Frederick M. Hess
Frederick M. Hess
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

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Introducing Your Special Guest Stars: Miller, Fennell, Sanchez, & the YES Prep Crew

August 1, 2014 at 8:39 am

I hope everyone is having a groovy summer. I've been enjoying it, but I'm afraid I've gotten a bit in arrears while trying to deal with bubbly little Grayson, explain why I've long been south on Race to the Top and am trending that way on Common Core, talk cage-busting with anyone who'll listen, teach at UPenn and Rice, plan my Georgetown courses, agree to become a contributor for The Hill, and push hard on The Cage-Busting Teacher (which is due in early September). So, as I try to get caught up, I'm turning RHSU over to a stellar lineup of guest stars.

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"Moms Winning" While Common Core Advocates Patronize

July 31, 2014 at 8:34 am

Tuesday's POLITICO piece by Stephanie Simon, "Moms Winning the Common Core War," featured earnest Common Core advocates explaining that, to get things back on track, they need to stop being so darn principled and start appealing to the "heart."  What's kind of wild is that, each time the Common Core advocates say, "We get it now," they make me think that a) they totally don't get it, and b) they're about to dig themselves into an even deeper hole.  As best as I could discern, here's a distilled take on what the Common Core advocates had to say:

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RHSU Flashback: Racing to the Jargon

July 30, 2014 at 8:31 am

Last week's fifth anniversary of Race to the Top left me nostalgic for its glorious early days, when everyone kept telling me what an unprecedented game-changer RTT was. I wasn't sold then (a lonely stance), and am even less convinced now (no longer such a lonely stance). Anyway, I thought it might be fun to revisit the RHSU I penned on March 5, 2010, the day after Secretary Duncan giddily named the Round 1 RTT finalists. Here you go:


Yesterday's announcement of the Race to the Top round one finalists prompted me to take another look at just what these exemplars promised.

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Why Do "Anti-Corporatists" Defend Factory-Style School Leadership?

July 28, 2014 at 8:43 am

Amidst the summer lull, I've spent a bunch of time over the last month or two talking about "cage-busting" to school and system leaders in a bunch of districts, state gatherings, and university programs. By "cage-busting," I mean finding ways to rethink the web of rules, regulations, contracts, and routines that have accreted over the past century, and to shrug off the self-imposed cage created by urban myths, professional norms, and a "culture of can't."  I argue that cage-busting is a necessary (if insufficient) step to escape factory-style bureaucracy and ensure that time, talent, technology, and money are used in ways more likely to promote great teaching and learning.

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Race to the Top, Wasn't

July 24, 2014 at 8:34 am

We've just marked the fifth anniversary of Race to the Top, the Obama administration's signature education initiative. When launched, the $4.35 billion competition drew bipartisan cheers and was lauded as an example of getting school reform right. Five years on, I see it more as a monument to paper promises, bureaucratic ineptitude, and federal overreach.

The U.S. Department of Education launched Race to the Top in 2009, with funds from that year's big stimulus bill. The legislation called for states to develop plans to improve data systems, adopt "career-and-college ready" standards and tests, hire great teachers and principals, and turn around low-performing schools.

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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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