Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Story on SCUSD Superintendent that the Bee will not tell you.

Thank you Cosmo Garvin for writing what the Bee will not report on.
Cosmo Garvin. Sacramento News and Review. 9/11/2014. Page 15.
The Bee is clearly still sore about the loss of the previous superintendent, Jonathan Raymond. Raymond seemed to enjoy sticking it to teachers (and the occasional principal) and generally followed the playbook for corporate-ed reform.
He left quite suddenly during the last school year. The public reason was that he wanted his kids to be closer to their grandparents back in Boston. Surely a tough decision, to leave what he described as his “dream job.” But family comes first.
This summer, Raymond took a job as president of an education nonprofit called the Stuart Foundation—in San Francisco.
The Stuart Foundation is a major funder of something called the California Office to Reform Education. You may recall that Raymond committed Sac City schools to participate in the CORE, to help fund it, and to tie teacher evaluations to student test scores as part of the deal.
This was intensely controversial—and done without public input or any vote of the Sac City school board. The board only reversed Raymond’s decision after he had bailed, and after protests from teachers, parents and community groups.
It’s not so surprising that a plum job for Raymond was waiting on the other side of the revolving door. But what about the family thing?
Carol Ting, the Stuart Foundation’s chief operating officer, told Bites, “That was his plan. But then the recruiter came along and offered him his dream job.”
Dream job, huh? Anyway, Raymond slipped out the back door in a hurry, to take a dreamier job, or to escape whatever nightmares had cropped up here in Sacramento. Either way, even in his absence he was an important presence at the school-board-candidates forum held in Oak Park last Sunday.


Last week, Bites reported on the sacking of Sacramento Bee editorial-page writer Pia Lopez.
There are some good reasons to question the fairness of her firing. But Bites didn’t forget that Lopez was a driving force behind some of the Bee’s most ideological—and really remarkably unfair—editorials on teachers and education. So Bites wondered: Would the Bee tone down the teacher bashing with Lopez gone?
Nope. Team Scoopy is just as skewed as ever. The weekend before students returned to Sacramento City Unified schools, the Bee editorial page chided brand new Superintendent José Banda for meeting three times with the Sacramento teachers union. Three times!
The Bee didn’t mention that the district is in the middle of negotiating a new contract with teachers—which includes the tricky problem of crafting a new teacher-evaluation system.
Almost as bad as meeting with teachers, the Bee complained that Banda has not once met—not even once—with Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson.
Under state law, Johnson has no say at all in the running of Sacramento schools, though he sure would like to. In fact, Johnson is a leader in the national movement for the “mayoralization” of schools, breaking teacher unions, and expansion of charter schools.
In spite of all that—well, probably because of all that—the Bee insists that Banda, “make the effort to have a relationship with the city’s celebrity mayor and his wife.”
Or, Banda could instead focus on his job, steering clear of Johnson, the Bee, and their agendas. Wonder which he will choose?

The Stuart Foundation is a major funder of something called the California Office to Reform Education. You may recall that Raymond committed Sac City schools to participate in the CORE, to help fund it, and to tie teacher evaluations to student test scores as part of the deal.
This was intensely controversial—and done without public input or any vote of the Sac City school board. The board only reversed Raymond’s decision after he had bailed, and after protests from teachers, parents and community groups.
It’s not so surprising that a plum job for Raymond was waiting on the other side of the revolving door. But what about the family thing?
 Ed. Now, do you want to take the Bee's recommendations on the election for Superintendent of Schools for California?
 Either way, even in his absence he was an important presence at the school-board-candidates forum held in Oak Park last Sunday.
The forum was hosted by the Black Parallel School Board. And challengers hammered incumbents on the district’s top-down decision making and its treatment of low-income and minority communities.
One challenger, Jonathan Tran, said he’s running to “rebuild trust” in the district and give voice to “communities where students and families are sick and tired of the district making decisions about them, without them.”
Anna Molander, running against incumbent Jay Hansen, likewise called for a more democratic approach. “We need to turn our budgeting process around. We need to budget what we want to see in our schools, not what they tell us at Serna Center that we can have.”
More to come on the school-board races in the near future. For now, Bites can’t help noticing that even Raymond’s supporters on the school board are now acknowledging the past superintendent’s autocratic style.
Incumbent Darrell Woo told audience members, “I understand and appreciate that Jonathan Raymond was not collaborative. But now he’s gone.”
Woo’s fellow board member, Hansen, likewise said there “was a lot of divisiveness under the previous superintendent,” but that the situation has “improved a lot” since Raymond left.
They, along with incumbent board member Jeff Cuneo, all mentioned that Banda, the guy they just hired to replace Raymond, has a reputation for collaboration.
Great, but these are the same incumbent school-board members who went along with Raymond’s destructive school closures, who tacitly approved his CORE experiment, and who looked the other way while Raymond tanked relationships with employees and community groups. His record is their record, too.


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