Michelle Rhee is the national education reformer most well-known for her cross-country tour promoting the anti-public education film “Waiting for Superman”, including an appearance at a screening with Ohio’s own John Kasich.  Prior to that, Rhee spent a couple of years at the head of the D.C. Public Schools, a couple of years promoting Teach for America, and she even spent a few years as a classroom teacher (TFA corps member).

These days, Rhee is the head of StudentsFirst, a non-profit organization that purports to promote public schools, but in truth only serves to promote charter schools, parent choice, and the dismantling of teacher involvement in the creation of employment contracts.  Strangely, Rhee is still a media darling and has even appeared on morning talk shows representing herself as . . . a Democrat.  Rhee’s political viewpoint and the work of StudentsFirst most assuredly do not represent the progressive educational perspective, but many media outlets still take Rhee at her word when she claims to be . . . a Democrat.

Now, here in Ohio, Michelle Rhee’s true colors simply cannot be ignored.  Rhee has chosen to fund multiple candidates in Ohio who are running for the Ohio House this year, citing their individual votes to support the Kasich budget that cut public education funding by $1.8 billion as a reason for StudentsFirst’s support.  Let me restate that: StudentsFirst supports these candidates because they supported Kasich’s budget that cut $1.8 billion from school funding.

You can find biographies like this on the StudentsFirst website:

In addition to Roegner, who also voted to pass Senate Bill 5 in 2011 as a member of the Commerce, Labor, and Technology committee, you can also find the bio for Andy Thompson (his wife, teacher Jade Thompson, sued the teachers unions that seek to defend her rights), another well-documented supporter of public schools via expanded vouchers [sarcasm fully intended].

But the most egregious offense by Rhee in Ohio this election season can be found in the race for open seat in the 24th Ohio House District.

Based on their alleged support of the best teachers in the country, Rhee (supposed Democrat) and StudentsFirst could have been expected to throw their full support behind the candidate who has:

  • 29 years of teaching experience
  • 2001 Upper Arlington Teacher of the Year award
  • 2002 Ohio Teacher of the Year award

And in the race for this open seat, Rhee might have also been expected to select the highly-decorated teacher who was also running as a Democrat — Maureen Reedy.  Reedy would seem to be the perfect candidate for Rhee and StudentsFirst — a successful and experienced teacher with a proven track record, ready to take the risk to step out of the classroom and become an advocate for public education at the state level.

Instead, Rhee has thrown her full support behind Reedy’s opponent, Stephanie Kunze, a candidate with no experience in education.  Kunze is, however, running as a Republican, the party favored by StudentsFirst and Michelle Rhee, who aren’t simply writing a check to Kunze’s campaign, but are actually engaged in their own ground and mail campaign in a targeted effort to defeat Teacher of the Year Reedy.  And the effort by StudentsFirst is not a small, insignificant shot at getting this seat in Republican hands.  StudentsFirst is funding numerous door hangers and a variety of postcard advertisements aimed at getting Kunze elected.

Below is a sample of the disingenuous ads that have the audacity to paint Kunze as the education expert in this race, likely hoping to create confusion among voters.  If you were still on the fence about whether or not Rhee believes in what is best for public education, this should remove all doubt.  She does not.

Stephanie Kunze — NO experience in education.

   Stephanie Kunze — NO experience in education.

 Stephanie Kunze — NO experience in education.

 Stephanie Kunze — STILL NO experience in education.

Vote for Maureen Reedy, the classroom teacher with 29 years of experience, for the Ohio House of Representatives in the 24th District.