Michelle Rhee, who founded the Sacramento-based advocacy group StudentsFirst in 2010, after leaving her chancellor’s post, has challenged many of the labor practices that are commonplace in the nation’s public schools, including seniority-based layoffs and placements.
With her new advocacy organization, Rhee now is trying to continue with some of the reforms that she promoted during her three years in D.C. (which were featured in the education documentary “Waiting for Superman”).
I’ll post a photo soon, but a large group of demonstrators picketed outside the downtown Oakland theater before the 8 p.m. event. Some of the protesters — those with tickets — were allowed inside.
I wasn’t at the event — no room for reporters who tried to invite themselves on the morning of! — but Rhee said she planned to discuss the ills of the nation’s public school system and her ideas for improving it. Betty Olson-Jones, president of the Oakland teachers’ union (and no fan of Rhee’s), was live-tweeting the talk. You can read her take on it here.
In a phone interview beforehand, Rhee said such demonstrations showed how passionate people were about the issues. “I would much rather, any day, deal with anger than apathy because it means people care,” she said.
What do you think about the ideas in the StudentsFirst policy agenda?