August 5th, 2012
05:03 PM ET

Rhee on saving America's schools

By the Schools of Thought Editors

(CNN) - CNN's Randi Kaye interviewed former head of D.C. public schools Michelle Rhee to get her solutions for some of the problems in education.

Rhee, founder and CEO of StudentsFirst, an organization focused on changing public education in the U.S., says that a recent Harvard study ranked the U.S. 25th in education internationally.

Their discussion touched on several topics including "flipping" classes (a practice where students watch lectures and presentations at home, online, and then do their "homework" with their teacher's instructional help at school), international and state education rankings and teachers' salaries.

When asked about parents moving their kids to different school districts or states, Rhee acknowledged that parents are willing to go to great lengths to get their kids the best education.

"This is the reality that parents face," she said.  But she encouraged parents to work to change their local schools.  "As a nation, we should get engaged and involved in changing laws that are not serving kids," said Rhee.

What do you think of Michelle Rhee's ideas?  Watch the video and weigh in with your comments below.

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soundoff (225 Responses)
  1. School Counselor

    CNN should be ashamed to call this reporting. Where is a true expert to give the whole story or how in America all students are reflecting in test scores not just the chosen top students. This clap trap crap continues a downward spiral for America's children and an uptick for those who are causing it for their own profit.....that would be Michelle Rhee. Where was the questions on Michelle's own record in education in DC? Next time bring in a true expert such as Diane Ravitch, that is if CNN's true purpose is to get at the truth and report it.

    August 6, 2012 at 9:08 am |
  2. ParentX

    I am a parent volunteer in both a suburban public school and in a 'failing' urban school where 100% of the children are living below the poverty line.

    While sound-bite-worthy ideas like 'blended learning' sound appealing, I think Ms. Rhee is glossing over the reality of the situation and speaking more to education venture capitalists. The kids that I work with don't have smart phones, and many don't have stay-at-home parents or even three square meals a day. Hearing Rhee recommend kids should 'watch the lesson at home, on-line' made me cringe... and then her follow-up response to have the districts & states "pay for tech upgrades" sent me down here to the comment pool.

    I see kids in classrooms without properly working heat/air. Pencils, paper and other basics are paid for by parents, staff and teachers. I've seen teaching positions slashed and classroom sizes swell, and this spring the school had just one custodian for a building and grounds with 600+ kids. Security and office positions have been cut to minimal staffing levels. The school nursing staff has also been cut. This may not sound like a big deal to most of us, but in an age where many children suffer from diabetes, serious allergies and other ailments, a school nurse is a vital necessity.

    And computers? The school has a few in each classroom, but they are dinosaurs compared to the computer I am using right now. There is no Wifi, and tech support has also shrunk with budget cuts. While I love the idea of reallocating resources to pay for some computer upgrades or shiny new iPads, but I have been looking hard and I can't quite find the big pool of mis-spent money that Rhee seems to think is out there.

    That isn't to say that things can't be done. This is the most important challenge in America right now, and we have to get it right. This is exactly the reason why we need to shrug off the easy soundbites and glossy jargon and start addressing the more difficult, interwoven issues that keep our urban schools from performing as well as they could.

    August 6, 2012 at 8:57 am |
  3. Shirley Ende-Saxe

    Just follow the money here folks. CNN likes the monied "winners" who spout this nonsense. They have no intention of seriously examining anything, much less education. Truth is SUCH a loser, and it takes so much time to research, it's much easier to follow the ALEC party line and engage gleefully in tearing down teachers. They're mostly women anyway, and don't fight back, perfect target! Shame on you CNN (but you have no shame).

    August 6, 2012 at 8:54 am |
  4. Donna Janovsky

    I guess Rhee serves her for-profit schools well. Who cares if some of her facts are wrong. The end justifies the means which is the destruction of the public school systems for the good of the profiteers.

    August 6, 2012 at 8:38 am |
  5. jbrabham

    IWe should be investing in fighting poverty, not attacking teachers or focusing on excessive testing. This "reform" movement is doing little to help students and everything to devalue public education and turn it into a money-making scheme. Very very sad...

    August 6, 2012 at 8:01 am |
  6. Bonnie Capatelli

    I mean no offense to anyone working at CNN, but I'm just astounded that you would position Michelle Rhee as some sort of "expert" on education. She's not.

    Calling Rhee an "educator" is similar to calling someone who pitched 4 innings in the major leagues an "All-Star". However, in baseball, you need actual talent to play at that level; in the case of Michelle Rhee-and other "education reformers", you advance by serving a political agenda, parroting your funder's "talking points" and agreeing to shill without a trace of integrity or conscience.

    And what does Rhee receive in return? Lots. Like private dinners with the very richest people in the country; media fame and-at least initially-glorification; first-name friendships with politicians who hate the very concept of public schools, and most importantly, moolah; The Fabulous Moolah!

    Rhee received an average of $50,000 per speech, plus a suite in a 4 or 5 star hotel, limo pickup and much more, just for giving her "I Hate Teachers But Hide It In Euphemistic Language" speech in numerous places throughout the country. Plus, her "Students First" organization receives multiple millions from a handful of billionaires who want her to continue disseminating her propaganda.

    Rhee refuses to say how much she's made in the past few years. Why is that? Is there a reason for her not to be completely transparent?

    August 6, 2012 at 7:59 am |
  7. ruralteacher

    When Michelle Rhee earns a Masters Degree or heaven forbid a Doctorate Degree in Education is when I will begin to listen to anything she has to say. This is a woman whose degrees are in 'government' and ' public policy'. She knows nothing about child development, learning theories, or instructional methods.
    She is the face of privatization and the creation of charter schools that exclude the neediest students. She denies the fact that the US is FIRST in childhood poverty has any effect on a student's achievement. She is infamous at best and a money hungry selfish self-serving individual at worst. For her to be considered any type of "expert" in anything other than failing as a teacher and chancellor is an insult to the millions of teachers who have been trained in EDUCATION!!

    August 6, 2012 at 7:19 am |
  8. nittany89

    How can she talk and not say anything? I don't know anything more about what she stands for. Oh, that's right, she doesn't want us to know.
    I would like to see her come and teach where I do. It's not the roughest school in the country, but there is a high level of poverty. Most of the kids work hard and learn. They just don't do as well on the tests. They have made progress, but not to the level that Rhee would want.
    I would say that most of my colleagues are highly effective teachers, due to years of experience. Would Ms. Rhee rather put in a TFA candidate who only had 5 weeks of training? Probably.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:16 am |
  9. Duane Swacker

    It seems to me that the only plausible explanation for Rhee is that she is a plant from the North Korean Intelligence Agency sent to destroy America's public education system.

