I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hey, What Ever Happened To Those Backpacks?

Oh, my:
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]
Gosh, I can't believe that Michelle Rhee would ever inflate numbers...

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...


Unknown said...

Stupid Question, you know they are. Aside from that, they probably are inundated with propaganda on at least a weekly basis.

isthisrob said...

How DARE you point this out! Michelle Rhee is only trying to line her pock--I mean, save children from terrible schools like yours! What are you, some kind of child-hating union goon?

Mother Crusader said...

This picture may answer your question.


StudentsFirst did not miss the opportunity to be there beside B4K, and you can bet the piano that those parents all got signed on as members.

After all, check out the B4K and StudentsFirst signage. The are well aware that they can't create a "movement to transform public education" in New Jersey without the "voice" of parents.

Never mind that these are parents who made their voice heard to say, "Sure, I could really use some free school supplies! What? Sign where? OK..."

Oh, and to be fair, they did give the kids pizza too. Lunch and a backpack full of supplies is all you need to cut public education off at the knees in New Jersey.

Madagan said...

This past fall, students were given free B4K backpacks in the Perth Amboy School District. I wonder who allowed that distribution to take place..........

Duke said...

Thx, all. Madagan, I did not know that - funny!

Madagan said...

Not really funny. Every time we turn around we hear something about the "fabulous" charter schools in PA. Here's the kicker--I actually spoke to someone not too long ago, who works within that "fabulous" charter school and she said to me that "She was a bit worried that they weren't going to be able to show student progress." Of course, they have no special education students or students with behavior problems. Oh ya, and the students are chosen by lottery. Ya, okay. It makes me so angry.
As for those backpacks, we, the staff, didn't realize that the name on them represented "Charter." Someone had googled the name and it was then that we realized what was going on.

Duke said...

Apologies, Madagan - I didn't mean to diminish the situation. But the thought of B4K passing out backpacks in Janine Caffrey's district, and then they put up a huge PR campaign for her... well, that strikes me as... ironic?

What do you mean about the name representing "charter"? You mean "B4K"? Or was something else written on the packs?

Madagan said...

No, I meant that this organization was pro-charter. No need to apologize at all. I'm just worried. ( I am worried because there are many things that she's doing that is just not working. Things like: programs that she wants that don't work, but are still purchased, getting rid of one whole school library to run another program that doesn't really address our at-risk population, the lack of consistency throughout the district, and most of all a discipline policy that is allowing the kids to curse and threaten teachers, among other things. Now, the kids know that they can get away with anything they want--so, they in turn, are running the schools--behavior problems so bad that it is nearly impossible for teachers to actually teach. I really don't blame the administrators at all--they work really hard, but their backs are up against the wall.)