- Hardcover: 296 pages
- Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (February 8, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0470905298
- ISBN-13: 978-0470905296
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 50 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #100,608 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Bee Eater: Michelle Rhee Takes on the Nation's Worst School District Hardcover – February 8, 2011
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Richard Whitmire's deft and revealing book about former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle A. Rhee chronicles a difficult time in the history of the city's schools, when good people fought hard against one another ...
--The Washington Post
...(those) interested in gaining a comprehensive perspective on Michelle Rhee (the person, not the action figure), or on finding some Waiting for 'Superman'-like inspiration, would be wise to seek out and read The Bee Eater.
--The Education Gadfly
Whitmire's clear and easy-to-read style reveals the often-unreported efforts made by Rhee to reach out to both banks in an attempt to build schools into islands of refuge that would be "good for the students" --Educator Life
... a lively narrative on Rhee's personal history and the political and public policy drama that marked her three and a half years in Washington ...insightful commentary on one of the first pitched battles between the new generation of school reformers and the nation's urban educational and political establishments. -- Washington Monthly.
What isn't as familiar, and sometimes downright perverse, are the many bizarre yet customary conditions under which Rhee operated, which Whitmire portrays in illuminating (and infuriating) detail. -- Education Next.
From the Inside Flap
The Bee Eater chronicles the extraordinary life and work ofthe dynamic and controversial school reformer Michelle Rhee. Theauthor delves into Rhee's childhood (as the only Korean American inher graduating class in her Toledo, Ohio school), her firstteaching job in a West Baltimore classroom (where she once ate abee to the amazement of her students), her appointment aschancellor of Washington, D.C. public schools and her launch ofChildren First, her national advocacy group that draws on the toughlessons of Washington. While the book reveals Rhee's remarkableaccomplishments, it also explores many of the fundamental problemsin our current education system, the unpredictable politicsofleadership — and her shortcomings.
When Michelle Rhee first arrived in Washington, she found aschool district that had been so dysfunctional for so long thatmany had given up, choosing to blame race and poverty rather thanpoor instruction. There was no one being held accountable. Thedistrict central office had become an adult employment center, aplace to deposit job seekers. Rhee was convinced that Washington'sinner city students could achieve, but considerable obstacles stoodin the way — obstacles that needed removing.
Guided by the principles of outstanding leadership, strictaccountability, and the power of effective teaching, Rhee wasdetermined to turn around the Washington, D.C. schools. Herencounters with community politics and long-simmering racialtensions, and her battles with central office bureaucrats andteachers' unions, were so extraordinary that her efforts werefeatured in Time, Newsweek, The Wall StreetJournal, and a lengthy PBS series.
The Bee Eater holds the promise of educational excellencefor today's students and for tomorrow's school reformers.
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The book is not one-sided; it examines Rhee's considerable talents as well as her faults.
For me, the imprint left by the book is: is the chief goal of educational administrators to give children the best education possible no matter what, or to protect the jobs of those who work for educational institutions?
I wonder how often administrators say the former but in fact do the latter.