Carrots, Sticks, and the Bully Pulpit
Sobering Lessons from a Half Century of Federal Efforts to Improve America's Schools
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Since the 1960s, the federal government has become increasingly involved in K-12 education, altering the federal-state-local division of labor. Yet, while we often debate the merits of particular federal initiatives or whether policies "work," we have spent far less time considering what a half century of federal involvement has taught us about which goals and policies Uncle Sam can effectively pursue, and what we can learn from his missteps and successes. Over the past fifty years, what have we learned about the nature of a smart, sensible federal role in K-12 schooling?

AEI resident scholar and director of education policy studies Frederick M. Hess and AEI research fellow Andrew P. Kelly have commissioned a dozen papers to examine concrete lessons learned from looking back on the past fifty years of federal involvement in K-12 schooling. At this AEI conference, panelists will present their findings and explore implications for the federal role in K-12 school reform going forward.
8:30 a.m.
Registration and Breakfast
Panel I: History and Implementation
DAVID K. COHEN, University of Michigan
DEBORAH GIST, Rhode Island Department of Education
ANDREW RUDALEVIGE, Dickinson College
MARIS VINOVSKIS, University of Michigan
Panel II: Equity, Innovation, and Accountability
LARRY BERGER, Wireless Generation
RONALD FERGUSON, Harvard University
PATRICK MCGUINN, Drew University
PAUL MANNA, College of William & Mary
MICHAEL J. PETRILLI, Thomas B. Fordham Institute
12:00 p.m.
Panel III: Research, Congress, and the Courts
CHARLES BARONE, Democrats for Education Reform
JOSHUA DUNN, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs
MARK SCHNEIDER, American Institutes for Research and AEI
KATI HAYCOCK, Education Trust
Panel IV: Urban Schooling and Transformation
MICHAEL CASSERLY, Council of the Great City Schools
JOHN DEASY, Los Angeles Unified School District
KAYA HENDERSON, District of Columbia Public Schools
JAL MEHTA, Harvard University
Panel V: The Bully Pulpit and the Federal Role
CHESTER E. FINN JR., Thomas B. Fordham Institute
GENE HICKOK, Dutko Worldwide
MARSHALL S. "MIKE" SMITH, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
JOANNE WEISS, US Department of Education
Speaker Biographies

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 volumes Stretching the School Dollar (Harvard Education Press, 2010) and Customized Schooling (Harvard Education Press, 2011). 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, US News & World Report, the Washington Post, and National Review. Mr. Hess 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.

David K. Cohen is the John Dewey Professor of Education at the School of Education and professor of public policy at the Ford School of Public Policy, both at the University of Michigan. He codirects the Study of Instructional Improvement, a large longitudinal study of efforts to improve instruction and learning in reading/language arts and mathematics in high-poverty elementary schools. A nationally recognized authority on educational reform, Mr. Cohen taught at Harvard University and Michigan State University before moving to the University of Michigan. His most recent book, The Ordeal of Equality: Did Federal Regulation Fix the Schools? (Harvard University Press, 2009, with Susan Moffitt), is a historical policy analysis of K-12 education and federal regulation.

Deborah Gist is the Rhode Island commissioner of elementary and secondary education, a post she assumed on July 1, 2009. Previously, she was state superintendent of education in Washington, DC. In Rhode Island, Ms. Gist has developed and published Transforming Education in Rhode Island, a strategic plan for public education in the state. She has raised the bar for entry into teacher-preparation programs, ordered that teacher assignments be based on student need, and announced partnerships with Providence and Central Falls to turn around the state's persistently lowest-achieving schools. In August, the US Department of Education selected Rhode Island as one of the winners of Race to the Top, which will bring $75 million to Rhode Island to improve teaching and learning. Ms. Gist taught and served directly in schools for more than a decade early in her career.

Andrew Rudalevige is associate professor and Walter E. Beach '56 Distinguished Chair of Political Science at Dickinson College. He has held teaching and visiting posts at Harvard University, Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School, and the University of East Anglia. Mr. Rudalevige has written extensively on interbranch relations, presidential management of the bureaucracy (especially through the Office of Management and Budget), and public policy (especially in education). His books include Managing the President's Program (Princeton University Press, 2002), The New Imperial Presidency: Renewing Presidential Power after Watergate (University of Michigan Press, 2005), and the edited volumes The George W. Bush Legacy (CQ Press, 2008) and The Barack Obama Presidency: Appraisals and Prospects (CQ Press, forthcoming). Previously, Mr. Rudalevige was a city councilor and State Senate staffer in his native Massachusetts.

