Rhee charged with deception

Teacher-bashing Michelle Rhee is being accused of trying to raise money for her private organization, StudentsFirst, by posing as a friend of teachers.

Rhee, whose short tenure as Washington, D.C., schools chief became an inspiration for conservatives, sent out a fund raising letter that contains warm, fuzzy language like this:

“Teachers have an enormous impact on a child’s success in school. And so we are very excited about the new education reform law signed this weekend in Indiana, which focuses on teacher quality. Similar reform has passed in Florida and is moving forward in Georgia, Nevada, Michigan, and Ohio. … It is Teacher Appreciation Week across America. I hope you will join me in taking some time to give your thanks to the great teachers you know.”

The Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss wrote, “Even teachers might be fooled into thinking the organization is all about helping them, when it is actually intended to bring down teachers unions, which are often blamed for failing schools by protecting adults. That argument, of course, ignores the fact that the problems are the same in states where teachers are unionized and in states where they aren’t.”

Rhee attended Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval’s January message to the legislature, and he mentioned her favorably in the speech. Her organization has a $132,000 broadcast ad buy running in Nevada promoting two bills that would tie teacher pay and jobs to test scores.

After a USA Today investigation uncovered abnormal test numbers, the D.C. school district opened an investigation, now going on, of whether test results were doctored. Rhee has denied it.