Member Since 2009


Frederick Hess, AEI's director of education policy studies, is an educator, political scientist, author, and popular speaker and commentator. He has authored such influential books as Spinning Wheels, Revolution at the Margins, and Common Sense School Reform. A former public high school social studies teacher, he has also taught education and policy at universities including Georgetown, Harvard, Rice, the University of Virginia, and the University of Pennsylvania. He is executive editor of Education Next, a faculty associate with Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance, and serves on the board of directors for the National Association of Charter School Authorizers and on the review board for the Broad Prize in Urban Education. At AEI, Mr. Hess addresses a range of K-12 and higher education issues.

Published Articles & Media

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The 2021 Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings

The university-based scholars in the U.S. who did the most last year to shape educational practice and policy.
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The 2021 Edu-Scholar Public Influence Scoring Rubric

Given that more than 20,000 university-based faculty in the U.S. are researching education, simply making it onto the Edu-Scholar list is an accomplishment.
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What It Takes to Be an Effective Public Scholar

The extraordinary public scholar excels in five areas: disciplinary scholarship, policy analysis and popular writing, convening and shepherding collaborations, providing incisive commentary, and speaking in the public square.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos

An Exit Interview With Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos

"We’ve seen some of America’s largest districts refuse to open, not based on the recommendation of scientists, but because of political interests."
Collage of the previous five U.S. Secretaries of Education, with a question mark in the sixth box

What Makes for an Effective Secretary of Education?

Thick skin, respect for data are among the qualities needed for success
Photo of Haley Barbour

Treat NAEP as a Reality Check, Not an Advocacy Exercise

Recent efforts to overhaul NAEP's reading framework are deeply troubling.
Mitch McConnell and Joe Biden head to a joint congressional session to tally the 2016 electoral college votes on January 6, 2017.

Anticipating What’s Ahead for Ed After the Election

Imagining the ingredients of a Biden-McConnell deal
A voter drops his absentee ballot into a box on the last day of early voting in New York City, November 1, 2020.

Participation Is Only a Part of Democratic Education

"The value of checks and balances ought to be understood independent of particular agendas. Otherwise, it's a recipe for increasingly unconstrained aggression."
Two sailors on a turtled sailboat

Covid-19 Has Capsized the Case Against School Choice

During the past six months, it's become clear that what this universal, public system actually guarantees is a lot less than we imagined.
Antonin Scalia (left) and Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia, Betsy DeVos, and the Rage Gene

Disagreement is not a sign of an adversary's moral bankruptcy

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