Society

Public Education Reformer Michelle Rhee's Child Goes to Private School?

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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As Michelle Rhee, the former Washington, D.C., public school chancellor, aims to take her brand of public education reform nationwide, the Los Angeles Times is reporting that one of her children attends private school.

When the newspaper published a statement made in an email by Rhee's spokeswoman Erin Shaw that “She is a public school parent," the American Federation of Teachers responded saying that one of her daughters attends private school in Tennessee where her father lives. The private school, Nashville’s Harpeth Hall, costs over $21,000 year and bills itself as “country's premier independent college preparatory schools.”

Afterward, Shaw released another statement to the paper to clarify. “It was not our intention to be misleading. It is our policy not to discuss where Michelle's children attend school out of respect for their privacy,” the statement read. “While it is true Michelle is a public school parent, we understand how that statement was misleading, and we apologize to the Los Angeles Times.”

A Reuters profile on Rhee last year also stated that both her children attend public school.

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While she was chancellor in D.C. from 2007 to 2010, Rhee’s children did attend public school, the bilingual Oyster-Adams School.

Rhee has been evasive and confusing when asked about his before.

She told the Nashville City Paper this year, “What I will say is that I am a public school parent.” When pressed on whether her children go to a charter school, Rhee said, “I would rather…I keep my comments to I’m a public school parent.”

The American Federation of Teachers is one of the outspoken reformer’s biggest critics. 

“People often say to me the teachers unions are here to stay, that they are big players that I have to find a way to get along. I actually disagree with that,” Rhee was quoted as saying at the September 2008, Aspen Institute’s education summit. “It’s important for us to lay out on the table what we’re willing to do, but what our bottom line is for kids. The bottom line is that if you can’t come to agreement then you have to push your agenda in a different way, and we’re absolutely going to do that." 

Sources: Los Angeles TimesNY Daily News