Maris A. Vinovskis is the Bentley Professor of History, Institute for Social Research professor, and a professor at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. Mr. Vinovskis has published ten books, edited seven books, and written over a hundred scholarly essays. Among his books are Revitalizing Federal Education Research (University of Michigan Press, 2001), The Birth of Head Start (University of Chicago Press, 2005), and From a Nation at Risk to No Child Left Behind (Teachers College Press, 2008. Mr. Vinovskis worked in the US Department of Education in both the George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations on questions of educational research and policy. He was a member of the congressionally mandated independent review panels for Goals 2000 and No Child Left Behind.

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. He is a coauthor of the AEI reports Diplomas and Dropouts: Which Schools Actually Graduate Their Students (and Which Don't) (2009) and Rising to the Challenge: Hispanic College Graduation Rates as a National Priority (2010).

Larry Berger is CEO and cofounder of Wireless Generation, a company that helps pre-K-12 educators teach smarter through the sensitive and innovative application of technology in the classroom. Under his leadership, the company has developed handheld computer software that makes formative assessment instructionally useful to teachers, next-generation curriculum customized throughout the school year to students' needs, and large-scale data systems that centralize student information and integrate knowledge-management tools to spur teacher collaborations. Mr. Berger was a Rhodes Scholar and a White House fellow working on educational technology at NASA. He serves on the Carnegie Institute for Advanced Study Joint Commission on Mathematics and Science Education, and on the board of trustees for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. He is also a member of the board of overseers for the Annenberg Institute on School Reform at Brown University. 

Ronald Ferguson is a senior lecturer in education and public policy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and an economist and senior research associate at the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy. He has taught at Harvard since 1983, focusing on education and economic development. For the past decade, Mr. Ferguson's research and writing have focused on racial achievement gaps and appeared in a variety of publications. His most recent book is Toward Excellence with Equity: An Emerging Vision for Closing the Achievement Gap (Harvard Education Press, 2008). He is the creator of the Tripod Project for School Improvement and the faculty cochair and director of the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University.

Paul Manna
is an associate professor at the College of William & Mary, where he teaches courses in the Department of Government and the Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy. His research and teaching center on policy implementation, federalism, bureaucracy, and applied research methods. Mr. Manna has published peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on topics including No Child Left Behind (NCLB), charter schools, vouchers, and federal education policy more broadly. He is the author of School's In: Federalism and the National Education Agenda (Georgetown University Press, 2006), which examines the evolving relationship between federal and state education policy since the 1960s. His latest book is Collision Course: Federal Education Policy Meets State and Local Realities (CQ Press, 2010). That study assesses NCLB's implementation from 2002 to 2009, early initiatives of the Obama administration, and potential future directions for federal policy. Finally, Mr. Manna's State Education Governance Study, which has received support from the Spencer Foundation, is analyzing the relationship between educational governance, student performance, and state policy. He taught high school social studies for three years.

Patrick McGuinn is an associate professor of political science and education at Drew University. His work on education policy has been published in Publius: The Journal of Federalism, the Public Interest, Teachers College Record, Educational Policy, the Journal of Policy History, The Great Society and the High Tide of Liberalism (University of Massachusetts Press, 2005), Educational Entrepreneurship (Harvard Education Press, 2006), Conservatism and American Political Development (Oxford University Press, 2009), No Remedy Left Behind (AEI Press, 2007), Judging Bush (Stanford University Press, 2009), and What Next? Educational Innovation and Philadelphia's School of the Future (Harvard Education Press, 2010). His first book, No Child Left Behind and the Transformation of Federal Education Policy, 1965-2005 (University Press of Kansas, 2006), was honored as a Choice outstanding academic title. Mr. McGuinn is a member of AEI's working group on the future of American education and a former member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.  

