Mother Jones published this article in 2013 when Campbell Brown started her campaign against “sexual predators” in the New York City public schools (there are none, apparently, in charter schools, thank goodness!).
Campbell Brown is now leading the lawsuit attacking tenure, seniority, and due process for teachers in New York state. Her organization has found half a dozen student plaintiffs who claim that their teachers were “bad” teachers, which denied them a quality education.
The big difference between then and now in Campbell Brown’s group is that in 2013 her public relations firm was connected to Republicans.
Her current PR spokesman is Robert Gibbs, who was President Obama’s White House press secretary.
What Ms. Brown seems not to know is that there are sometimes false accusations made by students. I recall that when I lived in D.C. in the early 1990s, a junior high school teacher was accused of sexual misconduct by several girls in his class. The evidence seemed overwhelming given the number of complaints. The teacher was pilloried in the press. But when the police interviewed each girl individually, they did not corroborate the other stories, and in a matter of days, they all admitted they had trumped up the charges to punish a teacher who had given them too much work and had too high standards. That was an elementary lesson: an accusation is not a conviction. Everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
One curious aspect to this copycat case is that no one has been able to establish the basic claim that every child would have a “great” teacher if no teacher had due process rights or any job protections whatever. What seems more likely is that teachers will flee to affluent districts, if they can, to avoid the low value-added scores that are attached to teaching the most challenging students. Inner-city schools attended by the poorest children will find it more difficult to maintain a stable staff. Some victory that would be.
If people like Campbell Brown really cared about poor kids, they would fight for small class sizes, arts teachers, school nurses, libraries, and improved conditions for teaching and learning. They don’t.