Frederick M. Hess
Frederick M. Hess
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Aftermath: My Note to the Gates Foundation

April 24, 2014 at 8:51 am

A few weeks back, I wrote about a note I'd received from teacher and blogger John Thompson. At a Shanker Institute event in February, I'd told a skeptical audience that the people I know at education foundations are smart, well-intentioned, and entirely willing to hear from critics, so long as criticism is offered up constructively and in a spirit of mutual respect. The problem, I said, was how rarely skeptics reached out in that spirit. I'd said that if critics did so and hit a wall, I'd be willing to see if I could help.

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The Schuette Decision

April 23, 2014 at 10:22 am

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-2, in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, that states have the right to prohibit higher education institutions from using race-based admissions policies. The Court affirmed that Michigan could require universities to use colorblind admissions policies.

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Common Core Critics Can't Just Say No

April 17, 2014 at 9:13 am

At the end of March, Indiana became the first state to repeal the Common Core standards. The aftermath has not been pretty. Critics have raised valid concerns but failed to put forward a notion of what happens next. This is a problem. Common Core adoption meant that Indiana schools set in place not only new reading and math standards but also new tests, curricula, instructional materials, and teaching strategies. And the abrupt shift could be a train wreck for students and educators.

The dynamics parallel those of the Obamacare debate, where critics have recognized that it's important to offer solutions, not just complaints. Common Core critics in each state need to devise their own version of "repeal and replace."

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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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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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