So Michelle Rhee is back. The controversial former superintendent of the District of Columbia Public Schools is back on the East Coast this week to promote her new book, Radical: Fighting to Put Students First.
In these days of social media and the 24-hour news cycle it doesn’t really matter much that her right-wing funded, anti-union, pro-voucher nonprofit, Students First, is actually based in Sacramento, California, but somehow her return to East Coast is interesting; that’s where the policy critics reside.
On Tuesday she appeared at the New York City’s Cornell Club to promote her book. The night before she was a guest on the Daily Show, with Jon Stewart. Tomorrow night she will appear at DC’s Sixth & I Historic Synagogue to discus her book.
She’s a controversial figure, and each public event will no doubt be accompanied by angry questions from hostile critics.
But perhaps the most salient criticism comes from Stewart himself. In his interview he is respectful of Rhee, and sympathetic to her goals and even tactics, but he quickly gets to the problem: haven’t we seen this before? Teachers, whether dedicated and hard working or incompetent and lazy, know Rhee isn’t the first school reformer to come along and institute “big changes.” Why are the policies she supports any more likely to work than the 400 or so reforms that have come before?
Watch Rhee on the Daily Show here: