Michelle Rhee, the former chancellor of the Washington DC school system and now the the head of Students FirstNY, a new group dedicated to electing education reformers in New York, appeared on “Good Day New York this morning to lay out her agenda.
“We want to make sure that the incredible work that has been done in New York City over the last decade or so continues on. A very strong foundation has been built. In many ways, New York City serves as the model for other cities across the country, particularly for Democratic mayors who want to get involved in education,” she said. “We don’t want to see any kind of a backslide. We want to make sure that the next mayor, whoever that person is, is putting education at the forefront.”
The group–which includes former schools chief Joel Klein and former top Bloomberg administration official Micah Lasher–hopes that the next mayor keeps most of Mr. Bloomberg’s education agenda intact, and plans to insure that happens by pouring $10 million into a public awareness campaign over the next five years.
“The vast majority of New Yorkers really believe in the reforms that we are pushing, which are really student-centered reform. And if you look at any of the polls it shows that the vast majority of people believe that, for example, teachers should be evaluated on how students were doing, that we should get rid of last-in, first-out policies and so it is very important for mayoral candidates and other public officials to represent the interests and beliefs of their constituents and not of special interests.”
Ms. Rhee also had harsh words for Michael Mulgew, the head of the Teacher’s Union, who has called on Christine Quinn to drop Knickerbocker SKD as an consultant, since they also advise Ms. Rhee’s group.
“If Mr. Mulgrew was more concerned with making demands on the quality of education that kids are getting, and he was more concerned with that than making demands on mayoral candidates with who their consultants should be, then we would be better off in this city.”
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