Michelle Rhee gives Olin Lecture on public education reform

Michelle Rhee gives Olin Lecture on public education reform

Michelle Rhee '92, a nationally recognized entrepreneur and champion of education reform, delivers the 2012 Olin Lecture, June 8 as part of Reunion Weekend.

Olin Lecture 2012: Michelle Rhee '92

Michelle Rhee '92, former Chancellor of Washington D.C. public schools, addresses the state of public schools and how necessary reform doesn't come easy.

Pbs Frontline 2013 The Education of Michelle Rhee

Public education -- are we under, over or just misspending? Michelle Rhee at TEDxWallStreet

Michelle began her career as a Teach for America corps member in Baltimore. In 1997, Michelle founded and led The New Teacher Project, which recruits and trains teachers to work in urban schools. From 2007 to 2010, Michelle served as chancellor of District of Columbia Public Schools. Under her stewardship, D.C. schools experienced increases in student achievement, a rise in graduation rates and an upswing — for the first time in decades — in enrollment. Working in education over the past twenty years, time after time I saw obstacles keeping kids from getting what they needed from their schools. Yes, there were challenges that were going to be difficult to overcome no matter what, but so many practices just didn't make sense and were completely within our power to change. When I tried to change them, I found out why the status quo had persisted for so long. Groups that put the interests of adults in the system first were driving the conversation, and they were backed by big dollars and political power. What we needed was a collective voice solely representing kids' best interests, because the sense of balance was completely gone. I started StudentsFirst to change that. Schools exist to give kids the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed, and EVERY decision has to revolve around that.

More information at

About TEDx, x = independently organized event:

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.*

(*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

What Next for Michelle Rhee and Her School Reform Campaign?

I'm Mario Ritter with the VOA Special English Education Report, from |

Michelle Rhee had never led a school system before she came to the public schools in Washington, D.C. in two thousand seven. By the end of the following year she was on the cover of Time. The magazine recognized her as a national leader in education reform. And now Ms. Rhee appears in the film Waiting for 'Superman,' a documentary about problems in the American educational system. Ms. Rhee closed underperforming schools in Washington. She dismissed hundreds of teachers and administrators -- including the principal at her daughters' school.She angered the teachers union and teachers who were traditionally protected in permanent jobs. She said they were not doing a good enough job. She negotiated a new labor contract that measures teacher success based in part on student performance. Many of her actions were the same as those supported nationally by the Department of Education and President Obama. But in October, Michelle Rhee announced she will leave her job after almost three and a half years. She said Washington's next mayor, Vincent Gray, should be able to start with someone of his own choice. Democrats in Washington nominated Mr. Gray over Mayor Adrian Fenty in September. People can argue about why Mayor Fenty lost after one term. But for many voters, one reason was his hiring of Michelle Rhee and his support for her aggressive reforms. Public opinion studies showed a racial divide. A majority of whites but only a third of blacks thought the public schools have improved. Close to seventy percent of whites told the Washington Post that Ms. Rhee was a reason to support Mayor Fenty. But more than half of blacks saw her as a reason to vote against him. Mr. Gray and Mr. Fenty are both African-American, as are three out of four students in the District of Columbia public schools.Mr. Gray promises to continue school reform efforts. Ms. Rhee's leadership team will remain until the end of the school year. Her deputy, Kaya Henderson, is taking her place, at least for now. It is unclear what Michelle Rhee will do next. Shortly after her announcement, she launched a website, michellerhee.org. She says she will continue her efforts for education reform, and she is asking people to share ideas. She also says she wants to live closer to her future husband, Kevin Johnson, the mayor of Sacramento, California. For VOA Special English, I'm Mario Ritter.

(Adapted from a radio program broadcast 21Oct2010)

Michelle Rhee on Education Reform

On June 15, 2011, Michelle Rhee, Founder and CEO of Students First, spoke at Roosevelt House on education reform and creating schools of excellence.

Michelle Rhee began her career as a Teach for America (TFA) corps member in a Harlem Park Community School in Baltimore City. Through her own trial and error in the classroom, she gained a tremendous respect for the hard work that teachers do every day. She also learned the lesson that would drive her mission for years to come: teachers are the most powerful driving force behind student achievement in our schools. In 1997 Ms. Rhee founded The New Teacher Project (TNTP) to bring more excellent teachers to classrooms across the country. Under her leadership TNTP became a leading organization in understanding and developing innovative solutions to the challenges of new teacher hiring. As Chief Executive Officer and President, Ms. Rhee partnered with school districts, state education agencies; non-profit organizations and unions to transform the way schools and other organizations recruit, select and train 23,000 highly qualified teachers in difficult-to-staff schools.

