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100-200 Students Walk Out at Sacramento High School, Run by Michelle Rhee

September 9, 2018

Notorious ed reformer Michelle Rhee (Johnson) chairs the board of St. Hope Public Schools (Sacramento, CA), which includes five charter schools, one of which is Sacramento High School, which became a charter school in 2003.

michelle-rhee

Michelle Rhee Johnson

Some quick Rhee-Johnson-St. Hope History:

Rhee (aka Michelle Johnson), is married to St. Hope founder and former Sacramento mayor, Kevin Johnson. Johnson stepped down as St. Hope CEO in 2008, and another CEO was not appointed until 2015.

In December 2016, Kevin Johnson was not reelected as Sacramento’s mayor, “leaving office with wounds that have dimmed his chances of a political future,” Sacramento Bee journalist Ryan Lillis adds.

Kevin Johnson has been mired in scandal in connection with St. Hope, which I examine in this January 10, 2015, post:

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 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.

According to both the St Hope 2015 tax form and the school’s “about” page, the nonprofit’s mission is “to graduate self-motivated, industrious, critical thinking leaders who are committed to serving others, passionate about life-long learning and prepared to earn a degree from a from a four-year college.”

In order to develop critical thinking leaders, one must forego authoritarianism. Otherwise, those developing leaders will assert themselves in an effort to negotiate an active role in their educations.

Such is what appears to be happening at Sacramento High School, where 100 – 200 students have been staging walk outs in protest of four major issues: 1) failure of admin to honor an agreement to institute a negotiated, revised version of the student handbook; 2) dismissal of a number of seasoned faculty; 3) institution of a new policy requiring students to immediately leave campus at the end of the school day; and 4) institution of a new dress-code policy that only allows students to wear pants to school (no short pants).

According to FOX40 news, students plan to continue their walk outs “until school administrators negotiate with them.”

On September 07, 2018, the Sacramento Bee posted a brief video of the walk out, including this explanation by Sacramento High School senior, Keishay Swygert:

Right now, we are protesting against our school board, our CEO and our chief of the schools. … Last year, we met with Garrett Temple like every other Thursday. Every other week he came to our school, and he helped up rewrite the handbook and the way to accommodate the things that we wanted to change, and at the end of the school year, we got the handbook to be changed, and they posted it all in our mail listing (?) and our feeder, and we got to see that the handbook was going to be this year. And, this year, they fired alumni teachers that have been with us for several years, and now, that handbook is no longer here. We’re back at square one, and that’s why we’re protesting because we feel like we’re being stripped of our voices because we fought for things to be changed.

Swygert sounds like a critical thinking leader.

Does Rhee’s St. Hope really value Swygert and other critical-thinking, student leaders, or will St. Hope Board Chair Rhee try to pressure them into the submission characteristic of top-down ed reform?

We’ll see. We’ll see.

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Sac High student: #schoolsnotprisons

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Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

5 Comments
  1. We Know permalink

    Finally! And yes, maybe the “…for the children” is headed to…”by the children.” Children not showing up en masse ought to bring the media out, and the prime time attention needed to bring this who sham to an end. If teachers won’t do it…

  2. I have often thought that kids and parents should be overwhelmingly angry about having “seasoned teachers” suddenly pushed out of schools in the name of fixing test scores: I’ve read about protests and angry meetings, but wonder if there are lawsuits.

    • We Know permalink

      Or at least injunctions to pause the madness, so that all sides can present their grievances and evidences of support in court…I don’t think this was done in NOLA, and I’m not sure where we are with any lawsuits in progress, or that may have been filed in the past. In NOLA, mainstream media has focused solely on forwarding only one side of this debacle, and championing its perpetrators as they now move on to their next money-grabbing gigs. The Beast of corporate ed-reform has her tentacles all over NOLA…the flip-flopping, pro-charter propaganda easily drowns out and weakens the knees of even the slightest hint of protest from parents, and yes, even the students. The innocents in all this, by the way, are the kids…whereas the people whom you would think would have protested this more fervently long ago, the parents and teachers, are…sad to say, often not much older than the kids themselves, easily manipulated, downright bullied and intimidated, and distracted with the hedonistic pleasures NOLA is constantly ramming down their throats.

  3. Bill permalink

    “According to FOX40 news, students plan to continue their walk outs “until school administrators negotiate with them.” – These kids shouldn’t hold their breath. This is the whole point of “choice”. They “chose” this school. And if they don’t like it, they can “choose” another school. One that magically treats them with respect and offers the same resources as a real public school in the suburbs. Move on, Black and Latino children! We refuse to pay to educate kids that just aren’t worth it. You need to stop complaining, shut your mouths, and get back in line. This is what your community wanted for you. Don’t blame the school. Blame them.

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