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.”
To learn more about Michelle Rhee, click HERE.
I just saw her on the Daily Show! I knew when I saw her that we should use some of her quotes… but you beat me to it. She’s impressive! (I have to disagree with her on the creativity bit though! To me, it is just as crucial as reading. Without it we have no invention, no cures, no solutions…)