Uploaded by usedgov on 16.02.2012

"Respect Launch"
>> My name is Shakera Walker and I am one of 16 2011 through 2012 Teaching Ambassador
Fellows here at Ed and I'm also a proud kindergarten teacher from Boston Public Schools. I am so--oh,
thank you. Yay, kindergarten in Boston. I am so excited, I can hardly contain myself
because today we are launching the beginning of a National Conversation on the Teaching
Profession. Raise your hand if you're a teacher. Wow. Amazing. Great. We're glad you're here
because we believe your input is valuable and it's important to us at every level in
this discussion. So today, I'm going to begin by telling you a little bit about what we've
heard from teachers in the field followed by brief remarks from our secretary, Duncan,
and then we're going to conclude with the town hall in which you can converse with myself,
Secretary Duncan and our Chief of Staff Joanne Weiss. This would be an opportunity for you
to ask us questions about the support initiative and generally, just have a conversation about
the demands, challenges and expectations of teaching. As staff--so it's kind of like what
we'd like to call ourselves, perhaps, the best part of our role is being able to talk
to teachers from all across the country and bring their wisdom back to policy makers here
at Ed. Over the last several months, we have held more than 100 conversations with educators
at all kinds. Urban teachers, world teachers, district teachers, charter teachers, retired
teachers, respected teachers, you name it and if we haven't seen you, we're coming to
a city near you. We had been welcomed into important discussions this year, information
from these voices in the field. And today, I want to show with you some of the things
we've heard from teachers about our profession which have tremendously helped shape this
important project. Teachers have said, "On the whole, we are tired. We are frustrated,
we are unsupported and underpaid" and so I want to be involved in the policy decisions
that affect our profession and contribute knowledge to the conversation. One teacher
from Ohio said, "Keep doing these roundtables so we can be a part of the vision. We are
the workers on the front line." We want to be a part of a profession that is respected
and highly regarded for the fact that it is intellectually demanding, rigorous and complex
work. We want to be held to high standards and we support a meaningful feedback to continuously
grow and improve. Here's one we heard over and over again. We want to be compensated
in ways that recognize the true value and extent of our work. A middle grades teacher
from Kentucky said, "We're professionals. We're supposed to act like professionals in
school and out of school yet, we're not treated like professionals nor are we awarded like
professionals." We want a career path that allows for greater choices and opportunities
for professional growth and advancement. Many of us entered the classroom unprepared and
lacking the hands-on experience necessary to be effective in the classroom. I know my
first year was horrible. Teacher preparations such as residency programs must be practical
and focused on all of the effective strategies that we need to use in the classroom from
day one. Sometimes when we invite teachers into the classroom, we're setting them up
for failure. This adds to the negative perception of teachers. We no longer want to work at
schools that operate like factories but instead, one that encourages innovation and allows
us the opportunity to thrive through teamwork, shared collaboration, shared decision-making
and access to differentiated rules. We need freedom and we need trust to do our jobs well.
Taking risks should be expected and encouraged. One principal said to me the other day, "Our
job is to get out of their way so that we can allow great things to happen." Great teachers
plus great leaders equal great schools. Strong leaders are key and need to be an important
part of this vision and I have to say that this is change in Ed's thinking about this
project because of what we've heard from teachers like you out in the field. And lastly, attracting
and retaining effective teachers is one of the most important things we can do for our
children because as we all know, great teachers are essential to children's success in school
and in life. So in addition to being a TAF, it's been exciting to work for such a committed
and dedicated leader. It is my distinct pleasure and honor to introduce our United States Secretary
of Education, Arne Duncan. Secretary Duncan is, I'm sure you all know, his bio is super
impressive. It was so long, I don't even have the time to tell you about all the wonderful
things he's done. But what's most important is that he understands how critical it is
to enhance education for all of our children so that they all receive a world class education
and access to a range of opportunities in life. Secretary Duncan also gets the importance
of great teaching. During his ten-year as CEO of Chicago Public Schools and even now
as U.S. Secretary of Education, he has done more than any other education secretary to
promote great teaching. He had said time and time again, "Great teaching matters." And
he's working hard to support us in rebuilding our profession and elevating our voice in
education policy. I have come to see firsthand just how interested he is and getting teachers
involved in this work. And with our help, he hopes to make teaching not only America's
most important profession but America's most respected profession. But also, I'd like to
invite him to come to the stage to discuss this work and lead change within our profession.
>> Thank you Shakera for that kind introduction and for all the hard work. We're thrilled
to see all of you here today. I'm going to be pretty brief and I want to get into a great
conversation. But I want to start with a quick story. Where's Laurie Calvert? I saw Laurie
earlier. Where's--Laurie's in the back. So Laurie's--it was last year, one of our amazing
Teacher Ambassador Fellow, stayed on with us this year, Nationally Board certified whose
dedicated herself to work, you know, in a pretty disadvantaged community in a rural
area. But Laurie probably not too dissimilar from many of you when she talked about going
to education, thought about that. Her parents who loved her dearly actually discouraged
her from doing that. And I see a few heads nodding. It's not--when this--it went to long
figure there. It wasn't that they didn't like her. It wasn't that they didn't want the best.
It's because they wanted the best and they thought that education wasn't a great career,
that it couldn't make a good living, didn't get enough support, you know, just didn't
have an opportunity to make a difference. And so luckily, Laurie is a bit of a rebel
and hardheaded and didn't listen and, you know, went on and has done great, great things.
But I think for far too many of us, people who love us dearly tell us not to going into
education. And those of you that are here didn't pay that attention and kept going.
But think of how many extraordinary talented folks had this in their heart, want to make
a difference but people who cared about them said, "Something is wrong with that profession.
Find something else to do." That picture is fundamentally flaw. Something, at his heart,
is rotten about that. We have to make it so the entire country, everyone who loves us,
cares about us, encourages us, persuades us, supports us as we're going to education. We
have to challenge this in a very fundamental level so I'm thrilled Laurie stayed with it
and all of you stayed with it but I worry about the many, many people who we lost because
rational folks who love them told them to go to do something else with their life. So
today, we're trying to formally launch Project RESPECT and we think there are not enough
acronyms in education so we just added a new one and we'll test you on this when you're
done. RESPECT stands for Recognizing Educational Success Professional Excellence in Collaborative
Teaching. Recognizing Educational Success Professional Excellence in Collaborative Teaching.
Now try and quickly break that down. Educational success means that we're focusing on improving
student outcomes. Professional excellence means that we are focused on continuously
improving practice in recognizing and rewarding and probably most importantly, learning from
great teachers and principals. And collaborative teaching means that we're focused on shared
responsibility in creating schools where principals and teachers work together with their peers,
support each other, hold each other accountable and lift each other to new levels of skill
incompetence. The purpose of the RESPECT project is to directly engage with teachers and principals
all across the country in a national conversation about teaching. This conversation is actually
been underway for several months. Our Washington Teacher Ambassador Fellows like Shakera are
active classroom teachers spending a year working with us here at the Department of
Education and they have already held more than 100 roundtable meetings with teachers
all across the country. They're here with us today. I'd like to ask them to please stand
up and please give them a round of applause for their extraordinary leadership and hard
work. That team is remarkably talented and we're lucky to have them with us. In the coming
months, they will lead many, many more conversations and they'll be joined by our 10 classroom
fellows from across the United States who are also working part-time with us while they
stay in the classroom this year. The conversation would be on blogs, in the media and in town
halls like this one and we will engage with union partners at every level, national, state
and local as well as teacher reform groups like Teach Plus, Educators 4 Excellence and
the New Teacher Project. We'll work of all the subject matter groups in Reading, in Math,
in Science, in History, in the Arts and the National Board for Professionals Teaching
Standards which has been such a strong partner and leader in supporting and promoting excellence
in teaching. Our goal is to work with educators in rebuilding the profession and to elevate
the teacher voice in shaping federal, state and local education policy. Our larger goal,
as Shakera said, is to make teaching not only America's most important profession but America's
most respected profession. That's a lofty goal but we are deadly serious about getting
there. And we spent years, I think as a nation, talking about the many problems afflicting
the teaching profession today. Today, too many of our schools of education are mediocre
at best, resulting in a staggering 62% of young teachers saying they actually felt unprepared
to enter the classroom. Many teachers are poorly trained and isolated in their classrooms.
