Michelle Rhee’s Group Asks Teachers Unions To Promote Reform Policies At State Level

Joy Resmovits:

The day after Michelle Rhee’s education lobbying group, StudentsFirst, got dumped by progressive petition site Change.org because of intense pressure from teachers’ unions, StudentsFirst waved a thorny olive branch of sorts at the nation’s two largest such unions.
On Wednesday afternoon, StudentsFirst, along with other education groups such as Democrats for Education Reform, Students for Education Reform and Hispanic CREO, wrote a letter to Dennis Van Roekel and Randi Weingarten, presidents of the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, asking for a “new opportunity to collaborate to improve public education for kids.”
The letter, provided to The Huffington Post by StudentsFirst, points to recent education legislation in Connecticut that ultimately created a teacher evaluation system that grades teachers in part on their students’ standardized test scores; a “commissioner’s network” that allows the state to take over some failing schools; and increased funds for charter schools. Despite the attack ads that appeared during the legislative process, StudentsFirst’s letter to the unions acknowledges that both groups have claimed victory in establishing these policies — in some cases even going as far as to call them a “national model.”