Report card exposes flaws in corporate agenda and failures to push
through legislation in many states this year

Parents Across America (PAA) unveiled a report card today that gave
Michelle Rhee’s education lobbying organization, StudentsFirst, failing

The report card grades Rhee on her position on issues and on legislation she pushed in states across the country this year. Despite her ability to spend millions to hire professional lobbyists and flood the airways with ads, parents, teachers and community members were able to defeat her in Florida, Connecticut, Tennessee, Alabama, Minnesota, Missouri, and Iowa.

Most of Rhee’s agenda runs counter to what parents identify as their top
priorities, including small class sizes, less high-stakes testing,
improving neighborhood schools, recruiting and retaining strong and
experienced teachers, and giving parents a real voice in governing

“Rhee pushed to eliminate class size caps in Tennessee schools – and to
cancel a reform that has proven to work. Luckily, the state’s parents
were outraged and stopped this from happening. She falsely claims that
she has over one million members nationwide, although countless
individuals have found themselves wrongly listed as one of her
supporters because they signed one of her deceptive petitions by
mistake,” said Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters,
a New York-based affiliate of Parents Across America.

Wendy Lecker of Parents Across America- Connecticut pointed out that
“Despite about $700,000 spent by StudentsFirst in Connecticut, the rally
at the State Capital where Rhee was the featured speaker drew only about
75 people.”

In Alabama, Rhee failed to win charter school legislation that would
have drained two million dollars from already cash-strapped public
schools. While she claimed her state organization had 17,000 members,
only about twenty showed up at a meeting she called at that state’s

“When Michelle Rhee and her Wall Street backers parachute into a state,
as they did this year in Florida, it’s bad news for parents and
communities,” said Rita Solnet, a Florida parent and PAA founding
member. “She turns a blind eye to the issues parents care most about.”
Solnet worked with other parent organizations, including the Florida
PTA, 50th No More, and Testing is not Teaching, to defeat a
StudentsFirst attempt to pass the so-called Parent Trigger, stealth
tactics to privatize schools where parents have little voice.

Julie Woestehoff, head of Parents United for Responsible Education
(PURE), a PAA affiliate in Chicago, pointed out: ”Though Michelle Rhee
has consistently refused to disclose her funders, according to press
accounts, they include billionaires and hedge fund operators who support
a destructive agenda to privatize our public schools. She clearly does
not represent the mainstream views of parents or the public at large.
According to a 2010 Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup survey, 58% of respondents
supported helping existing local schools and school staff; only 13% want
to close schools down or reopen them as charters. Despite multiple
failures getting her legislation passed this year, parents must
continue to remain vigilant and fight to protect and strengthen our
public schools.”


Parents Across America is a growing network of grassroots parent
organizations with affiliates and chapters in fifteen states throughout
the nation. We work for positive, progressive education change that is
backed by research and supported by parents.