Here are five thoughts on the Chicago teachers strike. My friend Andy "Eduwonk" Rotherham had seven thoughts, but he's smarter than I am. So, RHSU readers will have to settle for five. On the bright side, you get your daily ednews that much quicker! (Oh, and if you're bored, Andy, Adrian Fenty, Diane Ravitch, and I discussed the strike on Diane Rehm's show this morning on NPR. You can listen to the segment here.) One, as Marty West and I argued several years ago in Education Next (see here), teacher strikes are a huge blow to families and kids. At ...


Last week, the New York Daily News took a careful and thoughtful evaluation of early outcomes at schools implementing New York City's School of One (an intriguing effort to rethink middle school math instruction) and twisted it into an unfair, misguided, and destructive critique. It was a textbook case of how good research can be misused and how bad reporting makes it tough to talk sensibly about efforts to rethink schooling. But for today, let's just focus on a couple of problems with what the Daily News did. For those who aren't familiar with the School of One, it's a ...


Just returned from three weeks spent traipsing around Scandinavia. Had a chance to meander Copenhagen, Bergen, Stockholm, Oslo, Helsinki, and such. Funniest discoveries: Norwegians are busy enthusiastically hosting a World Cup qualifier for scavenger hunting (they call it "orienteering"), the Danes celebrate Gay Pride weekend by astroturfing whole streets in Copenhagen and erecting beer stands at select intersections, and even an affluent guy can go broke buying cocktails in Oslo or Helsinki. While I generally travel to get some distance from the edu-world, Finland has obviously been an education fetish for the past several years. Our earnest Secretary of Education ...


Last night at the convention, the Democrats released their party platform. The plan lauded the Obama administration for its commitment to "working with states and communities so they have the flexibility and resources they need to improve elementary and secondary education in a way that works best for students." The Dems continued with references to more rigorous teacher evaluation, college- and career-ready standards, and school turnarounds, the three principles of the administration's "ESEA Flex" proposal. RHSU readers know that I think the Obama administration's approach to NCLB waivers is horrifically bad for the country. This is true even though I ...


As I wrote on Wednesday, practitioners and entrepreneurs are seeking to launch new schools, deliver high-quality instruction, and provide new services to educators. We shouldn't be wowed by jargon and good intentions, much less assume that any of these efforts will deliver--but we should ensure that smart, talented problem-solvers have the opportunity to succeed. Now, I'm no entrepreneur, but I'm occasionally asked for advice by aspiring entrepreneurs and I do have a few suggestions I sometimes share. To that end, here are some thoughts that may be useful. First, understand that success is not launching a nifty one-off, but requires ...


We throw around the phrase "innovation" a lot in education. When talking about new sector providers, new school models, or education technology, there's a tendency to use "innovation" as a lazy, all-purpose label. Of late, I feel like I've been pitched a wave of "innovations" by would-be reformers thrilled by their visions of new school models, community programs, professional development strategies, or ed tech applications. This has all served to remind me of something I noted a couple years ago in Education Unbound: not all innovations are created equal. Rather, their value depends on the degree to which they promote ...


From the "unintended consequences" file: State and district officials are well-acquainted with the manifold restrictions attached to federal funds. One of the most pervasive of these is the "supplement not supplant" requirement, which has generally been interpreted as requiring that federal dollars be spent "on top of" whatever states, districts, and schools were already going to spend when serving the kids in question. It's generally been presumed that, if states have committed to doing something as a matter of policy or statute, then it'd be a violation to use federal funds to pay for it (since they've already committed to ...


There's been a lot of talk lately about the "parent trigger" and its import for school reform. With the first successful "trigger" effort having played out in California a few weeks back, and the impending release of the Hollywood edu-drama "Won't Back Down" on the horizon, I thought I'd subject you all to a few thoughts I recently shared on this topic in The Daily: "These parents did it," Ben Austin, director of Los Angeles-based Parent Revolution, said of the parents at Desert Trails Elementary in Adelanto, Calif. "They are the first parents in America to win a parent trigger ...


Today, Phi Delta Kappan releases its annual survey of attitudes towards education. As always, the results are loaded with intriguing stuff. The long-term trends of how the public grades its schools didn't change, with the public modestly more positive about their local schools than they were in the 1990s, but no evident change in public attitudes towards the nation's schools writ large. Anyway, let's take a moment to highlight some of the more interesting findings. Though I'd encourage you to take a look for yourself; you can find the whole thing here. Obama's Down, but Dems Still Lead on Schooling: ...


A crippling problem in K-12 schooling is the sequential, enthusiastic embrace of "innovations"... that... never... quite... pan... out. One legacy is the justified skepticism that greets the over-the-top promises for each new advance and new generation of devices. The problem, though, is not with technology itself. It's with the simple-minded, reflexive, and generally inept way in which we've failed to use technology to rethink teaching and learning. In fact, I'd argue, the last ed tech innovation to be seamlessly and widely integrated into classrooms in a way that dramatically allowed teachers and students to make better use of their time ...


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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