When the Connecticut Parents Union teamed up with Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst is when Gov. Dannel P. Malloy decided not to attend a March 14 rally being sponsored by the group.
“As much as the governor respects people’s rights to be a part of the education dialogue, Ms. Rhee has at times been a divisive figure,“ Malloy’s Senior Communications Adviser Roy Occhiogrosso said Monday. “And the governor is determined to try and have this discussion about education reform in a way that’s not divisive.”
Rhee has not only talked or joked about taping her students mouths shut during her first year of teaching in Baltimore as part of the Teach for America program, but questions have been raised about test scores when she was the chancellor of the Washington D.C. school system.
Rhee is now the head of StudentsFirst a grassroots group which has helped advocate for more than 50 new education policies in more than a handful of states. She teamed up with the Connecticut Parents Union headed by Gwen Samuel a few weeks ago.
The Connecticut Parents Union has been one of the lead advocates in at least two cases where parents have been arrested and charged with “stealing education” for their children when they sent their children to public schools in cities where they didn’t hold residency.
In a press release Monday, Samuel expressed concern about a letter both she and Rhee received from the Office of State Ethics. The letter asked Samuel and Rhee to register with the office if they plan on spending $2,000 or more in lobbying the legislature this session.
Samuel assumed she received the letter because a complaint had been made, but Thomas Jones, the ethics enforcement officer, said in this letter he was asking the group based on “media reports” that the organizations intended to promote education reform.