Michele's Rhee's reputation was already a little shaky amongst educators, as she pushed a partisan and deceptive corporate education reform agenda, but now that reputation must be in tatters on the news that she and her nascent organization "StudentsFirst" employed lobbyists in Ohio to architect major parts of SB5 and the SB5 provisions in the budget bill.
If the name Robert Klaffky sounds familiar, it's because he was featured in an Disptach article only this weekend, frontpage headlined "Kasich friends in high demand - 3 who have long been advisers to governor become top lobbyists".
The details of Klaffky's lobbying are laid out in a HuffingtonPost report
How much work StudentsFirst actually did on SB5 is not entirely clear. While Klaffky said he was tasked with putting language into the controversial bill, Hobson insisted that the group's primary focus was on the budget, HB153. The reason SB5 was put on the lobbying disclosure, she said, was because Klaffky simply discussed the matter with StudentFirst officials.
That explanation, however, appeared to contradict local reports, which had Rhee personally asking Kasich to include performance pay for teachers in SB5. It also did little to win over critics of Rhee, who argued that the former chancellor's willingness to work with the likes of the Ohio governor gave him the type of cover needed to make sweeping changes to the collective bargaining law. Adding amendments to the bill, the logic goes, inherently supports the bill.
"It now turns out that Michelle Rhee hired a close friend of the governor to lobby in favor of SB5," said Piet van Lier, head of Policy Matters Ohio who has worked on education in Ohio and opposes SB5. "This bill would require merit pay and test-based evaluations for teachers, neither of which has solid research support as a way to improve schools."
There should be no educator in the country now in any doubt about Rhee's corporate, partisan "reform" agenda and her disdain for public school teachers.