I read Rick Hess’s books and blog. He is clear, crisp, and provocative in his positions. A former social studies teacher and professor, he is Resident Scholar and Director of Education Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute. He frequently comments on parental choice, educational philanthropy, accountability, teacher unions, and scads of other hot topics in the federal, state, and district policy arena.
“Teachers focus on what is particular within their own classrooms; reformers focus on what is universal across many classrooms. Teachers operate in a setting dominated by personal relations; reformers operate in a setting dominated by abstract political and social aims. Teachers draw on clinical experience; reformers draw on social scientific theory. Teachers embrace the ambiguity of classroom process and practice; reformers pursue the clarity of tables and graphs. Teachers put a premium on professional adaptability; reformers put a premium on uniformity of practices and outcomes.” [ii] In being unable to see the world from teachers’ perspectives, policymakers intent upon transforming how teachers teach and students learn have a serious credibility problem in mobilizing teachers to support their reform agenda. And without teacher support for reform-driven policies, few significant changes will occur in daily lessons.