She is nothing if not controversial.
During three and a half years as the chancellor of Washington, D.C., public schools, Michelle Rhee closed two dozen campuses, fired hundreds of teachers and allowed TV cameras to follow her as she battled teachers unions and canned principals.
On Tuesday, she brought that brash style to Sacramento, where in a wide-ranging conversation with The Sacramento Bee's editorial board she addressed school governance, teacher training and the general state of student preparation.
On governance: If California allowed mayors to take control of schools, Sacramento "would be in a much better place."
On teacher training: Teacher-training schools are filled with the "lowest performing students" – better students choose other careers.
On student preparation: "We have become a little too obsessed about making kids feel good about themselves. We have lost the competitive spirit."
From her chancellor pulpit, Rhee managed to turn education wonkiness into education celebrity. She discusses the details of teacher evaluations, union contracts and layoff policies with a breeziness that's hard to find among educators.
And she does it in frequent appearances on television – Oprah Winfrey adores her – and in movies, including the edgy documentary "Waiting for 'Superman.' "
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