"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

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Monday, July 30, 2012

A Former Michelle Rhee Principal Registers as StudentsFirst Lobbyist in Missouri.

StudentsFirst National Outreach Director now a registered lobbyist in Missouri. 

Meet one of the newest lobbyists in Missouri for StudentsFirst who will try to recruit more Missouri legislators to sign on to the reforms set forth by that organization. Ximena Hartsock became a registered Missouri lobbyist for StudentsFirst in May 2012. This is from the StudentsFirst website where National staff office members are listed:

Ximena is an experienced advocate for education reform and currently leads national outreach efforts at StudentsFirst. Prior to joining StudentsFirst, she served in former Washington, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty's executive cabinet. She has over a decade of experience working in the Washington DC public school system in multiple capacities, including her roles as a teacher, Assistant Principal and Principal and Deputy Chief of Teaching and Learning. Growing up in a family of teachers in Chile, Ximena’s strong commitment to improving opportunities for children and the philosophy that education is the most powerful equalizer have deeply influenced her both personally and professionally. A graduate of the University of La Serena in Chile and The George Washington University, Ximena has an extensive background in research with an emphasis on English Language Learners and the impact of parental involvement on student achievement.
As an immigrant, I feel I have an obligation to give back to a country that has provided me with so much. The education I have received has greatly contributed to the rich opportunities I have had here in the United States, and I truly believe that education is the most powerful equalizing force in society. There are few causes nobler than providing a high-quality education to all children so they have a chance to fulfill their hopes and dreams. There is rarely a more deserving fight than ensuring that all children have a fair chance to succeed.


From Linkedin: 

Dr. Ximena Hartsock
National Director of Outreach at StudentsFirst
Washington D.C. Metro Area
Education Management
Nonprofit; 11-50 employees; Education Management industry
January 2011Present (1 year 7 months) DC-CA
Oversees national outreach efforts.

Dr. Ximena Hartsock's Experience:
National Director of Outreach

Deputy Chief of Teaching and Learning

District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS)

Government Agency; 1001-5000 employees; Primary/Secondary Education industry
20072009 (2 years)

Ross Elementary School
2006 – 2007 (1 year) Washington DC
Assistant Principal
Harriet Tubman Elementary School
May 2004 – June 2005 (1 year 2 months) Washington DC

Dr. Hartsock's tenure in DC was under the leadership of Michelle Rhee.  Here is some additional information on Dr. Hartsock from the Washington Post:

Hartsock has a doctorate in leadership, educational administration and policy studies from George Washington University. She also has a master's degree in education from the University of La Serena in Chile, as well as undergraduate degrees in philosophy and Spanish education from the same school. After completing her undergraduate studies, Hartsock taught high school in Chile and elementary school in Virginia. 

Over the past four years, she has gone from being an assistant principal at Harriett Tubman Elementary School to principal of Ross Elementary School, where her students posted gains in reading and math on the D.C. Comprehensive Assessment System, and then to the D.C. public schools administrative post.

Dr. Hartsock has an interesting background in Washington DC  politics and connections.  Her job in the Fenty administration's executive cabinet did not end well:

  • She was rejected for the position of parks and recreation in DC in 2009. She was an interim in this job for a short time when she left the DC Public School system.  This link from a voting councilman gives a differing reason for the vote not approving her  purportedly because of racial bias. 
  • This link provides more background information: D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty today introduced his latest choice to head the Department of Parks and Recreation, Jesús Aguirre. Like his controversial predecessor, outgoing interim-cum-acting director Ximena Hartsock, Aguirre comes from DCPS, where he's been Director of Operations under Michelle Rhee. In a rare move, Hartsock was denied confirmation by the D.C. Council, whose members cited, among other things, her inexperience in matters related to sports and recreation. In a press release, the mayor's office described Aguirre's duties at DCPS as having been responsible for overseeing "day-to-day support on staffing, facilities, finances, and logistics, as well as rapid response during emergent incidents" for over "120 school principals and instructional superintendents." Not a lot of recreation in there, either.
  • One of the reasons ostensibly she was not confirmed for this position was her professional relationship with Rhee and Mayor Fenty.
  • Here is Dr. Hartsock's statement on why she was not appointed as the Department of Parks and Recreation in DC: “They discriminated against me for being Latin and a woman”
  • This wikipedia link gives a detailed history of the DC parks system and background of the refusal of the city council to confirm her as director.


The Missouri legislators must need help learning about education from a seasoned bureaucrat not afraid of political battles.  The original lobbyists for StudentsFirst are based in Missouri, but apparently, they weren't delivering enough votes for the organization to implement most of their programs.  Dr. Hartsock has been through the grinder of DC politics and politicians, so dealing with the Missouri legislators will probably be a piece of cake.

Since we're under common core and under the direction of federal mandates and a consortia based out of Washington state for our educational decisions, it doesn't matter if lobbyists are from Washington DC to "advise" legislators on  how they should vote for legislation proffered by groups (such as StudentsFirst) not based in Missouri. 

These organizations and lobbyists tell  taxpayers and parents that they have the best interests of MISSOURI children in mind, even though they may not live in Missouri or be based in the state.  From the Missouri StudentsFirst website:
Take Action: Missouri

Missouri students are struggling.  Every child deserves a great teacher and a great school.
StudentsFirst members are working right now to pass new laws that will put student interests first.  Tell us how you want to be involved.

Action Center

Please email your state senator and ask them to vote YES on HB 1526.
Take Action

Google "studentsfirst" and your state, and you will most likely find the same concern about your students as it exists in Missouri.  StudentsFirst writes: "Missouri children are struggling".  Approximately 7% of Missouri districts were struggling.  Why is StudentsFirst in Missouri when a small percentage of schools were designated as failing? Who should decide what makes a "great teacher" and a "great school"?  StudentsFirst or local communities?

Missouri taxpayers should be tickled to death the National Director of Outreach from a self-described "education management industry" will be speaking with Missouri legislators  to convince them to run schools via a business management model.  Just think.  Missouri can do away with elected school boards.  Who needs local representation anyway?  Taxpayers can rest easy.  All school decisions can be made by these private companies.  Just send them your children and  your money and they'll take care of everything else.

Dr. Hartsock worked with Michelle Rhee in DC and suffered the same fate as Ms. Rhee when the political winds shifted.  Now it appears StudentsFirst and its lobbyists want to try the same experiment that didn't work in DC schools with a different set of politicians and bureaucrats for all the schools in Missouri. 

With the increase of lobbying pressure of StudentsFirst and registering a national staff member as a Missouri lobbyist, there must be a lot riding on the line for the education reform movement in the state, don't you think? 

1 comment:

  1. Politicians... will either gladly accept the money or be pressed to go along by promising to give big bucks to a worthy opponent in the next election. These folks have no ethics!


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