    August 6, 2012 at 6:55 am |
  10. Rob Mattheu

    Asking Michelle Rhee how to improve education is like asking Charlie Sheen for sobriety tips. Did anyone know anything about her on CNN before putting her on?

    August 6, 2012 at 6:37 am |
    • BSME for Kids

      Rob – in today's media/political landscape, nobody goes from novice teacher to DC Public School Chancellor to cash rich leader of something like StudentsFirst without the blessing of the power elite. When Rhee first splashed across the American landscape, she had immediate access to Secretary Duncan, countless Governors, and legislative leaders across the country. She spent a million dollars in Michigan to dismantle teachers rights and an untold total in other states like TN, NJ, WI, CA, and CT. The reason why it is "untold" is because she can keep her financials a secret. Bottom line is Rhee is a paid Bulldog for the Oligarchy and the whole Gordian knot of accountability is cloaked behind secrecy. Follow the money and see who has a vested interest in financing Rhee's political propaganda machine.

      August 6, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  11. Meghank

    What do I think of Michelle Rhee's ideas? They are devoid of any merit. While constantly calling for data, grading schools based on data, grading teachers based on data, she ignores the fact that there is no data to support any of her reforms.

    She also constantly says that laws that protect teachers are hurting kids. This is simply not true. Using students' test data to evaluate teachers hurts kids by turning their school into a test-prep factory. Receiving test prep, instead of education, ruins a person's childhood. Her reforms hurt kids.

    August 6, 2012 at 6:03 am |
  12. surb

    One word describes her.....Rheetoric....

    August 6, 2012 at 3:49 am |
  13. Arizona mom

    Most parents want what research shows works: a good neighborhood school with small classes, a rich curriculum, art and music programs, hands-on-learning, well-equipped science labs and great, caring, well-compensated teachers.
    There’s no profit to be made in that kind of school which is why they’re called “public” and why Rhee isn’t interested in promoting them.

    August 6, 2012 at 3:37 am |
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    August 6, 2012 at 2:59 am |
  15. Mary

    I'm not sure what Rhee has against Luxemburg and Hungary, but looking at the 2009 PISA scores, the US ranked well above them. http://www.oecd.org/pisa/46643496.pdf. The reality of the situation is that none of this has anything to do with international rankings, improved student achievement, or rewarding good teachers (or even getting rid of poor ones). Rhee and her buddies have identified education as a cash cow, and they're going to milk it for all it's worth. They don't care how many lies they have to tell or how many communities they devastate by destroying their schools. If they were truly interested in educational opportunity for all, they would tackle the intractable problem of poverty (best predictor of poor test scores). But we all know there's not a lot of money to be made doing that.

    August 6, 2012 at 2:57 am |
  16. Hripsime

    I'm currently watching live coverage of the Curiosity Rover landing on Mars. I'll bet most of those JPL scientists who are celebrating right now were educated in American public schools. Not bad for a group of kids who, according to Rhee, got a crummy, third rate American education. I wonder how many rovers have been landed on Mars by those countries that Rhee thinks are doing a better job at educating their children.

    August 6, 2012 at 1:47 am |
  17. stevenmatthews

    Traditional brick and mortal schools did not work for me and High Speed Universities opened doors and provided great opportunities for me. Research yourself.

    August 6, 2012 at 1:40 am |
    • Hripsime

      Yeah, that's just what kids need today: More time in front of the computer. They don't spend nearly enough time staring into electronic devices. Making eye contact with real people is way over rated.

      August 6, 2012 at 2:26 am |
  18. stevenmatthews

    stevenmatthews

    August 6, 2012 at 1:40 am |
  19. rskibins

    Rhee is a charlatan who is as qualified as an educational expert as Son of Sam is on relationship advice.

    August 5, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
  20. BSME for Kids

    But the biggest concern I have with Michelle Rhee is that her agenda items, although arguably part of the issues facing education, will do little to make the content accessible to every kid in every class every day, Removing tenure, and LIFO, and masters degrees, and using unreliable data to punish or reward teachers won’t help the inner city kid learn a thing. Her quest is to use propaganda to vilify teachers in the minds of the public and then use this mob mentality to enact her agenda which will likely make education of kids less effective, not more effective. The end-game push is a public education system that will be less effective than it is now. Her agenda is designed to open the door for hedge-fund managed corporate chain McCharter schools to come in and swoop up the federal education dollars until the realities set in and they find out why kids aren’t performing (i.e., what teachers already know about kids) and then they will simply take their money, shutter their doors and dump kids faster than a default-swap mortgage security. The McCharter’s are the darlings of Bill & Melinda Gates, Eli Broad, and the Walton Family. Although extremely wealthy – none of these individuals have the experience or time in the system needed to give them authority to speak on, or set national policy. The wrong decisions are being made by a few uninformed powerful elite and Michelle Rhee is their mouthpiece. And that scares me for the kids.

    August 5, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • David Withrow

      Amen to your observations. Further, we know that poverty is the biggest factor in student achievement. What can schools do to mitigate this? Not so much, but they can provide two nuriting meals a day every day all year long.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
  21. Hripsime

    Has anyone mentioned yet that the racial gap was worse in DC than any other place in America after Rhee's term as Chancellor? I can't understand how CNN or anyone else would ask her for advice on how to improve education. I guess taping kids' mouths shut and being at the center of a massive cheating scandal really is what it takes to be a media expert on education. Wow.

    August 5, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • rskibins

      They all follow her every word because the media's corporate owners are envious of her union-busting activities.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
  22. Helene

    She's a money hungry phony. She was a failure as a teacher, failure as a super. and now she will be a failure as a money maker. Anyone who tapes children's mouths closed with tape, has some screws loose. I cannot believe people would even listen to a word she says. Can you say "slow learners." She certainly does not care about education of our children!

    August 5, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
  23. mahlness

    This 31 year teaching veteran is absolutely appalled at the center stage being given to this woman. CNN, it's time to present the "other" side – the truth – about education in the US. There are many, many voices out there, waiting to be heard.

    August 5, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
  24. Xian Barrett

    Too bad CNN defines an expert by their rich donors instead of their actual expertise. I wish there were some semblance of journalistic integrity remaining. Our nation's democracy and education system are being ruined by people with deep pockets and little understanding of justice or what our people need.

    August 5, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
  25. thelink

    Rheediculous!

    August 5, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  26. Kathy

    Michelle Rhee is interested in bettering herself first, not students as her organization StudentsFirst wants you to think. Where ever she goes and whenever she speaks one never hears her talk about those influences that students come into the classrooms without. A good nights sleep or an encouraging word when they leave in the morning.There may have not even been an adult in the home all night. I could go on with more examples, but would hope that those at CNN have some knowledge of society's problems. Those problems are not caused by poor teachers or failing schools. I'm disappointed that Michelle Rhee was a choice you made in discussing education problems, problems which she and her billionaire cronies and ALEC have blown out of proportion and promoted. Her ad is a disgrace, by the way. CNN, how about interviewing professional educators. Ms. Rhee is not!

