SCUSD Observer

Sacramento, California

Archive for the ‘education summit’ Category

Do you believe him?

In today’s Inside City Hall feature of the Sacramento Bee, Ryan Lillis reports that Mayor Kevin Johnson wants a bigger role in the way city schools operate. Johnson has plans to raise private money to hire an education liaison who would act as an intermediary between the mayor’s office and the city schools.

“Something very powerful that will unite the school districts under one common vision.” (Johnson’s words).

A thing or a person, KJ?


All this talk about a City Hall education wonk raised the question of whether Johnson had given any thought to taking over city schools, much as some big-time East Coast mayors have done.

No way, says Johnson.

“What’s on my radar is the mayor playing a critical role in our schools,” he said.

Something else on KJ’s radar? Sandbagging City Attorney Eileen Teichert.


Written by scusdobserver

September 9, 2009 at 1:19 pm

KJ’s Education Summit

Yesterday, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson hosted an education summit downtown at the Central Library. Below are links to media articles accompanied by story excerpts or reader commentary.

Sacramento Press
Reader comment: Kevin Johnson began by referring to other town hall meetings and how this one would be different, we would have “respect and dignity.”

Capital Public Radio

San Jose Mercury News

Sacramento Bee
Reader comment: I’m sorry, Mayor Johnson — but you cannot just close failing schools. It sounds like a nice, neat, simple solution: if a school is performing poorly, get rid of it — but it does not take into account the complex realities of actually putting children first — of building an education system that educates every child.

The Governor Monitor
Article excerpt: * Reward teachers who are consistently doing the toughest jobs. Alternative pay schedules highlight effective teaching practices and create incentives to improve our education system.
* Measure student progress to help identify what works in the classroom. Every child is different and looking at both growth measures and overall achievement scores provides a better picture of a student progress over time.

News Blaze
Article excerpt: In addition to encouraging young people to take an active role in their education, Governor Schwarzenegger also called on the legislature to act quickly to enact the statutory changes necessary to ensure California will be eligible and highly competitive for Race to the Top, a $4.35 billion federal competitive grant program in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act designed to support education reform and innovation.


Written by scusdobserver

September 4, 2009 at 3:18 pm

Press conference promises to be a real dinger

Our good friend over at the Big Education Ape recently posted an announcement on Google docs titled President Obama’s Address to Students Across America, September 8. If you get a chance, take a look at the comments this item has generated. Unbelievable.

Meanwhile, back in Sacramento, our mayor will be staging his own version of a first day of school press event tomorrow at David Lubin Elementary School, located at 3535 M Street. The event begins at 10:30 a.m. The public is invited.

Guests at the event will include Jonathan Raymond, the SCUSD School Board, and Jack O’Connell.

The Rivercats Mascot, Dinger, will also make a special appearance, presumably for the kids…

Written by scusdobserver

September 2, 2009 at 3:36 pm

Corporate "School Reform" comes to Sacramento Thursday

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visits Sacramento this Thursday, September 3 to headline Kevin Johnson’s Education Summit.

Following last week’s release of Johnson’s white paper, which supposedly “aligns with Secretary of Education Duncan’s plan for national reform“, Duncan will be sharing his plan this Thursday at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria at 5:00 p.m.

Before attending this Thursday’s corporate love-fest, The Observer urges you to listen to Bruce Dixon’s commentary at The Black Agenda Report.

Despite a decade of hard sell by right wing think tanks, foundations, and big media, the American people have not bought the corporate version of school reform. Most people just don’t believe public schools should be privatized or militarized, or operated by business people like businesses instead of by educators, parents and communities in the interests of children, parents and communities, like the best schools always have been run. And most educators doubt that high stakes testing improves educational outcomes in any meaningful way.

Written by scusdobserver

August 31, 2009 at 9:59 pm

Transcript of Jonathan Raymond’s remarks at Kevin Johnson’s press conference

At Monday’s press conference with state and local education leaders at Valley High School (Elk Grove Unified), Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson introduced Jonathan Raymond as a rookie member, apparently, of his “team.”

