Hours before Michelle Rhee is set to speak at a rally at the state Capitol, the head of the state’s teachers union offered a suggestion for legislators considering a gamut of education reforms: ignore her.

“Michelle Rhee is recognized for divisive politics as evidenced by her short-lived tenure in Washington, D.C. Why should [Connecticut] citizens want to import outsiders like Rhee, when there are so many solid ideas for education reform right here in our own state?” Mary Loftus Levine, the head of the state’s largest teachers union, wrote ahead of the 3 p.m. rally.

Rhee, the former embattled chancellor of D.C. public schools and now a leader of the national education reform group StudentsFirst, has begun airing TV commercials in the state supporting Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s education bill. In an email releasing the advertisement, a spokesman for StudentsFirst wrote that the group has spent six figures airing this advertisement and “marks the beginning of a substantial media campaign by StudentsFirst to promote student-centered reforms in Connecticut.”

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Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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