Oprah first sat down with Michelle Rhee, the former chancellor of the Washington, D.C., public school system, in September 2010 to talk about the education crisis in America. During her time as chancellor, Michelle was seen by many as a controversial figure in the education debate, closing dozens of failing schools, firing more than 1,000 teachers and principals and challenging the idea of teachers' tenure.
Shortly after her appearance on The Oprah Show, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, Michelle's boss and biggest supporter, lost the primary election. Many blamed Michelle for the loss, including Michelle herself. Weeks later, Michelle stepped down from her position as chancellor. Since then, the press has speculated what her next big move would be. She's revealing it now.
"I'm going to do something different," she says. "I am going to start a revolution. I'm going to start a movement in this country on behalf of the nation's children."
Michelle is starting Students First, an organization that will focus on reforming school districts one community at a time. And she has big dreams for her new organization—she hopes to get 1 million members and raise $1 billion for public schools.
"We will use that money to help organize communities and put the money, again, where it matters, which is in the classroom," Michelle says.
The state of America's public schools is dire, Michelle says. Out of 30 developed countries, the United States ranks at just 23rd in reading and 25th in math, she says.
"Our country's education system is broken right now," Michelle says. "It is failing our children. The children who are in school right now are going to be the first generation of Americans who are less well educated than their parents were. We're falling further and further behind our global competitors. "
Michelle says change is possible and she's ready to take a stand for all the children in America—but she can't do it alone. If you want to make your voice heard, sign up at StudentsFirst.org today.
Printed from Oprah.com on Wednesday, December 11, 2013