Michelle Rhee talks education reform and rhetoric on Which Way, L.A.?

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Michelle Rhee delivering a speech at Policy Exchange in June 2012

Michelle Rhee—one of the nation’s most controversial figures when it comes to education reform ­­— is in Los Angeles tonight to host a Teacher Town Hall at the Central Library.

Rhee came to national attention as chancellor of public schools in Washington, DC, where she closed 23 schools, fired 36 principals and 241 teachers. She negotiated pay raises only after teachers agreed to limit seniority protections and tenure. That record, and her push to tie teacher evaluations to student test scores, has made her a polarizing figure in the education world.

She stopped by KCRW this afternoon to talk with “Which Way, L.A.?” host Warren Olney. Here’s a snippet from the conversation about the Teacher Town Hall, her record and how to cut the rhetoric surrounding education reform.

“Because the debate has become so polarized and divisive, we’re not actually focused in on the actual policies. Are these policies good for kids? Are they not good for kids?” Rhee said. “As long as there is a pro-reform and an anti-reform camp, I just don’t think we’re going to make as much progress in this country and certainly in the state of California that we should.”

You can listen to the full interview.