Helen Baxendale explains how Teach For America channeled the post-NCLB zeitgeist in the 2000s and soon became a standard element in the ambitious superintendent's performance-improvement toolkit.

Helen Baxendale explores how TFA, which began as a quixotic proposal from a senior thesis, garnered sufficient support to get off the ground and why the teachers' unions didn't simply nip it in the bud in the '90s.

"All the psychic and economic pain we're seeing right now will be compounded if the pandemic produces a drop in college enrollment and completion. We'll simply lock in our losses for years to come," says Stefanie Sanford.

"The entire education world is trying to serve millions of suddenly home-bound students, and there's simply no precedent for a challenge on that scale," says Stefanie Sanford.

The digital divide sits atop a long list of policy problems we should have solved before a global pandemic turned almost everything into a crisis, says the College Board's Stefanie Sanford.

Hearing directly from an amazing collection of educators, analysts, funders, and policymakers during the pandemic has been invaluable. Starting next week, though, we'll shift gears to a power-packed lineup of guest bloggers.

"Many have been trained to ask the department 'mother, may I?' instead of embracing flexibility and taking initiative," says U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

"If [Washington] does not approve substantial additional funding, state and local revenue losses will result in teacher layoffs and cuts to other supports and services that will take a generation to recover from," says Mike Casserly.

"A one-hour flight to Washington doesn't make you any smarter, and I don't think we need to come up with a bunch of big ideas up here and send them back to states to implement—especially in education," says Alexander.

"Folks in some foundations are quietly expressing frustration that they've been cautioned to stay in their lane and only fund things aligned with their pre-COVID strategy," says Stacey Childress.

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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