Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin' to sell
-- Bob Dylan

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

More problems with Rheeform

It was only a couple of years ago that Michelle Rhee was flying high on that broomstick of hers. Despite being booted by popular disdain, from her D.C. Supt. job, Rhee was being wined and toasted at N.Y. and Washington cocktail parties by both liberal and conservative elites as the new queen of corporate-style school reform. She even starred in a Hollywood movie, Waiting For Superman, before being hired as a union-busting consultant by Tea Part governors in Florida, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

Her rump Students First organization was promised a billion dollars by power-philanthropists like Eli Broad, Bill Gates, and the Koch Bros., the money to be used to bankroll anti-union political campaigns nationwide.

Lately however, some of the shine seems to be fading from Rhee's apple. Not only has Rhee been exposed for her role in a D.C. test-cheating scandal,  Politico reports that Rhee's group isn't even close to achieving its fund-raising goal.
Rhee’s group initially pledged to raise $1 billion in the group’s first year, but it has only posted nearly $30 million in its second year — a hefty sum for a single-issue advocacy group but far short of their initial fundraising ambitions.
And these days, $30 million will only buy a handful of elections, leaving Rhee's organization as thin at the top as it is at the bottom. According to Politico, Student First Pres. Kahlil Byrd is "stepping down" after less than a year on the job. Politico describes Byrd as a "longtime Republican — previously was head of Americans Elect, which sought to put a credible third-party ticket on the ballot in the 2012 election."
StudentsFirst has seen an exodus of Democratic staffers: Former Democratic National Committee spokesman Hari Sevugan, Democratic lobbyist Ximena Hartsock and former Democratic fundraiser Tali Stein all left the group for other opportunities. Since its foundation, the group has had a high staff turnover. Byrd is the latest in a string of staff departures since the group was founded in 2010.
The Democrats may be starting to Rhee as political  baggage with mid-term elections coming up.

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