In an earlier post, I described how Michelle Rhee’s Students First collects “members” whenever anyone unwittingly signs a petition at change.org for a “kittens and puppies” cause or when they agree that they respect teachers. This is deceptive advertising. It turns out that Jonah Edelman’s Stand for Children also benefited by misleading people who signed heart-warming petitions at change.org.
Never doubt that citizens can make a difference. In response to protests and petitions, change.org will no longer be collecting signatures for Rhee or Edelman because their organizations are anti-union. Change.org claims to be a progressive website, not just a free-market platform for anything. As a progressive website, it was subject to growing criticism for enabling groups like Students First and Stand for Children to promote their agenda of privatization and union-busting.
And don’t doubt for a minute that one person can make a difference. Aaron Krager communicated directly with change.org and wrote a blistering critique of their actions. Krager wrote:
Change.org can hide behind Stand for Children’s focus group tested mission statement all it wants. It doesn’t stop the truth from existing. Stand for Children wants to privatize education, pick and choose the students who receive it, take away the rights of the people working in the schools, and allow corporate funders to dictate education policy. It simply does not fall in line with Change.org’s own policies. Saying so denies the truth and merely aligns Change with the one percent that already benefit at our expense.
Just because a group claims to be working for “the civil rights issue of our era” does not mean it’s true. Now, even Mitt Romney says that his agenda of vouchers, charters and privatization is a civil rights agenda. It is not. Stand for Children claims on its website to be working on behalf of better education by promoting its anti-union, privatization campaign. That is not a civil rights agenda. Michelle Rhee is promoting charters, vouchers, and privatization while encouraging rightwing governors to strip teachers of any right to due process and collective bargaining. These are not progressive groups. They work hand-in-glove with those who want to roll back the New Deal. They work not for children but for the powerful elites who like privatization.
A READER SENDS THIS WARNING:
|Change.org is still collecting sigs for the group. Their petitions remain. The only thing they have agreed to is to stop offering them paid promotion of their petitions. Please read the HufPo article more closely and you’ll see this is so. They have already gained over a million sigs through these automatic ads.
Bottom line: Don’t sign any petitions on Change.org until you feel certain that you are not automatically registered as a “member” of Students First or Stand for Children without your knowledge.