Teachers are given too little time to succeed and they are in an increasing pressure to
get results to meet accountability targets, not enough principles, know how to attract
and nurture and let blossom the great teachers that they have in their buildings. While high
performing nations almost universally have a high bar to entry, rejecting as many as
nine and ten applicants who would want to teach in their countries. Here in the U.S.,
we basically allow anyone to teach and then we train and support them poorly. Here in
the United States, evaluation is too often tight only to test scores which makes no sense
whatsoever. Instead of a safety net beneath our children and teachers, test-based accountability
has become a sword hanging over their head. Too many schools resembled 19th century factories
that treat all teachers and all students alike rather than creating learning environments
designed to address the individual needs of students and the personalized developmental
needs of teachers. Both the teacher work day and the work year are too short to get the
job done and allow for the kind of professional collaboration teachers want and need in the
learning time that students, particularly disadvantaged students, desperately need.
Teacher tenure and compensation is largely unrelated to job performance, to skill and
to demonstrate a leadership ability. Compared to other important professions, teacher's
salaries are far too low to attract and to retain top college students into the field
and barely sufficient for existing teachers to raise a family, to buy a home and to maintain
a middle-class lifestyle. Many teachers must work side jobs or rely on their spouses to
make ends meet. Something is radically, radically wrong with that picture. Finally, good teachers
must often leave the classroom. Leave what they love most and what they do best to acquire
more responsibility, to advance professionally and to increase earnings. Many simply leave
the field altogether. I could go on and on but I think you guys get the picture. This
is not a time for timid tweaks around the edges of the profession. This is a time for
transformational change. Last summer, I called for dramatic increases in salary and professional
opportunities for teachers matched by equally dramatic changes in the how the profession
itself is organized. Three weeks ago in the State of the Union, President Obama joined
the conversation. We passionately reminded both congress and the nation just how much
teachers matter. He said and I quote, "We know a good teacher can increase the lifetime
income of a classroom by over $250,000. A great teacher can often escape from poverty
to the child who dreams beyond the circumstance. Most teachers work tirelessly with modest
pay, sometimes digging into their own pocket for school supplies just because they want
to make a difference." And then the president put a bargain on the table. And I quote again,
"Give schools the resources to keep good teachers on the job and to reward the best ones. In
return, grant schools flexibility to teach with creativity and passion to stop teaching
to the test and to replace teachers who just aren't helping kids learn." That's a bargain
worth making. Those are powerful ideas, powerful words the president himself wrote into the
State of the Union. Just to be clear, President Obama is not arguing against testing or accountability.
We need a system for tracking our progress so we know whether children are learning and
whether teachers are teaching. But the president is clearly arguing against teaching to the
test and narrowing the curriculum. He's also arguing against an accountability system that
relies far too heavily on test scores from a bubble test. At a student town hall last
March, he said, "Let's find a test that everybody agrees makes sense and let's make sure that
that's not the only way we're judging whether the school is doing well or not because there
have to be other criteria." On January 24th, the White House also issued a document that
called for a new competitive program to challenge states and districts to work with their teachers
and with their unions to comprehensively perform the teaching profession. It starts by making
our teacher colleges much more selective. High performing countries like Finland and
South Korea set a very high bar for teachers. We should do the same. Last week, I met with
the Minister of Education from Singapore. One of those countries, that today, is out
educating us. They talked in detail about 90% of folks who want to teach in their country
they don't allow into the profession and then they train and nurture them and prepare them
in a very, very different way. They value their teachers at a different level. We must
create new career ladders for teachers so they don't have to leave the classroom, leave
the work they love most to assume leadership roles and responsibilities in their schools.
We need mentor teachers, master teachers and teacher leaders supporting younger colleagues,
driving school decisions around curriculum and scheduling and staffing. Teacher earning
should be tied more closely to performance on a range indicators rather than simply to
longevity and credentials. We should compensate teachers who are willing to work in tough
learning environments with the students who most need their help. We should make it possible
for teachers to earn much more money than they earn today from the start of their careers
all the way to the finish. Salary should be much more competitive with other true professions.
We all know that teachers don't go into the field, don't go into education to make a lot
of money. Teachers are some of the most altruistic and giving and idealistic people that you'll
find anywhere. Teachers want to make a difference and they want to transform the lives of their
students and they stay in the field because they enjoy the work and enjoy the difference
they are making. But teaching isn't the Peace Corps. This is a profession and teachers should
be able to live a comfortable, middle class lifestyle and not have to take on a vow of
poverty. We should also dramatically improve professional development and provide more
time for collaboration among teachers. That's a constant thing. Shakera knows it harder.
We should provide teachers with greater autonomy in the classroom in exchange for greater accountability
and we need to build a shared understanding of what that exactly means. We need evaluation
systems for districts and schools and principals and teachers that are based on multiple measures
rather than just on test scores. And I think you've seen hopefully in the waiver process
we've gone through the states. The states are becoming much more sophisticated in walking
away from the one-size-fits-all no child left behind mentality and I think it didn't work
for much of anybody. It should include classroom observation, peer review, peer and student
feedback. And we need to figure out how to evaluate and better support teachers and non-tested
subjects like the Arts, Foreign Languages and Physical Education and in many places,
teachers themselves are already leading in driving this complex work. Just two weeks
ago, I met with Jude Davison, a Music teacher from Memphis, Tennessee. Art teachers there
were frustrated because they were being evaluated by solely on school-wide performance in Math
and English and he didn't think that was fair. So he convened a group of Arts educators to
come up with a better evaluation system. After Jude's committee survey Arts teachers throughout
Memphis, they decided to develop a blind pure view evaluation to assess portfolios of student
learning and this proved to be enormously popular, so much so that the entire state
of Tennessee is now looking in adopting that system statewide for Arts educators. We need
to reform tenure and to raise the bar. We need to protect good teachers and promote
accountability. Instead of a lifetime guarantee, tenure needs to be a recognized honor that
signifies professional accomplishment and success and we need a workable system that
guarantees due process to deal fairly with those who are simply not up to the challenge.
No one wants to protect bad teachers and clear, efficient and a partial due process agreements
benefit everybody. This effort will require the entire educational sector, states, districts,
unions, principal schools--principals, schools of education, teachers themselves, our Department
of Education, all of us have to change and we desperately want teachers to lead that
change. Our job here, we think, is to support change with transparency, with incentives,
with our voice and with the president's voice. On Monday, President Obama's proposed budget
called for $5 Billion from the American Jobs Act to support this new competitive program.
