Elaine's Reviews > The Bee Eater: Michelle Rhee Takes on the Nation's Worst School District

The Bee Eater by Richard Whitmire
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's review
Mar 07, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: 2011, kindle, nonfiction-and-memoirs
Read from March 02 to 07, 2011

It's evident that Whitmire is a Rhee supporter, perhaps even a fanatic. However, he states his bias and attempts to illustrate her failures as well as her successes. It was important for me to read something with that skew, as I am an avid Rhee hater. After reading this, my hatred of her has not fanned, but I do understand more her motivations behind her policies, and understand how her upbringing and background are significant factors to her aggression.

Whitmire's prose is easy to read and interesting, though sometimes he repeats himself, and I often found myself questioning what he chose to leave in and what he decided to leave out. His research is thorough, though he is much too harsh of the Washington Post and of Teachers' Unions. His attention to detail, policy and politics is laudable. However, my biggest issue with this book was that, although Whitmire explains why Rhee was so hated by Teachers' Unions and DC residents, he never once touched upon why Rhee's initiatives were destined to fail from a strictly educational policy standpoint. It really bothered me that he looked ONLY at test scores, and ONLY at the short-term effects.

Perhaps this is a much too complicated issue to explain to typical citizens not involved in education, but I also think that Whitmire's admiration of Rhee blindsided him to the fact that her chancellorship was, in the long run, much more of a disaster than most people realize.
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