Note: Sarah Reckhow, assistant professor of political science at Michigan State University, is guest posting this week. Thank you to Rick, for the opportunity to guest blog. An education reform "movement" is underway. There is a common understanding of the who (Michelle Rhee, Joel Klein, Wendy Kopp, Bill Gates, Eli Broad, Geoffrey Canada, Reed Hastings, Jon Schnur, Steve Barr, Joanne Weiss, Jim Shelton) and what (charter schools, merit pay, Common Core, school choice, alternative certification, mayoral control) of this movement. But how have these individuals and ideas come together? Private wealth has been an essential resource for supporting many of ...


Note: Bill Jackson, founder and CEO of GreatSchools, is guest posting this week. Follow Bill and GreatSchools on Twitter at @Bill_Jackson and @GreatSchools. As promised, let's talk about building community demand and support for high-quality education. That's key if we're going to build great schools and achieve excellent educational outcomes in our communities. Of course, people have different ideas about what "high-quality" education means. Take parents themselves. In my Tuesday post, I shared my own aspirations for my daughters' education. Other parents have different aspirations. How are we going to build community demand for excellence if we have lots ...


Note: Bill Jackson, founder and CEO of GreatSchools, is guest posting this week. Follow Bill and GreatSchools on Twitter at @Bill_Jackson and @GreatSchools. Yesterday, I came down firmly on the side of investing parents and local communities with lots of responsibility and authority for their children's education. But the challenge of this approach is clear: What if parents are too broke, busy, or stressed to pay close attention to their children's education? What if they didn't get a strong education themselves and lack the knowledge and skills that would enable them to be effectively involved? What if local school ...


Note: Bill Jackson, founder and CEO of GreatSchools, is guest posting this week. Follow Bill and GreatSchools on Twitter at @Bill_Jackson and @GreatSchools. I'd like to shift gears a bit today and talk about accountability. If you read my Tuesday post, you know that I have certain ambitions for my daughters. Many of my goals depend on actions I take as well as actions that teachers and schools take. Reviewing my list of 16, I see at least 11 that are going to require a lot from me: • Be passionate about some activities or commitments • Love to read; read ...


Note: Bill Jackson, founder and CEO of GreatSchools, is guest posting this week. Follow Bill and GreatSchools on Twitter at @Bill_Jackson and @GreatSchools. My dream school information system would provide insight into whether a particular school would help my daughters realize my aspirations for them (see Tuesday's post) and as well as shed light on many of the aspects of schools I look for on a tour (see Wednesday's post). This month, GreatSchools is launching some elements of this vision with pilots in Indianapolis, Milwaukee and Washington, DC. But I'm going to challenge myself to think beyond our current ...


Note: Bill Jackson, founder and CEO of GreatSchools, is guest posting this week. Tomorrow, we'll talk about my dream school information system - what I'd really like to see out there to power informed school choice. Before we do that, though, I'd like to share how I would go about assessing the quality of an elementary school if I was choosing one for my daughters today. This is all in the spirit of keepin' it real. I'd love to hear your ideas. As the CEO of GreatSchools, I have to start with the data, of course. At GreatSchools.org, I ...


Note: Bill Jackson, founder and CEO of GreatSchools, is guest posting this week. Good morning, everyone. Thank you, Rick, for the opportunity to chat it up with your peeps. And chat it up we will. About parental aspirations for their children, evaluating schools, parental expectations for schools, and grand implications for education reform. Let's start with parental aspirations for their children. And to make this interesting, why don't you, the reader, do some of the work. This exercise is going to take you a few minutes, so get some coffee now. Here's what I'd like you to do: take some ...


Note: Heather Zavadsky, education consultant and author of School Turnarounds: The Essential Role of Districts, is guest-posting this week. This week I've been writing about the crucial role of districts in turnaround or school improvement. Turnaround is a tricky business that has its skeptics, particularly when talking about closing and/or restarting schools. Put well by one principal, "For years you beg parents and community members to come in, and no one comes. But at first mention of closing a school, they are practically knocking down your door." District and school leaders know how important schools are to their neighborhoods ...


Note: Heather Zavadsky, education consultant and author of School Turnarounds: The Essential Role of Districts, is guest-posting this week. In my last blog I asserted that dramatic school improvement, or turnaround, should leverage districts rather than individual schools to coordinate and align the necessary reform elements to scale and sustain performance improvement; particularly in struggling schools. I also acknowledged the tricky balance districts face when attempting to provide flexibility to schools while maintaining instructional coherence throughout the K-12 continuum. Real-world examples are useful for glimpsing at different improvement approaches that yielded positive achievement results, and seeing how districts strike the ...


Note: Heather Zavadsky, education consultant and author of School Turnarounds: The Essential Role of Districts, is guest-posting this week. Hello Straight Up Readers--great to be here. Before I launch into my topic, I'd like to define a couple points. Similar to Justin Cohen in his RHSU guest blog in April, when I say "turnaround," I am referring to the process of sparking dramatic improvement in chronically underperforming schools and districts. At times I might be referring to one of the four prescribed models from the US Department of Education's School Improvement Grant program (SIG), where, for instance, at least 50% ...


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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