So I decided to check out MichelleRheeFirst Facebook page and came across this little ditty;
Following today's tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the entire StudentsFirst family is mourning with the victims, their families, and the entire community of Newtown, Connecticut. We have offered our colleagues in the state any assistance they may need.
There are no adequate words to express the horror and senseless nature of violence in our schools. It happens far too often in our country. As a mother myself, I understand the hesitation every parent will feel in the coming days when they kiss their children and send them off to school -- to a place of learning and growth that ought to be a safe haven from violence.Our children are our most valuable assets, and we lost too many of them today. Today's event forces us to ask ourselves: how are we expected to foster an environment in which students can learn, grow, thrive, and set off on positive life-paths when we cannot guarantee basic needs such as their safety?But events like these also strengthen our resolve to do exactly that -- improve schools for children and thereby improve entire communities. The entire StudentsFirst organization -- including the members of our team in Connecticut -- recommit ourselves to that mission today, as we pause to send our thoughts and prayers to those affected in Newtown.[...]
For Rhee and her sycophants to call these teachers in Newtown colleagues is not only laughable, but it is worse. It is vulgar. One of the worst vulgarities I have ever seen. These teachers are career teachers, went into teaching to have a career, a lifetime of education children. Rhee and her ilk stand for everything that is opposite of these two teachers belief systems.Read the entire thing, and get as angry about this as I am. SBS is right: Rhee and her crew have no right to call educators "colleagues." Rhee was an educational tourist, and she couldn't even tell the truth about her very short career (that never stopped the press from canonizing her, though). And does a "colleague" spend her time taking away the workplace protections - like tenure - of fellow "colleagues"?
But beyond that, here's what really frosts me about Rhee's opportunism: what has StudentsFirst ever done to improve school safety?
Despite her protestations, it's clear that Rhee has taken a sharp right turn in her politics. StudentsFirst overwhelmingly supported Republicans in the last election, including many budget-slashing Tea Partiers. Did the candidates she supported advocate for putting more resources into school safety? And were these same candidates beholden to the NRA, as so many on the right are?
I've never seen SF take up school safety as an issue; that stands in stark contrast to teachers unions, which fight to make schools safe places for teachers to work and, consequently, safe places for students to learn. Take Chicago, where the CTU has highlighted both the problems of poor school safety and the inequitable distribution of safety resources:
I looked for a similar discussion on the StudentsFirst website; I couldn't find it. In fact, it appears SF's response to school safety issues is not to fight to make schools more secure, but to, instead, give some parents the "choice" to move some children out of unsafe schools.
Maybe SF should have saved the massive amounts of money they poured into defeating public school teachers running for public office, like Maureen Reedy and Marie Corfield. These two educators know first hand the problems with and dangers of inadequate school safety; if StudentsFirst wanted strong advocates for keeping students protected while in schools, they couldn't have found better voices than these two.
But school safety has never been part of SF's agenda. Test-based teacher evaluation, charter schools, gutting teacher workplace protections, eliminating local control of schools - that's what Rhee is all about. Now she wants to get out in front of the inevitable push to make our schools safe.
Well, better late than never, Michelle. But this time, why don't you shut up and listen to teachers for a change. You might learn something.
Listen to teachers?! You can't be serious!