For the past eighteen 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 StudentsFirst, 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.