    August 5, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
  27. Luann Lee

    Rhee's ideas, and that's all one can call her "reform" methods as there are no data to show they work, accomplished nothing in D.C. schools but massive cheating scandals. Her ideas on evaluation are completely invalid. She's progressed from taping students' mouths to stifling teachers. I really believed that CNN still had real journalists. Your reporting on education is so biased that I assure you, I'll find news elsewhere from this day on.

    August 5, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
  28. NY Teacher

    What's astonishing is that parents keep naively following the false narrative that the media keeps spewing on behalf of corporate interests and fail to see the reality – the misery inflicted on their children in the name of "accountability." Parents need to pull the trigger on these politicians and policy-makers who exploit the myths handed them by Rhee and Gates and Broad – Cuomo, Rahm and Bloomberg are the worst offenders. Our Sect'y of Ed, Duncan, has systematically spent tax dollars that could go a long way towards instruction on a Race to the Top that is benefitting billionaires – money going to data collection and education scammers running charters and minting Core Standard curriculum. It's obivious to every teacher and yet they are not believed. This is shameless, and the misery inflicted on young children now will haunt this nation for generations to come.

    August 5, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
  29. Kathleen

    How does a failed teacher and education administrator get a gig on your network as an expert in the field of public education? At the very least, Michelle Rhee's interpretation of educational data should be questioned by Randi Kaye. Better yet, provide balance by including a REAL teacher in the discussion.

    August 5, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  30. Athena Melville

    I would like to see experts in Child Growth and Development speak to the issues on what it really mean to really put "students first" instead of politicians, persons from the business sector and celebrities .. I would like to know why Rhee and the other "deformers" of Public Education don't look at models that work like Finland. Dr. Stephen Krashen has done so much research on the part that poverty plays on this issue.

    August 5, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
  31. debmeier

    What an embarrassment to the world of education to have Rhee taken seriously.

    August 5, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
  32. natprentice

    I am a high school social studies teacher and a school board member in two New York State school districts and from both perspectives I can say that Michelle Rhee has nothing to add to any conversation on education. She has no educational credentials to speak of and espouses high stakes tests that are costly and do not predict students' future success in school or life. Please talk to the knowledgable and thoughtful educators at The Forum for Education and Democracy and please do not give this know-nothing person the benefit of any further national exposure.

    August 5, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
  33. Marilyn Arney

    Dear CNN, as a public school teacher I am offened by the ads that Rhee and her cohorts are airing that suggests that public schools don't know what to do to get better. And I was offended even more by the fact that you showed one of these disgusting ads and then looked to Rhee to explain what is wrong with education in America and what her answer is to fixing it. She did a glib job of skirting what her and her group have been doing to undermine public education – they have done nothing to improve public education. She speaks about the money and yet just about every state has cut funding to public schools while at the same time opening up voucher and charter school programs which divert public school funds to private enterprises. Then we must take our limited funding and spend even more on testing and remediation. Instead of looking to people like Rhee and Duncan who couldn't cut it in a real classroom why aren't you talking to classroom teachers? – Instead of blaming teachers why aren't you blaming administrators? – I find it interesting that as a teacher I have had many administrators evaluate me but I've never been given the opportunity to evaluate an administrator. I'm sure Rhee an Duncan would not have gotten high scores.

    August 5, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
  34. brendan

    As a parent I'm appalled that the federal government would mandate a cookie cutter "solution" to every school in the country, recklessly spend billions of dollars on "consultants" and "testing companies" while the actual role of teacher is marginalized into a news-style talking head, regurgitating garbage from the "common core". The whole testing system needs to be undone and the management of education returned to educators, not the "businessmen" who ruined this country in the first place.

    August 5, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
  35. John Kuhn

    Even reform advocates like the Washington Post's Jay Matthews understand that the test score gains upon which Rhee's present fame rest were fraudulent. Unlike Atlanta, DC school officials have refused to allow an independent, comprehensive investigation to be held into the high number of wrong-to-right erasures occurring at schools where Rhee paid "bonuses" to principals. Since that time, Rhee has moved on to fraudulently obtaining "members" names' from change.org, even getting Diane Ravitch's name on her list of members. And she has teamed up with right-wing governors and activist outfits in an all-out war against public education in the USA. Following this pied piper, we will find ourself doing what no successful nation has ever done with the education of their children: trading a public trust that benefits us all for a free-market education system that enriches a fraternity of insiders and money men, with Rhee as their head cheerleader. Next, maybe CNN should interview an oil executive about global warming, or get an arms dealer's views on international conflict.

    August 5, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
  36. Mike

    Rhee is an excellent shameless self promoting opportunist. Her endless denigration of public school teachers in my opinion smacks of McCarthyism. Even worse she really seems to enjoy it. Why such an education "dilettante" gets so much attention, and her statements never challenged by the interviewers is beyond comprehension.

    August 5, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
  37. Real Teacher

    When will CNN call out Rhee and the others who mislead on education. There is no crisis and our schools are not broken. US students-not in poverty-attending well funded public schools score at the top of international tests. Yes, only poverty drops us to a middle ranking. The US is a child poverty leader. Let's stop diverting billions to the educational testing complex and let teachers, teach. Common core will increase testing by many times. Poverty is the real crisis and those who refuse to deal with it are shameless. Instead of giving our poverty students time to read and get them excited- they get test prep. Don't blame teachers- we are fighting the ignorant policies of Arne Duncan, states, and districts who are on the test train. It is now a subversive action to help kids survive school and teach. There is no standards problem and no teacher problem. I am sick of people scapegoating schools for the ills in society. Since our non-poverty kids are at the top of the world- why are we not giving our high poverty students the food, medicine , and help they need. Poor students have little access to books and do not read. We know that kids who read a lot from early on do fine on ACT/SAT and they also rarely need remediation. Schools are guilty of READICIDE (Gallagher) and it is malpractice to do what districts require with skill drill kill. Education is not a business or a race. Schools save lives daily. The media needs to stop perpetuating what David Berliner correctly called- the manufactured crisis.

    August 5, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  38. Chris Guerrieri

    It is unfortunate that CNN does not want to have an honest debate about education.

    August 5, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
  39. Laura

    Isn't she the one who admitted to taping her elementary students' mouths shut? And their little mouths bled when she ripped the tape off? We don't need to hear anything she has to say!

    August 5, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • 2teach

      Maybe someone should tape her mouth shut?

