Note: Dan Goldhaber, an economist and professor at the University of Washington, is guest-posting this week. Today I'm joined by my co-author, Roddy Theobald, and we are going to do a little self-promotion in the context of talking about teacher layoffs. Few recent issues in education have garnered more mainstream calls for reform than teacher layoffs. This is partly a matter of timing. The recent economic crisis has forced the education community to revisit an issue it was largely able to ignore for the better part of three decades. But layoffs also bring home to the public the consequences of ...


Note: Dan Goldhaber, an economist and professor at the University of Washington, is guest-posting this week. When Rick asked that I guest blog, I wasn't too sure that I could be pithy, coherent, and interesting--I'll let you judge. Either way, this is a terrific forum for making points that I've little chance to make in economics journals or through econometric analyses. I am continually struck by the fact that policy debates over a whole variety of issues focus almost entirely on the downside risks of reform, while massively ignoring the costs or downsides of business as usual. This comes up ...


I'm about to take a few weeks hiatus. I'll be departing the pulse-quickening rhythms of D.C. (just kidding, just kidding) for more tranquil, reflective environs. Anyway, the good news for you is that, while I'm gone, I'm going to hand over the RHSU keys to a few special guests. This means you get to trade my jaded prose for a chance to spend a little time with three of the most interesting education thinkers around. First up, next week you'll have the chance to check out the musings of economist extraordinaire Dan Goldhaber. Dan is the author of influential ...


Somewhat to my surprise, especially given the slow time of year, the RHSU 2010 Public Presence Rankings seem to have struck quite a chord. I mostly noticed this due to the rash of questions about how I could have omitted scholar X or Y. I'd indicated in the initial post that the list was intended as an illustrative cross-section of faculty "from various disciplines, institutions, generations, and areas of inquiry," but that didn't seem to fully satisfy. So, given my accommodating nature and interest in seeing how some of the additional folks would score out, we've supersized the rankings. Click ...


Today, RHSU unveils its first annual edu-scholar "Public Presence" rankings. The metrics, as I explained yesterday, seek to capture many of the various ways in which academics contribute to public discourse. My hope is that this exercise helps spur conversation about which university-based academics are contributing most substantially to public debates over education and ed policy, and how they do so. The scoring rubric reflects a given scholar's body of academic work—encompassing books, articles, and the degree to which these are cited—as well as their footprint on the public discourse in 2010. Click chart for larger view, with...


Tomorrow in this space, I'll be publishing the first annual RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Presence Rankings. Today, I want to take a few moments to explain what those ratings are about and how they were generated. I start from a simple premise: recognition matters. I think people tend to devote more time and energy to those activities which are acknowledged and lauded. The academy today does a passable job of recognizing good disciplinary scholarship but a pretty mediocre job of recognizing scholars with the full range of skills that enables them to really contribute to the policy debate. This may have ...


I'm going to miss Joel Klein. Love him or hate him (and I love him, especially when we disagree on something), the New York City chancellor has cut a huge swath in K-12 schooling for nearly a decade. My friend Diane Ravitch thinks he exemplifies what's wrong with 21st century schooling. Me? I think he's been a principled, relentless, and creative champion of school improvement and that he has had an enormously salutary effect on American education. Anyway, a source was kind enough to share Klein's final weekly memo to NYC's principals. It's classic Klein and makes clear that there's ...


Recently, I keynoted a state Teacher of the Year banquet and said what I tend to say at such affairs, which is that I don't romanticize teaching because--while I believe that most teachers mean well--the reality, I think, is that many or most benefit more from their role than do their students. (By the way, it's typically not advised to have me speak at those kinds of affairs; such addresses require a certain sweet, sentimental sensibility that I generally lack.) I told them that I was honored and delighted to be with them not because they were "teachers" but because ...


I'm sure my friends at the Department of Education were thrilled to read in the Raleigh-based News & Observer that North Carolina school districts are using their Race to the Top funds to advance structural reform by... purchasing iPads. Durham, N.C. is spending $3.5 million in RTT funds to "put Apple iPads in the hands of students and teachers at two low-performing schools." Durham Public Schools Superintendent Eric Becoats said, "Our kids are telling us, 'This is how we learn. This is what we want.'" Ah-ha, yes, this is the change we've been waiting for. Look, I own ...


On Friday, Andrew Kelly and I penned an Inside Higher Ed column that called out the Government Accountability Office (GAO) for the fact that its influential and scathing report on for-profit colleges turns out to be riddled with errors. Even worse, the GAO did its damndest to keep it under the radar--quietly posting an errata online on November 30, without so much as a press release to document the changes. Senator Mike Enzi expressed concerns in a December 7 letter to the GAO, and then it took enterprising journalists like the Washington Post's Nick Anderson to bring the issue to ...


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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