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Michelle Rhee on TN Spending, TN Ties and Political Courage

Michelle Rhee says Tennessee would be a priority in her $1 billion nationwide effort to transform education policy at the state level, even if she and the state’s education commissioner did not have two daughters in public schools here.
StudentsFirst, which Rhee founded and heads, has the goal of raising and spending the $1 billion over a five-year period. In Tennessee, the group is well on its way with about $900,000 in spending on political contributions and lobbying during just over a year of operating within the state.
“I pay attention to Tennessee because I live here, No. 1, and because I have children in school here,” Rhee said in an interview last week. “But I would be paying attention even if I didn’t simply because of the courage the governor and the legislators have shown to date (in education reform efforts).”
Actually, Tennessee ranked 11th among states in a StudentsFirst “report card” issued last week that rated states on their education policy as the organizations thinks it should be. Rhee said that, if the 2013 legislative session goes as she would like, Tennessee could “catapult to a much higher rating.”

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