Michelle Rhee's group 'Students First' held its 'summit' in Chicago... Rhee and husband bash teachers for getting their masters degrees while Congressman Danny Davis shows support for Rhee's program

For those who were busy with other things, the news that Michelle Rhee's union busting group "Students First" held a one-day "summit" in Chicago came as a kind of surprise. The event, called the "National Education Policy Summit", featured charter school promoters, including Michelle Rhee and her husband Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, along with charter school supporters. One of those featured was Chicago's Urban Prep charter schools, whose record of relative failure from its first "campus" at Chicago's Englewood High School through its current expansion is being ignored. Tim King, Urban Prep chief, spoke.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and his wife Michelle Rhee were in Chicago on October 6, 2012 for a "summit" on union busting and privatization of public schools that included Congressman Danny Davis. Photo by the bigger surprise was that Rhee's group included erstwhile union member and union support Congressman Danny Davis on its program. The event was held in Chicago on October 6, 2012 and generally ignored by the media and avoided by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, although one of Rahm's appointees to the Chicago Board of Education, Andrea Zopp, was there.


Chicago is the host city for education summit, By Wendell Hutson, Senior contributing writer, Chicago Crusader

Chicago recently played host to a one-day summit that participants analyzed public education in America.

StudentsFirst, a non-profit organization in Sacramento, Calif. whose focus is reforming public education, brought other education reformers to Chicago last Saturday to discuss ways cities can improve their public schools.

Many Black mayors from across the country were in attendance, including Mayor Antonio Blue, Dob- bins Heights, N.C; Mayor Sylvester James, Kansas City, MO; Mayor Michael Blunt, Chesilhurst, N.J., and Mayor AC Wharton Jr., Memphis, Tenn.

The National Education Policy Summit had several speakers, such as U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis (IL D-7th Dist), former NBA star and now mayor of Sacramento, Calf. Kevin Johnson; Tim King, founder and chief executive officer of Urban Prep Academies, a Chicago non-profit that manages Urban Prep Academy High School; and Roland Martin, former editor of the Chicago Defender. “We need to do more to improve our public schools. One thing we need to address immediately is funding,” Davis told the Crusader. “Not all school districts are funded equally especially those in urban cities like Chicago.” Johnson agreed. “If we are going to have a conversation about how we as a nation can improve our schools then we need to look at how schools are funded,” he said. “But money alone will not fix the problem because there are some schools heavily funded but whose academic performance is weak.” “Schools are only as good as their leaders. Parents, teachers and principals make up a school’s leadership, not school board members or elected officials,” said Michelle Rhee. “Empowering parents is critical to improving schools because without strong parental input students will still fall short in the classroom.” “I know every mayor would want their schools performing as well as Urban Prep is here in Chicago. But the sad reality is that we, as mayors, need to fix what public schools we do have in our cities and not try to duplicate charter schools,” Mayor James told the Crusader.“The schools in my city and other urban cities are not performing as well as they should because there are internal problems that need fixing." Those internal problems include violence, lack of parental support and not enough resources. “That tells you that money cannot fix this problem,” Rhee said. “Last year this country spent $19 billion rewarding teachers for getting their master’s degree. And even with advance education their students continue to perform below average. At some point, we have to wonder if it is worth paying out so much money to teachers who get advanced degrees but whose students do not benefit from their education.” In Chicago though, teachers will continue to receive pay increases if they earn higher degrees. This component was a major sticking point during recent contract negotiations between the Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools, according to Karen Lewis, president of the CTU. Chicago Urban League President and Chief Executive Officer Andrea Zopp, also attended the summit. Zopp, who is also one of two Black members of the Chicago School Board, praised the school board for its accomplishments thus far this year. “Other cities may want to look at the things we were able to achieve with this latest contract with Chicago Teachers Union. Teachers will now be evaluated (in part) by the performance of their students,” explained Zopp. “And now when layoffs occur it will be based on a teacher’s performance and not seniority.” She added that principals would also be held more accountable for their schools since they now have full power to hire teachers.


Despite reaching an agreement on a framework for a deal on Friday [September 14, 2012], the CTU announced that it would extend the teacher strike into its second week this evening with CTU President Lewis stating:

"Our members are not happy. They want to know if there is anything more they can get." [AP, September 16, 2012]

Michelle Rhee, CEO and founder of StudentsFirst, issued the following statement in reaction to the news:

I was disappointed to learn that Chicago's school children won't be in school tomorrow morning, and outraged when I heard President Lewis' reason why. We heard a lot of talk from union leadership about fewer students in each classroom, about improving training, and about the very real challenges teachers face. But by extending the strike tonight, the union proved that this wasn't about addressing any of those issues. It's clear this was only about job security and compensation for union members. It is as President Lewis herself said this evening about "anything else they can get" even if it means kids are kept from the classroom for longer. If it were about the kids we wouldn’t be negotiating the idea that increased compensation should come with more accountability for learning, not less. If it were about kids, we wouldn't be negotiating whether principals should be empowered to choose the best teachers available regardless of fit or effectiveness.

