Hubris First

More

Michelle Rhee is on the comeback and at war with the "special interests"


Ms. Rhee, one of the best recognized, and most polarizing, figures in public education, answered Monday with timed appearances on "Oprah" and the cover of Newsweek. The media splash said as much about her ability to market herself and her brand of school reform as the details of her next chapter. 

She announced she would lead a new advocacy group, StudentsFirst, setting a highly ambitious target of raising $1 billion to promote "transformative reform," primarily by backing laws and political candidates, from local school boards to Congress. 

The group will solicit memberships for as little as $5 per month, but it will also take advantage of changes in campaign finance laws that allow it to broadcast political advertisements paid for by rich individuals and corporations. 

"The ultimate goal is to shift the power dynamic of education in this country, which I think for far too long has been dominated by special interests, whether the teachers' unions or textbook manufacturers," Ms. Rhee, 40, said in an interview. One issue she would tackle, she said, was the practice of laying off teachers, according to their contracts, by seniority rather than classroom effectiveness. 

"We won't shy away from the fight," she said. "We're a little too obsessed right now with harmony in public education. How can we all come together and collaborate? That's been happening the last 30 years, and because we've been trying to smooth each other's feathers over and make the adults happy," students have suffered, she added.

Yes. It's "the adults." The disdain for actual people dripping from that quote is sad. This is how you make lifelong enemies out of would-be allies.
Jump to comments
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon About the Toys in Your Cereal Box

The story of an action figure and his reluctant sidekick, who trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Juice Cleanses: The Worst Diet

A doctor tries the ever-popular Master Cleanse. Sort of.

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Video

What If Emoji Lived Among Us?

A whimsical ad imagines what life would be like if emoji were real.

Video

Living Alone on a Sailboat

"If you think I'm a dirtbag, then you don't understand the lifestyle."

Feature

The Future of Iced Coffee

Are artisan businesses like Blue Bottle doomed to fail when they go mainstream?

Writers

Up
Down

More in National

From This Author

Just In