I'd love to make a deal with school reformers. We teachers would apologize for the times we did a lousy job dealing with our students' pain. They'd apologize for condemning educators for imperfectly serving students when they should have been working with us to find funding for the social-emotional supports that our kids are crying out for.

Kicking off the next six weeks of guest bloggers is former inner-city teacher and self-described "anti-reformer," John Thompson. Today, John recounts some of the difficulties he faced as an inner-city teacher in the era of high-stakes testing.

I'm taking my every-so-often break from RHSU for the next few weeks and will be handing the reins off to a crop of stellar guest bloggers. Here's what you can look forward to.

There's no evidence that recent teacher evaluation reforms have attracted talented applicants. Instead, they seem to have dissuaded new teachers and decreased the labor supply.

Last week, Amplify CEO Larry Berger sent me probably the pithiest and most useful take I've seen on personalized learning. If this is the spirit that winds up informing our efforts on personalized learning, SEL, or CTE, it'll be a blessing and a boon.

Today, I chat with American Federation for Children President John Schilling about the school choice landscape as we head into an election year.

Today, I chat with Build Urban Prosperity founder (and one of my former students), Mark Martin, about his new venture, Build UP, and the opportunities and challenges of the apprenticeship model.

Today, I chat with EMERGE founder Rick Cruz about his efforts to help high-performing students from underserved backgrounds attend and graduate from selective colleges.

I'm struck that our natural, admirable enthusiasm and yearning for "best practices" can turn destructive. It tempts us into an endless, circular search for solutions in which we never stop long enough to ask whether the search itself is misguided.

Today, I chat with Urban Assembly CEO Kristin Kearns-Jordan about her NYC-based organization, what they do, and some of the challenges they've faced on timely questions like graduation rates and school discipline.

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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