Friday, January 4, 2013

Who's First? Certainly Not Students...

While I LOVED reading Joy Resmovitz's report about Democrats jumping the StudentsFirst ship, I had the hardest time following it.  I think it was because there were so many unnamed sources and so many reformers unwilling to speak on the record. As I read I kept wondering what these people were so damn afraid of.

By my count, two would not speak on the record:
Sevugan declined to comment on the record...
But others were more blunt about the shift. "It gets tiresome to have to defend who we are," said a senior SF officer, who declined to speak on the record.
And there were four unnamed sources: (all emphases mine)
"There were known to be some significant differences on political strategy and policy matters, especially in StudentsFirst's approach toward unions and partisanship," said a source close to the education reform community who declined to be named in order to preserve working relationships. 
but two sources with knowledge of the situation said Sevugan left because he thought new management seemed less concerned with maintaining StudentsFirst's bipartisan credentials. 
"It seems to me that the direction taken in the past five months is a direction ... to say we're going to focus a lot more on changing laws -- developing resources with a focus on changing laws, shaping election with a focus on changing laws -- as opposed to changing the environment, building a long-term movement," said a source close to the organization who declined to be named to avoid severing relationships. 
Notice the two parts above I underlined and italicized?  Two sources wouldn't talk on the record in order to "preserve" or "avoid severing" relationships. 
Gee, sounds an awful lot like a bunch of adults putting their interests (ie. their jobs) before the interests of children, doesn't it?  Now where have I heard that before?  

OH RIGHT!  That's what we hear every time Rhee opens her mouth.  In fact, here's her quote on the StudentsFirst website.
Groups that put the interests of adults in the system first were driving the conversation, and they were backed by big dollars and political power. What we needed was a collective voice solely representing kids' best interests, because the sense of balance was completely gone. I started StudentsFirst to change that.
Good thing the reformers are always putting the needs of students first, unlike those pesky union thugs...

Please, oh PLEASE tell me this signals the beginning of the end for Rhee.  Seems to me that her "group" has become exactly what she claims she was trying to fix, which should makes it much harder for her to sell StudentsFirst as the solution.  

Salon writer Daniel Denvir saw the writing on the wall a couple months ago.
Michelle Rhee is back, she’s organized and she has got loads of cash and high-level political support. But as the education debate increasingly polarizes between right and left, Rhee’s conservative friends might prove to be political  liabilities.
Rhee wraps her arms around a pretty big political
liability at his 2011 State of the State.

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