Now we won't see this money until October the very earliest and that's only if congress
agrees to fund it. But this conversation is about so much more than a $5 Billion federal
program. This is how about America invest $5 Billion every year to pay teachers. It's
about the tens of billions of dollars we spend to train teachers and the billions that we
spend on professional development. I promise you we will fight tirelessly to increase investments
in public education. I believe this is the best investment our nation can make in itself
from expanded Pre K opportunities to K to 12 reform, to increase access to higher education,
this cradle to career continuum. We fundamentally believe that these are investments not expenses
that somehow must be on the chopping block every single year when budgets get tough.
Well, we also have to have an honest conversation about whether our current investments are
working and I always give the example of title to money, professional development money.
We, at the federal level, spend $2.5 Billion a year on professional development money.
As I go and talk to great teachers across the country and ask how much is that money
helping to improve their job and improve their development, they either laugh or they cry.
They're not feeling it. And so while we fight for additional resources, we are going to
be very, very honest about our $2.5 Billion, probably other 2 to 3 billion that states
and districts are spending and are we really helping teachers master their craft and hone
their skills. I think the honest answer is in most places we're not even close. It's
about the way our schools are run and the leadership role that teachers are allowed
or too often not allowed to play in their schools. It's about autonomy and accountability,
about empowering teachers in creating conditions for success in our nation's hundred thousand
schools. We need to redefine what it means to teach in today's globally competitive inter-connective
economy because what you learn in school today is only the foundation of what you will need
to know tomorrow to be successful. Teachers, students, all of us, we must all become life-long
learners. We need to radically change society's views of teaching from the factory model of
yesterday to the professional model of tomorrow where teachers are revered, revered as thinkers,
as leaders and the nation builders that they truly are. A million or more teachers are
set to retire over the next decade. This presents both a real challenge and an amazing opportunity.
The teachers who replace them will shape public education for the next 30 years and drive
America's intellectual growth in progress. No other profession, no other profession carries
a greater burden for securing America's economic future. No other profession holds out more
promise of opportunity to children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, and
no other profession deserves more respect. So, today, we formally renew this national
conversation around the future of teaching. I'm absolutely convinced that the future of
the teaching profession and the future of our nation are inextricably linked. We look
forward to hearing your ideas, following your leadership and pursuing your vision. As we
fight to strengthen our nation economically, as we fight for greater social justice through
strong and real education opportunity, the voice of teachers has never, never been more
important. This new vision will not appear overnight. There will be areas of real disagreement
and you will proceed in different ways, in each state and district and community. There'll
be no single formula for success. But one way or another, change is coming to the field
of education and I know, I know that if our teachers are at the table demanding that change
and leading that change, the outcomes will be in the best interest of our children, our
teachers in our country. Thank you so much. Is Maddie Fennell here? Here is my friend,
Maddie. Maddie, stand up. Maddie is an extraordinary teacher and leader who's devoted her life
to serving children and a community that, all too often, doesn't have access to great
talent like hers. And Maddie, I want to thank you for the example you set of service and
commitment for all of us. Maddie is not just doing great job in the classroom, she's helping
the NEA form a new vision for education to strengthen the profession across the country.
Maddie, I'd like to give the floor to you and then after that, we're just going to open
up and have a conversation. All yours, Maddie.
>> Would you mind if I move up here a little bit so people can see me?
>> Absolutely.
>> Thank you. First, I'd like to start by recognizing my fellow teachers who are here
from the NEA and from the Commission who have taken time away from their busy schedule to
be here. I want to talk to you just a little bit about what the NEA is doing and what we've
done in the past year. I have the honor of chairing the Commission on Effective Teachers
and Teaching and in that role, we were asked since December of 2010 to begin looking at
a new vision. And as you can remember why there was a quite of bit of upheaval going
on in the Middle East last spring, there was also quite a bit of upheaval going on around
here in American Education last spring. So we were charged with coming up with this vision
at the time when it was very challenging. Well, we did work to remove ourselves from
the current maelstrom that was going on and tried to become a lighthouse for what we want
to become as teachers. And in that work, we came up with many of the same conclusions
that the Department of Ed has done. We were--in looking at this, we realized the part of what
we get caught up in education is we get caught up looking at strategies and activities instead
of looking at things systematically because as teachers every day, we're trying to help
that child in our room in front of us and I can't wait for the system to catch up with
what I need. We have to admit that the system is broken. Let's stop making movies of our
people who go outside the system and do something good like a movie about people who redid the
system instead. So, NEA is calling forth to the Commission; professional, collaborative
autonomy, and collective responsibility. That means that we realized that we still have
to do this work alone in our classrooms, but then we go back and we talk to our colleagues
about what we're doing and why we're doing it. And we do this in relation to the people
that we serve, to the students that we serve. Responsibility and accountability isn't about
numbers. It's about the relationship and the responsibility I have to you as my students.
That's my true accountability. We also had to take on some really tough issues and realize
that when you look at what defines a profession, there are three key points. There's a defined
body of knowledge that everyone in the profession is taught that body of knowledge and that
the profession itself has control over the entry and exit. We have to admit we don't
have those things in education. It's time for us to reclaim our authority as the leaders
of our profession and to take those things back. So we asked for changes as the Secretary
did in a way our teachers our taught. And not only that, but let's bridge that gap between
what they're taught in the university classroom, what they're expected to do in the real world.
Let's not have people raise their hands when the principal says, "Who wants a student teacher?"
And somebody says, "Yeah, I want one." They may not be the right person to have a student
teacher. So what are we going to do about that to bridge that gap and make sure we are
showing them the best practices of our profession? We do want to raise the bar for entry. We
want seismic changes in teacher Ed. We want to maintain high standards once you're on
the job and I want job embedded professional development. If I never have to go to another
sit and get workshop in my life, I'll be thrilled because I am a fourth grade teacher and I
have to go back to my kids on Friday and I have to report if I passed or not and if I
did good up here. They're planning on grading me. They like to grade me frequently. But
we also--I do want my students grading me. I do. I give out a report card and I ask my
students to grade me every semester and am I doing well or not. And sometimes they say,
"Not so much. You need a little help in Science." All right. But I want to ask my colleagues
also how am I doing. And that's why if we're really going to control our profession, then
we're going to be about the business of opening our classroom doors and allowing my colleagues
in to see me teach, to tell me what I'm doing well and to tell me how I can do better because
I don't know if any great teacher who doesn't end every lesson trying to figure out how
it could have been better, and that's what we're all about. So let's bring our colleagues
in to do that work. And finally, if we're doing all these good things and we've done
it systematically, we changed teacher Ed. We changed our peer assistance and review.
We have great evaluation systems. Then please we have to change our compensation systems.
They, you know, I--I'm a local union person. I negotiated the salary for 15 years. I did
it based on steps and lanes because you know what that came in at a time when it was the
best we had to offer. When we fought against sexism and racism and high school teachers
were paid more than elementary teachers but we don't have those problems anymore. We have
new problems, so we have to come up with new solutions and new ways to compensate teachers
who are meeting those needs. Well, I'm not confusing the fact that while I have a sense
of mission to my profession that does not mean I'm a missionary; I'm a professional.
