Tag Archives: education

In Defense of The Arts… And Sciences

The Arts & Sciences are profoundly important to a decent education however arts and science have been decimated in public schools.

Indeed, the US is no longer the number one place to receive an education according to one study, having slipped to 16 in the share of degree attainment of young adults according to the Washington Post.

President Trump plans to cut the budget for arts, planning to adopt the Heritage Foundation’s “skinny budget” according to report by Fortune Magazine.

This would be a travesty at a time when educational attainment and science and math scores are slipping.

Music and the arts teach critical thinking and are intrinsically linked to math and science due to the critical thinking skills that music & arts teaches and requires.

The education Fresno Unified School District provided to my friends and I was topnotch,  2 magnet schools, Holland Project TALENT (now Bullard) and Roosevelt High School.

In both schools arts and science were integrated.

Roosevelt is home of the School of Performing Arts of which my classmates, Audra McDonald and Sharon Leal are perhaps the best known.

I can only tell you that our school did very well in Academic Decathalon, finishing second in CA my Senior year (my friends from junior high and high school were core of team, coached by legendary Dave Sischo) and of course anyone probably knows Audra has won the most Tony’s ever.

To gut funding for the Arts & Sciences damages the funding for Roosevelt High School Performing Arts programs.  Roosevelt is an inner city school (yup) which was actually bussed INTO my freshman year for desegregation.

I have been lucky to have talked to 2 Medal of Honor winners in my lifetime.  Greg “Pappy” Boyington (who lived in Sunnyside behind a friends house) and General Chuck Yeager.

I only know General Yeager through twitter, however the joy I experience in talking to General Yeager is matched by the music in a symphony.

No music.  No NASA.  No Magic Carpet Rides.  Simple as that.

I would remiss to point out that NASA is as unconstitutional as the National Endowment of the Arts, if we are going to get technical.

Quite frankly I think federal funding through Dept of Education should be used to balance out inequities between funding levels in school districts and to ensure that arts and sciences are taught at a high level as a priority.

That, and make sure kids aren’t hungry so they can learn.









How To “Other” Students in Oakland Unified Schools District. @OUSDNews #education

Oakland schools are in crisis.

In a March report of The Post News Group, Ron Smith, OUSD Network Superintendent noted that  a huge percentage of students are “low income” which I take to means qualifies for federal aid for free school lunches, etc.

Given they are noted as being in the “flatlands” of Oakland and not in the hills I assume most of the students are minority students as well.

“Eighty-eight percent (of our students) are low income. We have two or three jobs, many parents don’t have both partners at home. I don’t care about these numbers,” the parent said.

Especially troublesome to me personally is that charter schools would have to “co locate” with existing schools and parents were worried that music and engineering programs would end.

Given my experience of attending a magnet school in Fresno, Holland Project T.A.L.E.N.T., I know that co location is not good for the school children.

It creates a real sense of “other” as while physical space is shared, there is very little actual interaction between the two separate and distinct classes of students.

I always wondered where the half of the school kids that were in the classrooms I was in were.  Were they being bussed out so I could be bussed in?

While Project T.A.L.E.N.T. was and continues to be a success for FUSD, the school did relocate to it’s own campus shortly after I left there after 8th grade.

The least amongst us need to have access to music, arts, science and engineering increased, not decreased to allow charter schools.

OR kids not in the non charter school part of the now co located schools not be given the same opportunities and programs as kids on the same physical school grounds.

That should be clear.

If Oakland can’t do it the state should step in.

Co location of charter schools is a horrible idea.  If the charter school doesn’t have the resources to start their own campus, don’t do it.

Would You Trust This Educator With Your Child’s Safety? #Education #Cybersecurity #UVA

Update 11/4/2015:  We’ve confirmed that Steven L. Johnson is not listed as a “Brand Manager/Admin” on the EmpireKred website.  He remains a leader of EmpireKred.

Steven Johnson - Copy


Steven L. Johnson, Ph.D (@stevenljohnson) is an educator, and a former Brand Manager/Admin at social media gaming company, Empire Avenue (since renamed EmpireKred).

Why would a Brand Manager/Admin not respond to a safety threat to his own customer?

