The lack of sustained leadership has plagued the Washington, DC public school system for decades. Our nation’s capital, home to fifty thousand students, boasts one of the worst school districts in the country. Two thirds of students are far behind in reading, in math, three quarters.
In June 2007 new mayor Adrian Fenty assumed control of the ailing school system, firing the incumbent superintendent and replacing him with Michelle Rhee. Some questioned her lack of experience managing a public school system. Others felt she was exactly what was needed – a change agent from outside the district. In July the city council unanimously voted her in. Since then she has plotted a deliberate, and frequently controversial, course.
This series follows Michelle Rhee’s attempts to reform one of the most challenged school districts in America. Can Rhee provide a model of reform for the entire country, delivering on her promise of an excellent education for every child?
The entire series can be viewed in the playlist above - or check out the individual episodes here:
Episode 1: Setting Her Sights on Change (October 1, 2007)
Episode 2: Facing Expectations (November 19, 2007)
Episode 3: Facing Resistance (February 7, 2008)
Episode 4: Facing Tough Choices (April 2, 2008)
Episode 5: Teachers Struggle With Reforms (June 18, 2008)
Episode 6: Tough Changes and Controversy (July 23, 2008)
Episode 7: Targeting Teachers, Angering Unions (September 18, 2008)
Episode 8: Finding Good Principals (January 13, 2009)
Episode 9: Well Known Nationally, Struggling at Home (May 4, 2009)
Episode 10: Testing Michelle Rhee (August 18, 2009)
Episode 11: Tensions Rising (November 17, 2009)
Episode 12: Michelle Rhee’s Impact (August 31, 2010)
These videos, as part of the “Leadership: A Challenging Course” series, have won a Cine Golden Eagle and two EWA awards.
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.
There were 28 podcasts created across the three years of this series. You can find all of them on one link here, and an invaluable guide to the timeline and history of Michelle Rhee and George Parker is here.
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