So, if you're ready to get your geek on, have I got a treat for you. Harvard Education Press has just published Customized Schooling: Beyond Whole-School Reform. The book, edited by Bruno Manno and yours truly, is an attempt to pull together a bunch of sharp thinking on how we get past just trying to "fix" schools--or to merely give families a choice between school A and school B--and how we start to think about using new tools, technologies, and talent to transform the quality of teaching and learning. School turnarounds are a swell idea, and will occasionally work. And ...


Gosh, so House Education chair John Kline has responded to the Obama-Duncan insistence that we are going to reauthorize NCLB this summer by telling them to back off. Geez, who could have seen this coming? (Oh, yeah, it was me... here, and here, and here, and here, and here.) As I've said before, there's been a bizarre Obama-centrism when describing "bipartisan" support for reauthorization. Somehow, supposedly neutral, incisive reporters have taken to reporting Duncan's assertions that there's bipartisan backing for the administration's "blueprint" as evidence that such backing indeed exists. They've taken his claims that the bill represents a common ...


Imagine my glee upon learning about the American Education Research Association's Critical Educators for Social Justice (CESJ) graduate student forum on "Responding to the Moment." Scheduled for April 8, just before the annual AERA conference, the forum is for educators eager to "advocate for and benefit those hurt by devastating policies and natural disasters as well as to interrupt the 'common sense' narratives around these issues found in the mainstream media." What is CESJ, you ask? Well, its members are "committed to teach, promote, and implement the principles of critical pedagogy in order to establish an educational movement grounded in ...


On Friday, along with my friends at the Center for American Progress, I co-hosted a pretty neat conference on "Tightening Up Title I." Held over at CAP, the papers waded into the regulatory and operational questions of NCLB (aka ESEA) that too often get overlooked in the rush to overhaul accountability or dream up new teacher quality or school improvement schemes. A few of the papers broached topics that never get seriously addressed. In perhaps my favorite piece, attorney/consultants Melissa Junge and Sheara Krvaric penned an eye-opening account of how federal language around "supplement not supplant" frequently stifles smart ...


Question: What do KIPP Academy cofounders Mike Feinberg and David Levin, Tennessee state chief Kevin Huffman, StudentsFirst founder Michelle Rhee, D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson, and hard-charging Colorado state Sen. Mike Johnston have in common? Answer: They're all alumni of Teach For America (TFA). Like these folks or hate 'em, it's clear that TFA has had a profound impact on the face of American education. In the recent Ed Next feature "Creating a Corps of Change Agents," Harvard's Monica Higgins, Wendy Robinson, and Jennie Weiner, and yours truly explored the degree to which TFA has played an outsized role ...


After writing more about Wisconsin the past week or two than is probably healthy, I thought it'd be nice to address something a little lighter. Fortunately, the pranksters at the Teachers College Record offer sweet, sweet succor in the form of what seems to be an early April Fool's joke--something akin to their own version of the Fordham Institute's annual "Gladfly." You see, the new TCR online features a "special section" on, yep, you guessed it, "Social Aspects of Self-Regulated Learning: Where Social and Self Meet in the Strategic Regulation of Learning." I can picture the TCR editors giggling into ...


It's being played as big news that one consequence of Wisconsin governor Scott Walker's efforts to dial back public employee collective bargaining is that it would, gasp, weaken his political opponents. For reasons that continue to elude, Walker and his defenders won't admit this--so there's an awkward kabuki dance unfolding in which critics ignore his plan's substantive merits while feigning shock that he'd try to weaken his political opposition, and Walker and his defenders profess naïveté about the practical impact of his proposal. As the New York Times editorial page opined the other day, Walker has used Wisconsin's fiscal ...


In a free nation, people are going to disagree about ideas, values, policies, and the rest. We honor the legacy of freedom by embracing that diversity of views. For what it's worth, when engaging in public debate, I do my best to steer clear of ad hominem invective, guilt by association, or the assignation of villainous motives. Why? Because it's more often a way to dodge the important questions than to either persuade or inform. Such tactics are nothing more than lazy efforts to delegitimize one's opponents and avoid having to weigh their views. In short, they're just more cheap ...


Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that most political disputes come down to a clash between the party of hope and the party of memory. Yesterday's New York Times brought that to mind, as I read their take on New York's fiscal crisis. The NYT editorial page bellowed, "At a time when public school students are being forced into ever more crowded classrooms, and poor families will lose state medical benefits, New York State is paying 10 times more for state employees' pensions than it did just a decade ago." The NYT explained, "The huge increase is largely because of Albany's outsized ...


As Michele McNeil reported, a few of us wandered over to 400 Maryland yesterday morning for croissants and chit-chat with the Secretary of Education. Michele, being the stellar reporter she is, gives a fair rundown of the news of the day. If you're interested in a full account, go read her post. Below, I thought I'd just briefly offer a few Duncan comments that might be of particular interest to RHSU readers. (And, I've said it before but I'll say it again. While I have real disagreements with some of the Department's efforts and concerns about some of what Duncan ...


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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