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

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Ignore the Distractions in This Week's Senate ECAA Debate

July 6, 2015 at 10:51 am

It's been a muggy few days in DC, which feels like appropriate weather as things heat up again on the ESEA front. This week, the Senate will take up the Alexander-Murray Every Child Achieves Act, and the House is on deck to take a floor vote on the Student Success Act. That means it's wholly possible that, by July 31, both the House and Senate will have passed their own version of ESEA/NCLB reauthorization. At that point, the two chambers would go to conference and try to hammer out an agreement that could pass both the House and Senate and avoid an Obama veto.

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Beware of Superintendents Who Push for Too Much Reform

July 2, 2015 at 8:00 am

Last week, The Dallas Morning News invited me to weigh in on what's in store for Dallas after the resignation of hard-charging superintendent Mike Miles. Especially since I figure plenty of readers may not follow Dallas news, and given that there are big implications for plenty of other communities, I thought it worth addressing here.

Last month, when Miles resigned as Dallas superintendent after three years, the board named former supe Michael Hinojosa as interim chief. This marks DISD's fourth leadership change in 11 years—a rate that's actually pretty typical for America's urban school systems, and that illuminates why it can be so hard for districts to make sustained progress.

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The Supreme Court Just Slashed the Odds on ESEA Reauth

June 29, 2015 at 7:45 am

NCLB is closer to being rewritten than it's been any time since the law was passed in 2001. The Every Child Achieves Act will go to the Senate floor in a week and is likely to pass with a healthy majority. Meanwhile, HR5 is awaiting a vote on the House floor. Both bills would represent a big improvement on current law—and a massive improvement over the Obama administration's current waiverocracy. So, why do I put the odds of final passage at no better than 1-in-5, and why do I think that the Supreme Court just slashed them?

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The State of K-12 Educational Entrepreneurship

June 25, 2015 at 11:30 am

Yesterday at AEI, Mike McShane and I hosted a research conference on the state of educational entrepreneurship in K-12. It was a remarkably provocative discussion about how educational entrepreneurship works (or doesn't), what it takes for it to succeed, how we know if it's doing any good, and how it's shaped by policy and the larger realities of education. If you're interested in the particulars, you can watch it here and find the papers here. The authors are a raft of sharp thinkers, including John Katzman of Noodle, Matt Candler of 4.0 Schools, Stacey Childress of NewSchools Venture Fund, Elizabeth City and Jon Fullerton of Harvard, Dmitri Mehlhorn of Vidinovo, John Bailey of Digital Learning Now!, Ashley Jochim of the Center on Reinventing Public Ed, and Ross Baird of Village Capital.

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Reflections on an Extraordinary Decade of New Orleans School Reform

June 22, 2015 at 8:00 am

Last week, the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans held a three-day conference to examine what we've learned from a decade of post-Katrina education reform. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. One consequence was that the New Orleans school district—for all intents and purposes, the second-worst performing district in the nation's second-worst performing state—pretty much ceased to exist. In its place emerged a radical experiment in urban education that's produced extraordinarily impressive results and extraordinarily heated local debate.

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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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