Frederick M. Hess is a resident scholar and the director of Education Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he works on K–12 and higher education issues. He is the author of Education Week’s popular blog “Rick Hess Straight Up,” and is a regular contributor to Forbes and The Hill. Since 2001, he has served as executive editor of Education Next.

Before joining AEI, Dr. Hess was a high school social studies teacher. He teaches or has taught at the University of Virginia, the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University, Rice University, Johns Hopkins University, and Harvard University.

As an educator, political scientist, and author, Dr. Hess is often published in scholarly outlets, such as American Politics Quarterly, Harvard Education Review, Social Science Quarterly, Teachers College Record, and Urban Affairs Review. His work has also appeared in popular outlets including The Atlantic, National Affairs, National Review, The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and US News & World Report.

His books include “Letters to a Young Education Reformer” (Harvard Education Press, 2017), “The Cage-Busting Teacher” (Harvard Education Press, 2015), “Breakthrough Leadership in the Digital Age” (Corwin, 2014), “Cage-Busting Leadership” (Harvard Education Press, 2013), “The Same Thing Over and Over” (Harvard University Press, 2010), “Education Unbound” (ASCD, 2010), “Common Sense School Reform” (St. Martin’s Press Griffin, 2004), “Revolution at the Margins” (Brookings Institution Press, 2002), and “Spinning Wheels” (Brookings Institution Press, 1998). Dr. Hess has also edited influential books on the Common Core, entrepreneurship in education, education philanthropy, the impact of education research, and the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Dr. Hess is the senior founding fellow of the Public Education Foundation’s Leadership Institute of Nevada. He also sits on the review board for the Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools and serves on the boards of directors of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers and 4.0 Schools.

Dr. Hess has an M.A. and a Ph.D. in government, in addition to an M.Ed. in teaching and curriculum, from Harvard University. He also has a B.A. in political science from Brandeis University.

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  • Lecturer, Department of Political Science, The Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, 2017–present
  • Dean’s Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Harvard University, 2013–present
  • Senior Founding Fellow, Leadership Institute of Nevada, Public Education Foundation, 2012–present
  • Editor, Educational Innovations Series, Harvard Education Press, 2008–present
  • Adjunct Lecturer, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania, 2008–present
  • Executive Editor, Education Next, 2001–present
  • Research Associate, Program on Education Policy and Governance, Harvard University, 1998–present
  • Visiting Scholar, Jones Graduate School of Business, Rice University, 2008–17
  • Assistant Professor of Education and Politics, University of Virginia, 1997–2002
  • Public High School Teacher, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 1990–92


Ph.D., M.A., government; M.Ed., teaching and curriculum, Harvard University
B.A., political science, Brandeis University