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Clearly, our education system is in dire straits, so who's at fault? Michelle Rhee, chancellor of Washington, D.C., public schools, says children are not the problem, adults are.
"Everybody knows I love good teachers, and there are so many thousands of you—great ones—in this country," Oprah says. "So we're not talking about you if you are a good teacher."
Get insights and tips from 2010 Teachers of the Year.
Michelle says we can trace the problems back to an entirely different group of educators. "The reality is that we have some ineffective teachers, some bad teachers, who are in classrooms every day who are doing a disservice to our children," she says. "The data shows if [children] have three highly effective teachers in a row versus three ineffective teachers in a row, it can literally change their life trajectory."
Therefore, Michelle has dedicated her superintendency to turning the system on its head by closing dozens of failing schools and firing more than 1,000 ineffective educators. In the Learning Matters documentary series, footage from an actual firing shows just how serious Michelle is.
Oprah calls her "a warrior woman," but Michelle's actions have created a firestorm in the world of education. Still, Michelle remains committed to identifying and removing bad teachers. She even fired the principal at her own daughters' school.
Watch Michelle explain why she calls this problem "terminal."
"My point is that if I'm not willing to put my own children in those people's classrooms, then I am never going put another mother in the place where she has to make that decision," she says.