June 18th, 2008

Michelle Rhee in Washington, DC
Michelle Rhee in Washington DC Episode 5: Teachers struggle with reforms

This program was made by possible by support from the Annenberg, The Eli and Edythe Broad, Bill & Melinda Gates, William and Flora Hewlett and Wallace Foundations.

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Washington, DC’s public school students aren’t performing well: almost 20% of district schools now face No Child Left Behind’s harshest sanction, a drastic change to the school called “restructuring.” At the end of her first year on the job, Michelle Rhee continues to face serious challenges. And to make matters tougher, she’s hemorrhaging students, losing about 2,000 a year to charter schools.

In this episode, we follow Rhee as she begins to implement her radical restructuring plans and we meet a Principal and Board of Ed representative who worry that Rhee hasn’t fully considered the challenges. We also meet Susan Schaeffler, Executive Director KIPP DC, whose charter schools have won prominent praise over the last few years.

(Originally aired June 18, 2008)

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You can watch the entirety of the Michelle Rhee series here:

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A truly fantastic effort to capture the leadership challenges inherent in running an inner city school system.

I want to thank you, and all the talented people who work with you, for this year’s series. Each piece was well-crafted, well-focused and well-produced. Some of my friends –veteran journalists all –told me they dropped everything to be in the room, watching the screen (as opposed to in the kitchen making dinner) when they heard one of your pieces being promoted.

I hope the series is recognized by your peers and colleagues for the terrific job of reporting that made it happen.

This series has been simply gripping.
Many, many thanks for your splendid work in examining the lives of these two fascinating individuals. I hope you’ll be able to continue to focus on them next year.

40% more time. Are the scores 40% higher? FYI, public schools have no ability to keep students who need extra help for extra time.

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