      August 5, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
  40. Kathy

    I can't believe CNN used ALEC statistics in this interview. ALEC is one of the main forces behind the privatization of public schools in this country and is a legislative bill mill for radical ideas about education. Additionally, pitting teachers against one another for "merit pay" is not a solution that has ever been shown to work. The teachers I know work cooperatively with one goal in mind...student achievement. Increasing child poverty in the United States is one of the main reasons why children struggle in school. We, as a nation, need to look for solutions to the alarming poverty that exists in our country. Once the real issue is addressed, then we will see the change we are looking for in our schools. I hope that CNN refrains from doing this type of shallow interview again on the topic of education reform.

    August 5, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
  41. Lynda Costagliola

    If you seriously want an education expert, call me! I am in my 34th year of teaching in the NYC system. Michele Rhee? Really? Wow! Scraping the bottom of the barrel CNN!

    August 5, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  42. Davetg

    Rhee is feckless hack, making millions by exploiting children and destroying public education. doom on her and her ilk.

    August 5, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
  43. nflanagan

    Let me join the chorus of voices urging CNN to stop featuring this woman whose own work as an educator–from the classroom to the Chancellor's office–was marred by cheating, ineffectiveness and self-aggrandizement. Her attempts to destroy public education–one of America's best ideas–are shameful.

    August 5, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
  44. lisa smartz

    Michelle Rhee couldn't "flip" her own classroom when she was a teacher – instead opting to duct tape the mouths of kids. Why are we looking to her for education solutions? C'mon people – this is INSANITY!!!!

    August 5, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
  45. concerned parent

    Really CNN?!?!! Rhee? Come on folks, learn who these con artists are before you invite them on as some kind of expert.

    August 5, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
  46. flbusbaby

    CNN, Surely you could find a real expert to address the education concerns in the USA? Do none of you know a real teacher or have contacts with the folks that are really working to transform our schools. You would have done much better had you invited the steering committee of Save Our Schools to paritcipate in your program. There are some great parents in Florida who could have honestly addressed this issue. Rhee and her cronies are merely seeking ways to control the tax money that is currently going to our public schools. If you decide to invite Rhee back again, please have her provide the data and research to back up her claims. Many of us would like to see that information. As a parent, grandparent, and lifelong educator, I am insulted by her presence as an education expert on your network. ~ Donna Mace

    August 5, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
  47. Cindi Pastore

    Boo CNN! Michelle Rhee shouldn't be allowed to be around children or any money that has anything to do with children. Can't believe CNN hasn't done it's homework here.

    August 5, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  48. @David_Reber

    Since Rhee is so convinced that poverty doesn’t matter, and all those impoverished kids simply fall behind because of their lousy teachers, perhaps she’d like to fund a little experiment: Switch the teaching staff, and nothing else, between the nation’s lowest-achieving school and the nation’s highest achieving school. Then, watch as the impoverished kids miraculously succeed and the well-to-do kids suddenly fail. C’mon, Michele. Why not?

    August 5, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  49. MomTeacher

    What a bizarre story. To start, comparing our public education system (which serves all our children) to our elite Olympic team is a ridiculous comparison. We don't send untrained athletes to compete on our Olympic team. We send highly trained athletes who have spent thousands upon thousands of hours and dollars to get to the top of their event. Michelle Rhee's solutions for public education ensure that our education system will never have the funding and resources we need to fund our under-resourced schools.

    August 5, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
  50. slekar

    The Rhee Antidote. http://atthechalkface.com/2012/08/04/first-of-many-thechalkface-parody-videos-this-one-of-the-recent-studentsfirst-drivel/

    August 5, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • Alice in PA

      Chalkface guys: This is a great parody! Looking forward to more chalkface parodies. You guys are a voice of education sanity in a world of psychopathic and sociopathic corporate reformers

      August 5, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
  51. englishtchr

    Michelle Rhee is a fraud, a fraud who is highly paid to mislead and misinform the public. As an American, it worries me to watch the media help in the destruction of public education. Honest, investigative journalism should reveal the fraud and the money behind Michelle Rhee's fake grassroots organization, StudentsFirst. Journalistic integrity was an important part of keeping people honest, now there is no such thing.

    August 5, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
  52. Mr. A. Talk

    Funny how Rhee went to bat for her husband, who was accused with having inappropriate relations in a school with several young girls, but thinks that teachers need to be fired. She's an expert of damage control, and I hear she's good at taping childrens' mouths shut, but an education expert? I don't think so.

    August 5, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  53. Gail RIchmond

    I am very disappointed in CNN's promotion of Michelle Rhee as an education expert. I have always counted on CNN for fair and precise coverage. In this case, you did not do your homework! Michelle Rhee and others like her are in this business for one thing-power and money. We, the public school teachers of America are in this business for one thing – kids! Unlike other countries that Ms. Rhee is comparing us to, we turn no one away at our doors. We welcome and educate all children. We are given little and in turn are expected to make miracles, which, by the way, we do every single day. I am a proud member of my union. I do not apologize for that. Our unions have advocated for higher wages, lower class sizes, and better working conditions, which obviously impact students as well. It's sad to think that we will have to cycle through this testing trend until we discover that you can't test the beauty of a painting, the off-key melody of an enthusiastic singer, the verse of a poet, or the prowess of a budding Olympic champion. CNN-you have let public school teachers down all across America.

    August 5, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
  54. Elissa

    I am a former member of StudentsFirst. Her message is a veiled attempt to undo public education.

    August 5, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  55. Rheefirst

    Where are all her fans?

    August 5, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  56. Alice in PA

    CNN Why do you get your information about public schools from someone with so little experience in both the preparation of a teacher and in the actual classroom? There are thousands of educators who will gladly tell you about their experiences and what is needed to improve our education system. Notice that I said improve, not save from failure. Our system is not failing. If you would do any deep research, starting with reading Rothstein's book "The Way We Were?: The Myths and Realities of America's Student Achievements" , you would know that these same criticisms have been leveled at the system for over 100 years, and yet we are the most powerful nation on the planet. Go back to school CNN!

    August 5, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
  57. Elissa

    Really what has she done that is wonderful? She the land of spin and make believe, Washington DC, has created division and a culture of high stakes cheating then jumped ship just like a lobbyist to make some big bucks sucking tax dollars from a government agency that benefits our children. StudentsFirst is a brand for a house of cards.

    August 5, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
  58. Donna

    Michelle Rhee would like education $ to be spent on computers and online classes, because that means big bucks for her billionaire friends and supporters. Her Students First group uses deceptive practices to recruit members, then brags to politicians about how many members they have. Many of their "members" have no idea that they are listed on the Students First rolls. Once the word gets out to the general public about her self promoting ways, people will stop listening to her. She is a liar and a cheat, and shame on CNN for giving her any attention.

    August 5, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  59. Janice Perry

    The teachers union is circulating this article on social media asking that people make negative comments against Michelle Rhee. How disgusting!!!

