It’s funny–life is so “normal” with Chancellor Henderson now at the top that it’s as if Rhee was never here.
Michelle Rhee has been out of DC and DCPS for quite some time now. Things are back to normal here, after the uncertainty over who would succeed her petered out. Our new Chancellor, Kaya Henderson, found her place quickly. She also appears to have plenty of things to deal with.
But, I thought I’d take Sunday morning to answer this question: what has Rhee been up to?
As of now, the only consistent “connection” I have to Rhee is through being a member of StudentsFirst, her new interest group. I’ve been getting weekly email updates about Rhee’s vision for transforming public education. Most recently, I received a video in an email blasting LIFO and seniority-based hiring. (The visuals were spot-on and it looks like Rhee has developed her narrator voice well.)
But what else has she been up to?
I found a new piece by Andrew Rice in New York magazine (“Miss Grundy Was Fired Today”) that details her current goings-on. You should read it.
The one conclusion that I’ve drawn is that Rhee is as busy as ever building public awareness around ed reform. The piece does a good job highlighting the overt as well as more subtle acts of “will-building” around education that Rhee has conducted. The “day-in-the-life” section of the piece shows how she spends an insane amount of time on public speaking circuits on behalf of politicians (like NJ Governor Christie), billionaires (like Eli Broad) and other key figures. But she preaches in more subtle ways, as the anecdote about meeting director M. Night Shyamalan shows. Busy as a bee, it seems.
I still admire Rhee. There is just something “electric”–something polarizing–about her bluntness. I appreciate a public figure who is willing to say what she believes without feeling an obligation to beat around the bush, add a couple dozen qualifiers, or hedge every statement. She’s straight to the point, which shows a level of conviction and confidence that very few leaders today possess. Even if one were to disagree with certain aspects of her philosophy, it would be very difficult not to respect the type of leader that she is.