Rhee steps down. (Storify Experiment)
- Enjoying every minute might be a stretch.
Early on in Rhee's tenure (Feb. 2008) there was already strong opposition to what Rhee was proposing.
JOHN MERROW, NewsHour Correspondent: Unions in Washington, D.C., are upset with Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee.
COMMUNITY ACTIVIST: What we have here is a takeover. It is not reform; it is dictatorship.
JOHN MERROW: Parents have their problems with her, too.
COMMUNITY ACTIVIST: You're telling these people that they've got to take your plan. Let's be realistic about your plan, Ms. Rhee.
JOHN MERROW: Even grandparents are angry.
COMMUNITY ACTIVIST: I'm telling you that you are not being serious about taking parent and community input into account.
JOHN MERROW: What goes through your head, when people are yelling at you like that?
MICHELLE RHEE, Chancellor, D.C. Public Schools: I don't take that personally. Those people feel passionately about their schools and about public education and, frankly, we need more of that.
- By November / December of that year Rhee's pay-for-performance proposal had already caused a fractious debate within the teacher's Union. Then came this image of her cleaning house on the cover of Time Magazine - as the headline in the local paper points out, it did not sit well with the man now poised to be mayor of D.C.
- It became a symbol Rhee's detractors could rally around.
- By the fall of this year, Rhee had indeed managed to cut the central school district office by 15 percent, shutter a number of
schools, fire several hundred teachers, and restructure how their
success was measured, while raising the test scores of what had been one of the worst performing school districts in the country.
But Rhee reported solely to Mayor Adrian Fenty, and with his lost re-election bid, her ouster seems less about new ideas and education reform than old fashioned politics to John Merrow.
- The Washington Post has built a page just to keep tabs on Rhee in the twitterverse using the same tool that we're experimenting with today called Storify.
There is some speculation that she may head to California if Meg Whitman wins the gubernatorial race there in order to reshape California's education system, and it would certainly be closer to her partner Kevin Johnson, the Mayor of Sacramento.
- From our very first piece there is this exchange- which might have proved prophetic
JOHN MERROW: Michelle Rhee was not job hunting, but she agreed to talk with the mayor.
MICHELLE RHEE: I told him, I said, "You don't want me for this job. You are a politician. Your job is to keep the noise minimums to a level and to keep your constituents happy." I said, "I am a change agent, and change doesn't come without significant pushback and opposition, which is absolutely counter to what you want." And he looked at me...
JOHN MERROW: In the end, it came down to one key question.
MICHELLE RHEE: I said, "What would you risk just at the chance to turn this school district around, to truly transform it?"
MAYOR ADRIAN FENTY: I said "everything," that one word. And it's true.
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