So please pay me as a professional. So, that's just a brief synopsis of our work. I have
to add though. I loved your comments about leaders that we started with the comment about
we have to talk about our leaders because I have the incredible privilege of working
under a wonderful leader, a fabulous principal who's actually younger than me which is a
little weird, but she's fantastic. And in just two years time, she has changed the culture
of a building that was the building no sub would go to, every teacher tried to leave.
Within two years, yesterday, 15--in the last couple weeks, 15 teachers of have called there
saying, "I hear there's an opening in your building. How do I get in to your building?"
We have a long list of subs who want to come in to the building but people can't get in
because our teachers don't leave anymore because they love being there and I think that's so
important because leadership is just so critically important. So, as I was listening to you,
of course, the funny cynical side of me wanted to say, "Well, jeez you copied that report
and now you're giving it up there because there's so similar." I mean, and not only
that, I've had the privilege of working with the teachers of the year and they just--we
just finished the strategic plan for the teachers of the year and it's also similar. But as
we were laughing about this ahead of time, my good friend, Dr. Terry Dojar (ph) said
to me, "Oh, no, Maddie, it's not copying. It's called triangulation of data." And independently,
you all came up with the same conclusion, so that means it, in fact, has validity and
reliability, right? I've learned how to use all these good terms in the last year. So
with that though, I have to say my question that I was going to ask you did change a little
bit as I listened to your talk. I have had the opportunity to meet with you for the past
year and I've read a lot of what you've read but, I have people back home who when I posted
on my Facebook page, "I'm coming to the DOE, what would you ask Secretary Duncan?" I'm
not going to repeat a few of the things that they said to me. This is the problem that
we have and that I think we have to get over. Not a teacher on my building would have--would
have disagreed with the thing you said up there. But how is it that we're translating
these messages into reality and confronting the culture that won't allow us to collaborate
together? I mean, how do we truly lead our profession at a time when the current wave
is against us as professionals and vilifies teachers? You can change--and I love the respect
piece. I love everything you're doing. I think it has to happen. That'll change the policy
and therefore some of the actions but how do we really go about changing the beliefs
not only of teachers both that negative lunchroom mentality as well as that, "Oh, gee. Now you're
teacher of the year, when are you going to leave your classroom?" So we're awarding that.
But how do we also change that culture that says you're--why are you just the teacher?
You know, why would you ever want to do that? How do we confront those cultural pieces so
we begin to work together instead of against each other?
>> First of all, let's give a huge round of applause to Maddie Fennell. Secondly, I will
try and answer--there's a lot there. I'll do the best I can. Let me ask Joanne Weiss,
my Chief of Staff, has worked so hard on this project and Shakera to come up and they'll
help answer all the questions and we'll come to you next. First of all, let me say Maddie's
courage and leadership has been remarkable. We didn't triangulate data or whatever you
said. We did just copy--we did just copy your report to be real clear. So, let's cut to
the chase here. The honest answer is I don't know how we do it because it's never been
done before. And that's why we have had a dysfunctional system with teachers going to
principals and principals going to teachers, and unions going to management and management
going to unions for a long, long time. But for that history that is not [INDISTINCT].
For that history that is so discouraging and dysfunctional, I'm actually really optimistic.
And I'm optimistic because we have folks like you who are amazing teachers, union leaders
who are standing up and saying things that would have been heresy and I know the pushback
you get from your own side. And I hope your push is on the--the pushback I get from side,
you know what I'm saying, we have to listen to teachers. We have to open it up. So I think
it takes a level of courage and a willingness to do some uncomfortable things that we haven't
done before. I think everyone has sort of stayed in their lane and we've all just sort
of perpetuated this midst and these stereotypes, but I just feel this tremendous sense of urgency.
And if we can get this right over this next couple of years then we can bring in this
amazing talent over the next four to six years. You know, my time in Washington hopefully
be in the next five years, but this is going to change the country for the next years.
The best legacy we can give. We can fix the law, we can fix each other and we can do all
that. If we don't bring an amazing talent, we're kidding ourselves and so, leaders like
you, teachers like all of you--and it takes folks who are obviously, people who are really,
really cynical but--in for good reason. So I don't discount the real fear or the apprehension,
the anger or whatever. I'm going on too long on this. I'll just give you one other quick
example. When I was in Chicago, we closed some low performing schools. Very controversial,
very difficult, moved out staffs and brought another teams. Huge pushback from the community.
One community--the biggest pushback is they were convinced we were going to close the
schools and build condos in the school. It never occurred to me. I never thought about
it, but that was the real fear because they'd been lied to so many times. And when we just
kept our word, it didn't turn into condos and brought back in great staff and that school
became one of the fast improvement schools. Then the people who were the most cynical,
the most skeptical became the biggest fans. I think the people are pushing back here a
lot and actually those are the ones that we can move if we deliver, we walk the walk is
the people who are complacent in one of the sidelines that just don't have an opinion,
who have given up. That actually is the bigger fight. So I'll take the anger. I'll take the
fear. I'll take the animosity. Let's not talk it, let's walk it. And if we could do it together,
I think we'll change the country, you know, forever. I'll stop there. Please stand. Do
we have microphones or?? We have mics. There are a couple of questions up. There are questions
here and their questions--bunch of questions up here as well.
>> Hi. Good afternoon. I'm Kalisha Wright (ph). I'm a National Board Certified Teacher
from Montgomery County Public Schools. And I do work with our dream team which is the
direct recruitment efforts to attract minorities to pursue National Board Certification. I
was just curious if the Department of Education has any efforts in place to recruit more minorities
to pursue the teaching profession.
>> It's a great question. Again, we have to talk about things that folks don't like to
talk about. Let's start with race. And so I've been very public the fact that we have
so few minority teachers in this country is a big problem. It is not a self correcting
problem, it's getting worse and worse. Quite frankly, I've seen very fewer school--very
few schools of education that have shown any sense of urgency or imagination or creativity
around this. They just sort of take who shows up. And I just want our nation's teachers
and principals to reflect the great diversity of our country. We are a major--we are becoming
a majority-minority country. My stats won't be exactly right but, you know, close to,
you know, I think like 22% of our nation's teachers are teachers of color and it's double
that for what our students look like. For me, it's not just about race. It's around
you need more men, more men of color. Less than 2% of our nation's teachers are African-American
males, less than 150. Less than 150 are the Hispanic men. I mean, we wonder why all our
young boys of color who are born at a single parent families and don't have a dad around,
we wonder why they scrub. So we're pushing very, very hard in this. I'm literally out
traveling the country in, you know, Prince George's County, Bowie States, Ed Howard,
at Moore House (ph) in L.A. trying to recruit that next generation of talent. Folks like
Spike Lee and John Legend and Councilor John Lewis have stepped up and helped. We have
a website we'd like all of you to go look at, It has testimonials and stories.
But again, if we just do nothing, this problem gets worse, not better. And we want great
talent, we don't want tokens, but I just want that great talent to reflect the diversity
of our nation's kids and if we--again, if we don't take acts, if we don't step up, this
differentiation will just get large and not small. So--and one last quick thing, I want
to go through all the budget stuff but one of the things in the budget proposal is $30
Million with this hock incentives of excellence to help increase the capacity of HBCUs. HBCUs
produce half of our nation's black teachers. Very disappointing with the numbers, we want
them to increase those numbers and increase the quality of the training going on HBCUs.
So, $30 million budget proposal will. We got a question.
>> Hi. I'm Katie Mangibe (ph). I'm a National Board Teacher in English as a New Language.
