New York Race to the Top Presentation

Uploaded by usedgov on 05.04.2010

DR. STEINER: Good morning. My name is David Steiner. I was appointed by the Board of Regents
as President of the University of the State of New York and Commissioner for Education.
On behalf of the Governor, the Legislature and the Board of Regents, it's an honor to
be here. I'm proud to represent New York State and the Board of Regents and educators across
all of our districts throughout the state to speak of our commitment to excellence and
education. We have some of the highest-performing schools
and districts in the country where students are just excelling in AP exams and international
baccalaureate, sending often almost a hundred percent of their students to four-year competitive
We have individual schools and districts across our state that are just beating the odds and
achieving at high levels from the socioeconomically diverse, suburban Rockville Centre School
District in Long Island to the small rural school district of Lowville Academy. There
are districts across the state that are graduating students at impressively high rates across
all income categories. However, we have not yet closed our tragically
persistent performance gap especially for our male students of color and our English
language learners. Our statewide graduation rate is just over
70 percent and that's simply too low. We believe that many of our students are not yet ready
for college or for the workplace in the 21st century and they must be.
We are proud of the progress we've made over the last ten years, but we're far from satisfied.
We believe that every district in the state deserves access to the tools, the best tools
that we can give them.
That's why New York State has developed a bold vision for reform. While our plan is
squarely focused on the four assurance areas, we believe that the quality of interaction
between a student and a teacher is absolutely fundamental to every aspect of education and,
thus, fundamental to the success in each of the four assurance areas.
Research demonstrates that effective teachers and principals are the most important factors
in the formal education of children and those nations that have sharply improved student
results have done so, also, by focusing on a robust curriculum for teachers to use in
all grade levels. In short, focusing on our teachers, our school
leaders and our curriculum creates the indispensable foundation for every aspect of our reform
agenda. John King is our Senior Deputy Commissioner
for P-12 and will oversee all of Race to the Top's implementation work and resources. I'd
like to turn it over to him.
DR. KING: Good morning. I founded Roxbury Preparatory Charter School in Boston because
I believe that students' zip codes should not determine their destinies.
Roxbury Prep has become one of the highest-performing schools in the country serving high-need students
and I left Roxbury Prep to help start Uncommon Schools, a charter management organization
that now has 16 schools in New York City, Rochester, New York, Troy, New York and Newark,
New Jersey, 16 schools that are closing the achievement gap for high-need students.
And so for me, more germane to this role of the department was figuring out how do we
take the lessons from Roxbury Prep, Uncommon Schools and other high-performing charter
and district schools to scale.
Fundamentally, taking it to scale is about a core set of principles that I think are
reflected in our Race to the Top application, a rigorous, standards-based curriculum, professional
-- significant investment in professional development for teachers, data-driven instruction,
a good system of formative and interim assessments, a longer school day and a longer school year,
careful selection, evaluation and coaching of teachers and, ultimately, a relentless
focus on student achievement. But as core, what we knew at Roxbury Prep
and at Uncommon Schools that the key to our growth and the key to our success was about
our people, the quality of our teachers and leaders.
That led us to partner with KIPP and Achievement First, two other charter management organizations
to found Teacher U at Hunter. That led us to build the school leadership fellowship,
both of which had their core trying to take the best practices in the most successful
classrooms for high-needs kids and replicate them through the use of video, through the
use of clinically-based experiences for teachers during their training.
That same notion of investing in people trying to make teachers and leaders better and stronger
and better able to get students to college and career-ready centers animates our entire
Race to the Top application because we know that raising our standards, higher, clearer
standards won't work if teachers don't have the professional development to execute on
that. We know that building a P-20 longitudinal
data system and instructional reporting system won't work if teachers and leaders don't have
the skills to use those tools effectively. And we know that more performance-based, more
comprehensive and more rigorous assessments won't drive better instruction if teachers
aren't able to differentiate instruction effectively and principals aren't able to support them
in that work.
And so I take my role as Senior Deputy Commissioner for P-12 education as driving -- using my
experience as a classroom teacher, as a principal, as a leader of a network of schools to drive
improvement in how we support our teachers and principals so they can continue to get
better and continue to serve our students better.
Now, I'd like to introduce Laura Smith who is our Assistant Commissioner for External
Partnerships and Research. MS. SMITH: Thank you, John. Prior to joining
the State Education Department, I worked for the New York City Department of Education,
and before that the San Diego City School District.
This past November I joined the Department because I wanted to be part of a new team
that was focused on results and reforms and build on the lessons I had learned in reforming
two large city school systems. In both of the districts in which I worked,
I implemented strategic reforms that completely changed the way these districts did business,
and many of these reforms are at the core of our Race to the Top application.
Our proposal does have a lot of districts and their schools, but our Race to the Top
reforms are already underway across the state; a few examples:
New York has a strong history of funding education reform including our Contracts for Excellence
Program, which we call C for E. It's an 850 million dollar gubernatorial initiative designed
to provide funding increases targeting students with the greatest needs and that are tied
to increased accountability for our school districts.
Many of our districts have already invested deeply in developing their educators. New
York City, Rochester and Buffalo all have alternative certification programs that have
nearly eliminated their math and their science vacancies.
We also have principal’s leadership academies in New York City, Rochester and also in the
Hudson Valley.
New York has had rigorous student learning standards and assessments since the 19th century
and we've revised and enhanced those standards and assessments four times within just the
last 20 years. And since the '70s, we've had high school exit exam requirements for our
graduates. To support our districts and schools in implementing
our standards and assessments, we've used statewide networks, specifically our 37 BOCES,
which stands for Boards of Cooperative Educational Services, which are collaboratives of school
districts. Numerous cities in New York have charter schools
that have impressive results. John mentioned some. This includes the Buffalo Charter School
for Applied Technologies, Rochester Prep, KIPP Academy and Harlem Children's Zone.
Many of our districts have also embraced new small schools that have an open partnership
with external partners such as College Board, which have schools in New York, Buffalo, Rochester
and in Yonkers, and also an organization called Expeditionary Learning, which has schools
that they partner with in Rochester and Syracuse.
Syracuse has launched one of the countries most comprehensive approaches to whole district
reform with a program called Say Yes, as an innovative partner they're working with and
they work with the entire school system. Say Yes provides support to enable every child
to reach his or her full potential including the promise of free college tuition.
With regard to our STEM work, that's been quite extensive thus far. The Questar III
and Capital Region BOCES, two of our BOCES, have collaborated to launch an innovative
STEM-focused high school called Tech Valley. Fairport in upstate New York is launching
all-girls technology courses in collaboration with the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Whitesboro is introducing a nano technology curriculum and at Cobleskill-Richmondville,
students are enrolling in pre-engineering courses as part of the district's Project
Lead the Way Program.
We also have districts around the state that have achieved dramatic gap-closing gains over
the last few years. Districts like Middletown, which has made tremendous progress by leveraging
investments in professional development, technology and closer connections between students' high
school experiences and their post-secondary aspiration.
So you can see Race to the Top for us does not mean a new direction, but actually an
acceleration of all of our work that's already under way.
So I'd like to turn it over to Bob Hughes, who is the CEO and President of New Visions
for Public Schools. MR. HUGHES: Thanks, Laura.
New York State's Race to the Top application builds upon an extraordinary record of reform
in New York City and New York State. Speaking from the trenches let me describe our proposal
and why I believe it promises to dramatically improve teaching and learning.
Let me talk about four things: turnaround, closing low-performing schools, using data
to improve instruction, creating new pathways into the profession of teaching and leadership
and ultimately giving schools greater autonomy in exchange for meaningful accountability.
In New York over the last eight years working with the New York City Department of Education,
New Visions and community groups, together with the city's labor unions, have actually
closed 14 large low-performing schools, actually, a hundred low-performing
schools over the last eight years. But in those 14 low-performing schools that
I've been involved with, we had 35-percent graduation rates when we started.
Working with hundreds of parents, teams of teachers and civic and community groups, we've
created 99 small schools in seven years.
Those schools have high expectations. We expect at least 80 percent of the kids to graduate.
