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Rhee Appears On The Oprah Show

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By Kavitha Cardoza

D.C.'s schools chancellor Michelle Rhee appeared as a guest on The Oprah Show, to help promote the education documentary "Waiting For Superman." And while she's hailed as a star in the documentary that's nothing compared to the adulation in Winfrey's studio.

Rhee might have to deal with politics and protests in D.C. but in the Oprah studio, it was nothing but adoring applause. Oprah introduced Rhee as someone who has closed dozens of schools, fired more than 1000 teachers and whose "drastic measures" have caused a firestorm.

"You now know this is a warrior woman. This is a warrior woman for our time," says Winfrey.

Rhee says she's called "mean and harsh" for not giving ineffective teachers the time and resources to develop professionally. But she says as a mother, if she was told, her daughter's teacher wasn't so good, "but we're going to give her this year to see if she will improve. Olivia and her classmates may not learn to read, but we think it's the right thing to do for the adult, there is no way I would put up with that."

Rhee talks about how difficult it is to fire ineffective teachers, but in a conversation that sets up the union as being the bad guys, Randi Weingarten the head of the American Federation of Teachers was given one minute and 3 seconds to make her case. Rhee didn't talk about politics during the show, her appearance was taped before the mayoral primary elections.


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