Gosh, I can't believe that Michelle Rhee would ever inflate numbers...Written by Stephen Sawchuk for EdWeek. Read the entire article here.
“StudentsFirst… claims to have 1.3 million members, each of whom has donated an average of $40. Individuals can become members through several channels, including by signing up at a live event; through outreach drives at college campuses; signing up on its website; signing the organization’s pledge; or signing one of its petitions hosted on outside websites.In the latter instance, some critics contend that StudentsFirst’s petitions are designed to capture as many members as possible, thus inflating the totals.Ric Brown, a professor in the New York City-based Pratt Institute’s department of social sciences and cultural studies, said that while signing an unrelated petition on the change.org website, the site presented him with a petition supporting higher pay for teachers, which he also signed. Only on closer inspection, he said, did he see that the petition was sponsored by StudentsFirst, whose policy goals he eschews.
“It was very deceptive,” Mr. Brown said. “It would be very easy to collect a lot of members this way.”StudentsFirst officials dispute such accounts, saying that its petitions are clearly marked and that signatories can opt out of membership before signing, or cancel it afterwards.Impressive membership numbers aside, some of the advocacy groups’ grassroots efforts have been disputed. For example, StudentsFirst officials say that its members sent nearly 200,000 messages to the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee shortly after committee leaders deleted mandatory teacher evaluations from a draft bill to renew the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. But a committee official said, ‘We did not receive anywhere close to that number of emails.’“ [emphasis mine]
Here in Jersey, Students First's "affiliate" is B4K. B4k gave away backpacks this past fall, which was a GOOD thing. But they required families to register if they wanted one of the free backpacks. I have a very simple question:
Are the families who registered for B4K's backpacks now listed as members of Students First?
I'm just asking...