We created unique data systems using yours and other strategies to make ourselves accountable
and transparent for outcomes. The result is two-fold. We have new models
in science and technology, single-sex education, ELL and bilingual schools and transfer schools
that target over-age and under-credited kids. Parents of students have more choice at scale
and, frankly, good teachers have more choice as well.
But more importantly, the graduation rate for these schools have increased dramatically.
In 2008, the average graduation rate in our small schools was 75 percent. More importantly,
African-American and Latino students are graduating at 20 percent, rates 20 percent higher than
their peers across the city. In a portfolio strategy, it's crucial to use
data. We worked to increase student and teacher involvement in data analysis through the inquiry
team strategy.
In 2003, we piloted this strategy to empower teachers using standards and assessments,
but also in structuring schools for improvement. And with inquiry, teach practice is public
and they work aggressively as grade teams and department teams to analyze students who
are outside the school's sphere of success and move the achievement level of those kids
together in their classes and in systems in the school.
Our activities ensure that teachers concretely measure results of the strategies they implement
on a daily and a weekly basis. In mid-performing large schools, we've used
inquiry and we've ultimately seen graduation rate increases of eight to ten percent.
At the core of our emerging work, and thirdly, we are working to create alternative certification
programs with Baruch and Hunter College. At the core of these programs, aspiring principals
and teachers graduate and become certified only when they demonstrate they have improved
student achievement.
Race to the Top will enable us to dramatically improve and increase the number of these programs
throughout Yew York City. New York ultimately is putting greater autonomy at the school
level in exchange for accountability. New Visions has worked for three years as a partnership
support organization. We are responsible for providing instructional and operational support
to 76 schools with 35,000 students. In this role, we, like our principals and
teachers, are publicly accountable for results. We receive autonomy in exchange for greater
accountability for student growth, and credit accumulation, attendance and standardized
assessments. We are working to empower teachers, but we're
also holding them accountable. Last year the leadership of our schools either rated unsatisfactory,
extended or denied tenure, 13 percent of our workforce, based on an assessment of their
effectiveness in raising student achievement.
We obviously can improve and are committed to do so; however, speaking from the trenches,
this proposal is not built on Smoke and Mirrors, but is on the real capacity, commitment and
experience of educators throughout the state. With the tools described by my colleagues,
we have turned around schools. With your support, we will create the conditions for greater
success. I now would like to introduce Ira Schwartz,
the State Assistant Commissioner for Accountability. MR. SCHWARTZ: Thank you, Bob.
For 20 years, I have been involved in New York's efforts to turn around its lowest-performing
schools. I was involved in the design of our system for the registration of public schools
and I have been deeply involved in the process by which we have charted more than almost
200 schools, including some of the highest performing in the United States.
I led our efforts that resulted in New York being among the first five states to have
its accountability workbook approved under the current re-authorization of the SEA and
I also led New York's efforts that have resulted in us being one of nine states to be operating
a differentiated accountability model. I chair the State Education Department School
Accountability Workgroup in which are offices of assessments, information reporting and
school improvement and other offices working in collaboration on cross-cutting issues,
such as the development of the next generation of a growth model.
Since I have been at the Department, I have seen our accountability system evolve and
strengthen. Long before Race to the Top was conceived,
the Board of Regents put in place a policy under which schools in New York must perform
or they must perish and be replaced by new institutions that will better serve our students.
During this time, New York has been one of the first states to adopt such processes as
school quality reviews, curriculum audits and the redesign of schools through the replacement
of staff. We have also collaborated with the New York
City Department of Education as they have pioneered innovation such as the Chancellor's
District, a government structure under which schools receive intent of support and assistance
and then later the creation of the empowerment zone under which schools and school leadership
teams traded significant increases in flexibility and autonomy for greater accountability.
These pioneering efforts have subsequently been either adopted or adapted by districts
both in New York and across the United States. The Board of Regents has a deep commitment
and willingness to intervene intensively in our lowest-performing schools.
We have placed more than 300 schools under registration review and the result of that
effort has been that more than 200 of these schools have significantly improved their
performance. In some 60 cases, we have worked with school
districts and partners, such as New Visions, to take low-performing schools and replace
them with new innovative school models. Accountability is not just about intervening
in low-performing schools. It is also about identifying success and we have had a lot
of success in New York. Recently, we created a list of 214 schools in New York. These are
schools that are accountable for their English language learners and students with disabilities
subgroups; yet, these schools have more than 90 percent of their students who achieve proficiency
in English language, arts and mathematics, and at the high school level also has 90-percent
graduation rates.
In addition, at the elementary and middle school level, the English language, arts and
students with disabilities groups have achieved more than 60 percent proficiency, and at the
high school level have achieved more than 70 percent proficiency.
Despite these accomplishments, we recognize that too often our success has been measured
as taking schools that have been awful and raising them to be average in districts that
themselves are not high performing. Our goal is to do much more than that. We
want to take our lowest-performing schools and move them beyond average to excellence
because we believe deeply and passionately that every student deserves an excellent education.
Working with our districts and organizations, such as Massachusetts Insight, and with our
partners, such as New Visions, with the additional resources that Race to the Top will give us
and the reforms that we commit to, we are confident that we can move forward toward
success. DR. STEINER: Thank you, Ira. It all begins
with teachers.
Before I came to be Commissioner, I had the privilege of being Dean at the School of Education
at Hunter College with some 3,000 students learning to be teachers.
I, and my colleagues, were convinced that business as usual was not good enough. The
use of course work and textbooks wasn't getting it done. So we decided to begin to do it differently.
We have worked in partnership with high-performing schools, such as the one that John led, to
really develop a different way of preparing teachers, a way that was focused on intensive
use of video, intensive use of rigorous rubrics and the assessment of how you added in the
classroom that those trainee teachers were achieving.
We believe that only by intensive practice in the field can you, in fact, make a difference
for children.
We have put those aspects into the heart of our Race to the Top application. That group
called Teacher U that we put together at Hunter has become a model recognized by Secretary
Duncan as nationally innovative in the field of teacher preparation.
We believe in doing the same thing for principals. Once again, its clinical practice carefully
supervised and assessed that's going to make a real difference.
We also believe that student teachers ideally should be in their classrooms for extensive
periods before they teach and that's why, along with Bob Hughes, we've also started
a major residency program at Hunter College where the student teacher is in the school
for a whole year before she becomes a teacher of record, and once again, we've put that
at the heart of our Race to the Top application to take it to the rest of the state.
I'm devoted, as you can see, to the goal of more effective preparation of teachers and
principals and to the professional development there of that group; however, that cannot
be the whole story of education reform. My past work with the Core Knowledge Foundation,
my research in educational policy here and abroad and my deep commitment to a broader
and deeper curriculum, including the arts, give me a passion for vision of education
reform. I'm very, very proud of the team assembled
here before you. As you can hear, there's real on-the-ground experience implementing
reforms that have made dramatic differences for the students of our state. We are fully
prepared to execute on the Race to the Top. Now, let's spend a few minutes providing critical
contextual facts about New York State's educational structures.
First, the Board of Regents, which was created in 1784, has a unique authority over educational
policy. There is no other educational policy board in the country that has its kind of
Let me give an example: In terms of adopting the common core standards, while the Board,
of course, will consult with multiple stakeholders, ultimately, it's the Board that will make
the decision. The Board of Regents, likewise, sets requirements
for graduation from high school and standards for all teacher and principal preparation.
Regents oversee all educational institutions in the state from pre-K to adulthood, all
schools, higher education, libraries, museums and public television stations.
The Regents can and have intervened in low-performing schools. They've closed them down and they
will, if necessary, do so again. New York State is committed to using Race
to the Top funding not just for teacher preparation, principal preparation and important data systems
and turning around low-performing schools, but also to develop the content-rich sequent
spiraled curriculum frameworks as a foundation of our educational system.
We are also committed to a vision of education that is deeper and broader than is conventional.
