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In his new book, The Same Thing Over and Over (Harvard University Press, November 2010), AEI director of education policy studies Frederick M. Hess explains that American schools have
Download Audio as MP3 not changed since the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and, as a result, are ill-suited to meet today's challenges. Hess calls for a radical rethinking of what schooling and teaching should look like, based on today's talents, tools, and needs. He challenges both those who defend the status quo and those who embrace patchwork reforms--like merit pay or mayoral control--to escape the ruts of yesteryear. Join us for a lively, hard-hitting conversation with Hess and three of today's best-known school reform leaders.
ARTHUR C. BROOKS, AEI
FREDERICK M. HESS, Director of Education Policy Studies, AEI
TONY BENNETT, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Indiana Department of Education
PAUL PASTOREK, Superintendent of Education, Louisiana Department of Education
STEFANIE SANFORD, Director of Policy and Advocacy, U.S. Programs, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
ANDREW P. KELLY, AEI
Question and Answer
Adjournment and Reception
WASHINGTON, NOVEMBER 30, 2010--Three of the country's leading school reformers joined Frederick M. Hess Tuesday at the American Enterprise Institute to discuss why reformers keep getting stuck in yesterday's ideas, the topic of Hess's new book, The Same Thing Over and Over. Hess argued for a shift in the fault line of debate from status quo defenders versus reformers, to reformers who tinker around the edges versus reformers who blow up the system. Indiana superintendent of public instruction Tony Bennett agreed with Hess, adding that reformers have allowed the establishment--teachers unions--to define the argument around important reforms like merit pay. Louisiana superintendent of education Paul Pastorek suggested that a radical step forward would be to "create the market and let the market move the reform." The Gates Foundation's Stefanie Sanford noted that scalability as one of the biggest challenges for districts, states, and reform drivers. She said that the Gates Foundation and others are currently wrestling to find "the sweet spot" between standardization and flexibility.
Arthur C. Brooks is the president of AEI. Until January 1, 2009, he was the Louis A. Bantle Professor of Business and Government Policy at Syracuse University. He is the author of eight books and many articles on topics ranging from the economics of the arts to applied mathematics. His most recent books include The Battle: How the Fight Between Free Enterprise and Big Government Will Shape America's Future (Basic Books, May 2010), Gross National Happiness (Basic Books, 2008), Social Entrepreneurship (Prentice Hall, 2008), and Who Really Cares (Basic Books, 2006). Before pursuing his work in public policy, Mr. Brooks spent twelve years as a professional French hornist with the City Orchestra of Barcelona and other ensembles.
Andrew P. Kelly is a research fellow in education policy studies at AEI and a doctoral candidate in political science at the University of California-Berkeley. His research focuses on higher education policy, congressional policymaking, and political behavior. As a graduate student, Mr. Kelly was a National Science Foundation interdisciplinary training fellow and graduate student instructor. Previously, he was a research assistant at AEI, where his work focused on the preparation of school leaders, collective bargaining in public schools, and the politics of education. His research has appeared in Teachers College Record, Educational Policy, the Policy Studies Journal, Education Next, Education Week, Forbes, and various edited volumes. Mr. Kelly is a coauthor of the 2009 AEI report Diplomas and Dropouts: Which Schools Actually Graduate Their Students (and Which Don't).
Frederick M. Hess is a resident scholar and director of education policy studies at AEI. In addition to his Education Week blog Rick Hess Straight Up, he is the author of influential books on education including The Same Thing Over and Over (Harvard University Press, November 2010), Education Unbound (ASCD, 2010), Common Sense School Reform (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), Revolution at the Margins (Brookings Institution Press, 2002), and Spinning Wheels (Brookings Institution Press, 1998), as well as the coeditor of the new volume Stretching the School Dollar (Harvard Education Press, 2010). His work has appeared in scholarly and popular outlets such as Teachers College Record, Harvard Education Review, Social Science Quarterly, Urban Affairs Review, American Politics Quarterly, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Phi Delta Kappan, Educational Leadership, U.S. News & World Report, the Washington Post, and National Review. He serves as executive editor of Education Next, as lead faculty member for the Rice Education Entrepreneurship Program, on the review board for the Broad Prize in Urban Education, and on the boards of directors of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers and the American Board for the Certification of Teaching Excellence. A former high school social studies teacher, he has taught at the University of Virginia, the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University, Rice University, and Harvard University.
Tony Bennett was sworn in as Indiana superintendent of public instruction in January 2009 and immediately began creating a Department of Education focused on student learning and implementing his vision that "the academic achievement and career preparation of all Indiana students will be the best in the United States and on par with the most competitive countries in the world." For more than twenty years, Mr. Bennett has served Indiana's schoolchildren and families as a teacher, coach, and administrator. After nine years in the classroom as a science teacher, he began his career in administration, quickly developing a reputation as a gifted leader with a talent for school management, strategic planning, and efficient budgeting.
Paul Pastorek was appointed Louisiana's state superintendent of education in March 2007 and reappointed in January 2008. He joined the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in 1996 and served as its president from 2001 to 2004. When Mr. Pastorek left the board, Louisiana had the best-rated statewide accountability program in the United States. After his work on the board, he formed Next Horizon, a nonprofit organization serving as a statewide think tank to connect Louisiana's leadership--education, government, business, and community--as a force supporting school improvement. Mr. Pastorek began his work in public education as a passionate volunteer in a New Orleans inner-city junior high school, and he later studied education issues and began working through the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce to push for improvements. He is an attorney and has been associated with Adams and Reese LLP for over twenty-seven years, first as a litigator and later as a corporate and transactional attorney. Mr. Pastorek was appointed by President George W. Bush as general counsel to NASA in 2002 and served as both the chief legal official for the agency and as a trusted adviser to then-NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe. In addition, he served on and led several senior-management and leadership committees, including the team that developed NASA's 2004 "transformational" reorganization plan. For his service at NASA, he received NASA's Exceptional Achievement Medal and Distinguished Service Medal.
Stefanie Sanford is the director of U.S. program policy and advocacy for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She leads a diverse, bipartisan team that develops public policy and investment strategy at the federal and state levels to help advance the foundation's programmatic goals: to increase college-ready high school graduation rates and double the number of young people who receive a postsecondary credential with value in the labor market. She ensures that U.S. program issue advocacy, policy development, and external relations are fully aligned, coherent, and maximally effective. Before joining the foundation, Ms. Sanford was director of technology policy and deputy director of the policy office for Texas governor Rick Perry. She managed policy development and advised the governor on technology and its effect on education, e-government, higher education, workforce development, biotechnology, and rural broadband deployment. She also was special assistant for technology to then-lieutenant governor Perry and directed the Advisory Council on the Digital Economy, a committee of twenty-one CEOs from high-tech companies across Texas. Early in her career, Ms. Sanford was a policy adviser and speechwriter to the speaker of the Texas House and a division chief, speechwriter, and legislative adviser to the state attorney general. After taking leave from the state to attend graduate school, she was selected to be a White House fellow and served in the Office of Cabinet Affairs. She is the author of Civic Life in the Information Age (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).