The other dy we learned from an article on the Huffington Post that several top Democratic staff members quit Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst. One of them was Hari Sevugan, who had been a leading figure in the 2008 Obama campaign. Sevugan’s departure set off speculation about why he left: was it Rhee’s union-busting goals? Was it her advocacy for rightwing governors? Was it her support for privatization?

Sevugan dashed off a comment to this blog in which he insisted that he cares deeply about helping children, nothing more complicated than that.

This teacher-parent in Florida was inspired by the exchange to write this open letter to Hari Sevugan:


I would like to say to you … I am a teacher and I am a parent. I see this reform from both sides. I see depleted public schools and public programs. I see our public funds channeled to corporate charter schools. I see those schools failing the communities, and most importantly, the children. I am not the only one who sees it.

I read, just today, that Michelle Rhee praised my state, Florida, for their education reform. I disagree. Last year, in Florida, we reviewed the testing results. We found that less than 10% of all Florida schools are charter schools, yet they comprised 51% of the failing schools in Florida. In some counties, such as my own, the only failing school was, in fact, a charter school. The same is true for many counties in Florida, including the very large Broward county.

How can you convince us that charter schools are the answer?

I don’t believe it is possible to convince us, parents or teachers, that lobbying for charter schools is for the benefit of our children. Certainly not when we can drive down our streets and find a failing charter school, or closed charter school, with huge profits that disappeared in the wind. These are our streets … these are our children.

I do not believe it is possible to convince us. I applaud you for coming on this blog and trying … but these are our kids. We know they deserve better. This is the civil rights issue of our generation. The separation now is between the haves and have nots. Charter schools are furthering that division. I get it that the charter vision sounds good on paper, but the reality proves differently.

We need to refuel and revitalize our public schools … not punish and privatize. Remember, It is a core Democratic value to ensure free and equal public education for all. We learned once, not so long ago, that separate is not equal.

Never was … never will be.

Just my opinion as a parent and teacher. I am simply an ambassador for my child… no fancy title or IPhone for me.