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August 27, 2012
One Message Two Conventions, School Reformer Plays Both Sides
With all the slings and arrows coming her way from the pro-union Save Our Schools brigade why is Michelle Rhee, CEO of StudentsFirst attending the Democratic Convention in Charlotte?
And with her background as a Democrat and supporter of Obama's education reforms, how can she appear at the Republican convention as well?
Ever since former DC Mayor Adrian Fenty hired Rhee to run the city's school system in 2007, the much-hyped education reformer has been a handy target for the Left. Check out any Progressive-Marxist leaning media site dealing with education and Rhee's name will be front and center. It's no secret they despise her.
Maggie Gyllenhaal plays "a parent trying to invoke a parent trigger-like law in Pittsburgh. Holly Hunter and Viola Davis also star in the film, which is scheduled for a September 28th release."
Rhee who calls herself a "different Democrat" will be at the pre-screening of the movie on September 3rd in Charlotte. So far four states have parent trigger laws while others are considering them. The idea is that parents who think their children's school is failing can collectively organize and close it down with hopes of replacing it with a better school.
Parent Revolution? Ben Austin heads up this Bill Gates-backed group begun in 2009. Austin's fellow panelist DFER's Williams had suggested the idea for forming a parent group four years earlier in that same 2005 interview.
It appears Ben Austin took his fellow traveler's words to heart. In 2009 he had parents from the Los Angeles Unified School District marching to Sacramento to demand "real power to fix their children's schools." Austin himself lives in a gated Beverly Hills community while he throws out phrases like "our schools, our communities, our collective futures."
These sponsors sound very much like community organizers.
Before Rhee heads to Charlotte, she will be taking her message to the Republicans in Tampa. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are two of the panelists who will join Rhee in a discussion of the film.
Will education be the issue that links both parties? If so, is that a desirable outcome in the current political environment?
In turn, those on the left have suggested Obama's education policies are indistinguishable from both Presidents George H.W. and George W. Bush's. The Left says Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's policies are to the right of center while the Right warns of Marxist indoctrination from Duncan's boss.
With all this confusion, the question remains, is Rhee, the spokesperson of education reform, a Democrat or a Republican? Is she left-wing or right-wing? Does it matter?
Read more M. Catharine Evans at Potter Williams Report
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