Several hundred people, including many parents and dozens of members of Students for Education Reform groups at local universities, packed a room at downtown Roosevelt University on Saturday morning for the launch of Stand for Children's Chicago chapter. Jesse Ruiz, a member of the Chicago Board of Education, pledged to work with the group to "prioritize resources for quality schools," and a number of elected politicians made similar pledges.Outside, a group of teachers, organized by CORE, picketed the meeting.
Here's what they're up against in Connecticut. Michelle Rhee's group has a new name but the same anti-teacher, anti-public school politics and a billion-dollar budget. They are backing any candidate and any piece of legislation that will turn public schools over to private management companies.
Brian Lockhart writes on his Political Capitol blog:
A reader gave me this slick mailing he and his wife received this week from a new entry in the school reform debate – Great New England Public Schools Alliance or GNEPSA....What’s interesting is while GNEPSA is a new name in what some have called the “education reform alphabet soup,” it’s not. As others have also pointed out, GNEPSA’s filing with the Office of State Ethics lists seven in-house lobbyists on GNEPSA’s payroll with email addresses linking them to another group – California-based StudentsFirst. And one of those lobbyists is StudentsFirst’s founder, Michelle Rhee.It's interesting how they paved the way for Rhee and her group by making Paul Vallas the interim supt. in Bridgeport and a big-time player in the state. Vallas has paved the way for school privatization in cities like Chicago, Philly, and New Orleans.
Diane Ravitch has a post today, "I don't understand Michelle Rhee", on he Bridging Differences blog. She writes:
Her organization allegedly has raised more than $200 million and is well on its way to raising $1 billion. This money will be used to attack teachers' unions; to strip teachers of any job protections; to promote vouchers, charters, and for-profit organizations that manage charter schools; and to fund candidates who want to reduce spending on public education and privatize it. I have heard rumors about big-name donors to Rhee, but can't verify them.StudentsFirst does not release the names of its contributors.On the up side, the push-back against corporate-style reform is growing. Here's a great example coming out of Paul Robeson High School in New York City.
You can help build it by volunteering for and coming to the SOS Education Platform Convention in D.C., August 3-5.