Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst is putting together quite the record as far as legislators it selects as "reformer of the year." Last year, StudentsFirst came under fire from immigrant groups angry that Georgia state Sen. Chip Rogers, author of several
bills, including one that would have kept DREAMers out of public schools, had been dubbed reformer of the year. Rogers has appropriate company
as StudentsFirst reformer of the year in Tennessee state Rep. John Ragan, who is an author of legislation as anti-gay as Rogers's legislation was anti-immigrant.
Ragan was the state House co-author of Tennessee's "Don't Say Gay" bill, which:
[...] bars Tennessee teachers from discussing any facet of “non-heterosexual” sexuality with children in grades K-8. But the newest iteration also includes a provision requiring teachers or counselors to inform the parents of some students who identify themselves as LGBT.
StudentsFirst was one of Ragan's largest donors
, citing a long list of Michelle Rhee priorities
he'd actively supported.
In 2012, 90 of the 105 candidates StudentsFirst supported were Republicans. It isn't much of a surprise that anti-union, pro-privatization Republicans keep turning out to be bigots. It's just that if the name StudentsFirst meant anything, you'd think the organization might think twice about hailing the kind of politicians who write legislation going after immigrant kids and gay kids. Putting students first never was the agenda, though, as we're reminded all the time.
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