Michigan group spent $900,000 on ads attacking teachers
An organization that worked with the state legislature to draft laws that limit collective bargaining rights and tenure for teachers spent more than $900,000 on advertising in the first seven months of this year.
StudentsFirst was founded by Michelle Rhee, a former leader of the Washington, D.C. public schools.
The group pushed a four-bill package that makes it harder for teachers to get tenure and easier for districts to lay off teachers and bans teachers from bargaining over personnel issues, including matters relating to placement and discipline.
StudentsFirst worked to create public support for these measures with a campaign that included TV and radio ads, targeted direct mail and support for constituent calls to lawmakers.
The bills were approved by the legislature on June 30.
The Michigan Education Association called the package “anti-collective bargaining, anti-tenure” measures that will hurt children by forcing good teachers out of the profession and increasing staff turnover.
MCFN notes that following the vote on the education package StudentsFirst persuaded state Rep. Tim Melton (D-Auburn Hills) to leave his post in the legislature and move to California to work for the group.