Question: What do Arne Duncan, Sarah Palin, Tom Harkin, and Mike Enzi all have in common? Answer: They, along with just about every other figure in education, turn into pandering sops the moment somebody mentions special education or IDEA. They'll dwell on how the feds need to fully fund their share, the rights of these families, and the need to do a better job of identifying and addressing special needs. All fair enough points. The problem is that none of our leaders can then bring themselves to utter the simple truth: "But we have an obligation to serve all our ...


Mayor Michael Bloomberg has named former USA Today publisher and Hearst Magazines chief Cathie Black as the next chancellor of the New York City schools. The move prompted the predictable outrage among those who believe that only former teachers should lead schools or districts. Patrick Sullivan, a New York City Board of Education member, wrote to State Education Commissioner David Steiner, slamming Black for lacking teaching and administrative experience, academic credentials in education, public sector experience, and exposure to public schooling. Julie Cavanagh, a special ed. teacher in Brooklyn, said, "To not have an educator at the helm as the ...


Now that was a four-bagger. Lord knows, I've been pretty critical of the Secretary of Education on various counts (see here, here, here... you get the idea). So, let me give him his due. Yesterday, the Secretary weighed in on the pressing need to start spending school dollars smarter in one humdinger of a speech. Duncan touched on every important issue, pulled no punches, and modeled the kind of responsible tough-mindedness that we need from our leaders (full disclosure: the speech was delivered at AEI and I hosted--you can view the speech and subsequent Q&A here). Department wordsmith David ...


I've gotten a number of questions and comments regarding NCATE's big Blue Ribbon Panel report, both after my remarks at the National Press Club and in response to yesterday's post. Thought it worth taking a couple moments to expand and explain a bit, especially because teacher residencies are one of our current "everybody loves 'em" enthusiasms. First, let's be clear. I dig the idea of clinical residencies. Something like the Boston Teacher Residency (BTR), or the approach employed in Long Beach, makes all kinds of sense—for those programs, districts, and teachers. I'm all for high-quality clinical residencies when they're...


NCATE's big report "Transforming Teacher Education Through Clinical Practice" is out today, and is likely to get the predictable hosannas. It's scheduled for a morning event at the National Press Club (I'm doing a bit of discussant duty), where the Blue Ribbon Panel's call for "radically" revising teacher prep to focus on practical training and residencies will be hailed as a transformative moment. SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, a co-chair, said, "This is a seismic moment for teacher education." I'm not sold. Now, don't get me wrong. I've got enormous respect for NCATE honcho Jim Cibulka and for the co-chairs of ...


The economic picture remains bleak, but there's growing confidence that—so long as nothing untoward happens with Ireland or Portugal...or Italy...or Greece (again)...and so long as the Middle East doesn't implode—the worst is past. In edu-circles, there are hopeful murmurs that "this will all be behind us" in another year. Such notions echo Secretary Duncan's comment last August, while touting Edujobs, that he was "hopeful" things would be looking up by fall 2011. Unfortunately, such hopes are likely to be dashed. My colleague Whitney Downs and I explain why in the just-published analysis K-12 Budget Picture:...


The new Phi Delta Kappan features a five-article special section* on "unbundled schooling" (Full disclosure: I coordinated it). Featuring contributions by Paul Hill, Jim Spillane, Colorado state senator Mike Johnston, Harvard's Jal Mehta and Liz City, and UPenn's Doug Lynch, and a piece on the "declining significance of place" that I penned with Teachers College's Jeff Henig, the articles extend the effort to reimagine schooling that I've urged in The Same Thing Over and Over and Education Unbound. What is "unbundling"? It's just revisiting assumptions regarding the structure, delivery, and content of schooling with an eye to improving teaching and ...


Yesterday, I talked about a few of the key takeaways from the "making sense of the midterms" event I held here at AEI on Tuesday. I wanted to continue today with a final comment on oversight. It's now clear that House Republicans are going to launch an aggressive series of oversight and investigative hearings. Majority Leader-to-be Eric Cantor and Rep. Darrell Issa, in line to chair the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, have been talking about the forceful hearings schedule they've got in mind. And Rep. John Kline, expected to chair the House Committee on Education and Labor, ...


We hosted a pretty boisterous "making sense of the midterms" session yesterday at AEI, featuring former NEA policy chief Joel Packer, Senate uber-staffers Lindsay Hunsicker and Bethany Little, key Rep. Kline staffer Amy Jones, AEI edu-politics guru (and RHSU guest blogger) Andrew Kelly, and yours truly. The affair was chaired by my AEI colleague, and former NCES Commissioner, Mark Schneider. You can watch the whole thing or find a summary here. You can also check out Alyson Klein's usual impeccable coverage here at Ed Week's "Politics K-12" blog. Two thoughts I'll share here. First, I'm betting that there won't be ...


Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of hosting NAACP president Ben Jealous at AEI (you can watch the video or read a summary here). Ben, whip-smart and charming, is the youngest president in the NAACP's illustrious history and is tasked with trying to lead an unwieldy board and generations-old outfit into the 21st century. It's a tough job, especially when it comes to education. On the one hand, he's got aggravated parents eager for choices and frustrated with mediocre teaching. On the other hand, a key NAACP constituency is veteran educators and municipal employees who are bitterly opposed to reforming ...


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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