On June 12, 2007, Mayor Adrian Fenty appointed Chancellor Rhee to lead the District of Columbia Public Schools. Under her leadership, the worst performing school district in the country became the only major city system to see double-digit growth in both their state reading and state math scores in seventh, eighth and tenth grades over three years. In 2010, she left DCPS to found her own organization - Students First - which she describes as a grassroots movement designed to mobilize parents, teachers, students, administrators, and citizens throughout country, and to channel their energy to produce meaningful results on both the local and national level.

Michelle Rhee: Are Teachers Unions Hurting US Schools?

Full video available for free at:

Michelle Rhee, founder and CEO of StudentsFirst, argues that teachers unions are defending teachers jobs but not helping students get a better education.

Michelle Rhee Talks About What Is Working In Education Reform

Michelle Rhee, an educator and education reform advocate, talks about what new developments in education reform excite her.

An Education Agenda for the Next President

Founder of StudentsFirst and former Chancellor of Washington D.C. Public Schools, Michelle Rhee joined Paul Reville, a professor of Practice of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, for a conversation about the future of education policy. She spoke regarding the prevalence of standardized testing, emphasizing that no education reformer considers standardized tests to be an exhaustive measure of a student’s ability. She continued that the teacher would always look beyond mere test scores to gauge a student’s ability, yet standardized tests do provide the initial value of comparing where students stand. Maggie Williams, Director of the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School, introduced the program.

Michelle Rhee: Lead from the Front

Education activist Michelle Rhee offered three pieces of advice to students and stressed the importance of public education, great teachers, and advocating for kids. Rhee is the former chancellor of Washington, DC public schools and founder and CEO of StudentsFirst.

Rhee spoke at Stanford Graduate School of Business as part of the View From The Top speaker series.

More about the View From The Top speaker series:

All View From The Top videos:


From 2nd Grade Teacher to Spearheading an Educational Non Profit | Education Reformist Michelle Rhee

Michelle A. Rhee is an American educator and an advocate for education reform. She was Chancellor of the Washington, D.C. public schools from 2007 to 2010.

For more great content, check out:
Videos and livestreams:
Residential program:
Online Courses:

Subscribe for more videos!

The New Teacher Project & Beyond | Education Reformist Michelle Rhee

Michelle A. Rhee is an American educator and an advocate for education reform. She was Chancellor of the Washington, D.C. public schools from 2007 to 2010. Michelle is a pioneer of her field and is radically reinventing education for the better of youth across the nation.

For more great content, check out:
Videos and livestreams:
Residential program:
Online Courses:

Subscribe for more videos!

WASHINGTON WATCH: Michelle Rhee On Education Reform, Accountability In Schools, New Book "Radical"

A report recently published by Harvard University found that students in Latvia, Chile and Brazil are making gains in academics three times faster than American students, while those in Portugal, Hong Kong, Germany, Poland, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, Colombia and Lithuania are improving at twice the rate. Unfortunately, African-American and poor students bear the brunt of the problems with America's educational system.

Michelle Rhee is the founder of Students First, a political advocacy organization for education reform, and she believes part of the solution to the problem might be found in who's teaching our children.

Subscribe to the Washington Watch Video Podcast on iTunes @

Michelle Rhee: Radical: Fighting to Put Students First - May 22, 2013

Educator Michelle Rhee joined Library Director Crosby Kemper III for a public conversation about her new book Radical: Fighting to Put Students First and explained her ideas for improving public education by ensuring that laws, leaders, and politics are making students - not adults - their top priority.

Rhee is past chancellor of the Washington D.C. Public Schools and the founder, CEO, and president of the New Teacher Project. In 2010, she founded StudentsFirst, a non-profit organization which works on education reform issues such as ending teacher tenure. This event was co-sponsored by the Show-Me Institute.

Why Michelle Rhee chose an MPP over law school

At the time of this interview, Michelle Rhee was the Chancellor of the Washington DC Public School system. Rhee tells why she chose an MPP degree over law school

Michelle Rhee in DC: Episode 10, Pt. 1

PART 1: Michelle Rhee has been on the job as DC Schools Chancellor for two years--is education any better in Washington, DC?

Follow the entire series online:

Portland Parent is not messing around on Corporate Education Reform

Benwood Speaker Series - Michelle Rhee

2011 George T. Hunter Lecture Series held at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
September 20, 2011

A short documentary by Mindflow Media

Michelle Rhee on saving America's schools.mov

In case you missed it, Michelle Rhee appeared on CNN this weekend, where she spoke about education issues and unveiled the latest ad from StudentsFirst. The ad highlights the challenges facing America's education system in the 21st Century and the need for reforms that will help ensure all students receive the education they need to compete in today's global economy.

Michelle Rhee at AFC's National Policy Summit 2011

Former D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee spoke about her conversion to supporting school choice for low-income families at the American Federation for Children's National Policy Summit 2011. For more information, visit


Check Also