First published on K12NN Wire on August 11, 2014
He has dodged multiple requests for policy positions, undoubtably because he is a hand puppet for the neoliberal corporate education reformers. — Robert D. Skeels
Neoliberal corporate education reform candidate for Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Alex Johnson holds a Juris Doctor, while I am merely a first year law student. That said, I've already learned that one doesn't respond to factual evidence with spurious rumors and outright lies. Johnson somehow never learned that lesson. To wit, in response to my carefully documented list of his recent donors, Johnson made the mendaciousness and shameless claim that the Reverend Jesse Jackson took money to endorse Dr. George McKenna.
Learning nothing from that experience, Johnson responded to the viral article calling him out on his Jackson lie by implying that Dr. McKenna refuses to go on record with his stances on issues:
Absurd on its face, Johnson's latest statement is problematic in several regards. First, Johnson is not really in a position to talk. I spent roughly ninety days calling, emailing, and tweeting to Johnson, pleading for an opportunity to interview him on his policy positions. The opening quote in this essay is the result of those efforts. Moreover, Johnson missed no less than six community forums during the primary election, including:
- April 14, New Frontier Democratic Club
- DWP Community Room
- April 19, Committee For New South LA
- West Adams Church
- May 8, Black Parent Union
- Betty Hill Senior Center
- May 12, California Community of Elders, reparations United, council of Black Political Organizations and ACCE Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment
- Vision Theatre
- May 15, Dr. MLK Cultural Committee
- Holly Park Center Gardena
- May 19, South Los Angeles Area Neighborhood Council
- Angeles Mesa Elementary School
The one forum I did see him at (USC), all he could manage to do is spout meaningless platitudes and parrot California Charter School Association talking points. He sounded vapid and vacuous, as do most school board candidates lacking pedagogical backgrounds; candidates who view LAUSD as a stepping stone to higher office.
The second issue is that the link in Johnson's tweet is to the notorious Deasy School Report*, an anti-public education blog created by Jamie Alter-Lynton, a wealthy reactionary who sits as a board member on Superintendent John Deasy's LA Fund slush 501c3. Alter-Lynton, sibling of corrupt charter cheerleader Jonathan Alter, practices Breitbart style "journalism" — feeling that outlets like the LA Times and LA Daily News weren't planted in the the neoliberal corporate reform camp firmly enough. Her Ayn Rand leaning views on the public sector are second to her almost maniacal hatred of working class schoolteachers. One can really gauge Alter-Lynton by her letting go of both Alexander Russo and Hillel Aron. Neither of those writers would ever be accused of supporting public schools or saying anything positive about teachers, but they weren't willing to pursue the white whale with Alter-Lynton's Ahab-like vengeance.
The distinguished Dr. George McKenna owes nothing to Alex Johnson, the Deasy School Report, or Jamie Alter-Lynton. He is right not to respond to her constant badgering and attention seeking. The best thing we could all do is allow Alter-Lynton's me-too-reformer blog die a deserved death of obscurity by not visiting or linking to it.
* Properly "LA School Report," but most activists don't call it by that very misleading name.