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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: McShane, Dunn, Dahill-Brown, Pianta, and Carlson

By Rick Hess — October 26, 2018 2 min read
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Hi all,

So for the next few weeks, I’m going to be out and about discussing my new book, Bush-Obama School Reform: Lessons Learned. In this Harvard Education Press volume, co-editor Mike McShane and I recruited a passel of thoughtful scholars to distill what can be learned from the ambitious efforts of the Bush and Obama years. The various chapters tackle topics like accountability, standards, teacher quality, state capacity, research, the role of civil rights, and more. Now, you’re in for a treat because, while I’m away, Mike and several of the contributors will stop by to reflect on what we’ve learned and what it means for school improvement going forward.

First up, starting next week, will be my invaluable collaborator Mike McShane. Mike is director of national research at EdChoice and an adjunct fellow in education policy studies at AEI. We’ve previously co-edited several books addressing various facets of education reform, including Educational Entrepreneurship Today, Teacher Quality 2.0, and Common Core Meets Education Reform. Mike will be sharing some big-picture thoughts about why the Bush-Obama era matters and what it has to teach.

Next, during the week of November 5, you’ll hear from Josh Dunn, professor of political science at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and Education Next‘s regular columnist on education law. Josh has written at length on how the judiciary influences American education, in books such as Complex Justice: The Case of Missouri v. Jenkins and From Schoolhouse to Courthouse. He’ll be discussing the Bush-Obama tendency to tackle school reform as a civil rights issue and the practical consequences of that approach.

The week of November 12 will feature Sara Dahill-Brown, associate professor of political science at Wake Forest. Her forthcoming book Education, Equity, and the States analyzes how variations in state governance can determine whether an education reform is effective. Sara’s blog posts will consider how states did (or didn’t) handle the challenges posed by the Bush-Obama era, what that meant in practice, and what it all teaches about the dynamics of federalism.

Bob Pianta, dean at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education, will take the reins the week of November 19. Bob has spent his career researching the intersection of education and human development, has played a pioneering role in research on early education, and is the founding director of the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning at the University of Virginia. In his posts, Bob will focus on the attempts by the Bush and Obama administrations to enhance educational research, what those efforts yielded, and what we’ve learned about the value and the limits of research.

Wrapping things up will be Deven Carlson, associate professor of political science at the University of Oklahoma. Deven is author of Understanding Education Indicators: A Practical Primer for Research and Policy. In the Bush-Obama volume, he tackled perhaps the signature education policy of the Bush-Obama years: testing and accountability. He’ll be sharing thoughts on the evolution of testing and accountability, the unintended consequences, and whether we can ever get testing and accountability “right.”

I trust you’ll enjoy what they have to share, and I’ll look forward to being back with you in early December.

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.