StudentsFirst, a national front group founded by former Washington DC Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, recently landed in Jefferson City to push union busting, anti-education legislation in the Missouri General Assembly. Most recently, StudentsFirst was behind HB 1526, a bill which will all but eliminate teacher tenure in Missouri; ignore certification, experience and a teacher commitment in determining layoffs; allow out of state groups to run our schools and tell Missourians what's best for our students, parents and teachers; lastly, HB 1526 will take away local control over education from our communities.
As many other right wing funded groups, StudentsFirst parades around the country as a grassroots organization when in reality, it's just another way for the 1% to attack hard working teachers, the children they educate and the public school system. On Wednesday, StudentsFirst held a luncheon for their grassroots activists in Kansas City, here's the email that went out inviting folks:
Do you want get involved in the effort to improve Missouri schools?
Come down to The Fig Tree Café and Bakery to share some good food with other Missourians who care about education. Find out more about how we can keep great Missouri teachers in the classroom and increase the number of quality public schools in our state.
Date: Wednesday, May 9th, 2012
Time: 11:30am to 2pm
Place: The Fig Tree Cafe and Bakery
Location: 817 NE Rice Road, Lee's Summit, MO 64086
We need to make sure that Missouri’s education policies put the interests of students first. At the luncheon, we will provide you with information about current policies being debated and tools to take action. Whether you want to get involved now or just learn more, come to the luncheon and bring your friends!
Hope to see you there!
Catherine Durkin Robinson
Teacher Outreach Team, StudentsFirst
PS. Please contact me at email@example.com with any questions
The funny part? No one showed up. Not one grassroots activist came. Event organizers were forced to cancel the luncheon.
But here's the real question: are you really grassroots if no one shows up? Can you call yourself a grassroots organization if you spend millions upon millions of Rupert Murdoch and Koch Brothers' money to advance legislation that attacks working families and even your astroturf activists don't show up?
Here's the thing, this isn't the first time Rhee and her
Students Rhee First campaign has had such an epic "grassroots" failure. Back in Connecticut, her campaign tried to hold a huge rally for education reformers and... you guessed it, no one showed up.