We have approved -- Regents have approved a commitment to adding the arts, economics,
domestic and international, and multimedia computer technologies to our Regents' assessments
and the curriculums that will support them. As we retool our teacher preparation, our
professional development to ensure that all practitioners can implement this new curriculum,
based on new common standards and new federally supported formative, interim and summative
assessments, we will have the tools that are essential to produce successful interactions
between students and teachers.
To ensure that we place only effective teachers into our classrooms, we will transform the
certification process by requiring that, not only are we going to use the tools I described
earlier, the video and the analysis rubrics, but that teachers demonstrate value added
in the classroom as a condition of their professional certification.
To further foster innovation in the field of teacher preparation, we will now allow
non-collegiate providers to offer teacher certification grounded in clinical practice
and high-performance assessments. We will revise our annual teacher evaluations
to include a measure of student growth in addition to the eight other quality measures
already in place. To further develop the quality of our existing
teachers and principals, we've set aside 120 million dollars in our application to incentivize
the use of new multidimensional evaluations that incorporate student growth to an even
greater degree.
Districts participating in the incentive funds will commit to use student growth for 30 to
40 percent of teacher and principal evaluations and use those evaluations in decisions about
compensation, promotion, tenure and retention. Our two principal unions have endorsed this
incentive fund in the model for principals. And to be clear, New York's law regarding
the use of student data is not a barrier to using this data to evaluate teachers or award
tenure provided other measures are also used. This is made clear in the letter in our application
from New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. The intent of the student data law is that
data be a component of tenure determinations. John.
DR. KING: Beyond the teacher and leader effectiveness initiatives that the Commissioner just described,
there are other goals that I think is important to emphasize in our Race to the Top application:
building a P-20 longitudinal data system that integrates not only data from formative, interim
and summative assessments, but also links unique teacher identifiers to unique student
identifiers, that links unique principal identifiers to unique student identifiers, that creates
using course identifiers so that we can create electronic transcripts for students, particularly
those students who are most at risk and most mobile, a data system that links what we know
about P-12 to higher education. As we describe in the application, we're already
working with SUNY and CUNY to link their data -- our two public university systems, to
link their data to our P-12 data, and we also are working to integrate non-educational data,
data on the workforce and healthcare so that we can actually ask really important research
questions through that P-20 longitudinal data system and then complement it with an instructional
reporting system model done, New York City's successful ARIS model that will drive instructional
We also set out very clearly a goal of turning around our persistent lowest-achieving schools
and, as Ira said, not just making them better, but making them excellent.
Part of how we describe doing that in the application is to use the resources of the
Title I, 1003(g), as well as Race to the Top, to drive real innovation particularly in how
we approach high schools. So many of our 57 schools are high schools and we think the
high school that's only graduating 35 percent of its students, you need to do something
radically different to keep those other 65 percent of the students in school progressing
towards college and career standards. And so we talk about creating schools that
have a STEM focus, to have a career and technical education focus, that rely on the arts as
a way to engage and motivate students, schools that might leverage blended instructional
models using online learning. So we have a vision for transforming high school education
in the state.
We also know that we'll need to use all of the tools at our disposal and are current
law in order to drive that innovation. We will need to use the ability under current
law for SUNY and CUNY to manage schools directly. We'll need to use our AP and remaining charters
to try and create opportunities to replace those persistently lowest-achieving schools
statewide. We will need to take advantage of alternative
governance models like New Visions where intermediaries are partnering with districts to support the
schools and their teachers in getting much better performance for students.
And New York City and New York State have been innovators of the use of intermediaries
like New Visions, like Expeditionary Learning, like College Board. And we've got examples
all across the state of those partners driving improvements in achievement.
And finally, I want to emphasize that our application makes a big investment in STEM/Science,
Technology, Engineering and Math, because we believe the future of the state's economy,
in part, depends on those STEM initiatives. And so in each area of the work, whether it's
developing better, richer curricula in the STEM areas, investing in finding out good
data about students' performance in the STEM areas and using that to drive instruction,
an incentive fund that we described to attract teachers in the STEM areas, particularly teachers
who will focus on serving students with disabilities and English language learners in the STEM
areas, using our virtual school as a strategy for making advanced STEM classes available
to under-resourced schools in the city and in our rural areas, I just wanted to emphasize
we have a comprehensive strategy for school improvement.
DR. STEINER: Thank you, John.
In sum, we believe that the greatest strength of our application is our focus on the instructional
core of education. For us, everything comes back to the skills and knowledge of those
who can make a difference: our teachers, our principals, our school district leaders.
Our Race to the Top goal is not simply to have a few more students succeed against the
odds. It is to fundamentally change the odds for all students. If you give us the tools,
we are committed to getting the job done. Thank you so much for your attention. We would
be delighted to take your questions. REVIEWER #1: Reviewer 2, why don't you start
first. REVIEWER #2: Thanks again for your presentations.
I think one of the toughest things that you had in front of you was to, in the application,
talk about how you were going to translate these statewide aspirations into local implementations.
REVIEWER #2: And what I'd like to hear you talk a little bit more about -- and I'll give
you a specific example from the application -- is about your role in that translation
to implementation at the LEA level. So for me, I guess the place to start --
the specific place to start is going to be with teacher evaluation.
So you have, you know, in your -- the MOU that you had people sign, you had a clause
that was put in there about the role of the collective bargaining agreement in some of
these very tough issues like what role is, you know, teacher effect -- how are we going
to decide what this is going to look like. And so there's a big out. There's a big out
for teachers unions in there because those things have to be collectively bargained.
And then you as the state have to, you know, kind of figure out what your role in those
conversations is going to be.
And so what I'd like to know is can you clarify for me what role you think you are going to
play when local education agencies are talking with their unions about these very tough questions.
DR. STEINER: Let me start and then hand to my colleagues.
I want to be clear, first of all, that, unlike in many states, our professional certification
requirement is an absolute; in other words, you can't continue to teach if you don't achieve
that level. Now, traditionally, that has been a paper
and pencil course work, right, at its core. We are transforming that into a performance-based
assessment that will actually have value added at the core of it. And I want to stress that
that is within the purview of the Regents, right. That is one of the things that they
can do. So that is a front-end, high standard of performance before any teacher can do a
lifetime of teaching.
Secondly, the Board of Regents has the capacity to establish the criteria that have to be
used in the annual performance review and they have just done so; that is, the four
different criteria of performance levels now have to be entered into collective bargaining.
There's no option about that. It becomes one of the things that's there, and we have committed
to building professional development around those new standards.
And finally, we have the incentive package, as you know, which frankly in a time of unprecedented
economic distress for the state will have a disproportionate attractiveness for all
of us to be engaged in. John, maybe you can add a couple of thoughts
to that. DR. KING: I would just emphasize the scope
of participation across our LEAs, we have very high participation. Over 550 of our LEAs
are signing on to participate, including that provision of the MOU.
And we're actually quite strict about the MOU. If districts try to opt out of that provision
of the MOU, we didn't accept their MOU. So we made it very clear, I think, to all
of our districts that we expect this work of collectively bargaining the use of student
growth for teacher evaluation to be at the heart of participation of Race to the Top.
I also think it's important to emphasize, as we mentioned the presentation, that both
our statewide principals' union and the New York City principals' union signed on to the
Principal Incentive Fund, so I think that's a good sign about the willingness of our collective
bargaining units in the state to engage in this conversation.
And the last point I'd make is that our statewide union, NYSED, has a grant from the AFT to
work on exactly this set of issues, development of teacher standards and the use of student
growth as part of teacher evaluation.
So I think there's a lot of energy around this initiative statewide.
REVIEWER #1: Okay. I think we'll probably come back to some of those themes a little
bit later, but we've structured some of the questions. We're just going to move across
the panel. And I'll jump to the second question which
has to do with the charter school law and policies. Basically, what we want to get at
here is we understand that there's a cap of 200 on open enrollment charter schools in
the state. And we're trying to get a sense of how restrictive
or inhibiting this might be on the growth of the charter sector in turning away or discouraging
new applicants. And we're not really talking about conversion charter schools.
So we really want to learn about your views, if you can clarify for us, the level of inhibition
there by having a cap.
