Michelle Rhee, Radical

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Activist Michelle Rhee discusses her turbulent tenure as chancellor of the Washington, D.C., public schools, her current work as an education activist, and her years of teaching in inner-city Baltimore. Her book Radical: The Fight to Put Students First tells how her own experience shaped ideas about improving American schools. Rhee argues that we must ensure that laws, leaders, and policies are making students a top priority and outlines concrete steps to improve education.


Michelle Rhee

Comments [31]

Ajay Jain from Dallas, TX USA

Michelle Rhee - The famous former Washington DC School District Chancellor

Michelle Rhee on OPRAH

Michelle Rhee on abc's ThisWeek

Michelle Rhee on The DailyShow with Jon Stewart FRONTLINE: The Education of Michelle Rhee

Why Teach For America works - Michelle Rhee

A Two-Tier Proposal for Teacher Pay - Michelle Rhee

Time Magazine: Rhee Tackles Classroom Challenge,9171,1862444-2,00.html

Michelle Rhee Discusses "Waiting for Superman," Charter Schools And Sch...

Stanford University: A Conversation on "Waiting for Superman"

"Radical" Fighting to Put Students First should be a must read for all members! Michelle Rhee's new book, "RADICAL: Fighting to Put Students First," is now in stores! For more information about where you can find it, to read an excerpt from the book, and to share your story about education in America visit the official site at or

Michelle Rhee at the ACE 2011 Spring Luncheon

Michelle Rhee and Kevin Johnson (4/20/11)

Michelle A. Rhee 03.17.11

Cornell Alumni: Olin Lecture 2012: Michelle Rhee '92

Harvard Public Health: Michelle Rhee, Former Chancellor of Washington D.C. Public Schools

Geoffrey Canada - Conversations at KCTS 9
Geoffrey Canada interviewed by Julian Bond: Explorations in Black Leadership ...

"Waiting for Superman" the documentary and Bloomberg documentary "Risk Takers" Michelle Rhee should a required screening for all members. I saw them on Netflix and became an instant member of and Michelle Rhee follower.

Watch MAKER videos on StudentFirst Founder Michelle Rhee visit

Mar. 14 2013 11:35 AM

Radical? Sorry, just an attention seeking flash in the pan and one responsible for countless incidents of age discrimination in the teachers she fired. (Threatened by earnest classroom experience, perhaps?) ANYONE can get a principal's license after 3 years in the classroom. Is that the school leadership you want for your children- a few night and weekend online courses while they neglect to correct papers and are never available for after-school help. Rhee is SO the "modern" teacher/admin. Kiss the current crop of students a big fat good bye after telling them the truth: You Lost.
I am in awe of all the "well-educated savvy professionals" that fell for her charade and elevated her. Real status symbols of stature. Let's see their toolboxes coming out for the big fix now, like where?

Feb. 06 2013 08:29 AM
Bob from New York

"years of experience working in Baltimore inner city schools"? She taught three years with mixed results barely getting her feet wet in terms of becoming a true educator. What a joke.

Feb. 05 2013 07:27 PM
Ciao Professore from Brooklyn, NY

Michelle Rhee, Annoying

It's all about the kids. Uh huh. It's about the book tour.

Humans have been teaching since the beginning of time. You stand in front of a group of children and explain to them how to read and write and do basic math problems. Teach them HOW to learn. Make it fun and exciting. Then go home at 3:00. Get up the next day and do the same thing. If you don't enjoy it, find another occupation. But for the past 30+ years our children have been the victimized by blowhard bureaucrats and "consultants" and their flawed theories about education. How was this woman making six figures?! It's mind-boggling. Go away, Rhee.

Feb. 05 2013 06:34 PM
Peter Talbot from Harrison, NJ

Leonard: you asked about the patent and perceived unfairness of measuring teacher performance against standardized tests. Standardized tests are like cannons filled with grapeshot that take out good and bad targets in an attempt to level everything: in this case to "level" all children with their multifarious inate and environmental challenges into one basket of young scholars. Ms. Rhee answered with unformulated fictional gobbledygook regarding pre-testing and re-testing children to gauge the individual student's (and thereby, the teacher's) progress over the school year. Such testing is not developed nor used much, is not part of the "standardized testing" that both Ms. Rhee and Students First champion, nor of the metrics she employed in her public positions of trust, where she boldly forced teaching to the "test" with all the well publicized negative results.

In fact, you caught her in this central "great lie" but did not pursue it. The fact that she is clueless as to why other demagogues of social Darwinian bent among the tea party would embrace her scorched-earth brand of education speaks volumes. No one this self-absorbed should have anything to do with our children in any capacity: public or private.

Ms. Rhee's breathless brand of newspeak is only practiced profitably at Fox: here's hoping that WNYC does not partake of this arsenic again any time soon for purported fairness or any other misguided reason.

Feb. 05 2013 01:50 PM

How does someone with absolutely no credibility in Education get so much air time? Oh yeah corporate sponsored lies. Why does WNYC give this menace to public education any time at all - I wonder?

Feb. 05 2013 01:13 PM
John fron NJ

Has WNYC negotiated a deal with FOX? Sure sounds like it.

Feb. 05 2013 01:05 PM
Jf from Brooklyn dystopia

School yards are ugly. They look like prison yards. My daughters school food is so bad, fried mozzerela stuckss moldy burgers, gram cracker pbnjs. No recycling, everything disposable, this is horrid.

Feb. 05 2013 12:53 PM
fuva from harlemworld

john from the office -- I wonder who raised your ignant azz...

