Opinion Blog

Rick Hess Straight Up

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: Lemov, Chartock, Eskelsen García, & More!

By Rick Hess — April 10, 2015 4 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

So, I’m going to take a blogging sabbatical for a bit. As regular readers know, my new book The Cage-Busting Teacher arrives later this month, and I’ll be taking a bit of time while handing the RHSU reins over to some folks with an array of views on the stuff of cage-busting. (If you’re interested, we’ll be doing what should be a pretty lively official launch event on April 15 at AEI in Washington, DC; join us or watch the livestream. More information is available here.) Meanwhile, let’s preview your lineup of guest stars.

First up, for the week of April 13, is Aaron Feuer, CEO and co-founder of Panorama Education. As a high schooler in LAUSD, Aaron got involved in organizing to give students a greater voice in schooling. In 2012, while in college, Aaron co-founded Panorama to help school districts get better feedback from students, parents, parents, teachers, and administrators. To date, more than 190 districts with more than 3 million students have begun using Panorama to survey students, parents, and teachers; measure social emotional learning; and analyze their data. Aaron will be joined by three Panorama colleagues: co-founder Xan Tanner, director of research (and occasional Harvard prof) Hunter Gehlbach, and educator engagement director Brian Rainville.

Up next, for the week of April 20, is Doug Lemov. Doug is a managing director of Uncommon Schools and the author of the new and improved Teach Like a Champion 2.0. The book revisits and updates his hugely popular tome on high-performing urban teachers and the methods that fuel their success. Doug is also the coauthor of Practice Perfect and of a forthcoming book on reading, Reading Reconsidered. Prior to his work at Uncommon Schools, Doug was a founder and principal of the Academy of Boston’s Pacific Rim Charter School.

The week of April 27, we’ll be featuring Jacob Pactor, a ninth grade and AP English Literature teacher at Speedway High School in Speedway, Indiana. Jacob is featured in The Cage-Busting Teacher, has cut a terrific entry for the cage-busting teacher video series, and is the promulgator of the famed “peanut butter and jelly” technique (if you’re curious, check out the video or read the book). Before teaching at Speedway, Jacob led civic engagement efforts for City Year Chicago, helped create Chicago’s Cities of Service project, and edited his college newspaper to 42 statewide awards. Jacob is a Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellow alumnus, a former Indiana teacher of the year, and an Educational Leadership Fellow in the Woodrow Wilson MBA program at the University of Indianapolis. Here’s a fascinating little factoid: Jacob has visited all 50 states and 15 national parks, and he’s seen every major league baseball team play a home game.

Next, for the week of May 4, we’ll have Jonas Chartock, CEO of Leading Educators, and Jonas’s chief program officer, Chong-Hao Fu. Leading Educators works to help teachers cultivate the leadership skills that can amplify their impact. Jonas previously served as the executive director of the nation’s largest university-based charter school authorizer, the Charter Schools Institute of the State University of New York. He started out as a classroom teacher and went on to serve as executive director for Teach For America Houston. A guitar guy, Jonas is an aficionado of New Orleans’s music scene.

The week of May 11, we’ll have Kip Hottman, a Spanish teacher at Oldham County High School near Louisville, Kentucky, and another familiar face to those who’ve perused The Cage-Busting Teacher. Kip has taught at Oldham for 12 years, is a National Board Certified Teacher, and serves as the lead teacher for Oldham’s world languages department’s Professional Learning Community. A few years back, he took a half-year sabbatical to teach in Guatemala. Kip is a virtual community organizer for the Center of Teaching Quality, a Hope Street Group Kentucky State Fellow, and a member of the Teacher Advisory Council for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He will write about professionalizing teaching and how to strengthen the relationship between teachers and legislators.

Last but not least, we’ll feature my friend and frequent sparring partner, Lily Eskelsen García. Lily is president of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest labor union. Lily began her career in education as a school lunch lady before becoming a classroom teacher and eventually being named Utah teacher of the year. Lily is the first Latina to lead the NEA and was the first Hispanic to run for U.S. Congress in Utah, winning 45 percent of the vote against the incumbent in 1998. She blogs at “Lily’s Blackboard” and has shown up everywhere from Parenting magazine, to Education Next, to MSNBC and CNN en Español, to Fox & Friends. I never know what Lily’s going to have to say, so I’ll be reading with as much curiosity as anyone.

I’ll be back after Lily, in late May. Be well, enjoy our guests, and I’ll look forward to rejoining you then.

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.