DR. STEINER: Ira. MR. SCHWARTZ: Well, one of the first things
to know is that in New York we will have -- even if there is not a single new charter
school added -- and there will be because we have additional ones still within the cap
-- an increase over the next four years of 76 percent in the enrollment of students in
charter schools conservatively estimated based upon schools that are already in the pipeline
that have been approved and have not yet opened, as well as because of the natural growth of
charter schools as they move to include new grades.
DR. STEINER: So how many students is that, approximately?
MR. SCHWARTZ: That will be an increase of approximately 36,000 students, very conservatively
estimated. We expect it will actually be somewhat more than that.
DR. KING: And I would just add that as we described in the application, both the Governor
and the Board of Regents have said publicly repeatedly that they are interested in seeing
the cap raised. Historically, when the cap was reached a couple
years back in New York State, the cap was raised and I think the Board of Regents' expectation
is that the cap will ultimately be raised as we reach it.
DR. STEINER: This is normally done as part of a budget discussion and that is current.
REVIEWER #1: Reviewer #3, let's shift to you, please.
REVIEWER #3: I'd like to go back and talk a little bit more about your instructional
core and how you're trying to get at it. And in the section D, particularly the second
part, my question, you talk about a single teacher effectiveness score.
And in trying to create something that has equity across all teachers, could you describe
your plan for judging teacher effectiveness in non-tested grades and subjects and how
your plan will have the appearance and the credibility with all of your teachers in creating
a level playing field in this evaluation instrument. DR. STEINER: Thank you. This is a national
problem, right. We only have state annual exams in some subjects in some grade levels.
So New York State faces this issue along with every other state.
In the initiative that I described, Teacher U, we faced this squarely because we had some
number of our student teachers who were not teaching within those annual tested areas.
So we began to look at other tools. For example, the use of DIBELS and Terra Nova; that is,
looking at national tests and seeing whether we could use them to indicate value added.
Where we cannot find tools that are appropriate to measure value added, we must, until we
have other assessments, go to a growth model that indicates two points in time, and performance
thereof, that is developed with the help of professional organizations, for example, in
the arts, in science and social studies, so that we can do at least a growth model in
the absence of a value added model. We are doing research along those lines right
now. We established it in Teacher U.S. Prototype. We're looking at other models across the states.
There's no silver bullet here -- there really isn't -- but we are committed to putting in
place that growth model where we can't do a full value added.
REVIEWER #3: Thank you. REVIEWER #1: I just -- let me follow up just
slightly on that and it really links to Reviewer #2's
question earlier in terms of generating local buy-in for
-- so on Reviewer #3's question, was -- so technically, you know, it was more of a technical
question and then there's a implementation question and generating buy-in locally, the
complications of mandatory bargaining and so forth.
Can you help us to understand how the role that -- you've outlined that the state will
work with localities to encourage these things, but can you help us a little bit more to understand
whether you believe, and the extent to which you believe, that there will be local buy-in
and rolling out -- DR. STEINER: Do you want to speak to New York
City. DR. KING: Take New York City, for example.
It's done a number of things that will suggest that buy-in is possible.
First, we are piloting a value added and data initiative with the teachers' union in New
York City; secondly, I think that we've created conditions where there is an enormous amount
of trust between principals and teachers so that in the inquiry strategy, for example,
you're actively using data at the skill and sub-skill level under an enormous amount of
ARIS data, as well as acuity interim assessments, to judge whether students and teachers are
making progress. So we've, I think, built some systems that
are being piloted across the city now. I fully expect that we're going to expand those systems
as we learn more and we are able to generate some confidence in the validity of the tools.
DR. STEINER: I think the key is that it's not just a single measure, right. There are
multiple measures of teacher effectiveness. In our incentive program, we've set 30 to
40 percent should be a measure of actual student growth on data and we've put an enormous amount
of our dollars right into that incentive package. In fact, we've reduced our own 50 percent
of our state funding down to 42 percent precisely to indicate the importance and the weight
that we put on that incentive. These are not small dollars. So the fact is that the principals'
unions have already signed on to that incentive and we have a letter
-- general letter of support from the teachers' unions, as well, and you can be sure that
they know the full application, including that incentive package prior to signing that
letter. So I think the key is, first of all, that
this is not simply rolled out and it isn't a punitive single measure. This is part of
an integrated data plan that will involve dashboards for districts that will involve
the use of these sophisticated tools of data analysis making it available to teachers,
students, parents, community and our own department. And I think that the lessons from New York
suggest that if you wrap together effective real-time data access with issues of teacher
effectiveness and you do it carefully, then you can make it successful.
REVIEWER #3: Could I follow up on that? DR. STEINER: Yeah.
REVIEWER #3: First, you're trying to incentivize that the LEAs are going to do this, and then
by your own estimates you're suggesting a 50-percent buy-in rate by the date you have
in the application. That leaves the other 50 percent. I mean,
if you build it, they will come. I mean, you have an uphill thing here and the way you've
described it, I just would like to hear just a little bit more how, even as the Race to
the Top ends, how you're going to try to get that other half other than you're suggesting
that it's just going to be a very attractive thing that you'd want to have in your schools
based at the LEA level. I don't know how you can create that catalyst
for that last 50 percent. DR. STEINER: Well, I think, first of all,
we are in a very unusual situation in the state. We have 7,500 dedicated professionals
in the BOCES and what we call the RICs, the Regional Information Centers, who have been
on the ground for years, right.
They are working with superintendents, with principals, with teachers. They work with
them every day to implement new data systems, new forms of teacher evaluation. They've been
doing it for the last ten years and they're on the ground.
So it's not the Department of Education in Albany just saying please do this. These are
people -- and these superintendents, district superintendents are our arms and legs, our
minds and our boots on the ground working with local principals, superintendents.
So I think the key is that this not just be a top-down approach that this be worked at
at the district level. John, do you want to add to that?
DR. KING: Yeah. There are two things I would add.
One, is I think the context of trust is really important and I think part of how we envision
cultivating trust is with the rest of the things that are described in the application;
that is to say, to have confidence in the student growth measure, teachers need to have
a clear understanding of exactly what it is they are supposed to teach over a given year.
And so the curriculum frameworks, we think, will drive trust because then it will be much
clearer for teachers to understand, oh, this is what I need to teach in seventh grade science
this year, this is what I need to teach in fourth grade math.
We think having professional development that's aligned to those curriculum frameworks, again,
would be a way to build trust because teachers will see the evaluation isn't just a gotcha
tool. It's a tool to differentiate their professional development, differentiate the support and
coaching that they get. So there's that trust element.
The other piece, I think, is because of our ability to implement this for all teachers
through their professional certification, you know, five years from now every new teacher
over that -- coming into the profession will know that student growth is going to be a
part of how that teacher will earn professional certification, and so I think that will shift
the culture profoundly across the state. And that's a unique tool that we have that I think
many other states do not. MS. SMITH: I was just going to make one point.
I think we absolutely appreciate how important the implementation and just executions of
all of these plans are. And our application calls for additional funding
to enhance the capacity of the BOCES to really work additionally at the level of the schools
to help teachers understand all of these new tools, as well.
DR. STEINER: And finally, I would say that it's important that we are introducing new
career paths for teachers that will build on their being accustomed to that value added
We're looking at mentor teacher paths; we're looking at master teacher paths where the
state can add certification classifications to support growth of teachers around these
new evaluation tools. REVIEWER #1: Great. Thank you very much. Reviewer
#4? REVIEWER #4: My question relates to broad
stakeholder support. Could you point to us in your application
where you have letters of support and especially from different categories of people, such
as business and -- MS. SMITH: It's in -- it's absolutely in the
appendix. I don't know the page numbers off the top of my head, but it's in our appendix.
We had over 100 letters of support from a broad array of stakeholder groups: parent
associations, business leaders, business associations. REVIEWER #4: Well, in my copy I could not
find them.
DR. KING: Oh, that's very strange. In the appendix, we have about -- I think it's --
yeah, it's over a hundred, I think, letters of support.
REVIEWER #5: In the appendix, there's a reference to receiving 98 support letters; however,
it's not clear where those 98 support letters are. So if you could point us in the right
direction. DR. KING: We can give you a copy.
