Radical

  • by Michelle Rhee
  • Narrated by Shannon McManus
  • 8 hrs and 54 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

For the past 18 years, Michelle Rhee has dedicated herself to providing children with the skills and knowledge they need to compete in a changing world. As a teacher in inner-city Baltimore, chancellor of the Washington, DC, schools, and founder of the advocacy organization Students First, she has been guided by one principle: to prioritize the interests of children. Through her own failures and successes in the classroom, she gained a tremendous respect for the hard work that teachers do. She also learned the lesson that would drive her: Teachers are the most powerful influence on student achievement in our schools. But our educational system is broken. American children are being eclipsed by their peers in other countries like Finland, South Korea, and Singapore, and their rank will continue to plummet unless the problem is addressed immediately.
Part memoir, part manifesto, Radical is this fearless advocate's incisive, intensely personal call-to-arms. Rhee combines the story of her own extraordinary experience with dozens of compelling examples from schools she's worked in and studied-from students from unspeakable home lives who have thrived in the classroom to teachers whose radical methods have produced unprecedented leaps in achievement.
Radical chronicles Rhee's awakening to the potential of every child, her rage at the special interests blocking badly-needed change, and her recognition that it will take a grassroots movement to create outstanding public schools. As she outlines concrete steps that will put us on a dramatically different course, she offers inspiration and a sense of possibility for a brighter future for our children.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Good read after seeing Waiting for Superman

If you have seen the documentary Waiting for Superman and liked it, this is a great followup, featuring one of the people from the movie, Michelle Rhee, who was in charge of the DC Public School system.
The book is a bit more of a biography as her life relates to public education. There is the life of her Korean parents, her upbringing, her college years, working in the Baltimore schools, and then the meat of the book, her role as Chancellor of DCPS. What you get is her point of view, and not an attempt at an unbiased/biased analysis of education reform. You get her views and impression of then Mayor Adrian Fenty and union head Randi Weingarten. You also get her passion for wanting better for inner city kids. The passion and desire come through clearly with the narration.
I am a resident of DC and have lived in the District since the Mayor Williams years. I was very aware of the many challenges Rhee faced. Parts about the sheer amount of waste she found made me very angry, because I know there are parts of DC government that are still that way. I am also very aware that this is just her point of view and she leaves out voices that are not hers, which is understandable. She tries to be inclusive, like with an example of why people wanted to keep a school open for reasons that had more to do with community spirit and nothing to do with education.
I finished the book feeling a sense of gratitude to Mayor Fenty and the changes that he made. I also left with a feeling that too many inner city and poor kids are getting screwed for no good reason and it is up to parents and regular citizens to change things.
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- Marie "Professional librarian type, amateur historian."

Not much new here

What would have made Radical better?

I would have preferred if she shared her views on what would make schools better or worse. For the most part the criticism for schools is that they are "bad" and should be "good". That the levels of proficiency in math and science are "low" and they should be "high" and the best solution is the get "better" teachers. I wanted her to say what kinds of traits and behaviors make a better teacher or what makes a better atmosphere for learning. She did share her views on the voucher system (she is for it in cases that it allows kids to get better education results) and for strong teacher evaluation including kids ranking the teachers. However, more of this book is on her personal story of growing up, getting jobs, rubbing shoulders with important people and occasionally complaining about the teachers union. for Michelle Rhee's views on the teachers unions watch the big documentaries on education reform today such as The Cartel and Waiting for Superman (starring Michelle Rhee) also on the topic of education reform I recommend The War on Kids


Any additional comments?

I still hope that Rhee works to make schools better, the reforms she suggests are too simple to fill a book but are difficult to fill a life's work. she is indeed a hero- When she has something more to say- I hope to listen

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- Niall

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-05-2013
  • Publisher: HarperAudio