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% ...


Hidy folks. So, a few moments ago, I sent off the revised copy-edits for my forthcoming book Cage-Busting Leadership, due out in February from Harvard Ed Press. Between that and prepping my Borscht Belt shtick for the PIE-Net gala last night, I'm in need of a break. Doubly so when I get an email missive from NCEE's Marc Tucker opining that incentives "don't work" in education (Newsflash: When veteran teachers use seniority to flock to more affluent, comfortable schools--that's an incentive at work right there. When you pay teachers for credentials, and throngs get mediocre training to obtain credentials they ...


Cool new book out that I think you might want to eyeball. It's the product of a terrific collection of thinkers gathered under the auspices of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. After three years of thought and discussion, ably steered by Harvard University's Bob Schwartz and Jal Mehta, the crew has produced a book that sketches six (sometimes complementary - and sometimes not) visions of school reform. The book is The Futures of School Reform, just published by Harvard Education Press last week. (Full disclosure: I'm the third editor on the volume, and coauthored the introduction and one of ...


We're rolling into the final sprint to the election; this makes it a good time to look back at what the Obama administration has done with its time in office. As I see it, here's the good and the bad from the administration's first term when it comes to K-12. The Good: Especially through Race to the Top, the administration aggressively encouraged states to uproot anachronistic institutional barriers when it comes to things like data firewalls and charter caps. This kind of support made it possible for governors and legislators to rally the votes needed to overcome opposition from unions, ...


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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