Radical: Fighting to Put Students First by Michelle Rhee, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Radical: Fighting to Put Students First

Radical: Fighting to Put Students First

3.5 10
by Michelle Rhee
     
 

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In Radical, Michelle Rhee, a fearless and pioneering advocate for education reform, draws on her own life story and delivers her plan for better American schools.

Rhee’s goal is to ensure that laws, leaders, and policies are making students—not adults—our top priority, and she outlines concrete steps that will put us on a dramatically

Overview

In Radical, Michelle Rhee, a fearless and pioneering advocate for education reform, draws on her own life story and delivers her plan for better American schools.

Rhee’s goal is to ensure that laws, leaders, and policies are making students—not adults—our top priority, and she outlines concrete steps that will put us on a dramatically different course. Informing her critique are her extraordinary experiences in education: her years of teaching in inner-city Baltimore; her turbulent tenure as chancellor of the Washington, DC public schools; and her current role as CEO of the education nonprofit StudentsFirst. Rhee draws on dozens of compelling examples from schools she’s worked in and studied, from students who’ve left behind unspeakable home lives and thrived in the classroom to teachers whose groundbreaking methods have produced unprecedented leaps in student achievement.

An incisive and intensely personal call-to-arms, Michelle Rhee’s Radical is required reading for anyone who seeks a guide to not only the improvement of our schools, but also a brighter future for America’s children.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
American children are guaranteed an education, but they are not guaranteed a good one. Rhee, founder of StudentsFirst and former chancellor of the Washington D.C. public schools, details drastic changes for how children should be educated, sparking a heated debate over what many consider aggressive reforms. Growing up in a family of teachers in a strict Korean household, Rhee shares the triumphs and tribulations of her childhood. Later, recognizing the struggles of American schools, Rhee uses her experiences initiating a movement to remake American public education to allow each child the opportunity to learn and achieve. Many of her ideas are contentious or counter common practices, and have created a range of responses from impassioned dissenters to rabid fans. Despite Rhee's speeches about the dire need for better teachers, many individuals and organizations were angry at her actions and often questioned her motives. Regardless, she stresses that it is time to change the way the schools are run, how teachers are selected and trained, and how this all relates to the needs of students. Anyone interested in the future of public education will find a valuable guide for gleaning ideas, getting inspired, or perhaps for even instituting these techniques in your own local school.
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Kirkus Reviews
An education-reform manifesto from Rhee, StudentsFirst founder and former chancellor of Washington, D.C., public schools. The author's account of her rise as an educational policy advocate is as notable for what it lacks as for what it contains. The moments of inspiration are impressive, and it is easy to be incensed at the corruption and incompetence she describes. Rhee is at her most convincing when she relates problems with the D.C. school bureaucracy, which was so inefficient that its mismanagement kept a warehouse full of books, desks and school supplies from reaching students. At other moments, the sustainability of the reforms she champions seems more doubtful. The author lionizes teachers who spend their own time and money to help students. Though she notes that these are the kinds of teachers we need, she does not explain how that level of personal spending or uncompensated time is sustainable for older teachers with significant family obligations. While serving as chancellor, Rhee's teacher-evaluation system rewarded high performers with increased pay. However, the money that paid for the eye-popping merit amounts she was able to offer certain teachers (one teacher saw an increase of over $20,000) was raised externally. Though this is undeniably compelling, Rhee does not explain how this strategy would scale to school districts across the nation. She responds, briefly, to accusations that the rise in test scores under her tenure as chancellor were fueled by cheating on the part of teachers, who allegedly erased wrong answers and replaced them with correct ones. Her defense is unlikely to be convincing to many in light of the recent revival of the allegations. Rhetorically soaring but somewhat lacking in substance.
Jonathan Alter
“Michelle Rhee is famous as a hard-charging champion of education reform, but this charming and engrossing memoir is full of surprises as we learn that Rhee is also a strong Democrat and a thoughtful -- even contrite -- activist working every day to help kids learn.”
Condoleezza Rice
“Throughout her career, Michelle Rhee has fought for every student to receive a quality education. In Radical, Rhee describes her experiences in the trenches, her challenges and her successes, but what she has learned through it all is that we must always put our students first.”
Geoffrey Canada
“Michelle Rhee is a national treasure. . . . As told in this important book, her fight against this country’s calcified education bureaucracy holds lessons for us all.”
William Julius Wilson
Radical: Fighting to Put Students First is one of the most important and compelling books I have read. Michelle Rhee’s account of her continuing struggles to achieve her vision for American public education is riveting. This engaging and well-written book is a must-read.”
Arianna Huffington
Radical is much more than a diagnosis of our failing schools. It is Michelle Rhee’s personal odyssey, powered by her conviction that the survival of the American Dream of tomorrow depends on how we educate our children today. Her determination comes through on every page.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062203984
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/05/2013
Pages:
286
Sales rank:
1,124,447
Product dimensions:
6.34(w) x 9.16(h) x 1.03(d)

What People are saying about this

Geoffrey Canada

“Michelle Rhee is a national treasure. . . . As told in this important book, her fight against this country’s calcified education bureaucracy holds lessons for us all.”

Jonathan Alter

“Michelle Rhee is famous as a hard-charging champion of education reform, but this charming and engrossing memoir is full of surprises as we learn that Rhee is also a strong Democrat and a thoughtful — even contrite — activist working every day to help kids learn.”

William Julius Wilson

Radical: Fighting to Put Students First is one of the most important and compelling books I have read. Michelle Rhee’s account of her continuing struggles to achieve her vision for American public education is riveting. This engaging and well-written book is a must-read.”

Condoleezza Rice

“Throughout her career, Michelle Rhee has fought for every student to receive a quality education. In Radical, Rhee describes her experiences in the trenches, her challenges and her successes, but what she has learned through it all is that we must always put our students first.”

Arianna Huffington

Radical is much more than a diagnosis of our failing schools. It is Michelle Rhee’s personal odyssey, powered by her conviction that the survival of the American Dream of tomorrow depends on how we educate our children today. Her determination comes through on every page.”

Meet the Author

Michelle Rhee is the founder and CEO of StudentsFirst, a political advocacy organization for education reform. She served as chancellor of the Washington, D.C., public schools from 2007 to 2010. She is also the founder of The New Teacher Project and a former Teach For America corps member. She divides her time between California—with her husband, Kevin Johnson, the mayor of Sacramento—and Nashville, Tennessee, with her daughters, Starr and Olivia.

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