What's the secret to fixing America's failing schools?

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About This Event

This event has been canceled.

Top-notch charter schools can only serve a fraction of America's school children, meaning most children will continue to be educated in mainstream public schools. How do we ensure that all students receive an excellent education, even in historically failing schools?

In his new book "Improbable Scholars: The Rebirth of a Great American School System and a Strategy for America's Schools," University of California-Berkeley Professor David L. Kirp critiques a number of popular reform strategies such as closing failing schools and promoting alternative teacher certifications and charter schools. He argues for early-childhood education, word-soaked curriculums, and hands-on help for teachers. Inspired by his hometown of Union City, New Jersey, Kirp argues that the US public school system is not irremediably broken; it just needs to be fixed through hard and steady work.

Join Cami Anderson, David Kirp, Frederick M. Hess, and Mike McShane for a discussion about the education reform agenda and its impact on America's public schools.



12:45 PM

1:00 PM
Cami Anderson
, Newark Public Schools
David L. Kirp, University of California-Berkeley
Frederick M. Hess, AEI

Michael Q. McShane

2:15 PM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Lauren Aronson at lauren.aronson@aei.org, 202.862.5904.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact MediaServices@aei.org, 202.862.5829.

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AEI Participants


Frederick M.
  • 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


Michael Q.
  • Michael Q. McShane is a research fellow in education policy studies at AEI. He is the coeditor, with Frederick Hess, of "Common Core Meets Education Reform" (Teachers College Press, 2013). He is also the coauthor of "President Obama and Education Reform: The Personal and the Political" (Palgrave MacMillan, 2012). His analyses have been published widely in technical journals and reports including Education Finance and Policy. He has contributed to more popular publications such as Education Next, The Huffington Post, National Review, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He began his career as an inner-city high school teacher in Montgomery, Alabama.

    Follow Mike McShane on Twitter.

  • Phone: 202-862-5838
    Email: Michael.McShane@aei.org
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