Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rhee- Kevin Johnson talk about school "reform"

University of Arkansas | Clinton School of Public Service
Mayor Kevin Johnson on the State of Public Education
Kevin Johnson; Michelle Rhee, founder Students First.
Presentation-Discussion held on Feb.25, 2011. At University of Arkansas.
I watched this program with interest.  I am glad that I did.  You can read on this blog several posts criticizing Rhee and her work in Washington D.C.( see below)  What I found interesting was that I agreed with at least 70% of what she said about the need for school reform.  I also watched Mayor Kevin Johnson’s descriptions of school change here in Sacramento. Since he was describing local events, I had the background needed to assess his statements.
While I agree with the issues of the crisis in schools, I don’t agree with the assertions blaming the teachers unions.  However, putting that aside there is another issue.   Mayor Johnson ( who it turns out  chairs a committee of Mayors advising Arne Duncan) entered the issue of last hired first fired- or the use of seniority to lay off teachers.  Now, why is that the  issue?
We have serious budget cuts that are eliminating important programs for students.  The budget cuts come from an ideology about economics that argues we can cut our way out of a recession. But, Mayors and educational leaders should be opposing the budget cuts. Instead, they are selecting and creating a fight about who gets laid off first.
This may well be a consequence of the funding of such advocates by conservative foundations.

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