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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.

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Introducing Your Special Guest Stars: Lindsay, Levenson, Ziemnik, Sattin-Bajaj, and Rowe

By Rick Hess — February 01, 2019 3 min read
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Hey all,

So, I’m still staggering from the exertions of the annual Edu-Scholar exercise (kidding! Just kidding!). But I inevitably do want a respite after we get through the charts, the cheers, the complaints, the cheerful complaints, and all the rest. While I’m off recuperating, we’ve managed to line up a stellar group of guest bloggers. Here’s who you can look forward to reading over the next several weeks:

First up will be Constance Lindsay, research associate at the Urban Institute, where she studies teacher diversity, teacher quality, and how teachers impact racial achievement gaps. Constance served as a presidential management fellow at the U.S. Department of Education before doing her Ph.D. in human development and social policy at Northwestern University. In recent years, she was responsible for implementing teacher evaluation and preparation legislation for DC Public Schools and the State of Delaware. She’ll be talking about teacher diversity, teacher preparation, and school quality.

During the week of February 11, we’ll be joined by Nate Levenson, managing director of the District Management Group. Nate helps superintendents and school systems across the land deal with challenges such as improving special education and implementing social and emotional learning. He previously served as superintendent of Arlington, Massachusetts, where he led efforts that produced outsized gains in reading and for students enrolled in special education. He’ll be writing about the new era of special education reform and who’s making it possible.

The week of February 18 will feature Sara Ziemnik, a veteran teacher at Ohio’s Rocky River High School and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History’s 2017 National History Teacher of the Year. (Regular readers may remember Sara’s terrific Straight Up Conversation from a while back.) Sara’s teaching emphasizes debate, discussion, and examining opposing viewpoints and her work, via a Teaching American History grant, has included creating an app with Cleveland State University that allows students to take interactive tours of Cleveland’s history. Sara will discuss what she wish she knew 20 years ago, what teachers tire of hearing, and what teachers need more of.

Joining us the week of February 25 will be Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj, assistant professor at Seton Hall University and the director of Seton Hall’s Center for College Readiness. Before entering academe, Carolyn worked on secondary schools at the New York City Department of Education. She is the author of the book Unaccompanied Minors and her research has been featured in popular outlets like the New York Times and the Huffington Post. She’s spending the year as a visiting researcher at Australia’s University of Sydney, so she and some colleagues will be taking the opportunity to explore how issues of school choice, rural education, and teacher recruitment get tackled down under.

The week of March 4, we’ll round things out with Ian Rowe, CEO of Public Prep, a network of single-sex elementary and middle public schools in New York City. Public Prep enrolls 2,000 students in grades K-8. Ian has held a number of pretty cool jobs. After September 11, 2001, he directed the White House initiative to boost public service across the land. He spent six years as a senior executive at MTV, where he developed campaigns to promote students’ civic involvement. Along the way, he also did leadership stints at Teach For America and the Gates Foundation. Ian will be writing about how family structure impacts education outcomes and what that means for schooling and what schools do.

Anyway, I’m delighted we’ve got such a strong lineup, am as curious as you are to see what they say, and will look forward to being back with you in March.

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.