Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst Group Views Union Battles As 'Distractions'

Wake up, progressives. Michelle Rhee and her Rupert Murdoch-funded StudentsFirst organization is not progressive today, it wasn't progressive yesterday, and it won't be tomorrow.

StudentsFirst has no problem with states that want to voucherize public education and kill public schools one agonizing drip at a time. But if that didn't convince you, I would like you to pay close attention to how StudentsFirst responded to a question about the battles over right-to-work in various states:

StudentsFirst believes that the debate over collective bargaining is demonstrative of what's wrong with education policy generally - it's focused on the needs and rights of adults instead of what's best for students. Policymakers should focus their efforts instead on the policies that fail to serve students well or enable schools to succeed: bureaucratic inertia, red tape limits on parent choice, seniority-based layoffs, and fiscal irresponsibility. If states put policies in place that elevate the teaching profession, empower parents to make informed decisions for their children, and ensure that officials are held accountable for using resources wisely, school and district leaders can create educational opportunities that enable every student to succeed. That's where our focus should be.

So that would be a "we don't really give a damn about the teachers" answer. StudentsFirst did clarify their statement after an outcry ensued with a damnable faint praise response: They have no position on right-to-work, but of course they support the right to collectively bargain.

Oh, how utterly Third Way of them.

Read that statement again. The part I find most galling is saying that there is something wrong with making sure our children are taught by qualified professionals who aren't moonlighting to pay the bills, have decent benefits and incentives to become better, stronger teachers. No, instead they actually blame the fight for teachers to collectively bargain for what's wrong with policy.

Worse, the only people who are not invited to the "education reform" table are...teachers. So they blame the one group who hasn't been given a voice in the education reform debate, and worse, have no problem with them remaining voiceless and powerless, despite the fact that they know better than anyone else what needs to be a part of meaningful education reform.

Michelle Rhee hangs out with Foster Friess, Scott Walker, Betsy DeVos, and takes money from Rupert Murdoch. She is not progressive, her efforts do not support progressive values, and she should be called what she is: a privatization pimp.


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