Michael J. Petrilli is executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, where he oversees research projects and publications and contributes to the Flypaper blog. He is also a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and executive editor of Education Next, where he writes a regular column on technology and media, as well as occasional feature-length articles. Mr. Petrilli has published opinion pieces in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and appears regularly on NBC Nightly News, ABC World News Tonight, CNN, and Fox News. He has been a guest on several National Public Radio programs, including All Things Considered, Talk of the Nation, and the Diane Rehm Show. Mr. Petrilli is the author of No Child Left Behind: A Primer (Peter Lang, 2006, with Frederick M. Hess). Previously, Mr. Petrilli was an associate assistant deputy secretary in the US Department of Education's Office of Innovation and Improvement and a vice president at He started his career as a teacher at the Joy Outdoor Education Center in Clarksville, Ohio.

Charles Barone is director of education for Democrats for Education Reform (DFER). Before joining DFER in early 2009, he spent five years as an independent consultant on education policy issues. His clients included the Citizens' Commission on Civil Rights, Education Trust, and the National Academies of Sciences. In 2007, Mr. Barone authored the DFER briefing "Keeping Achievement Relevant: The Reauthorization of 'No Child Left Behind.'" Between 2001 and 2003, he was Democratic deputy staff director for the House Education and Labor Committee under Representative George Miller (D-CA), after serving as Representative Miller's legislative director from 1997 to 2000. Mr. Barone first came to Capitol Hill as a congressional fellow in 1993 and subsequently became chief education adviser to the late Senator Paul Simon (D-IL). 

Joshua Dunn is an associate professor of political science at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. His research focuses on legal history and judicial policymaking. Mr. Dunn is the author of Complex Justice: The Case of Missouri v. Jenkins (University of North Carolina Press, 2008), which explores the judicial attempt to desegregate the Kansas City, Missouri, school system. He coedited From Schoolhouse to Courthouse: The Judiciary's Role in American Education (Brookings Institution Press, 2009). He also coauthors a quarterly article on law and education with Martha Derthick for Education Next. Previously, Mr. Dunn taught at the College of William & Mary and was a fellow in contemporary history, public policy, and American politics at the Miller Center of Public Affairs in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Kati Haycock is president of the Education Trust. Established in 1996, the trust works for the high academic achievement of all students at all levels, prekindergarten through college. The organization's goal is to close the gaps in opportunity and achievement that consign too many low-income students and students of color to lives on the margins of the American mainstream. Before joining the Education Trust, Ms. Haycock was executive vice president of the Children's Defense Fund, the country's largest child-advocacy organization. Previously, she founded and served as president of the Achievement Council, a statewide organization that provided assistance to teachers and principals in predominantly minority schools in improving student achievement. Ms. Haycock was also director of outreach and student affirmative-action programs for the nine-campus University of California system. She has received numerous awards for her service on behalf of youth, and she is a director on several education-related boards, including those of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the New Teacher Project, and the Hunt Institute.

Mark Schneider is a vice president at the American Institutes for Research, based in Washington, DC, and a visiting scholar at AEI. He served as the US commissioner of education statistics from 2005 to 2008. He is also a distinguished professor emeritus of political science at the State University of New York-Stony Brook. Mr. Schneider is the author of numerous articles and books on education policy, including the edited book Higher Education Accountability (Palgrave, 2010), Charter Schools: Hope or Hype? (Princeton University Press, 2007), and Choosing Schools (Princeton University Press, 2000), which won the Policy Study Organization's Aaron Wildavsky Best Book Award. Mr. Schneider's current work focuses on accountability in higher education and charter schools. He has been working on increasing accountability by making data on college productivity more publicly available. To that end, he is one of the creators of

Michael Casserly
has served as executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools since January 1992. He was the organization's director of legislation and research for fifteen years before assuming his current position. As head of the urban school group, Mr. Casserly unified big city schools nationwide around a vision of reform and improvement, led the largest urban school districts to volunteer for the National Assessment of Educational Progress, initiated an aggressive technical-assistance program to improve urban education, directed the development of public education's first performance-management system, and led the first national study of common practices among the nation's fastest-improving urban school districts. He is currently spearheading efforts to boost academic performance in big city schools, strengthen management and operations, and improve the public's image of urban education.

