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July 23, 2018
Nashville organization drops $26,000 to support a single school board candidate in Memphis
TennesseeCAN spent more than $26,000 on behalf of candidate Michelle Robinson McKissack for mailed advertisements, phone calls, and texts in late June.
ed sec spec
November 22, 2016
Michelle Rhee ‘not pursuing’ Trump post, but urges others to help him succeed
"Wishing for his failure would be wanting the failure of millions of American children who desperately need a better education," Rhee tweeted.
ed sec spec
November 18, 2016
What a Michelle Rhee appointment would tell us about Donald Trump’s education plans
If Rhee is offered and accepts the education secretary position, here are five reasonable conclusions we can draw.
June 5, 2012
NY branch of Rhee's group will focus on parents, school choice
This story has been corrected from its earlier version to clarify the positions expressed by Lasher yesterday. Two months ago StudentsFirstNY, the New York branch of Michelle Rhee's political action committee, announced itself with a splash. But it hasn't been clear where the group will direct its financial and political might. Micah Lasher, StudentsFirstNY's executive director, fleshed out the group's platform for the first time at a discussion hosted Monday by the DL21C, a group of young Democrats. GothamSchools' Elizabeth Green moderated the discussion. StudentsFirstNY will also focus on organizing parents to demand policy changes around improving teacher quality and school choice, Lasher said. He also said the group might well weigh in on next year's mayoral race, whose victor will determine the next phase of the city's education reforms. "If there comes a time where it becomes clear that there is a candidate that we think would be effective on these issues, and it makes sense according to our political judgements and the way we think we can best improve schools in the city, I would allow us to get involved in getting support of a candidate," Lasher said.
January 3, 2012
Fans of tougher evals urge Cuomo to press forward anyway
After the collapse of teacher evaluation negotiations in New York City and across the state, education reform groups are asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo to install a "shot clock" on future talks. When the clock expires, a teacher evaluation system devised by the State Education Department would go into effect, according to the plan outlined in a letter signed by 13 reform organizations from across the state and country. The groups — which include Democrats for Education Reform and and StudentsFirst, Michelle Rhee's new lobbying outfit — argue both that more stringent evaluations are needed and that the state cannot afford to leave funding on the table during tough budget times. The state's teacher evaluation law, passed in 2010in order to secure Race to the Top funding, requires districts to adopt tougher evaluations when they renegotiate teachers contracts. But if they want to draw on several pools of federal funds, they have to finalize the new evaluations sooner. Dec. 31 was the deadline for one set of funds, School Improvement Grants. Another deadline, for Race to the Top funds, is coming on June 30. Now the reform groups want the state to set another deadline — Aug. 31 — and they want it to apply to all districts, not just ones seeking federal funding. The groups are suggesting to Cuomo that districts that haven't negotiated a plan by then would have to adopt a "default" plan and put it in place by the following year.
June 6, 2011
Rhee's Students First campaign tries to pressure politicians
Screenshot of the campaign page against the UFT/NAACP lawsuit (click to enlarge) Michelle Rhee’s new advocacy organization is jumping into the fight between the NAACP and charter school families with a new email campaign that has been flooding elected officials' inboxes since Friday. The campaign targets elected officials who co-signed a lawsuit, along with the teachers union and the NAACP, demanding that the Bloomberg administration halt its plans to close struggling district schools and replace them with charters. Students First, which Rhee founded last year, sponsored the campaign, titled "Tell NYC Officials: Don't Decrease Charter School Space." “Remove Your Name from the Charter School Lawsuit,” reads the subject line in the identical emails, which has been sent to the dozen officials listed as plaintiffs in the suit. In four days, more than 550 emails have been sent from people from all over New York State. "New York needs more quality public school options,” the email reads. "That is why I ask that you remove your name from the lawsuit that threatens to close several existing charter s ychools [sic] and to prevent others from enrolling new children. This action is tantamount to condemning thousands of kids to failing schools who otherwise would have an opportunity at a great education."
October 14, 2010
Chancellor Klein: D.C. still wants aggressive school reform
What’s Chancellor Joel Klein’s message about Michelle Rhee’s resignation? He told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell yesterday that even though D.C. residents voted out their mayor and…
September 17, 2009
A Washington harbinger for New York ATR’s?
