Michelle Rhee made a splash Monday with her announcement of a new organization – Students First – to push her education reform priorities.The advocacy group will be “a new voice to change the balance of power in public education,” Ms. Rhee promises in a Newsweek cover story that she wrote, which was kept under wraps until after her appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" Monday morning.
And – as was the case when she was chancellor of Washington, D.C., schools – she promises not to “shy away from conflict.”
“When [Rhee] left D.C., she kept saying she recognized that there was a need for a political support and political ground game to support that kind of reform,” says Frederick Hess, the American Enterprise Institute’s director of education policy studies, referring to controversial changes Rhee enacted in Washington, including closing schools, firing teachers, and changing union contracts. “She very explicitly is setting out to be a political answer to the unions.”Yes, that's exactly what we need: educators have got to be MORE politicized!
Students First will be a membership-driven organization, and Rhee’s goal for the first year is to garner 1 million members and raise $1 billion, a large sum of money that could be spent backing reform-minded candidates and policy changes around the country.Oh, yes, I'm sure there are one million people ready to give $1000 EACH to fund Michele Rhee's propaganda campaign. Or is she maybe thinking that it may be better to get a few really deep-pocketed backers instead? Because that money just smells SO good...
Laugh at me if you want, but this is yet another step toward the corporatization of education. Buying credibility for shills like Rhee is a necessary step in the private take-over of public education.
Later, when the IPO for KIPP schools goes out, you can apologize for calling me paranoid.
But hey, there's a way you can prove me wrong, Michelle. We all know you were an awesome teacher: your entire resume is based on the notion that you rocked in the classroom.
Well, why not go back? Show us you can really do what you say you can. Get a classroom in Newark or Detroit or Baltimore and work your magic.
In fact, I propose we take that billion and use just a small fraction to fund a three-year stint for you in a rough and tumble inner-city school. Do what you say you can. Put up or shut up.
If not, just go away...