Written by N.J. Teacher for Mike Klonsky’s Small Talk blog. Read the entire post here.
“The largest piece of the governor’s proposals focuses on improving teacher quality [Rhee's top priority]. The plan purports to value teachers and claims their effectiveness is the most important variable in how children learn; however, the “top-down” dictatorial approach asks for no input from teachers, the same stakeholders the governor claims to value so highly. In fact, teachers would be stripped of the right to collectively bargain compensation policies and work rules. During a stop at my school to advance his plan, the governor took no questions from teachers.”
Posted: 8:09PM, October 3, 2011
A question for Michelle Rhee: Why do you need to spend one million dollars when Gov. Snyder and Republicans in the House and Senate are already on board with your agenda?
Written by Susan J. Demas for MLive.com. Read the entire article here.
“The group spending the most on lobbying this year in Michigan is StudentsFirst, an education reform organization founded by former Washington, D.C., Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee. …
American Federation of Teachers (AFT)-Michigan President David Hecker noted that his union only spent $110,748. The Michigan Education Association spent $324,197.
“It is an unbelievable amount of money — far more than we spent,” Hecker told MIRS. “The critics always talk about ‘big labor,’ when all we are are the men and women educating our children. We haven’t spent anywhere close to the amount of money as the corporate-funded StudentsFirst.” …
Here’s a question I’ve posed that no one has been able to answer: Why do you need to spent $1 million when Gov. Snyder and Republicans in the House and Senate are already on board with your agenda?”
Posted: 2:03PM, September 15, 2011
Michigan state senator, and backer of Rhee’s MI legislation, wants ”right to work” for teachers only
Randy Richardville, a Republican and former chair of ALEC, is also a supporter of Michelle Rhee’s legislative agenda. Interestingly, a leaked internal document from her group assessed early on that Richardville ” was one of the law makers that Rhee needed to “sure [sic] up”. He subsequently voted for all of the bills she pushed.
Richardville appears in the webpage of Michigan’s major Michelle Rhee booster, Phil Pavlov (R) featured in a photograph of Pavlov and Richardville standing next to Jeb Bush. His wife, Sarah E. Richardville works as the Dean of Students for the Monroe County Intermediate School District.
Originally posted on Electablog. Read the entire article here,
“Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville said yesterday on the news talk program “Off the Record” that he won’t pursue so-called “Right to Work” laws for Michigan EXCEPT FOR TEACHERS. These laws, often called “Right-to-Work-for-LESS”, remove the requirement for employees at a union shop to join the union. RTWFL laws are used to reduce the power held by unions and allow people to benefit from the unions’ efforts without having to contribute to their existence.”
Guests on WKAR’s Off the Record pressed Richardville on his decision to apply the “right-to-work” legislation to teachers:
Detroit Free Press reporter Chris Christoff: Why would single out schools for that? Public schools?
Richardville: Well, because right now, the public schools are the one that are in dire straits and I believe that those unions and those workers that are out in the day-to-day, you know the teamsters, the engineers, the carpenters, the building trades, they’ve already had a significant effect from this economy. They’re paying more for their health care, they have less hours, they’re getting less pay. They’ve had that effect directly.
What’s happened in the public schools and, in some cases, the public government in general, is that that economic impact hasn’t hit. And so we’re making those adjustments for that reason.
Skubick: You’re not trying to take on the MEA, right?
Richardville: I don’t think taking on any union has anything to do with what our agenda is.
MIRS reporter Kathy Barks Hoffman: But the schools actually, aren’t you in a way, though, you’ve created the problem? You say the schools are in dire straits so the teachers need to, what, not pay their union dues? How does that saving schools? And, also, the governor was the one moved money out of the School Aid Fund to other things and the Legislature went along. So, I mean, it’s one thing to say that schools are in dire straits but that’s partly a decision the Legislature made.
After recording the “Off the Record” segment, he doubled down according to Gongwer News Service:
“There’s probably nobody in the Legislature, especially a Republican, that has stood up for workers’ rights and workers in general over the last decade (more) than me,” he told reporters after recording the show. “I’ve come to a point where I’ve seen that I do not believe that the teachers union represents teachers well at all, nor does it represent the students. What they’ve been doing is working hard, twisting arms and putting us in places that we can’t afford to be.”
Nobody in the Legislature has stood up for workers’ rights more than Richardville? Are you freaking kidding me?!
According to Gongwer, he went on to call teachers “more than greedy” and said the MEA was now about “big-paid, high-honcho people.“
Michigan Education Association president Steve Cook lit into him immediately:
For Sen. Richardville to say that school employees, unlike other unions, have not recognized the state’s tough economic times is ridiculous. Teachers and support staff have been laid off, taken wage and benefit cuts, and seen critical services for students in their districts disappear because of the Republican cut of more than $1 billion from public education.
