Saturday, November 30, 2013

A very twittery Thanksgiving, thanks to StudentFirst NY -- and some not-so thankful respondents

Michelle Rhee of StudentsFirst
StudentsFirst was founded and is led by former DC chancellor Michelle Rhee and funded primarily by hedge fund operators, the Walton Foundation and Wall St. financiers.  She claims two million members, hyperbolic assertions that are oft repeated by credulous reporters, despite the fact that many of these "followers" landed on her mailing list by mistake, after signing one of  the organization's deceptive petitions promoted by for-profit sites like 

The New York chapter of the organization, StudentsFirst NY, run by Jenny Sedlis, formerly of Success Charter chain, makes similarly  inflated claims of 150,000 members. Exaggerated assertions seem endemic to the organization. In recent testimony, SF organizer Tenicka Boyd  maintained the organization has "talked to over 300,000 New Yorkers" to gauge their support for the corporate reform agenda of Common Core and more high-stakes testing.

Jenny Sedlis of StudentsFirst NY

Despite any evidence of real grassroots support, these organizations do have a substantial budget and paid staff here in New York and across the nation, making it somewhat surprising that when they send out a message, the response is so overwhelmingly negative.

On Thanksgiving, this phenomenon was put in high relief by a series of StudentsFirstNY tweets, extolling the glories of the corporate agenda of the Common Core, teacher evaluation through test scores, and parent "choice" (meaning charters, not the ability to opt out of flawed standards, tests or data sharing with corporations like inBloom Inc.).  All these tweets were met by unmitigated scorn.  Here is a sample, along with some typical responses:

Etc. -- with a barrage of even more scathing responses.  Despite the overwhelmingly contemptuous reaction, whoever was tweeting for @StudentsFirstNY kept going (or perhaps had put her twitter account on a timer.)
The first to reply was NYC Council member Mark Weprin from Queens (and a leading candidate for Speaker):

Still, the StudentsFirst tweeter kept going, seemingly indifferent to the increasingly scornful reaction she was provoking:

The StudentFirst twitter account continued to spew out talking points ad nauseum:

StudentsFirstNY went on to praise the persistence of Commissioner King in forging ahead with this agenda, despite overwhelming opposition:


I switched over to the twitter account of the parent organization, @StudentsFirst, to check if it was issuing similar messages.  Thankfully, the account sent out only one tweet on Thanksgiving, which  provoked an appropriate response:


Michael Fiorillo said...

Be careful: there's no way you can ever exceed the cliche and buzzword production of the reform-bots.

"Accountability" ... hiss, buzz, whirr ... "Bold Reform" ... hiss, buzz, whirr ... "College and Career Ready" ... hiss buzz whir...

It's an endlessly repeating loop of lies and self-deception.

Anonymous said...

It is sinful that Ms. Rhee would use children to do her dirty work. Everybody knows she wants to sell all public schools to corporations. America wants to continue spending money on military budgets and invading foreign countries. America does not want to invest in public education anymore. Common Core, the new teachers evaluations, testing, the newest educational words rigorous, engagement, effective, ineffective and accountability are created to cause problems and destroy public education. Students supporting Rhee better be careful what you ak for. The économy in America will never be strong, jobs are harder and harder to find. Charter schools are in the business of making money when they make enough and close where will you send your child. It is a shame that adults would use children for their own monetary and political purpose. But you will anwser to somebody that you can't lie to because hé knows what is in your heart.