Well, 2018 is about to go in the books. For whatever reason, it struck me as an exceptionally strange year, both in education and for the republic, and I can’t say I’m sorry to turn the page. Before we dive into 2019, though, it’s worth taking one last look at the year just past—at the good, the bad, and the ugly of 2018. In that spirit, my uber-RAs RJ Martin and Amy Cummings and I sat down to sift through the 2018 RHSU archives and tag this year’s top ten columns. We took into account web traffic, reader reaction, our personal preferences, and the secret algorithm cooked up by the home office in Burbank, in order to bring you the very best of RHSU, circa 2018.
Since we had a tough time narrowing down the list, I’ll give a quick shout-out to two that just missed the cut: The Perils of Narrow Training in Education Research (September 17, 2018) and Be Wary of Reformers Peddling ‘Model’ School Districts (October 15, 2018). Now, without further ado, here are your top 10 RHSU columns of 2018:
10. Has Evaluation Reform Chased Away Competent Would-Be Teachers? February 15, 2018: There’s no evidence that recent teacher evaluation reforms have attracted talented applicants. Instead, they seem to have dissuaded new teachers.
9. 5 Thoughts on the Teacher Strikes, April 10, 2018: The teacher walkouts in West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Kentucky were not only remarkable for their scope and success, but also rapidly reshuffled the educational debates.
8. No, Educators and Policymakers Shouldn’t Just ‘Do What the Research Shows,’ June 4, 2018: Common sense, practical experience, personal relationships, and old-fashioned wisdom play a crucial role in determining when and how research can be usefully applied.
7. What Exactly Is Teacher Professionalism, Anyway? October 8, 2018: “Teacher professionalism” can mean profoundly different things to different people. Fordham’s Robert Pondiscio argues that the key to professionalizing teaching is to ask, “What do the kids do all day?”
6. Bush-Obama School Reform: Lessons Learned, January 17, 2018: Identifying a couple key takeaways from the last 20-odd years of school reform.
5. Education Reforms Should Obey Campbell’s Law, June 11, 2018: When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.
4. 21st-Century Education Policy Enters Its Afternoon Rerun Stage, December 3, 2018: After years of prime-time play with Oprah, “Education Nation” glitz, and State of the Union applause lines, 21st-century education policy has reached its rerun stage.
3. A Confession and a Question on Personalized Learning, February 12, 2018: Amplify CEO Larry Berger sent me probably the pithiest and most useful take I’ve seen on personalized learning.
2. How Education Philanthropy Can Accidentally Promote Groupthink and Bandwagonism, July 2, 2018: Foundations operate a lot like Santa Claus, with goodies to give away and an attentive eye as to who’s been naughty and who’s been nice.
1. The Problem With Seeking an ‘Innovative’ Schools Chief, April 24, 2018: When weighing options for new educational leaders, don’t focus on what they’re going to do—focus on how they’re going to do it.
Well, there you are. I’d welcome your thoughts and comments on the list. Meanwhile, 2019, here we come.
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.