MS. SMITH: It took us a long time to scan all of those in.
DR. STEINER: Yeah, they're here. REVIEWER #1: Okay. We'll look into that and
see if there's been a technical glitch because, you know, you referred to the letters earlier,
that they give evidence of the strength of support.
DR. STEINER: Absolutely. REVIEWER #1: So I think we'll just take the
opportunity now to probe a little bit on that and get some clarity about the strength of
the letters of support.
You mention that a couple of the teachers' unions had signed on. And were there any
-- REVIEWER #4: Did you have any from business?
REVIEWER #1: Can you talk to the content of those? Are they more a pro forma, boilerplate
type of letter or do they get to outlining specific ways that they will help the state
and localities to implement the plan? DR. RING: Let me walk through. So we had nine
from business leaders, many of which were committing to support individual initiatives
like, for example -- I'll give the example of Wegmen's Food Markets in Rochester, which
has built a school to our partnership program with the Rochester Schools, that they're actually
interested in expanding significantly as part of the Race to the Top and Title I, 1003(g)
We had, I think, five letters from non-profits that are interested in either playing a role
in the turnaround schools or in otherwise supporting the initiatives in the turnaround
schools. We had letters from a series of charter providers
-- I think about ten or so charter providers -- civil rights organizations, early childhood
organizations all committing to -- expressing their enthusiasm for particular aspects of
the application that they wanted to support.
And then a number of the education stakeholders, local associations of teachers, the National
Board of Teachers for the state, the Association of Small City School Districts, our statewide
Council of Superintendents, statewide School Board Association, some of our teacher associations
by subject, like the Science Education Consortium, Science Teachers Association, we had a number
of letters from higher-ed institutions supporting the Race to the Top application and speaking
to their interest in participating in, particularly, the STEM initiative, as well as the redesign
of teacher preparation, probably over a dozen higher-ed institution letters, a number of
letters from intermediaries like New Visions that are interested in participating in the
turnaround effort, interested in launching new and innovative school models, and then
letters from legislative leadership, including the letter that we referenced earlier from
the Speaker that clarifies the teacher tenure issue, from a number of organizations that
focus on STEM, who are excited about the STEM components of the application, and then, as
the Commissioner mentioned, from the New York State United Teachers to 9th Statewide Teachers'
Union embracing many of the core components of the application, although they didn't speak
specifically to the incentive fund, but they spoke to the focus on curriculum, the more
performance-based assessments, the redesign of teacher preparation, et cetera.
MR. SCHWARTZ: I might just add the real experience of New York City and New York State has been
to include these groups very actively in some of the toughest work we do.
So in the turnaround situation, for example, in New York City, we had almost 200 community
groups working to create new small schools in the city.
What I think is unique is those groups -- and they range from Good Shepherd Social
Services to the Bronx Botanic Garden -- not only got involved as vendors in those schools,
but actually worked to improve student achievement. And everybody involved in the New York City
effort made a commitment to the 80-percent graduation goal.
So they weren't just looking to kind of provide a little guidance service here, but they were
actually working very aggressively to transform the entire high school experience.
I think we're going to really bring that to the four as we continue in the turnaround
effort across the state.
DR. STEINER: It might be useful, very quickly, to read the last paragraph of the letter of
support from the president to the teachers' union.
DR. KING: As a statewide union of more than half a million educators, NYSED pledges our
continued commitment and support for New York State's efforts to secure a Race to the Top
grant. We look forward to ongoing collaboration in
shaping the details of a plan that is good for students and fair to educators and one
that will sustain our state's progress for decades to come.
REVIEWER #1: I think that probably satisfies us at the moment, unless, Reviewer #2, did
you want to follow up. REVIEWER #2: Yeah. I only have just one quick
question, and I don't want to belabor the point.
So I think if I've got the numbers, if I remember correctly, you have 61 percent of the unions
that could sign on that signed.
And to me, you make a deliberate decision in the MOU to insert the language about collective
bargaining agreements, and I appreciate your response about the certification because I
do understand that you have a way to deal with these issues in another way.
But to have that -- to make that decision to insert that language and then still not
be able to get closer to a hundred percent of the unions to sign on, to me, it just
-- it comes back to this overall question of when things get rough at the local level,
when you're having these difficult conversations, it's great that you have thought through a
way to get at this that is a slightly different track.
But I mean, what role do you see the state playing when those difficult conversations
are taking place that says this is what New York is about, rather than, you know, doing
something that is changing -- which is much less of a stakeholder, you know, sort of engaging
peace and which is changing your certification requirements?
So I actually think it's great that you are being serious about, you know, engaging stakeholders
in those local level conversations, but there will be a point where those conversations
get difficult. And the question is, you know, what's the
state going to do then? Is it going to say like, Well, you know, that's up to you, or
are you going to step in and sort of -- REVIEWER #1: Right. And I think just to augment
the question even more, you know, in tying in with your not wanting to be top-down and
have localities reconcile and direct localities, can you help reconcile your role in both intervening,
but -- DR. RING: Well --
DR. STEINER: Go ahead, John. DR. RING: Well, I think there are three tools
that we could use immediately.
One is that we have this regulatory authority that we described in the form of the annual
professional performance review by which we can require student growth to be one of the
categories in the evaluation. Now, how much it's weighed and how exactly
it's implemented, that is a matter of local collective bargaining, but we can require
it to be a part of the evaluation process. So that's one, you know, fairly broad authority.
The second category is around the Race to the Top and we'll use and districts have committed
to good faith bargaining on the subjects. And if they don't engage in good faith bargaining
on these subjects, they won't have fulfilled that MOU or what will ultimately be our final
scope of work and that will make them not eligible to receive the Race to the Top funds.
So, you know, they've made a commitment. The superintendents have made a commitment to
that good faith bargaining. As you say, 60 percent plus of the unions have committed,
as well.
And the other districts, I suspect that their local collective bargaining units will come
to the table because it will be clear in our final scope of work that that good faith bargaining
is a part of the requirement for Race to the Top.
And then I think -- the third thing I would say is that certainly in the districts that
have the persistently lowest-achieving schools, because, you know, the transformation model
requires evaluation of teachers based on effectiveness, those districts will have to -- to the extent
that they want to take advantage of the transformation model, they will have to reach agreement with
their local collective bargaining unit around that exact authority.
So I think, you know, those three tools will help us drive it forward. Do I think it will
be in every district at the end of four years, no. But I think we'll be able to make significant
progress for all the reasons we've described.
MR. SCHWARTZ: And just on John's last point, we have already brought together the seven
districts that have persistently lowest-achieving schools with their local collective bargaining
units to discuss with them the -- all of the requirements under the four intervention models
and to encourage them to begin their discussions immediately around any issues that need to
be collectively bargained. DR. STEINER: And that's 65 percent of all
our neediest students. REVIEWER #5: Could you clarify your process
for identifying the lowest-achieving schools because given a state the good size of New
York, 57 schools seemed a little bit on the low side.
I just wanted to know a little bit more about your process in identifying those schools.
MR. SCHWARTZ: We followed the requirements for the identification of persistently lowest-achieving
schools. The universe of schools that are identified for improvement, corrective action
and restructuring in New York is 500 schools. So that was the basis upon which we identified
our five percent of our lowest-achieving schools. We have a unitary system in New York so that
whether you are a Title I school or you are a non-Title I school; those schools are all
identified in New York as schools in improvement, corrective action and restructuring.
In addition to doing that, we identified all of our schools at the secondary level that
had a graduation rate below 60 percent for our last three cohorts, which were the 2002,
2003 and 2004 school year cohorts. Those numbers resulted in us having 57 schools.
REVIEWER #1: Did you have another question that you wanted to ask at this point?
DR. STEINER: Do you just want to say a quick word about the added schools that we would
like to also support?
MR. SCHWARTZ: In addition to the 57 schools that have been identified as persistently
lowest-achieving, it is our intention to have a fund for districts to opt in and, if they
are willing to have schools that are not on our list also engage in one of the four intervention
strategies, they will be able to receive a grant to support that effort.
