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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: Thompson, Lindsay, Saultz, Strunk, Cowen, Steele, and Cummings

By Rick Hess — February 16, 2018 2 min read
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Hi all,

I’ll be taking one of my blog respites for the next few weeks. The timing is good, as Joleen and I are going off the grid for the next two weeks to travel and celebrate our tenth anniversary—and she would not have been pleased to have me composing blogs during dinner...). Per usual, the big upside for regular readers is the chance to swap my tired prose for some fresh voices. Without further ado, here’s what you can look forward to over the next few weeks.

First up, starting next week, will be John Thompson—a former inner-city teacher and self-described “anti-reformer.” In his pre-teaching days, John earned his doctorate from Rutgers and became an award-winning historian. Later on, he shifted gears and went on to teach high school in Oklahoma City Public Schools for 20 years. In 2015, he published A Teacher’s Tale: Learning, Loving, and Listening to our Kids, arguing that test-fueled reform is doomed to fail. John will be tapping into student voices to make the case against “Big R” Reform and explore the complexities in challenged schools.

Next up, the week of February 26, will be Constance Lindsay. Constance works as a research associate at the Urban Institute, focusing on issues like teacher quality and diversity, racial achievement gaps, and school choice. Previously, before going on to earn a Ph.D. in human development and social policy from Northwestern, she was a Presidential Management Fellow at the U.S. Department of Education. She plans to write about human capital issues including diversity, hiring, and teacher preparation.

The week of March 5 we’ll turn the wheel over to Andy Saultz, assistant professor of educational leadership at Miami University, where he focuses on equity and accountability in federal policy. Before going on to earn his Ph.D. from Michigan State, Andy taught high school social studies and served on his local school board. Andy will be talking about the real stuff of when and how policy gets made, sharing lessons he learned during his time as a school board member.

The week of March 12 will feature Katharine Strunk and Josh Cowen, the co-directors of the Education Policy Innovation Collaborative (EPIC) at Michigan State. Katharine also serves as a professor of education policy and the Clifford Erickson Distinguished Chair in Education, and Josh is an associate professor of education policy. They’ll be writing about teachers’ unions and teacher labor market reforms.

Judi Steele, President and CEO of The Public Education Foundation in Nevada will take over for the week of March 19. The Public Education Foundation supports the nation’s fifth-largest school district, while also training Nevada’s educational leaders and hosting regional policy summits. Judi began her career in education as a fifth-grade teacher in New York before moving to Clark County, where she worked for several decades as a classroom teacher, director for special education programs and services, and manager of the Office of Development and Education Improvement.

Rounding things out the week of March 26 will be my research assistant Amy Cummings, whom regular readers already know from her sterling work supporting this blog. Amy joined AEI last summer after completing a master’s degree in cognitive science at Columbia’s Teachers College. Before that, she taught high school social studies in Missouri. Amy will share some reflections on what she’s learned about cognitive science, and what it means for education policy.

I trust you’ll enjoy our guests, and I’ll look forward to being back with you in early April.

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.