Can Michelle Rhee Save Public Education?

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Our cover this week features a superb story by Amanda Ripley on the fascinating, controversial 37-year-old woman who has been brought in to save the troubled public school system in the nation’s capital.:

Rhee has promised to make Washington the highest-performing urban school district in the nation, a prospect that, if realized, could transform the way schools across the country are run. She is attempting to do this through a relentless focus on finding–and rewarding–strong teachers, purging incompetent ones and weakening the tenure system that keeps bad teachers in the classroom. This fall, Rhee was asked to meet with both presidential campaigns to discuss school reform. In the last debate, each candidate tried to claim her as his own, with Barack Obama calling her a “wonderful new superintendent.”

Amanda also looks at where the President-elect stands on education. (The subject of what should happen to No Child Left Behind sparked a terrific and thoughtful conversation among our commenters earlier this week, led by commenter Suzie in MD.)

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