This negates a key safety provision of Twitter’s and leaves Gareth Davies free to attack and harass customers of Empire Avenue’s (or whoever else he abuses.)




EmpireKred has not made clear if Professor Johnson still holds that title, as Kred has not been forthcoming with much information subsequent to their buying Empire Avenue .

Edit 11/4/2015:  Confirmed Professor Johnson is no longer listed as a Brand Manager/Admin on the Empire.Kred site.

One customer describes the takeover as “creepy.”


Things Have Changed


Professor Johnson authored the following study, entitled…

The Emergence of Online Community Leadership

while employed at Temple University.

Professor Johnson was asked  the following direct question as to whether people from Empire Avenue were involved in the research.

Professor Johnson failed to provide a direct response.



Were Empire Avenue customers involved?

This is an entirely fair question given the documented history of Empire Avenue.

According to Chris Voss of The Chris Voss Show, nationally recognized social media expert,

Empire Avenue Fail 5 post overview: Over 5 posts on my blogs I documented issues with Empire Avenue, from their rogue volunteers, running a “wall of shame” on Brands, attacking Brands reputations online, not answering complaints, having a “goon squad” of endorsed volunteers attacking customers who complained, refusing to discipline internally thereby encouraging more attacks on Brands, etc. What I witnessed was the worst travesty in the annals of customer service I have ever seen. After a month of private discussions with EA to change things, I went public. Only then did they begin to change, but the attacks on me and others grew by their “goon squad.” In the end, I went to EA’s Angel Investor and EA had to shut down its Chat Room and Chat Mod “goons squad.” EA shamelessly has never apologized or produced it damning chat logs as promised by their CEO. This is one of those posts, you can read the rest by Search in the upper right for ‘Empire.’ Don’t play EA or if you do save your REAL money.



A COMPANY NEEDS TO PROTECT ITS CUSTOMERS! I think we can all agree it’s morally wrong for customers to be abused for complaints and speaking out. Its even sicker when those people are allowed to continue and the company does nothing.


Professor Johnson was mentioned in, and apparently ignored Gareth Davies (@me_gareth) admission that he cannot be blocked on Twitter.

Obviously this raises many profound ethical questions for Professor Johnson, at least.

Have Empire Avenue customers unknowingly been “observed” and their reactions included in any research conducted by Professor Johnson?

When does “observation” become “participation”?

Is it when you are in an authority position at Empire Avenue as not only a “Leader” (Professor Johnson’s Empire Avenue profile has the “leadership” badge), but an appointed Brand Manager/Admin?

Is your child (or anyone else) “fair game” if they happen to be a customer of Empire Avenue’s and a student at the university at which he now teaches, the University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce?

Why would an authority figure, and business school educator ignore that the business he’s a Brand Manager/Admin at is abusing their customers on a social media platform whose market they rely upon for their business?

Gareth Davies has been suspended by Twitter for tweeting a customers private information and violent threats.

He has been warned for non violent threats.

Additionally, Team Leader Nance Larson (@nancelarson) participated in doxing a customer, Leader Chris Sandys (@usafa_93) was warned for non violent threats, and Keith Gill (@Digitalkeith) had his twitter account locked.

Keith Gill Account Locked 1042015 Gareth Davies Violent Threats Warning  Gareth Davies Private Information Suspension

Chris Sandys Non Violent Threats Warning


Empire Avenue Leaders were advertised as.

Empire Avenue leadership


All at a company this “educator” is (was?) a Brand Manager/Admin at.


Leaders RulesLeaders Rules (2) Steven L. Johnson Brand Manager Admin


Example (doxing a customer)


Why would Professor Johnson not stop such outrageous conduct?

Gareth Davies even announces his intent to bully myself, a customer of Empire Avenue…


Abuse by Empire Avenue leaders of their own customers on Twitter led to a CA DoJ inquiry into Twitter, and the SF DA’s office twice opened files.

Gareth Davies was a central figure in that travesty of abuse of their own customers which Professor Johnson ignored.




I predict some of the world will obsessively read and try to stop such consumer advocacy blogging.

The rest of the world will probably avoid the company.