The relentless Robert Pondiscio of the Core Knowledge blog followed up on this morning's post regarding Department of Ed official Kevin Jennings' surprising declaration that the Department's view on Common Core standards is currently "focused on the academic standards" and is "starting" with math and language arts, but that "down the road" the effort will expand to incorporate "school climate" standards. When he contacted the Department, Pondiscio was told by a Department spokesman, "We do not believe in national standards for school climate. Kevin Jennings was taken out of context." Asked if the Department is claiming that Phi Delta Kappan ...


We've been told time and again that the current common standards push is guided by the mantra "fewer, clearer, and higher" standards. That's a good thing, since efforts to craft expansive standards tend to crumble under their own weight. Recall what happened to the national history standards panel back in the 1990s, when disputes over who and what should be in and out led the U.S. Senate to resoundingly reject its handiwork. I've previously written about why it is so tough in the U.S. to craft standards outside of math and language arts that don't devolve into culture ...


Thanks for the warm reception. I've received some terrific feedback, both in posted comments and personal e-mails. I'd like to take a moment to encourage readers to share their thoughts and experiences. After all, one of the shortcomings of being a DC think tanker is the remove from classrooms, schools, and districts. In that spirit, I want to highlight a terrific comment posted earlier today by Skeptic Teacher. First, though, I just want to be sure we're all clear on one thing. I'm actually in favor of educators and advocates caring about kids. What I'm opposed to is them telling ...


Yesterday I railed that the "it's for the kids" (IFTK) mantra turns substantive disagreements into name-calling. If I'm "for the kids" and you disagree with me on tracking, testing, or whatever, it follows that you're "against the kids." (As an aside, Knowledge Alliance honcho Jim Kohlmoos wryly asked whether it wasn't IFTK that led me into teaching. Straight up: nope. Cold-hearted guy that I am, I just enjoyed the instruction, the kids, and the content. But, it was easy enough to play along and mouth IFTK banalities just like the next guy. And that's the problem.) The IFTK lingo becomes ...


It's time to banish the phrase, "It's for the kids," (that's "IFTK" for those of you keeping score at home) from the edu-discourse, along with its insipid cousins like "it's all about kids," "just for the kids," and "we're in it for the kids." Actually, it's way past time. Two things recently reminded how much I loathe IFTK. One was a terrific little essay penned by my old mentor, Harvard University's Dick Elmore. The other, which I'll take up tomorrow, was AFT President Randi Weingarten's painful interview recently on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" show. Elmore bracingly terms "We're in it for ...


Hi there. Or, in the phrasing of Christian Slater's homicidal but quirkily charming high school misfit in 1988's Heathers, "Greetings and salutations." I'm Rick Hess and this is my new blog, "Rick Hess Straight Up." Delighted you've taken a moment to stop by. For those of you who know me, glad to have you here. For those who don't, a quick introduction may be in order. I'm the director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute (one of the DC think tanks), an executive editor at the journal Education Next, author of a few books (if you're interested, ...


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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