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September 27, 2010

Some Constructive Advice for Superman's Fans

Last week, as was much remarked, I had some fun expressing my concerns about the cult of Waiting for 'Superman'. A couple folks asked if I might have anything constructive to say about how the attention the movie is generating might be put to good use. Heaven knows I'm skeptical about claims that ...

September 22, 2010

Waiting for Superman: My Conversion Experience

"In recent years, we've cracked the code. The high-performing charter schools, like KIPP and others, have figured out the system that works for kids in even the toughest neighborhoods." -Davis Guggenheim My pal Mike Petrilli has already ably addressed the hubris, banality, and, well, painful igno...

August 10, 2010

Waiting for...the Biebs

A few weeks ago I suggested that ed reformers should take care not to rely too heavily on the filmmakers of the new wave of edu-agitprop flicks. For one thing, it'd be a shame if lots of time, money, and energy were spent building them up and featuring them as spokespeople--only for them to do what ...

July 28, 2010

Book Review: Bringing School Reform to Scale

If you haven't yet read Heather Zavadsky's savvy 2009 Harvard Education Press book Bringing School Reform to Scale, it deserves a careful look. Zavadsky, who helped build out the Broad Prize methodology and spent several years elbow-deep in these districts, has penned a volume that offers up lesson...

July 19, 2010

Book Review: The Virtue of Speaking Plain Truths

Last week, I was grumbling about the potentially unhealthy influence of edu-agitprop and the inclination of many would-be reformers to approach education reform as a simple, and simple-minded, moral crusade. I'll start the new week on a happier note, as a trio of straight-shooting reformers--all of...

July 16, 2010

A Stellar Rebuttal to My Concerns About "Agitprop"

My posts this week on Waiting for Superman, The Lottery, and their kin have resulted in a pretty impressive wave of e-mail. Much of it is heated and some is downright ticked off. Indeed, it all reminds me why most folks find it advisable to avoid raising questions about popular enthusiasms or fads ...

July 15, 2010

Agitprop Slipping Its Leash...

On Monday, I argued that Waiting for Superman, The Lottery, and all their edu-agitprop brethren can have a constructive role to play so long as the practitioners evince good nature and humility and the cheerleaders retain a sense of irony and don't start to believe their own hype. Unfortunately, ...

July 12, 2010

We Don't Do Propaganda

Epstein: "We don't do propaganda. Our enemies disseminate propaganda. We provide information." Spenser: "It's good to be us." -exchange from Robert Parker's Rough Weather. In the last two or three months, I think I've been invited to a dozen or more screenings of The Lottery, Waiting for Superm...

June 09, 2010

Summer Movie Break: Ed Flicks to Catch

It's summer and I'm going to be ratcheting back RHSU to something more like three days a week, with a few guests stepping in to boot. Now, I can already hear the gnashing teeth and wails of, "What will I do with all that spare time?" Okay, maybe not so much teeth-gnashing. Regardless, and with gr...

June 01, 2010

The Limits of Cinematic Advocacy: Lessons from An Inconvenient Truth

I can't recall how many times over the years I've heard from school reformers, "We need our own An Inconvenient Truth." You know, a cinematic indictment of the educational status quo jarring enough to stir a lethargic public. Well, all of a sudden, we've got a whole bunch of them, and we're about t...

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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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