Sunday, January 24, 2010

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Rhee says Laid-off Teachers "Hit children...Had Sex With Children..."

The Washington Post is reporting today that DC Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee claimed in an interview with a national business magazine that some of the teachers laid off as part of a disputed budget reduction plan had sex with children or had hit them.

The explosive charges were made as she responded to interview questions about teacher union allegations that the budget crisis was manufactured to attack teacher seniority rules and move out older teachers.

DC teacher union members are furious, with the union head noting that he received no information that any of the 266 teachers laid off was under investigation for sexual misconduct with children.
Other union activists said they were especially offended by Rhee's remarks, in light of the recent investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by her fiancé, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson.
Before Johnson's 2008 election, the inspector general for the federal Corporation for National and Community Service filed a criminal referral with the U.S. attorney in Sacramento about Johnson. It included allegations that Johnson had inappropriately touched a minor girl and climbed into bed with a teenager who worked for the charter school he founded. The school received funding from Americorps, which is part of the community service corporation.  Johnson was not charged.
"I'm ready to recommend that Chancellor Rhee submit for a fitness for duty examination because these are the rants of either a mad or very confused woman," Candi Peterson, a teacher and member of the union's board of trustees, said on the Washington Teacher blog
Rhee provided the Post with no details or substantiation of her claims when contacted on Friday.

Our questions:
1.  Why were the teachers Rhee claims had sex with children allowed to remain in the classroom until budget cuts and staff reductions rolled around?  Was any disciplinary action taken against them by the district?

2.  Did Rhee report her allegations of serious crimes to the proper authorities; were there investigations (education professionals are "mandatory reporters of alleged child endangerment and sexual abuse)?  Is she cooperating with the police now?

3.  Did Rhee inform parents that their children may have been victims of sexual assault?  Did she make counseling and medical services available to the children she believes were victimized?

4.  Did Rhee inform the union of these charges as required?

If she did none of the above, Rhee may be culpable for endangering the students in her charge.

Or, of course, she could be lying.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Judge Blocks Strong Mayor Initiative from June Ballot

In a preliminary ruling issued today, the court declared that the initiative process cannot be used to revise the Sacramento City Charter, embracing a key argument brought by former Johnson backer Bill Camp.

The Sacramento Bee has the story. Strong mayor backers will work to seek a reversal at a hearing tomorrow afternoon.

The Sacramento Press reports Johnson's reaction:

“I think it was a temporary setback,” Johnson said. “This is something we’re going to fight. We’re going to fight nail and tooth.”

Johnson noted that the early decision was “very disheartening,” and indicated that it affects voters’ rights.

“Voters deserve and have a right to vote on this initiative,” he said.

We think the following reader comments deserve highlight.  In the Bee,  Johnson critic and "Where's My High School?" advocate Susie Shields offers this:

I'm glad to see that our Mayor cannot buy this latest prize. You're gonna have to earn it like a real person, Kevin. Work hard, honestly, ethically, transparently, humbly. Pay your dues, like everyone else. Reach out to people who could teach you a thing or two instead of bullying them and steamrolling over them. Follow the rules and the law because --guess what?-- they do apply to you on occasion. Humility, mayor, humility.
 And in the Sacramento Press, youth violence prevention activist Rhonda Erwin adds,
Re: Johnson's comment " “Voters deserve and have a right to vote on this initiative,” Heck, did he even read -or was he so busy again looking at self that he missed--- The judge wrote, "“The Court recognizes the right of the people to vote on initiative measures...The Court does not lightly dismiss such, and has taken this very important right in consideration in ruling on the matter.”

For goodness sake, residents- voters- people have a right to truth, transparency, an initiative not done in the dark, LIFE, FREEDOM much more than watching him fight a loosing battle "tooth and nail" for more power.