School Choice & Charters

Kevin Johnson Starts Education Nonprofit in Sacramento

December 17, 2009 1 min read

With some generous seed money from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson (charter school founder, former NBA star, and fiance of District of Columbia Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee) is launching a new nonprofit venture in California’s capital city that aims to “establish and support high quality schools,” according to this press release.

The new entity--called STAND UP for Sacramento Schools--is being underwritten in its initial phase by a half million bucks from the Broad Foundation. And it sounds like Mayor Johnson is putting himself on the hook to raise another $500,000 to match the Broad money. Heres’s a tiny story about the new venture from a local Sacramento television station.

Given the mayor’s experience as a charter school founder, and the Broad Foundation’s robust support for charters, we wonder if this entity will focus largely on opening new charters in Sacto? The initial information from the mayor’s office says that STAND UP will focus on five pillars: accountability, parent engagement, human capital, high quality school choices, and external resources.

According to the mayor’s office, the region’s school chiefs are on board with this initiative, at least publicly. No doubt that includes Jonathan P. Raymond, the still-new Sacramento City Unified chief. Raymond is a 2006 graduate of the Broad Foundation’s urban superintendent’s academy.

Johnson, who is a “weak” mayor under the rules of Sacramento’s city charter, has been angling to change that law, which would require a citywide vote. The mayor, who has made no secret of his desire to play a role in improving the city’s public schools, recently found himself in an uncomfortable spotlight from fallout over an investigation into whether he had misused federal funds in his St. Hope non-profit and accusations that he had behaved inappropriately toward young women who worked at St. Hope.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.

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