I don't care about aggregate satisfaction; I want to know the satisfaction of terrific, hard-working teachers and employees who are making a difference for kids.


Yesterday, I chatted with former Indiana superintendent Tony Bennett about his new role as Florida education commissioner.


There was a timely conversation yesterday in New York Times's "Room for Debate" about whether it makes sense for standards and funding to vary by state.


As a nation, we're spending vast sums we don't have, and the edu-advocates' slogan seems to be: "Screw the kids, let's keep borrowing."


Three smart, well-written, and provocative books that are worth checking out.


A few years back, when the Gates Foundation started recruiting a slew of super smart, extraordinarily influential people away from their old jobs, I observed that Gates had become the New York Yankees (or, less charitably, the Washington Redskins) of education. Well, now, after Common Core impresario David Coleman took the helm of the College Board a few weeks back, he has quickly made it clear that, if Gates is the Yankees, he's ready to be the big-spending Boston Red Sox. In the first of what I suspect will be a series of attention-grabbing hires, he's recruited policy/advocacy rock ...


Many people say nice things about our earnest Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. It's easy to see why, even if one thinks the Obama administration has made its share of mistakes on education. He's a pleasant, even-tempered guy; has comported himself in Chicago and D.C. with class; and has gotten some significant stuff right, like giving his terrific "New Normal" speech and broadening out the reform agenda in helpful ways. But none of that explains the bizarre, mouth-breathing man-crush that New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has on him. In a NYT column last week that I found fairly ...


In a number of conversations this week over at Jeb Bush's annual edu-fest, at AEI, and around DC, I was struck by the degree to which the Common Core seems to have become Dr. Pendergast's miracle cure for everything that ails you (seemingly including heat blisters). The exchanges were eerily reminiscent of the run-up to Waiting for Superman, when smart, enthusiastic people kept telling me how everything was about to change--how suburban voters would wake up and leap on the reform bandwagon. And it reminds me more than a little of conversations I've had earlier this decade or back in ...


Just recently, Forbes magazine engaged in another bit of embarrassing hyperbole, titling a cover story on the Khan Academy, "One Man, One Computer, 10 Million Students: How Khan Academy Is Reinventing Education." Sigh... It reminded me of so much overzealous commentary on ed tech. Technology has long been offered as the miraculous balm that will transform and improve teaching and learning. Enthusiasts have said this about iPads, laptops, the Internet, desktop computers, televisions, videotapes, well . . . you get the idea. And, in most sectors, technology has indeed yielded huge savings and delivered massive increases in productivity. In education, though, it's been ...


Constructive public debate clarifies, illuminates, and, with any luck, educates. Such debate requires disputants to eschew easy banalities like "education is the new civil right" or ad hominem charges that those they disagree with want to "destroy public education." And it becomes damn near impossible when folks throw around phrases like "child-hating fascist" or accuse each other of nefarious schemes. Yet, it sometimes seems that sophomoric invective has become the norm in the education debates. That's why I was cheered recently by Parent Revolution's impassioned but thoughtful and courteous response to my critique, in which I'd slammed their desire to ...


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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