Michelle Rhee: How To Ruin A School District

When we first met Michelle Rhee in the summer of 2007, the first-time superintendent was unknown to most outside of education circles — certainly to parents and teachers in Washington, DC, where she was charged with reforming the city’s struggling public schools.

Not so today. In just under two years, Rhee’s ‘take-no-prisoners’ approach to school reform and her candid discussion of ineffective teaching have attracted tremendous attention from the national press, including The NewsHour. Coverage has appeared on the CBS Evening News and Charlie Rose, and in the pages of Time, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and the Atlantic.

But to turn around Washington’s failing schools, Rhee doesn’t need national press. She needs local support — and her growing prominence may not be helping.

In this episode, we examine how Rhee’s media presence has affected her pursuit of a revolutionary new teachers’ contract.

(Originally aired May 5, 2009)

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