SACRAMENTO -- In the course of reporting a story about Michelle Rhee, the controversial former District of Columbia chancellor seeking to take her brand of education reform to statehouses across the country, the Los Angeles Times asked her spokeswoman a simple question: Do Rhee’s children attend public or private school?
The response from Erin Shaw seemed clear.
“She is a public school parent,” Shaw told the paper in an email.
So The Times reported that Rhee's two children attend public school. After the story ran in Wednesday’s newspaper, one of Rhee’s biggest critics, the American Federation of Teachers, challenged that statement, saying that one of her daughters attends a private school in Tennessee, where her ex-husband lives.
The Times asked Rhee's spokeswoman again about what type of school Rhee's children attend.
Shaw declined to answer the question directly. Instead, after multiple emails and phone calls from Times reporters, she issued a statement apologizing for “misleading” the newspaper with her initial response.
“It was not our intention to be misleading. It is our policy not to discuss where Michelle's children attend school out of respect for their privacy,” the statement says. “While it is true Michelle is a public school parent, we understand how that statement was misleading, and we apologize to the Los Angeles Times.”