Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Is Bill Cosby Still On The StudentsFirst Board? (UPDATED - 10:40 AM)

StudentsFirst seems to have scrubbed their website a bit.

When I put in a Google search for Bill Cosby + Board of Directors + StudentsFirst, here's what comes up:

StudentsFirst Board of Directors |
One of America's most beloved comedians of all time, Bill Cosby has captivated generations of fans with his comedy routines, iconic albums and best-selling ...

And yet, when you click on that link, you don't find the page with the Board of Directors listed or the page with Cosby listed as sitting on the board.

Instead, you just get the StudentsFirst.Org page.

I looked around the StudentsFirst website, including under the "Who We Are" tab.

The Board of Directors page seems to have disappeared from the site.

Now I see plenty of stories about Cosby joining StudentsFirst back in September 2012.

I even see a video of him talking about StudentsFirst and education reform.

But I don't see any stories about him stepping down.

Strange that has lots of information about "Meeting Their Team" - including Michelle Rhee - and learning about their "Mission," but alas, no information about their board.

You'd think they want to publicize information about their board, especially since there are some real luminaries sitting on it, including Roland Martin, Joel Klein, Connie Chung and Bill Cosby.

It's as if something happened recently that made them decide to scrub their Board of Directors page, but rather than own up to it, they did it in the dark and hoped nobody noticed.

Now it's possible I've gotten this all wrong here and I'm just missing the information about the Board of Directors at StudentsFirst and all the wonderful members on it.

It's possible that I'm just missing the information about Cosby and his commitment to education reform and children on the Studentsfirst website.

Or it's possible that Cosby stepped down and I'm missing the notice for that on the World Wide Web.

Though I don't think this is the case - Valerie Strauss has a Washington Post piece dated August 13, 2014 about Michelle Rhee stepping down from StudentsFirst and joining Miracle Gro and Cosby is said to still be a member of the StudentsFirst board as of that date.

So it seems likely Cosby was still a member of the StudentsFirst Board of Directors when the sexual assault allegations against Cosby that have long been in the public domain went viral the past few weeks.

It seems that StudentsFirst wanted to distance themselves from the sexual assault (including statutory rape) allegations against Cosby as quickly and as quietly as they could.

If they did want to distance themselves from Cosby and the growing scandal around him, it's a shame they didn't go public and explain EXACTLY why they wanted to do that.

Berklee College of Music did just that with a scholarship Cosby sponsored at the school.

Alas, it seems the "students first" people at StudentsFirst haven't take that same route.

That's a shame - this could have been a teachable moment for us all, as the "Blame Teachers First" crowd turned on one of their own who looks to be a serial sexual assaulter.

You can bet if this was a teacher alleged to have committed these egregious acts, the StudentsFirst crowd wouldn't have gone quietly.

But they seem to have taken the coward's route out instead and scrubbed him away in the middle of the night.

If I've gotten any of this wrong, I will publicly apologize to StudentsFirst and Michelle Rhee herself  for vilifying them for secretly scrubbing their ties away to a man alleged to have committed at least 18 acts of sexual assault and more coming out every day.

Just let me know, StudentsFirst folks.

Is Bill Cosby still a member of your board or not?

UPDATED - 10:40 AM: Patrick Sullivan left the following comment on the post:

 Looks like they took their board page down. Google has a cached copy as of 10/31 that includes Cosby. This link should bring it up:

It seems Michelle Rhee and StudentsFirst did not have the guts to go public with their cutting Cosby loose.

Too bad, but not unexpected.

After all, Rhee helped sexual misconduct allegations against her husband, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, go away.

It seems Ms. Rhee and her fellow ed deformers are only looking for accountability against people who are accused of sexual misconduct when they're teachers.


  1. Looks like they took their board page down. Google has a cached copy as of 10/31 that includes Cosby. This link should bring it up:

    1. Thanks, Patrick. I will update the post.

      Too bad they didn't have the guts to make the cut with Cosby publicly.

  2. I wasn't Jesuit trained in logic or anything but if StudentsLast is ok with sexual predators can we conclude they probably don't give a shit about kids?

    1. Rhee married one alleged sexual predator, put another one of the StudentsFirst board. It seems she certainly is not bothered by men who prey on young women, at least when it comes to associating with them in her personal life or business circle. Seems it only bothers her when she can use it as a bludgeon against employees, as she did when she alleged D.C. teachers she fired were pedophiles or predators when they weren't.

    2. You're talking about how Rhee, as D.C. Chancellor, fabricated a $300 million budget deficit in the fall of 2009. In turn, that non-existent budget deficit allowed her to ignore seniority in the selection of which teachers needed to be fired.

      At the same time, Rhee secretly hired hundreds of Teach for America Corps Members to be standing by waiting in the wings.

      Predictably, she then fired 266 of the highest-paid veteran teachers while providing no basis (i.e. imcompence, non-performance, etc.) for doing so because well, in this scenario, she didn't really have to. (And that's the system that Campbell Brown and the Vergara-funders are trying to bring about, by the way, but that's another story... )

      To precise, Rhee ordered her newly-installed corporate-reform-bot principals to fire these 266 teachers, then replace them with the TFA's. By the way, all of those TFA's left D.C. two years later, to be replaced by another set of TFA's two years later, and another, and another... (This revolving door of TFA's has enraged and to this day, is still enraging the parents and students in those schools... but that's another story.)

      Months later in February 2010, the proud and triumphant Rhee gave an interview with FAST COMPANY, a pro-business, pro-corporate reform magazine.

      When asked about the above actions, she justified it by saying that those 266 teachers whom she fired were mostly pedophiles and abusers.
      FAST COMPANY : "After the October layoffs of 266 teachers and staff, the union claimed Rhee used a budget crunch as a pretext for dismissing veteran teachers, since seniority rules don't cover cuts for fiscal reasons.