And we are anticipating that there will be approximately 25 schools that we will fund
as a supplement to the 57 persistently lowest-achieving schools.
REVIEWER #1: Great. Reviewer #2. REVIEWER #2: So I think as peer reviewers
one of the difficult things for us is to sort of judge the credibility of what you say you're
going to do. You're asked to talk about a lot of things
that are in the future if you get this money, you know, building new offices, hiring new
people. So, again, I'm totally respectful of the charge you had.
I think that in reading your state application, a lot of the credibility comes from the fact
that you have New York City and the work that's been done there over the last ten years to
sort of look at the lessons learned there and build on it, and you had referred to it
in your comments. And I very much appreciate you being here,
Bob, and I understand the role that New Visions plays for the portfolio of schools that it
supports in New York City. But I wanted to just ask you to talk about
the decision not to have someone from the New York City Department of Ed here today
given that so much in your own application, your own words, you know, you refer a lot
to the work that's been done there as a springboard for what you want to do statewide.
DR. STEINER: Well, we felt that, first of all, you deserve to see the experience of
the team that was going to actually execute on Race to the Top and the different levels
of histories that we bring to this work, whether it's actually turning around schools, whether
it's blowing the roof off performance for under-performing students, whether it's trying
to transform the quality of teacher and principal preparation. So these are the folks on the
ground. This is not icing on a cake, right. This is the engine room.
Secondly, we felt that bringing somebody from the city who's actually sitting there directly
responsible for working with schools every single day and working with these data systems
and working with teachers, right, to make this happen was crucial to the credibility
of saying what we've said. So rather than go the sort of 30,000-foot
route, we wanted to really, as Bob said, come from the trenches and to give you a sense
of the people who are going to execute on this work.
REVIEWER #1: Great. We have a number of smaller questions that the panel will just be taking
advantage of the time to have you clarify aspects of the application at this point.
And one that I had had to do with the STEM focus statewide.
Can you help us to understand how there's a statewide commitment to providing opportunities
for particularly under-served groups and girls, focuses on that statewide.
DR. STEINER: So let me start and then invite my colleagues.
Let me start with teachers, right, because we have a crucial need to have more teachers
involved in the STEM subjects. So we are incentivizing with differential
compensation, $35,000 over a few years for those teachers who commit. They've already
have to have a track record. We don't want to invest in those who are not
performing at high levels, so they have to have shown us a track record and performance.
But once they've done that, we will have an incentive for them to remain in those schools
committed to teaching science and STEM subjects.
Secondly, we have new plans in the Race to the Top application for enabling us to take
university professors and professionals who have expertise in the STEM areas and develop
accelerated certification focused squarely on clinical practice, right, and ensuring
that they have the content knowledge, which is crucial to get them into the classroom,
into the STEM subjects. So, again, we feel we have untapped resources,
right, to bring professionals into those crucial fields.
DR. KING: A couple things I'd add: one is that I think one of the missing pieces around
STEM is the replication of effective instructional practice.
So you have some schools with very impressive results and lots of schools with mediocre
results and some schools with abysmal results. And we don't do a very good job, I don't think
yet, of capturing what it is that those schools that are succeeding are actually doing.
And so part of the reason to make a significant investment in curriculum frameworks and professional
development is so that we can try and capture those best practices.
So something that the Commissioner and I worked on at Teacher U is having videotape of excellent
math instruction and what does it look like to teach a great lesson on division of fractions,
and making that available more broadly, we think, will make a big difference.
Second, in the turnaround piece, we've talked about wanting to encourage the creation of
STEM and then CTE/career and technical education schools, because I think one of the things
that we've seen is that access to great technical education which will lead to careers in the
STEM fields is very uneven.
Some BOCES are doing a very good job in that area, but we have other communities where
the schools are much more in the sort of old vocational model and aren't really providing
students with the skills that would lead them to a high-paying job in a STEM field.
And so that's another place where we are trying to leverage change through the persistently
lowest-achieving schools in the 1003(g). And then the last point I'd make around STEM
is I think one of the key pieces in the teacher preparation sort of argument is that we don't
have very good feedback loops now. If you're a math methods professor at a teacher
education institution, there's no way for you to find out whether the students who left
your classroom are good or bad at teaching math.
And so one of the things we're trying to do with the data system is build that feedback
loop so that our teacher training programs actually understand much better whether they
are equipping students with the skills they need to succeed in science and math in their
classrooms. And so we think that is another place where we'll be able to add a lot of
REVIEWER #1: Okay, Reviewer #4, please. REVIEWER #4: Yes. Would you clarify for me
again just how many -- what you estimate is going to be the number of schools that you
turn around in the next few years and how you're going to do that. Thank you.
MR. SCHWARTZ: We expect that each of the 57 schools that have been identified as persistently
lowest-achieving will be turned around in the sense that either there will be new schools
that will replace these schools or the schools will use the transformation or the turnaround
model and achieve their improvement in academic results.
We are not anticipating that any schools will not be part of this process; in fact, we are
in the process of amending our commissioner's regulations to merge our schools under the
registration review process with the persistently lowest-achieving process.
And moving forward in New York State, schools will then be identified for registration review
in the future because they meet the requirements to be a persistently lowest-achieving school.
DR. STEINER: I would add that the State has a real history of taking action. The State
Board of Regents have closed schools, 60 of them. There have been further closings in
New York City beyond that list where, in a sense, they closed ahead of that process.
This is an authority that is given to the Regents acting on recommendations from my
staff and me. So we are determined not to let these schools continue if they are not
helping students to learn and to graduate.
I would also say that while we tend to focus, perhaps understandably, on the lowest-performing
schools, the theory of change in our application is a theory that says two things drive better
performance for all schools, right: the quality of the teacher and principal in that school
and the absolute commitment to delivering on a curriculum, right, and knowing in real
time whether you're successful or not in doing so.
So I think the key is that we have a reform agenda that looks at the entire state, right.
We have 4,500 schools in New York State. We have 3.1 million school children.
So a strategy cannot be focused only, right, on 57 or 57 plus 25 or the next 25, right.
Life is too short. We have to have a strategy that raises the tide for everybody and that's
what we are committed to. REVIEWER #4: I understand that and I understand
that you have a lot of wonderful things that you are planning to do.
But is there nothing in particular that you plan to do over and above that for the schools
that you want to turn around? DR. STEINER: Well, the strategy of turnaround,
right, is given to us by the federal government, right. It's one of the four strategies.
And as John said, as you move through those strategies and you look at what could arguably
be said to be the less radical strategy, the transformation model, right, that strategy
itself requires absolutely critical intervention including around student performance.
So the data sets that we are putting in place, the intervention strategy will be tied to
and there's nothing uncertain or ambiguous about that.
All of the federal dollars that are being made available under the School Improvement
Grant, as well as Race to the Top, as well, I imagine, as the new authorization that was
just announced, will be focused in the same language. So I don't see much wiggle room.
MR. SCHWARTZ: Let me add that these schools are also part of our differentiated accountability
model, so that means that schools that are persistently lowest-achieving are assigned
a joint intervention team, they can be assigned a distinguished educator.
They will be involved in all of the other activities that we are doing that are going
to support raising the bar for all. They will get the inquiry teams. They will have the
ability to be part of the summative and the formative and the interim assessments. They
will be part of this turnaround in terms of what we are doing with teachers.
So we have, really, three different things here. We have the things that will be available
to all schools as a result of our Race to the Top application.
We have the specific intervention strategies that are part of Race to the Top that will
be funded by that and our 1003(g) money, and then we have our differentiated accountability
model which gives us some additional leverage in these schools through the support of the
joint intervention team and a distinguished educator.
MR. HUGHES: I would just add that in New York City we really aggressively engaged in this
portfolio management strategy, so we haven't been afraid to close low-performing schools;
in fact, we've closed almost a hundred over the last seven years.
But where the challenge is to take those mid-level schools and really transform what happens
in those buildings. The inquiry strategy we've described isn't
something that's theoretical. It's actually being used in 9,000 teams across New York
City in 1,500 schools. And we really do see teachers analyzing their
students' performance at the skill and sub-skill level and then making decisions on a daily
and weekly basis together as teams on what they're going to implement to change instruction
in their classes or what additional intervention strategies they need to be putting in place.
