Tag Archives: Michelle Rhee

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?

Is this what we want for our students and for our schools?

Dan M says:

[Is] there a country on earth with a successful education system that has ever operated the way [Michelle] Rhee insists this country’s education system should be run? Does Finland, the model for the world, have any of the following: Teach for Finland? KIPP Finland? the Finnish Parent Trigger? the Finnish merit pay system based on student test scores? union-busting organizations like Students First / Finland? No, it has none of this. No. The country that has a system closest to the one pushed by Rhee, Broad, Gates, Walton and others… is Chile… which has, thanks to a CIA coup and decades of ZERO democracy, instituted all of Rhee’s beloved practices. The result? The education system there is an unmitigated, free market disaster… with stratification, low academic achievement, zero democratic oversight of the privatized system… with the only folks benefiting being the “bosses” of these Walmart-ized chains of schools. Every other subgroup – students, parents, teachers, citizens – are worse off, and thus, the protests in that country are ramping up every year.


via http://garyrubinstein.teachforus.org/2013/10/04/super-rhee-go/#comment-640518