And I love everything that's being said. I think it's really important that we do talk
about how to make our profession more professional. With that said, the conversation, as you said,
is going to be difficult and society and tax payers are going to be listening to this debate.
So what are we going to be--what's your plan to possibly have some kind of public relations
campaign to say even though you don't have children in school, schools are important
and because those people pay taxes to help them become involved in the whole situation
as well. So they feel invested even though they may not have children in the schools
right now.
>> These are all great questions and don't have easy answers. So I will say that whether
or not you have children, everyone has a niece or a nephew, everyone has a grandchild, everyone
went to school themselves. I get all kinds of free advice from folks when I go to the
grocery store or dry cleaning and everyone's got an opinion about education. So I worry
a little bit less about that than can we put out some compelling ideas and provocative
ideas that encourage them to take a different look. I think we've had the same story lines,
the same tired debates, the same, you know, tired battles. And I think people tune out
and lose interest and frankly, give up a little bit of hope on it. And so I think if we radically
change the conversation saying there's nothing more important than attracting and retaining
great teachers and great principals, we have this generational shift to get a million teachers
retiring, amazing opportunity, real challenge if we don't do it well into great teaching
matters. I think we've been scared in this country to talk about success and talk about
excellence and talk about the difference that great teachers matter. This is fascinating
study that just came out and hopefully you guys saw that looks at 2.5 million student
records over a 20-year period. I talked about the increased in earning potential for that
class with just an average teacher not a great teacher like you guys, just an average teacher.
But I also talked about how just that average teacher reduce the likelihood of teenage pregnancy
and increase of likelihood of going on to college. Now, lots of folks want to tell me
that poverty is destiny and somehow great teachers and great principals and great schools
don't make a difference. Well, one average teacher made a huge difference in reducing
pregnancy and increasing college-going rates and increasing earning. I think we have three
or four great teachers in a row versus three or four not so great teachers in a row. And
so I think there's a new stories, a new set of facts, a new set of data and as a willingness
of great teachers like Maddie to say we want to be held accountable. Folks haven't heard
that before. We want to be held accountable. We want to get better and great teachers do
that, the public doesn't get that. So I think we have to, again, collectively tell the story.
Then the final thing I'll say is I think people are so used to the union having their line
and management having their line. We need union leaders to start talking like management.
We in management to start talking like union leaders. We need a business community to start
saying why this is a great business investment. We all need to take this in different ways.
I think if you do that then the public will tune in because it's just a different conversation
than they've heard before.
>> All right. Good afternoon. Mr. Secretary, first, thank you so much for your leadership
on this issue. I'm here from the DC Public School, so I just have to put in a plug. Any
teachers or principals looking for a job, we're hiring. Actually, I want to ask Shakera
a question. So you've had an opportunity to travel around the country a bit and be a participant
in these focus groups, is that right? So I'd love to just ask you as a teacher. What's
the biggest learning that you've had over that time from talking to your colleagues
around the country? What's been most surprising or inspiring that you could share with us
as we all go about and try to do this work better?
>> Yeah. So I think what's the most inspiring is the fact that we are all connected no matter
where we are in the country and despite our unique context that we are all connected by
the simple fact that we have a passion for our children and a passion for teaching. And
I think we're all connected in a sense because we all want to work together and share, and
learn from each other in order to refine and redefine how we think about our profession.
I also think, for me, coming from Boston, I had an idea of what teaching was in the
profession was like based on my limited view of teaching in the Boston Public Schools and
in the State of Massachusetts and I've just--my world has been opened by having the opportunity
to travel across the country to talk to different teachers to get their perspective knowing
that everyone out there, despite the challenges that we face, we have some similar expectations
and we have ideas about how we want to reshape the profession. Not only to meet the needs
of our students but to better ourselves.
>> Secretary Duncan, I'm Susan McFarland from South Lake City, Utah. And I've taught for
28 years and I'm also, for the last two years, I've been working on the Priority Schools
Campaign. Just had some concerns about the flexibility mentioned that you had in here
and then you talked about a extended teacher workday, extended student workday. And the
work that we've been doing with the priority schools, I spent a lot of collaboration with
both the Union and the Superintendent, and the Board of Education Presidents. I attended
your firm there in February. And we've been really successful in getting a lot of changes
there. Some of the pushback that we've had and some of the things that have not been
working in the schools are mandatory timeframes, because I--you know, what can you do to assure
that that collaboration and the decision about the extension of the school day and those
kinds of things remains at that school side and--is driven by the need of the students
in the school.
>> Come to think--that's--first of all, those that don't know the Priority Schools Campaign,
the NEAs provide just extraordinary leadership of where we have schools that have chronically
underachieve, they step it up and say, "We're going to take ownership. We're going to help
fix them." And we're seeing some remarkable success stories that's very, very early, you
know, far to early to declare success but huge increases in graduation rates in a year
or two, reductions in drop out rates, test scores up, much less [INDISTINCT] much less
violence. So I just want to thank you and everyone involved there for a very, very courageous
work. Can I guarantee collaboration? The honest answer is no. I can't, because I think part
of our role is where there is real collaboration. I'll be real clear on this. I don't want collaboration
around the status quo. That's part of the problem. I want what I call a tough-minded
collaboration. We're all challenging status quo and doing some things differently. We
can celebrate that. We can reward that. We can use a bully pulpit to promote that. When
folks on either side are either stuck in the mud or acting unilaterally, we can call them
out as well. This is going to be messy, hard, difficult work. There's a reason why we have
been stuck. We have been in trench for so long. And you and others, you have to put
in some gentlemen to your right there. Paul Turners had done some amazing work in Massachusetts.
This is not going to be smooth everywhere and folks are going to, you know, get hurt
and have some challenges but to me it's worth the fight. So we'll do everything we can to
support it but if anyone is looking for this to be pain-free or a guarantee, I can't provide
>> Hello, my name is--I'm over here.
>> Okay.
>> Hi, my name is Tracy Oliver-Gary and I'm a 2011 winner of the Teaching Tolerance Award
for Culturally Responsive Teaching. And my question is about teacher training and in
your efforts to change teacher training--teacher education training. Are you encouraging schools
or universities to encourage or to, I don't know, better train teachers to use culturally
responsive pedagogy and also having our schools with the evaluations to require that or to
encourage school systems to--I don't want to say mandate but it probably would be a
mandate, to have teachers to be--or to use cultural responsive pedagogy and tactics in
their teaching, because one thing that I'm noticing is that unfortunately a lot of teachers--a
lot of teachers do not mirror their students. But even if they mirror the ethnicity of their
students, it doesn't guarantee that they know or have the skills of culturally responsive
teaching. And we're hurting a lot of kids in that process and I just want tot know your
efforts towards that.
>> Would you want--so, thanks. That question is a perfect--is a perfect example of the
reason that we need teachers in this conversation leading these conversations, because the truth
is that there's a lot we don't know about how to train teachers. I mean, Maddie pointed
it out by saying, "We don't have a good body of knowledge of what people need in order
to become teachers." I mean, there's a lot we don't know about what makes great teaching
and the whole area of culturally sensitive teaching is like just another layer--another
degree of difficulty on top of this that we're asking teachers to do. So, I don't know that
we have the perfect answers. I think what we're trying to do is empower you guys, the
people who are out there who are knowing this, who are learning this to use your voice to
speak up trying to give you a channel and elevate those voices of the accomplished teachers
who have something to say about this. So that we start changing the dialogue in this country
so that teacher colleges start being responsive to the things that teachers know and have
learned about the profession that people start doing--that aspiring teachers are trained
not with just anybody who raises their hands and says, "I'll take you," but rather are
trained with people who are really accomplished professionals and are good at working with
other adults to teach and train them. So I think this is just a prefect beginning to
the conversation but it's not a place where I think the people in Washington are going
to have the answers. I think the answers are going to come from you guys to these things.
