StudentsFirstNY, the state version of Michelle Rhee's national education reform group, officially announced its formation on Wednesday, April 4. The organization announced its line-up of board members including former New York City schools chancellor, Joel Klein, and Michelle Rhee herself.
SchoolBook outlined the top-level positions and goals of the organization, which already has 100,000 members across the state:
The group supports the expansion of charter schools, merit pay for teachers and the firing of teachers who are found to be ineffective. It is opposed to granting teachers tenure and conducting layoffs based on employees’ seniority.
StudentsFirstNY, which launched last week, already counts 100,000 advocates, educators, parents and citizens across the state as members. These New Yorkers, and many more who will join them, recognize that we are approaching a critical moment in the fight for quality public schools.
Geoffrey Canada and Ed Koch discussed the new organization with the New York Daily News:
We’re proud to be part of a new coalition of people united behind one critical goal: giving all our students the excellent public education they deserve.
The mandate is as simple as our name suggests: Put the students ahead of the bureaucracy, ahead of the unions, ahead of politics and parochialism and squeaky-wheel-gets-the-grease decision-making. What do our kids need to compete and learn most effectively? Focus on those things and deliver them.
The launch of StudentsFirstNY, the state version of Michelle Rhee's national education reform organization, was officially announced on Wednesday, April 4. The new organization was featured in the New York Times and has generated buzz amongst New Yorkers and others.
According to NYCSA's The Chalkboard, StudentsFirstNY should be welcomed to New York:
A reform group like StudentsFirstNY can play a key role in such legislative battles, which are never-ending. New York State's institutional forces against reform are a big challenge for any organization, so it's welcome news to see Michelle Rhee plant the StudentsFirst flag in New York. Congratulations to her and Micah Lasher as they move forward.
StudentsFirstNY State Director Micah Lasher issued the following statement today in response to Chancellor Dennis Walcott's speech this morning:
"Chancellor Walcott is putting the interests of children first by ensuring that no student is taught by an ineffective teacher two years in a row. As lawmakers engage in a classic Albany debate focused on adults and what data can and can't be released to whom, they should make what the Chancellor has done for City schoolchildren the law for the entire state."