Today’s Quotable Nerdy Chick is someone I have admired for a long time. Michelle Rhee is the daughter of Korean immigrants who has become a force on the American education stage. Not everyone agrees with her positions — I can’t say that I always do, either — but it is impossible to deny her passion for school reform and her commitment to every child’s right to a quality education.
Michelle started her career as a teacher in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1997, she founded The New Teacher Project, a non-profit organization that has trained over 43,000 teachers to work in many of our country’s city schools. Between 2007 and 2010, she was chancellor of the Washington, D.C. public schools, and when she left that position, she founded StudentsFirst, an organization which is devoted to political advocacy on education reform issues.
Quotes from Michelle Rhee:
“As a nation, we should get engaged and involved in changing laws that are not serving kids.”
“Are we beholden to the public school system at any cost, or are we beholden to the public school child at any cost?”
On the perceived failures of the public education system: “I have talked with too many teachers to believe this is their fault. I know they are working furiously in a system that for many years has not appreciated them — sometimes not even paying them on time or providing textbooks. Those who categorically blame teachers for the failures of our system are simply wrong.”
“My job is to hear all the input, and then as the leader, then decide which are the things that I think are going to move student achievement forward in this district. And I have to make those decisions. That doesn’t mean that I’m not listening. It just means I have to choose to take into consideration all of that input.”
On teacher’s unions: “People often say to me the teachers unions are here to stay, that they are big players, that I have to find a way to get along. I actually disagree with that. It’s important for us to lay out on the table what we’re willing to do, but what our bottom line is for kids. The bottom line is that if you can’t come to agreement then you have to push your agenda in a different way, and we’re absolutely going to do that.”
“Creativity is good and whatever. But if the children don’t know how to read, I don’t care how creative you are. You’re not doing your job.”
Shirley Temple Black, (b.1928) is most famous for the many roles she played as a child actress, but she went on to do many amazing things in her adulthood too. She served on the boards of organizations including The Walt Disney Company and the National Wildlife Federation. She ran for congress, and though she did not win, she was appointed US Ambassador to Ghana in 1974 and later to Czechoslovakia. Shirley Temple Black, a cancer survivor, was also one of the first public figures to speak openly about breast cancer and to heighten awareness of the disease. I really like what she says about the removal of risk below. To read more about her at her website.
Shirley Temple Black Quotes
I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph.
One has to handle these negative experiences alone. You can’t get help from your friends or family. You’re finally alone with it, and you have to come to grips with misfortune and go on.
Our whole way of life today is dedicated to the removal of risk. Cradle to grave we are supported, insulated, and isolated from the risks of life- and if we fall, our government stands ready with Band-Aids of every size.
The U.N. acts as the world’s conscience, and over eighty-five percent of the work that is done by the United Nations is in the social, economic, educational and cultural fields.
We would have to invent the U.N. if we did not have it, which is not an original thought.
Isn’t that first quote kind of sad? Santa-for-hire FAIL!
Wilma Mankiller (b. 1945) made history when she became the first female principal chief of the Cherokee Nation in 1985. She strove to improve health care, the education system and the government of her people. She served for a decade before deciding not to seek re-election because of poor health. Mankiller still advocates for Native American rights and women’s rights.
Wilma Mankiller Quotes
The secret of our success is that we never, never give up.
A lot of young girls have looked to their career paths and have said they’d like to be chief. There’s been a change in the limits people see.
Everybody is sitting around saying, ‘Well, jeez, we need somebody to solve this problem of bias.’ That somebody is us. We all have to try to figure out a better way to get along.
I don’t think anybody anywhere can talk about the future of their people or of an organization without talking about education. Whoever controls the education of our children controls our future.
I’ve run into more discrimination as a woman than as an Indian.
Prior to my election, young Cherokee girls would never have thought that they might grow up and become chief.
One of the things my parents taught me, and I’ll always be grateful as a gift, is to not ever let anybody else define me; that for me to define myself . . . and I think that helped me a lot in assuming a leadership position.
