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Tough Love for Schools: Essays on Competition, Accountability, and Excellence.

Tough Love for Schools: Essays on Competition, Accountability, and Excellence. Edited by Frederick M. Hess (AEI Press).

Hess, of the American Enterprise Institute (and Education Next), has compiled a rewarding set of 20 essays (several of them coauthored) addressing four urgent education issues--leadership and public education; competition and accountability; the politics of school reform; teachers and principals--and a miscellaneous category that he terms "the road ahead." His extensive introduction includes an uncommonly candid (and germane) personal history that traces the evolution of his thinking on these challenges. Although such collections are invariably uneven, and some entries sit awkwardly alongside others written at different times for different audiences, Hess is a stimulating thinker whose intellectual hegira and policy evolution are worth watching. He's also a lucid and prolific writer. Particularly worthy here are his insights on "what's public about public education," his review of both the promise and the limits of school choice, and his formulation of a tough-love strategy for reforming institutions that are constitutionally averse to change.

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Publication:Education Next
Article Type:Book review
Date:Mar 22, 2006
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