Note: Zak Champagne, an award-winning teacher in Jacksonville, Florida, is guest-posting this week. I have been a classroom teacher for thirteen years in Jacksonville, Florida. I have taught hundreds of students, received numerous awards for my teaching, completed an advanced degree, and have only just begun to master the craft of teaching. As a result of my successes I have been offered countless "opportunities to grow" in this field. Those are the facts. However, it must be clarified that these "opportunities to grow" have all included me leaving the classroom. Whether it is as a curriculum specialist, school or district ...


Hi folks. So, I'm about to take a break from the hustle and bustle of RHSU for the better part of a month. I'm going to be doing some teaching at UPenn and Rice, cranking it up on my "Cage-Busting Leadership" book (more on that in the fall), and taking a little downtime. It being summer and all, I thought it'd be a terrific time to turn RHSU over to some fresh thinkers that tend to be preoccupied during the school year. Especially after the rousing reception for Roxanna Elden last winter, I've heard from readers that there's plenty of ...


Mike Feinberg is co-founder of the KIPP Academies and superintendent of KIPP Houston, which serves more than 6,000 students in 18 schools. In 2007, KIPP Houston announced its "KIPP Turbo" plan, under which it aims to grow into a Pre-K to 12 network of 42 schools. The goal is to enroll 10 percent of the students in Houston, making KIPP Houston by far the largest network of charter schools in one city. As part of this effort, Mike recently announced that he'd be shifting roles to focus on fundraising, advocacy, and external relations, while handing the superintendency of KIPP ...


I'm heading out to Denver tomorrow for the big Education Commission of the States conference, including a raft of smart policymakers, scholars, and educational leaders. It got me thinking about the frustration I've so often heard from educational and civic leaders who are having trouble connecting with policymakers, and from legislators and legislative staff who get tired of being approached in inept or unproductive ways. More than once, I've had legislative staff tell me they feel like Tom Cruise pleading with Cuba Gooding Jr. in Jerry Maguire, when he beseeches, "Help me help you." Anyway, it just so happens that ...


Hey, starting next week, I'm about to take a month's hiatus from the rigors of blogging. Okay, okay, so much for "rigors"--shooting my mouth off is a whole lot easier than when I've taught, landscaped, or staffed the early a.m. shift at a doughnut shop. Regardless, on Friday, I'll introduce your all-star lineup of guest bloggers. Today, though, I wanted to give you a quick head's up on some terrific iPod beach fodder to fill some of those summer hours that you won't spend slogging through my stilted prose. Here's the deal: my pal, and Fordham Gadfly show ...


In recent weeks, some observers have repeatedly indicated surprise at big developments in edu-politics that should not have been surprising. Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott withdrew from CCSSO. Sec. Duncan's chest-thumping talk on conditional NCLB waivers provoked backlash in the commentariat and a smackdown by House Education Chair John Kline. Idaho told ED it's going to ignore elements of NCLB, basically asking, "What are you going to do about it, huh?" Despite Duncan's gambits and threats, even the most reality-resistant now acknowledge that NCLB/ESEA reauth is going nowhere until 2013. GOP front-runner Mitt Romney, at a New Hampshire town ...


In the past two decades, the cost of a college education has risen steadily. Tuition and fees have increased at twice the rate of inflation, outstripping growth of family incomes or the rate of increase of just about every other good or service on the market. Policymakers and college leaders looking to rein in costs can be flummoxed by the paucity of promising models. Now, Oklahoma State University business school professor Vance Fried has offered up an intriguing take in his new white paper, "Opportunities for Efficiency and Innovation: A Primer on How to Cut College Costs" (full disclosure, the ...


As I wrote Monday, I dug the new film Bad Teacher. This kind of black comedy (think of Billy Bob Thornton's Bad Santa) scrapes away familiar sentiment and can permit funny, unnerving--and frequently revealing--glimpses of human nature. Take the movie's treatment of merit pay. Cameron Diaz's "bad teacher," having been dumped by her fiancée, decides she needs plastic surgery if she's to land a wealthy husband. Lacking the $10k she needs, she pockets cash from an R-rated middle school car wash and bribes from parents at parent-teacher night. When she learns that there's a $5,700 cash bonus for the ...


Andre Agassi, the former tennis champ and high school dropout, and Canyon Capital Realty Advisors, recently announced the creation of a real estate fund that will spend $500 million to capitalize on and promote the movement for U.S. charter schools. The Canyon-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund plans to develop more than 75 urban campuses with space for about 40,000 students over three to four years, according to a statement from Canyon Capital and Agassi Ventures LLC. The partners already have drawn investments from Citigroup, Intel, and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. I had the opportunity to meet Agassi ...


On Friday, I finally walked out of an edu-movie without having to scrape off the sanctimony and treacle. Whether heartrending dramas or documentaries, edu-cinema has long gone for the mawkish affectations of ridiculously heroic educators reaching ridiculously noble kids. After decades of watching (and digging) these movies, it was sheer joy to watch the just-released Bad Teacher, starring Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Justin Timberlake, and Molly Shannon. Bad Teacher is rude, profane, frequently mean-spirited, and shockingly cavalier about things we're supposed to speak of in hushed tones. I took my AEI team to see it on Friday, opening day, and ...


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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