This week in the War on Workers: Astroturfing and nondisclosure with StudentsFirst
by Laura Clawson - Daily Kos Labor | 08/08/2012
Time for a
blogger corporate education policy ethics panel! Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst organization is in the news in three different places for three different ethically dodgy practices.
In Florida, a regional outreach manager for StudentsFirst sent out an email blast offering gift cards as a reward for comments on blog posts. Not on StudentsFirst blog posts, but on newspapers and other sites—the email included a list of suggested places to comment. One recommended article was about ALEC's growing influence in Florida education policy. So basically, StudentsFirst was astroturfing in support of ALEC in Florida.
Next, former CNN anchor Campbell Brown wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed criticizing teachers unions, without disclosing that her husband, former George W. Bush staffer and current Romney campaign adviser Dan Senor, is on the board of StudentsFirstNY. Responding to critics of her nondisclosure on Twitter, she made clear that she doesn't see a problem with that.
And in Sacramento, California, the Democratic Party of Sacramento County is asking for an investigation into the use of City Hall resources, such as office space, by Democratic Mayor Kevin Johnson's various nonprofit initiatives. Johnson's education nonprofit in turn shares office space with StudentsFirst. Oh, and by the way, Johnson is Michelle Rhee's husband.