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Michelle Rhee, Bringing Us Together

D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee likes to say -- and did so again Tuesday at a CEO gathering sponsored by The Wall Street Journal--that "collaboration and consensus building are quite frankly overrated in my mind."

So who better to participate in a national town hall to search for common ground on complex social issues?

Rhee is one of the big names confirmed for the USA Network's "Characters Unite National Town Hall," to be hosted by Tom Brokaw on Dec. 2 at the Newseum. She'll join such notables as Newark Mayor Cory Booker, former U.S. Senator Max Cleland, Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson, Politico's Mike Allen and singer Jon Bon Jovi.

"People across the country are making tough decisions every day and working to maintain their own unique American character. Too often, instead of coming together to address conflicts, groups demonize each other because of their different beliefs and opinions," Brokaw said in a statement.

It's part of the promotional rollout for his new documentary, "American Character Along Highway 50," in which Rhee appeared.

Rhee has had a turbulent autumn defending budget cutbacks and teacher layoffs, decisions that led to a confrontation with the D.C. Council and the resignation of her chief financial officer, Noah Wepman.
To be completely fair, her point is that too much collaboration and consensus building can lead to paralysis when trying to transform troubled institutions such as DCPS.

"I am not unwilling to collaborate," she said last week on yet another panel, this one for the Bloomberg Washington Summit. But, she added: "If the end goal is collaboration and cooperation and feeling good among adults, then oftentimes what you end up doing is not a whole lot of anything. You've got people on one side who want you do do one thing and people on the other side that want you do the another thing.

"You can't make everybody happy all the time. So in my opinion often when people are keeping everyone happy they're not changing things very much."

Bill Turque

By Bill Turque  |  November 19, 2009; 1:44 PM ET
Categories:  Bill Turque , Education  
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Comments

When does Michelle Rhee actually do the work of running the DCPS? She's so often off somewhere being a media darling it is no wonder that her destructive policies have been so disastrously implemented.

Posted by: sfteacher | November 19, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Rhee actually works for the National Republican Party, Bloomberg, J. Klein and anyone else out to rid this country of public education.

Posted by: dccounselor72 | November 19, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

"...when people are keeping everyone happy they're not changing things very much."

Does it follow then that when you're changing things a lot nobody is happy?

If so Rhee is a raging success. Then again, it sounds like a rationalization for what she wants to -- be herself and call it acting in the best interests of children.

Is this a live event at the newseum? If so, I suggest people who disagree that Rhee belongs on a panel about "coming together to address conflicts" contact Brokaw en masse to register their opinion that Rhee is more on the demonizing side of things.

Posted by: efavorite | November 19, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

l'm really beginning to think that Ms. Rhee doesn't understand the basic concept of participatory democracy. She is a public servant. Therefore she must answer to the public. Part of answering to us means asking us questions and considering our responses. That's called collaboration. If thought democracy seems to inconvenience her---since apparently we are all nit wits and she has all the answers---that is the system of governance under which we live.

Posted by: TripLBee | November 19, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

A lot of the people who want to "collaborate" are the people who ran the DCPS into the ground. Rhee is right to keep them at arms length.

Posted by: jy151310 | November 19, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

She spends so much time talking about adults. She's got a thing about adults not feeling good. Who is she really, Peter Pan?

The quicker Fenty goes, the sooner Rhee follows.

Posted by: candycane1 | November 19, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Where is the compassion? Even Corporate America utilizes consensus building and collaboration. So, I guess everyone who has lost their jobs under "Lil Rhee-Rhee" were too darn happy.

Get ready DC, the Chancellor is about to speak ill of what is left of the system. There are still probably too many happy people left wanting things she can't or won't deliver.

This "Ice Princess" deserves a place among the ice carvings at the Gaylord Hotel. The Chinese ice carvers should place her there in her natural state. No doubt about it, she would survive the frigid temperatures and do quite well striking her celebrity pose.

Posted by: shank2sb | November 19, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Bingo, Candycane! Since when should a person feel guilty about being an adult with adult interests and adult maturity and adult competency.

I refuse to let Michelle Rhee make me feel bad about being an adult! I'm an adult and I'm proud and so should you be and all the adults of the world!

There's nothing to be ashamed of. Rhee is a grown-up, right? Where does she get off castigating the other adults of the world. Who does she think she is, chief adult or something?

Grown-ups of the world unite! Michelle Rhee doesn't want you to be comfortable.
I say lean back in your easy chairs and show your maturity. She doesn't take your crap; don't you take hers.

Posted by: efavorite | November 19, 2009 10:15 PM | Report abuse

She is appearing at one forum after another. When does she do her job and when does she spend time with her children?

