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February 23, 2011

The Problem With 300 Million People Getting What They Want

A new USA Today/Gallup poll reports that Americans think their states are in budget crises, but are opposed to doing anything about it. This is hardly a recipe calculated to bring forth or to reward political courage. Nearly two-thirds of respondents said their states are in a budget crisis (most ...

February 15, 2011

Obama Punts on Budget, House Republicans Recover

I think the Washington Post editorial page said it best. "The President punted. Having been given the chance, the cover and the push by the fiscal commission he created to take bold steps to raise revenue and curb entitlement spending, President Obama, in his fiscal 2012 budget proposal, chose inste...

January 25, 2011

Getting Serious About Bang for the Buck

I've been down in Austin the past two days attending the inaugural convening of Texas's new center for Improving Productivity in Public Education (IPE). Those who disdain discussions of educational cost-effectiveness will dismiss the whole exercise as school-bashing. Okay... For those of us who liv...

December 17, 2010

Prince George's Co. New Budget: So Not Money

I'm a big fan of Prince George's County Superintendent Bill Hite. And I'm not the only one. Just the other week, our earnest Secretary of Education and NEA honcho Dennis Van Roekel visited PGC in nearby Maryland to fawn over some of Hite's turnaround efforts. So it brings me no joy to note that P...

November 29, 2010

Challenging the Sacred Status of Special Ed Spending: Voices from the Field

Got some terrific reactions to last week's post, which argued (shockingly) that a dollar spent on special education is one we can't spend on other children--and that policymakers would therefore do well to focus less on "rights" and more on trade-offs. This is doubly true given that the primary cha...

November 22, 2010

Even on IDEA's 35th, Special Ed Dollars Aren't Free

Question: What do Arne Duncan, Sarah Palin, Tom Harkin, and Mike Enzi all have in common? Answer: They, along with just about every other figure in education, turn into pandering sops the moment somebody mentions special education or IDEA. They'll dwell on how the feds need to fully fund their s...

November 15, 2010

Lean Years Ahead for K-12

The economic picture remains bleak, but there's growing confidence that—so long as nothing untoward happens with Ireland or Portugal...or Italy...or Greece (again)...and so long as the Middle East doesn't implode—the worst is past. In edu-circles, there are hopeful murmurs that "this wi...

September 21, 2010

Pandering, Craven One-Upsmanship on Tax Cuts--the Edu-Implications

I try to restrict my commentary to education; I don't usually wade into broader policy debates. But the recent contretemps over tax cuts--especially the new Republican proposal announced last week by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell--has major edu-implications. The feds are already spending ...

September 08, 2010

Stretching the School Dollar

I know, I know. I'm always kvetching that schools need to do more with less. That superintendents aren't making the tough cuts. And, when they do, that they aren't cutting smart. When folks press me for specific details or suggestions, they want something more than broad discussions of staffing...

August 19, 2010

Duncan's First Rule of Holes: "When You're in One, Dig Faster"

I'm a simple guy. I admit it. Maybe that's why I'm so fond of the first rule of holes. You know: "When you're in one, stop digging." But that's not the way our earnest Secretary of Education likes to do things. Scott Pattison, the executive director of the National Association of State Budget...

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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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