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Rhee Insists She Has Warm Fuzzy Side

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By Kavitha Cardoza

D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michele Rhee is known for being blunt. Rhee is s arguably the most controversial person in the district: everything she says or does is scrutinized and begs for an opinion.

Rhee's recent remarks about teachers having sex with students, teachers who hit children, and those who were chronically absent set off another firestorm. Council members called for hearings, parents wanted an explanation and some teachers called for her resignation. In the end, she clarified she was talking only about nine teachers.

But does the tough talking chancellor have a softer side?

"I'm warm and fuzzy when it comes to some things: kids, and I do these listening sessions with teachers," she says. And teachers often come up to me and say, 'you are so much nicer than I thought. I like you! And I thought I was going to hate you!'"

"The tough thing is if I could be out in front of people and and explaining everything every single day. But I run a district with 45,000 kids and 4,000 teachers," says Rhee.

Rhee blames the media for highlighting one or two sentences of an interview and says she "gets" that controversy and conflict sell.


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