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Michelle Rhee asks NEA and AFT, “Can’t we all just get along?” And she has good reason to ask.

June 21, 2012

Does MichelleRhee want to paddle Dennis Van Roekel? Or sing a little Kumbayaa?

Here in Chicago Michelle Rhee and her StudentsFirst (I think I’ll start calling her, MichelleRhee.) just got their heads handed to her on a platter by Jennifer Johnson, history teacher and CTU union activist.

MichelleRhee and Jonah Edelman of Stand for Children posted a Change.org petition attacking union collective bargaining rights in Chicago. Johnson posted a petition on Signon.org calling for the self-proclaimed progressive Change group to take down the union busting petition. A few days and 4,000 signatures later, Change.org removed MichelleRhee’s union busting petition.

Huffington is reporting that now MichelleRhee has written a letter to the NEA and the AFT saying that there is more that unites them than divides them, calling it, a “new opportunity to collaborate to improve public education for kids.”

 And she may be right.

Certainly here in Illinois the IEA and the IFT did find common ground with MichelleRhee and Jonah Edelman on Senate Bill 7.

Here’s the letter according to Huffington:

June 20, 2012
Dear President Weingarten and President Van Roekel,
You have both said that we should look for ways to collaborate for the benefit of students, and it appears we mayhave such an opportunity. Both of your organizations, as well as many of ours, have agreed that the recentlegislation in Connecticut represents a step in the right direction toward a goal that all of us share – making sureevery child in this country receives a great education.
We are pleased that both of your organizations have described the reforms recently passed in Connecticut as avictory. These reforms include changes that will improve teacher evaluations, increase funding for public charter schools, help turn around failing schools, and expand access to pre-K programs. We particularly appreciate your support for:
Creating a commissioner’s network empowered to make meaningful changes to turn around failing schools.
Building a teacher evaluation system to be implemented statewide next year, and which includes evidence of student learning growth as a significant factor.
Increasing funding for public charter schools to help bring school funding equity for all students in publicschools.We agree that these are common sense reforms, that they represent “a significant step toward improvingConnecticut’s public education system” and that they can be part of a “national model” for improving our nation’sschools. Many states across the country are considering or have considered similar reforms, including Pennsylvania, California, Alabama, Minnesota, Missouri, and Iowa. But advocates in those states have often had trouble securing support for these reforms from your local unions, and we hope you that you will speak up insupport of these important reforms and expand these opportunities to students all across the country.We look forward to this new opportunity to collaborate to improve public education for kids.
Sincerely,
StudentsFirst
Democrats for Education Reform

MichelleRhee correctly points out that there have been several cases, including Illinois, in which both the union and groups like StudentsFirst and Stand for Children claimed loss of tenure and seniority rights as well as the linking of teacher evaluation to student test performance as victories and national models.
In fact, it was the NEA’s own DVR himself who called Senate Bill 7 a national model.
But that’s not good enough for MichelleRhee who complains that some states have not gone along with these national models. She wants the NEA’s President Dennis Van Roekel and the AFT’s Randi Weingarten to get these states to toe the line.
It will certainly be interesting to see how Randi and DVR react to MichelleRhee’s offer.
Will they say, “Let’s negotiate?” Will they say, “no deal?” Or bring out the guitars for a little Kumbayaa?
3 Comments leave one →
  1. ReTiredbutMisstheKids permalink
    June 21, 2012 5:22 pm

    Concerning Pennsylvania & California, I highly recommend “Diane Ravitch’s Blog”–she has been posting about the worst state in education, & they are two (among many) mentioned, along with numerous comments from those states.

    Also–is that photo enhanced? (Not rhetorical–please reply!) Hard to tell, considering she’s been on the cover of a national magazine in that aren’t-I-tough-&-cool-arms-crossed-hip-thrust-out-with-clenched-jaw pose that seems to be the “in” pose nowadays.

    It’s SO fake, as is Rhee.

    • Fred Klonsky permalink*
      June 21, 2012 5:39 pm

      Photo: Time Magazine.

  2. ReTiredbutMisstheKids permalink
    June 21, 2012 5:24 pm

    Oh, I forgot–& there’s a GREAT post about Connecticut, as well. Bridgeport’s Paul Vallas territory, doncha know.

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