This is a bit old, but I just re-read the Washington Post’s story about the tentative contract agreement Michelle Rhee and Randi Weingarten are…
June 10, 2009
Weingarten and Klein: Mayoral control in lurch after Senate flip
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Teachers union president Randi Weingarten and Chancellor Joel Klein agreed yesterday that this week’s surprise state Senate flip leaves the fate…
June 1, 2009
‘Widget Effect’ report: ‘Meaningless’ teacher evaluations need improvement
A new report is urging school districts across the country to beef up their methods of evaluating teachers, which the report describes as so slipshod as to be "largely meaningless." The report, by a nonprofit group that has clashed with teachers unions in the past, describes the poor evaluations as "just one symptom of a larger, more fundamental crisis—the inability of our schools to assess instructional performance accurately or to act on this information in meaningful ways." The report is called "The Widget Effect" because accuses districts of treating all teachers alike, regardless of how much they help students learn. It goes on: This inability not only keeps schools from dismissing consistently poor performers, but also prevents them from recognizing excellence among top-performers or supporting growth among the broad plurality of hardworking teachers who operate in the middle of the performance spectrum. Instead, school districts default to treating all teachers as essentially the same, both in terms of effectiveness and need for development. The report, conducted by The New Teacher Project, a nonprofit founded by the lightning-rod D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, calls on districts to develop more robust teacher evaluation systems that reward successful teachers and easily identify less successful teachers. The report comes amid a growing push to improve teaching quality across the country. President Obama has said that teachers who are not helping students learn should be removed from classrooms, and even the national American Federation of Teachers union is working internally to build a new method of evaluating teacher quality. The report bases its findings on surveys of thousands of teachers and administrators across four states and 12 school districts, plus a scouring of the districts' evaluation records. New York City was not one of the districts studied.
March 11, 2009
Eli Broad describes close ties to Klein, Weingarten, Duncan
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and the philanthropist Eli Broad at an inauguration party thrown by Broad. (Via ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/34577258@N02/3215801647##Flickr##) The education philanthropist Eli Broad is based in Los Angeles, but at an event this week in Manhattan he painted a vivid picture of the unique influence he's exerted in the New York City schools. Broad said that his foundation has given money to the two charter schools the union president here, Randi Weingarten, opened; has trained seven or eight of the top officials in Chancellor Joel Klein's Department of Education; and was a player in Klein and Weingarten's merit-based pay deal. The remarks came at an event at the 92nd Street Y Monday, where the writer Matthew Bishop of the Economist interviewed Broad on a small stage. Broad said the close relationship began as soon as Klein took the job. "From the first day Joel took office, literally, we met with him," he said. He is close with other education leaders, too. In Washington, D.C., the Broad Foundation has met repeatedly with superintendent Michelle Rhee and is believed to be one of the groups that would fund Rhee's plan to give teachers more money in exchange for giving up tenure rights. Broad said on Monday that several of his staff members are taking jobs in Arne Duncan's U.S. Department of Education. The relationships are part of the Broad Foundation's aggressive education agenda, which includes opening many charter schools, adopting corporate models for school leadership, and changing the way teachers are compensated. Because they are not beholden to public opinion, philanthropies can be "far more aggressive" in their goals than most politicians, Broad said. "We don't mind taking risks. We don't mind being criticized, at times even being hung in effigy," he said.
February 12, 2009
Rhee: Bloomberg asked Klein to bring her red/green plan to NYC
Michelle Rhee touted her red-track/green-track teacher pay proposal last night at Pace University, saying it's made such a splash that Mayor Bloomberg asked Chancellor Joel Klein if they could bring a similar model to New York. The proposal, which is being negotiated with the D.C. teachers union right now, would award some first-year teachers nearly $40,000 raises in exchange for giving up their tenure rights — while others could choose a "red" path where they retain tenure but are paid less. Rhee said the model came up in a recent chat with Klein, who she said she speaks to regularly to share "best practices" and to commiserate. Klein told her that Mayor Bloomberg had asked if they could bring the red/green plan to New York. "Apparently Klein said to him, 'Not even you have enough money to do all of that in New York City,'" she said. Rhee's plan, if passed, will be financed by private philanthropy for the first five years, she said. A spokesman for the Department of Education, David Cantor, said the story is true. Rhee spent part of her talk referencing the divide within the Democratic Party, where some education experts argue focus should be on improving schools and schools alone and others push for a broader focus. Rhee, who is firmly in the first camp, along with Klein, explained her objections to the second group by describing her experience as a second-year teacher.
February 11, 2009
Tonight, D.C.'s Rhee is in town, and Harries meets the advocates
A reader informed me this week that Michelle Rhee, the indomitable D.C. schools chancellor, is speaking at Pace University tonight. “What a hot tip!”…
January 29, 2009
Did Barack Obama miss the real story about Tuesday's snow?
Hanna Rosin: With all due respect, Mr. President, this is the problem with public officials sending their kids to private schools. The real story…
December 12, 2008
An adjective rises to the top of the contest pool: "idealocratic"
Score one for "idealocrats." John at Teachable Moments just used that contest entry (originally scribed by a New York City principal who asked to be anonymous) in a sentence. This gives me an opportunity to explain once again why I think this contest is important — not just a ring of fire that you should be terrified to wade into, as The New Republic's Seyward Darby sort of suggested, but a good launchpad for serious debate. For those not paying attention, the point of the contest is to find an adjective to put before "reformer" that could quickly and fairly and without bias describe a certain type of education activist. The group includes Wendy Kopp of Teach For America, Joel Klein of New York, and Michelle Rhee of D.C. It does not include another set of people who consider themselves education reformers, but object to Kopp, Klein, and Rhee's methods. And that's why it matters, because as much as the Kopps and Rhees would like to own the reformer title, and as much as the mainstream media lets them get away with that, describing only one side of the debate as reformers is neither accurate nor fair nor conducive to robust debate.
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