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Controversial D.C. school reformer takes agenda national

CNN Wires Staff
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DC education reforms go national
  • Former D.C. school chancellor to launch education advocacy group Monday
  • Michelle Rhee will make announcement on the Oprah Winfrey Show, website said
  • Rhee stepped down from position as Chancellor in October

(CNN) -- Known as a reformer and a rebel, Michelle Rhee took a "revolutionary" step Monday, when she posted on her website, her intent to launch an education advocacy group, according to one educator.

"There is a significant interest within the country around what's happening in our public schools," Steve Perry, a principal in Connecticut and contributor for CNN said.

"She's gonna put together a grass roots organization of educators, and parents and individuals who just care about public education," Perry said, "she's focused on how we can fix it."

Speaking as someone who has inside information on plans for the group, Perry said "the idea behind the group is to provide another voice in the political conversation," because she understands that "what happens in the classroom is impacted by what happens in Congress."

According to, Rhee will discuss her vision for a better education system Monday afternoon on the Oprah Winfrey show.

Rhee stepped down as chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools in October, after three-and-a-half years as head of the troubled school system.

Rhee left as a new mayor prepared to take over the city, she described it as a "mutual decision" between herself and Mayor Vincent Gray.

"The best way to keep the reforms going is for this reformer to step aside," Michelle Rhee said in announcing her resignation back in October.

Her time in office included successes in the form of higher test scores for D.C. students and a win in the second round of Race to the Top, a federal education program that provides funds to states that have innovative plans in education

However, Rhee also frustrated the school system's teachers with layoffs for those who didn't meet new evaluation criteria. Both local and national teacher unions fought her changes.