Word has it that the Democrats on the Senate HELP Committee will be bringing forth their proposal for NCLB/ESEA reauthorization this week. Thus we'll return to a favorite Beltway edu-pastime: discussing whether reauthorization will pass, whether there will be a bipartisan bill, and what might change. The bottom line: There will be no reauthorization in 2013 or 2014. There will be no bipartisan Senate bill. Expect the majority Democratic bill to look a lot like the 2011 Harkin-Enzi bill that made it out of committee, and Republicans to sketch a far more modest federal role. The longer version: There ...


On Tuesday, CCSSO waded into the Common Core "hiatus" discussion, issuing a thoughtful paper which argued that states should proceed with sensible flexibility and called on Secretary Duncan to exercise restraint when interpreting promises coerced by ED as a condition for ESEA waivers. The CCSSO rejected calls for an accountability "hiatus" but pointed to a need for states to have discretion in deciding when to start using tests for high-stakes teacher evaluation, how to make accountability determinations during the transition to Common Core, and whether to use their old tests or the new assessments in 2013-14. This was all a ...


I've been friendly with Diane Ravitch for a long time. Encountering her historical work 20 years ago, I was struck by her hard-hitting, erudite analyses. She invited me to deliver my first featured talk (at Brookings, on my then-forthcoming Spinning Wheels book). When I was leaving UVA's Curry School of Education, she was one of the handful of mentors I turned to for guidance. A few years ago now, I hosted the first public event for her Death and Life book. All of which left me enormously disappointed as I read two blog posts that Ravitch penned over the weekend. ...


In the past month or two, serious voices have called for a "hiatus" in high-stakes testing as new assessments are phased in over the next few years. The most notable champions of a hiatus have been Montgomery County superintendent Josh Starr and AFT president Randi Weingarten. They've found sympathy in some perhaps surprising quarters, such as with Education Trust honcho Kati Haycock. The "hiatus" idea has been met with the withering critiques you'd expect from proponents of gap-closing accountability. On Tuesday, Chiefs for Change released a strongly worded letter flatly rejecting the idea. They declared, "Holding our schools accountable for ...


As I noted on Friday, I spent the latter part of last week out in Clark County, Nevada, talking with local leaders and the local Public Education Foundation. The Clark County School District, which encompasses Las Vegas, is the nation's fifth-largest school system (serving 310,000 kids). After two years in office, superintendent Dwight Jones unexpectedly stepped down two months ago. Nevada chief Jim Guthrie stepped down a short time later, after only about a year in office. This has all led to considerable, and understandable, consternation. Given the recent spate of superintendent openings in big school systems, e.g. ...


I spent yesterday out in Las Vegas at the Southern Nevada Leadership Summit, where the Clark County Public Education Foundation was hosting school, system, and business leaders. (Full disclosure: I'm a senior fellow for the Foundation.) One of the speakers was Newark superintendent Cami Anderson, who drew a warm reception to her thoughts on the need to shift thinking "from what's probable to what's possible." I thought Anderson had a number of terrific things to say. And, given that it feels to me like she doesn't say this stuff all that much in public forums, I thought a few worth ...


Second terms are notoriously brutal. Clinton and Lewinsky. Reagan and Iran-Contra. Nixon and Watergate. Bush 43 and New Orleans, the Iraqi insurgency, financial meltdown, and everything else. It didn't take long for Obama to join the club. His Attorney General has been nailed for wiretapping the Associated Press, bringing condemnation from even Obama-friendly precincts like CBS and the New York Times. We've now learned that the IRS targeted conservative groups on his watch, and lied about it. Health and Human Services Sec. Kathleen Sebelius has been shaking down businesses and charities, asking them to "voluntarily" contribute to help implement Obamacare. ...


I finally joined Twitter the other day. (I'm at "rickhess99," if you care.) I haven't yet actually penned any tweets, and don't know that I will. But I thought I'd practice my tweeting a bit (just in case), by taking a crack at boiling down last week's familiar back-and-forth debate over "is it schools, or is it poverty?" Fordham's Mike Petrilli kicked things off last Tuesday with a letter to Debbie Meier over at "Bridging Differences." That yielded a flurry of back-and-forths in a "reply all" public email exchange. Unsure how much of this was posted anywhere, I thought I'd ...


It's been a turbulent few months for the Common Core, raising real questions about its future. Opposition on the right has stretched well beyond the fringe has now been voiced by the Republican National Committee, with several Republican U.S. Senators speaking out in opposition and legislation to withdraw from the Common Core proposed in seven state legislatures. Meanwhile, in a big blow from the left, Randi Weingarten used a high-profile speech to weaken previous AFT support for the Core and to raise doubts about how the standards are being implemented and used. Amidst all this, there are two questions ...


I recently had a fascinating exchange with a smart journalist. He wrote, "I'm looking into the major donors from across the country who tried to influence school board races. Critics have questioned the[ir] motives...To what extent are they sincere in advancing reforms they believe in?" I was struck by how little the question surprised me. After all, supporters of charter schooling, test-based accountability, mayoral control, overhauling teacher tenure and pay, and the like are routinely denounced as "corporatists" or worse. Given that they haven't yet definitively disproved such charges, they must be true. But why are these foundations ...


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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