Frederick M. Hess
Frederick M. Hess
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Latest Blog Posts

Straight Up Conversation: Outgoing NSNO CEO Neerav Kingsland

April 14, 2014 at 9:05 am

Regular readers are familiar with Neerav Kingsland, who's penned some of the more popular RHSU guest posts. Two years ago, I did a Straight Up conversation with Neerav when he took the reins from Sarah Usdin at New Schools for New Orleans. We've now come full circle, with Neerav recently announcing the he is stepping down at NSNO to aid other cities and districts seeking to pursue New Orleans-style education reform. It seemed an opportune time to catch up with Neerav, take stock of where things are in New Orleans, and hear his thoughts on what's ahead.

Rick Hess: How long have you been at NSNO now?

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Katherine Bassett on "Banning Hope"

April 11, 2014 at 8:53 am

As regular readers know, I've been at work on my next book, The Cage-Busting Teacher (it's due out in early spring 2015). The book argues that the disempowerment and isolation experienced by so many teachers are very real--but that teaches can more readily alter those dynamics than they often imagine. So, why don't more teachers do so? Frequently, it's due to habits of mind that render teachers passive and leave them frustrated. Today, in a highly personal guest post, Katherine Bassett, a gentle 26-year middle school librarian, former New Jersey Teacher of the Year, and CEO of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year, offers a classic cage-busting take. She points out how the innocuous, admirable proclivity to be "hopeful" can leave teachers trapped in cages of their own design. All I have to say is, "Amen!"

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There's Nothing Especially Educational About Factory-Style Management

April 9, 2014 at 8:33 am

Reform critics dismiss efforts to rethink leadership practice, recruitment, and training as an effort to import "business" thinking into K-12. Meanwhile, it's easy for reformers to sound as if they're just saying we need "better" school and system leaders. In reality, today's leaders struggle with professional norms, training, and circumstances that aren't of their making--and which offer precious little calculated to help forge great schools and systems.

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Jeb Bush, the Common Core, & 2016

April 7, 2014 at 9:29 am

A "Jeb Bush for President" boomlet is heating up, and for good reason. Amidst what's shaping up to be a crowded field of intriguing candidates, he may offer the most impressive package of accomplishment, gravitas, people skills, policy smarts, and ready-made political machinery. That's why Bush has been getting close attention of late from national columnists like George Will.

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PISA's Problem-Solving Results Are Interesting, But That's It

April 2, 2014 at 8:48 am

Yesterday, PISA released its newest report on the results of a "first-of-its-kind" assessment that sought to measure "creative problem-solving skills" of 15-year-olds. U.S. students scored above average, thought they fared worse than ten of the "44 countries and economies" (now there's an awkward phrase). Thankfully, the exercise hasn't occasioned the same spasm of hyperventilation that greeted the release of PISA's math, science, and reading results a few months back. This time, the muted reaction meant that the hectoring by PISA Overlord Andreas Schleicher was pleasantly dialed down.

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Books by Frederick M. Hess

Cover of No Child Left Behind Cover of Tough Love for Schools Cover of Common Sense School Reform Cover of Revolution at the Margins Cover of Bringing the Social Sciences Alive Cover of Spinning Wheels

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