Educational politics are becoming less local, more closely tied to national politics, and more integrated with larger partisan debates.

Many of the policy failures of the last 15 years, both practical and political, can be attributed to a disproportionate emphasis on a top-down approach to reform.

This week, Sara Dahill-Brown reflects on how we arrived at this particular moment in order to uncover lessons that might help anticipate what education reform and policy will look like in the coming years.

Perhaps it's time to reframe our conversations about standards to give local communities more power to determine what it means for their children to be well prepared for life after high school.

It appears that choice will be the cornerstone of our new federal education agenda. For everyone who cares about the future of public schooling, the question is, how will we respond?

Now is the time for local leaders to create, test, and revise new theories of action to see if they can lead to improved outcomes for children.

Most of the big ed-improvement policies and structural reforms blowing through so much time, money, and angst are accomplishing little more than beating a blind horse.

It's far past time for us to take more critical and honest looks at the practices—and their underlying foundational ideals/philosophies—we've long accepted as 'best'.

This week, Eric Kalenze will be discussing how to productively transform classroom practices—including exploring the role of research and evidence, considering some promising, practitioner-empowering models, and suggesting some areas for skeptically guarded hope.

This week, L. Trenton Marsh will be discussing the history of U.S. school choice with a particular emphasis on urban districts, and providing an ethnographic perspective on "no-excuses" charter schools.

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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