Fighting to Put Students First
Harper Torch, Hardcover, 9780062203984, 286pp.
Publication Date: February 5, 2013
The United States is known as a world leader in innovation, boasting brilliant thinkers and trendsetting companies, but that status is at grave risk. American children are well outside the top-ten international student rankings in reading, science, and math; those rankings not to mention the nation's position of leadership on everything from the economy to the military to issues of moral authority will continue to plummet unless we take dramatic action. Michelle Rhee, a driving force behind American education reform, is ready to make a change.
In Radical, this fearless and pioneering advocate draws on her own life story and delivers her plan for better American schools. Rhee's goal is to ensure that laws, leaders, and policies are making students not adults our top priority, and she outlines concrete steps that will put us on a dramatically different course. Informing her critique are her extraordinary experiences in education: her years of teaching in inner-city Baltimore; her turbulent tenure as chancellor of the Washington, D.C., public schools; and her current role as an education activist. Rhee draws on dozens of compelling examples from schools she's worked in and studied; from students who've left behind unspeakable home lives and thrived in the classroom; from teachers whose groundbreaking methods have produced unprecedented leaps in student achievement. The book chronicles Rhee's awakening to the potential of every child blessed with a great teacher, her rage at realizing that adults with special interests are blocking badly needed change, and her recognition that it will take a grassroots movement to break through the barriers to outstanding public schools.
An incisive and intensely personal call to arms, Michelle Rhee's Radical is required reading for anyone who seeks a guide not only to the improvement of our schools but also to a brighter future for America's children.
“Michelle Rhee is famous as a hard-charging champion of education reform, but this charming and engrossing memoir is full of surprises as we learn that Rhee is also a strong Democrat and a thoughtful -- even contrite -- activist working every day to help kids learn.”
“Throughout her career, Michelle Rhee has fought for every student to receive a quality education. In Radical, Rhee describes her experiences in the trenches, her challenges and her successes, but what she has learned through it all is that we must always put our students first.”
“Michelle Rhee is a national treasure. . . . As told in this important book, her fight against this country’s calcified education bureaucracy holds lessons for us all.”
“Radical: Fighting to Put Students First is one of the most important and compelling books I have read. Michelle Rhee’s account of her continuing struggles to achieve her vision for American public education is riveting. This engaging and well-written book is a must-read.”
-William Julius Wilson
“Radical is much more than a diagnosis of our failing schools. It is Michelle Rhee’s personal odyssey, powered by her conviction that the survival of the American Dream of tomorrow depends on how we educate our children today. Her determination comes through on every page.”