President Obama's State of the Union remarks on education were thematic and clichéd, but his themes were admirable and his clichés were sensible. This made sense in a speech which proclaimed "the future is ours to win." Moreover, in a pleasant surprise, his bracing words were unencumbered by calls for new spending or new programs. And, for what it's worth, I found heart-warming and credible some of his conciliatory words and paeans to the American family and the American spirit. The President led off by talking not about schools or spending, but about families and parental responsibility. The President noted, "It's...


I've been down in Austin the past two days attending the inaugural convening of Texas's new center for Improving Productivity in Public Education (IPE). Those who disdain discussions of educational cost-effectiveness will dismiss the whole exercise as school-bashing. Okay... For those of us who live in a world where resources are finite, though, the question of how to get more bang-for-the-buck is a crucial one for the next decade, and beyond. This week's effort signals that Texas just might be positioning itself to lead on this front in the same way it led on academic accountability two decades ago. The ...


Hello, edu-land. Well, I'm back. Hope you missed be a bit, but trust no one missed me too much, as it's pleasingly clear that readers have found Dan, Roxanna, and Meira exactly as engaging and provocative as I do. As you've doubtless noted, all three of our guest bloggers are as likely to disagree with me as to reflect my own views. I hope that didn't unduly confound anyone. For what it's worth, I care infinitely more about whether someone is thoughtful and interesting than whether they agree with me. This is because--and I trust this has become obvious to ...


Note: Meira Levinson, an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, is guest-posting this week. Yesterday, I wrote about what schools could do to promote "civil dialogue"--our nation's current favorite catch-phrase, until it gets buried by the next 24-hour news cycle. I've also been thinking about another catch-phrase for a while now: namely, the claim that education is the "civil rights issue of our time." I gave a talk about this at the Harvard Graduate School of Education's Convocation ceremony last May. With Rick's unwitting indulgence (when the cat's away...), I'm going to share a condensed version ...


Note: Meira Levinson, an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, is guest-posting this week. In his speech in Tucson on January 12, following the tragic shootings at Congresswoman Gabby Giffords' "Congress on Your Corner" meet-and-greet, President Obama called for Americans to "use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy and remind ourselves of all the ways that our hopes and dreams are bound together." He cautioned that "only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to the challenges of ...


Note: Meira Levinson, an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, is guest-posting this week. I am grateful to Rick for letting me couch-surf on his blog while he vacations in truly surf-worthy climes. As a professor, I am a techno-enthusiast: I'm constantly asking my students to do in-class activities using GoogleDocs or wikis, and I've moved all my lectures on-line on the grounds that it's criminal in 2011 to force a bunch of people to show up in the same room just to hear one person monodirectionally deliver information. As a writer and opiner, however, I'm definitely ...


Note: Roxanna Elden, author of See Me After Class, is guest posting this week. Roxanna is a National Board Certified high school teacher and a member of the Teacher Leaders Network. District, county, and state education offices are fond of sharing "best practices" through professional development. The idea is to spread the word about strategies that work in some schools so other teachers can use these strategies and get the same great results. There are times when it works this way. Unfortunately, things can get complicated when the same people who pick and distribute best practices are also responsible for ...


Note: Roxanna Elden, author of See Me After Class, is guest posting this week. Roxanna is a National Board Certified high school teacher and a member of the Teacher Leaders Network. When my book came out last year, I started reading up on media training (had to get ready for all those TV interviews, right?). I soon realized that speaking in front of a class doesn't prepare you for speaking in front of a TV camera. This doesn't matter until teachers are invited to participate in "community forums" or "listening tours" on the subject of education, which tend to be ...


Note: Roxanna Elden, author of See Me After Class, is guest posting this week. Roxanna is a National Board Certified high school teacher and a member of the Teacher Leaders Network. Many thanks to Rick for inviting me to guest blog this week. I'll try to stick to the subject I know best, which is the teacher corner of the researcher/policymaker/teacher communication triangle. It often seems that edu-decision makers and teachers have trouble communicating. Maybe it's because sometimes we really do speak different languages. At the very least, there are a few phrases in the policymaker-reformer-researcher dialect whose ...


Note: Dan Goldhaber, an economist and professor at the University of Washington, is guest-posting this week. I've had a lot of opportunity lately to talk with both Race to the Top states and other states and localities that are working on incorporating student achievement measures into their teacher evaluations. Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that there is currently a major policy push to implement education reforms focused on teacher effectiveness. Programs like Race to the Top and the Teacher Incentive Fund are pushing states and localities to recognize and reward teachers in high-stakes ways, from linking ...


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

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