February 10, 2011
The mantra goes, “You either love or hate Michelle Rhee.” In the education world, there is no figure as polarizing as the former chancellor of Washington, D.C.’s public schools, who famously warred with the city’s teachers’ union and left abruptly when her boss, Mayor Adrian Fenty, lost reelection last year. Since then, she has started an organization called StudentsFirst to push for education reform nationwide. She announced the group in a Newsweek cover story, and it raised more than $700,000 in its first week.
The Legacy of Larry King and Oprah
January 17, 2011
The end of Larry King Live, after 50 years and a steep drop in ratings, was inevitable in a cable news climate that values mindless partisanship over mindless nonpartisanship. In contrast to the likes of MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann and Fox’s Glenn Beck, CNN’s middle-of-the-road tack was flailing. King’s farewell aptly coincided with the end of another institution in softball interviewing: The Oprah Winfrey Show, that stronghold of cheery neutrality and generic goodwill.
Bloomberg Was Still Wrong About Black
December 10, 2010
In our latest issue, TNR’s editors vehemently criticize New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for selecting Cathleen Black, best-known as the head of Hearst Magazines, to run his city’s schools because Black has exactly no experience in education. We argue that the ideal leader of a school district should have business and educational experience—and suggest that Bloomberg could have chosen from an impressive list of education reformers who have both qualifications.
December 08, 2010
The education reform movement has taken some heavy blows recently. Washington, D.C. lost its excellent schools chancellor, Michelle Rhee, the reform movement’s poster child, after her employer, Mayor Adrian Fenty, failed to win a second term—in part because teachers’ unions, unhappy with Rhee, shelled out $1 million to defeat the incumbent.
Michelle Rhee's New Group, New Sacramento Office, and New Union Strategy
December 06, 2010
After months of speculation, former D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee today is unveiling her next move. On this afternoon’s episode of “Oprah” and in this week’s Newsweek, Rhee is announcing the launch of an education advocacy organization called StudentsFirst. (The group’s website also went live this morning). Rhee is dubbing it a “national movement,” with headquarters online, but a source tells me she will be working out of Sacramento, where her new husband Kevin Johnson is mayor. Her office for the time being, I’m told, will be at conservative-leaning Mercury, a p.r.
Michelle Rhee To Resign As Chancellor of D.C. Schools
October 13, 2010
The Washington Post is reporting that D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee will resign at the end of October. The news isn’t a surprise: When Adrian Fenty, who appointed Rhee, lost the Democratic mayoral primary last month, many attributed his loss—at least in part—to his hard-charging chancellor.
Talking School Reform--But What Took So Long? UPDATED
September 26, 2010
Today on “Meet the Press,” NBC kicked off a weeklong special called Education Nation, a series of events and broadcasts about the state of U.S. public schools. David Gregory’s guests were U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Randi Weingarten, and head of Detroit schools Robert Bobb. But the real star of the show was Waiting for Superman, the much-hyped documentary about school reform that opens nationwide this week.
What Will Happen to D.C. Schools If Michelle Rhee Leaves? UPDATED
September 15, 2010
What would public schools in Washington, D.C., be like without Michelle Rhee? It’s the big question of the day, after incumbent Adrian Fenty lost the Democratic nomination for mayor to city council Chairman Vincent Gray on Tuesday. It was Fenty who appointed the hard-charging, reform-minded Rhee. Before the election, Rhee hinted that she might leave her job if Gray won and became mayor (as he is all but certain to do, since there’s currently no Republican opponent to face in the November general election).
In the wake of D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty’s loss to Vincent Gray last night, many of Washington’s political and media elite turned out for the red-carpet premiere of Waiting for Superman, a much-hyped documentary about education reform in America. It was interesting timing, to say the least: One of the film’s big stars is Michelle Rhee. The movie depicts her as a savior of schools and someone willing to make tough decisions others have bypassed. But, as I wrote earlier today, it’s not clear whether Rhee will have her job as chancellor of D.C.