[06/30/09 - 11:35 AM]
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[via press release from USA]


Tom Meets DC's Chancellor of Schools, Michelle Rhee � A True American Character

Second stop, Washington DC along Highway 50. Tom Brokaw meets the amazing and inspired chancellor for the Washington DC school district who had already transformed many urban public school systems through her work with The New Teacher Project, which works to develop innovative solutions to the challenges of new teacher hiring.

This Wednesday, July 1, at 7/6c, USA Network debuts the second in the series of short monthly broadcast updates, "Dispatches From The Road," featuring Tom Brokaw's inspiring encounters with real Americans during his Highway 50 road trip for his upcoming documentary TOM BROKAW PRESENTS: AMERICAN CHARACTER ALONG HIGHWAY 50. Future reports will also be featured on NBC's television and online properties including "Today Show" and "NBC Nightly News."

In this second installment, Brokaw continues his journey to capture the changing face of a nation. His next stop along Highway 50 is to Washington DC where he meets Michelle Rhee, the chancellor of the school district. "I've always like children much more than I've liked adults," started Rhee. An unlikely choice for the job, Brokaw met Rhee in one of the schools in her district where she talks about her past � being a Korean girl from Ohio who had never run a school, much less a school district, especially one of the worst performing in the country � along with how she is transforming her district by closing down dozens of failing schools and firing hundreds of teachers; changing the way schools recruit, select and train qualified teachers in difficult-to-staff schools by fighting for six-figure salaries; and most controversially, by rewarding students with money for good behavior. Raising expectations and eyebrows, and gaining powerful allies � the kids. The students are so excited by school that they petitioned Rhee to add a 9th grade rather than move on to high school enabling them to stay an extra year. What has she learned by dealing with kids about the America Character? The children of this district have proven that they are being underestimated, and if the adults are doing their job, then the kids will rise to meet expectations. Rhee's tireless efforts to be the voice of underserved students makes her a true American Character. 147 miles down, 2,926 to go.

USA and legendary journalist Brokaw are setting out to capture the changing face of a nation in the documentary TOM BROKAW PRESENTS: AMERICAN CHARACTER ALONG HIGHWAY 50. Inspired by a series of photographs in USA's book American Character: A Photographic Journey, for which he penned the foreword, Brokaw is hitting the road for an extraordinary journey along Highway 50, a route that has been called the "backbone of America." As he traverses the 12 states along this 3000-mile transcontinental road, Brokaw is documenting the lives of the Americans he encounters, exploring the profound economic, political and cultural changes they are experiencing during these uncertain, and particularly historic, times.

AMERICAN CHARACTER ALONG HIGHWAY 50 will premiere on USA in January 2010 as a one-hour primetime documentary special timed to the first anniversary of President Obama's inauguration. This is the second of Brokaw's monthly updates on his travels in "Dispatches From The Road," short vignettes featuring the people and places he will visit on journey.

For more info on the project, please go to www.highway50.tv.

  [june 2009]  

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