MICHELLE RHEE LAUNCHES NATIONAL EDUCATION REFORM MOVEMENT
Washington, DC – “Education should be about the students. Their needs should come before the demands of special interests and big bureaucracies,” said Ms. Rhee. “StudentsFirst will work on behalf of the children, not the adults.
JOIN THE MOVEMENT AT WWW.STUDENTSFIRST.ORG
Washington, DC – Michelle Rhee, former Chancellor of Washington, DC Public Schools announced today the launch of StudentsFirst (www.StudentsFirst.org), a national movement to defend the interests of children in public education and pursue transformative reform. StudentsFirst is designed to mobilize parents, teachers, students, administrators, and citizens throughout the country to channel their energy to produce meaningful results on both the local and national level. Ms. Rhee will serve as the organization’s CEO.
“Education should be about the students. Their needs should come before the demands of special interests and big bureaucracies,” said Ms. Rhee. “StudentsFirst will work on behalf of the children, not the adults. For every American child, going to a good school should be a matter of fact, not luck. Our goal is to make the American public education system the best in the world through investing in highly effective teachers, administrators, schools and programs.”
“Michelle Rhee will bring demonstrated excellence backed by enormous energy and commitment to the national discussion on school reform,” said Joel I. Klein, outgoing New York City Schools Chancellor. “What she did in Washington, DC was game changing, which is precisely what the country needs — bold leadership that is unafraid to put students first, regardless how controversial that may prove to be to those who continue to protect a status quo that fails children.”
StudentsFirst seeks to promote education reform through four guiding principles:
· Great teachers make a tremendous difference for students of every background; all children deserve outstanding teachers.
· Attending a great school should be a matter of fact, not luck; every family should be able to choose an excellent school.
· Public dollars belong where they make the biggest difference – on effective instructional programs; we must fight ineffective practices and bureaucracy.
· Parent and family involvement is crucial to increased student achievement, but the entire community must also be engaged in the effort to improve schools.
In the coming weeks, Ms. Rhee will meet with teachers, parents, administrators, lawmakers and citizens to discuss ideas for school reform, share best practices, and develop a set of concrete goals to meet the needs of students.
“Michelle Rhee is on the right track with StudentsFirst,” said Howard Fuller, former Superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools and Distinguished Professor of Education at Marquette University. “Students and their families should never be trapped in failing schools. Ensuring that all parents have options for their children is of critical importance. She’s doing the right thing by reaching into the community to work with the relevant constituencies – the educators, parents, administrators, concerned citizens – to join her in what will surely be a transformative campaign for education reform.”
“African American children in public schools systems throughout the country, including Los Angeles, are at the bottom of all overall indices of educational success. Clearly it has been proven repeatedly that African American children can succeed in the classroom regardless of economics and other life obstacles. But innovation is required. It is time for collective outrage and coordinated movements, like StudentsFirst, to finally change the paradigm and help ensure that all children are provided with a quality education,” said Blair Hamilton Taylor, CEO of Los Angeles Urban League.
“Michelle Rhee is back — bolder and even more committed and determined than ever. If education is the civil rights issue of our time then we must forge a new and ever more vibrant movement to march to the beat of this new drum: a beat which puts our students first and declares ‘ya basta’ ( enough!) with status quo,” said Gloria Romero, former California Senator and Director of California Office of Democrats for Education Reform. “I am proud to march shoulder to shoulder with Michelle Rhee and millions of parents and children as we launch this latest chapter in our pursuit of the American Dream and education equality for all. Si se puede — yes we can!”
For more information about StudentsFirst and to join the movement, please visit: www.StudentsFirst.org.
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