    August 5, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • Donna

      Whats disgusting is the undeserved teacher bashing and attacks that are going on around the country by Rhee and her billionare buddies, trying to grab education $ for themselves at the cost of teacher jobs.

      August 5, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • Stef

      Oh Janice,
      The teacher's union is not circulating this. In fact union leaders may like and support Michelle Rhee, which is why CNN will probably have Randi Weingarten or NEA's president on to counterpoint.
      Janice, the people on this site are parents, teachers, and American citizens who are SICK of corporations deciding what's best for our kids. So give blame to where blame is due.

      August 5, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • David Russell

      That is an interesting claim. What proof do you have and specifically which unions and under whose authority?

      August 5, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Elissa

      Know thy enemy.

      August 5, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • iteach4change

      Even if that were true, it would simply be people who know about education trying to counter the larger voice generated by media's love affair w/people labeled "reformers" who are actually destroying public education - and THAT is, like Rhee herself, disgusting.

      August 5, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • iteach4change

      Even if that were true, ll that would be is people who actually know about education gathering together to counter the larger voice generated by the media's love affair with "reformers" who are actually destroying public education - and THAT, like Rhee herself, is disgusting. Wake up.

      August 5, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • Technokat

      Which teachers union? Do you have a link or are you just spreading hateful rhetoric like Rhee?

      August 5, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • Marie

      No, the union has done no such thing. Informed teachers have let the rest of us know what is going on in the Mainstream Media. I don't have cable TV and don't watch CNN, however when I heard about this absurd interview, I had to voice my outrage. Rhee is an expert on nothing. This is all about dismantling the teaching profession and privatizing public education! What's disgusting is that CNN would have her on as an "expert"!

      August 5, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Ro Jensen

      Really? What is disgusting is someone who did not CHOOSE to be an educator, did not do the hard work of getting an education degree, and who really cares very little about children (who knew you would need an ed degree to understand taping children's mouths was a bad idea ). This woman continually bashes teachers but I'd bet her children attend tony private schools with actual degreed teachers. CNN is part and parcel of the assault on public school teachers and I would remind you and CNN that the vast majority of our public school teachers are AMERICAN moms themselves. It's as if CNN and Rhee beleive they are a species unto themselves. THey are Americans who are comitted to educating ALL children, rich, poor, learning disabled, gifted, average, etc. This woman want's nothing more than to private public education and line her pockets and all her pro charter and testing friends in the process. Get educated about what is happening to our neighborhood school in the guise of choice....it is anti-democratic and anti-child. But that's okay because Rhee and her rich co-horts would never send their kids to public schools with the testing garbage, common core curriculum, and lack of funding that the rest of us must endure because of their influence and lies.

      August 5, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • brendan

      The "education reform" con artists are accusing the teachers of doing what they're doing. But Janice got paid $1500 to post that lie.

      August 5, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • floridateacher7

      First of all, if you speak to just about any educator out there they are not going to be a fan of Michelle Rhee. It is common knowledge that she does not have our students' best interest at heart and certainly not the teachers or the public schools'. If a union is simply letting teachers know that this article is in circulation and to express how they feel about it, how is that disgusting? No one is holding a gun to our heads telling us we must make a negative comment...it's how we all feel!

      August 6, 2012 at 10:11 am |
  60. Diane

    I was disheartened to see CNN taking the deceptive bait of Michelle Rhee. Please investigate the weaknesses and intricacies of international test scores and then present a program as to the deception being fostered by Ms. rhee's organization. As you can see by the posts, folks who actually like Students First are outnumbered by those who do not. You will find the same on her $tudent$ Fir$t FB page (Unless they offer another secret giftcard for positive comment contest like they did in Florida) This Olympic story is jst a raindrop in the ocean of deception associated with Students First . Correct your mistake of attending to the words of Rhee and learn what goes on behind and around them. Start by googling Tom Luna's Education Reform A Long Time in the Making.

    August 5, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • Bill Morrison

      The so-called reformers use test data to condemn American education. They are very deceitful in doing so. As Diane has pointed out, there are so many intricacies involved in international testing, such as the fact that nations such as China and Singapore test only their top one percent, many nations test only their top five percent, and other nations give their students a battery of tests to determine whether or not they advance beyond middle school. The United States tests students of all academic levels and abilities. The variables are many, the accurate interpretation of data is impossible because of the huge number of variables.

      Michelle Rhee understands research methodologies, including the concepts of statistical correlation, reliability, and validity. She is deceitful in that she ignores the precepts of proper statistical research and data interpretation for her own political and economic gain. Shame on her!

      August 5, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
  61. Annie Aynsley

    Michelle Rhee nearly destroyed DC public schools. To have her presented as an "expert" on education is disgraceful. Rhee is gunning for corporate ed deform (aka ed reform) to privatize public education. Rhee and many other corporate refromers are out to simply mark targeted schools as "failing" by manipulating tests and test scores so they corporate charter vultures can come in, rehire teachers dirt cheap and make money off of your kids' education and our tax dollars. When will the US wake up to these fascists? Opt your children out of standardized testing and fight common core standards.

    August 5, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
  62. A Dad

    Michelle Rhee knows nothing about education. CNN, try to us educators when having a feature news story on education. You wouldn't use Mitt Romney to explain NASCAR so dont use Michelle Rhee to explain education in America.

    August 5, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
  63. Mike

    Rhee has spent how many days in the classrooms? What are qualifications for her role as education reformer? How many public school teachers is she in contact with? Does she have alterior motives based on her funding?
    Shouldn't a legitimate news organization ask these questions of a guest? Now you realize why your in last?

    August 5, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
  64. teachfromtheheart

    I continue to be amazed and appalled at the amount of attention Michelle Rhee garners. Her 5 weeks of training through TFA, stories of her taping a child's mouth, and fallout that continues from her tenure in D.C., do not qualify her to be an expert in education. I wish the mainstream media would actually interview teachers who are living and working to make lives better for our students.

    August 5, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
  65. Sheila Schlesinger

    CNN I was shocked to note that you chose to carry water for Michelle Rhee. I thought you were journalists. i was mistaken. You clearly did not do your homework. You presented Ms. Rhee as a credible source on education without bothering to check her credentials. You made no attempt to challenge any of the statistics that she quoted. You did not provide another voice to provide balance. You might have chosen Linda Darling-Hammond or Diane Ravitch but instead you just allowed Ms. Rhee to have an opportunity to self-promote her agenda.
    Ms. Rhee's current assault on public education is disrespectful to the United States. Public education should be part of the public good not a cash cow for hedge fund managers and business people looking to cash in on a new industry.
    You might as well have announced that the next x number of minutes is a paid announced by Ms. Rhee.
    I don't want to believe that you are being paid to advertise her agenda but from what I saw it looks just like that.
    I look forward to seeing other sides of this issue on your network.

