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 ...


Hidy all, I'm back. Want to thank Heather, Bill, and Sarah for some terrific posts. We're about to head into heavy pre-election mode, but there was one particular development while I was gone that I feel compelled to address. I've been skeptical but sympathetic on the parent trigger. But the parent trigger crowd pretty much lost me when Parent Revolution's National Communications Director David Phelps sent out a craven e-mail blast that needlessly attacked for-profit charter providers in a cheap effort to score political points. Phelps wrote, "Those who oppose Parent Trigger laws [argue] that passing and implementing a Parent ...


Note: Sarah Reckhow, assistant professor of political science at Michigan State University, is guest posting this week. In my book, Follow the Money, I compare the top-down approach to education reform in New York City to the slower and more open approach of Los Angeles. Today I will show that Los Angeles--a place that rarely gets highlighted by Boardroom Progressives--has some lessons for would-be-reformers. Although Mayor Villaraigosa attempted to gain mayoral control in 2006, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is still governed by an elected board. This makes LAUSD less attractive for funders who favor districts with mayoral or ...


Note: Sarah Reckhow, assistant professor of political science at Michigan State University, is guest posting this week. Some large urban school districts receive millions of dollars in foundation grants, while others get none. In my book, Follow the Money, I show that the districts receiving the most funding had mayoral or state control, instead of an elected school board. In 2005, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Oakland, and Boston got the most grant dollars (all districts with mayoral or state control at the time, except for LA). More recently, districts like Washington, DC and New Orleans have come under ...


Note: Sarah Reckhow, assistant professor of political science at Michigan State University, is guest posting this week. Not too long ago, education philanthropists were facing persistent criticism for their ineffectiveness. Much of this criticism was tied to the $500 million Annenberg Challenge, which provided grants to 18 project sites to support locally developed education reforms. In his book, The Foundation, Joel Fleishman calls the Annenberg Challenge "one of the major failures in foundation history." This statement oversimplifies the Challenge's record--each project site has a different story--but reform initiatives faded away in many Annenberg sites. The criticism continued even as the ...


Note: Sarah Reckhow, assistant professor of political science at Michigan State University, is guest posting this week. Thank you to Rick, for the opportunity to guest blog. An education reform "movement" is underway. There is a common understanding of the who (Michelle Rhee, Joel Klein, Wendy Kopp, Bill Gates, Eli Broad, Geoffrey Canada, Reed Hastings, Jon Schnur, Steve Barr, Joanne Weiss, Jim Shelton) and what (charter schools, merit pay, Common Core, school choice, alternative certification, mayoral control) of this movement. But how have these individuals and ideas come together? Private wealth has been an essential resource for supporting many of ...


Note: Bill Jackson, founder and CEO of GreatSchools, is guest posting this week. Follow Bill and GreatSchools on Twitter at @Bill_Jackson and @GreatSchools. As promised, let's talk about building community demand and support for high-quality education. That's key if we're going to build great schools and achieve excellent educational outcomes in our communities. Of course, people have different ideas about what "high-quality" education means. Take parents themselves. In my Tuesday post, I shared my own aspirations for my daughters' education. Other parents have different aspirations. How are we going to build community demand for excellence if we have lots ...


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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