As I was driving up to Berkeley after work on Saturday, I happened to tune in an an interview on NPR with Michelle Rhee.
And it just so happens, she’s coming to Sacramento!
Honestly, I think I did squeal a little because despite the fact that she does not seem personable, and she scares me, I admire her sense of direction, her clarity, and her unwillingness to give in to haters. Plus the interview made her sound human (along with the fact that she’s getting married. My immediate response: She isn’t a robot! Plus I totally respect Kevin Johnson).
AND it’s exciting because to a certain point, I equate Michelle Rhee with actual change, or at least the ability to stir up the waters a bit… so if Washington DC won’t have her, I’m glad that Sacramento will. Definitely looking forward to what she plans to implement. (Even though I know that it’s hard to change the system, if anyone can, it would be her.) She is efficient, direct, eloquent, and can see the larger picture.
For example, even though Rhee was not in favor of private school vouchers (“public money going to private institutions – not a good thing”), she chose to provide those vouchers – not out of resignation but because of her overlying purpose of placing children first. Because the public schools in the poor areas of Washington DC were failing and spots in charter schools were slim, parents had little choice but to send their children to private schools. Rather than holding out her Party’s position or her own statements, Rhee issued those vouchers stating:
If I did not have a place for their children at one of my public schools that I would feel comfortable sending my own children to,then who am I to deny that parent a $7,500 voucher — which, by the way, is $1,500 less than we were spending per child in the public schools — so that they could attend a good … school. My job is to make sure that kids are getting a great education. And if I can’t provide that for them today but they can get it somewhere else, then that’s got to be our goal – not preserving the system, but making sure that kids are getting a great education.”
Now how can you argue with that?
Listen to the rest of the interview (5:20) at NPR’s All Things Considered.