      " 'I got rid of teachers who had hit children, who had had sex with children, who had missed 78 days of school,' Rhee says. 'Why wouldn't we take those things into consideration?' "

      The response to Ms. Rhee at the time was...

      Hey, Michelle! You don't use---or rather, fabricate---a budget deficit to go after the implied hundreds (or dozens) of alleged pedophiles and child-batterers in your schools... YOU GO TO THE FREAKIN' POLICE!!!! Everyone in education---and most people outside education---know full well that failure to do so will result in severe consequences, including losing your teacher's or administrator's credential, termination, a life-time ban from education, or a civil lawsuit from the parent of any children who are abused as a result of your failure to report.

      Therefore, Ms. Rhee, as a mandated reporter of any and all suspicions of child abuse in your schools...

      1) DID you ever go to the police with these allegations and proof corroborating them?

      2) Did ANYONE ELSE in the then-administration of D.C. Public Schools---also mandated reporters---ever go to the police with these allegations and proof corroborating them?

      3) What were the exact numbers of pedophiles and child-batterers among the cohort of the 266 dismissed teachers?

      The answer to the first two questions were "No" and "No."

      As for the third question, she eventually was able to produced 1 teacher accused of inappropriate sexual behavior---which could have mean just being VERBALLY inappropriate, and nothing physical.



      Clearly, however, the FAST COMPANY quote implied that there were significantly more pedophiles and child-batterers among the 266.

      Then and now, Ms. Rhee and so many of her corporate-reform privatization allies WILL TELL WHATEVER LIE SHE WANTS TO TELL WHENEVER SHE WANTS TO TELL THEM, AND BASICALLY GET AWAY WITH DOING SO WITH NO NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCE (like Joe McCarthy with his various lists of alleged Communists working in the State Department or Defense Department that he would wave around in speeches, but never turn over to anyone in government or in the press).

      For more school privatization mendacity, check out former NYC Schools' chief and corporate reform puppet Joel Klein's litany of lies in his new book (in a devastating article written by an insider who worked for Klein) :

      The proof that Rhee's foundational but ultimately phantom $300 million budget deficit was fabricated came in the fall of 2010 when Rhee was in the middle of contract negotiations and they needed $300 million dollars to fund the proposed contract's dubious merit pay component.

      Incredibly, Michelle responded by saying that the budget deficit from a year earlier was not as bad as they thought. In fact, it turns out there really was no $300 million budget deficit after all, and that's the money that can and will fund the proposed merit pay system.

      People then responded, "Whoa, whoa, hold on here... If that's the case, then---from both a moral and practical basis---you should hire back all those veteran teachers, with decades of experience, whom you now are freely admitting were wrongfully fired."

      "F--- no!", replied Rhee, claiming that this was all a done deal that could not be undone. ("It's too late for that. We need to move forward," were here Rhee's actual words, not "F--- no!"... by the way.)

      What's also of interest is that this same February 2010 FAST COMPANY article also gives a preview of the disaster that Rhee's hare-brained "merit pay" system will eventually lead to. The article touts the increase in D.C. Public School test scores at the time:
      FAST COMPANY: "The release of 2009 test scores was good news for Rhee: Only D.C. and four states showed gains in math for fourth and eighth graders.

      " ' We're not good yet,' she says, 'but I'm seeing the quality of instruction improving.' "

      This was a little over a year before the April 2011 USA TODAY expose that showed over 80 schools had principals---and teachers under those principals' orders---cheating by changing the answer sheets from wrong to right. The statisticians proclaimed that, in its totality, the odds of that vast quantity of wrong-to-right answers was "greater than winning the Powerball lottery."



      Many of those teachers implicated---i.e. those with suspiciously high wrong-to-right erasures---were... you guessed it... the same TFA Corps Members---along with TFA teachers hired pre-2009--- that Rhee, using the phony budget deficit, had hired to replace the veterans who were fired in Fall 2009.

      The mind boggles.

      Rhee claimed she had no idea there was such rampant cheating. However, two years in 2013, later, reporter John Merrow, a formerly-pro-Rhee-cheerleader-later-turned-virulent-detractor, unearthed a memo that she informed of the full extent of the cheating:

      Rhee's only comment about this has been to L.A. Times reporter Howard Blume, where she said that a lot of memos came across her desk back then, and well, she "didn't see this one"... la-di-da... la-di-da...

      In this same article, Blume calls Rhee out on her lie that she and her aides keep telling about Rhee is "a public school parent," when the fact is that her kids attend private schools.

      Rhee's defense (SEE BELOW) makes no sense... Her explanation---or rather, non-explanation---for her and her aides' previous lying is analogous to saying...

      RHEE: "I say that my hair is blonde when my hair is really black, but that's okay, because I believe in my choice to keep it black. I think I should be able to choose my hair color… and every person should have that option, too."

      Can you make any sense of this?

      BLUME: "(Rhee) has previously described herself as a 'public-school parent.' An aide repeated that phrase when The Times asked directly if Rhee's children were in public or private school.

      " 'I try to maintain some level of privacy for my kids by not divulging too much information,' Rhee said. 'I say I'm a public-school parent when my kid goes to private school.'

      " ' I believe in parental choice,' she said. 'I think I should be able to choose … and every parent should have that option too.' "


      I'll end this free-form stream of consciousness post with the words of Santayana:

      "Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it."

    5. Just as a PSA to the readers out there: most, if not all, of this post is nothing more than misformation at best and flat out fabrication at worst. To those who oppose ed reformers: if you're looking for someone to carry your flag, I suggest avoiding this guy, at least until his ramblings move toward coherency and away form tinfoil hat-y.