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

Go New York

Secretary Duncan has repeatedly told us to watch what he does, not what he says. So, I'm watching, but so far I'm not impressed.

That Darn Constitution

If Congress reauthorizes No Child Left Behind this year and does so "consistent with the President's plan," the Obama administration announced this week that it is going to make an extra $1 billion available for edu-spending. The problem with this clever carrot? If you'll recall your high school civics, it's the legislative branch that writes the federal budget.

It Depends on What the Meaning of “Transparency” Is

Yesterday, on his Eduwonk blog, Andy Rotherham weighed in on the brewing controversy over the Race to the Top review process. Rotherham suggests that Duncan try a variation of the “it depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is” defense, explaining, "'Transparent' is not synonymous with contemporaneous. In other words, a process can be transparent while it is going on or it can be transparent after the fact." It'll be amusing to see whether Duncan tries that defense; somehow, I don't think it'll play that well.

Shhhhh…Duncan’s Secret Edu-Judges

Late last week, Education Week’s Michele McNeil reported that the Obama administration has secretly selected the reviewers for state grant applications to its $4.35 billion Race to the Top (RTT) fund, but has no intention of publicly revealing who these 60 judges are. Whether the department delivered 60 “disinterested superstars,” as Secretary of Education Arne Duncan promised last September, is unclear.

The WSJ Steps Up on Race to the Top: Scrutinizing the “Selectivity” Standard

For awhile now, there has been some cause for concern that the famously tough-minded Wall Street Journal editorial page seemed to be drinking the Kool-Aid when it came to the much-discussed Race to the Top (RTT) grant program. So, it gives much satisfaction to note that this week’s WSJ featured perhaps the savviest editorial yet penned by any major newspaper on RTT.

The Accidental Principal

What doesn't get taught at ed schools?

Few States Set World-Class Standards

In fact, most render the notion of proficiency meaningless

Book Alert: Unlearned Lessons

Testing impresario W. James Popham has penned a volume that mixes anecdote, personal experience, and scholarly analysis to ask why American schooling has had such a terrible time designing, adopting, or employing good assessment.

How to Get the Teachers We Want

Specialization would lead to better teaching and higher salaries

The Accreditation Game

The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (known broadly as NCATE, pronounced "en...

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