As I wrote recently, the most intriguing edu-innovations are those tools that are cost-effective and able to be replicated at scale. They're not dependent on recruiting or training thousands of superhero teachers and don't claim to fix schools or classrooms. Instead, they're tools that might be able to help teachers do one important piece of their job a little bit (or a lot) better. Once upon a time, the list pretty much stopped at Wireless Generation and SchoolNet. Nowadays, the field is rife with intriguing ventures--including outfits like LearnZillion, MasteryConnect, and BetterLesson. One challenge that teachers wrestle with is how ...


Today, we're running a one-off guest blog. I don't usually do this sort of thing. Actually, I don't believe I've ever done it before. My policy on guests has always been to turn the blog over a week at a time during my occasional respite. But, what the hell... it's good to try new things. Here's the deal: Neerav Kingsland, CEO of New Schools for New Orleans and occasional RHSU guest blogger, wrote last week with a proposition. He and John Thompson (of "This Week in Education" fame) had penned a piece that explored key agreements between these sharp (and ...


The Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel reached a tentative agreement yesterday, and it wasn't a good day for Rahmbo or for would-be reformers. Today Democratic ed reformers will be cranking up their spin machines to explain why Rahm didn't really get rolled by the CTU. (And, let's be honest, Democrats account for about 90+ percent of both the education blob and the education reform community.) But, while they get to work spinning this thing, let's take a look at who came out where. Rahm Emanuel: loser- In a strike where Rahm appeared to have the upper hand, ...


Up until Sunday, word on the street was that the Chicago strike would definitely end over the weekend. If you'd asked me on Thursday or Friday, I'd have put the likelihood that kids and teachers would be back in school today at better than 95%. (This is why I try to limit my gaming.) But the union decided not to accept the latest contract deal on Sunday night, and now CTU president Karen Lewis is saying the earliest kids might get back to school is Wednesday. As this thing bleeds into its second week, the story gets thornier. First, the ...


The Chicago teachers strike has put a fine point on the split over education reform in today's Democratic Party. In Chi-town, we see a bastion of the Democratic coalition facing off against a Democratic mayor who used to be Obama's chief of staff. Well, for a terrific explanation of how things got so tense, you'd do well to check out the new book President Obama and Education Reform: The Personal and the Political, penned by my AEI colleague Mike McShane and University of Arkansas professor Robert Maranto. (You can also find a terrific commentary on the Obama record and what ...


Reports this morning suggest that CPS and the CTU may be closing in on a deal in Chicago. MSNBC reported that both sides seemed to suggest that schools may reopen for Friday (see here). If they get this resolved in the next couple of days, the fallout will be muffled by the media storm ignited by the murderous rampage in Libya. At this point, I'm betting the most likely scenario is a face-saving deal that allows both sides to claim victory, while kicking the details of teacher eval and rehiring over to some CTU-CPS bureaucratic collaboration. I'd deem that a ...


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 ...


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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