Student Calls Out Michelle Rhee at Teacher Town Hall [VIDEO!]


There are some people who come into your life who remind you that the fight for public education is one to be won.

Hannah Nguyen is one of those people.

I “met” Hannah over the summer after she e-mailed me after she came across my blog. She shared how she went through almost the same exact experience as I did (believing in the reform movement, then realizing the threats such policies under that movement makes towards educational justice). Even more interesting, she shared how she used to be a Students for Education Reform (SFER) member…now she is my fellow National Organizer for Students United for Public Education (SUPE).

She just started her blog this year, but she is quickly making significant contributions to the movement for public education and educational justice.

She is a hero in my eyes, and I can’t even begin to express how lucky I feel to call Hannah my friend and a comrade in this struggle.

Thank you, Hannah, for your courage and drive to stand up for public education, students and teachers across the country, and the overall movement for justice in education.


Also, make sure to follow Hannah on Twitter (@hbnguyen18)!


“Hi everyone, my name is Hannah, I’m a student…just a few things though, I felt like this whole event was very much looking at these educational policy issues as a reformers versus teacher unions kind of issue, and as a student standing here and watching this battle is really disheartening, because it’s a lot deeper than that, and these are everyday realities.

And this is more than a reformers versus teachers union battle, this is a social justice issue.

And there’s a lot of things brought up–going back to poverty–reformers say that poverty isn’t destiny, and that sounds great, and I believe in that, and that’s awesome. But you know what, if you really care about students, you should say that poverty shouldn’t be.

Yes, we need to work on in-school factors, and simultaneously we need to workon out of school factors and caring about the whole child.

Back to high stakes testing. I don’t know a single student–I’m sorry, I have a lot of friends, and I have friends at other schools too–I don’t know a single student who says that they learned something from a high-stakes test, and the way that their school is structured. They should be given the freedom to learn what they want to learn, open curriculum, well-rounded, arts, music, humanities…

I used to stand by reformers, I will admit it, I did. But after seeing the facts, and the data, and everything, and my own lived experience. I cannot–I’m sorry–stand by what you preach if it has to do with high stakes accountability, this “school-choice,” which sounds great, you know, choice–who can argue against that? But, I don’t agree with the fact that charter schools, and how they push our certain students, and I’ve seen it happen.


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7 thoughts on “Student Calls Out Michelle Rhee at Teacher Town Hall [VIDEO!]

  1. Hannah was amazing at this forum where Michelle Rhee was the headliner. I thank her so much for speaking out on behalf of students and teachers. What is even more incredible is that we live in a time where Hannah’s words of support for public education are seen, by some, as “radical”. That just shows how far the “reformers” have driven the educational narrative from the truth.

  2. Hannah’s comments during that two hour “conversation” where Rhee and friends controlled all dialogue were the highlight of the evening. It was the youngest person in the audience with the most wisdom.

  3. Pingback: Michelle Rhee’s Teacher Town Hall… Through A Student’s Eyes « inspirEDucation

  4. I organize with Ms. Hannah Ngyuen in Los Angeles. We are founding Students United for Public Education at our respective universities; she at USC, me at UCLA. She is an amazing activist and I hold out hope that she will someday be the voice we hear on these issues instead of right-wing reactionary Rhee.

  5. Pingback: Resist Teach for America

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