Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has just announced the creation of a group called Stand Up for Sacramento Schools that will, among other things, “establish a report card to grade Sacramento schools.” The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation has committed $500,000 to the new nonprofit.
There are lots of “wheels within wheels” in this story — Johnson’s history of starting charter schools himself, his sponsorship of an initiative to give him more power than most mayors of other cities, his upcoming marriage to Michelle Rhee, the Broad Foundation’s education agenda.
I also think it’s an interesting coincidence that this announcement of a report card on Sacramento schools comes at roughly the same time another “report card” called “Leaders and Laggards” was unveiled nationally. One of the groups issuing these grades is the Center For American Progress, which receives a lot of support for its education work from the Broad Foundation. You can read an excellent analysis of this report from my Teacher Leaders Network colleague Bob Williams. I wonder if the our local report card might use some of the same questionable criteria?
Of course, this is all conjecture, and it’s too early to tell how this all will play out here. I hope that my concerns turn-out to be unfounded and that this new group, instead, becomes a positive force for school improvement.