Michelle Rhee To Step Down as StudentsFirst CEO

Carlos Ballesteros

The Huffington Post is reporting that StudentsFirst, a pro-charter school education reform non-profit organization, will see its founder Michelle Rhee step down from her CEO position later this year. The move comes after four years of lackluster fundraising for the organization. Initially setting a $1 billion fundraising goal over the course of five years, SutdentsFirst only managed to obtain $62.8 million since its founding in late 2010.  A source close to StudentsFirst told HuffPo that Rhee, the former Washington, D.C., schools chancellor and fervent advocate for privatized public education, was disappointed with her organization's overall performance: "She's been really brutally attacked personally, and StudentsFirst has not been as effective as she wanted," said a former prominent StudentsFirst staffer, who declined to be named, wanting to preserve relationships in education reform. "It's been frustrating. It's not totally shocking that eventually even she would decide to step away." StudentsFirst has received much criticism ever since its inception, most visibly over Rhee's refusal to disclose some of the nonprofit's donors. Furthermore, many prominent high-profile Democrats broke ties with Rhee in 2013 due to her support of right-to-work laws in Michigan and StudentsFirst's often combative "approach toward [teachers] unions."

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Carlos Ballesteros is a freelance writer based in Chicago. He was born and raised in the South Side and recently graduated from Claremont McKenna College with a B.A. in History.
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