But in the weeks since [the defeat of former Washington, DC mayor Adiran Fenty, which cost Rhee her job as chancellor of DC schools], Rhee, 41, has pivoted hard, and emerged, ironically enough, as a national political force to be reckoned with.
She’s an important voice among centrist Democrats – led by President Barack Obama – who are pushing a new agenda of teacher quality and high standards in education. She’s an adviser to some of the nation’s most ambitious Republican governors, like Florida’s Rick Scott, New Jersey’s Chris Christie, and Indiana’s Mitch Daniels, all of whom envision a more apocalyptic confrontation with teachers’ unions…
Now Rhee is in the process of a shift from political naif to full-fledged power broker. She has created an emphatically political new organization, StudentsFirst, and she told POLITICO she hopes to raise and spend an astonishing $200 million annually – a large sum even in the deep-pocketed world of education philanthropists.
The group intends, she said, to engage in policy battles in states and cities around the country, and to give allies of a policy platform that involves higher standards and more flexibility for teachers the kind of back-up that teachers unions have long provided their foes: money and organization.
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