CYA: Michelle Rhee

Monday, December 01, 2008

DC Chancellor of Education Michelle Rhee is getting a lot of pub in this month's TIME magazine with the cover story and what she's doing to try and turn around the DC school system (and if I was betting man - which I am - I'd put my money on her):

Rhee is aware of the criticism, but she suggests that a certain ruthlessness is required. "Have I rubbed some people the wrong way? Definitely. If I changed my style, I might make people a little more comfortable," she says. "But I think there's real danger in acting in a way that makes adults feel better. Because where does that stop?" [...]

On Rhee's tour of schools during the first week of classes this year, a parent stopped her to praise her accomplishments so far. Rhee listened with a small smile while systematically cracking each of her knuckles with the thumb of the same hand. Then she got back into her SUV and began furiously e-mailing. When she calls her staff, she does not say hello; she just starts talking. She answered 95,000 e-mails last year, according to her office.

She frequently sounds exasperated. "People come to me all the time and say, 'Why did you fire this person?'" she says. The whiny voice is back. "'She's a good person. She's a nice person.' I'm like, 'O.K., go tell her to work at the post office.' Just because you're a nice person and you mean well does not mean you have a right to a job in this district.
Definitely worth the read.

And yes - I'd say this post is kind of apropos too (that's for you UBJ).