Michelle Rhee Would Do It Again
The former head of D.C. Public Schools wants to run a school system again one day -- and has no regrets.
The question is, would it have been possible to have done something differently which would have changed the outcome of that? Who knows? What I can tell you is that during the 3 1/2 years we were there, we saw the kind of academic gains the city had never seen before and that no urban district anywhere in the country in that period matched.
For me it was absolutely a matter of doing whatever we could at the fastest rate possible to improve the learning outcome for kids. People often say to me, "If you had been a little nicer ... you could have been a little more cooperative." If you can show me someplace -- not just in education -- somewhere, anytime in history, where you saw a transformative change happen and everyone remained on board or happy, I would subscribe to that strategy faster than anybody. I've never seen really significant change happen without significant opposition.
TR: Would you take another school superintendent job?
MR: When I was in the job, it was going to be my first and last superintendency; but what I realize now is that I miss that job every day. I loved it. I loved waking up in the morning and going to work. The work I'm doing now is having a real impact, and I love it in the same way because it's in the political realm.
In my ideal world, I would get this organization up and running and run it for five or seven years and groom someone great to come behind me. At that point, I would potentially like to go back to having that daily interaction with kids and parents and teachers.
Joel Dreyfuss is the managing editor of The Root.