Rhee cloaks her partisan agenda

Michelle Rhee was in Ohio yesterday, and had a Q&A with StateImpact. A few of her answers raised eyebrows.

Q.What are your thoughts on Gov. John Kasich; do you think you have his support in these efforts?

A: It’s very interesting. John Kasich is a Republican, I’m a Democrat, so we certainly don’t agree on all issues. But as it pertains to education and education reform, I have found Gov. Kasich to be a very, very strong proponent of reform.

What people label themselves as is a matter of personal preference, but one isn't hard pressed to notice that Rhee spent the better part of 2011 working very closely with Republican governor's and finding so few friends in the Democratic party that her lobbying front group "StudentsFirst" had to go out and hire a PR flack. You don't have to take our word for it though. Leaked in a memo, Rhee spoke of her "Waiting for Superman" event with the governor being designed to boost the governor's flagging approvals

Drive to Cleveland!
@ 6:10 Governor Kasich will start the viewing of Waiting for Superman. Margaret Spelling will give a pre-taped special message at the beginning. Mafara will be on site.
(NOTE: WFS will be broadcast via webcam to six other town hall meetings through out the state. The locations were chosen based on districts where we need to sure up support for the Governor’s budget. It’s also being broadcast via webcam for house parties that were put together by the Partnership for Ohio’s Future.)

Did we also mention that Rhee's lobby group helped craft parts of SB5? They did. So when she talks about how popular her agenda is, being reminded it was defeated 62%-38% isn't being unkind, it's being truthful.

This, however, wasn't the Q&A that raised our eyebrows the most.

Q. It seems that some of the things that you stand for (like tying performance to teacher pay and opposing last-hired, first-fired) have really come to be synonymous with the Republican Party’s reform efforts and anti-union, anti-liberal (agenda) in Ohio. How did that develop in your own personal belief system?

A: For example last-in, first-out basically says that if you’re the last teacher hired, you must be the first teacher fired at the time of a layoff. Makes absolutely no sense. Nobody wants layoffs to occur, but if they do have to occur then we have to do our best to ensure that the best teachers, the most highly effective teachers are maintained in the system. So I don’t see that as a Republican point of view, I don’t see that as a Democratic point of view, I see that as a pro-kid stance.

When asked about how she balances her claims to be a Democrat with her alliances with Republican governor's, she avoids the question altogether. Given how easy it is to document her Republican bona fides, that come as no surprise.

Rhee could have pivoted away form that uncomfortable question with all manner of responses. But as if to further prove our point that corporate education reformers all have a fetish for teachers losing their jobs, Rhee couldn't help herself and responded with an answer wholly about teachers losing their jobs. It's seems pathological.

The fact that Rhee and her lobby group have to resort to such contortions so early in their efforts is no surprise. We've long ago documented how deceptive they are about their agenda, and SB5's massive defeat by actual voters demonstrates they might be wise to keep their corporate education reform agenda cloaked - because when that agenda is exposed, people really don't like what they see.