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...


I was disappointed by the page one New York Times story on the Gates Foundation that my friend, NYT reporter Sam Dillon, penned last Sunday. The much-discussed, rather critical account on the Gates Foundation's role in K-12 schooling, is something I would've expected to like, but I found the treatment of my own contribution to reflect a broader problem with the storyline. I went back and forth on whether to address it. But given that the article, by zooming in on Gates, masked larger questions about the dynamics of edu-philanthropy, I figured it might be worth clarifying the larger point. ...


Monday, at AEI, we hosted one of our major conferences, on "Carrots, Sticks, and the Bully Pulpit: Sobering Lessons from a Half Century of Federal Efforts to Improve America's Schools" (you can watch it here). The conference featured eleven new papers by authors including Mike Smith, Checker Finn, Maris Vinovskis, Mark Schneider, Jane Hannaway, Paul Manna, and Mike Casserly (you can find copies of all of the papers here), and reactions from discussants including DC Chancellor Kaya Henderson, L.A. supe John Deasy, ED chief of staff (and former RTT chief) Joanne Weiss, former Congressman Mike Castle, RI state supe ...


I had the privilege of visiting with Rhode Island's superintendents and district business officers the other day, to discuss the fiscal crunch and how to stretch the school dollar. One of the things we touched on was the recent Phi Delta Kappan piece "Leading Through a Fiscal Nightmare." I used it to suggest how not to respond to a budget crunch, and to flag some tics common to superintendents and principals that are misguided and likely to alienate supporters. The winning course, given that families (e.g. taxpayers) across America have lost jobs and homes, and had to tighten their ...


I'm an advocate for charter schooling. Regular readers of RHSU know that this is not because I'm convinced they're the answer to the "achievement gap" or to driving up math and reading scores, but because chartering offers an opportunity to rethink how we go about teaching, learning, and schooling. In that context, I've long been concerned that our rethinking is almost entirely focused on reading and math scores and graduation rates and the result can yield a reflexive, frail conception of schooling. If we're going to reinvent schools, I'd like us to do so in a manner that respects the ...


One of the funniest developments of the past six months has been watching self-confident individuals at the Department of Education and at various advocacy outfits (especially putatively "conservative" ones) explain to newly committed small-government Republicans what Republicans are "supposed" to favor. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is trying to convince the Republicans that they're supposed to embrace a supersized, amped-up version of NCLB. The Fordham Foundation that they should embrace the Common Core, efforts to develop common curricula, and the rest. Reform-minded Dems that they're supposed to embrace federal direction on "highly effective teachers," ED's anti-bullying crusade, federally-mandated school ...


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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