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September 13, 2010

ED Gets It Right: The Right Way to Promote Obama's Back-to-School Speech

A year ago, President Obama's plan to give a back-to-school talk to the nation's students erupted into a tempest when the accompanying materials, issued by the Department of Education, seemed pregnant with politics and hagiography. This year, happily, the Department seems to have learned its lesso...

August 20, 2010

'Through Fat, Flesh, and Bone'? Duncan Needs Some New Briefing Books

Yesterday, I discussed our earnest Secretary of Education's unfortunate proclivity for quick fixes that promise to worsen the budgetary hole districts are in. But that's not all. In the same briefing where he made it clear that he's not a big believer in planning ahead, Duncan also made the fantas...

August 06, 2010

i3 Winners: Long on Talent, Execution, & "Best Practices"--Not Transformation

I see I wasn't the only observer disappointed by how the administration's overhyped i3 program played out. When winners were leaked Wednesday, savvy analysts including Alexander Russo and Mike Petrilli remarked upon what they saw as the disappointing and "been there, done that" nature of so many "in...

August 04, 2010

ED Redefines "Courage" to Mean "Spend, Baby, Spend!"

On Monday, the Senate Democratic leadership temporarily pulled the $26 billion kitty for state and local governments (including the $10 billion "teacher bailout"). ED spokesman Massie Ritsch circulated a statement endorsing the proposal on Friday, with no reform quid pro quo, because Secretary Dunca...

April 30, 2010

i3 News: Much Ado About Nothing... And Yet Still Cause for Concern

I can't decide whether yesterday's U.S. Department of Education press release on the new "partnership" between twelve foundations and ED's i3 effort is just a painful example of vapid triumphalism or whether it actually sends a worrisome signal. I'm mostly inclined to think it's much ado about noth...

April 16, 2010

...And Now for ED

This morning, I hit on the week's first big win for the teachers unions: Florida Governor Charlie Crist vetoing an important teacher pay bill. The week's second big win for the unions was our earnest Secretary of Education's craven decision to curry favor with Senator Tom Harkin and the "Deficits? I...

April 01, 2010

Some Unsolicited Advice for ED's Communication Gurus

I've been hard on Secretary Duncan and the administration, especially on the subject of Race to the Top (RTT). No two ways about it. This has prompted some in the administration to ask whether I'm just a reflexive contrarian. I don't intend to be. As I've said before, I like and respect many in...

March 29, 2010

Spin, Mr. Secretary, Spin!

Like the Energizer Bunny, our earnest Secretary of Education just keeps going. The Race to the Top (RTT) winners are slated to be announced this afternoon, and a rumor from a reliable source has it that there will be just three winners. That would be good news. Given his unfortunate penchant for ...

March 19, 2010

Ten Questions for the Secretary of Education: Redux

A year ago, I penned a piece asking then-new Secretary of Education Arne Duncan ten questions about the challenges of promoting the administration's reform agenda and spending stimulus dollars wisely. With more than $100 billion in stimulus funds and a slew of promises about transformative change a...

March 04, 2010

Edu-Reform Kim Kardashian Style

So, the announcement of the round one Race to the Top finalists is upon us. In the run-up, a pernicious parlor game in edu-policy circles has been "name the RTT finalists." It's played in D.C. and Denver, New Orleans and New York... really, anywhere you get more than two edu-wonks together. Thank...

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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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