For those who viewed Michelle Rhee as an anti-union bully, the past few months have offered lots of chances to say “toldya so.” Soon after resigning as the D.C. Public Schools chancellor in October, Rhee began appearing with Republican governors who were busily making war on public-sector unions. But if longtime Rhee critics felt vindicated, another group has been less sanguine: left-leaning education reformers who worry that her moves could help tie education reform to a larger conservative agenda to crush organized labor.
Since the launch of Rhee’s advocacy organization, StudentsFirst, the optics certainly haven’t been favorable for her fellow Democratic reformers. In October, pugilistic New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie asked her to become his education commissioner. Rhee turned him down, but called herself a “big fan” of his plans to weaken the state’s teachers’ unions. Months later, Rhee became an adviser to Rick Scott, the Tea Party favorite who, as Florida’s governor, has fought to erect new barriers to collecting union dues. And when an even higher-profile clash over public-sector unions began this year in Wisconsin, Rhee was lauding its right-wing governor, Scott Walker, for taking an “important” step to rein in teacher pensions and “limit what they bargain.” . . .
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Rhee Finds Respect Among Governors Without Any
Washington City Paper: