Kiss Michelle Rhee Goodbye

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

With the publication of Radical and a few years after founding StudentsFirst, a policy advocacy organization, former Washington, D.C. Chancellor of schools continues to push her reform agenda nationally, one that was severely burned when she exited the district after only three years in office. Well versed in being a celebrity, Rhee made the rounds of high profile media (e.g., Jon Stewart show) pushing her new book and the organization that she leads. So why should anyone kiss Rhee–“America’s most famous school reformer“– goodbye?


Because she is a divisive figure and damaged goods as an educator.  Both mean that her celebrity-hood as a school reformer–on the cover of Time magazine, chatting with Oprah and Jon–will give her visibility in 24/7 news cycle but not lead to any substantial elected or appointed political or educational office.


No President will appoint her Secretary of Education; no governor will appoint…

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  • Monty J. Thornburg

    My previous Blog Post (above) may have asked the wrong questions. Maybe the difference in treatment between Michelle Ree and school chiefs/leaders in Atlanta isn’t about Right and Left politics. Maybe it’s about K Street lobbyists in D.C. and the 99% v. the 1% Oligarchs; the Koch brothers, Bush Family, Warren, Bill, and the rest, wanting to protect their $billion dollar interests with national high stakes tests through NCLB and CC? Those programs use 99% taxpayer dollars whether they come from the Left or the Right, all the money is Green and the Oligarchs laugh all the way to their banks!


  • Monty J. Thornburg

    I would like to think she’s irrelevant, but, “I await some final word on the D.C. cheating scandal” comment by a blogger on the story is troubling to me. Teachers in Atlanta are being prosecuted, castigated, using RICO laws through the initiation of those on the Right; two conservative Right wing Republican Governors! The Superintendent(s) and leadership in Atlanta are accused of draconian leadership. Michelle Ree on the other hand in D.C. appears to be protected. not prosecuted, by the Right nor by local, yet, National Press. In Atlanta, Racism is evident in news blogs, as the accusers decry “moral ineptitude” but in D.C., when it’s a Rightest school chief being attacked no investigation appears? What else does the difference in treatment explain besides Right and Left politics?


  • Although I had high hopes for her and her work during her tenure in D.C., I agree that she is quickly becoming irrelevant. Well written article!


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