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Somehow I accidentally signed Michelle Rhee’s stupid petition on Change.org. This is the e-mail letter I received from her organization today. When I went to the “StudentFirst” facebook page to post a comment, I came to discover that even after “liking” their page, you cannot post a comment outright, instead you have to comment on one of their articles (which all come from their website - also misleading).  

This is their e-mail with links removed. You can find them yourselves if you are so inclined.  

Christal,

Thank you for joining StudentsFirst by signing a petition on Change.org. I’d like to tell you a bit more about what we’re fighting for.

Every morning in America, as we send eager fourth graders off to school, ready to learn with their backpacks and lunch boxes, we are entrusting them to an education system that accepts the fact that only one in three of them can read at grade level.
 

One in three fourth graders can't read at grade level

Let me repeat that: Only one in three U.S. fourth graders can read at grade level. This is not okay.

But studies have shown that in just one year, students with an effective teacher are able to improve by one and a half grade levels. These effects are so significant that the “achievement gap” between low-income or minority students and their wealthier or white peers can effectively be erased by only three consecutive years of highly effective teachers.

It’s time we recognize the value of great teachers. At StudentsFirst, it’s our goal to make sure every child in America has a great teacher in every classroom. From improving teacher evaluations, to ending seniority-based teacher layoffs, to paying effective teachers higher salaries and bonuses, there are many ways we can elevate the teaching profession in this country to a level that reflects its importance and attracts talented individuals to join its ranks.

Help us share the message about the need for education reform by sharing the “1 in 3 fourth graders” image on Facebook:



Our supporters around the country are working hard to improve education in their local communities. Thanks to the hard work of our grassroots members, in our first year alone we improved education for 8.7 million kids. We’ll be in touch with many ways you can get involved in your local community very soon.

Thanks,

Michelle

Michelle Rhee
CEO and Founder
StudentsFirst

My response:

Dear Michelle Rhee,
Please do not count me as one of your supporters. Your attacks on public education, teachers unions and teachers across the US is nothing short of repulsive and repugnant. Millions of teachers, myself included, have long put students first and continue to put students first, even though we do not have access to the millions of dollars that your organization has. I don’t count as my friends privatizers who outright seek to dismantle public education. Instead, I count among my friends regular, middle class people who believe that a quality education comes from providing a quality educator, one is who is given the time and resources they need in order to teach their students. 

I have been in urban education for over a decade and I have taught children who are a true cross section of this great nation, kids who live in poverty to kids who live in gated communities, kids whose parents are high school dropouts, to kids whose parents have Phd’s. Kids who are Asian, Hispanic, African American, African, Filipino, and European Americans. And, not once have I ever felt the need to tape any of my students’ mouths shut with tape and brag about their lips bleeding afterwards. That story you told is one of a teacher who is a bad teacher. Perhaps that is why you rail against bad teachers because you only need look in the mirror to see what a bad teacher looks like.

Sincerely,

Christal Watts


This is the audio from Michelle Rhee bragging about taping the mouths of students close.