A few days ago, many parents here in Florida received an email from a representative of Michelle Rhee’s organization, Students First. The person who wrote the email is Catherine Robinson. Apparently, she works for the organization ran by Michelle Rhee.
(I refuse to link to Rhee’s Student First website – but you may google ‘Students First’ to find the web address. It is easy to find. Her link sits right below this link: Rhee Under Investigation | nytimes.com )
So, about this email. Apparently, Ms. Robinson offered Florida parents a chance to win a $5 gift card. The parents were encouraged to go online and jump from article to article. They were encouraged to write ‘polite’ comments in favor of Rhee’s idea of ‘transformative’ (corporate) education reform.
I will not go into the details of Michelle Rhee’s vision for education. If you want to learn more, you can google the name “Michelle Rhee” or attend one of her conferences. They must be incredible as I hear she charges $35,000 a pop to speak. I am not sure if you get refreshments for that price, but I have also heard that her conferences are “BYOMT” … (bring your own masking tape).
Anyhow, back to the email sent to Florida parents…
Not long after the email went out, a FL activist for public education, Bob Sikes, wrote this article: Michelle Rhee’s Florida Rep Calls for Astroturf Campaign on Parent Trigger - The link for that article is found here:
Remarkably, Ms. Robinson then defended her email in the comments below the article and even managed to insult parents in her comments, despite her repeated advice to ‘be polite’. She also defended Rhee’s Students First organization. Feel free to check out her comments. I did and I decided to respond.
You write: “And so now I’m organizing over 119,000 Florida parents, teachers and concerned citizens.” … I politely ask you to verify those numbers.
Why do I not believe that 119,000 people in Florida agree with you? Let me politely explain.
I am also an advocate. I also interact/organize tens of thousands of parents. I have yet to ever meet one that agrees with Students First’s ‘transformative’ reform. So, I am politely interested as to where you get the number “119,000″.
I might also add, politely, that many on the Rhee website did not join out of support for your policies. Many joined to keep an eye on the destructive policies of your organization. Many others joined by mistake after signing a poll regarding Trayvon — the Students First pop up upon signature tricked quite a few of us.
I politely remind you, Ms. Robinson, that very few people in FL or elsewhere agree with excessive standardized testing, selling out public schools to corporate charters, or destroying communities by closing schools. We politely ask you and Students First to stop.
As far as politeness, I might politely remind you to practice what you preach. It is funny that you use the word ‘vitriol’ to describe Florida’s parents. I have heard that word ‘vitriol’ thrown at us parents before. (see link:
I stand, politely, in disbelief. Why be so insulting? I politely suggest that you be more polite.
To say parents are full of “vitriol” is unbelievably rude not polite, I might politely add. You do remember that we parents are, in fact, the parents, don’t you? How can you, Rhee’s Students First organization, Jeb’s ‘Foundation for FL’s Failure’, or any other organization claim to represent parents while also insulting those parents and hurting their children with harmful policies?
So, I politely ask: What exactly do you have against caring parents?
Perhaps this is why you are offering gift cards for polite comments? If so, I politely applaud you for finally reminding those involved in your organizations to be polite.
That, I might politely add, is long overdue.
Oh, and not to be impolite, but you can keep your money. My kids are worth more than 5 bucks.