>> Right. I'll just quickly add a couple thoughts. We can have any sacred pals in this conversation.
Everything's going to be on the table. And again, the stat, it just shatters me that
62% of young teachers felt unprepared. And what I always say is if 62% of the doctors
felt unprepared to practice medicine, we would have a revolution in this country. But the
fact that it's teaching, nobody cares. And so let me be clear. There are some amazing
schools of education that are doing a fantastic job but for two-thirds of our young people,
they're not doing anywhere near good enough job. And so this is not again where we can
give them a pass or just say get a little bit better. Three big themes I hear all across
the country, one is around this cultural competence and, you know, just a lack of sensitivity,
lack or awareness, lack of honest conversations there. The second one is around technology
and the use of data, and we have these professors who have been out of classroom for 20 years
and all these formative assessments that great teachers are using to figure out not what
I'm teaching but all my children learning, getting none of that, you know, while an undergrad.
So say, "Why do I have to learn that at 25 or 26? Why didn't I know that coming in?"
And then lots of concerns about classroom management, lots of theory of education and
history of education, philosophy of education, none of hence on classroom work. I actually
think there's also a little bit of a code for cultural confidence that they better understood
the children, the classroom management will get easier. And so we got to put this stuff
on the table. And again, folks have to demand something dramatically better. The final thing
I'll say is that I don't think we can--there are lots of things we'd like to just force.
I don't know if we can force this. We can encourage, we can sense a lot, we can put
cares out there and we have some interesting proposals on the table to encourage schools
of education to move in a very different way.
>> Hi, my name is Jennifer Frentress and I'm a proud principal at DCPS. I wanted to take
this opportunity to ask about considerations for foreign nationals who'd like to come to
our country and educate our youngsters and yet face just unbelievable challenges in licensure
not to mention, you know, test that don't meet, you know, any of the needs that we would
have when we hire them and yet are barriers to their licensure.
>> So it's a great question. And I think again, we just--I'm just a big believer in talent,
and whether that talent is from traditional schools of education or Alternate Certification
Routes or Troops to Teachers Programs and from other counties. We just need a lot more
talent. We need to figure out who's producing that talent and what we can do to help them
and so being more flexible there. For me, it's not just about foreign, you know, folks
coming from other countries. Reciprocity between States is a disaster around licensure and
funding and, you know, having a, you know, the current lane step which you're trying
to change but that gets more blown up when you move. So again, there's so much that's
just common sense stuff that is fundamentally broken. And that's a piece of it that goes
way beyond that. But we have to take all that on. We have to take all that on.
>> I am a Sixth Grade Math, teacher from Los Angeles and I'm also Teacher Plus Public Policy
Fellow. In going along with your creating conditions for our success, you want to make
families, communities all organized to help promote education and especially how can we
engage in order to change the teaching profession? It needs to be a cultural shift. And as department
of Ed and as our president, how can we engage our businesses and our communities to really
step up in this process of education and our teachers and supporting in creating partnerships
because essentially our students are work force in our next generation. And what is
your plan in engaging the business community, engaging our communities in this conversation
about education about education and promoting the teaching profession?
>> Let me start with the parents and community first and I'll get to business last. So, we're
obviously pushing everybody really, really hard. And I want folks to know we're looking
ourselves in the mirror and being very self-critical and in many ways, our department, I think
has been part of the problem as well and I said that earlier. One of the areas where
I think we have significantly underinvested is in parental engagement. And we, you know,
we need great teachers. We need great principals. We need parents to be really good partners.
And my wife and I have a 10-year-old and an 8-year-old at home and if we're not paying
attention to what the teacher is saying, if we're not helping our children with homework,
we're part of the problem. So in a really tough budget time, we're asking to double
funding for parental engagement from about $135 million or $280. And we don't want to
create programs here. We don't want to write programs here. We simply want to take the
scale of what's working and with a great parental engagement programs, not bake sales, not whatever,
but what communities can show us with their parental engagement is leading to lower drop
out rates and higher graduation rates and more students going to college. We just want
to have them touch a lot more parents and lot more communities. Shakera and I were in
Boston last week and they do this Parent University so we are at actually turnaround schools.
School that historically has struggled is doing much better but we're in a room with
30 parents during school day getting their own education, learning how better to relate
what's going on in the classroom to what their doing at home. We want to build upon those
success stories so we want to push very hard there. Second one is the Promise Neighborhoods
Initiative and we need neighborhoods to be safe. We need everyone railing behind this.
And if children are worried to and from school, if they're worried about getting shot, it's
pretty hard to concentrate in Algebra and Biology. So we're looking to significantly
increase funding for the Promised Neighborhoods Work to build upon Geoffrey Canada's remarkable
leadership in Harlem Children's Zone. Finally, to get the business side, it's actually pretty
interesting. We--I'm spending more and more time with CEOs--two quick thoughts. One is
I can't tell you how many CEOs are saying in this tough, you know, higher employment,
we are desperately trying to hire now and we can't find the employees with the skills
we need. And right now, right now, we have between two and three million high skill,
high waged jobs in this country that can't be exported that we can't fill. It's actually
crazy. And we, as educators, have to look ourselves in the mirror and what is that disconnect?
We are pushing businesses very hard to invest in lots of ways, their resources, internships,
job shadowing career days, there are so many ways to help. We've actually done some pretty
thoughtful analysis. We think businesses invest about $4 Billion a year which is actually
pretty generous, that could do more. We think they don't do it with a real eye towards the
return to investment and sort of feel good. And so we're challenging businesses to do
a couple of things. To just as they'd look at the bottom line on the business side, look
at--are you investing on programs that look nice on paper? Are you investing programs
that are making a difference in someone lives? And so we want them to invest, we want them
to get a return on their investment. And it's interesting talking to CEOs and it's just,
"Oh, we never thought about that." And we'll go back and take a look and stop funding what
feels good and isn't working and put a lot more money behind programs that are making
difference. Secondly, we want businesses to be out talking to all of their employees about
what grade school's like and their employees all are, you know, have children in schools.
What are they doing to be part of a solution? How are they molded--not just on their dollars
but on their amazing human capital to be better partners with teachers. And to ask them and
demand for change and make sure we have--we have great schools. And finally, there are
a couple of states, not many, Illinois, Tennessee, there are few others that are coming that
have put together this outside groups. They are led by business and non-profits, and Unions,
and reformed groups that are driving an amazing change. For me--so, it cuts through the politics,
it cuts through the ideology. They're leading to really significant changes in legislation
that everyone's supporting, that would've been unimaginable. I would like to see a lot
more organizations, one is called Advance Illinois, one is called Tennessee SCORE. I'd
like to see 50 states with this coalitions of business leaders, and union leaders, and
nonprofits and SCORE formers, and folks from the, you know, the faith community who overlong
haul so governors change, superintendents change. If you have these outside entities
that have education at the heart of what's going on at the state level, we think that's
a big missing link. So, it was a three direct [INDISTINCT] as we go and talk to CEOs around
the country. We're asking them to step up and do more and do better.
