Straight-Up Conversation: Outgoing NSNO CEO Neerav Kingsland

Regular readers are familiar with Neerav Kingsland, who's penned some of the more popular RHSU guest posts. Two years ago, I did a Straight Up conversation with Neerav when he took the reins from Sarah Usdin at New Schools for New Orleans. We've now come full circle, with Neerav recently announcing the he is stepping down at NSNO to aid other cities and districts seeking to pursue New Orleans-style education reform. It seemed an opportune time to catch up with Neerav, take stock of where things are in New Orleans, and hear his thoughts on what's ahead.


Katherine Bassett on 'Banning Hope'

Today, in a highly personal guest post, Katherine Bassett, a gentle 26-year middle school librarian, former New Jersey Teacher of the Year, and CEO of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year, offers a classic cage-busting take. She points out how the innocuous, admirable proclivity to be "hopeful" can leave teachers trapped in cages of their own design. All I have to say is, "Amen!"


There's Nothing Especially Educational About Factory-Style Management

Reform critics dismiss efforts to rethink leadership practice, recruitment, and training as an effort to import "business" thinking into K-12. Meanwhile, it's easy for reformers to sound as if they're just saying we need "better" school and system leaders. In reality, today's leaders struggle with professional norms, training, and circumstances that aren't of their making--and which offer precious little calculated to help forge great schools and systems.


Jeb Bush, the Common Core, and 2016

For those interested in schooling, a potential Jeb Bush candidacy is an altogether good thing. Keep in mind that, for more than a decade, Jeb Bush has been the Right's unquestioned champion of school reform. During his two terms as Florida's governor, he earned a reputation for his ambitious, transformative education agenda. Since leaving office in 2007, Bush has extended his legacy. He launched the influential Foundation for Excellence in Education. He has been the go-to mentor for GOP governors on education and a leading proselytizer for digital learning. Bush's knowledge of education dwarfs that of anyone else in the ...


PISA's Problem-Solving Results Are Interesting, But That's It

Yesterday, PISA released its newest report on the results of a "first-of-its-kind" assessment that sought to measure "creative problem-solving skills" of 15-year-olds. U.S. students scored above average, thought they fared worse than ten of the "44 countries and economies" (now there's an awkward phrase). Thankfully, the exercise hasn't occasioned the same spasm of hyperventilation that greeted the release of PISA's math, science, and reading results a few months back.


Did the Press Do Its Due Diligence on the Common Core?

That peculiar disconnect between its presumed import and the lack of attention is the subject of a new report by my AEI colleague Mike McShane and me. In the report, titled Flying Under the Radar: Analyzing Common Core Media Coverage, we take a deeper look at how carefully the press covered this "once-in-a-generation" phenomenon.


Do School Boards Actually Matter?

School boards have long fascinated me. I'm always intrigued by anything that everyone denounces and yet which keeps on keeping on. Critiques of school boards are plentiful; there's no need to rehash them here. But, the thing is, outside of colorful accounts of urban school boards, our understanding of what school boards do and how much they matter is actually rather limited.


Three Practical Questions About PARCC & SBAC Testing

Field testing for the Common Core-aligned PARCC and Smarter Balanced is now underway, and dozens of states are preparing to make consequential decisions based on the results come next spring. I keep getting excited e-mails about all this. Me? I'm frustrated (and a little astonished) that, four years after the creation of the testing consortia, I still can't get meaningful answers to some practical questions about how all this is going to play out. When I bring these up, I mostly get accused of nitpicking. Am I? You be the judge. After all, we're now talking about results that will ...


Common Core and the Midterms

On the right, the Common Core has been a source of bitter division for nearly two years. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have championed the adoption of these K-12 standards in reading and math, while tea-party critics have savagely denounced the whole thing as misguided and the educational equivalent of Obamacare.


Focus on the Opportunities Ed Tech Brings, Not the Hype

You can hardly open a newspaper, visit an education website, or visit a school without being bombarded by excited claims about educational technology and a raft of intimidating jargon. Newspapers and school district announcements are full of terms like "MOOCs" (massive open online courses), "blended school models," "virtual classrooms," "adaptive assessments" and much more.


The opinions expressed in Rick Hess Straight Up are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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