About StudentsFirst

Led by Michelle Rhee, the former Chancellor of D.C. Public Schools, StudentsFirst formed in 2010 in response to an increasing demand for a better education system in America. Our grassroots movement is designed to mobilize parents, teachers, students, administrators, and citizens throughout the country, and to channel their energy to produce meaningful results on both the local and national level. StudentsFirst is a 501(c)4 organization based in Sacramento, CA.

If you have any questions about our organization or our mission, feel free to contact us. If you are a member of the media and would like to speak with our public relations representative, contact mediarequests@studentsfirst.org.


Praise for StudentsFirst

“Michelle Rhee will bring demonstrated excellence backed by enormous energy and commitment to the national discussion on school reform. What she did in Washington, D.C. was game changing, which is precisely what the country needs — bold leadership that is unafraid to put students first, regardless how controversial that may prove to be to those who continue to protect a status quo that fails children.” — Joel I. Klein, outgoing New York City Schools Chancellor

“Having spent the decades fighting to improve public education in California, I know firsthand the challenges that exist in our schools. It's imperative that we address these issues head-on and provide our young people with the quality education they need to compete in the global marketplace. Michelle and her new organization, StudentsFirst, will seek to put the focus back where it belongs — on kids. I look forward to seeing her work progress and am confident that she will be successful. That's why I take the pledge.” — Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

“Michelle Rhee is on the right track with StudentsFirst. Students and their families should never be trapped in failing schools. Ensuring that all parents have options for their children is of critical importance. She’s doing the right thing by reaching into the community to work with the relevant constituencies — the educators, parents, administrators, concerned citizens — to join her in what will surely be a transformative campaign for education reform.” — Howard Fuller, former Superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools and Distinguished Professor of Education at Marquette University

“Michelle Rhee is back — bolder and even more committed and determined than ever! If education is the civil rights issue of our time then we must forge a new and ever more vibrant movement to march to the beat of this new drum: a beat which puts our students first and declares 'ya basta' ( enough!) with status quo! I am proud to march shoulder to shoulder with Michelle Rhee and millions of parents and children as we launch this latest chapter in our pursuit of the American Dream and education equality for all. Si se puede — yes we can!” — Senator Gloria Romero (Ret.), Director of California Office of Democrats for Education Reform

“African American children in public schools systems throughout the country, including Los Angeles, are at the bottom of all overall indices of educational success. Clearly it has been proven repeatedly that African American children can succeed in the classroom regardless of economics and other life obstacles. But innovation is required. It is time for collective outrage and coordinated movements, like StudentsFirst, to finally change the paradigm and help ensure that all children are provided with a quality education.

“We have seen firsthand in Los Angeles and across the nation how bureaucracy and politics can get in the way of doing the right thing for our children. We look forward to working with StudentsFirst to hold public officials and all of us accountable for giving our children the education they deserve.” — Blair Hamilton Taylor, CEO of Los Angeles Urban League

“As part of the reforms Nevada will be enacting this Legislative session, our state puts poor-performing teachers back on probation after two unsatisfactory evaluations and ends the seniority system in school district layoffs. We will implement a new teacher evaluation system, place a greater emphasis on student growth and reward our good teachers. Michelle Rhee and StudentsFirst were critical partners in helping to get this legislation to the table. These reforms will help provide a better classroom learning experience for our children. I’m thankful to StudentsFirst for their efforts in helping this legislation along in Nevada.” — Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval