SACRAMENTO, CA – Today Mayor Kevin Johnson and STAND UP held the first ‘State of Schools’ meeting in Sacramento at the Guild Theater. Mayor Johnson was joined by Russlynn Ali, Assistant Secretary for Civil
Rights at the U.S. Department of Education, in a conversation on the urgent need for reform in Sacramento’s
Today’s meeting focused on the condition of public schools in Sacramento and issued a call to action. The
meeting was sponsored by the Black Parallel School Board, Greater Sacramento Urban League, Sacramento
Chapter for 100 Black Women, Sacramento NAACP, and the Sacramento Observer in honor of Black History
Currently, less than half of Sacramento schools are meeting academic targets. While Sacramento’s public schools have shown slight increases in academic achievement over recent years, Mayor Johnson believes that the gap is not closing quickly enough.
Johnson stated, “Over the last seven years, city school third graders have improved by an average of two percent per year. This may sound positive, but think about it from this perspective: at the current rate, it will take 20 years before close to 80 percent of our third graders are on grade level. That’s an entire generation.”
Nominated by President Barack Obama to the U.S. Department of Education in 2009, Russlynn Ali has dedicated efforts to underscoring the urgent need to prepare all students for academic success in this global economy.
By Melody Gutierrez
Mayor Kevin Johnson is in Washington, D.C., today with education reformer Michelle Rhee for the launch of a national campaign aimed at eliminating “last in, first out” policies that base teacher layoffs on seniority.
The announcement came at a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Johnson is the founding chair of the group’s Public School Task Force.
“We have to eliminate old policies that satisfy adult needs, but have absolutely no bearing on student achievement,” Johnson said in a press release. “(Last in, first out) policies represent everything that’s wrong with our current education system. I urge every mayor and state leader to stand up for children by eliminating policies that deprive them of great teachers.”
The campaign is being called Save Great Teachers and is being organized through the political advocacy group StudentsFirst, which is run by Johnson’s fiancé Rhee. Over the next seven months leading up to the new school year, StudentsFirst plans to aggressively advocate for the end of seniority based layoff decisions.