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Why is Change.org hosting a petition for Michelle Rhee's group, Students First?

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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-01-11 12:52 PM
Original message
Why is Change.org hosting a petition for Michelle Rhee's group, Students First?
Edited on Thu Sep-01-11 01:10 PM by madfloridian
Change.org claims to empower activists and grassroots to form their own petitions.

Every day, across the world, people like you start campaigns on Change.org to fight for issues they care about and the Change.org team works to mobilize people to help them win.

We believe that building momentum for social change globally means empowering citizen activists locally. That's why anyone, anywhere from Chicago to Cape Town can start their own grassroots campaign for change using our organizing platform.

Your campaign can be about anything. From supporting curbside recycling programs to fighting wrongful deportation to protecting against anti-gay bullying, Change.org members start campaigns around thousands of different issues.

The About page at change.org


This petition which says it wants to save great teachers never does link to Rhee's site. Here is the link to her site. Michelle Rhee has no groups which are grassroots or activist. She has been paid millions by billionaires, and she has the media in love with her projects.

Here is the petition at Change.org.

Those who sign the petition do not realize that LIFO (Last In First Out) actually means union-busting. It is her goal and the goal of Students First to end job security for teachers, to have teachers already on tenure let go to make room for new teachers.

Since the petition does not link directly back to her site, it is misleading. There is nothing grassroots about Michelle Rhee.

Education Weekly's blogger, Teacher in a Strange Land, points out how many have been misled into signing her petition.

Money Can't Buy Me Love

For some reason I can not link to the article itself, so here is the link to the blogger. The post I refer to is the 2nd one down.

I have a large collection of favorite resources on teacher leadership--books, websites, articles, cartoons, blogs, even an iTunes playlist. This summer, I had to add a new artifact to view: the StudentsFirst.org website. An example of what hundreds of millions will buy you in media presence and influence, a place where compelling messages about teaching and learning go to be politically compromised, twisted to a kind of educational Newspeak.

..."Of course, there's a whole lot of education-related whitewash and baloney out there, packaged as glossy, interactive web-based media. The StudentsFirst site has a lot of what blogger Kathleen Kosobud calls "kittens and puppies" appeal. If you didn't know better--if you weren't carefully following education policy or reforms--you would swear that StudentsFirst was a progressive venture, aligned with full teacher professionalism, empowering ignored parents and advocating for great public schools for all kids.

If it's true that Rupert Murdoch gave Michelle Rhee $50 million toward the billion she was seeking to impose her vision of school reform on a weary nation, perhaps he also gave her some valuable tips on clever use of distorting media to steer public opinion. While working on the Save Our Schools campaign, I got a call from an enraged supporter who signed a Save Our Schools-endorsed petition at Change.Org and was immediately taken to the StudentsFirst site. Please tell me, she said through clenched teeth, that Save Our Schools is not affiliated in any way with Michelle Rhee.

So I spoke with Change.Org. It turns out that you can have a free petition at Change.Org. Or you can pay Change.Org to help build your initiative's client base by letting them serve as connection point for "related" causes. I asked why Change.Org thought StudentsFirst was a progressive cause--the kind of initiative that pushed real democracy forward. There was a pause. Then the nice young man I was speaking to said, "Well, there was actually a lot of talk around the office about that." Discreet.


Sounds like Change.org either got snookered or really has no idea of what Michelle Rhee's group is all about.

They are not the only group to either be fooled or perhaps not....maybe not really fooled. The ad for Students First and Saving Great Teachers has been up at the Mother Jones website for a while now.

Mother Jones website has Michelle Rhee's petition link posted.

(On edit...odd. I checked the Mother Jones site earlier today, and the petition was there. Right now it is not. Maybe down? Maybe recycling?)

The non-grassroots Michelle Rhee is very very good at making groups like Change.org and Mother Jones draw attention to her anti-union, anti-tenure project called Students First.
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DeSwiss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-01-11 12:56 PM
Response to Original message
1. Michelle Rhee Is Grass Roots
War Is Peace
Freedom Is Slavery
Ignorance Is Strength

- See?, that's how it works......

K&R
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-01-11 01:05 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Heh heh
Well said. :thumbsup:
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Fuddnik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-02-11 05:41 PM
Response to Reply #1
18. Crab grass
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-01-11 01:04 PM
Response to Original message
2. Shakes head in disbelief. Nt
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-01-11 03:47 PM
Response to Original message
4. Change.org...gets $1.75 for every signature.
"In the end, StudentsFirst becomes a revenue stream for Change.Org--$1.75 for every signature-cum-email they snag, according to Nice Young Man. So the 7000 SF "members" who live in Georgia and were willing to click on an e-mailed petition to the Georgia legislature back in April cost Michelle $12,250. Chump change out of Rupert's generous donation.

Kosobud (who is very savvy about education policy and technology) got conned, however--bamboozled into signing a StudentsFirst petition, much to her chagrin. It can happen to anybody. Beware.

The line on social-media political action is that free and earned media are more open and democratic. But if it's easy to buy "support" with a few handy phrases ("fighting to keep effective teachers in the classroom!"), soft-focus video clips and paying to lure well-meaning people to misinformation, we're all in trouble."

http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teacher_in_a_strange_l...

And that first paragraph links back to an AJC article that shows how Rhee's group influenced education law by sheer numbers alone. Just imagine how much attention congress will pay to the almost 200 thousand signing her petition that is on a progressive site but is not progressive.

http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2011/04/14/teach... /

"Within two hours of House passage of a controversial bill this week requiring teacher layoffs to be based on job performance rather than seniority, I received a call from StudentsFirst.

