Top school officials urged employees to attend rally for their boss

At least three school officials used their city e-mail to encourage BPS employees to attend a weekend rally in support of School Superintendent Carol Johnson - under fire for the Rodney Peterson affair.

The rally came the day after a group of parents - led by parents at Boston Latin Academy and the Mission Hill K-8 School - began a petition drive seeking Johnson's ouster.

Michele Brooks, an assistant superintendent, Samuel DePina, BPS assistant chief operating officer, and Jill Carter, executive director of the BPS health and wellness department, sent mass mailings out Thursday afternoon to BPS principals and program directors, urging them to attend the rally. In her message, Brooks wrote:

On this Saturday, July 14th, at 10 am there will be a rally to show support and appreciation for Dr. Johnson. It will take place at the Bethel AME Church at 40 Walk Hill St. in Jamaica Plain.

Dr. Johnson has done much to support the engagement of families, students and the community in Boston Public School. Her commitment to engagement is evident in the Acceleration Agenda where deepening partnerships is identified was a key strategy. Her support of Parent University and FCOCs [Family and Community Outreach Coordinators] has been unwavering. I hope you'll consider joining the rally. Please invite and share the invitation with your contacts.

Carter wrote:

Dear Wellness Council members,

On this Saturday, July 14th, at 10 am there will be a rally to show support and appreciation for Dr. Johnson. It will take place at the Bethel AME Church at 40 Walk Hill St. in Jamaica Plain.

Dr. Johnson has done much to support the health and wellness of Boston Public School students and staff. I hope you'll consider joining the rally. Please invite and share the invitation with your contacts.

Be well,


DePina simply forwarded a copy of Carter's message, with an "FYI" attached.

In addition to community members and school officials, city Councilors Ayanna Pressley and Felix Arroyo (at large) and Tito Jackson (Roxbury) attended the rally to show their support.



    Free tagging: 


    Is there anything so wrong with that?

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    It's one thing if employees are encouraged to attend but not obligated to attend. My father (years ago) was a BPS custodian who, in order to get a promotion he was entitled to, had to campaign for a school committee member. I really hope those days are gone.

    You don't have to be

    You don't have to be explicitly 'obligated.' They have someone at the meeting, taking down names. That is why things like this can't be allowed. There is no such thing as 'voluntary.'

    My former employer did that.

    By on

    I used to work for the YMCA of Greater Boston. They had two "voluntary" employee fundraising drives. I passed, because I couldn't afford to give money to any charity due to the low wages they paid me.

    Lo and behold, the branch executive director had a spreadsheet of all employees, how much they gave that year, and how much they'd given in previous years. They called my department in and issued threats to the few core employees who hadn't given any money, saying that they absolutely needed the money on their desk by 5 pm "or else."

    None of us caved, but we were all treated with appropriate disdain for it.

    Nice career you have there

    By on

    Nice career you have there buddy.... it would be a shame if something happened to it.

    Give united!

    As a former employee if the

    By on

    As a former employee if the YMCA, I am perplexed by the statements of the also former y employee. Most nonprofits do ask their employees to give annually and being a United Way beneficiary they had to agree that they would also ask their employees to give to that. Or else? Seriously? I don't believe that happened. You give because you are mission-drive and any amount, however small, is appreciated.

    Former Y Employee again

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    It did happen!

    The first few campaigns I worked there for, my boss gave all of our staff the donation information, explained the mission of the campaign, and said that they knew most of us were on a budget and that any contribution of any amount would be greatly appreciated.

    This last campaign, that boss was absent on the very last day of the campaign. The branch director sent someone into my office with a list of all of the employees in the branch, how much they'd given in previous years, and how much they'd given that year. The people in my department who had not participated were highlighted and I was told that I had to get their money by the end of the day, "or else." Never mind the fact that they were shift workers who weren't scheduled to be in again for the next few days- I had to get their money NOW.

    So first, this meant they were keeping track of who donated and how much each year, cumulatively over your career. And second, this meant they were showing this list to other employees who then knew what everyone could afford.

    There was an incentive for 100% staff participation that they gave to the directors. I'm sure that inspired this ridiculous behavior. But still, I think shaking down minimum-wage part-time staff with threats was shameful.

    Key words: "United

    By on

    Key words: "United Way".

    United Way is *widely* known for its corporate shakedown tactics.


    Also well known for the very low percentage of money raised that ever sees a charitable beneficiary, as well as widespread accounting fraud.

    I really hope those days are gone.

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    Unfortunately nothing has changed since your father was a BPS custodian. Peterson started his new job at the 1,300-student O’Bryant after the school he had been leading, the small Odyssey High School in South Boston, was closing because of poor academic performance. Guess why Peterson was promoted.

    To be fair, Odyssey High was

    To be fair, Odyssey High was failing for years when he was put into that position and he was given less than two years to turn it around. Now it's Green Academy, a charter school which the new headmaster has much more control of his staff and how things are done.

    Speaking as a current BPS custodian we don't campaign for any school committee member. It's the city council who we need on our side.

    It's not students first at BPS

    In my interaction with at least one of these people, it was clearly stated to me that the school employee had at least an equal claim as the students to the priorities of the school department.

    These notes represent a message to school employees from top to bottom so they know who's buttering the bread.

    Unless something else changes that will be the same whether C.J. stays or goes.

    Health and Wellness Director

    By on

    I attend the rally also if I had a phony job title like this must be good for at least 100,00 grand

    nice contextual advertising

    By on

    Did anyone else notice the irony of this ad which appears next to the discussion:
    Now is this an ad about how we got Carol Johnson or is the internet serving up an option for her?

    Google is brilliant

    By on

    That little triangularish thing in the top right corner means it was a Google ad, and Google's all about the contexualization :-).


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    Not having kids and not being in the education field means I'm really not up on the whole BPS thing. At the periphery of my vision I have been noticing a lot of civil society heavy hitters out there with their cheerleader outfits on for charter schools (principally the Boston Foundation, but many others as well). I thought it was interesting some of the people speaking out in support of Carol Johnson in the Globe's letters to the Editor (Boston Private Industry Council, Boston Alliance of Charter Schools) were charter supporters while those voting her off the island were typically retired teachers and whatnot. Larry Harmon had a piece on all of this as well.

    Like I said, not being in the know on the education field, I found the responses kind of super-sized. The woman messed up with the wife-beating principal or whatever he was, but that was put out there as the cherry on top of a huge pile o poo that merits her being tarred and feathered. The other side brushes aside the whole incident and thinks she should have a statue on the Comm Ave mall. I don't understand either side's reaction much, which makes me think that this whole thing has a lot more to do with collecting student vouchers and raking in municipal tax dollars than anything else.

    Can any edu-versed UHubbers out there provide the skinny on this?

    Charters and politics notwithstanding

    It seems Johnson's performance has been declining of late, at least according to the School Committee. This Globe piece from May 25 described her most recent evaluations. Although the City Councilors defending her are right that "nobody's perfect", the question is how much imperfection are we willing to shell out $250,000 a year for? That'a lot of money to do a generally mediocre job combined with periodic glaring lapses of judgment. Who does she think she is, a big-bank CEO or something?

    This is news? How is this any

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    This is news? How is this any different from the weekly polemics BTU members receive from their union boss? You can believe if there is an action scheduled, they all get their marching orders.

    No Surprises here

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    None of these folks want to lose their jobs- which will happen if a new superintendent comes into office. Same thing with Menino when he runs for re-election- all his lackeys write letters of support to all their friends. Nothing is going to change in this city until Menino retires.

    Petition link

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    It's here (I've also added the link to the original post).