Why fixing education policy isn't enough: The "culture of can't" in K–12
Bradley Lecture by Frederick Hess

Video

Post Event Summary
When it comes to reforming America's public schools, we hear a lot about what educational leaders cannot do. Indeed, contracts, laws, and regulations assuredly handcuff school and system leaders, and, claimed Rick Hess of AEI during his Bradley Lecture on Tuesday night, education reformers often respond with policy fixes.

Hess argued that rather than focusing exclusively on using education policy to achieve meaningful and sustainable improvement in US education, we should dramatically rethink leadership in K–12. He explained that leaders actually have far more freedom to transform teaching, learning, and schooling — without legislative action — than is widely believed. As Hess has stated in his new book "Cage-Busting Leadership," the "culture of can't" in K–12 — in which leaders do not take advantage of existing opportunities to better serve students — is a product of structures and substantial incentives to avoid creating conflict or triggering lawsuits; little exposure to the world beyond K–12 education; and preparation, training, and culture that is almost entirely focused on instructional leadership rather than transforming organizations.

To equip leaders and encourage what Hess calls "cage-busting leadership," education reformers should welcome the know-how and ingenuity of "lawyers for education reform," the business and philanthropic communities, and new leadership preparation programs.

Event Description
When it comes to reforming America’s public schools, there is a lot of discussion over what educational leaders cannot do. Much of the policy debate revolves around the contracts, laws, and regulations that make it hard to reward excellence and address mediocrity.

Equally significant is the failure of system leaders to take advantage of existing opportunities. Rick Hess, AEI education policy scholar and author of the forthcoming “Cage-Busting Leadership” (Harvard Education Press, 2013), believes the problem stems from K–12 training and culture, incentives to avoid conflict and lawsuits, and the pervasive “culture of can’t” that fails to serve kids well.

In this Bradley Lecture, Hess will suggest how reformers should complement their focus on policy with a careful attention to the successes and shortfalls in K–12 leadership, and how to tackle the “culture of can’t.”
Copies of “Cage-Busting Leadership” will be available for purchase at the event.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Frederick M.
Hess

What's new on AEI

AEI Election Watch 2014: What will happen and why it matters
image A nation divided by marriage
image Teaching reform
image Socialist party pushing $20 minimum wage defends $13-an-hour job listing
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 20
    MON
  • 21
    TUE
  • 22
    WED
  • 23
    THU
  • 24
    FRI
Monday, October 20, 2014 | 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Warfare beneath the waves: The undersea domain in Asia

We welcome you to join us for a panel discussion of the undersea military competition occurring in Asia and what it means for the United States and its allies.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 | 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
AEI Election Watch 2014: What will happen and why it matters

AEI’s Election Watch is back! Please join us for two sessions of the longest-running election program in Washington, DC. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 | 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
What now for the Common Core?

We welcome you to join us at AEI for a discussion of what’s next for the Common Core.

Event Registration is Closed
Thursday, October 23, 2014 | 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Brazil’s presidential election: Real challenges, real choices

Please join AEI for a discussion examining each candidate’s platform and prospects for victory and the impact that a possible shift toward free-market policies in Brazil might have on South America as a whole.

Event Registration is Closed
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.