Will Michelle Rhee Head West?

By Kate McCarthy

Oct 14, 2010 9:17am

What will the outgoing chancellor of Washington, D.C. schools do next? The only clue Michelle Rhee gave me this morning was she wouldn't mind heading west to be closer to her fiancé, the mayor of Sacramento.

"My passion is in K to 12 education. I think our nation’s public schools are really doing a disservice to our children particularly in urban areas and I want to figure out where I can be, which one would take me closer to my fiancé but also where I can have the most impact,” Rhee said on "GMA."

Rhee, who resigned yesterday, told me she is a “doer,” not a “policy person up above” – and it was that “doing” that attracted so much attention after she fired teachers and closed schools in an effort to reform the system. 

Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers told the Atlantic that Rhee had a “distain for relationships” and wanted to “bust them up.” I asked the outgoing chancellor if she could have used a lighter touch.

“Well that is up for debate right now. Lots of people say ‘Well you could have been nicer,’ other people say, ‘You couldn’t have gotten the results you did had you been nice along the way.’ And so for me it is really just about having a true north,” she said.

Rhee expressed no regrets about her controversial three years in D.C.

“[Mayor Fenty and I] made the commitment to each other that we were going to make every decision in the best interest of kids, regardless of whether or not those decisions would cause opposition and unhappiness amongst adults,” she told me. “And I think what that allowed us to do was make decisions pretty easily knowing that even though they would cause a lot of push back they were the right things for kids.”

Watch my interview with Rhee and then weigh in below – what do you think she should do next?

George Stephanopoulos

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