YOUR VOICE, YOUR STORY: Michelle Rhee

About This Episode


Michelle Rhee is founder and CEO of StudentsFirst, a non-profit, grassroots organization dedicated to mobilizing students, parents, teachers, and administrators to push for aggressive public school reform in urban school systems. Inspired by a PBS program she saw her senior year in college, Rhee joined Teach For America where she served for three years in one of Baltimore's lowest performing schools. Rhee's students saw significant improvements on standardized test scores across the board.

In 1997, Rhee would leave teaching to start The New Teacher Project which recruited and trained more than 23,000 teachers in ten years to work in urban schools in major cities in America. Rhee was appointed by Washington D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty as Chancellor of Washington D.C. Public School board from 2007 to 2010. Here she gained significant criticism and notoriety due to her fast and aggressive style of reform in the D.C. public school system. She would fight teacher unions and tenure in the name of improving an outdated system of education.
Michelle Rhee has recently released a book about her experiences called Radical: Fighting to Put Students First.