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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

Liking the NGA’s Tune on “Complete to Compete”

I really like the tone of the release they sent and am modestly hopeful (perhaps foolishly so) that it reflects a more serious tenor brought about by pinched pocketbooks and an awareness that grand plans can backfire.

It’s the Legislation, Stupid

In their terrific new article, teacher quality savants Emily Cohen and Kate Walsh instruct would-be reformers intent on boosting teacher quality not to fixate on contracts or nifty new data analysis techniques. Why? Because, they argue, the first order of business should be fixing state legislation that stifles creative efforts to adopt smarter practices when it comes to pay, evaluation, and dismissal.

Bleak Omens for Obama’s Ed Agenda on the Hill

Congressional Quarterly reported yesterday that House Democratic leaders will accept the Senate's plan to pass a stripped-down supplemental spending bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and seek another way to funnel $10 billion in edu-aid to the states. Before turning the page on the Obey-Obama defense supplemental imbroglio, however, a postmortem is in order--especially given some worrisome portents for the administration's school reform agenda.

“What the Hell, Dude?” Team Players and Edu-Reform

I've now had the experience several times in the past few months of having one or another friend of long standing ask me something along the lines of, "What the hell?" The "what" in question is me being critical of or asking questions about proposals and programs that "reformers" are supposed to support.

$23 Billion Equals How Many Jobs?

Consider that the $23 billion is being touted for its ability to save as many as 300,000 education jobs and then do the math. That works out to $76,700 per job preserved.

What the Gulf Oil Spill Can Teach Us About School Spending

Now, analogies are always a tricky business because they depend on one's angle of vision. But, if you're standing where I am, this looks like a disheartening parallel to the world of school spending.

Straight Up Conversation: RI Chief Deb Gist on the Central Falls Deal

The success of the Central Falls deal rested significantly on Rhode Island super-chief Deb Gist's aggressive moves last fall, in which she interpreted the basic education program to mean that seniority would no longer be a factor in school staffing. Yesterday, Gist took a little time to answer a few questions about what to make of the deal.

The Hard-Hitting Pondiscio on Edutopia

Edutopia's doing some neat stuff. And I'm all in favor of anyone who's pushing forward on thinking about how to better use technology. But there's a difference between creative minds at work and claiming to have discovered "what works."

Budgetpalooza…Or, Mr. Mulgrew, Have I Got a Speechwriter for You

Between the National Journal debate over Senator Tom Harkin's $23 billion bailout, the European Union ponying up a cool $1 trillion to stanch the bleeding in Greece, Mike Petrilli getting frisky on teacher firing, and my own dalliances in NYC teacher policy, this is turning out to be quite the week for bailout mania.

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