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March 12, 2014

In Which I Debate Federal Ed Policy With a UFO

I awoke with a start last night. Hovering above the floor, inches from the bed, was a figure. He wore a nice suit and avidly thumbed his iPhone, before glancing up at me.

October 16, 2013

Uncle Sam Shouldn't Try to Manage School Staffing

The Obama administration has used its Race to the Top program and unprecedented, far-reaching conditions for states seeking "waivers" from the No Child Left Behind Act's most destructive requirements as excuses to micromanage what states are doing on teacher evaluation, school turnarounds, and much else. In a new, particularly troubling twist, the administration has announced that states will henceforth have to ensure that "effective" teachers are distributed in a manner Uncle Sam deems equitable.

September 23, 2013

Arne the Octopus

Indeed, look closely at what Duncan's been up to, and it's only too easy to see Duncan's Department of Education as a sprawling octopus, with its tentacles entwined in education policy down to the individual district level.

January 28, 2013

OCR's Bizarre Disabilities & Sports Ruling: When Good Intentions Run Amok

ED's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) went way the hell over the rainbow in a well-meaning but bizarre effort to create vast new vistas of obligation and (inevitably) litigation.

December 17, 2012

ED Ranks 18th... on the Wrong Question

I don't care about aggregate satisfaction; I want to know the satisfaction of terrific, hard-working teachers and employees who are making a difference for kids.

September 26, 2012

Obama Administration and K-12: The Good and the Bad

We're rolling into the final sprint to the election; this makes it a good time to look back at what the Obama administration has done with its time in office. As I see it, here's the good and the bad from the administration's first term when it comes to K-12. The Good: Especially through Race to t...

June 25, 2012

My Hat's off to ED

Big props to the Obama Department of Education for doing something that you don't see too much in Washington or in edu-circles. Last Thursday, the Department invited my colleague Andrew Kelly and me to come over and have a public, unscripted conversation about our book Carrots, Sticks, and the Bull...

February 27, 2012

An Open Letter to the Chiefs for Change

Hi All, You know I dig you, and that I've long regarded many of you as friends, mentors, kindred spirits, and inspirations. But, right now, I'm feeling compelled to add a new tag: enablers. We just recently watched the end of round one of the ludicrous "waiver" spectacle. The Obama administratio...

October 27, 2010

OK, Bullying Is Bad...But I'm Still Mixed on ED's Fix

Yesterday, the Department of Ed rolled out its new anti-bullying initiative, featuring a "Dear Colleague" letter regarding requirements under federal antidiscrimination laws. ED's press release quoted Secretary of Education Duncan declaring, "Bullying is a problem that shouldn't exist. No one shou...

October 21, 2010

ED's 'All Hat, No Cattle' Stance on the Unions

Last week, the Department of Education announced plans for a "national education reform conference on labor-management collaboration" to be held early next year, where they plan to "highlight examples of progressive collective bargaining agreements across the country and promote opportunities for ma...

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The opinions expressed in Rick Hess Straight Up are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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