July 23rd, 2008

Michelle Rhee in Washington, DC
Michelle Rhee in Washington DC Episode 6: Tough Changes and Controversy

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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Michelle Rhee has completed her first year as DC Schools Chancellor and she’s had some challenges along the way. She’s also made sweeping changes throughout the system: she fired more than 15% of her office staff, removed 36 principals and 22 assistant principals, and announced plans to close 23 underenrolled schools, all before the last day of school.

Now she’s promising to radically change 27 more schools before opening day at the end of August, and finish negotiations with the teachers’ union on a new contract that she says will be unlike anything the country’s seen before.

In this episode, Rhee reflects on her first year on the job while some of her critics—including parent activist Iris Toyer and Attorney Mary Levy—offer their thoughts. And in a new podcast, DC Teachers Union President, George Parker, also confesses to the fact that “normally unions have not had to contend with any sense of accountability or responsibility for student achievement, and our existence and survival has not depended upon that.”

(Originally aired July 23, 2008)

Download transcript (pdf)

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

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