A surfeit of cool work has made it necessary to add another scholar to my edu-team at AEI. The new research fellow will become the fourth scholar on the AEI edu-team, joining Mark Schneider, Andrew Kelly, and yours truly. They'll also have the opportunity to work with a program and research team that, I'm firmly convinced, is the most talented, most disciplined, smartest, hardest-working, and nicest in the nation. It'll be a chance to work with a fantastic team on important questions, and to do so at a phenomenally supportive and intellectually vibrant institution. All in all, a pretty sweet ...


The Obama administration made its big NCLB "waiver" announcement yesterday, getting the predictable, fawning edu-coverage. The announcement featured President Obama bragging, "After waiting far too long for Congress to reform No Child Left Behind, my Administration is giving states the opportunity to set higher, more honest standards in exchange for more flexibility." Now, let's just stipulate that President Obama and the folks at the Department of Education are good people who want to help kids. But that doesn't excuse an exercise that struck me as hypocritical, graceless, and troubling. Six things about this latest spin of the waiver saga that ...


Man, I'm glad I never dated the Oregon School Boards Association (OSBA). Talk about an inflated sense of entitlement. If the OSBA were a girlfriend, it'd be the one who smashed your car's taillights because you forgot to pick up flowers to mark your 11-week anniversary (or the death of her goldfish). I know, I know. Been there, right? Not going back. What's up? Given that January was "School Board Recognition Month," the OSBA took the time to identify myriad ways that Oregon's educators, parents, and students could pay proper homage to their public servants. Now, some churlish souls might ...


In January, 36-year-old John White took the reins as the state superintendent of education in Louisiana. He was appointed by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on a 9-1 vote, inheriting the ambitious reform legacy of his predecessor, Paul Pastorek. White had moved to Louisiana in 2011 to take over as head of the state's pioneering Recovery School District. John's previous roles included a stint with Chancellor Joel Klein in New York City and as an executive director of Teach For America in Chicago and New Jersey. Given Louisiana's outsized profile in the school reform world (and my ...


Interesting day at AEI on Wednesday. Hosted a lively discussion on "Education 2012: What the Election Year Will Mean for Education Policy," looking at what the year ahead holds for education in Washington and nationally. I was joined by a wickedly smart crew that featured Democrats for Ed Reform chief Joe Williams; ED's Peter Cunningham; Katherine Haley, key aide to House Speaker John Boehner; influential GOP pollster and policy advisor David Winston; and Ed Week's crack political reporter Alyson Klein. The occasion for the event was the official launch of my new book (edited with my colleague Andrew Kelly), Carrots, ...


For the past year, Bob Sommers served as newly elected Ohio Governor John Kasich's education advisor and helped to spearhead the Governor's reform efforts. This put Sommers in the thick of things during a year when Ohio enacted an ambitious agenda, including legislation that curtailed collective bargaining (and that was overturned in a heated referendum last fall). Effective yesterday, Bob officially departed his post to return to the school management business. He is forming a new company, StudentmindED Schools, to help launch and scale more great schools. Especially given that Ohio's been through some dramatic developments, I thought it worth ...


Hidy all, I'm back. Lots of excitement while I was away, including the bizarre GOP primary season and the President's SOTU speech. For what it's worth, I thought the SOTU's seven-minute education section was embarrassing. The President could've said that NCLB waivers are a poor substitute for legislation, and signaled his eagerness to get a deal done. He could've said that dollars are tight and that states need to live up to their Race to the Top (RTT) promises or the feds will yank our money back. He could've echoed his Secretary of Education's observation that we live in a "new...


Note: Neerav Kingsland, chief strategy officer for New Schools for New Orleans, is guest posting this week. An Open Letter to Urban Superintendents in the United State of America Part V How to Create a Charter District - And Some Concluding Thoughts The Details: How to Develop a Charter District New Schools for New Orleans (where I work) and Public Impact will be publishing a more extensive guide on how to develop charter districts in the coming months. If you'd like an early copy, email me ([email protected]) and I'll send you one. But the highlights are listed below. ...


Note: Neerav Kingsland, chief strategy officer for New Schools for New Orleans, is guest posting this week. An Open Letter to Urban Superintendents in the United States of America Part IV The 5% Rule and The 5 Year Rule: How to Prudently Grow a High-Performing Charter District Superintendents, in recommending that you become Relinquishers and transition your school systems to charter districts, I hope to recommend great change with a sufficient amount of humility--especially given the potential pitfalls discussed yesterday. So let me introduce you to two rules that may mitigate the many risks in developing charter school districts. The ...


Note: Neerav Kingsland, chief strategy officer for New Schools for New Orleans, is guest posting this week. An Open Letter to Urban Superintendents in the United States of America Part III Why Charter Districts Can Work--and Why They Might Not Superintendents, I predict that charter districts will lead to better execution, increased attraction of talent, and more innovation. I've written about these positive attributes elsewhere, so I'll briefly summarize below. But I also want to devote a significant portion of this section to exploring why charter districts might not work. Developing charter districts poses serious risks to student learning--and these ...


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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