Posted by: resc | November 20, 2009 1:14 AM | Report abuse

Kevin Johnson has a rival.
Will Marshall is cruishing on Rhee:
http://www.progressivefix.com/candor-we-can-believe-in/comment-page-1#comment-295

If Will doesn't post my comment, read at
http://www.progressivefix.com/candor-we-can-believe-in

Posted by: phillipmarlowe | November 20, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Everybody! Go to the Examiner!!! Exclusive Report: Congressional Report: Rhee Does Damage Control Over Allegations of Sexual Misconduct of Fiance Kevin Johnson!!! This is too good! It finally came out! She was working at St. Hopes when it happened. This is the "adult" who knows what is best for our children? The chickens may be coming home to roost at last!!!! She's got to go!

Posted by: candycane1 | November 20, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

thanks, philipmarlowe, for correcting Will Marshall and referencing the factual information.

Please continue correcting these inaccuracies and false impressions wherever you find them. I will do the same. In fact, I just added a comment to his blog, pointing out other writers who corrected what they wrote about Rhee, once presented with indisputable data.

Posted by: efavorite | November 20, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

examiner link: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/Exclusive-Congressional-Report-Rhee-did-damage-control-after-sex-charges-against-fiancee-Kevin-Johnson.html

candycane - thanks for the hot tip, but next time, please provide the link - it took me 3 whole minutes to find that!

Posted by: efavorite | November 20, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Turque's got it now. I hear you efavorite. Wow I cost you a lot of time! smile

Posted by: candycane1 | November 20, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Read this about the Phoenix charges. It's a 159-page PDF:

http://media.sacbee.com/smedia/2008/04/15/21/Phoenix_Police.source.prod_affiliate.4.pdf

Posted by: southyrndiva | November 20, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Good old Bill, helping us to understand what the chancellor meant. " To be completely fair, her point is....." I really didn't need Bill to clarify her statement for me. It is what it is. Michelle meant exactly what she said. The same when she spoke of turning Hardy. If she is shooting off her mouth and meaning something else entirely, she needs to be clear what she means. For me, she said what she intended it to mean. Its time for her to become the first lady of Sacramento where she can be around to keep Kevin's hands off the girls.

Posted by: lightkeeper | November 20, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Kevin Johnson had this funny response to the leaking of city documents in Sacramento:
"At the October 20 city council meeting, in a brief remark, I asked the City Manager to investigate how privileged city documents were being leaked to the media. My request puts several people in uncomfortable positions. The people who leaked the material are uncomfortable. And the media are uncomfortable. But the comfort of those people and organizations is not my concern."

http://www.sacbee.com/static/weblogs/the_swarm/2009/10/026491.html?mi_atom=The%20Swarm

Posted by: phillipmarlowe | November 20, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

After reading the Phoenix charges I would advise Michelle Rhee not to marry Kevin Johnson. I'm not a Rhee supporter, but I hate to see anyone get into that kind of situation.

Posted by: resc | November 20, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

FYI PhilipMarlowe: Despite the referenced facts you provided to the contrary, Will Marshall's response is, “I’m not inclined to change my characterization [that the 250 teachers Rhee recently fired were “subpar”], since the folks who did the firing say performance was taken into account.”

This is an incredible testimony to Rhee’s power of persuasion, since Marshall is actually taking exception to Rhee’s own words, in favor of what he thinks she meant. Here’s the link again http://www.progressivefix.com/candor-we-can-believe-in/comment-page-1#comment-317 in case you want to respond.

Posted by: efavorite | November 20, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Thanks efavorite.
I responded.
"True believers"

Posted by: phillipmarlowe | November 21, 2009 1:24 AM | Report abuse

"Too often, instead of coming together to address conflicts, groups demonize each other because of their different beliefs and opinions," Brokaw said in a statement."

But that's what Michelle Rhee does, she demonizes teachers and administrators she doesn't like.

Posted by: resc | November 21, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

So what is Rhee going to share with her audience on the topic of bringing people together? I suggest she build on the idea of creating a lot of enemies who then bring themselves together to oppose her. This is only sort of bringing people together that Rhee has actually accomplished.

Posted by: aby1 | November 22, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Rhee could also share ideas on how to cover up your fiance's wrong doings as she had a stellar performance with doing that. How a journalist with the record of Tom Brokaw could reward a malevolent ice hag like her is beyond me. The funniest thing is that a person who covers up the actions of a sexual deviant with children totally lacks character. Characters Unite Town Hall? GIVE ME A BREAK. No self-respecting woman would cover the actions of a sexual deviant, particularly if she has children of her own. Perhaps her ex husband should spend less time trying to become the next great pundit and more time seeking full custody so there won't be a possibility of coziness with his daughters.

Posted by: southyrndiva | November 23, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

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