    August 5, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  66. NYC mom

    With a daughter entering high school and a son in college, here are my observations: Students benefit from small class size (22/1 in my daughter's last school); active parent involvement; balanced, integrated curriculum that encourages analysis and discussion of the subject matter. Improved test scores mean nothing if the students don't know how they arrived at the correct answer. I would appreciate seeing some of my kids' teachers discussing this on CNN.

    August 5, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • Starrimom

      I suspect they would be very happy to do that. However, the parental control isn't something that teachers can control much. I also suspect that many parents moving their children to other schools are expecting someone to work a miracle without their help. Money usually dictates curriculum as well. Teachers and books do cost money.

      August 5, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  67. Stef

    I'm very disappointed that CNN is so biased in their reporting. Where was the opposing view? Or did Ms. Rhee not allow you to interview her if you had on someone who thinks differently than her. In order for CNN to correct this wrong, they need to have others on, but I expect that will be hard when one sees who owns CNN. I would encourage you to have other people on like Dr. Ravitch, Anthony Cody, Robert Valiant, Peggy Robertson, Brian Williams and Yong Zhao. If you don't correct this wrong, years from now when this will be considered the era of miseducation because of the likes of Michelle Rhee, you will be seen as the ones who aided in her deception. Shame on you.

    August 5, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
  68. new orleans miracle

    Michelle Rhee has duped everyone into making a ton of money off of public education, and you folks have helped her do it. Congratulations.

    August 5, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  69. Daisy

    I have serious doubts regarding Ms. Rhee as a credible educational expert (She better be happy it wasn't one of my childrens' mouths she put duck tape over). It would have been much more credible for CNN to have an opposite viewpoint so that people can make up their own minds. I would love to see Diane Ravitch on CNN. She definitely has the years of experience to qualify her to be one of those expert everyone wants to hear from. That sort of slanted approach is what we expect to see on Fox News.

    August 5, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  70. Oldschoolteach

    Rhee is not an educator, as a matter of fact, she is anti-educator. I agree with so many of the other comments, what has she done that makes her an expert in the education field? I am very disappointed in CNN! Was it that difficult to find real educators who work in the classroom day in and day out? Or was it that you had to have a "name" in order to attract viewers? Shame on you for interviewing this charlatan, whose goal is privatization because it equals big bucks. Hopefully you can rectify this situation, interview some REAL teachers!

    August 5, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  71. Sheila

    Video @ 4:58

    KAYE: Some parents are actually moving their kids from one state to another. Some parents are picking up their families and moving. Is this a good idea? Should they move or stick around and help fix the school in their community?

    RHEE: Think you're absolutely right, part of what we have to do as an entire nation is think about out how to get engaged & get involved & change laws.

    QUESTION: Did Kaye say families should stick around and not move? Rhee agrees with something that I didn't hear Kaye say, at least not explicitly. Rhee is now a mindreader?

    Of course, not. Kaye asked a loaded question.

    My concern about Rhee is something I heard her say on a video awhile back. She said that now, when she goes to schools, children run over to her and know who she is. She said they don't just think she is a crazy Chinese lady.

    Rhee is Korean, not Chinese. Her comment struck me as an inappropriate inference about Chinese people.

    August 5, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
  72. timmcfarland

    Michelle Rhee is the darling of those who want to break teachers' unions, fire teachers, close schools, and privatize education. She is divisive and abusive. She uses lies and deception to promote herself and her philosophy.

    http://wp.me/p2odLa-kE

    She is using the Olympics to promote herself, including the use of this tasteless commercial that is offensive on many levels.

    http://dianeravitch.net/2012/07/29/more-about-that-rhees-shameless-ad/

    Our students are not failing. Scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress are at all-time highs.

    http://wp.me/p2odLa-10Q

    Michelle Rhee claims that the DC schools had huge gains, but corruption was found in the way the tests were scored.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/27/education/duncan-and-rhee-on-panel-amid-dc-schools-inquiry.html?_r=1

    Competing in the world requires more than a common curriculum and comparison with other countries by only using test scores.

    http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/bookmarks/2012/07/zhou_on_entrepreneurship_the_common_core_and_bacon.html

    Using students' test scores to evaluate teachers is invalid.

    http://dianeravitch.net/category/teacher-evaluations/

    Since CNN has had Michelle Rhee on, perhaps they would consider interviewing someone who knows what he or she is talking about. I would suggest Diane Ravitch or Yong Zhao.

    August 5, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  73. drleopold314

    As a 14 year educator in NYC, I am offering Ms. Rhee to come into my music classroom and teach any of my ESL or Special Education students (severely emotionally disturbed) how to correctly 5 measures of music and play it on xylophones-in other words, I want her to do a lesson that integrates both math common core standards, ELA common core standards, and fine and gross motor coordination. It is an open invitation to Ms. Rhee to put her money where her mouth is. Obviously, I got it all wrong, so I need Ms.Rhee to show me how it is done (listening for a response and hearing crickets). As far as CNN goes, when you sell your bedtime, ahem, I mean airtime to the highest bidder, don't be surprised to wake up and find people repulsed by your total lack of morals and ethics, and soon enough ignore you all together.

    August 5, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
  74. Charlie Puffers

    You are engaging in irresponsible and unethical journalism when you interview Michelle Rhee as an authority on education.  Don't you read? There was a well publicized cheating scandal from the time she was superintendent of the DC schools.  How did she become an expert?  In sports and politics when a cheater is interviewed a journalist asks about the cheating.  Why is it that in education you interview a cheater as if she were an expert?  Why are you ignoring the other data related to poor performance in school?  Do you know that childhood poverty is a problem in this country?  CNN  what happened to journalistic integrity?  Is anybody awake over there?

    August 5, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
  75. disappointed teacher

    Dear CNN,
    I am so disappointed by your biased coverage on the education crisis in America. The crisis is not that our students are doing poorly, but that our budgets have been stripped to bare bones and our class sizes are out of control. As teachers, we are asked to do significantly more with significantly less. Why don't you find out (and report) the truth?

    August 5, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
  76. Peg Nicholson

    This is a horribly biased story. For all the sugar-coated rhetoric about choice and merit, Rhee's agenda would privatize and deprofessionalize education, sending tax dollars flooding to soft-ware companies and for-profit charter school chains. The U.S. is #1 in child poverty. This is why our ed rankings are so low, not bad teachers. In the future, please interview actual educators for these segments, and not political hacks like Rhee.