Here’s the video.

Here’s a transcript:

Kevin Johnson: I want to save the superintendent from Sac City Unified for last because he’s the newest member, he’s a rookie. So we’re going to initiate him this year with all kind of fun little pranks that he has no idea what’s in store for him.

He comes to us from Charlotte, North Carolina and we are very pleased to have this superintendent here in Sacramento. He will be working very closely with the gentlemen behind me building a great team at Sac City Unified School District and let’s give a nice warm welcome to the new superintendent and the rookie superintendent, Jonathan Raymond.

Jonathan Raymond: Thank you Mr. Mayor. Yes it’s true that I’m from North Carolina…they play a little basketball in Carolina, but I don’t play basketball so leave me out of that game.

It’s truly a privilege to be here and I think that the leadership behind me speaks more than words can say and it’s all been said except I’ll try to boil it down…when President Obama said that the countries that out-educate us will out-compete us…if you think about it from the state and the region – and even a local level, we have some serious challenges.

I was with students on Friday from Hiram Johnson and one of them asked me,

“Why have you come to Sacramento? Why did you leave North Carolina to come to Sacramento?”

And what I said is because of you…because of students like you, because the challenges are tremendous today but so are the opportunities.

For us to be able to compete in this flat world that Thomas Friedman, a columnist for the New York Times, says, we have to muster all the creativity and imagination that we have. That’s our competitive edge.

And it’s very simple. If you want the same results, keep doing the same things, but that’s not the California way, that’s not the California tradition.

So this is a tremendous place to be. There’s energy, there’s ideas, there’s thought leaders and there’s leaders in the community that want a better world for our students.

So I can’t think of a better way to start than in this community with a mayor and a superintendent and a state leadership that’s poised for greatness. A community that’s energized and wants to be involved with their resources, their time and their ideas.

So to join this team is a great opportunity. I’m excited about it. I’m looking forward to working with the gentlemen behind me and Mayor Johnson’s leadership in our community and we will be great. And I think we will show the world and we will show the country and show the state of California the power that is going to reside in this community so I’m pleased to be here and I look forward to working with the rest of the community.

Written by scusdobserver

August 27, 2009 at 9:29 pm

White paper or wall paper?

In March of this year, Sacramento Mayor, Kevin Johnson, held an education summit to purportedly address educational options for Sacramento schools, accountability for results and the utilization of “human capital.”

On Monday, Johnson released a white paper titled, “Education that Works: Ideas for Sacramento”

The message the paper sends is clear: KJ wants his power grab to include the budgets of the city’s school districts.

Read about the current flap Johnson has with the city council over his strong-mayor initiative.


Written by scusdobserver

August 27, 2009 at 3:27 pm

The Education Equality Project comes to Sacramento

Mayor Kevin Johnson hosts his “Education Summit” next week with Rev. Al Sharpton and Joel Klein headlining the event. Entitled, “Education that Works: Ideas for Sacramento,” the conference includes discussion on “educational options, accountability for results and human capital.”

Last summer, Sharpton and Klein teamed up to push a nationwide agenda that brings teachers’ unions under fire and proposes that “viable” charter schools are the answer to public education’s ills.

Signatories to the Education Equality Project include the event’s other two speakers: Cory Booker (Newark NJ mayor and school voucher proponent), and Michelle Rhee (controversial Chancellor of DC public schools).

Isn’t it ironic that Kevin Johnson is facilitating a national education agenda while the local public school system struggles with a budget in tatters?

Again, why such a large disconnect?

A bolder, broader approach to education should be part of Johnson’s discussion. Instead the conference will most likely fall back on the usual rant: demonizing teachers and the perceived battle with the “status quo”.

Perhaps Johnson, Sharpton, Klein, Rhee and the other panelists (CEO’s) scheduled to speak are really focused on corporatizing public education. We’ll be sure to ask some questions about their agenda when they arrive to enlighten us.

Written by scusdobserver

March 3, 2009 at 9:40 pm