The Great School Rethink

The Great School Rethink

Frederick M. Hess
paper, 216 Pages
Pub. Date: June 2023
ISBN-13: 978-1-68253-810-4
Price: $37.00

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Pub. Date: June 2023
ISBN-13: 978-1-68253-811-1

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An invigorating examination of the potential for meaningful change in education, from one of the nation's most astute observers of schooling and school improvement.

In The Great School Rethink, education policy sentinel Frederick M. Hess offers a pithy and perceptive appraisal of American schooling and finds, in the uncertain period following pandemic disruption, an ideal moment to reimagine US education. Now is the time, he asserts, to ask hard questions about how schools use time and talent, how they work with parents, what they do with digital tools, and how they meet the needs of their communities.


Both practical and provocative, this is the essential book for every educational leader asking, 'What now?' — Jillian Balow, Virginia superintendent of education

Rick Hess is at it again. Once again, he’s challenging his readers to question their assumptions about education and how schools work. In this new book, he calls for us to use the disruptions created by the pandemic as an opportunity to rethink what we are doing in our schools. His call for schools to be more humane, challenging, and exhilarating resonates with me, and I’m sure it will appeal to a wide variety of parents and educators who are tired of the status quo and are ready for something better. Rather than offering a set of recipes or prescriptions for change, he wisely poses questions to reinforce his call for rethinking what we’re doing in the name of education to the nation’s children. Timely, provocative, and without any of the jargon of typical books on school reform, Hess offers a lot for us to think about in this important new book. — Pedro Noguera, Emery Stoops and Joyce King Stoops Dean, Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California

This is not a book filled with lists of things to do. Instead, it gives a thoughtful roadmap on where to focus and how to approach some of the biggest and most important challenges we face in public education. In typical Hess fashion, it’s provocative, disruptive, and will challenge the notion of what it means to actually rethink and act boldly for our kids. — Penny Schwinn, Tennessee commissioner of education

With the pandemic receding, school leaders, teachers, policy makers and others have an opportunity to improve the American education landscape significantly for millions of students. In The Great School Rethink, Hess explores key issues of time, teacher talent, choice, and cultivating relationships with parents with an eye toward helping education leaders change for the future by getting focused on the present. For leaders looking for where to start, the answer is ‘right here.’ — Derrell Bradford, president, 50CAN

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About the Author

Frederick M. Hess is director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. He pens Education Week’s “Rick Hess Straight Up” blog, is a senior contributor to Forbes, and has written such influential works on school improvement as Spinning Wheels and Cage-Busting Leadership.