And if it were about the kids, 350,000 students would be in class tomorrow morning instead of at home or on the streets. Chicago families have paid enough. The education of Chicago's children should not be a chip at the bargaining table for one hour longer so that the Chicago Teachers Union can see if "there is anything else they can get."


October 15, 2012 at 8:30 PM

By: John Kugler

Kevin Johnson and Jerry Sandusky... Do you think us being naked?

Kevin Johnson has gone around a lot lately talking about how he had trouble creating a charter school in his home town. But he leaves out a lot of the stories — and what could perhaps be reasons why anyone seriously monitoring the schools would want to keep an eye on him.

"The upshot: Johnson, 29 when the incident with the teen allegedly occurred in the summer of 1995, had major boundary issues (at the very least), as exhibited by his admission in the so-called "confrontational call" secretly recorded by the cops to having showered with the troubled youngster.

"Do you think us being naked together or taking a shower was normal, or healthy?" the girl asked K.J. during the taped phone call.

"I told you the judgment was not in the best," Johnson replied, sounding contrite. "And I'm sorry about that, and, again, I felt we talked about [that] and you're looking at it different than I'm looking at it, and what you're saying happened, I'm not entirely agreeing happened. I'm sorry about that."


Sexual assault and harassment allegations

During the summer of 1995, a troubled sixteen-year-old girl living in his home alleged that Johnson had groped her. Johnson apologized to the girl when he was confronted by her with the accusation during a phone conversation recorded by Phoenix police. However, he also stated that "what you're saying happened, I'm not entirely agreeing happened."[62] The Sacramento Bee stated that they had received a copy of a proposed settlement agreement, under which Johnson would have paid the girl's family $230,000.[63] After conducting an investigation, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office declined to prosecute, on the grounds that there was not a reasonable likelihood of conviction.[64]

High School investigation

On April 16, 2008, rival mayoral candidate Leonard Padilla distributed a 2007 report of similar allegations made against Johnson at St. HOPE Sacramento High School. The allegations were investigated by local police, but no charges were filed, and the alleged victim recanted her story.[65][66]

On April 29, 2008, a group of female civic leaders including former Sacramento Mayor Ann Rudin, Sacramento Municipal Utility District board member Genevieve Shiroma, and former State Senator Deborah Ortiz demanded the release of the police report on the matter.[67] The teacher to whom the student initially brought the complaint subsequently resigned over the incident, claiming, "St. HOPE sought to intimidate the student through an illegal interrogation and even had the audacity to ask me to change my story."[68]

Sacramento Police Chief Rick Braziel responded, saying, "I think the allegations at the school were handled in the way that you would want them handled. Immediately they followed all the normal protocols that they were supposed to follow. I think it was pretty clear there was nothing there... We did ask the young lady whether anyone had influenced her – her answer was no."[66] The Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness said on May 30, 2008, that Johnson’s actions, though ill-advised, were not illegal.[69]

St. HOPE Academy's alleged misuse of AmeriCorps funds

On April 9, 2009, Acting U.S. Attorney Lawrence G. Brown announced that St. HOPE Academy had agreed to pay $423,836.50 over ten years in settlement of allegations that it did not appropriately spend AmeriCorps grants and education awards and did not adequately document spending of grants.[70]

The settlement amount represented one-half of the $847,673 in AmeriCorps funds received by St. HOPE Academy over three years from 2004 to 2007.[70] Johnson, St. HOPE Academy’s founder and former CEO, agreed to pay $72,836.50 of St. HOPE Academy’s $73,836.50 initial payment.[70] In settlement, St. HOPE Academy acknowledged not adequately documenting a portion of its AmeriCorps grant expenditures, and the Corporation for National and Community Service terminated its September 24, 2008 suspension of St. HOPE Academy and Johnson from receiving federal funds, ending questions about Sacramento’s eligibility to receive federal stimulus funds.[70]

October 16, 2012 at 1:50 PM

By: M. Catharine Evans

Kevin Johnson's record reported at American Thinker, too

The allegations against Johnson have been reported by our site as well as our article on American Thinker.

That he can still operate with impunity and speak on behalf of children can only mean he has very powerful people behind him.

The mainstream media will not cover the Johnson scandals. He and Rhee, who taped children's mouths shut until they bled and who laughed about the incident to a group of teachers in a preemptive maneuver to stave off this criminal act, are being aided and abetted by both sides-the right and the left.

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