School Reform


Rhee’s Next Project: a National Advocacy Group, “StudentsFirst”

D.Clow - Maryland

Michelle Rhee

If you were wondering what Michelle Rhee is up to, head to Newsweek’s abundantly-titled “What I’ve Learned: We can’t keep politics out of school reform. Why I’m launching a national movement to transform education“:

The purpose of the teachers’ union is to protect the privileges, priorities, and pay of their members. And they’re doing a great job of that.

What that means is that the reform community has to exert influence as well. That’s why I’ve decided to start StudentsFirst, a national movement to transform public education in our country. We need a new voice to change the balance of power in public education. Our mission is to defend and promote the interests of children so that America has the best education system in the world.

From the moment I resigned, I began hearing from citizens from across this country. I got e-mails, calls, and letters from parents, students, and teachers who said, “Don’t give up. We need you to keep fighting!”…

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Maybe Teachers’ Unions aren’t the Problem

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I just had a thought-provoking conversation about my Georgetown Public Policy Review/Michelle Rhee interview post with a DCentric reader who was a teacher at his high school alma mater– a “failing urban public school”:

(Jambulapati’s) post is another example of the ongoing villainization of teachers’ unions, which have increasingly become the favorite punching bag of would-be urban school reformers like Rhee. While Teach for America types may position merit pay and increased accountability as the keys to saving America’s inner city youth, my time as both a student and teacher in a failing urban public school has taught me no amount of creativity or passion can be substituted for parents that take an active interest in their parents’ education.

Put simply, America’s schools are not failing because of unions. They are failing because Americans don’t value education. If you need further evidence, just contrast the way teachers and schools are revered in places like India and China with the way many Americans take pride in their anti-elitism and disdain for academics, nerds and other pointy-headed types.

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