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Education policy maven Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute think tank offers straight talk on matters of policy, politics, research, and reform. Read more from this blog.

Education Opinion

Introducing Your Special Guest Stars: Hitt, Fusarelli, Enlow, White, Jochim, and Fennell

By Rick Hess — July 21, 2017 3 min read
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Hidy all,

So, I’m taking my summer break from blogging to catch up on a few projects that got sidelined during the rollout of Letters to a Young Education Reformer. (If you want a unique podcast substitute, head over to aei.org and download the 60 or 70 radio interviews I did on the book...). In any event, while I’m away, you get the usual opportunity to visit with a lineup of terrific guest bloggers. Here’s your forthcoming lineup:

First up, starting next week, will be Collin Hitt—assistant professor of medical education at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. An academic who began his career in the think-tank world, Collin professes to love a good white paper the way the rest of us a good pop song. He helped craft Illinois’s charter-school law at the Illinois Policy Institute before earning his Ph.D. in education policy from the University of Arkansas, where he co-founded a research lab to measure character skills (it’s called Charassein: Character Assessment Initiative). He recently served a stint on the Illinois State Board of Education. He’ll be blogging about research that you wished you’d heard about but haven’t yet.

Next up will be N.C. State’s Lance Fusarelli, professor and department head for the Department of Educational Leadership, Policy and Human Development. Lance focuses on the politics of education, federal education policy, and superintendent-school board relations. He’s an editor on both editions of Routledge’s Handbook of Education Politics and Policy. He’s also my co-editor (along with Harvard’s Marty West) on the Palgrave Macmillan series in education policy, as well as a member of the editorial board of Educational Researcher and (I love this) the Journal of School Public Relations.

The week of August 7 will be Robert Enlow, president and CEO of EdChoice (formerly the Milton and Rose Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice). Rob has been with the foundation, in a raft of roles, since its inception and has been CEO since 2009. Under his leadership, EdChoice has become one of the nation’s most influential advocates for educational choice via research, advocacy, training, and much else. Bob plans to share his perspective on the current landscape of school choice, and a few things to look out for going forward.

Joining us the week of August 14 will be Rachel White. A postdoctoral fellow/research associate at USC’s Rossier School of Education, Rachel focuses on power, politics, and accountability in local and state education policy and implementation. She studies how institutions and governance shape which voices get heard and how policy gets determined. Before earning her Ph.D. from Michigan State, she worked as associate director of policy and advocacy at the Ohio College Access Network. Rachel will offer some thoughts on state-level politics, policy, and governance as states start to tackle ESSA implementation.

The week of August 21 will belong to Ashley Jochim, a senior research analyst at the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington. A self-professed “governance nerd,” Ashley spends much of her time examining why big, ambitious reforms fail to reach their aims. She is a co-author (with Paul Hill) of A Democratic Constitution for Public Education and has written incisively on topics including charter schooling, the Common Core, portfolio governance, and much more. Ashley will be writing about the politics of implementation and what that really means in practice.

And, back by popular demand, will be Maddie Fennell to close things out. Maddie taught elementary school in Omaha for 26 years—including a stint as Nebraska’s teacher of the year. She was instrumental in creating the U.S. Department of Education’s Teach to Lead initiative and has now taken on a new role as executive director of the Nebraska State Education Association. While Maddie laughingly touts herself as a “union goon,” she’s also a strong voice for the need for teacher unions to approach their role differently than they have in the past. Maddie will write about how teachers can drive change in both the unions and their profession.

Anyway, it’s a neat lineup and I trust you’ll enjoy what they have to say. Be well, and I’ll look forward to being back with you after Labor Day.

The opinions expressed in Rick Hess Straight Up are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.