It's teacher hunting season!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

UPDATED: Will Campbell Brown Play Even with Alleged Perv Kevin (Mr. Rhee) Johnson? & Haimson Scoops StudentsFirst Link


Campbell Brown, a former CNN anchor of her own show, suddenly got it in her to go on a war against teachers' unions, impugning them as covering for sexual predator teachers. With Brown, and the editorial directors of tabloid newspapers such as the New York Post, there is a tack that the accused much prove their innocence. If she's going down that road, she needs to look in her own crowd, including deformer couple, Rhee-Johnson.

On scouring the Internet, you cannot seem to find a resolution to the allegations of sexual misconduct of Sacramento, California Mayor Kevin Johnson, the spouse of Michelle Rhee.

There are now ways to scrub Internet reputations. Apparently, Johnson has not found the wherewithal to do this.

"Karoli," writing at Crooks and Liars, summed up the hypocrisy:
What does this prove, really? It proves bad people exist everywhere. In unions and not in unions. In charter schools and in public schools. But the key difference is that when it comes to teachers' unions, publications like the Wall Street Journal allow intellectually dishonest so-called "journalists" to smear an entire group of people for the actions of a few. {In my book this is called discrimination. -NYC Eye} If I were to apply Campbell Brown's logic, I would smear every single charter school in the country because Kevin Johnson misused nearly a million dollars of taxpayer money and may have engaged in sexual misconduct, too. But I won't, because it's flawed, agenda-laden, political skullduggery.

In 2009 Johnson was under investigation for TWO matters: misappropriation of funds, and allegations of sexual misconduct:

Office of Inspector General report on Kevin Johnson:

Now, let us go back to the full article at Crooks and Liars, which includes the reference to Cameron Brown. Could there be projection happening in her attack on teachers? The cold numbers are used to assess teachers. But if we turn the tables on her, the cold numbers hurt her, as could not compete in her time slot against the likes of Bill O'Reilly, Nancy Grace or Keith Olberman. See this report two years ago in the New York Daily News: Campbell Brown steps down as anchor of eponymous CNN cable news show due to low ratings.

In this troika of teacher attackers we see lots of people that couldn't hack it in own area, so they have moved on to safe spots from which they can take a righteous ground and attack others. This smacks of the defense mechanism of psychological projection. In Rhee, an ex-teacher who could not handle the basics of classroom management. She moved on to take over the school system, couldn't hack that without resorting to erasure-gate. Now, she gets to head StudentsFirst, and opine on Meet the Press that she will reserve comment on Republicans as she is a Democrat. Next, Johnson, who couldn't hack reserving his behavior in close proximity to youths. So, he moved on to become a medium-sized city mayor. Then, there's Brown, who had trouble competing in the brutal O'Reilly/Grace/Oberman timeslot. So, now she's winging a Wall Street Journal guest op-ed opportunity, taking the holy ground by attacking America's current easy target, scapegoats.

"Campbell Brown Slams Unions At Teachers' Expense,"Crooks and Liars, August 1, 2012
I suppose the one good thing to come out of this is that Campbell Brown, who has absolutely no business talking about education in any way, finally reveals herself as the stealth Romney campaign advisor we have all known she is. {Link to Ali Gharib piece at ThinkProgress, "Campbell Brown, Wife Of Top Romney Adviser, Says Obama Is ‘Condescending’ To Women". --NYC Eye}

Before I discuss her despicable effort to "Willy Horton" the American Federation of Teachers and President Randi Weingarten in particular, let's just review who Campbell Brown is. She is a long-gone CNN White House correspondent, married to Dan Senor, and has no classroom experience or anything to suggest that she has authority when it comes to public education.

Still, that didn't stop her from writing an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal using Willy Horton tactics to smear the American Federation of Teachers yesterday by proclaiming that the AFT "goes to bat for sexual offenders." And if that wasn't enough, she then paraded herself onto Morning Joe Monday morning to whine about it and smear the teachers even more.

Surely that wasn't timed to coincide with the end of AFT's National Conference Monday, or Vice President Biden's rousing speech to the teachers in attendance on Sunday. Surely not. [Disclosure: I attended the conference at AFT's invitation]

Oh, I forgot one more thing Mrs. Senor forgot: Dan Senor is on the board of StudentsFirst NY. StudentsFirst NY is an arm of Michelle Rhee's education deform coalition, funded by Rupert Murdoch and others who have an interest in destroying teachers' unions. Dan Senor is also a senior Mitt Romney advisor, and smearing teachers' unions is one of Romney's top priorities. It certainly didn't hurt to have that Dan Senor/Morning Joe connection when Campbell wanted to put a little traction under her smear, either.