And I think the performance gains in New York City in the last few years really reflect
the commitment in a portfolio strategy to translate data into action in classrooms amongst
MR. SCHWARTZ: And if I can just go back and mention two other things.
We are also one of the states that is partnering with Massachusetts Insights that is going
to help us to significantly increase our portfolio of supporting partner organizations who work
with schools. And in our application, we also talk about
the creation of the TACIT/the Technical Assistance Center for Innovation and Turnaround, which
we will have available to support the efforts of schools as they go through this process.
DR. STEINER: And I think that just bringing these comments together is important. We have
in our Race to the Top this external technical support office. That's important for technical
But we have these joint intervention teams and our inquiry teams that are modeled on
practices that we've seen working. We've built substantial parts of our Race to the Top resources
to sustain/to train/to support those intervention teams.
They will be on the ground in those schools making recommendations based on fine-grained
analysis of those schools' performance to us about the turnaround strategies.
Let me make it very clear that it is my responsibility as Commissioner to approve any turnaround
plan, right. That comes to me. And as I look at those in concert with my
staff, we will be looking at the substance of those plans, do they match not only the
federal requirements, but what we've learned about turning around those schools.
So we will have real data from the ground coming back up to the Department. We will
have intervention teams, we will have inquiry teams, and we have a structure through the
BOCES and through our regional centers with long experience of working with the schools
once we've made those recommendations, once those plans are approved to actually help
them implement. It's not enough to just say do it, right. You have to have the sustaining
effort on the ground. REVIEWER #1: We have two questions in the
queue, so if there are others after that. I'd like to shift from turnaround to talk
a little bit about the plan and the budget that you've put together and help us to understand
the budget a little bit. It's really an overarching question. We're
hoping to understand if there are any costs included or line items included that are non-essential
so that we can better assess the credibility of the plan.
So you've asked for over 800 million dollars and we're curious if you can help us to understand
how essentially each -- don't go through it line item by line item and, really, just we're
looking for a couple minutes of an answer to this as we do have some other questions.
So it's a general question to help us understand the credibility of the plan and the budget
and how it fits in. MS. SMITH: So in developing our budgets, we
did a couple of different things because what we really wanted to understand was what is
this going to cost for districts to implement, because the last thing we wanted to do in
this budget environment was give districts unfunded mandates.
So we really did market studies, you know, talked to people who were on the ground, what
is it going to cost to implement this, to develop the line by line as we developed what
we called the state side of the budget and then also for LEAs, so that within the allocations,
that the districts would have enough money to implement this.
So, you know, we tried to be conservative in making those, but really tried to understand
what exactly is it going to take to make this work for every single project as we line items
out, those individual costs.
DR. KING: Yeah. And I guess I would emphasize that I think we tried to match our budget
to our priorities, and so there's a very large investment in curriculum, professional development,
assessments and the data system because that's at the heart of our theory of change.
We also tried to make sure that our budget would be sustainable past Race to the Top.
So I think it's almost 80 percent, or maybe a little over, of the monies are one-time
investments or one-time over four-year investments. And we have factored the rest of the resources
and we identified other places in our budget where we could support that then other margin,
the other 15 to 20 percent over time. So that the whole of Race to the Top would
be an investment in capacity-building that we could effectively sustain.
DR. STEINER: And I think we were very conscious of the fact that under formula -- our Title
I formula, as we broke down the numbers, we saw that certain districts were going to be
under-funded to do the things that we needed them to do, so that this reform agenda would
really be statewide which is totally critical. So that's why we gave more of our own budget,
right, the state's 50 percent out to the districts and that's why 72 percent, right, all of our
funding under Race to the Top goes straight to the districts.
It's not a 50-50 because we want this to happen and we didn't want to leave the districts
with a huge funding cliff, right, at the end of the process. We were very conservative
about that in our budget proposals. REVIEWER #1: Thank you for that. Let me shift
over here and then invite, after this, a question by another panelist.
REVIEWER #3: This is more of a comprehensive question.
After putting all these four components together and you want to look down five/ten years from
now, what's going to be looking different in your high school classrooms?
DR. STEINER: I believe that at the foundation of all of it are going to be teachers who
are free to teach quality material that is sequential and is sequenced from what came
before. They will know what students learned before
they came into the classroom. They will have a rich array of information that is timely
and relevant at their fingertips. They will have been prepared to analyze that data, to
differentiate their instruction. They will be confident because they have been
in front of the camera multiple times analyzing their own performance with master teachers.
They will have access to materials that are online that they don't today.
They will have access to support from their principals who themselves will have been through
revised leadership academies that we're putting in place through totally reformed certification
programs of their own that focus on sustaining better school performance; otherwise, they
won't be principals. And they will have been prepared at a level
of granularity around rubrics of skills that make a difference that they simply weren't
prepared for anytime until now. So the actual atmosphere in a classroom, the
interaction between a student and a teacher will be different as a result of all of the
things that we put in place. And parents and districts, communities will
have a level of transparency around what's going on in the schools that they've never
had before. DR. KING: Let me add a couple things. One
is, I think -- you know, I think of the schools that the Commissioner and I have visited since
we joined the Department and some of the moments where you feel like, wow, the schools are
really working. So we were in a school in Yonkers, Saunders
Technical School, where kids were building robots. They're a partnership with Cisco.
It's a career and technical education school that actually has a very high participation
in AP exams because it's a career and technical education school with very rigorous academic
expectations. And some folks don't think those go together, but they very much can and do
at Saunders. And so when you see students building these
robots, you hear the teacher who is a former engineer talk about how Cisco says, We’d
hire these kids now for jobs, because of the skills that they've developed as high school
students. That -- we want to see more of that. We want
to see more of there's a school in Rochester, Rochester School of the Arts, where the kids
will tell you, and they're being very honest, I’M in school because I like to dance. I
go to my English Regents class. I don't love it, but I'm doing well in it because I like
to dance. And I know my friend got a dance scholarship last year and I won a dance scholarship
because I want to be a dancer.
And so you can see -- whether it's at Saunders or at Rochester School of the Arts, you can
see where high school isn't just about checking off a set of academic boxes. It's really about
preparing for college and careers. And so as we think about the next generation
of high school assessments, how we use the turnaround dollars, how we use the innovation
dollars, how we push change in high schools, we want high school to be a much more meaningful
place for kids. And the other thing that will achieve for
us is that there will be more kids in those classrooms, because right now we have a 70-percent
graduation rate, or slightly over 70 percent. We don't think that's a very good return on
our state's 50-billion-dollar-plus investment in public education.
And so there is an opportunity, by making high school much more engaging and meaningful
and rigorous for kids, to have many more of them finish. We don't want to have graduation
rates in the 50s in our urban communities anymore. That's not acceptable, and we think
we have a vision for how we can change that. DR. STEINER: And this can be done. We were
at one of the largest high schools in the state just outside Buffalo, very high level
of reduced and free school lunch, almost total minority population from the inner city with
a 100-percent graduation rate. And as John and I talked to the teachers in
that school -- and it's a school that's devoted to technology, but it's an all-around just
excellent high school -- we were struck by one overarching fact that is really at the
heart of what we're saying. The teachers were collectively responsible
for the performance of every single student. They had devised their own data system that
they use twice a day collectively, both horizontally across the grade level and vertically across
the subject, to analyze the performance of every student and to passionately commit to
getting those students to the next level of learning.
They shouldn't have to/4,500 schools shouldn't have to invent their own data system.
REVIEWER #2: Can I interrupt, please? We're just running out of time. I'm getting a little
-- so I think you're bringing up a really important issue, right, and for me that is
-- so I don't question the credentials of this group in here, but we're also judging
the state's will to do what's necessary to make this happen in most of the schools in
the state. So, to me, I still want to know what you're
prepared to do as the State Department of Education when push comes to shove.
So for me, that means, you're doing the right thing saying that these conversations have
to happen locally. There have to be some -- there are a lot of people that have to
weigh in on this stuff and, if they don't, there won't be investment and it won't work.
