Welcome to Ahead of the Heard

Welcome to Ahead of the Heard, the team blog of Bellwether Education Partners!

We know, we know–you were thinking that another blog is exactly what the education policy world needed. Seriously, though: Why would we launch another blog in a world full of education commentary? The simple answer is that we have a smart team of people with things to say about education, and we think that the education policy debate will benefit from their voices and perspectives.

What about our name? “Ahead of the Heard” comes from the first word in our organization’s name, Bellwether Education Partners. While we adopted the name “Bellwether” in the contemporary sense of “a person or thing that assumes leadership,” that usage evolved from an older use of bellwether as the name for “a sheep that leads the flock, typically wearing a bell” (isn’t it great that English has words for things like this!). The name Ahead of the Heard and our blog’s logo reference that meaning of bellwether. We chose to use the homophone “heard,” rather than “herd,” however, as a reference to this blog’s role in engaging in public debates on education. We hope that the insights and commentary you find on this blog will be out in front of (but still connected to) what you’re hearing elsewhere in the blogosphere and in public dialogue on education. Also, as my colleagues can tell you, I really, really love puns.

Given all that, here’s what you can expect from us in the coming weeks and months:

  • Original insights and analysis on current education policy issues/questions: Our independence and combination of field-facing and client-oriented work gives us a unique perspective on public education issues facing the United States and enables us to generate new ideas, insights, and solutions.
  • Diversity of opinions: While Bellwether staff are united in our sense of urgency to improve educational outcomes for low income kids, we don’t all agree on education policy issues or the best path to achieve our goals. Expect divergent opinions and sometimes energetic debate on this blog.
  • Intellectual honesty: This blog is not driven by any single policy or client agenda but will always reflect the honest analysis of our team members.
  • Transparency: Bellwether works with a wide range of clients in the education field and receives support from a variety of funders. Whenever a blog post touches on the work of one of our clients or funders, we will disclose that in the post. (Read more about our editorial policy on the about page.)

More specifically, you can expect:

  • Senior Analyst Anne Hyslop to offer smart analysis and impassioned commentary on education accountability and assessments
  • Associate Partner Jennifer Schiess to provide accessible analysis and commentary on even the most mind-numbing school finance stories
  • Associate Partner Chad Aldeman to ask provocative questions and provide smart analysis on teacher quality and teacher preparation issues
  • Senior Fellow Jason Weeby to explore the opportunities and challenges at the intersection of city-level reforms, talent, and innovation
  • Analyst Ellie Craig to share new information and commentary on rural education issues
  • Analyst Ashley Mitchel to expand your knowledge of state pre-k policies and the preschool development grant program
  • Analyst Carolyn Chuong to provide analysis and updates on personalized learning
  • Partner Andy Smarick to ask probing questions and offer considered thinking on a range of subjects, including state education agencies and the future of urban school systems
  • Bellwether Talent Services Partners Becky Crowe and Tina Fernandez, Principal Xiomara Padamsee, and Associate Partner Ali Fuller will explain what it means for an organization to be “talent-ready” and share lessons from their experience helping education organizations become talent-ready
  • Other members of our team (including this one) to share knowledge and insights on a wide range of education policy and talent issues and questions

There’s a lot we hope will keep you coming back to Ahead of the Heard. One thing you should not expect: Fish Porn (you’ll find that on our colleague Andy Rotherham’s blog).

Thanks for reading. We look forward to the conversation.