John E. Deasy
is the superintendent for the Los Angeles Unified Public Schools (LAUSD), the second-largest school district in the country. LAUSD serves eight hundred thousand students in over one thousand school campuses. Previously, Mr. Deasy was the deputy superintendent for LAUSD and deputy director of education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he led the national programmatic work on effective teaching. Before joining the foundation, Mr. Deasy served as superintendent of the Prince George's County, Maryland, Public Schools and earned a national reputation for his leadership in significantly narrowing the achievement gap between low-income and minority students and their peers. He also launched a pay-for-performance plan there that was approved by the Board of Education and developed jointly with labor, making the district a national leader in efforts to reward teachers for gains in student achievement. Mr. Deasy was also superintendent of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District in California and the Coventry Public Schools in Rhode Island. In all three districts, he championed rigorous and ambitious learning opportunities for youth, fair teacher and administrator evaluations, pay for performance, staff development and training, and data-based decision making. Mr. Deasy has been an Aspen Fellow, a Broad Fellow, an Annenberg Fellow, a State Superintendent of the Year, a presenter at numerous state and national conferences, and a consultant to school districts undertaking high school reform and district-wide improvement strategies. He has spoken and written extensively on education and serves on numerous boards.

Kaya Henderson is acting chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). Her education career began as a middle school Spanish teacher in the South Bronx, and she spent her summers overseeing the professional development of new teachers at summer institutes with Teach For America. She also served Teach For America as a recruiter and the national director of admissions. In 1997, Ms. Henderson became the executive director of Teach For America-DC, where she was responsible for 170 teachers in more than fifty DC public schools. In 2000, she began her work with the New Teacher Project, where she eventually became the vice president for strategic partnerships, overseeing the organization's work on improving teacher hiring for school districts from a process, policy, and capacity-building perspective. Ms. Henderson also launched alternative certification programs--including the DC Teaching Fellows Program--in a number of districts. Her work significantly contributed to the organization's two major reports: Missed Opportunities: How We Keep High-Quality Teachers Out of Urban Classrooms (2003) and Unintended Consequences: The Case for Reforming the Staffing Rules in Urban Teachers Union Contracts (2005). Ms. Henderson joined DCPS as deputy chancellor in 2007. She led human-capital efforts and served as chief negotiator for the groundbreaking 2010 contract between DCPS and the Washington Teachers' Union.

Jal Mehta is an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His primary research interests involve understanding the relationship between knowledge and action; substantively, he is most interested in the policy and politics of creating high-quality schooling at scale. His dissertation, "The Transformation of American Educational Policy, 1980-2001," received the Spencer Exemplary Dissertation Award and the Outstanding Dissertation Award from the American Educational Research Association politics section. He is a coauthor of Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings (Basic Books, 2004), which was a finalist for the C. Wright Mills Award. Mr. Mehta is working on a book charting the growing "rationalization" of American schooling, asking what this shift means for the educational field, the teaching profession, and social justice. He is also working on a project, The Chastened Dream, about the limits and possibilities of using social science as a means of achieving social progress.

Mike Castle is a partner in the international law firm DLA Piper, specializing in financial services, international trade, corporations, and politics. From 1993 to 2011, he was a member of the House of Representatives for Delaware's at-large congressional seat. While a member of the House, he was on the Committee on Education and Labor and was ranking member on the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education. Before his election to the House, Mr. Castle served in both the Delaware State House of Representatives and State Senate, as lieutenant governor, and as the sixty-ninth governor of Delaware from 1985 to 1992. Early in his career, he was a lawyer in private practice. 

Chester E. Finn Jr. is president of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation. He is a scholar, educator, and public servant who has been at the forefront of the national education debate for thirty-five years. Mr. Finn has served as a professor of education and public policy at Vanderbilt University, counsel to the US ambassador to India, legislative director for Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY), and assistant US secretary of education for research and improvement. He is currently a senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution and chairman of Hoover's Koret Task Force on K-12 Education. The author of nineteen books and more than four hundred articles, Mr. Finn has written for such publications as the Weekly Standard, Christian Science Monitor, Commentary, the Public Interest, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the New York Times, Education Week, Harvard Business Review, and the Boston Globe. He has received awards from the Educational Press Association of America, Choice magazine, the Education Writers Association, and the Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge.

Gene Hickok is senior policy director at Dutko Worldwide, working in the education practice area. He has more than a decade of experience in education policy and politics, at every level of government. A former professor of political science and law, Mr. Hickok began his education service on the local school board. In 1995, then-Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge named him the state's secretary of education. He held that post for six years and earned a national reputation as a reformer, embracing charter schools, school choice, higher standards for students and teachers, expansive use of technology, and competition. Mr. Hickok joined the George W. Bush administration as undersecretary of education in 2001 and became deputy secretary in 2003. He was an architect of the No Child Left Behind Act and was responsible for its implementation.

