StudentsFirst, the education advocacy group founded by Michelle Rhee, said today it is "ramping up" its work in Florida by adding new staff members. In the past two years, the group pushed hard, and ultimately unsuccessfully, for state lawmakers to adopt a "parent trigger" bill that would give parents more say in the fate of a failing school.

The new staff members include a new press secretary, Lane Wright, who once served in that role for Gov. Rick Scott.

Rhee, the former chancellor of Washington, D.C.'s public schools, served as an education advisor to Scott during his transition into office.

"Florida is so important, diverse and politically complex when it
comes to education,” said Nikki Lowrey, state director for StudentsFirst. “We have built a team that will help get our message out and help people understand how elevating teachers, empowering parents, and spending our tax dollars wisely will improve our children’s education.”

StudentsFirst believes that "America's schools are failing our kids" and that "we know that real change requires a better system — one that puts students' needs before those of special interests or wasteful bureaucracies."

StudentFirst was active in the efforts in both the 2012 and 2013 legislative sessions to push for passage of a controversial "parent trigger" law. Both years, the bills were defeated, with critics arguing the measures would have allowed public schools to be turned over to private management companies.