MEA members are fed up. That’s why thousands have been engaged, alongside thousands of other Michigan citizens, in recall efforts designed to stop these constant attacks on public education and the middle class.
Instead of focusing on putting our state back to work, Sen. Richardville would rather engage in political power grabs. How is attacking public school employees and their unions supposed to help our economy and create jobs?
This is blatant abuse of legislative authority to dole out political payback. That any lawmaker would so willfully use their power to attack a group of people for exercising their constitutional rights to free speech and participation in the democratic process is unconscionable. This is just a continuation of what we’ve seen for months – political extremists and greedy corporate CEOs engaged in a power grab to squeeze even more money out of the middle class and leave workers with no job security, pensions or protections for working conditions.
Posted: 10:45AM, September 13, 2011
Michelle Rhee’s new education lobbyist leaves legislative position early–voted for all Rhee-backed bills in Michigan, including an anti-collective bargaining measure
Michelle Rhee’s new education lobbyist is Michigan legislator Tim Melton. Melton voted for all Rhee-backed bills, including an anti-collective bargaining measure. He is not qualified to run again because of term limits. His immediate and early departure from his legislative post to begin his move to California at Rhee’s headquarters has been the subject of criticism.
This historic vote today shows that Michigan is serious about school reform and ensuring that all of our students have the high quality, effective teachers in their classrooms that they deserve. No longer will we put political interests ahead of the well-being of our students.
Melton called for his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to put aside their partisan differences and support a plan that will make sure Michigan students are learning from high-quality, effective teachers.
Apparently, Melton is putting his political and financial interests ahead of the well-being of our students. Now he’ll be one of the highly paid lobbyists who he derides in his speech. One can only imagine what he’ll be lobbying for.”
Posted: 5:15PM, August 31, 2011
If students truly did come first, then why is Rhee coddling the very governors who are ransacking education funding, even worse, giving them cover and championing them as reformers?
Written by Greg Harris for The Recovering Politician. Read the entire article here.
“…Rhee & Co have spent a good deal of time in Ohio and Michigan the past few months working closely with governors that were simultaneously slashing state education funding. While it’s tempting to blame the recession for education cuts, it must be noted that both Governors also passed major tax breaks for corporations. In Michigan, for example, Governor Rick Snyder passed business tax cuts totaling $1.8 billion while slashing postsecondary education funding 15% across the board, with further cuts in K-12 education. In Ohio, Governor Kasich slashed business and estate taxes while cutting K-12 funding by over $1 billion (11.5%) this year.
What’s Michelle Rhee and StudentsFirst’s response to state policies redirecting resources from education to corporations? Celebration! StudentsFirst literally hosted a reception honoring Governor Snyder’s educational achievements, and put out a press release touting “A Win for Students in Michigan.” Rhee also tweeted to her followers an op-ed defending Kasich’s education platform.
And herein lays my beef with Michelle Rhee and StudentsFirst: If students truly did come first, then why is Rhee using her celebrity to coddle the very governors who are ransacking education funding? Even worse, Rhee and StudentsFirst are giving them cover. Indeed, these governors get the best of both worlds: cutting education while being championed by Rhee & Co. as reformers.
Schools are in need of reform, and I have devoted my professional life as a teacher and now working in education policy to reform and innovations that have produced results. But the Governors of Ohio and Michigan are not currently redirecting resources to best practices best practices but, rather, cutting education carte blanche. Instead of decrying education cuts and teacher layoffs, Rhee & Co are celebrating the fact that these states have changed layoff policy by not making them seniority-based (“LIFO,” or, “last in, first out”). While this reform has some logic, why aren’t Rhee & Co using their stature to fight the very fact of these layoffs? …
But to date, StudentsFirst has served as a grand enabler of GOP governors who are undermining collective bargaining while slashing education funds, which redounds to mass teacher layoffs and district cut backs. It’s no mystery why ideological interests are getting high off Rhee-fer. They are being granted cover as “reformers’ while in fact they are dismantling the ability of teachers to speak as a collective while slashing education funds at a time when we are getting our butts kicked globally in educational achievement. What is being done to education today will result in schools that are cheaper but not better. Organizations like StudentFirst will arrive at their $1 billion fundraising goals by tapping sources that are using education as a vehicle for achieving broader ideological agendas. It’s not too late for Rhee & Co to resist being co-opted. But this requires the discipline to identify and advocate for evidence-based strategies that truly improve education and put students first.”
Posted: 1:50PM, August 29, 2011