According to Michelle Rhee, teachers unions aren't the biggest problems in public education. They just can't be a part of the reform solution because their members—also known as teachers—don't put students first. Unions are merely a special interest group that's too busy thinking about increasing their paychecks and benefits to care about closing the achievement gap.
Rhee shared her views on the MSNBC political talk-fest Hardball with Chris Matthews on Wednesday night. Matthews asked the former D.C. public schools chancellor if the unions are, "for education or for the teachers?"
Michelle Rhee has a new line to add to her resume—as CEO of a national education reform advocacy group. The former chancellor of the D.C. schools announced earlier today on the Oprah Winfrey Show and a Newsweek cover story that she's launching her own organization. Called StudentsFirst, it's a "national movement to defend the interests of children in public education and pursue transformative reform, so that America has the best education system in the world."
Rhee says she created StudentsFirst because principals, district officials, and school board members aren't considering what's best for kids. She writes in Newsweek:
"Go to any public-school-board meeting in the country and you’ll rarely hear the words “children,” “students,” or “kids” uttered. Instead, the focus remains on what jobs, contracts, and departments are getting which cuts, additions, or changes. The rationale for the decisions mostly rests on which grown-ups will be affected, instead of what will benefit or harm children."