    August 5, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  77. rdsathene

    Ms. Rhee's assertions aren't borne out by research. It's shameful that a news network would interview her in the first place, given that she has no bona fides credentials to discuss education policy issues other than the fact that her whole career has been financed by billionaires whose only goal is privatization of public education. From her mediocre few years teaching, to her failed tenure at D.C., to her current gig working for the likes of Gates and Murdoch, Rhee is a shill.

    August 5, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  78. Sahila ChangeBringer

    I just dont know why we take anything this woman says with more than a grain of salt...

    Just look at her track history:
    Couldnt hack it in the classroom as a TeachForAwhiler in Baltimore – one of her management techniques was to duct-tape her young students' mouths shut (their skin bled when the tape was torn off) and she later laughed about it – here's the link to her 'confession': http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/video/2010/08/13/VI2010081305444.html ...

    then she moved on to DC, as Chancellor of Education and left there in disgrace, followed by the ghost of "Erasure-gate' and illegal firing of teachers... here's a link to that story, with another link embedded within that to a USA Today report: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dc-schools-insider/post/usa-today-story-brings-fresh-scrutiny-to-erasure-issue/2011/03/29/AFijVUuB_blog.html

    Illegal firing of teachers here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/08/AR2011020804813.html

    and her callous on-camera firing of a principal here: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/22/education/22winerip.html

    then there's the mess of her $tudent$Fir$t organisation – which cant seem to help itself in doing unethical stuff either, with a senior staffer offeirng people gift cards to go post pro ed reform stuff around the traps: http://crooksandliars.com/karoli/michelle-rhee-fluffs-her-astroturf-gift-car

    August 5, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  79. Ray

    Did you know she is presently being sued by a DC teacher she fired after hetried to report cheating on the high stakes test, which is also under investigation and all under her reign?

    http://www.rheefirst.com/second_amended_complaint.pdf

    August 5, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
  80. Ray

    Did you know Ms. Rhee  giddily bragged about taping students mouths shuts when she dallied as teach for a while failure?

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dcschools/2010/08/michelle_rhee_first-year_teach.html

    August 5, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  81. okaikor

    I am shocked that CNN has touted Michelle Rhee as an expert in education. We cannot consider someone who only spent two years in the classroom as an expert; someone who makes fun of her days of taping the mouths of her students, someone that attempts to demoralize Americans during the time we all unite in support of our Olympians. I remember the days when CNN was considered the respected source of information and news, now you guys have resorted to "yellow journalism"! Shame on you. Rhee takes research and data out of context and does not fully explain the situation we are facing in the United States. She forgets to mention that we have almost 25% of our students living in poverty...we're #1 in that category. If you really want to know what our state of education is, ask the real experts...the teachers in the classroom...ask Diane Ravitch...as the person who is not a lobbyist for corporations...Randi..you need to interview Diane Ravitch next. This is UNACCEPTABLE!!!!!!!

    August 5, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  82. Peter Smyth

    CNN has a chance to do some real journalism. Follow up on the Education Week series on education advocy groups such as StudentsFirst. Look at the role of Gates and the othe billionaire boys, Pearson and its tentacles, the High Stakes Testing Resolution, massive charter and TFA fails, the invalidity and stupidity of accountability systems such as VAM.
    If anything, education is being pushed to failure because the media has abandoned journalism.

    August 5, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  83. carolcorbettburris

    Michelle Rhee built a lucrative career on denigrating our public schools and our teachers. She had minimal teaching experience, and an unsuccessful career leading the DC schools. Why she is considered an expert amazes me. Good reports get multiple perspectives on a story and challenge their guests. CNN, I hope you do that in the future. Our young people will be in deep trouble if we all follow Ms. Rhee's advice.

    August 5, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  84. mathed41

    Next time you want to talk about the state of education, please contact experts like Dr. Diane Ravitch or Dr. Yong Zhao. We have always done poorly on standardized test because we try to educate everyone. The crisis in US education is this focus on testing not the recent results. Please do your research next time so that you can counter Ms. Rhee's hyperbole.

    August 5, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  85. j cody

    Rhee and her hedge fund puppeteers who are circling public monies spend on schools with an eye on profits should seek to make schools like the ones they attended and like the ones where their own kids attend. Schools should provide the kind of education they get at Sidwell or the University Lab School in Chicago, but the so-called reformers merely want to jam more and more tests down the throats of kids who learn to hate education. The same things should matter for all classes and races. Unfortunately, Rhee is the figure head with a record of failure as a teacher (still under a test score cloud) and a failure as an administrator (DC mess in her wake), though she must get credit for being a genius at self-promotion. None of what she advocates for is what anyone writing her checks would have for their own kids; likewise, none of what she advocates for would be what you in the media would want for your kids. That you persist in including her in the conversation is absurd. Michael Winerip in the NY TImes addressed the backgrounds of the leaders of the reform movement for other people's kids (OPK): http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/18/education/18winerip.html?ref=michaelwinerip

    August 5, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  86. Donna

    I will no longer trust CNN to provide true and unbiased journalism. Michelle Rhee refuses to mention that of all large industrialized economies, the United States ranks #1 in childhood poverty. Almost 25% of American children live in poverty. Hasn't Rhee done her homework and read Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs? Before any person is motivated to seek self-actualization, at the very least, basic needs need to be fulfilled: food, water, breathing, sleep. When was the last time Rhee went hungry? When was the last time Rhee had no where clean and safe to sleep? Wake up! Michelle Rhee is out for Michelle Rhee. Let's call the organization Rhee First, not Students First.

    August 5, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
  87. RheeFan

    Careful, Diane Ravitch encouraged all anti-reform Rhee-haters to jump on this one. This would be the same as Limbaugh asking tea-partiers to comment on a story about health-care reform.

    August 5, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Peter Smyth

      Except the analogy should be Rhee as Limbaugh.

      August 5, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Linda

      Many of those responing are life long educators who have dedicated themselves to teaching and learning. We have not been bribed by the chance to win a gift card to a restaurant and we are not backed by billionaires. We also don't have to trick people to join a fake grassroots organization. You will soon find out how many of us can think for ourselves and we know a shyster when we see one. She was a failure of a teacher and a failure as a leader. You are one of her few fans.
      We Rheeject Rheeform!

      August 5, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • teacher111

      RheeFan,

      Rhee's Students First organization sent an email listing Florida education blogs and newspapers. They told "members" of the organization (using quotations marks since they deceptively get them from change.org) to post positive comments and email a copy to the sender so that they could be entered to win a gift card. Who's shady now?

      August 5, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • teacher111

      RheeFan: As far as Limbaugh is concerned, remember “Operation Chaos?” During the 2008 primaries, he urged Republicans to change their party affiliation in order to vote for Hillary Clinton as Barack Obama was getting close to clinching the nomination. He wanted there to be drama all the way up to the convention. He has 15 million listeners on that show versus perhaps a few thousand on this blog. Furthermore, voting and commenting on a website are TOTALLY different things with different ramifications.

