While Michelle Rhee announced her resignation from DC Public Schools today and everyone is wondering what’s next for her, it seems she’s also quietly answering that question.
MichelleRhee.org contains a blog, the obligatory Facebook and Twitter profiles (all of which only contain her resignation statement at this point), and the most interesting part- a “share your ideas about education reform” box and newsletter signup that both collect user ZIP codes.
What’s so unusual about that? Nothing, except it’s kind of a hallmark of websites specifically intended for political advocacy- you get the ZIP, you know who a person’s Congressional representatives are, their state-level legislators, even their school boards (sometimes down to the individual school board member). This is frequently hooked up to a grassroots organizing tool on the backend and is used to send messages to supporters asking them to take specific actions based on the legislative districts they live in.
Most interestingly, the WHOIS record for MichelleRhee.org shows that its nameservers belong to BlueStateDigital, an online communications firm specializing in advocacy for progressive causes. Most famously, they worked on my.BarackObama.com.
So what’s Michelle Rhee up to that she’s hired Barack Obama’s online strategists to manage her website? It certainly looks like she’s preparing to become a national advocate for education reform based on her personal notoriety- it would be ironic if the Chancellor whose reform efforts were cut short at the local level due to her personality were to become a successful national advocate based on the strength of that very same personality.
Correction: The last sentence of the third paragraph has been completed/updated with additional information about how ZIP codes are used in online political organizing.