>> From our--excuse me, from our Twitter hashtag teach talk, we have Kelly who wants to know,
"Yes, teachers need to be paid more, but how will that happen?"
>> So we're great on Twitter, we're very hip here and we'll take more. We need to work
that through and there isn't an easy answer there but I'll just give a couple of examples
of existing resources. We spend $12, 13, 14 billion a year on Title 1 funding. Some of
it is doing amazing things, but are we really attracting and retaining the best teachers,
the best principals in our inter-city communities? We're not even close. We're not even close.
So what are we doing there? I talked about the title to money, the professional development,
$2.5 billion coming us, at least that, if not more, I'd say 5 to 6 billion for the country.
How much of that is being used to really reward excellence? And so for me, it's going to take
every funding source, federal money where 8 to 10% of budgets is going to take state
money and is going to take district money. And it's going to take additional resources.
It's also going to take us stopping doing certain things to fund that. And again, some
folks might say, "You can't afford it. You can't do this." I would ask the opposite question.
I would ask, "How can we afford not to do this?" If we are convinced that great teachers,
the great principals make a huge difference in our lives, that is the best investment
we can make is to pay a great teacher $120, 130, 140,000. We pay a great principal more
than that. The dividends to society long-term will make the economic case are unimaginable.
We want to reduce poverty, we want to reduce job drop-off rates, if we want to reduce incarceration,
then we'll lock folks up in this country for $50, 60, 70,000 and never have any debate
about that. We're trying to pay teachers a little bit more money and somehow that's World
War III. Our priorities are wrong there and we got to push through.
>> We're about out of time. Arne's going to have to hit the road, but if we could stick
around and have more conversation, we could take more questions--a couple of more questions
from the audience if we want even through Arne's got to leave. Okay.
>> Hi. Thanks. I'm Dan Brown. I'm a National Board Certified Teacher here in the district
and I agree that we're in crisis. We're in a crisis but thank you for doing this and
getting this ball moving. And in response to your comments about Title 2 money going
down a black hole, yes, although, I want to say that that money subsidized my National
Board application which would absolutely not have happened without it and that was crucial
in elevating my ability as an educator and now I'm taking on much more of a leadership
role in this school and it is--it is transformative. And I wanted to talk about schools of education.
I went to Teachers College at Columbia and came out definitely prepared and feeling good
about it. But I was privileged to be born into the top 2, 3% economically and my parents
were able to pay the 40,000 plus to do that. And that was reflected in my cohort. It was
mostly upper middle class, mostly white, mostly female and, you know, lots of would be--would
be great teachers weren't there. So I feel like this is some--I think this is something
where the Federal Government could--would have something on the table in terms of scholarships,
aid, grant, subsidies and also is it possible to create like a West Point or teachers? Like
an elite academy--service academy to breed teacher leaders and put them right here in
>> So let me start at the last point quickly. Lots of folks have talked about West Point,
I guess my challenge--I don't think we need one West Point, we need a thousand West Points
and so I just--there's something intriguing there but having one, you know, we need a
100 to 200,000 great teachers coming in a year, every single year. So no one institution
can do that. We're blessed to have lots of schools of education. Some are really good,
some aren't. Somehow, I think we got to increase their capacity because I just don't see how
we build, you know, a thousand West Points short term. So interesting idea, I don't quite
see how we get there. On what can we do to get more great talent in, I talked about the
hock incentives of excellence trying to put more money out there in HBCUs. We have the
presidential teaching fellows which are trying to give real scholarships where folks are
going to schools that they're actually doing a really good job. And it's something I should
mention a lot more and I think we're bringing it up to a marking that we don't do this well
enough. Lots of things we're fighting for, something--this past--it's called Income-Based
Repayment, IBR. This past--last July, anyone who goes in to public sector, teachers or
works in nonprofit, works in government, after 10 years of that public service, 10 years
of being in the classroom, all of your debt, all of your loans are erased, are forgiven.
It's a huge play we made, president's leadership, congress' support. We have to get the word
out, a little too late for you and others. But that next generation of talent, we lose
so much many folks who want to teach, but because they have $60, 80, 100,000 of loans,
they have to go to Wall Street, they have to become a corporate lawyer. That financial
barrier, we have literally basically removed. So it's a huge step in the right direction.
>> Peg Cagle. I'm on a leave from the classroom in the Los Angeles Unified, Mathematics teacher,
working here in on the Hill as an Einstein Fellow for the year. And even if we get teacher
preparation right, even if somehow we can, you know, you get out the magic wand you do
it, we need to do something about our induction programs across this country. And I'd really
like to know what's going to be envisioned there because as somebody who's worked with
Math for America and the Knowles Science Teaching Fellows who are doing an amazing job, I can
trust that with my own experience a career changer. And then also thinking about my perspective
as a practicing professional--because I was an architect and knowing that--when I got
out of the school, even though I felt incredibly well prepared, I wasn't even allowed to sit
for a licensing exam until I've gone through an apprenticeship program and that was coming
out of a top university and doing very well. We don't let people go out and just, you know,
"Okay. You've got the piece of paper, the ink is almost dry. You're going to go out
and do it on your own." We don't do that with lawyers, we don't do it with doctors. Why
should we be doing be doing it with teachers?
>> So, I think Peg that--I think that's a theme that we've heard over and over again
while we were doing these round tables. Most of the teachers we met said they received
little real world and hands-on experience. Actually, before entering the classroom and
the areas that are already mentioned in terms of closely relevant pedagogy, classroom management
strategies, and felt like they were set up to fail. Essentially, when you get in to the
classroom that first year, they either sink or swim. And then once you get there, you
don't have adequate support to help you to continue to grow and improve. Many of us weren't
evaluated, we found out when doing these round tables after the first year. Many of us sit
and have a mentor and a lot of teachers are yearning for that sort of clinical residency
experience where you can have an apprenticeship model and be under the--be under the guide
of a distinguished or accomplished educator to be able to do your work well and then grow
in terms of having this career ladder or ladders so that you're not just sort of thrust into
the work immediately. So while you're working under that apprentice you can come in to it
a little bit more slowly and develop the skills necessary to be effective in the classroom.
>> Sorry. I'm also an Albert Einstein Fellow. I'm Jonathan Garlock (ph). I'm also from Hillsborough
County as an Elementary Science Teacher there. My question has to do with the Title 2 money
and the profession development. One of the things in Hillsborough is that our evaluation
system, which has been going on for a while now, is tied directly to professional development.
Professional development at Hillsborough County is one of the most highly valued things in
our county. We have to turn people away from our trainings. Looking at those models, how
do you propose to change--let me--let me rephrase for a second. When I came to D.C., I actually
looked at evaluation across the country and it's done quite differently. It's--there's
a big stigma of hiring and firing to the evaluations, instead of looking at it from a professional
development aspect. How do we change that conversation and how do you propose that we
change that outlook on professional development when it relates to teacher evaluation?
>> So, I think that's part of why we're doing this program. And honestly, I do think that
this field in general takes policies that come from Washington and sort of reduce them
to one silver bullet or one issue. And clearly, the one issue that our policy, which I would
like to think has been a little more expensive has been reduced to, is the issue of teacher
evaluation not for the purpose of development but just for the purpose of sorting. And we
all know that that is--that that's not where the value lies here. So one of the things
that we are hoping do with this whole national conversation is to really help the country
reframe the conversation into a much bigger discussion about the teaching profession.
