Tomorrow in this space, I'll be publishing the 2012 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Presence Rankings. Today, just like last year, I want to take a few moments to explain what those ratings are about and how they were generated. The exercise starts from two simple premises: 1] ideas matter and 2] people tend to devote more time and energy to those activities which are acknowledged and lauded. The academy today does a passable job of recognizing good disciplinary scholarship but a pretty mediocre job of recognizing scholars who effectively help to move ideas from the pages of barely-read journals into the ...


Just to give readers a head's up, next week we'll be running the 2012 RHSU Edu-Scholar Rankings. The exercise is intended to counter what I think is the academy's unfortunate tendency to discount scholarly contributions that impact public understanding and policy debate. The Edu-Scholar Rankings are intended to recognize university-based scholars, of any discipline or bent, for their contributions to the public square. Impact is understood as encompassing both the corpus of one's scholarly work (how many widely-cited works a scholar has penned, the number of books, etc.) and one's centrality to public discussion in 2011 (appearances in newspaper articles, ...


It's the end of the year, and I always get a bit reflective. As a blogger, I've long been intrigued by the "comments." I'm frequently startled by the inchoate fury of so many postings. At an intellectual level I understand this is how many engage online--and it's of a piece with talk radio and so much of cable news--but I find it a little bizarre, and not especially constructive. That said, it poses a bit of a teaching opportunity. On that count, my indefatigable assistant Becky King put on her rubber gloves to grab a few of this year's more ...


Here's my best guess at some of the key edu-headlines we'll be reading in 2012. 10] "GOP presidential nominee abandons primary season attacks on Department of Education; talks up education reform in push for moderates." 9] "Aggressive efforts to tackle bullying starting to raise questions and fuel backlash. After a number of elementary-age boys are disciplined or even suspended for 'harassment' that included routine tussling and name-calling, many parents and school board members are asking whether the anti-bullying effort has gone too far." 8] "Relentless attacks by media, Obama administration, and Senator Harkin on for-profit operators in K-12 and higher ...


Note: This week, I'm giving RHSU readers a look at my essay from Educational Leadership entitled "The New Stupid." For days one and two, see here and here. If you see warning signs of the new stupid, what should you do? There are at least four keys to avoiding the new stupid. First, educators should be wary of allowing data or research to substitute for good judgment. When presented with persuasive findings or promising new programs, it is still vital to ask the simple questions: What are the presumed benefits of adopting this program or reform? What are the costs? ...


Note: This week, I'm giving RHSU readers a look at my essay from Educational Leadership entitled "The New Stupid." For day one, see here. The second element of the new stupid is Translating Research Simplistically. For two decades, advocates of class-size reduction have referenced the findings from the Student Teacher Achievement Ratio (STAR) project, a class-size experiment conducted in Tennessee in the late 1980s. Researchers found significant achievement gains for students in small kindergarten classes and additional gains in 1st grade, especially for black students. The results seemed to validate a crowd-pleasing reform and were famously embraced in California, where ...


A little while back, I published a piece titled "The New Stupid" in Educational Leadership. It's a piece that's perhaps more relevant today than when I wrote it, and one that folks continue to ask about. Anyway, given that things have slowed down for the pre-holiday week, I thought I'd share it over the next few days. So, here we go: A decade ago, it was disconcertingly easy to find education leaders who dismissed student achievement data and systematic research as having only limited utility when it came to improving schools or school systems. Today, we have come full circle. ...


Hey, it's a hectic Friday, so just three quick things that I want to touch upon today. First, Fordham yesterday released Mark Schneider's new paper "The Accountability Plateau." Mark, former NCES Commissioner (and a visiting scholar at AEI), makes a compelling argument that the accountability efforts of the 1990s and early 2000s initially had a significant impact on student achievement but have now hit a wall. It's a good analysis that makes sense. And I think Mark's interpretation makes a lot of sense when we keep in mind that the K-12 response to accountability, along with more productive measures, has ...


When it comes to the question of for-profits and American education, there's often more hysteria than analysis. Just this weekend, the New York Times published an extensive, shall we say, selectively sourced attack of for-profit venture K12 Inc. piling atop a similar piece a few weeks back by the Washington Post and other "the profiteers are coming!" exercises in The Nation and elsewhere. To engage in a bit of poetic license, when they look at for-profits, these journalists (and the experts that they quote) see Darth Vader. Sure, there are valid and sensible concerns about the role of for-profits in ...


I'm skeptical when folks who've seemed to drag their heels offer up nifty new proposals and innovations. So, I don't want to sound all "gee, whiz" here. At the same time, it's important that skepticism not morph into reflexive dismissal. With that in mind, we've seen a couple noteworthy developments from the AFT and NEA in recent days. First, in Minnesota, the Minnesota Guild of Public Charter Schools, a non-profit launched by the AFT local, the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, has been approved to operate as a charter school authorizer. Supported by the AFT's Innovation Fund, the venture will, in ...


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.

Follow This Blog

Advertisement

Most Viewed on Education Week

Categories

Archives

Recent Comments