Wilma Mankiller must have had some wonderful parents. I try to teach my children the same thing that she mentioned in that last quote.
I’m so glad I was reintroduced to the work of Maya Lin through my son who studied her recently in school. If you don’t already know this, Lin designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D. C. while she was still an undergraduate student. When I was in college, one of my friends was among the first to visit that memorial. She found the name of another friend’s father on the memorial and brought back a framed pencil rubbing of it. I will never forget how touched my friend, whose father was killed before she could meet him, was by that gift. The Vietnam Memorial has touched countless others since its installation.
Lin has designed other amazing structures and done other amazing things. You can read more about them at her own beautifully designed website. www.mayalin.com She currently owns and operates Maya Lin Studio in New York City.
Maya Lin Quotes
I loved school. I studied like crazy. I was a Class A nerd.
I was always making things. Even though art was what I did every day, it didn’t even occur to me that I would be an artist.
I try to give people a different way of looking at their surroundings. That’s art to me.
All my work is much more peaceful than I am.
To fly we have to have resistance.
How we are using up our home, how we are living and polluting the planet is frightening. It was evident when I was a child. It’s more evident now.
Now. Go visit her website. Move your cursor to make things happen!
When W. H. Beck agreed to be interviewed for Monday’s post, I knew I’d just have to find a quotable librarian. I found several famous female librarians who are also writers including Ann Tyler and Beverly Cleary! But I loved that first quote from Joanna Cole so much that I decided to feature this famous creator of the Magic School Bus Series. There is a very nice biography about Joanna Cole HERE at Teen Ink.
Joanna Cole Quotes
People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.
Take chances! Get messy! Make mistakes!
Children’s view of the world and their capacity to understand keep expanding as they mature, and they need to ask the same questions over and over, fitting the information into their new level of understanding.
I love the fact that Joanna Cole used her gift of explaining things and storytelling to enrich my children’s childhoods through her Magic School Bus books and the cartoons they spawned. I hope to add to this quote bank someday too.
To see a compiled list of nerdy chick quotes, click HERE.
Hi! My name is Kami Kinard and I am a nerdy chick. I am also a children’s writer. And a mom. And the creator of this blog. I am thankful for the long line of nerdy chicks who preceded me! Some of these include:
Susan B. Anthony
Without her wit and determination, I probably wouldn’t be allowed to author this blog! Susan B. Anthony flouted social norms in the biggest way!
A fascinating and brilliant woman who coined the term radioactivity and who used her scientific discoveries to improve the human condition. During WWI, for example, she set up a mobile x-ray station to help doctors treat wounded soldiers. Ever heard of the Bookmobile? Think of this vehicle as The X-Ray mobile! Thank you, Marie Curie, for flaunting your brain power! (Actually, I have to say that in what I’ve read about Madame Curie, it seems like she was pretty humble about her brain power, but I’m thankful that she didn’t mind using it!)
Amelia Earhart is proof that smart girls can also be amazing adventurers!
When I was gathering information for this blog, I was surprised by how few women appeared on lists of intelligent people! I’m here to advocate for those amazing nerdy chicks whose songs have not yet been sung. Every Monday here I’ll interview one of them. Then on Wednesdays, you’ll hear from me. On Friday’s we’ll highlight an activity or event that other nerdy chicks enjoy. It is not always easy to be smart and to make decisions that stand out from the pack. If you’re a nerdy chick, you’ll find out here that you’re not alone!
Do you know someone who has accomplished something worthy by flaunting her brain power or by flouting social norms? Please suggest them for a Nerdy Chick interview. You can do so by leaving a comment, or by sending me an email: kamikinard AT juno DOT com. Nerdy Chicks Rule is hosting a huge giveaway starting on January 15. Anyone who suggests an interviewee (even if we aren’t able to work her in) will be entered to win. What’s the huge giveaway? Check back on January 15!