Marshall S. (Mike) Smith is retired and is a resident visiting scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. His most recent full-time job was senior counselor to the US secretary of education, Arne Duncan, and director at the Department of Education's Office of International Affairs. Previously, Mr. Smith was the program director for education at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, focusing on creating the open educational resources movement, reforming California education, and documenting strategies that have large impacts on student learning. Under President Bill Clinton, he was the undersecretary and the acting deputy secretary of education; under President Jimmy Carter, he was the assistant commissioner of policy studies in education and the first chief of staff for the first secretary of education; and under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, he held leadership positions in the National Institute of Education. Mr. Smith has been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, an associate professor at Harvard University, a professor and director of the Center on Education Research at the University of Wisconsin, and a professor and dean of the School of Education at Stanford University. He has published over one hundred books, articles, and chapters on educational issues of policy and practice, technology, social mobility, early childhood, evaluation, and methodology, and he currently serves as a consultant or board member for various organizations.  

Joanne Weiss
is chief of staff to the US secretary of education, Arne Duncan. She joined the Department of Education in 2009 to serve as senior adviser to the secretary and director of the Race to the Top fund, and she led the $4.35 billion Race to the Top program, designed to encourage and reward states making system-wide, comprehensive education reforms. Before joining the administration, Ms. Weiss was partner and chief operating officer at NewSchools Venture Fund, where she focused on investments and management assistance for various charter management organizations, human-capital solutions providers, and academic tools and systems designers. Before her work at NewSchools, she spent twenty years as CEO, and before that as vice president of curriculum and technology, for companies providing technology-based products and services to underserved students in K-12 and higher education.

Elizabeth DeBray is an associate professor in the Department of Lifelong Education, Administration, and Policy in the College of Education at the University of Georgia. She was a research assistant with the Consortium for Policy Research in Education from 1997 to 2001 and a research associate with the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University from 1998 to 2002. Ms. DeBray's major interests are the implementation and effects of federal and state elementary and secondary school policies, and the politics of education at the federal level. She served as program analyst at the US Department of Education from 1992 to 1996. She is the author of Politics, Ideology, and Education: Federal Policy during the Clinton and Bush Administrations (Teachers College Press, 2006), which analyzes the politics of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in the 106th and 107th Congresses. Ms. DeBray was a 2005 recipient of the National Academy of Education/Spencer postdoctoral fellowship, which supported her research on education interest groups, think tanks, and Congress.  

Jane Hannaway is a senior fellow and founding director of the Education Policy Center at the Urban Institute, where she oversees the center's work and is a member of the institute's senior management team. She is also director of the National Center for the Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research, a federally funded national research and development center. Ms. Hannaway previously served on the faculty of Columbia, Princeton, and Stanford Universities. She was also a senior researcher with the Consortium for Policy Research in Education. Ms. Hannaway has authored, coauthored, or coedited seven books and numerous papers in education and management journals. She is past vice president of the American Educational Research Association and also a member of the executive board.  She was elected to the council of the Association for Public Policy and Management and the executive board of the American Education Finance Association.

Steven Teles is an associate professor of political science at Johns Hopkins University. Previously, he was an associate professor of public policy at the University of Maryland and a visiting lecturer at Yale Law School. His areas of specialty include social policy, law and public policy, and political analysis. Mr. Teles completed postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard University's Center for American Political Studies and Princeton University. He is the author or coauthor of several books, including The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement (Princeton University Press, 2008).

Jennifer Wallner is an assistant professor in the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Regina. In addition, Ms. Wallner is a research fellow with the Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation and a member of the Emerging Education Policy Scholars group sponsored by AEI and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute in Washington, DC. Her research interests include governance and administration, education policy, comparative federal policymaking and intergovernmental relations, policy failure, and legitimacy. Ms. Wallner's work has been published in Comparative Political Studies, the Canadian Journal of Political Science, the Policy Studies Journal, and Publius: The Journal of Federalism. She was the contributing coeditor of The Comparative Turn in Canadian Political Science (University of British Columbia Press, 2008). She recently won the Deil Wright Memorial Award from the American Political Science Association for the best paper presented in the federalism and intergovernmental relations section during the 2009 meetings.  

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