On Tuesday, the undercard featured a slew of intriguing ballot initiatives. The popular press has focused on measures that legalized pot, gay marriage, and in-state versions of the DREAM Act in various places. Meanwhile, several important education measures have received less attention. On the whole, the education initiatives yielded a split decision. For smart commentary on how to interpret the results, check out Andy Rotherham here, Mike Petrilli here, or my colleague K.C. Deane here. Teachers unions won telling victories on two major referenda in California and won big on three more in deep red Idaho. In California, by ...


In Indiana, all-world superintendent Tony Bennett lost last night--53 to 47. I'd like to find an eloquent way to say it, but I'm a simple guy: Bennett is a stud. He's also a good friend, and I'm not even going to try to pretend to be objective or dispassionate here. He's smart, passionate, and relentless. And, given that folks are likely to be clamoring for his services (including the state of Florida, which is desperately seeking a new chief), it's safe to say Bennett will be just fine. Okay. Now, let's talk about why a rock-ribbed Republican state chief lost ...


President Obama won reelection last night, after a campaign that featured a lot of talk of "Romnesia" and much less discussion of what he'd do in a second term. It gave me a strong sense of deja vu: not for 2008, but for 2004, when President Bush slogged to a similarly narrow, ugly victory by dousing Senator John Kerry in buckets of mud. As the Washington Post's Charles Lane mentioned yesterday, President Obama is "the second president in a row to win election as a uniter- and then campaign for reelection by trashing his opponent." That parallel may say a ...


What does tomorrow hold? For all those educators, scholars, and advocates who don't have a lot of time to track national politics or wonder about what the results might mean for education, let's take a quick spin around the block: First, the conventional wisdom is that President Obama has better than a 70% chance of being reelected. Most scenarios have him winning around 280 or 290 electoral votes (270 are needed for victory.) Obama would win 290 if Romney claims Indiana (a foregone conclusion) and Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia--but plucks nothing else from Obama's 2008 column. If Obama's electoral ...


As we sprint to election day, everyone "knows" that President Obama has been a stanch champion of K-12 spending. If you're an Obama fan, this shows the President's smart priorities and commitment to schooling. If you're a critic, this is just one more example of Obama's big government proclivities. The story dovetails with the narrative of a clash between the budget-cutting challenger and the big-spending president. The problem with this story? It's not true. Despite Mitt Romney's charge that "President Obama's policy response to every education challenge has been more federal spending," on-budget K-12 education expenditure has grown during Obama's ...


Amidst our polarizing political debates, there's a natural desire to regard education as a bipartisan bright spot. While it contains some truth, this happy sentiment also obscures much. Nowhere is that better illustrated than in the ways that Republicans and Democrats approach the questions of collective bargaining. (For a more extended take on all this, check out my recent National Review piece here.) The alpha and omega here are September's Chicago teacher strike and 2011's operatic clash over Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's push to narrow the scope of collective bargaining. The contests in Wisconsin and Chicago starkly illuminate the difference ...


For more than a decade, I've regarded my pal Richard Colvin as one of the nation's best education reporters. But even the best of us whiff sometimes. And Richard's most recent monthly column for the Phi Delta Kappan ("Movement even during inaction") is a whiff that also sharply illuminates the bias that colors so much education coverage today. In a piece that doubles as an enthusiastic brief for President Obama's education efforts, Colvin serves up a raft of self-serving lines from Obama appointees and "independent" progressives. He quotes Amy Wilkins of Education Trust (the proudly liberal Children's Defense Fund spin-off) ...


The NYT's Thomas Friedman is at it again. Last Sunday, with his customary humility, he opined in "Obama's Best-Kept Secrets," "While I don't know how Obamacare will come out, I'm certain that my two favorite Obama initiatives will be transformative." One of the two was Race to the Top (the other was the President's push to boost mileage standards for cars and trucks). On the one hand, Friedman cheerleading for ambitious federal programs is no surprise. After all, he's the guy who has damned the frustrating, pluralistic, federal design of the American system, saying on Meet the Press in 2010, "It's...


Just spent the last couple days down in Memphis, at NACSA's annual conference (National Association of Charter School Authorizers for those happy souls who don't spend their days memorizing edu-acronyms). In addition to being there as a board member, I had the honor of doing a luncheon plenary that touched on some of the ideas in my forthcoming book Cage-Busting Leadership (it drops Feb. 12th, for those of you breathlessly counting the days) and how they might apply to charter authorizers. For what it's worth, thought I'd offer a couple takeaways that struck me in conversation afterwards. There are at ...


What would a Mitt Romney presidency look like when it comes to K-12? Now that it's more of a horse race than it was before I took my October hiatus, this is a more interesting question. I walk through the likely implications of a Romney win in the most recent Phi Delta Kappan (see here). But, for those in a hurry, here are a couple highlights: Big Picture: The safe bet is that a President Romney would keep much of the same substantive agenda as Obama, but would do so with a lighter touch, less spending, and more emphasis on ...


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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