The public school system in Washington, D.C. is notorious for being among the lowest performing educational institutions in America. However, recent reforms led by controversial D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee have helped to turn things around.
Now that she's leaving, some question whether D.C. schools will continue to improve.
For three years, Rhee has been the public face of education in the District of Columbia, serving as the top administrator and education crusader in the D.C. public schools. By the end of the month, that will be no more. Rhee is stepping down.
"This was not a decision that we made lightly, but it is one that I believe is absolutely essential," Rhee said.
The decision seemed inevitable after she campaigned for her boss, Mayor Adrian Fenty, who lost the Democratic Primary to City Council Chairman Vince Gray -- considered to be a sure winner in the November election.
"She and I together both believe this is the right decision for our students at this time," Gray said.
In an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America," the outgoing chancellor said the decision wasn't about history or hard feelings, but about the students.
"We decided to put all of the politics aside and try to focus on what was right for the kids," Rhee said.
Rhee said they focused on trying to minimize causing any disruption with students, to keep moving forward with reforms, and to unite the community behind the movement.
But that is where she had problems.
Though Rhee won high praise for improving the district's test scores, her decisions and heavy-handed style earned her low marks with some in community -- particularly the teachers union.
Shortly after taking the reigns, Rhee closed dozens of schools and fired hundreds of teachers dubbed "ineffective."
She said all of her decisions were guided by doing what's in the best interest for the district's 46,000 students.
"I have put my blood sweat and tears into the children of the district of Columbia for the last three and a half years and I have completely enjoyed every minute of it," she said.
It's unclear what Rhee will do or where she will go, but what is clear is that her impact will be felt in the future. Her entire management team remains in place, at least, until her replacement is announced. Also, just last month, the District of Columbia was named among 12 states to win federal funding to continue their education reforms.