(Bloomberg) -- Michelle Rhee, the former District of Columbia schools chancellor, is starting an advocacy group of teachers, parents and pupils.
The organization will advocate for greater teacher support, ensure “excellent” schools are available to all students, encourage greater parental engagement and call for “smart spending” on effective instructional programs and teacher performance evaluation, according to the group’s website, studentsfirst.org. Rhee, 40, is the founder and chief executive officer.
“Our mission is to build a national movement to defend the interests of children in public education and pursue transformative reform, so that America has the best education system in the world,” the website says.
Rhee plans to discuss the initiative today on a pre-taped segment of “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” according to her Twitter feed.
Rhee’s announced her resignation in October as D.C. chancellor, a post she’d held since 2007. She stepped down after her boss, Mayor Adrian Fenty, lost his bid for re-election Sept. 14 in a primary in which her educational policies became a central issue.
Rhee favored measuring teacher quality by students’ test scores, firing underperforming instructors and pushing merit pay — the same changes advocated by President Barack Obama’s administration in its $4.35 billion Race to the Top program. In July, Rhee dismissed 241 teachers and put 737 on notice to improve within a year or leave. Washington has languished for years near the bottom of national rankings in student proficiency in reading and math.
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