And evaluation is so important not because of its sorting function but because we need
that information in order to make really good decisions about who needs what kind of professional
development, who's suited for what kind of jobs who--I mean, there are so many things
that you could dovetail off that if we had good information. And so hopefully, that's
what this conversation is going to be about. It's also why I think that, you know, whether
we've all stolen from each other between the National and State Teachers of the Year Strategy
and the A Commission in this, or whether we just all are in violent agreement with each
other, it's really, really great that we've got a lot of different voices all saying the
same stuff because it's much more likely that it will sink in and start changing the tone
and tenor of the conversation out there, which I think is critical that we do or we're just
going to reduce this to yet another sort of small item as opposed to really taking on
the big challenge that really faces us in this profession.
>> Hi, I'm La Tosha Plavnik from the Consortium of Social Science Associations. And my question
is about principals. We've been talking a lot about the teaching profession, but principals
also need to be retrained. Principals are not prepared to actually do in-depth evaluations
of teachers. Principals are usually locked in their offices doing a lot of administrative
work mainly not even involved in a day-to-day of their school and know their culture of
their school. So, is there anything in this plan that's going to help principals become
better leaders and help them create leaders in their own schools?
>> So, I talked about areas where we have been part of the problem. I talked about the
teacher piece. The other big one was on the principal side. And we talked about doubling
funding for parental engagement. We're actually trying to have a five-fold increase in funding
for principal development. And we think we have massively underinvested there. We want
to invest a lot more--actually I just left a meeting right now with The Wallace Foundation,
several private sector Wallace Foundation's probably done some of the leading work and
leading investment around principal leadership. They're gearing up. They want to do a lot
more. I've been to hundreds and hundreds of schools. I've yet to go to a good school that
doesn't have a good principal. I keep looking for it. I can't quite find it. And what I
saw when I went to Chicago Public Schools is, you could have an amazing school that
a principal takes eight or 10 or 12 years to build up. If you don't have the right succession
plan, once they leave in six months, that school can be a disaster. It is so much easier
to tear something down than to build something up. So we have to really think about how we're
better at supporting existing principals, how we're developing that pipeline of new
talent. We talked about the Baby Boom Generation leaving the teachers. Principals tend to be
a little bit older than principals, so rationally, they have more turnover there. You're starting
to see a set of principals worth 30, 32, 34, you never saw it before you have to be 50,
55. Some of these young guns I think it's really, really interesting. But we want to
be a better part of this solution, we haven't done enough there and so we're trying to step
up. And again, I would challenge states and districts and nonprofits and the corporate
sectors that's a huge area to invest is in leadership.
>> And I would add one more thing. If you look at the things that we're writing and
trying to get out there, we really are talking about the education profession. We're trying
to talk about teachers and leaders and everything we do, both of them paired together. They
both need professional development that looks different. They both need preparation programs.
We need career ladders that allow teachers to really accomplish to stay in the classroom
or to go into management. Not that you have to go into management if you want a promotion,
you can stay in the classroom if you want a promotion but that's got to be a pathway
also that principal jobs have to be redefined. We need much more distributed leadership.
The issues of how to manage a building and how to be an instructional leader in your
building are not the same skill set. We need to think about different ways to define and
differentiate these jobs. So just the creativity in that whole area is much needed and we're
trying to sort of look at it holistically across both of those jobs and not just talk
about only teachers.
>> Okay. So we have one final question.
>> Hello. My name is Vin Testa. I'm a first year teacher here in DCPS, High school Math.
So first of all, it's an honor to be in the room with everybody. My principal must trust
me a lot. But, working in D.C., though it is a stressful system in terms of the Teacher
Effectiveness Program, the Impact Program, I was wondering--it has helped me and it has
helped me grow as an educator, even within this first six months. I was wondering will
there be--I know we're talking about getting to the colleges and educational schools, but
will there be a push or what is your--what's on your mind in terms of maybe a national
push because I'm not sure what other states, what other districts are doing about Teacher
Effectiveness and will there be a national push for Teacher Effectiveness?
>> So I think we are always trying to figure out what the appropriate federal role is here.
>> Uh-hmm.
>> And so will there be one system evaluation support for the country? I think the short
answer is no, there won't.
>> Right.
>> But where you have folks that are doing creative things like here in D.C. and Hillsborough
County has been doing amazing work for a long, long time, I think the appropriate federal
role is we need to share that stuff to build upon it to put those best practices out. I
think having a set of great ideas out there and letting each local district figure out
what's best for them, and urban and rural, suburban are different context, so I think,
for us to mandate one thing, I think it's actually a recipe for failure and it just
would never work. But for us to challenge a status quo when probably 90, 95% of districts
isn't working at all, and to how to hold out those examples and have folks, you know, have
some resources to replicate that, I think that's really important. The final thing I'll
say, I think this is so important for all of us. I think for far too long, we've let
an education to be the perfect--be the enemy of the good. And we've been afraid to move
because we're scared something was going to go wrong. As much great work is going on D.C.
right now, I promise you, impact is not prefect, probably better than it was before. Hillsborough
has been leading the country for a decade or more. I promise you Hillsborough is not
perfect. I talk to them all the time. But you guys have had the courage to step out
there and do some things. And you keep getting better, and you keep getting better. So there
are these places in, you know, many of them represent in this room that are absolutely
leading the country where we need to go. There are other places that have been scared to
take that step and I think our job is to get more focused and take that step and I hope,
Impact, two years from now, is a heck of a lot better. And I hope five years from now
it's a different level and the same is true in Hillsborough. Same is true for Teacher
Evaluation--generally saying your schools are better. Are they going to be perfect two
years from now? Of course not. But we have to stop letting the perfect enemy of the good,
we have to get in the game. I think that's our role, to try and get a lot more focused
in every single level, districts, states, schools of Ed, we got to get a lot more focused
into this game. Right now, it's just simply not good enough. I just wanted to thank everyone.
This is a remarkably important conversation. This is a start of the conversation. We want
to spend the next six, eight, nine months--12 months really thinking this stuff through.
Lots of agreement, but they're going to be areas where there's real disagreement and
we have to welcome that and not hide from that and have those tough debates. No one's
going to get everything we want, but we have to, again, move in a very different direction.
The final thing I'd say is I tried, you know, study movements and study history and I--and
Martin Luther King is my big hero and trying to look what happened to Civil Rights Movement,
and be really clear. If anyone thinks that we can lead this or own this in Department
of Education, that's a recipe for failure. We want to help, we want to cheer lead, we
want to support, we want to empower, we want to listen, but the Civil Rights Movement changed
the country because lots of folks at the local level showed amazing courage in the face of
real danger. This is frankly a heck a lot less courageous than that. In the face of,
you know, life threatening challenges, they went out there because of the right thing.
We need not 1,000 Maddie Fennells, we need 10,000--50,000 Maddie Fennells. We need an
army of folks in their communities driving these kinds of conversation. We hope you guys
can be those champions. We hope you guys can be those leaders. We want to help you, we
want to support you. But if we think we can just sort of leave Washington and Department
of Education is going to take care of this, that's not going to transform the country.
You guys--you guys are going to do it and we want to be a good partner. Thank you so
much for your leadership and thanks for coming here today.
>> For joining for us, if you'd like to recycle your badges, you can turn them in at the desk
on the way out. We are really excited to have you. Thank you.