As the test cheating scandals heat up around the country, media attention is now increasingly focused on the issue. Viewpoints vary–from the uninformed and superficial to those that offer a deeper scrutiny on the root causes of cheating. In other words, from the stupid to the sublime. Take your pick. We are compiling a running list on recent ErasureGate articles. Please feel free [...]
From PR Watch’s article on how “Won’t Back Down” pushes ALEC legislation.
“After resigning from her position in 2010, Rhee went on to start StudentsFirst, a 501(c)4 non-profit organization planning to engage in “direct and grassroots lobbying” on education issues including Parent Trigger. Derrell Bradford, a state director for StudentsFirst, spoke on “Enacting a Comprehensive K-12 Education Reform Agenda” at the 2011 ALEC annual meeting.”
Originally posted by Aaron Krager on his blog. Read the entire post here.
“‘I will advocate for the kids when they have the money to bankroll my luxurious traveling and speaking schedule,’ said Michelle Rhee at a recent meeting with her wealthy Wall Street investors.
Okay, admittedly that quote is made up and Rhee has never made that kind of statement (as far as I can tell). Unfortunately, she does not admit to using a quotation [here] against teachers unions despite its fictional existence….
The new film “Won’t Back Down” uses the same quotation and paints a picture of corrupt teachers unions. One’s out for themselves and not caring about the students they educate day in and day out.
But the bottom line here is for Rhee. The quotation is false. Stop using, apologize, get on with the facts. Or does that make it too hard for you to sell your corporate education reform agenda?”
When Michelle Rhee closed 23 schools in DC, the damage to communities was evident. Rhee justified the closures by citing supposed cost savings, but a recently released investigation by the DC Inspector General shows that those savings, like so much of Michelle Rhee’s legacy, have turned out to be illusory.
The $9.7 million price tag that Rhee quoted at the time turned into a whopping $40 million. Even on Rhee’s terms, the number should have been $17.7 million, and the IG report cites an additional $21.8 million when considering “permanent asset damage” caused by the closings.
Conveniently underestimating costs by a factor of four is typical of Rhee, who plays fast and loose with accounting and basic arithmetic when it suits purposes. Remember, eight months after laying off 266 teachers for budgetary reasons, Rhee announced that she had “discovered” a budget surplus of $34 million—just enough to fund her performance pay plan. And just yesterday, Rhee’s New York lobbyists cited a fact-free Heartland Institute figure to smear Chicago teachers.
This is a cost that Michelle Rhee won’t have to deal with, because she has long since moved on, leaving DC taxpayers to foot the bill for school closures that ripped a hole in the heart of neighborhoods across the city.
A recent article in The Atlantic recapped Michelle Rhee’s screening of “Won’t Back Down” in Charlotte, NC during the Democratic National Convention. The screening was not an official DNC event, probably because the DNC doesn’t screen anti-teacher/anti-union propaganda films at the urging of Rupert Murdoch-funded lobbyists.
Nevertheless, three nearly-identical stories appeared in the LA Times, Huffington Post, and The Atlantic, all selling the same non-story: that Michelle Rhee’s inability to get the Democratic party to officially sanction “Won’t Back Down” has made things all good between Rhee and Dems.
It’s a PR makeover that Rhee desperately needs. After informally advising Governor Rick Scott, providing political cover to Scott Walker, lobbying for Ohio’s SB-5, and spending more than half a million dollars on Republican candidates, Rhee’s actions have caused people to think that she might not be such a Democrat.
Unfortunately for Rhee, this is a PR makeover that doesn’t withstand any scrutiny. Two Democrats receiving PAC money from Rhee have denounced her money and her failed reform policies. The Governor of Connecticut called her divisive, and the voters of Washington, DC threw out the man responsible for foisting her on the District. More than thirty New York Democrats have denounced Rhee’s education agenda for New York City.
If you haven’t read it already, check out Parents Across America’s encounter with StudentsFirst at their screening of “Won’t Back Down” in Charlotte. StudentsFirst staff invite protesting parents in to the screening, only to give them the slip at a security checkpoint (one attendee emails: “they practically did a DNA swab to check identities” at the door).
Also, North Carolina Policy Watch reports that StudentsFirst could soon be bringing their roadshow to North Carolina. Naturally, they spoke with the head of the N.C. Public Charter Schools Association. He already sounds giddy over his possible windfall.