Today, I chat with Sandy Husk, CEO of AVID, a program working to close the opportunity gap with more than 6,000 schools; 70,000 teachers; and two million students a year. Sandy and I chat about the program, how it works, and what it means to be an "AVID student."

Common sense, practical experience, personal relationships, and old-fashioned wisdom play a crucial role in determining when and how research can be usefully applied. The researchers who play the most constructive roles are those who understand and embrace that messy truth.

Leigh McGuigan, CEO and co-founder of Vertus High School, shares a practical concern about personalized learning: How do we personalize learning for students while preparing them for what life will actually be like after high school—which, in truth, will be largely impersonal?

Today, I chat with Ryan Beale, founder of Prepare U, a new curriculum for 13- to 18-year-old students designed to address mental-health awareness and help users navigate the challenges of adolescence. Prepare U was recently endorsed by the American Psychological Association's Society for Media Psychology and Technology.

I don't think the teachers really intend to talk about "justice." What they're actually trying to do is to lend their demands a compelling moral claim, highlighting an unfortunate pathology in the public square today.

Chad Vignola, executive director of the Literacy Design Collaborative, recently reached out with an informative take on the relationship between innovation and execution in educational leadership. He explains why the boring stuff determines whether "innovative," "ambitious" ideas deliver.

When reporting on otherwise similar studies, does the media pay more attention to those that are more or less positive about school choice?

Today, I chat with Jill Vialet, CEO and founder of Playworks, a nonprofit using recess to promote physical activity and social-emotional health for over 800,000 kids in 1,600 schools. A recent RAND report found it to be one of only a handful of social-emotional learning interventions that meet ESSA's requirements for the highest standard of evidence.

The more that teacher strikes resemble Occupy Wall Street lite--featuring street theater, expansive demands for new spending, and calls for dramatic tax increases--the more likely they are to spur resistance among taxpayers, families, and Republican officials.

Today, I chat with Michael Sonbert, founder of Skyrocket Educator Training, which trains teachers and leaders in 300 urban and turnaround schools.

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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