Rhee returns with Students First

Michelle Rhee, former head of Washington, D.C. schools, has launched Students First to lobby for education reform. She’s not done fighting, Rhee writes in Newsweek.

Studentsfirst will work so that great teachers can make a tremendous difference for students of every background. We believe every family can choose an excellent school — attending a great school should be a matter of fact, not luck. We’ll fight against ineffective instructional programs and bureaucracy so that public dollars go where they make the biggest difference: to effective instructional programs. Parent and family involvement are key to increased student achievement, but the entire community must be engaged in the effort to improve our schools.

Though we’ll be nonpartisan, we can’t pretend that education reform isn’t political. So we’ll put pressure on elected officials and press for changes in legislation to make things better for kids. And we’ll support and endorse school-board candidates and politicians — in city halls, statehouses, and the U.S. Congress—who want to enact policies around our legislative agenda. We’ll support any candidate who’s reform-minded, regardless of political party, so reform won’t just be a few courageous politicians experimenting in isolated locations; it’ll be a powerful, nationwide movement.

Conflict is inevitable, Rhee writes. “There are some fundamental disagreements that exist right now about what kind of progress is possible and what strategies will be most effective.” She hopes to sign up a million people and raise $1 billion.

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