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Rhee-form Group, Students First, Looking at Local School Board Elections?

(From the blog The Iowa School Bell

The Michelle Rhee education deform group, Students First has been in Iowa for a couple years now. They have attempted to influence state policy by pumping $300,000+ into state legislative elections,supporting mostly right-wing candidates. They were also very active but not that effective at lobbying for disproven  extreme “reforms”, like tying student test scores to teacher evaluations and expanding charter schools, during the last legislative session.

Over the summer, Students First Iowa decided to take a new tack by appointing anew state director, Patty Link, a former Des Moines School Board member and someone with strong connections to Democrats (via her husband and Democratic consultant Jeff Link). One could assume that this move indicated Students First Iowa was going to focus on trying to find more Democrats for Education Reform types and maybe look to get involved in local school boards.

It now appears that Students First may indeed be starting to get involved in local school boards through the election process. A quick drive by the Link household and you will see school board election signs for two Des Moines school board candidates, Connie Boesen and Rob Barron. Furthermore, candidate Barron recently had a meet and greet at Beaverdale Books that was put on in part by Students First State Director Patty Link. A look at Barron’s campaign website includes an endorsement from Link.

The question needs to be asked then, that since Mrs. Link is the state director of a radical, hedge fund financed, education deform group and she is involving herself in local school board elections by actively supporting candidates is there a connection? Does Mrs. Link support these two candidates because she expects a sympathetic ear for her organization’s radical policies? Is Students First Iowa hoping to begin populating our local school boards with people who will advance their agenda? We do not know one way or another, but considering how ineffective the organization has been at the state level, there can be no doubt that attempting a local level takeover may be their next step. It merits questioning the candidates that are accepting the endorsement and support from the Students First’s state director whether they are aware of and agree with that organization’s radical, harmful agenda.