For a decade or more, school reform has been an urban tale of superintendents seeking to "turn around" schools in poverty-stricken communities, where vast numbers of children read below grade level and drop out before graduation. Douglas County, one of the nation's most affluent communities and a Republican bastion, provides a stark counterpoint to the familiar narrative.

This might seem like a pointless question. Obviously, committed Common Core skeptics fear that the enterprise will be bad on any number of counts. But let's set those concerns aside for a moment. Let's instead ask, assuming one accepts the pro-Common Core case: Might the whole thing still be bad for students and schools? The obvious answer from Common Core enthusiasts is "no." I've had this same conversation perhaps a half-dozen times in recent weeks. While some Common Core champions acknowledge that the whole thing might come apart, they're puzzled by the suggestion that the effort could do any harm. ...

Public debate about for-profit education is confusing largely because it tends to ignore any benefits while focusing solely on the potential negatives.

There is a tension here, though, that receives even less attention--and that's the way that even well-designed systems may stifle emerging models of schooling.

We finally have a resolution. The headline: Bennett exonerated.

In the name of efficiency, and in the nature of a public service announcement, here's a quick thumbnail guide to my key books.

Here are four big implementation questions that haven't yet gotten much attention in state and local papers, and that would benefit from a serious look.

Note: Michael Bromley, founder and president of, is guest posting this week. In an earlier post this week on PD, I proposed four core teacher functions of planning, application, assessment, and feedback. Today I'd like to focus on teacher feedback to students. Of all the core teacher functions, feedback is the most elusive, difficult, and under-utilized. It is by nature: there can never be enough, and it can never be as timely as needed. Earlier this summer I called over to the Beckman-Friedman Institute (BFI) at the University of Chicago, and two of the researchers were most kind ...

Note: Michael Bromley, founder and president of, is guest posting this week. Every year that I taught high school social studies was my best year ever. Even after my first, which I wrapped up as, "it can't possibly be any worse," I pledged to do better the next. Things got better, but every year was both the best and the next to worst. One of the best teachers I ever met also had an annual ritual of self-emulation: "Next year I'm gonna suck less," he'd say. It's an odd profession, built of Charlie Brown optimism. It's part dedication ...

Note: Michael Bromley, founder and president of, is guest posting this week. Had a New York moment this holiday. Trying to find some green, or at least brown, space in Midtown Manhattan for our two suburban pups, my wife and I came upon a doggie section in Madison Square Park. We entered the small dog area, and a Doberman bounded up to us through the gate to the big dog area that had been left open. Nice doggie, actually, but it had no business being with the small dogs, and he started a slight snarl. "Take them off ...

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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