Tim Melton, Democratic Michigan State Representative, Resigns To Join Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst

Michigan Democratic state Rep. Tim Melton is leaving office and moving to California to join Michelle Rhee's education reform group StudentsFirst.

Melton is in his third and last term in Michigan's state House, and told the Detroit Free Press that a new role at StudentsFirst as the group's national legislative director is "right in my wheelhouse. I'll be able to continue to work on the things I'm passionate about."

Melton was most recently House Education Committee Chair, and advocated controversial education reform policies, including those related to teacher tenure. His stance on education was also often at odds with fellow party members, according to the Detroit News.

He was considering running for a Congressional seat, but dropped the plan to take the job at StudentsFirst.

In a statement Tuesday, also posted to his Facebook page, Melton said a role at StudentsFirst would allow him "an opportunity to impact school legislation nationally while still giving back to my own community. Education reform should know no partisan boundaries, and in my new position, I will help form coalitions for change around the country that cut across the old divides."

StudentsFirst supports merit pay and tenure reform -- particularly tenure elimination in Michigan and tying student performance to teacher evaluations -- issues that Melton shares similar views on.

Melton took a lead role in working toward Race to the Top goals, raising the dropout age to 18, certifying nontraditional teachers and expanding charter schools, to name a few. He also worked to raise funds for public-private partnerships that offered scholarships to students in Michigan's "promise zones," Crain's Detroit reports.