A Federal Education Agenda - New Article from AEI Education Experts

"The Romney plan offers no insight into what the federal government does and does not do well when it comes to education. Romney can do better... Education is ripe for conservatives." – Frederick M. Hess and Andrew P. Kelly, "A Federal Education Agenda," National Affairs

With less than 50 days away from the presidential election, and in light of the recent Chicago Teacher’s Strike, "education is ripe for conservatives." Historically, conservatives have ceded the work of reform to progressives, who embrace sweeping national solutions and evince a disconcerting faith in the wisdom of federal bureaucracies. In a National Affairs article, American Enterprise Institute (AEI) education experts Frederick M. Hess and Andrew P. Kelly offer conservatives a principled, coherent approach to education that is in keeping with the federalist system the framers envisioned.

Hess and Kelly lay out four pillars of federal education policy that can be easily articulated in a crucial election year--by Governor Romney or anyone who is committed to showing that conservatives are credible on the issue of education.

A conservative federal government should:

  • Develop standard weights and measures, requiring that state testing data be uniformly collected and reported. This ensures consistency and transparency for parents, voters, and policymakers.
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  • Promote high-quality basic research by adopting a similar approach to the National Institutes for Health. This would require the federal government to shift away from funding federal programs that studies specialized interventions and practices and toward the broader public good of basic research, which asks the fundamental questions about learning.
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  • Deregulate school systems, leaving space for new education providers to compete with already entrenched teachers unions, colleges of education, and school bureaucracies. This would allow for more--and more meaningful--opportunities for students and parents, therefore promoting school choice alternatives to the current education "cartels.
  •  
  • Adopt bankruptcy-like mechanisms similar to private-sector enterprise, which lift the burden of bad contract provisions, outdated regulations, and related minutiae that impedes reform-minded state and local leaders while consuming their time and resources.

 

Frederick M. Hess is a resident scholar and director of education policy studies at AEI, where Andrew Kelly is a research fellow. They can be reached through lauren.aronson@aei.org – 202-862-5904.

For additional help, other media inquiries, or to reserve AEI's in-house TV studio or ISDN facilities, please contact:

TV Jesse Blumenthal jesse.blumenthal@aei.org / 202.862.4870

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Print or Web Jesse Blumenthal jesse@aei.org / 202.862.4870, Michael Pratt at michael.pratt@aei.org / 202.862.5823, or Veronique Rodman at vrodman@aei.org / 202.862.4871

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About the Author

 

Frederick M.
Hess
  • An educator, political scientist and author, Frederick M. Hess studies K-12 and higher education issues. His books include "Cage-Busting Leadership," "Breakthrough Leadership in the Digital Age," "The Same Thing Over and Over," "Education Unbound," "Common Sense School Reform," "Revolution at the Margins," and "Spinning Wheels." He is also the author of the popular Education Week blog, "Rick Hess Straight Up." Hess's 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, National Affairs, the Washington Post, the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic and National Review. He has edited widely cited volumes on the Common Core, the role of for-profits in education, education philanthropy, school costs and productivity, the impact of education research, and No Child Left Behind.  Hess serves as executive editor of Education Next, as lead faculty member for the Rice Education Entrepreneurship Program, and on the review boards for the Broad Prize in Urban Education and the Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools. He also serves on the boards of directors of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers and 4.0 SCHOOLS. A former high school social studies teacher, he teaches or has taught at the University of Virginia, the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University, Rice University and Harvard University. He holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Government, as well as an M.Ed. in Teaching and Curriculum, from Harvard University.


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  • Email: rhess@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Sarah DuPre
    Phone: 202-862-7160
    Email: Sarah.DuPre@aei.org

 

Andrew P.
Kelly

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