      August 5, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • rdsathene

      I'm sure you meant to say that the distinguished Professor Diane Ravitch asked her readers, predominantly social context education reformers and actual educators, to comment.

      The correct analogy is it would be the same as asking scientists to comment on a story about reforming schools through "teaching the controversy" of creationism. Rhee, of course, works closely with governors across the nation who are pushing that curriculum.

      August 5, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • pondoora

      But unlike StudentsFirst's phony baloney grassroots campaign, I doubt any of the anti-Rhee comments made here are because a gift card was promised.
      http://stateimpact.npr.org/florida/2012/08/02/studentsfirst-organizer-defends-giving-gift-cards-to-online-commenters/

      August 5, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Bonnie Capatelli

      So, how long have you worked for Rhee, and/or one of her billionaire funders, and how much are they paying you?

      August 6, 2012 at 8:08 am |
  88. Erica

    She is out for her own fame, not the students of this country... nothing will convince me otherwise. Her background is based on fraudulent data and boastful claims. But, what is perhaps even more upsetting, her divisive, students LAST notions ignore the issue of poverty in this nation! CNN shouldn't give her even 20 seconds of air time. Talk to a real reformer like Diane Ravitch if you want to have an honest discussion about the state of education!

    August 5, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  89. Andrew McBurney

    It would be great if CNN got some input for their stories from teachers, counselors, and administrators across the nation, because not every school, district, or state faces all the same challenges. Why so much free advertising for Michelle Rhee and her company? Does anyone at CNN check the facts themselves or check for other relevant facts?

    August 5, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  90. Vikki

    CNN needs to look at the opposite side of the education coin and interview someone who believes in public education, which is the biggest scapegoat in America right now. Give Diane Ravitch a call –she's a much more credible voice than Rhee–and she can more than enlighten you concerning the hidden agenda behind the educational deform movement.

    August 5, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  91. April

    I am beyond appalled at your treatment of Michelle Rhee as an educational expert. This is a woman who was famous for duct taping her students' mouths shut whilst she was a teacher. During her career, she has frequently lied and exaggerated her accomplishments. Thus, inherently she has devalued any possible contribution she might make to the conversation due to her reckless disregard for the truth. Moreover, many of her suggestions are directly contradicted by the evidence. Shame on you, CNN!

    August 5, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
  92. logic23

    Wow CNN I used to think that you actual did journalism. This is a biased story. You assume that our system is failing. You do not even investigate the whole story.
    We have known since the 1960s that our incredibly high childhood poverty rate of 23% ( compared to only about 5% in high performing countries) is the single largest factor in school achievement. Yes Rhee said that teacher is the highest in school factor, but poverty is by far the largest factor overall. In fact SAT scores correlate extremely well with socioeconomic status. A study was done that compared our above poverty students to international students and we ranked in the top 5 in the PISA tests! We ranked first in the PIRLS international test – no mention of that! SAT scores for minority students are increasing, even with a larger pool of students – no mention of that. You are falling for the failing school rhetoric of the reform movement. Maybe your next guest needs to be Anthony Cody, Diane Ravitch or Gerald Bracey.
    Rhee's group of corporate reformers have no solution. Charter schools have not been proven to be better than public schools ( see Stanford CREDO report) , even though they are given all the special treatments, including not having students with disabilities and no english language learners. They only educate the easy to educate kids, despite the rhetoric about helping kids in poverty. When a charter school does have success with the children with higher needs, they do so with more money, not less! Parents you must check out your state's school performance data. You will see that many many charter schools are not making AYP, especially cyber schools. Of course, these schools are not shutdown for their dismal performance, but the neighborhood public school can.
    And, these corporate reform charter schools are rife with people stealing money. Google the Philadelphia charter school scandal where the CEO stole over 6 million dollars. Same is happening in Florida. Rhee herself has been shown to not have produced the so called amazing results in DC, only amazing PR moves like firing a person on TV.

    August 5, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  93. Jesse The Walking Man Turner

    How much money does Ms Rhee pay herself? How much money goes to expenese of promoting her to the public, and excatly how much money from studentsFirst goes to children in the classroom? Just wondeing when CNN is going to start asking some real questions. Once again they kissed her feet!

    August 5, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
  94. clsloan4

    Michelle's answer to why we are "behind" other countries is: "various reasons," but does not tell us what any of those reasons are. Maybe she should figure it out before blaming/devaluing teachers and their experience, and diverting public school funding to private schools/charters.

    August 5, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • teacher111

      Re: "various reasons" I don't think she would have gotten away with the bad teachers, tenure, etc. rhetoric on CNN. Her comments seemed pretty centrist compared to what she has said in other venues.

      August 5, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  95. rratto

    Rhee's organization, StudentsFirst , agenda is to privatize education in order to reap huge profits. StudentsFirst has been on a tear, misleading and misinforming there own followers.
    We now know Rhee's claim to fame in DC is based on data obtained via cheating, her own educational career is questionable, and her backers are only interested in political gain for corporate profits.

    Carpetbaggers like Rhee, are only interested in profits. Ask her about her funding sources.

    August 5, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  96. Matt

    Rhee is just part of the education-industrial complex trying to ensure herself a healthy annual salary by way of subverting funds from public schools into private corporations. Controlling for poverty, the United States is still at the top of educational achievement in the world. Corporate reformists like Rhee stand to make a lot of money by keeping the focus off of the real problems like poverty and on false problems like teacher tenure and unionism.

    August 5, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  97. StudentsFirst

    How many years did Ms. Rhee teach in the classroom? Where is her Masters or Doctorate in education from? How, exactly, does she claim to be an authority in any way on these issues? CNN would be wiser to interview ACTUAL teachers and administrators with years of experience and first-hand knowledge of what our students "need."

    August 5, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  98. nuff said

    The question becomes why are you treating Rhee as an expert on Education and taking her views as facts ? Other than being a paid political hack what has she really accomplished that has improved education in any positive long term way. Wasington D.C. schools are in shambles, turnover is astounding,the environment is toxic for staff and students alike. So what is her legacy other than reaping millions from Billionaires?–Now that she is successful at–lining her own pockets.

    August 5, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  99. leoniehaimson

    There is NO research or evidence indicating that online or virtual instruction actually helps kids learn in grades K-12; instead the move towards this is motivated by districts wanting to cut budgets and for-profit companies wanting to siphon off education dollars. And the top priority of most parents is to be able to send their kids to a good neighborhood school, with small classes and experienced teachers. Unfortunately, everything Michelle Rhee and the other corporate reformers are doing, including their emphasis on privatization and high stakes testing, and their attempt to devalue teacher experience, undermines the ability of parents to do just that.

    August 5, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
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