February 2020 Archives

If there's one theme that has shaped my educational sensibility, it's the disjuncture between educators and the "experts" who surround them. The final post in our countdown feels like a distillation of my effort to explore why that divide matters.

Number 2 in our blog countdown takes us back to 2012 when the Common Core was still riding high. Back then, I took a crack at predicting how it all might look a decade hence. You can judge my attempt for yourself.

If you've skipped the past decade of RHSU, here's a quick refresher: A lot of people in education think I'm an unhelpful jerk. OK. You're caught up. I'm OK with people thinking I'm a jerk. It's the "unhelpful" part that bothers me more.

I penned this post in 2012 in the lead up to my book "Cage-Busting Leadership." I became convinced that we've encouraged a leadership culture where leaders feel they demonstrate their mettle by the number of hours they work--at a big cost.

During a decade of RHSU, I've been struck by the degree to which "school reform" can entail two competing conceptions of change. Number 5 in our countdown outlines my view of those two notions of reform.

Number 6 in our countdown is a piece offering advice to teachers: When you hear someone launch into starry-eyed, infantilizing dreck, calmly call bull$&%* and ask instead for practical talk about promoting excellence and addressing mediocrity.

Today, at number 7, is a 2013 piece offering a word of caution to economists about overestimating the finality of their findings and to policymakers and advocates about treating complex econometric analyses as proof positive.

Today, at number 8, is a 2011 guest spot by the inimitable Roxanna Elden. It's a particular favorite because it led to one of the cooler moments of my early blogging career.

In my view, one of the nutty things about the opt-out movement was how seemingly smart reformers couldn't grasp why responsible parents might want to opt their kids out of eight-hour assessments. I hope you enjoy number 9 in our countdown.

In number 10 in our countdown, I tried to offer a few thoughts to funders as they embraced new agendas and looked to avoid repeating yesterday's missteps.

Number 11 in our countdown outlines my thoughts on what distinguishes the talkers from the doers of the world. This went on to become a key theme of my book "Letters to a Young Education Reformer."

If I've learned anything after hanging out at a think tank for close to two decades, it's that dreaming up education innovations is easy. Number 12 in our countdown is my take on the goofy contests that talkers seem to be so fond of.

I penned number 13 in our countdown amidst the No Child Left Behind "waiver" craze when being concerned about an unchecked executive branch was a much lonelier beat.

Number 14 in our countdown is an illustration of why, amid the 2017 debate over whether Trump should propose national school choice legislation, I tended to think that such a move would be unhelpful.

I wrote number 15 in our countdown as a reaction to what I felt was a silly, smug, self-satisfied, and self-defeating belief in the transformative power of the film "Waiting for Superman" held by many of my friends in the "reform" community.

Rounding out this week at number 16, this piece from 2011 outlines my thoughts on how the NFL has a humbling lesson to teach schools: success often comes down to the mundane: execution, discipline, trust, and coherence.

Number 17 in our countdown is a list of my personal favorite movies about teaching, schooling, and adolescence that I put together in 2010. All these years later, I still love these movies.

Number 18 in our countdown calls back to reader favorite Paul Banksley, a character inspired by an insipid letter by an education leader which went on at great length about nothing.

Number 19 in our countdown reminds me that for all the energy and attention we devote to education, we'd do well to try a helluva lot harder to support, fund, honor, and promote popular culture that celebrates smart.

The first throwback in our Top 20 countdown reminds me of how different the education landscape was when I launched this blog in 2010.

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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