Sunday, November 29, 2009

Making the Grades with Kevin Johnson

New allegations that mayor Kevin Johnson offered hush money to a young Hood Corps volunteer who complained of his unwanted sexual advances splashed across media outlets around the country last week.  The story has national legs given the zeal of congressional Republicans to underscore the involvement of Obama Administration officials in the dismissal of Inspector General Gerald Walpin, whose findings related to the illegal use of federal funds by St. Hope included the revelations.

Michelle Rhee, Chancellor of Washington DC schools and Kevin Johnson's fiance, also has a role in the latest saga due to allegations she mishandled the Hood Corps volunteer's complaint while serving as a St. Hope official and also intervened with Inspector General Walpin on behalf of Johnson.  We will have questions about Rhee in a later post. 

All of this plays out in the broader context of Johnson's controversial "strong mayor" proposal to change the city charter.    The bloggers at   believe this latest revelation underscores Mayor Johnson's lack of judgment and "outright creepiness," given that reports of inappropriate sexual contact with girls date back to Johnson's basketball days in Phoenix in the mid-1990s.

While we certainly agree with the creepiness factor, we can't just stop there.  The willingness of so many people in Sacramento to ignore or explain away for so long this alleged pattern of behavior is supremely troubling, especially since Johnson was handed over a public high school with young girls in his charge.  More on this later too.

For now, we would like to take this in a different direction.

Walpin's investigation into the alleged sexual misconduct includes the following:

"One Member, (redacted) reported that, in the February/March 2007 time frame, she was entering grades into the SAC High database system per Mr. Johnson's instructions at the St. Hope office at night, purportedly as part of her Americorps service.  (Redacted) contacted Mr. Johnson to inform him that she had completed the grades and wanted him to review them.   About 11:00 pm, Mr. Johnson arrived at St. Hope and instructed (redacted) to gather her things and come with him.  Mr. Johnson drove to (redacted) apartment, in which another Americorps Member had a separate bedroom, Mr. Johnson laid down on (redacted) bed.  (Redacted) sat on the edge of the bed to show him the grades..."

Our Questions:  
  • Why was an Americorps (Hoodcorps) volunteer entering grades into the Sac High database alone late at night, without oversight by teachers or registrar?*
  • Whose grades? And for what class or classes?   
  • Why would Mr. Johnson, who does not have a teaching or administrative credential, be instructing an Americorps volunteer to enter grades and then be reviewing the grades the volunteer entered?   
  • Did Mr. Johnson regularly "touch" the grades at Sacramento Charter High School? 
  • Who, other than teachers and the registrar, are able to "touch" the grades at Sacramento Charter High School?

*State Education Code Regarding Grades
49066. (a) When grades are given for any course of instruction taught in a school district, the grade given to each pupil shall be the grade determined by the teacher of the course and the determination of the pupil's grade by the teacher, in the absence of clerical or mechanical mistake, fraud, bad faith, or incompetency, shall be final.
(b) The governing board of the school district and the superintendent of such district shall not order a pupil's grade to be changed unless the teacher who determined such grade is, to the extent practicable, given an opportunity to state orally, in writing, or both, the reasons for which such grade was given and is, to the extent practicable, included in all discussions relating to the changing of such grade.


  1. How sad that the Federal Investigators would not, or could not, or simply did not, alert the California law enforcement folks about the problems with AmeriCorps volunteers entering grades. Of course, it might be that the Federal Investigators expected someone connected to enforcing the education code in the State of California to read the report, or for SCUSD's former Superintendent Mejia to read the report, and investigate. It is more than disappointing that the California Department of Education never appears to have read the report and started its own investigation. Shouldn't somebody care about this?

  2. It's about time someone stepped up to get this information out there!

  3. I certainly hope that our Board of Education and new Superintendent will investigate all of this material.

  4. Thank you to whomever has created this blog and specifically for posting the Inspector General's complaint. It makes you wonder why Sac City Unified School District continues to let this charter operate-questions surround who entered grades, sexual complaints from young girls (there are too many to mention) and certainly their financial insolvency. SCUSD needs to wake up and start acting.

  5. Someone at the SCUSD has been covering for St. HOPE for years. The school looks good on paper so the district continues to prop it up. Fine, prop away, just move them out of the underutilized public facility that was paid for by taxpayers and start serving the thousands of students who have been disenfranchised by this fake school. Enough of the lies already.

  6. Contrary to popular belief, there are millions of dollars to be made in education. Charter schools, corporate take overs, non-profits, and the like are all cleaning up under the guise of reform. They have six-figure salaries, and the kids are getting squat. Most of all, they are getting grades that they don't deserve. Michelle Rhee has already told teachers via principals not to give students anything less than a C. She's a proven liar and manipulator, but as she said,"She can get a man to do anything." In order for that to happen, she has to do "anything."