Michelle Rhee on Government's Role in Education

Former DC schools chancellor says federal government needs to set standards.
3:00 | 09/05/12

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Transcript for Michelle Rhee on Government's Role in Education
We're pleased to be joined now by Michelle -- the -- CEO students first and of course also rent the school's. From Washington DC and I wanna answer because we've heard a little bit of talk today from some Obama folks that they think that education reform would be a major cause of the second -- -- -- the CD. Theaters -- of what the contours look like what the. The prospect for new education legislation is -- Well I think that -- that the possibilities are really great in the first turned. President Obama and secretary Arnie Duncan really were incredibly aggressive with their race to the top. Initiative and what that did -- it's far more legislative changes changes of policy the state level but I think we've ever seen and in time so they sort of -- the ground work for it and now I think for. Republicans and there. -- any other but they hear it at bay. -- -- -- -- -- So I actually think that. Regardless of the outcome of this election. That the near. People are tired of the gridlock in Washington. And that this is the one issue that potentially -- politicians could come together. They have the cover being able to say -- that would put partisan politics aside. -- -- But you know a lot of conversations with Democrats let them -- conversation with Republican and they agree on a whole lot more than they did. At issue that really isn't -- something I mean you have democratic. Legislatures and governors who have taken the tenure as you want. And the united democratic legislature in New Jersey that passed Europe -- unanimously. You know in Connecticut -- mania a democratic governor democratic legislature they're taking issue on Colorado took it on. And so I think that -- -- in the Democratic Party around education reform I think that. You're seeing more and more. High profile Democrats. You know including mayor -- -- -- that -- Some of those folks and they're saying. Teachers we support unions. But where there are significant problems we gotta be able to challenge. That the teachers' unions come along with us we're easy as the biggest sticky points right now -- of the forces that you think politicians need to be taking on -- -- -- -- wants better schools that when a different visions were -- We are aware of the -- right now the logic is so I'd say what has -- teacher quality and end you know and in particular teacher evaluations because once we can put. Rigorous teacher valuation and -- all that we can change the way the teachers get paid for the most highly effective teachers get hit a lot more money. We can lay teachers -- based on quality instead of seniority so that's one the second -- a round choice making sure that no family ever feels like they're trapped in a failing school and that means getting all families options. And then the last is around I think. Fiscal responsibility we have in this country over the last two to three decades. Increase the amount of money we're spending for child. More than doubled almost triple. And -- the results have remained absolutely stagnant and so we have to start looking at where are the dollars going. And how can we ensure that we're getting a better return on investment. You know when I was in DC we spend more money per kid than almost any other city in the entire country and -- our results with absolute bottom and when we started says -- figure out why. It was because only 40%. Of -- one billion dollar budget. Went into the classroom -- into the school the rest was going -- you know these sort of structural administration. This bloated bureaucracy. That education. And that -- estimated that he pointed out. Local issues -- locals as did governor but. The federal government and can't. -- Well we have to have a better. -- role in education -- It what way because look if it. One of the things that I disagreed or strongly with -- white department -- on his is the fact that you know that well. The localities know best what they needed to assist here you -- have. But the reality is that would let the local. Governments do their thing and this is where it's gotten us -- we're 25 out of thirty carnations right now. I think that there have to be a balance I think -- responsibility of the federal government is to set the standards. Say that we shouldn't have lower standards for the kids in Mississippi than we do for the kids in Massachusetts. So consistent standards and then to you know. But the money -- but -- hold those states account right so the states and local jurisdictions have the flexibility. -- try to get to the gold. The way they want to but if they can't get there. Then the federal government have to hold them accountable.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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