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

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Latest Blog Posts

John King Is Off to Disappointing Start at Ed. Dept.

April 14, 2016 at 9:00 am

When the Every Student Succeeds Act was enacted last December, many on the right were hugely skeptical. Thoughtful critics like Neal McCluskey and Lindsey Burke at Cato and the Heritage Foundation argued that the law gave self-aggrandizing Department of Ed officials far too much room to run. Some of us who supported the law granted the probity of their concerns, but argued that the legislative language was tight enough to reduce the chance for federal mischief. I, for instance, argued that the law was substantially better than the status quo but that it'd be crucial that the House and Senate keep a careful eye on the executive branch. And the House and Senate education committees have been doing just that.

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What Frustrates Me About AERA

April 12, 2016 at 9:00 am

Over the past few days, nearly 20,000 education researchers descended on the nation's capital for the American Educational Research Association's (AERA) 100th annual conference. As usual, the 2,000+ sessions included enough progressive politics and self-impressed navel-gazing to choke a horse. It had been a while, but in honor of AERA's centennial, Francesca Pickett and I revisited a once-upon-a-time annual tradition and had some fun with the convening. When asked about the piece, I wound up repeatedly trying to explain the larger frustration that prompted it. In the spirit of clarity and convenience, I'll try to articulate that sentiment here.

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What Teachers of the Year Have to Say About Federal Education Policy

April 7, 2016 at 9:00 am

On Tuesday, the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) released its inaugural Federal Policy Survey. While the sample was too small to claim much statistical validity and the sampling didn't necessarily yield representative responses, I love the idea of accomplished teachers systematically sharing their take on pressing questions and the fact that NNSTOY is working to make this happen. That's real teacher leadership—and exactly the sort of thing I'd expect from an outfit full of cage-busters.

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How 'High Standards' Are Like '7-Minute Abs'

April 5, 2016 at 9:00 am

Last week, my friend and colleague Nat Malkus penned a smart piece over at U.S. News pointing out that, compared to other nations, Americans seem to have an exaggerated sense of our skills and knowledge. In discussing possible remedies, he touched on the role of higher academic standards. Like Nat, I'll avoid wading into the whole Common Core imbroglio. I will just say, though, that I've never really been able to get on board the high standards train. It's not that I'm opposed to "high standards." It's more that the whole exercise often winds up stifling any serious discussion about what students need to know or why they need to know it.

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The Aftermath of Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association

March 31, 2016 at 9:00 am

On Tuesday in a 4-4 split decision, the U.S. Supreme Court was unable to reach a verdict in the case of Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association. This was the case in which several California teachers wanted the Court to overturn a state law requiring non-union teachers to pay "agency fees" to support the union's collective bargaining work. The plaintiffs regarded state laws that order them to pay the union hundreds of dollars a year as a condition of employment as a violation of their First Amendment rights to free association and free speech. A verdict for the plaintiffs would have overturned agency fee laws in place in 25 states and the District of Columbia. The Court's split decision means that those laws remain in place.

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Books by Frederick M. Hess

Cover of Cage-Busting Leadership Cover of The Same Thing Over and Over 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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