Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Charter schools reason for Mayor Kevin Johnson’s bad behavior? – Cloaking Inequity

Charter schools reason for Mayor Kevin Johnson’s bad behavior? – Cloaking Inequity:
Charter schools reason for Mayor Kevin Johnson’s bad behavior?

I currently live in Sacramento. If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me if I hang out with Kevin Johnson and Michelle Rhee— I’d be rich. Really!? Why would I? See Michelle Rhee vs. Julian Vasquez Heilig on Twitter. In our Twitter conversation, Rhee deflected deflected deflected my points about charters.
This week, the Rhee/Johnson charter interests have resurfaced in a new article by Deadspin entitled Secret Emails Show Kevin Johnson Spying On, Attempting To Bankrupt Enemies. The article focuses on the release of Kevin Johnson mayoral emails that he has fought long and hard in court to prevent releasing… and there is an interesting twist… charter schools.
The plot is essentially this. Rhee and Johnson via their previously well-funded non-profits (StudentsFirst and Stand Up— both of which are essentially defunct) have pressed incessantly for charter schools. How is this related to Johnson/Rhee, the litigated emails and also the National Conference of Black Mayors (NCBM)? Deadspin writes:
The latest batch of documents—totaling several hundred pages—shows that Johnson’s misuse of attorney/client privilege staved off potential political embarrassments, many of them NCBM-related. He was, to give one telling example, preventing the release of his schedule for Sept. 9, 2013, which included preparation for a trip to Birmingham, Ala. The listed rehearsals included a “Students First Session” followed by “NCBM Prep.”
StudentsFirst is the charter school advocacy group founded by Michelle Rhee. (Johnson is also a major player in the school privatization movement.) The email that Johnson tried so hard to hide provides a reminder that he and Rhee went to Birmingham together to exploit the attention being given the 50th anniversary of bombing of the 16th Street Church. Amid the solemn commemorations of that seminal moment in the American civil rights movement, they co-hosted a town hall meeting promoting charter schools.

One of the reasons Johnson would presumably want this played down is that the NCBM has historically opposed charter schools, and didn’t like Johnson using their group to further an education agenda that both membership and leadership vehemently opposed. Former NCBM president Robert Bowser told me in 2014 that the group had made their stance clear to Johnson after he proposed a resolution to get the NCBM to endorse charter schools. “We took a vote and said, ‘Hell no!’ to his resolution,” Bowser said. “The black mayors are not Charter schools reason for Mayor Kevin Johnson’s bad behavior? – Cloaking Inequity:

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