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

Latest Blog Posts

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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10 School Reform Phrases That Should Trigger Your BS Detector

July 21, 2014 at 8:28 am

Education is filled with jargon, buzzwords, and BS. I've had a lot of fun over the years skewering the inanity that gets bandied about in education research and professional development. Education policy and school reform are rife with their own vapid vocabulary.

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Caged Leadership Fuels Policy Overreach

July 17, 2014 at 8:35 am

Each summer, I get to spend consecutive weeks teaching policy at UPenn's Graduate School of Education and then teaching cage-busting leadership at Rice's Jones School of Management. Many of the school and system leaders I teach are frustrated by policy and sense that they're hemmed in by bureaucracy, regulation, and politicians. Meanwhile, they're often unclear on what they might do about it. One of the themes we touch on time and again is that passive, caged leadership actually fuels this kind of troubling micro-management.

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Zen and the Art of Education Research

July 14, 2014 at 8:40 am

A few weeks back, Mike Petrilli and I hosted another convening of the AEI-Fordham Emerging Educational Policy Scholars (EEPS) program. The participants once again reminded me of what a dismal job even prestigious institutions do of preparing talented young scholars to consider the implications of their work, contribute to public debates, or even find joy in what they do every day.

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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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