Would I like to talk to founder and CEO Michelle Rhee about the role StudentsFirst played in the passage of Georgia Senate Bill 184? (The bill passed in the House, but has to return to the Senate to approve the modifications made by the House.)

While I knew that Rhee had visited the governor and General Assembly in February, I did not realize that the former chancellor of Washington, D.C., schools had mobilized her members in Georgia to push for an end to what she considers the damaging policy of last-in-first-out or Lifo in teacher layoffs.

We have 7,000 members of StudentsFirst in Georgia and they generated more than 12,000 e-mails and calls to legislators round the state, said Rhee in a telephone interview. They came out in full force and its unusual to see that kind of volume in education issues."

Looks like the bill still will be reworked, according to an update by Downey.
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Starry Messenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-01-11 03:50 PM
Response to Original message
5. recommend.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-01-11 07:58 PM
Response to Original message
6. Yep, the petition is back at Mother Jones....must recycle.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-01-11 09:40 PM
Response to Original message
7. And it's on daily kos' front page
Disgusting.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-02-11 12:11 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. It's misleading of Change.org to have this petition for a corporate group.
It defeats the purpose of who they are.

MJ response...they consider everyone to be sufficiently smart enough to view ads like that.

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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-02-11 12:38 PM
Response to Original message
9. A magazine named for a union activist with an anti-union petition on its front page.
Mother Jones would shed a tear if she knew.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Harris_Jones
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senseandsensibility Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-02-11 07:46 PM
Response to Reply #9
20. Yes. Has anyone tried to contact Mother Jones about this?
It's very controversial. They have to be receiving complaints.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-02-11 08:15 PM
Response to Reply #20
22. I did.
I did not like the response. This is NOT an ad. It is petition that is calling for union-busting but using other terms. They do not seem to care.

"Everyone has their own point of view and "Mother Jones respects and values free expression and dissenting voices" and "we assume that our readers are sufficiently smart and skeptical to evaluate advertising claims for themselves, and we accept most advertisements."



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jwirr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-02-11 02:15 PM
Response to Original message
10. I got this in an email today - so you all are staying this is not a good
Edited on Fri Sep-02-11 02:18 PM by jwirr
idea? From what I have read here this would be a good idea if the organizations supporting it reserved the right to reject petitions that did not reflect their interests.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-02-11 02:19 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Only a good idea if you believe in teachers' unions being destroyed.
Because that is the goal of LIFO. It means firing long time tenured teachers to make room for new ones. Rhee just uses weasel words to fool people.
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jwirr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-02-11 02:51 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. I meant the idea of having an easy way of starting petitions.
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Matt Shapiro Donating Member (68 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-02-11 07:42 PM
Response to Reply #11
19. Change.org, Daily Kos, Mother Jones -- disgusting for supporting anti-teacher petition, but..
I think you misunderstand LIFO. LIFO (last in, first out) is the current system in most unionized jurisdictions. Michelle Rhee and her billionaire funders oppose LIFO, because it keeps more experienced teachers not because they are not as good as the rookies (they're way better for the most part), but rather because they get paid more. It's all about the money. "Students First" will put students last by getting rid of the best, most experienced teachers, privatizing education, paying all teachers less, and moving vast sums of public education dollars into the pockets of private/charter school CEOs. Public education will be destroyed, and the most qualified people, both young and old, will seek employment elsewhere.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-02-11 07:50 PM
Response to Reply #19
21. LIFO is the term Rhee uses to bust tenure. I used it in that way.
Yes, I understand it. They want to turn teaching into a temp kind of job with no professionalism left.

Maybe I did not word it well, but it is her effort to destroy rights gained through unions.

She uses LIFO as a scornful term.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-02-11 02:24 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. More about Rhee's goals.
Michelle Rhee fights unions and tenure in Ohio. Also in TN and FL

Not sure what you mean about the right to reject petitions? Change.org claims to be a grassroots site, and Rhee most surely is not grassroots.
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jwirr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-02-11 02:56 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. The idea is that petitions could be started by anyone but I would
like to see this tool be used for progressive ideas - Rhee's petitions proves that it will be used by both sides. If the tool is offered by say Du then I would like to see that it could not be used by anyone other than DU members. Hope that helps. You are talking about Rhee's article and I am talking about the tool to start petitions.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-02-11 03:19 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. I see what you mean.
What bothers me is that both Change.org and Mother Jones have been contacted multiple times, and both still support Rhee's petition.

One is getting money for each petition, and MJ claims we are all smart enough to know what is right.

And that is baloney. The education reformers have great propaganda techniques. And using progressive media is one of their tricks.
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jwirr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-02-11 03:34 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Got you. MJ is dead wrong. If we were all that smart we would have
had a majority of progressive legislators for the last four years.
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LooseWilly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-02-11 03:54 PM
Response to Original message
17. Mother Jones and Change.org probably have a lot of private school educated decision makers...
When you've gone to private schools and grown up "understanding" that public schools are "bad"... then of course Rhee's arguments & "crusade" will resonate, on an unconscious level really.

"She was raised in the Toledo, Ohio area and educated in the public schools, through the sixth grade.<5> Her parents then sent her to South Korea to attend school for one year.<5> Upon her return, they enrolled her in a private school because they felt the public school was lacking." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelle_Rhee )

I don't think anyone who's actually attended a public school shares Rhee's obvious "axiom" that teachers are the problem...
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-02-11 10:23 PM
Response to Reply #17
23. Good point.
Seems like no one is getting through to them. Progressive sites falling for corporate propaganda...worries me.
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