So long as we recognize that it is no wiser to romanticize them than to demonize them, we absolutely ought to welcome for-profits into the education sector. For that reason, recent administration moves to favor nonprofits and public operators and to marginalize for-profits, in areas such as i3 and higher education, are problematic. For-profit providers rarely make an explicit case for their own existence, because they're so busy trying to curry favor with public officials and because parents are so worried about for-profits' public image. There's much discussion of choices and love of at-risk children, but little adult discussion of ...


Hey, nothing particularly funny, interesting, or incendiary today. Just an announcement, straight up, that I'm looking for a new research assistant as part of my AEI team. If you're just starting out, are intrigued by the chance to plunge into an array of K-12 and higher education issues, and want to see the world of education policy from a prestigious D.C. address (17th & M, to be exact), please shoot a note to my crack research assistant Daniel Lautzenheiser at [email protected] One of the few perks, for those who might be interested, is that Daniel, along with his ...


In Monday's Washington Post, education columnist Valerie Strauss took issue with Arizona superintendent Tom Horne for promoting legislation (focused primarily on ethnic studies classes) that "pretends to be about education but is all about politics." Strauss wrote, "If you think Arizona state government officials would have something better to do than go after an ethnic studies program they don't like, you'd be wrong." Strauss reports that Horne is so over-the-top that he thought it inappropriate for a Hispanic activist to tell Tucson high school students that "Republicans hate Latinos." Maybe it's because I'm some kind of bitter partisan, but I ...


I was out last week at the Education Writers Association conference in San Francisco. Impressive production, first-rate assemblage of veteran education writers (including Greg Toppo, Richard Colvin, Nick Anderson, Ben Wildavsky, Linda Perlstein, Scott Stephens, Dale Mezzacappa, and on and on), and an auspicious backdrop for the news that the uber-respected Lisa Walker is stepping down as executive director and passing the torch to the razor sharp Caroline Hendrie. I spent some time talking to reporters about important stories that have thus far received limited attention. In that spirit, I here offer eight story ideas that reporters or bloggers might ...


Best quote of the day yesterday was Mass Insight CEO Justin Cohen telling me his take on the Central Falls deal. "There are deals and there are good deals," he said. "This is a good deal." I think that's just right. The point of tough management is not to collect scalps but to change the tenor of the deals that get struck. And that's what happened when the Central Falls High teachers endorsed their new deal yesterday. The final accord makes it clear that not only was there no compromise, but Central Falls Superintendent Fran Gallo, who started the negotiation ...


Big news yesterday out of Rhode Island's Central Falls--the city where Superintendent Fran Gallo dusted off the dreaded "turnaround" bomb earlier this year--as the Central Falls Teachers' Union folded and acceded to Gallo's demands. In return, Gallo backed off the mass firing she'd launched. Some observers might regard Gallo's move as a disappointing reversion to powder puff school management, especially after reading the weak-kneed press release stuffed with promises that all the union ever wanted is "what is best for our students." But such concerns are misplaced. Gallo's play shows how stiff-spined management is supposed to work--by forcing unions and ...


On Tuesday, the Education Next website released Robert Pondiscio's new piece on Edutopia (full disclosure: I'm an executive editor of Ed Next). In "Edutopian Vision," he takes clear aim at George Lucas's educational foundation, Edutopia. Pondiscio, a former fifth-grade teacher who writes about education at the Core Knowledge blog, skewers their six "core concepts" and slams Edutopia for promulgating a particularly problematic version of 21st century skills. As Edutopia asserts, it has six core concepts based on evidence of "what works," but Pondiscio takes a look and finds "little proof" to back Edutopia's claims. What are the six core concepts? ...


On Tuesday, over at the National Journal blog, AFT honcho Randi Weingarten blasted those who would use Harkin's unfunded $23 billion bailout as an opportunity to overhaul problematic, industrial-era labor practices that inflate costs and consume scarce dollars. She termed the Education Trust's proposal--that federal bailout aid be made contingent on states striking down strict "last hired, first fired" policies--to be a harmful and "academic" example of "Washingtonitis." Now, there are reasonable questions to ask about the proposal (does it just apply to state statutes? Would it impact contracts?), but it's a smart idea that would lend hard-pressed districts essential ...


Big news yesterday out of the West. While at the NewSchools Venture Fund Annual Summit, got word that Mike Johnston's path-breaking teacher quality bill (SB 10-191) had made it through the Colorado House on a 36-29 vote. This, as I've said previously in the midst of the fight over Florida SB 6, is "seriously big stuff." Indeed, Pam Benigno, director of the Education Policy Center at the Independence Institute, called it a "landmark day in Colorado," saying the bill "will align evaluated teacher and principal effectiveness more closely with student academic growth and weaken tenure protections for consistently ineffective teachers." ...


Between the National Journal debate over Senator Tom Harkin's $23 billion bailout, the European Union ponying up a cool $1 trillion to stanch the bleeding in Greece, Mike Petrilli getting frisky on teacher firing, and my own dalliances in NYC teacher policy (see here or here), this is turning out to be quite the week for bailout mania. Four different thoughts spurred by all this. First, I was struck by this gem from the Washington Post story on the Greek bailout. George Perros, member of the executive committee of the Pan-Hellenic Workers Front, sounded for all the world like he ...


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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