REVIEWER #2: But there will be a time, right, theoretically in a couple of years when those
conversations and the experiments on the ground have netted for what you take to be the best
practice. And at that time, what's your role going to
be in pushing that best practice out to the places even where there is -- I mean, you
know, pick your poison -- it's a tough union conversation. It's a, you know, do-it-yourself
superintendent who doesn't want -- how are you going to push those things out to those
states and deal with the forces that might, you know, impede you from doing that?
DR. STEINER: Well, I think a number of us should respond, but my responsibility, first
and foremost, is to tell the story to the population of the state, to share with parents,
to share with lawmakers, to share with district superintendents and local superintendents
the difference between when it's working and when it's not.
You know, laws can do important things, but it is in the end the culture of our education
system that has to change and that's why we've made enormous commitments already to being
out in the field, to meeting with those superintendents.
You know, I've been to a small district called Malone like ten miles from the Canadian border.
I've spoken to superintendents who are anxious for tools they can't invent, that they can't
afford. They deserve that. But then as we speak to those superintendents, we're saying
to them we can give you the capacity, but we can also give you transparency so that
your parents, right, know how to read the results of your schools.
And we're committed to that, district-wide report cards that will be clear and transparent.
So it's sunshine, right. It's a crucial tool, and we can bring around the use of these new
tools and the results they're getting. DR. KING: I just would point to some of the
hard decisions that are already in the application to illustrate.
One is around the persistently lowest-achieving schools, not only identifying them, but saying
to them you must use one of the four models and there is not going to be flexibility,
there's not a way out of the four models and being very clear.
Not everyone loves the four models, but we've been very clear those are the models. That
is what we not only are going to implement as part of 1003(g), but part of why we're
merging the CEDA process and the persistently lowest-achieving schools process and say it's
not optional. It's not that you can walk away from that
money. It's that you must implement one of the four models or risk revocation of your
registration, which is under the authority of the Commissioner. So that's one example.
A second example is around certification. Taking a stand on the idea that teacher certification
ought to be based on performance in a classroom is not typical and that was not popular in
all corners, but we were very clear. And I think that, you know, the Commissioner
speaks very powerfully to this, the gap when he was a dean watching students teaching on
video and then looking at their school transcript and seeing the gap between the video and the
transcript. We can't have that yet. We need to know that
when we certify a teacher, they actually are able to help their students learn.
And so that was a controversial decision, but that was the decision that was made and
it's in the application. And a third example is around the non-higher-ed
institutions being able to run teacher certification programs. And that was not a popular decision
with many of the higher-ed institutions.
At the same time, I think some of them came around because what we pointed to is what
we're getting isn't good enough and if we want to get something different, we've got
to do something different. And so we made the decision. The Regents made
the decision to approve the idea and the concept of non-higher-ed institutions being able to
train teachers. The Museum of Natural History, a high-performing
CMO, a high-performing intermediary organization being able to train teaches, that was perceived
as radical in many corners, but we actually think radical change is needed because we're
not where we need to be. DR. STEINER: And let me add one more very
powerful example, probably what's best known from New York State, perhaps rightly, are
our Regents exams. We're one of the few states with real end-of-course
exit exams for all of our graduating students and we are raising the standards each year
phasing out what's called the local diploma.
You might think that that's good enough. The Regents announced just recently that they're
putting the top-working group together to actually look at the whole question of whether
our standards are rigorous enough, right. Not only are they raising the cut scores,
but they're saying we've got to have more auditing of our questions, we've got to have
longer tests because we're not satisfied that we're doing enough to capture the frameworks.
We are looking at performance-based indicators. We want vertical integration from college-ready/workforce-ready
backwards. We don't want to build a tunnel from two directions with no compass. We've
got too many people flunking out of community colleges. We're not happy, right.
That's not easy when you've spent many, many, many hours and many millions of dollars putting
in a testing regime to step back and say, yeah, it's good, but it isn't good enough,
right, and that's not easy and popular.
MR. HUGHES: And I would say look at New York City. We've had tough conversations in New
York City. Those conversations are not going to go away and there's a persistence and a
commitment on all of us to make sure that we're working aggressively and effectively
to improve student achievement. But don't underestimate the demand and desire
of teachers to be effective in classrooms. One of the things we've seen that's extraordinary
in large schools and small schools is the commitment of teachers to come forward and
once they have the tools to be effective, to redefine themselves in terms of effectiveness.
What I've seen in Neudorf High School or Hillcrest High School are teachers who no longer think
about themselves abstractly, if I differentiate, I'll be effective. What they do is they look
at whether kids are actually learning and change what they're doing based on whether
they're effective with those kids.
So in five and ten years we're going to see teachers who have a redefined sense of themselves,
a professionalism that's defined in effectiveness and, more importantly, I think we're going
to know not only as teachers whether we're effective in our classroom in a particular
lesson, but we're going to know as a school whether we're effective in moving kids to
higher standards, common core standards and graduation.
And, frankly, in New York State, we're going to know whether those kids graduate and ultimately
enroll in college and, more importantly, succeed in college because we're going to have data
systems and reports that enable teachers to connect their real contribution in transforming
New York State. DR. STEINER: And lastly, very quickly, let's
go to the foundation. We can change teacher preparation. We will change teacher preparation.
But what about the thousands upon thousands of teachers who are in the school today, right.
We all know that professional development is often a hit or miss activity all over the
country. Why? In part, because we have no curriculum.
We have 700 curriculum in 700 districts or more within the same district. Once we have
put in place sequential content-rich curriculum, we can actually take what counts most, which
is the support we give to enable teachers to be more effective, and focus it on what
is real. REVIEWER #1: Good. We've got less -- fewer
than five minutes here. I wanted to see -- I have one final question, but I wanted to
allow other panelists. Go ahead. REVIEWER #5: We've been talking about teacher
effectiveness. I want to shift a little bit to principal effectiveness.
What wasn't clear within the proposal, are there current routes of alternative principal
certification and, if there are, can you spend a little bit of time explaining that.
REVIEWER #1: And you've got really just --
DR. KING: Answer, yes. There are alternative of routes of principal certification now in
partnership with higher-ed institutions. So New Visions has a partnership with Baruch,
New Leaders for New Schools. It has trained, I think, over a hundred -- has over a hundred
alum’s in New York City schools. So there are these alternative routes, but
Alternating City has built their Principal Leadership Academy. That is an alternative
route. But each of them is in partnership with a
higher-ed institution. And one of the things that we described in our application is wanting
to empower non-higher-ed institutions, again a high-performing charter network or a high-performing
intermediary that's demonstrating results with high-needs kids, empowering them to build
teacher and principal training programs and to then have those principals earn certification
through a performance-based assessment.
REVIEWER #1: Okay, I think this is -- we're down to two minutes, so the two-minute warning.
And the wrap-up question here -- again, thank you all for your time and the care you've
put into the application and your patience with all of our questions which you've given
us some very good answers, so thank you. My last question just has to do with making
data available to researchers. You talked about sunshine.
The question really is the strength of -- can you tell us about the strength of your
commitment to opening up your data system to researchers and how that will happen.
DR. STEINER: Well, very recently we got a powerful example. We have a very renown expert
in testing, Dan Koretz, from Harvard University who's known as a tough critic and a thoughtful
analyst of assessments across the country, has a major and respected book on the subject.
And we are asking him, and he has agreed, to do an analysis of our state testing results,
right. We have opened up our data to him and his research team. And we have put no conditions
on his research and he will be free to publish what he finds.
We are committed to an assessment regime, as we are committed in other areas, to being
straightforward and truthful. The Chancellor very recently and I in announcing
our graduation results, we fine-grained it. We gave slide after slide after slide to the
press. In fact, I was criticized for being blunt on the results in some cases.
Again, we have nothing to hide. We want to work with every one of our teachers, our principals
and our district leaders to improve the education of every one of our 3.1 million school children.
That's why we're here. REVIEWER #1: Great. So we have used up all
the time. Again, on behalf of all of the panelists, I'd like to thank you.
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