Response from the "help desk" re deceptive Rhee petition

Goldenberg’s earlier post on this matter is here. If you’d like to weigh in on whether should continue diverting nearly ALL signers of progressive education petitions  to Michelle Rhee’s, promoting the elimination of  teacher seniority protections, deceptively entitled “Save Great Teachers,” send a message to and cc.  Also check out on more on the Rhee record.

from Michael Paul Goldenberg, PAA member to You’ve likely received other messages informing you of the exchange I recently had with the head of the Michigan Senate Education Committee that was spurred by my mistaking an anti-seniority petition from Michelle Rhee and her associates for one that was actually about SUPPORTING Michigan teachers and public education.

That petition was unceremoniously thrust in front of me in rapid fire order after I’d signed a different petition via your site. Normally, I’m rather circumspect about putting my name to something, but somehow the fact that it SEEMED on the surface to be in favor of something I do support (quality education) and that it came via your organization misled me.

In future, I will be very hesitant to consider signing other petitions that come my way from lest I be similarly sucked into supporting Rhee or anyone like her. I consider her to be one of the most dangerous, dishonest people with a loud voice in the fight to privatize US public education. Her group, “Students First,” is hypocritically named and has nothing to do with what it would like to mislead the public into think it is focused upon. Ms. Rhee is about Ms. Rhee and Ms. Rhee’s career and bank account.

Rhee’s absolute failure to properly investigate the cheating scandal she helped cause speaks volumes about her lack of principles and willingness to do anything to keep herself in the public eye as another fraudulent “miracle worker.” The only miracle about Ms. Rhee is that she’s still getting away with it. If your group allows her to mislead your readers, I’m afraid you’re going to lose quite a lot of support, at least if I have anything to say about it.

Sincerely, Michael Paul Goldenberg


from Arturo Holloway, The Help Desk:  Hi Michael,   Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on this.  We fully realize the current education debate is a complicated one,  with many people that feel strongly about Students First — both in support and opposition.  As an open platform that enables social change organizations to promote  causes to people around the world, doesn’t take a position on the means or tactics those organizations use to achieve their goals. You can read our full client policy here:

Thanks again for getting in touch about your concerns. I’ve made sure your communication was shared with the appropriate people on our team.

Best Regards, Arturo


From: Michael Paul Goldenberg to Arturo Holloway of Mr. Holloway:  Just the sort of response I expected: “We have no principles and we take no responsibility for the tactics of those who use our services.  Caveat emptor and all that, you know!”  I really should thank you, though. The unprincipled petition you put in my face led me to write a long, pointed reply to Michigan state senator Pavlov. It’s getting very wide distribution and seems to have struck a note for a lot of people. So even weasels can on occasion do good, in spite of themselves.

Keep telling yourselves that you have no dog in this fight and no responsibility.

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11 Responses to Response from the "help desk" re deceptive Rhee petition

  1. Norm

    I am currently deleting all emails pleading for whatever cause they are supporting. Who can trust them on anything?

  2. zulma

    Norm and others who believe in social justice, let’s boycott. Michael brought out clearly. I will pass this information to others. I will not sign any petition that comes from Norm, thank you for the notification on your blog.

  3. leoniehaimson

    Please don’t boycott but instead send them messages in protest; we use b/c it is the best site for automatically sending emails to electeds when you sign. I don’t know any other petition site which does this. thanks!

    • jelfrank

      Whatever you say Leonie! I will protest. I was flabbergasted to see I had somehow signed a petition supporting that megalomaniac Rhee.

  4. Kari

    I sent Ben at this note:

    Dear Ben,
    I sign petitions regularly for all kinds of causes–environmental, education-related, poverty-related, and so on down the progressive wish-list. Lately, every time I’ve signed one, I’m asked to sign another titled, ”
    New York: Save Great Teachers from Seniority-Based Lay-offs”

    I’m loath to sign anything that sums itself up in less than a paragraph, but I also recognized this as a well-packaged, smoothly-worded assault on teachers’ collective bargaining agreements and I did NOT sign. Others, unfortunately, haven’t been able to read through the euphemism. If you are going to continue to hawk this cause, I would very much appreciate a more thorough and straight-forward teaser, one that spells out exactly what side of the recent teacher tenure debates the petition organizers are on.

    In fact, I’d suggest every teaser be clear and upfront about the petition’s purpose, so that when I hit “Sign Now,” I can be assured that my signature follows my beliefs.

    • jelfrank

      Can someone send me an email for these people at

  5. CitizensArrest

    Read the site rules and you will find that SF is in direct violation of their policy on doing no harm, among other violations. I have sent them info on this with sources and citations, and I suggest others do the same. Supply with evidence that they cannot ignore on how their own policies are being violated and lets see what happens. Not taking a position is one thing, ignoring violations of your own rules is quite another.

  6. Kari

    I got the same response verbatim from Arturo to my own complaint. I reopened the ticket and submitted the following:

    Thank you for your reply, Arturo, but perhaps you didn’t understand my request. I do not ask that you take a stand on the issue. The service you are providing is valuable for many points of view, provided as you state “these organizations are ethical in their practices and policies.”
    I am suggesting require anyone creating a petition to provide reliable and thorough information on their teasers. Without that you simply become a marketing tool, and not an engine for social justice and reform. And you lose credibility.
    I would also request that when has been alerted to the unreliability of a teaser, that you take down the teaser until such time as the posting organization can rectify their misleading language.

  7. SketchArtiste

    Wow…it’s easy to see how the Conservatives took the country over for 8 years. You find one issue of disagreement and you’re ready to throw the baby out with the bath water? Did it ever occur to any of you that maybe they don’t type out individual responses for each email received? If you’re that dissatisfied with the site why don’t you simply request a refund of your subscription fee… 😉 Oh…that’s right – it’s FREE!!! So let me see if I understand correctly. A site with free tools to create and deploy free online petitions hosts a single petition that you don’t agree with and your “Master Strategy” is to boycott and stop using the site or signing any petitions? Absolutely hilarious…;-) I hear Comedy central is hiring…


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