Friday, July 01, 2011

As Michelle Rhee Links Arms With The Right, Allies Worry

A related article about the tightrope Rhee must walk, reflecting the reality that the governors pushing hardest on reform are mostly Republicans who are generally anti-union (we at DFER are working to bring more Dems in the fold!):

"She is swimming in some politically choppy waters," Carey says.

In fact, the same criticisms of Rhee's polarizing public persona now come from erstwhile allies, not reform foes. "It's very high risk—people have spent years trying to be clear that we're sending an anti-teacher message, that's something we've been very careful about," says Kate Walsh, president of the National Council on Teacher Quality. "If you instead rattle the cage so much, people begin to fear that you have been full of it, and that you haven't been honest, you lose them."

"She may have to work harder to convince people that she's not part of some Republican plot," Williams adds.

There are at least some indications that Rhee may be taking tentative steps to reestablish her bipartisan street cred—a sensible thing to do, given that she's announced plans to raise $1 billion for StudentsFirst, a sum that probably requires dunning liberals and centrists along with right-wingers. Last month, she announced that George Parker—the D.C. teachers' union leader she negotiated with as chancellor—would become a senior fellow at the organization. "I hope, working together again, we can come up with ideas for improving how schools serve children nationally," Rhee wrote in a Huffington Post piece. But can such alliances last? Rhee's friends and foes are waiting, watching—and worrying.



As Michelle Rhee Links Arms With The Right, Allies Worry

By Suzy Khimm on June 24, 2011

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