But you know, Campbell Brown should have checked with Michelle Rhee before taking this tack. Because now it's my non-reportorial duty as a citizen of this great country to point out that Michelle Rhee goes to bat for sexual predators, too. This is actually a story I haven't talked about because I happen to think Rhee's personal life should not be involved in her effort to wreck schools.

But Campbell Brown opened up Pandora's box, so let's just go ahead and lay it out there.

Michelle Rhee's husband Kevin Johnson was under federal investigation in 2009 for misuse of funds connected with his charter school, St. Hope Academy. This was a big right-wing story at the time, but mostly underreported by mainstream press or the left, because the Obama administration fired the OIG in charge of the investigation shortly after his report was issued. The timing gave rise to a shrill whine from the right wingers about cronyism, etc, while they ignored the actual report about Johnson's malfeasance. Here's a snippet of the letter from Chuck Grassley wrote concerning the investigation:

In September 2008, after reviewing the facts that the OIG investigation presented, the Corporation’s Debarment and Suspension Official (Official) determined that the grantee’s two principals, Kevin Johnson and Dana Gonzalez were responsible for six acts of diverting grant funds to non-grant purposes, and found that “immediate action is necessary to protect the public interest.”

In total about $850,000 was misused. As a result, the OIG requested that the Official suspend all future Federal grant funding to both St. HOPE Academy and Kevin Johnson and Dana Gonzales individually. The Official ultimately suspended St. HOPE Academy and its principals “from participating in Federal procurement and non procurement programs and activities.” None of the respondents exercised their right to submit facts objecting to the suspension.

What Grassley does not mention in his letter is that Kevin Johnson was also under investigation for inappropriate sexual conduct with a 16-year old student at the school. Skip to page 26 of the report below to read the specifics.

2009 OIG Report Re: Kevin Johnson
And what does this have to do with Dan Senor, Michelle Rhee and Campbell Brown? Well, it seems that Michelle Rhee actually interfered in the federal investigation, and covered for her "friend" Kevin Johnson, who she married in 2011. See also here regarding Rhee's conduct on Johnson's behalf.

When Kevin Johnson, the former NBA star who is now mayor of Sacramento, was under investigation last year for alleged financial misdeeds and inappropriate behavior with female students, he had an important ally behind the scenes.

Michelle Rhee, the nationally known education reformer who is now head of the Washington, D.C., public schools, had several conversations with a federal inspector general in which she made the case for Johnson and the school he ran in Sacramento, according to the inspector general. Rhee, who had served on the board of the school and is now engaged to marry Johnson, said he was "a good guy." { - Above two paragraphs are from 2009 L.A. Times story -NYC Eye}

What does this prove, really? It proves bad people exist everywhere. In unions and not in unions. In charter schools and in public schools. But the key difference is that when it comes to teachers' unions, publications like the Wall Street Journal allow intellectually dishonest so-called "journalists" to smear an entire group of people for the actions of a few. If I were to apply Campbell Brown's logic, I would smear every single charter school in the country because Kevin Johnson misused nearly a million dollars of taxpayer money and may have engaged in sexual misconduct, too. But I won't, because it's flawed, agenda-laden, political skullduggery.

Of course, we'll never know one way or the other, because Michelle Rhee married Kevin Johnson, so she wouldn't be compelled to give evidence against him in any prosecution one way or the other, and she interfered in the original investigation as well.

Where is Campbell Brown shouting about how the president of an organization covered up for a man who may have sexually assaulted young women in a charter school where there are ZERO requirements for any kind of due process before teachers are fired? Where is her outrage at the possibility that Kevin Johnson behaved inappropriately toward a minor and other Americorps volunteers without any investigation, largely because Michelle Rhee stood up and defended him as a "good guy"?

Sorry, but Campbell Brown has absolutely zero business writing about education, unions, or sexual misconduct as long as she's willing to disguise her obvious ties with StudentsFirst NY, Michelle Rhee, and Kevin Johnson and ignore the evidence on the record about their misconduct. Not only does her cynical ploy to discredit the AFT fall flat, it simply affirms her reputation as a Washington insider has-been who is trying to revive her career by papering over Mitt Romney's utter failure as a viable candidate.

