit Schools as Arne Duncan and others you mention wish to have it. Many schools have been closed, more than 1300 teachers laid off. Several schools - almost all of the high schools in the city - are being given to outside contractors to run. We'll see Gates, Broad, New Leaders, and a host of others helping force the schools into this reorganization. New (and cheaper) teachers are planned hires - 500 is the number in next year's budget.

    Although it apparently is not mentioned in the new contract being offered, we fully expect that teachers will very soon be subject to merit pay, and schools rewarded for rising test scores, punished if not. Teachers are demoralized and frightened, as strikes have been declared illegal, with 7500$ fines attached. The latest twist is an effort pass a law to take away the certification of anyone who strikes.

    Sigh. I didn't intend to hijack your diary, which is excellent, though disheartening.

  2. Are not Michelle and Kevin still the hottest edu-couple in the Gates stable?

  3. Rita Casey11:51 AM

    Hot? Yes.

    Hottest? Doubtful. If we go a bit beyond the Gates stable, that would be the edu-triple of Arne Duncan, Al Sharpton, and Newt Gingrich, speaking together in support of Obama's education plans.