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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: Marsh, Kalenze, Starr, and Dahill-Brown

By Rick Hess — November 25, 2016 2 min read
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Hidy all,

The election has mercifully come to a close, the holiday season is soon to be upon us, the Trump folks are trying to manage a transition, and I’m just as tired as all of you. Plus, I need to do that final, careful copyedit of Letters to a Young Reformer (which Harvard tells me will be officially released in late April, but which should be findable by early March). So, I’m going to take a break and turn the blog over to a stellar crew of guest bloggers.

First up, next week, is Trenton Marsh. A doctoral candidate at NYU’s Steinhardt School, Trenton’s research focuses on school choice and charter schools, with a particular emphasis on “no-excuses” charter schools. In addition to his studies at NYU, Trenton is a founding member of CommitMEN, a virtual think-tank aiding African American men transitioning from high school through college, and serves on the Education Advisory Committee for outgoing Congresswoman Donna Edwards of Maryland. I had the privilege of spending time with Trenton this summer, when he was a fellow in the 2016 AEI Education Academy. He’s going to be tackling the timely topic of no excuses schools and their implications for students and families.

The following week we’ll be passing the word processor to Eric Kalenze, newly-minted Director of Education Solutions at the Search Institute in Minneapolis and author of the terrific blog, “A Total Ed Case.” Eric writes broadly on education practice and reform, and his more than fifteen years of professional experience as a teacher, coach, and administrator offer valuable insight and grounding for discussion. He’s the author of Education Is Upside Down: Reframing Reform to Focus on the Right Problems, a provocative volume on educational philosophy and history that takes a hard look at the flaws of today’s reform efforts. His current writing focus is on improving the rationality of decision-making and action-planning by schools and education practitioners.

The week of December 12 we’ll be joined by Josh Starr, chief executive officer of PDK International and veteran superintendent. Josh has over twenty years of experience in public education as a teacher, administrator in New York City, and superintendent of schools in Stamford, Connecticut, and Montgomery County, Maryland. Josh is a renowned skeptic of excessive testing. Indeed, he’s famously the guy who prompted former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to call New York City mayor Bill de Blasio and tell him that he shouldn’t hire that Starr guy he’d been considering. Josh will be writing about the results of the 2016 PDK/Gallup poll of public opinion on schooling and their implications for systems change.

Finally, the week before Christmas, Sara Dahill-Brown will join us. An assistant professor of political science at Wake Forest University, Sara focuses on education politics and policy, program evaluation, and governance and accountability. Before going into academe, Sara taught in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Her dissertation, The State of American School Governance: Who’s in Charge and Does It Matter?, investigates changing power relationships between state and local authorities and the consequences of centralized political authority, and is currently under consideration at Harvard Ed Press. Sara will be writing on state school systems and politics, and how and why reforms play out differently from one to the next.

I trust you’ll enjoy reading our guests as much as I expect to. Hope you all have a wonderful month, and will look forward to being back to wind down the year.

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.