Feb. 05 2013 12:46 PM

John from Westchester - same here - 50 kids in rows in Catholic school upstate - all my siblings did well, really good at thinking for ourselves and smelling BS. I think she sounds pretty ego-driven, like Tiger Mom's equivalent in the world of education - wants the fame and really slashes and burns, kids be damned, her goals are the ones that matter.

Feb. 05 2013 12:41 PM
Niall from Westchester

Please ask her about the cheating scandal. Clearly her intense pressure and the reward system that she instituted prompted teachers to change and inflate test scores in the DC school system. In a recent documentary on PBS her lack abilty to take any responsibity for the cheating scandle is disturbing.

Feb. 05 2013 12:39 PM
Bill from NY

As usual, you gave this megalomaniac a free pass Lenonard.
She's a fast-talking liar, and a proven fraud, and you asked her the same questions everyone else asks her. She ran right over you.

Feb. 05 2013 12:39 PM
fuva from harlemworld

...Your tone...

Feb. 05 2013 12:39 PM
fuva from harlemworld

Yes, Michelle, exactly! HOW you do it matters. I hope it becomes a major takeaway for you.
Yes, public education desperately needs improvement, but NOT by disrespecting teachers – who have been neglected for years and are still under-valued/supported for this very hard job requiring many, many skills.
You tone, for example, is counterproductive.

Feb. 05 2013 12:36 PM

She is at least consistent in that she ALWAYS defends her failures and bad decisions by inoculating herself with "but it's for the children." Talk about no accountability....

Please Leonard -- she is a publicity hound with very little to say and even less that she has in fact accomplished.

Feb. 05 2013 12:36 PM
The Truth from Becky

The queen of doublespeak,she doesn't even realize that she is pausing in the places where she is embellishing.

Feb. 05 2013 12:36 PM

ms. rhee:

do video games have any place in the learning process?? should they EVER be allowed in a SCHOOL building?

Feb. 05 2013 12:35 PM
Aggie from Westchester County

Leonard, you need to start advertising your show as a pure PR vehicle. You allow guests, including this one, to get away with rolling through their talking points and say things that are slanted and untrue. She goes unchallenged. Your questions don't even rise to the definition of softball. Very disappointing and beyond frustrating for the listener.

Feb. 05 2013 12:34 PM
john from office

Wow, the elphant in the room has not come up, RACE and the lack of parenting skills of certain groups.

Feb. 05 2013 12:33 PM
bob from bernardsville

Those who can, do; those who can't, teach. Those who can't teach go into politics as education reform advocates.
This woman is the Sarah Palin of American education, following the same path from failure in an official position to media darling manque.

Feb. 05 2013 12:31 PM
John from Westchester, NY

I would like Ms. Rhee's take on why when my mom went to school in the Bronx and when I went to school we had 35 to 40 in a classroom, a mixed group of recent immigrants, and English as second language students and next to no technology and we sat there and learned. We learned well. My mom is now 89 years old and still has the best penmanship and reading habits of us all. Why?


Feb. 05 2013 12:27 PM
Josh Karan from Washington Heights, northern Manhattan

Much research shows that reduction of class size improves student performance.
by helping teachers become able to give more attention to individuals.

What were class sizes in DC, and why did she not advocate for the increased funding that class size reduction requires to hire more teachers?

Feb. 05 2013 12:26 PM
jon from NY

I was a teacher for 16 years with S ratings until the Bloomberg/Klein nightmare threatened to close my school, and was kicked out of my classroom
which was the only place that had the equipment where I could teach my subject. How was this putting children first?

Feb. 05 2013 12:25 PM
Ellen from chelsea

Michelle Rhee is just mean. She has an idea, and it may be a good one, but in the real world, you cannot discard people like garbage. Her lack of compassion for the teachers who have been working in difficult situations, and for the children and families that are trying their best is just appalling.

Feb. 05 2013 12:25 PM
The Truth from Becky

Black/African American...choose one please

Feb. 05 2013 12:25 PM

why this lying ball of bile was allowed to roll into the studio?
she doesnt need any questions to answer, she needs to be hit aver the head with a dirty broom.

Feb. 05 2013 12:23 PM


I'm sure you were bored in school and I'm guessing have a balanced brain (each hemisphere gets its share of juice) - can't see voraciously curious minds like yours and your brother's getting excited about the irrelevant, dry presentation of curriculum material back in the day. I was in my late 20s, got a nice commission, took some tests that measure you against the rest of the work force - I had no idea my aptitudes were off the charts till then, just always heard I wasn't living up to my potential - well I don't think that was MY fault! After listening to your show for so long I can reasonably say your c's were your teachers faults.

Feb. 05 2013 12:21 PM

Would larger qunatities of lower stakes tests lead to less test anxiety and more meaningful sample sizes?

Feb. 05 2013 12:14 PM

Leonard, come on, another guest who has been on every other show in the World!!! She's even been on The Daily Show already. And, she's a pain in the butt. Look at the photo - does anyone on the planet look meaner? We need fresh guests! Not another re-tread like this person. And, she's saying the same things she's already said on the other shows. You're better than this, Leonard.

Feb. 05 2013 12:13 PM

Teachers and principals KNOW that teaching to the test does not work. It is school boards, superintendents, and chancellors requiring standardized tests for student and teacher measurement that forces teaching to the test!

Feb. 05 2013 12:13 PM
Wayne Johnson Ph.D. from Bk

How involved was she in the cheating scandal in D.C.?Why did she stonewall and then go off on U.S.A. today (she has already apologize for it) for reporting on the cheating scandal? Why did she brutally fire a principal on camera (PBS Frontline)?

Feb. 05 2013 11:34 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.