[Footnote: Kevin Johnson is now the mayor of Sacramento, and despite right-wing claims that he's a darling of the Obama administration, the truth is that even Democrats can't stand the man. Or his wife. "Why Labor Doesn't Like Rhee"]
Actually, Karoli, see my last post, for the photo of vice president Joe Biden with his hand on Rhee's shoulder, and mayor Johnson grinning at Biden.
And all that funny money moving around at the charter school under Johnson's watch? Could that have been hush money to keep someone quiet, in a manner akin to out-of-court settlements? Just asking.

Bravo to American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, for standing up to Brown, in a twitter battle. She is reminding Brown that the accused deserve the rights of due process.

Fred Klonsky at his blog, rightly called out the mass character impugning and the pass given to Johnson: "Male teachers are sexual predators and the union protects them."

From the Phoenix New Times, Paul Rubin, May 8, 1997
"The Summer of '95: A teenage girl tells police Kevin Johnson won her confidence, then took advantage of her. While her allegations are open to question, there are many questions about KJ's behavior."
Phoenix Suns fans who were puzzled by the inconsistent play of Kevin Johnson during the playoff series against Seattle should consider this:

Days before the series began, an attorney for a 17-year-old Phoenix girl delivered a letter to Johnson. It demanded $750,000 before 5 p.m. on April 28.
If Johnson failed to cut a check, the attorney warned, a lawsuit would be filed promptly.
"Despite your current, very positive image and persona," civil attorney Kent Turley wrote, "[the girl's] experience with you will cause us to use the theme in any litigation that you were in fact a wolf in sheep's clothing."
. . . .
The alleged sexual contacts, Turley wrote, had occurred in the summer of '95, when Kim was 16 and Johnson was 29. He quoted Kim Adams extensively in his demand letter, including this account:
"He [Johnson] said I could sleep in his room or the guesthouse and I chose the guesthouse. . . . We got into the bed and he took all of my clothes off and all of his but his shirt. He was on top of me touching me all over--my breasts, butt, in between my legs, and stomach. Then he took off his shirt. I didn't really know what to do--I was very confused because I thought we were friends, but I didn't know what else to do than to go along with it. . . . He told me to pinky-promise not to say anything and when I asked why, he said I knew why."
In an understatement, Turley concluded that public disclosure of the alleged revelations would be scandalous. The comment was an attorney's attempt to maneuver--some would say strong-arm--Johnson into agreeing to a rapid and secret disposition to the case.
Neither Turley nor Kim Adams claims Johnson and the girl had sexual intercourse; she claims Johnson fondled her genitals on several occasions. If it was done without her consent, such acts could be considered felonies and can call for a prison term upon conviction.
Last January, however, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office reviewed a Phoenix police investigation of the girl's claims and declined to prosecute Johnson, saying the case did not meet the agency's threshold of "reasonable likelihood of conviction."
Then, there are more sordid details of shared physical intimacy with other youths, a 16-year-old, in the summer of 1995 and improper touching at his charter school. Click to the latter part of this article. RAVITCH REPOSTS HAIMSON
What a great couple of days it has been. People are not sitting silent amidst the vulgar smears of teachers. Diane Ravitch has posted this piece from Leonie Haimson, which documents the cronyism of Campbell Brown, connections with StudentsFirst. Waiting for Brown to blow a whistle on Rhee or Johnson? Don't hold your breath.
In "Campbell Brown and Michelle Rhee: Another Odd Couple," Ravitch wrote an intro to Brown's stone throwing, and reprinted parent activist Leonie Haimson's contribution which documents Brown's spousal link to the StudentsFirst family.
Leonie Haimson is a leading parent activist in New York City and a co-founder of Parents Across America, which keeps tabs on the depredations of the corporate reformers.

Here is Leonie’s take on l’affaire Campbell Brown. One would think that Michelle Rhee and her organization StudentsFirst would be wary of getting too deep in the weeds with the issue of sexual misconduct. Yet they seem to want to exploit it to the full in a fact-free fashion.

The text of Leonie’s commentary follows, in full:

Campbell Brown was the first witness chosen to testify at the Cuomo Commission hearings last week, all about how the UFT protects sex abusers. She repeated the same claims in the WSJ a few days later.

Bloomberg & Students1st NY (which essentially works for him, under the direction of Micah Lasher) are pushing a bill in the legislature, S.7497, that would allow him to fire any teacher accused of abuse, no matter what the arbitrator decided.

Meanwhile, it has been revealed that Brown’s husband Dan Senor, a senior Romney advisor, is also on the board of Students1st. There is more on this here and here – including about how Rhee’s own husband, Kevin Johnson has been accused of sexually molesting a minor under his supervision.

Here is the Students1st NY email blast sent out today:

We need your help, right now, to speak out against sexual misconduct in our school — and against sexism in the education debate.

