Michelle Rhee—Founder of Students First
Rhee began her career in education with Teach for America which is the organization that takes recent college graduates and places them in urban classrooms after a 5 week summer course on “How to teach”. After a short 3 years in the classroom in Baltimore she formed The New Teacher Project and then moved on to be the Chancellor (Superintendent) of Washington DC public Schools.
It was in DC where she rose to fame as a hard line education reformer. She used a heavy handed management style to fire teachers and principals as well as attacking teacher protections like due process. She is a champion of charter schools and vouchers. Her aggressive tactics alienated teachers, administrators and parents. She bragged about her increased test scores but is now in the midst of a cheating scandal due to test erasures. When the mayor lost re-election her tenure ended shortly thereafter.
She seized on her fame to start Students First. Her organization claims to champion the needs of students but has had a track record of entering states to push for private charters. Students First is heavily funding by wealthy individuals and corporations who hope to profit off of public education. Her donors include the Walton Foundation (Walmart), Rupert Murdoch (Fox News), Ken Langone (Home Depot), Fisher Family (Gap and KIPP Charter Schools) as well as financiers like Eli Broad and Julian Robertson.
Rhee has used her fame to strategically enter states and push through bills that expand charter schools. States include Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida. http://www.rheefirst.com/michelle-rhee-the-company-she-keeps
Rhee and Students First have now entered Connecticut pushing her agenda on behalf of her wealthy donors. Please take the time to learn more about her at http://www.rheefirst.com/