Campbell Brown’s Selective Indignation with Sexual Misconduct in Schools
At the event, Brown spoke about “the issue that took her from being a supporter of this [charter school] cause to an activist in the fight.” She then states that it was her reading an article in the New York Daily News “a couple of years ago” involving “fourteen teachers who had been found guilty of sexual misconduct with kids, and they had kept their jobs.” Brown says the she “was so horrified by this.”
Brown says that the above is made possible “by this crazy law supported by the teachers union.”
Now, here is where Brown’s indignation hits a snag.
First of all, the “crazy law” is called Section 3020a. Section 3020a is referenced in the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) 2007-09 contract, as taken from this August 2012 Washington Post Answer Sheet piece:
A tenured pedagogue who has been charged under the criminal law or under §3020-a of the New York State Education Law with an act or acts constituting sexual misconduct (defined below) shall be suspended without pay upon a finding by a hearing officer of probable cause that sexual misconduct was committed.
In §3020-a proceedings, a mandatory penalty of discharge shall apply to any tenured pedagogue a) found by a hearing officer to have engaged in sexual misconduct, or b) who has pleaded guilty to or been found guilty of criminal charges for such conduct.
For purposes of this section, sexual misconduct shall include the following conduct involving a student or a minor who is not a student: sexual touching, serious or repeated verbal abuse (as defined in Chancellor’s Regulations) of a sexual nature, action that could reasonably be interpreted as soliciting a sexual relationship, possession or use of illegal child pornography, and/or actions that would constitute criminal conduct under Article 130 of the Penal Law against a student or minor who is not a student.
“The union” is not protecting “guilty” sexual predators. Moreover, it was Bloomberg-appointed, former New York City Chancellor Joel Klein who agreed to the terms of the contract.
Klein happened to be in the April 2014 audience when Brown was speaking.
In her speech, Brown stops short of stating that this “crazy law supported by the teachers union” was also supported by her ally-in-privatization, Joel Klein.
A snag necessary to ignore.
Calling out the people on “your side” for contributing to the dastardly missteps of “the union” simply will not do.
There is an even bigger snag in Brown’s indignation towards those “found guilty of sexual misconduct.” Traveling that path involves briefly considering the coziness of some of those in attendance at this Brown-honoring moment.
In addition to acknowledging Klein at the opening of her talk, Brown also acknowledges hedge funder and fellow Success Academies board member Daniel Loeb, and Moskowitz, and her (Brown’s) husband, hedge funder Dan Senor, all of whom sit with StudentsFirst founder Michelle Rhee on the StudentsFirst board.
Michelle Rhee is married to Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson.
Johnson tried four times to increase his own authority as mayor of Sacramento. Four times, the attempt known as Measure L was defeated.
Johnson was seeking signature corporate-reform-model “mayoral control,” and Sacramento wasn’t having it, as the November 2014 Sacramento Bee reports:
Measure L would have allowed the mayor to appoint and fire the city manager, essentially transferring the day-to-day decision making at City Hall from the city manager to the mayor’s office. Opponents argued it would place too much power in the hands of one elected official.
A key ingredient in prompting the public into allowing a single individual that coveted, privatizing-reform ueber-power: Johnson had no crisis moment on which to capitalize. Sacramento voters were just not desperate enough to turn control over to a single power-centralizing someone to “save” them:
Johnson said he thinks Measure L failed in part because of recent success stories in the city. The mayor presided over a groundbreaking of a new downtown NBA arena just last week, the city budget had a surplus this year and the employment rate has fallen sharply.
“It’s hard to make this kind of change without a crisis,” he said of the strong-mayor plan.
Of course, the crisis could not be connected to Johnson himself.
But in 2009, it was– and it was covered up.
In 2009, Johnson dodged prosecution for sexual misconduct charges and misspending federal grant money, both associated with Johnson’s St. HOPE charter school in Sacramento. Based on congressional investigation findings detailed in a 61-page, Grassley-Issa report, it seems that Johnson was allowed to escape consequences for his actions because of privileged connections to President Obama.
His wife Michelle Rhee, who was once supposed to sweep away the “bad teachers” in DC, also worked on behalf of a Johnson cover-up:
The Grassley-Issa report says that agents of the inspector’s general office who investigated the St. HOPE sex-abuse charges “immediately recognized what appeared to be improper handling of this allegation . . . and unethical conduct by Mr. Johnson’s attorney,” Kevin Hiestand, who was also the mayor’s business partner. The report also implicates D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee who one witness said acted as “fixer” for the St. HOPE program.
From the Grassley-Issa report, as cited on the American Spectator blog:
While in Sacramento [investigating Johnson’s misspending of federal money], Agents Wingers and Morales became aware of allegations of inappropriate contact between Johnson and three female St. HOPE students. Mr. Johnson’s attorney, Kevin Hiestand, approached at least one of the students describing himself only as “a friend of Johnson’s,” and “basically asked me to keep quiet.”
According to her interview with OIG investigators, about one week later, Kevin Johnson offered her $1,000 a month until the end of the program, which she refused to accept. Moreover, the OIG uncovered evidence of two other female St. HOPE students reporting Johnson for inappropriate sexual conduct towards them. . . .
Hiestand acted to intercept formal reporting of the incidents, even interviewing students under false pretenses and telling a teacher to change her story:
Hiestand conducted his investigation of the allegations under the guise of serving as the school’s Title IX officer. . . . Hiestand interviewed the victims and witnesses, including a teacher who had heard of the allegations. According to the teacher, “Hiestand told me he had met with [one of the victims] and that she had told a different story and that I should change my story to fit the one they had been told.”
According to the November 20, 2009, Los Angeles Times, Johnson’s wife, Michelle Rhee, did speak to Inspector General Gerald Walpin on Johnson’s behalf. However, Walpin still filed a criminal referral with the DA on Johnson.
Johnson was never prosecuted, and Walpin was fired.
The above was not even Johnson’s first sexual incident with a minor. There’s a 1995 incident involving Johnson’s admitting in a recorded conversation being naked and in the shower with a minor.
I have yet to hear Brown be “horrified” over any of this.
Johnson belongs to a different kind of “union,” one reserved for the wealthy and privileged, and one that Brown cannot expect to speak against since she herself is an honored member.