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Extended Audio Sample Radical: Fighting to Put Students First Audiobook, by Michelle Rhee Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (118 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Michelle Rhee Narrator: Shannon McManus Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2013 ISBN: 9780062239549
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The United States is known as a world leader in innovation, boasting brilliant thinkers and trendsetting companies, but that status is at grave risk. American children are well outside the top-ten international student rankings in reading, science, and math; those rankings—not to mention the nation's position of leadership on everything from the economy to the military to issues of moral authority—will continue to plummet unless we take dramatic action. Michelle Rhee, a driving force behind American education reform, is ready to make a change.

In Radical, this fearless and pioneering advocate draws on her own life story and delivers her plan for better American schools. Rhee's goal is to ensure that laws, leaders, and policies are making students—not adults—our top priority, and she outlines concrete steps that will put us on a dramatically different course. Informing her critique are her extraordinary experiences in education: her years of teaching in inner-city Baltimore; her turbulent tenure as chancellor of the Washington, D.C., public schools; and her current role as an education activist. Rhee draws on dozens of compelling examples—from schools she's worked in and studied; from students who've left behind unspeakable home lives and thrived in the classroom; from teachers whose groundbreaking methods have produced unprec­edented leaps in student achievement. The book chronicles Rhee's awakening to the potential of every child blessed with a great teacher, her rage at realizing that adults with special interests are blocking badly needed change, and her recognition that it will take a grassroots movement to break through the barriers to outstanding public schools.

An incisive and intensely personal call to arms, Michelle Rhee's Radical is required reading for anyone who seeks a guide not only to the improvement of our schools but also to a brighter future for America's children.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Throughout her career, Michelle Rhee has fought for every student to receive a quality education. In Radical, Rhee describes her experiences in the trenches, her challenges, and her successes, but what she has learned through it all is that we must always put our students first.”

    Condoleezza Rice

  • Radical is much more than a diagnosis of our failing schools. It is Michelle Rhee’s personal odyssey, powered by her conviction that the survival of the American Dream of tomorrow depends on how we educate our children today. Her determination comes through on every page.”

    Arianna Huffington

  • “Michelle Rhee is famous as a hard-charging champion of education reform, but this charming and engrossing memoir is full of surprises as we learn that Rhee is also a strong Democrat and a thoughtful—even contrite—activist working every day to help kids learn.”

    Jonathan Alter

  • Radical: Fighting to Put Students First is one of the most important and compelling books I have read. Michelle Rhee’s account of her continuing struggles to achieve her vision for American public education is riveting. This engaging and well-written book is a must-read.”

    William Julius Wilson

  • “Michelle Rhee is a national treasure…As told in this important book, her fight against this country’s calcified education bureaucracy holds lessons for us all.”

    Geoffrey Canada

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rebecca | 2/20/2014

    " Reform is long-overdue and needed within the education system in this country. Michelle Rhee provides her personal account of methods she employed in taking steps towards education reform. I'm still not sure how I feel about her....I need to dialogue with others about her approaches. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pc | 2/13/2014

    " I was skeptical that I wouldn't like this book considering the controversial author and her even more controversial policies. While her writing is indicative of her personality and leadership style, she does make some salient, if oversimplified points. She is by no means a smooth politician, but perhaps that's what lends credence to her arguments about education reform. While I think much of her writing is blunt and oversimplified, as a former advocate, I recognize that she is a true believer and passionate about students and education reform for their sakes. Education policy is not my background, but living in DC and as a first generation Asian American, I enjoyed the background story in the book and the insight into the DC school system from her point of view. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeanette | 2/11/2014

    " Awesome book about the state of education in our country. I would have given it 5 stars if she would have left out the part about Pres. Obama and how great he is. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angela Hegstrom | 2/5/2014

    " I wish Michelle Rhee didn't have to try so hard to prove she isn't a Republican. We get it. You are a Democrat. I wish it didn't matter and we could just look at education reform as something that is needed And not a political side. Our Colorado high school has an AP Economics teacher who puts up a power point every day that he gets off the Internet , then gives the same test over and over until the kids finally memorize the answers and get an A in the class. Hardly anyone takes the AP exam. Supposedly he can't be replaced because of tenure. What?? So so sick of this. In any other profession if one was this ineffective in one's job - one would be fired. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan Parodi | 1/20/2014

    " Controversial, but se great ideas "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 caroline | 12/25/2013

    " I like her philosophy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David Rytell | 12/18/2013

    " Not radical, just common sense. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eric Brosch | 12/8/2013

    " If you are at all interested in the state of our nation's public schools, you need to read this book! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessica Schley | 12/1/2013

    " Unbelievably biased, but still interesting if you look around the edges a bit...full review TK. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kristin | 11/2/2013

    " This book got me thinking... we should never stop thinking. Also, I disagree vehemently. A great teacher is not the only nor the most important factor in a child's success in life. A supportive and nurturing home life is probably number 1. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paul M | 6/13/2013

    " Should be required reading for anyone making decisions about education in the U.S. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 A. Jones | 4/5/2013

    " This is an excellent read, if you are serious about education reform. I am inspired by her courage. I'm so sick of people who just talk about it! Michelle gives clear, concrete steps for change and she is serious about putting students first. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mom | 4/3/2013

    " Definitely a book for education reform insiders. Interesting to me only because of family involved in the movement. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Maureen | 3/19/2013

    " Lackluster writing from an extremely bright woman. Fluency of narrative is impended by the "he said" "she said" dialogue. The well written conclusion makes me wonder if ghost writers are to blame for this nonfiction reporting of our broken school systems. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristen | 3/18/2013

    " This book read like a memoir of Ms. Rhee's career. I was hoping for more discourse on the practicalities of how to attain educational reform. I get that she is quite passionate about her subject, but so are many others and no one seems to know how to accomplish this feat. "

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About the Author

Michelle Rhee is the founder and CEO of StudentsFirst, a political advocacy organization for education reform. She served as chancellor of the Washington, DC public schools from 2007 to 2010, is the founder of the New Teacher Project, and is a former Teach for America corps member. She divides her time between California—with her husband, Kevin Johnson, the mayor of Sacramento—and Nashville, Tennessee, with her daughters, Starr and Olivia.

About the Narrator

Shannon McManus, award-winning narrator, is a Los Angeles–based actor, writer, and voice artist. Her natural vocal abilities and extensive theater training have led to work in audiobook narration, commercial voice-over, and animation. Critical praise includes an Audiofile Earphones Award and a Publishers Weekly Listen Up! Award in children’s and young adult fiction.