American Morning

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December 7th, 2010
08:43 AM ET

Former DC schools leader takes public education reforms national

Monday, Michelle Rhee, former DC schools chancellor, unveiled Students First, a non-partisan group that she says will advocate for education reform. Rhee intends to raise a billion dollars for programs.

Today on American Morning, Rhee explains to AM's John Roberts how the group will encourage reform, why politics must be apart of the equation, and her work in DC, where she closed two dozen failing schools, laid off hundreds of teachers, and brought private money into schools.

Filed under: American Morning • Education
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Scott

    DC schools were some of the few major metropolitan area schools in the nation to improve in the last few years. Compare that to the fact that while under all of the policies put forth by the teachers union in the last few decades our public schools have tumbled from being number one in the world to being behind most of the other comparable countries in the world.

    So lets see, I hear a lot of anger and claims that she laid off people, but what I don't see here is the fact that she hired hundreds of new teachers, and that for the first time in decades DC schools improved. Because the interests of the students haven't been front and center for decades. Teachers aren't any different than any other employee, accept of course for the summer vacation. If they are doing well, great, give them a raise, if they are failing at their job then they should not be given free lifetime employment exempting them from any responsibility.

    December 8, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  2. ashish

    basically employees do what their bosses tell them . but going after the bosses would be too hard. its like shes blaming someone for getting mugged because they had a nice watch

    December 7, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  3. zbtcseipai

    The problem, as I see it, is that she utilized the same model that most of corporate America uses when their interests are not being met. And, that is to fix the problem by laying off massive number of workers. Treating people as though they are commodities is not always the best approach to solving a problem.

    December 7, 2010 at 9:22 am |
  4. Michael R. Grothman

    I was a public school teacher for 32 years and I resent Michelle Rhee's simplistic solutions to America's education crisis. Ms. Rhee, according to her Wikipedia bio, never attended a public school during her own educational career. While I applaud her three years of teaching experience in Baltimore, this short period of time hardly qualifies her as an expert teacher. During her American Morning interview on December 7, 2010, she stated over and over that decisions in education should be made with the “best interest of children in mind.” If I had a dollar for every time I heard this justification during my career for both good and bad decisions I would be a millionaire many times over. Ms. Rhee obviously wants to vilify teachers’ unions and make these organizations a scapegoat for all the ills of the American educational system. This type of simplistic thinking fails to take into account the sub par administrative bureaucracy in education (which makes teachers’ unions so necessary) and the many negative problems children face in modern American society. Perhaps Ms. Rhee should tape her mouth shut (as she did with students in Baltimore) and go back to Cornell and learn that complex problems deserve thoughtful and complex solutions

    December 7, 2010 at 8:59 am |