"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Carpetbagger StudentsFirst Missouri State Director Knows What's Best for Missouri Students--Part I

Are carpetbagging educational reformers coming to your state?

A reader received an email from one of our new national educational lobbying groups in Missouri, Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst organization.  This article from Fast Company details Rhee's vision and method of operation.  Rhee makes it sounds as if the choice of education would be delivered back to the parents, but that's not accurate.  A different set of laws and regulations written by private corporations, organizations and lawmakers will replace those now in place.  It's one set of power brokers taking over another set of power brokers with the taxpayer/parent looking on from the outside.

StudentsFirst, a private organization, is attempting to determine and drive legislation that it believes is "best for children" in Missouri and other states.  A one-size fits all educational system, whether it be teacher tenure, charters, standards, assessments...should be implemented in all states.  Think of it as a centralized, national plan for children, taxpayers and local school districts.  It's not "choice".  It's an identical plan for every child, every taxpayer, every teacher/administrator in every state.  Taxpayers are funding these decisions made by lobbying groups and implemented by state legislators.  The lobbyists are determining through legislative process how educational decisions should be made and how education is delivered with taxpayer funding.

When children are viewed as human capital and the main purpose of education is to provide human capital for a successful global economy, it would make sense that the Missouri State Director from StudentsFirst who isn't from Missouri, doesn't live in Missouri or even works in Missouri can make statements that she knows what Missouri students, parents, teachers and administrators need.  When you have a centralized system, individualistic and regional differences don't exist. Cogs in the system must be the same and treated as such.

Lea Crusey, Missouri State Director of StudentsFirst, signed her name to the letter below.  Who is Lea Crusey?  From LinkedIn:

Lea Crusey

Education reform advocate
Sacramento, California
Public Policy
  • University of Chicago
  • Claremont McKenna College
  • Princeton High School
She was a former TFA member, Research assistant the the Center for Race Politics and Culture, CTA project manager and President of KIPP schools. Most recently she was working to get rid of cars in downtown Chicago.  Does this background make her uniquely qualified to speak about what Missouri needs in education?  She was in Missouri recently testifying in favor of charter schools, but other than that, there is no evidence of any long term connection to Missouri in terms of employment or residence.

The education reform carpetbaggers are taking over education and using taxpayer money and children for their agenda.

From a StudentsFirst email to a Missouri resident:


Dear xxxx,

Research shows that the teacher in front of the classroom has the largest impact on student success of any in-school factor. That's why every Missouri student deserves great teacher.

The problem is that current bureaucratic policies and outdated systems do not support the development of an excellent teaching force. In fact, they get in the way. Effective teachers are not recognized for their impact on student learning and struggling teachers are not given the support they need to improve. But we have a chance to change that this year.

Missouri legislators are considering a bill right now which would establish a teacher and principal evaluation system that would reflect student learning and value all the different ways teachers support learning in their classrooms and schools. Missouri's teachers would finally get meaningful feedback about their performance and receive professional development tailored to their specific needs. And principals would be held accountable for student results. The Missouri House will vote on the bill this week and the Senate vote will soon follow.

Please ask your legislators to support meaningful evaluation for Missouri's educators!

Teacher evaluation should be based on multiple factors including student achievement growth, principal observations, and more. Principals should be evaluated based on student learning and their ability to recruit and develop an excellent teaching force. The legislation being considered does just that.

Most importantly, this teacher and principal evaluation system will result in a more effective teaching force. This is what Missouri's students need so they have the best possible teachers and the best chance at success. Please tell your legislators to pass HB1526!


Thank you for your continued efforts to make sure every Missouri student gets a quality education. I’ll be in touch again soon.


We'll have more email requests from Ms. Crusey tomorrow.  She has more advice for us in Missouri on what we need in our schools.

carpetbagger [ˈkɑːpɪtˌbægə]
1. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) a politician who seeks public office in a locality where he has no real connections
2. (Business / Insurance) (Economics, Accounting & Finance / Banking & Finance) Brit a person who makes a short-term investment in a mutual savings or life-assurance organization in order to benefit from free shares issued following the organization's conversion to a public limited company
3. (Historical Terms) US a Northern White who went to the South after the Civil War to profit from Reconstruction
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

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