Title: Radical: Fighting to Put Students First
Author: Michelle Rhee
Publish Date: February 5, 2013
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "For the past eighteen
years, Michelle Rhee has dedicated herself to providing children with
the skills and knowledge they need to compete in a changing world. As a
teacher in inner-city Baltimore, chancellor of the Washington, DC
schools, and founder of the advocacy organization StudentsFirst, she has
been guided by one principle: to prioritize the interests of children.
Through her own failures and successes in the classroom, she gained a
tremendous respect for the hard work that teachers do. She also learned
the lesson that would drive her: teachers are the most powerful
influence on student achievement in our schools. But our educational
system is broken. American children are being eclipsed by their peers in
other countries like Finland, South Korea, and Singapore, and their
rank will continue to plummet unless the problem is addressed
Part memoir, part manifesto, Radical is this
fearless advocate's incisive, intensely personal call-to-arms. Rhee
combines the story of her own extraordinary experience with dozens of
compelling examples from schools she's worked in and studied-from
students from unspeakable home lives who have thrived in the classroom
to teachers whose radical methods have produced unprecedented leaps in
achievement. Radical chronicles Rhee's awakening to the potential of
every child, her rage at the special interests blocking badly-needed
change, and her recognition that it will take a grassroots movement to
create outstanding public schools. As she outlines concrete steps that
will put us on a dramatically different course, she offers inspiration
and a sense of possibility for a brighter future for our children."
My Two Cents:
"Radical" is the memoir of
Michelle Rhee, the former school chancellor for D.C. Public Schools.
Even though Washington, D.C. is the capital city of our country, some of
the schools are horrid and there is a lot of disparity in quality of
education depending on where you are in the city. Even though I no
longer live in the city, I am still keenly interested in what goes on in
the schools there. Education has always been something that has
interested me and this book definitely fit into that interest.
not sure how widely known Michelle Rhee is outside of the D.C. area. I
know that she made some pretty big waves during her tenure and her touch
continues to be a controversial subject in this area. The outcome of
the last city mayoral election where the incumbant was defeated was seen
as a referendum not of the mayor himself but of Rhee. In this book,
Rhee talks about the changes that she tried to make in the school and
how much push back she got. She was deeply unpopular with teachers
unions because she tried to change the tenure system and expectations
for teacher effectiveness. One of the things that I appreciated most
about this book is Rhee's candor. It's also one of the things that I
liked best about her as school chancellor. I appreciated that she was so
blunt in this book. Her voice is still very refreshing to me.
my opinion, a lot of the changes that Rhee tried to make were necessary
and I'm saddened to see that some of the changes were frowned upon.
Making things better, especially when it comes to things like education
is not always easy but Rhee tried to do it anyway. This book probably is
going to be a better fit for those who already agree with what Rhee
tried to do; it probably isn't going to win her any new fans!