From reader Chiara:

 

This is absolutely amazing. [Ed: read the story in the link]

 

The Ohio Department of Education has chosen a lobbying group. StudentsFirst, to direct efforts to “inform” parents on whether to turn over a bunch of public schools to private contractors under the Parent Trigger:

 

“Columbus Superintendent Dan Good said yesterday that the district is working to understand all the nuances of the law. On Tuesday, the school board is to hear a presentation by the Education Department and StudentsFirst, the group that the department chose to inform and organize parents”

 

Rules released by the department yesterday refer to StudentsFirst as a “neutral third party,” but Columbus Education Association President Tracey Johnson said the group is not neutral; it’s a school-reform lobbying organization.”

 

This is ridiculous. Our state Department of Education is completely captured by lobbyists.

 

They’re a joke. I resent paying these people. I think StudentsFirst should put them on the payroll and take them off mine. They are actively working against existing public schools in this state.

 

Chiara is right. StudentsFirst, founded by Michelle Rhee, is not a neutral third party. It actively lobbies and advocates for charters, vouchers, and high-stakes testing in states across the nation. It also supports the parent trigger. According to the article cited by Chiara, one in five of the schools in Columbus are eligible for parent takeover, even though many of them have been reconstituted and turned around previously. The laws have been written in such a way as to label many schools as failures without actually doing anything to help them. This sets them up for privatization. StudentsFirst has no track record of improving schools. It is a lobbying organization for privatization.