On Monday, Emmy Award-winning journalist Campbell Brown — who previously served as White House Correspondent for NBC and as an anchor for CNN — wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about how New York law, supported by the teacher’s union, keeps sexual predators in the classroom.

Last night, the union responded — by attacking Campbell’s husband (who, among other things, serves on our Board).

National teachers union president Randi Weingarten took to Twitter and started republishing comments about Campbell’s “hubby” and his political views — as if Campbell’s accomplishments and perspective on this issue didn’t count. This morning, many of Ms. Weingarten’s colleagues have pursued the same line of attack.

Will you help us send a message that sexual misconduct has no place in our schools, and that sexism has no place in this debate?

Click here to speak out on Twitter. Tell Ms. Weingarten that she should focus more on protecting kids and less on sexist spin. Please use #protectourkids.

Of course, the union is looking for anything to distract from the issue at hand: that the union fights tooth-and-nail against giving school districts the authority to terminate anyone who engages in sexual misconduct.

Hopefully, if enough people speak out, we can convince the teachers union to put down the poison pen (and keyboard) and join us in trying to do something about this issue.

Click here to make your voice heard. Urge the union to put students first.

Chandra M. Hayslett
Director of Communications
Ah, Campbell Brown, if you live in a glass house, do not throw rocks.

And, thanks again to those that did the right thing and stood up against the blanket smears of teachers as perverts: AFT president Randi Weingarten, NYU professor Diane Ravitch and Class Size Matters head Leonie Haimson. It is refreshing that when there are sleazes like Brown, some people will stand for truth.


Since major media personalities and outlets are side-lining serious issues and making a smoke-screen of an non-epidemic of sexually predatory teachers, teacher unions also raise and fight the media and the city for bias in the areas of principal sexual improprieties as compared to teacher sexual improprieties. (Albeit, don't get me wrong, sexual misconduct is a terrible offense. Victims of sexual assault remain scarred for decades. But let's not broadly impugn teachers as a class or negate due process rights.)

As Chaz's School Daze, a New York City blog reported, a New York City school supervisor impregnated a subordinate. Chaz's cited news story told of an additional case in which a principal several times was found in "compromising positions" with an assistant principal. No termination, in spite of the clear violation of Department of Education regulations. According to the 3020-a law any educator found guilty of sexual misconduct is automatically terminated.

And while we're on the subject of softer gloves treatment, let us go to the case of Mychael Willon, who was caught doing a perverse act in a Wichita, Kansas adult video store. His professional life after this? He got a bogus (mail order) PhD and became a LIS/Network supervisor of school supervisors in the Bronx (New York City) for several years. (He couldn't have done too much work during the day, as blogger SouthBronxSchool found that he lived in Owego, NY, 3 and 1/s to 4 hours from the Bronx.)
Rutland, Vermont rejected him for superintendent after it learned of his diploma mill "PhD". Leominster, Massachusetts rejected him for superintendent after learning of his public lewdness arrest. NYC DOE? Hired him. His life after the NYC Department of Education? A job in the growing for-profit virtual education industry, as Chief Academic Officer at Alternatives Unlimited.

Where is the pious posturing by Brown on pervvy principals???
Why does it take bloggers to bring down serial harassers? Why does the NYC DOE demote such supervisors to assistant principal instead of boot them out of the education profession? Look to the case of Bronxdale High School principal John Chase, Jr., and Gothamist's reportage:
According to a Sept. 19, 2011 police report, Chase told one school staff member, “We have a fancy copy machine that does all sorts of things. It even has a hole to stick your ---- -- for a ---- ---." In addition, Chase talked about a hole in the wall—left behind by phone repairmen—with great enthusiasm, because he said it meant he could shove his member into it whenever he wanted. But alas, Chase will now have to shove his proverbial member into some other school's hole in a lesser role.
And what does the DOE do with a John Chase? [Assigning him to assistant principal] "It was just an agreement that it would be best for him to do it right now," said Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott.
New allegations surfaced about Chase, whereby he allegedly said things that made a 15 year old girl feel uncomfortable. What did Chancellor Walcott say?
On the new allegation, he said, “Just because an accusation is made doesn’t mean a person is guilty.”
Care to take the same position about teachers, Campbell Brown or New York Post editors? Until CNN, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Daily News and the New York Post back off from their campaign to paint a mass plague of perverted teachers, AFT president Weingarten and local union leaders should remind the media of the presumption of innocence, the rights of due process and the NYE Department of Education's kid gloves treatment of supervisors accused --or found guilty-- of sexual misconduct.

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