Note: Daniel Lautzenheiser, program manager in education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, is guest posting this week. Thanks to Rick for letting me fill in for him for a second go-round. Last time, I talked about a few of the lessons I've learned in a couple years studying education policy here at AEI. This week, we'll look at what I see as three of the most pressing K-12 issues: what we know about teacher quality, what happens when accountability works, and the business side of school reform. How's that for an easy week? By the end, no doubt, ...


Hey folks. So I'm heading off for a few weeks. I'll be teaching at UPenn and Rice, visiting with UVA's School Turnaround Specialist Program and Clark County's reformers, and generally getting out and about. I'll have a chance to read and talk to a bunch of interesting people. Hell, with any luck, I'll even learn a few things. Anyway, seemed like a good time to hand the RHSU wheel over to some stellar guest bloggers, and to see what they have to say. First up, the week of July 9, we have AEI's own Daniel Lautzenheiser. Daniel, the newly-appointed program ...


After tomorrow, I'll be taking a four-week summer blogging break--I'll introduce your impressive line-up of guest stars tomorrow. Meanwhile, things have backed up while I finished the Cage-Busting Leadership manuscript (which went off to Harvard Ed Press on Tuesday). So, today, I want to hit on a couple stories that I've really been meaning to touch upon. Charter Abuse at U.S. Department of Ed: First up, people sometimes ask why I'm a little nervous about the Gates-sponsored urban "charter compacts," pledges by charters to ensure their students are demographically representative of the community, or state efforts to apply teacher ...


Nina Rees has just been named the new president of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, the national organization of the country's charter schools. As of August 20, she'll take the reins from interim president Ursula Wright, who has impressively filled the job for nearly a year. Nina served in the Bush administration as the first Assistant Secretary for Innovation and Improvement (the job currently held by Jim Shelton), and has worked for the last several years as a senior vice president at Knowledge Universe. Given Nina's new role, and the current tumult around charter schooling, I thought it ...


Yesterday, the Supreme Court upheld the bulk of President Obama's health care reform. Amidst the drama, it was easy to overlook SCOTUS's 7-2 ruling to strike down the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion. Yet, that ruling had some important implications for education. The Court limited Uncle Sam's ability to withhold aid from states which refuse to comply with new federal mandates. This has potentially big impacts on current and future education policymaking, on questions ranging from ESEA/NCLB to the Higher Education Act. In Ed Week's "School Law" blog, Mark Walsh explained the issue succinctly: On the Medicaid issue, the ...


It's summer, I'm distracted by final editing on my Cage-Busting Leadership manuscript, and I think the heat is clouding my synapses. So, today we'll go with a couple random thoughts on recent developments. Will Health Care Ruling Upend Direct Lending? Tomorrow's eagerly awaited SCOTUS ruling on health care reform could have a big, but thus far almost totally ignored, impact on college student loans. If you'll recall, Democrats twinned health care reform with the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA), which replaced the system of federal guarantees for private loans with "direct" federal lending (it essentially nationalized student lending). ...


Big props to the Obama Department of Education for doing something that you don't see too much in Washington or in edu-circles. Last Thursday, the Department invited my colleague Andrew Kelly and me to come over and have a public, unscripted conversation about our book Carrots, Sticks, and the Bully Pulpit (Harvard Ed Press, 2012). This was a sterling example of how leaders can signal that they're interested in hearing constructive criticism and willing to take the time to hear the thinking of those who aren't necessarily on the same page. How so? One, I've been a sympathetic but emphatic ...


Given my interest in edu-philanthropy and education advocacy, I'm predictably taken by Alexander Russo's behind-the-scenes tale "The Successful Failure of ED in '08." Examining an effort that is generally recalled as a major Gates-Broad partnership that flopped, Russo argues that the whole exercise was more impactful, significant, and instructive than is widely recognized. Russo, a veteran education journalist best known for his "This Week in Education" blog, details what happened when two major edu-foundations shelled out a combined $25 million (less than the projected $60 million, but still the largest ed-advocacy effort to that point) in a push to make ...


The Institute for a Competitive Workforce (an arm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) yesterday published an expansive new state-by-state report on public higher education: Leaders and Laggards: A State-by-State Report Card on Public Postsecondary Education. The lead researcher on the effort was my talented AEI colleague Andrew Kelly, who put in six months of data gathering with the aid of crack AEI research associate Daniel Lautzenheiser and ICW's terrific Jaimie Matthews. (Full disclosure: I served as part of the project team, along with my Brookings Institution counterpart Russ Whitehurst; the Chamber's Margaret Spellings, Cheryl Oldham, and Dom Giandomenico; ...


Over the weekend, CAP's Matt Miller penned a terrific Washington Post column ("Young Americans Get the Shaft") in the same vein. It's a must-read for anyone who fancies that they're an education advocate. Miller writes: How are [Americans under 35] being swindled today?... There's no cash for such investments [in research and development] in the future because pension and health-care programs for seniors (plus a bloated Pentagon) take up so much of the budget. At the federal level, seven dollars go to programs supporting elderly consumption for every dollar invested in people under 18. Nationally (after taking account of the ...


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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