Michelle Rhee

Michelle Rhee, center, former Chancellor, Washington DC Public Schools, answers questions after delivering a speech. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times / January 31, 2013)

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.

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