There seems to be some confusion about the problem with our earnest Secretary of Education's chest-thumping promise to take things into his own hands if Congress doesn't fix NCLB by August. The problem is not that he's pledging to waive some of the law's goofy provisions. No one is disputing that he's empowered to do so (see, for instance, Mike Petrilli's take here). So, what is the problem? It's that Duncan has said that he plans to attach "strings" to those waivers, so that states will have to adopt his priorities in order to gain flexibility. He has clearly signaled ...


Our earnest Secretary of Education, who famously (and bizarrely) promised Congress a billion-dollar edu-bonus if it reauthorized NCLB by the administration's deadline and to the President's satisfaction, was back at it on Friday. Exhibiting the administration's patented disinterest in the niceties of the U.S. Constitution, he announced that he's getting ready to waive NCLB requirements for states if they agree, as the New York Times put it, "to embrace President Obama's education priorities, a formula the administration used last year in its signature education initiative, the Race to the Top grant competition." Ed Week's Michele McNeil observed, "Any new ...


I'm up here today at UPenn's "NEST" gathering (Networking Ed Entrepreneurs for Social Transformation). Last night, after the opening dinner, a slew of interesting folks headed out for shop talk and Game 5 of Heat-Mavs. Given my knack for annoying my friends, I found myself wondering aloud about a question that a person of discretion really shouldn't ask at a gathering of entrepreneurs: namely, who's the most overhyped edu-entrepreneur of the moment? Now, I always say that you can't much blame the hypee for being overhyped. Any smart entrepreneur is going to take advantage of opportunities to extend their work, ...


Yesterday, at AEI, I hosted a lively panel to discuss Stanford University political scientist Terry Moe's new book, Special Interest: Teachers Unions and America's Public Schools. In addition to Moe, the panel featured TFA director of research Heather Harding and Central Park East impresario (and Ed Week blogger) Deborah Meier. You can watch the 90-minute conversation here. Speaking to a full house, the three powerfully elucidated and clarified some of the fault lines in the heated debates about teacher unions. To me, it looked like two key fault lines ran through the discussion. One was the notion of "reform unionism" ...


For several years now, I've worked with my friends at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (USCC) to provide the training and support that can help state and local business leaders become more effective partners in promoting educational improvement. I've frequently given a speech to the USCC's LEADs seminar for local and state business leaders titled "Has Business Been Bold Enough?" The answer has been straightforward: Nope. Today my colleague Whitney Downs and I release a new USCC report that seeks to provide a roadmap for those business and civic leaders tired of genteel gestures, aimless initiatives, and sitting on ...


I just finished the recently-released second edition of What If All the Kids Are White? Anti-Bias Multicultural Education with Young Children and Families. It reminded me how politicized and stifling edu-world notions of diversity can be. Authors Louise Derman-Sparks and Patricia Ramsey begin by noting that participants in their workshops often exhibit "a narrow definition of diversity [while] ignoring the many kinds of differences that exist even within racially homogeneous groups." It seems obvious that a room full of white children might have different opinions, ideologies, values, experiences, interests, strengths, weaknesses, family situations, moral upbringings, religious orientations, and such. Why ...


Jack Dale has served as superintendent of schools in Fairfax County, Virginia, since 2004. While leading perhaps the nation's largest high-performing system, he's pushed to get serious about teacher leadership and the oft-watery notion of teacher "collaboration." This week, Dale has penned a piece that becomes a must-read contribution to the debates about teacher evaluation and compensation. In "Dangerous Mind Games: Are We Ready to Overhaul the Teaching Profession?" (published as an Education Outlook by my shop at AEI), Dale hits today's teacher quality debates for romanticizing the hunt for great individual teachers while shortchanging the need to use evaluation ...


Recent back-and-forth over the Common Core has focused on the federal role. Receiving less attention is the question of just how big a shift the Common Core standards represent. On that question, UPenn Ed School dean Andy Porter and a trio of grad students have made a signal contribution. In an article in the April Educational Researcher, and then in an exchange in the May issue, they report that the Common Core standards are, for better or worse, pretty dramatically different from what states have in place. Porter et al. analyze the content of the Common Core using a process ...


Today's blog is entirely a matter of assuaging edu-geek curiosity. My pal Mike Petrilli and I got into a conversation the other week that only someone trapped in edu-land could love: we started wondering which of the Education Week subject matter blogs drew the most interest. If you don't care, that's completely understandable. Skip on! Now then. In our little world, it's well known that Alyson Klein and Michele McNeil's "Politics K-12" blog is heavily read. But how about after that? How much interest is there in school districts relative to special education, school sports, or school law? Anyway, with ...


Hey, folks, so I've got an interesting opportunity to announce as we head into the Memorial Day weekend. I just had an unexpected opening emerge, creating a rare and potentially very cool opportunity for a new research assistant to join my little AEI edu-team. I'm looking for someone smart, hard-working, and responsible who's eager to explore the world of edu-policy from the front row. If you're just starting out, are intrigued by the chance to plunge into an array of K-12 and higher education issues, and want to see the world of education policy from a prestigious D.C. address (17th...


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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