Does StudentsFirst deserve a seat at the policy table?


In August I blogged about the intersection of money, politics, and educator evaluation here in Iowa. Today, reporter Mike Wiser quotes me in his Sioux City Journal article about the growing presence of StudentsFirst, Michelle Rhee’s advocacy organization, in our state:

We have seen the rise of influence of outside advocacy groups that are essentially buying access to the political process. There are lots of good ideas out there in the marketplace of ideas, but what worries me is when those ideas come attached to a big donation check, well, we know money talks in politics. [this should not be read as me saying that StudentsFirst has good ideas!]

During my interview with Mike, he asked me if I thought StudentsFirst deserved a place at the policy table. Brain-fried from a long day of working with principals, I think I mumbled that I don’t know how organizations get selected for statewide committees or what the criteria are (or should be). But maybe it’s best to turn the question around…

If an outside advocacy organization

but is more than willing to lavish large contributions around so that it floods local school board elections with unprecedented monies and is the biggest contributor to state legislative races, do you think it deserves a seat at the policymaking table?

2 Responses to “Does StudentsFirst deserve a seat at the policy table?”

  1. Thanks for consolidating all that info, Scott!

    Students First should have no more say than PTAs or PTOs, and not be able to lobby or otherwise buy their way to influence. And never get an actual vote on a policy making board.

    I’ll be sharing this info with our admin.

    Thanks again!

  2. The problem is that the seat that was supposed to be offered… or is missing… at the table was set aside for an Iowa parent. This article helps me to see clearly that her role on this committee is that of students first. This was not a position for another entity to be representative but for a parent. I know many members of the PTA in districts around the state who would have been very willing to be that parent voice. I think we need to be honest and call the role what it is which is what you did here. It is that of students first. Thank you as the majority of the committee is also a parent…

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