Friday, January 14, 2011

My Hero, Michelle Rhee

The riveting documentary WAITING FOR SUPERMAN sheds light on the forty year demise of public education in the United States.  It is truly baffling that this rich and powerful country is unable to proficiently teach its children.  I cried as I watched enthusiastic and bright students lose their only hope for a quality education, a lottery ticket to a local charter school.  A forlorn pit formed in my stomach and then I remembered  Michelle Rhee's recent endeavor, Students First.  As Chancellor of DC public schools Rhee battled with the powerful teachers' union, and concluded, “The purpose of the teachers’ union is to protect their members and to maximize their pay privileges. It is not to ensure the highest levels of student achievement.  The problem is that they’re advocating incredibly effectively and there isn’t another organized interest group in this country that has the heft that they do.”  Her goal is to give the reform community, essentially the interests of children, power and influence.  Her approach is brilliant for she is not trying to change the system, or abolish the teachers union.  Instead, she is leveling the playing field by creating a public interest group who will influence policy making on behalf of students in America.  Bravo!

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