ED Stakeholders Forum: Great Teachers and Leaders (October 13, 2009)

Uploaded by usedgov on 15.10.2009

MR. RITSCH: Good morning, everybody. How are you? Good. I hope you had a long weekend.
I'm marking a few people tardy and absent today after that long weekend. But thank you
all, for those of you who are here. Welcome to the continuing series here at the
Department on ESEA reauthorization and why we can't wait on that. Those of you who were
here last time heard the Secretary talk about the need to move quickly and his need to have
your support in moving forward. Today, we're going to talk about great teachers
and leaders--the central component, of course, in any good school, any excellent school,
and we've got some distinguished folks here today to share their perspectives.
We'll continue forward the format where we've brought some folks in to share their research,
their perspectives, their personal experiences on the topic and then open it up to questions
and comments from you. So we'll hear from our Assistant Secretaries,
Thelma Melendez and Carmel Martin, this morning, and then we'll go to our panel and then to
your comments and questions. If you need the services of our interpreter,
she's here up front. Feel free to join us here.
I wanted also just to hit on a few things that you've let us know through your evaluations.
These are the forms that were on your seats. We hope you'll fill out one today. Some of
it requires things that we need to do. Some of it requires things that you need to do.
You want more specificity in these forums. We agree. We have put out upcoming topics
for the forums today and so we'll be narrowing the conversation for this forum in going forward.
Help us get more specific. \Also, when you make your comments today,
remember what we're talking about today. We're talking about great teachers and leaders.
And let's try and keep the comments focused on that and then you'll see the opportunities
to talk about other things at future forums. We heard of several complaints about attendees'
inabilities to hear what is being said up here. So speakers, you have microphones. Commenters,
you have microphones. Please speak directly into them so that everyone in the room can
hear and so the transcription can be accurate. Several of you felt the room was too crowded.
Would anyone like to raise their hand and give up their seat? No. Okay. So you're just
going to have to deal with that. (Laughter.)
Just be glad you're not 30,000 feet in the air. This is what we have to work with. We
are trying to accommodate as many people as possible and to make our forum open to all.
So that's a good lead into registering for future forums which we'll touch on again at
the end. This has become a very popular ticket and frankly, the email notifications to let
folks know these things are happening has just gotten too unwieldy. So we've posted
the calendar on line. We've handed it out today. We'll be opening registration up for
each of these forums about 7 to 10 days in advance. Send us an email at that point and
as space allows, we will give you a seat. But that's how we would prefer to go forward
with limited space and our attorney's insistence that this meeting be truly open to everyone
and not to mention our wish that everything be fair and on a level playing field. So that's
how we're going to do it. We will book overflow rooms where you can
watch on television, and we'll continue to post transcripts and videos on the website.
So that's that. We're going to start off with a conversation that is part of our listening
and learning tour this morning. We'll show one video and then we'll move to discussion.
Thanks everybody. This is the dancing cursor portion of the
show. (Laughter.)
I'm pointing out all the places we've been. So just to let you know what you're about
to see, our Secretary was on one of the more sophisticated public affairs shows in the
nation recently talking with an opinion leader about the need to -- need for change, why
we can't wait, all the things that we've been talking about here, not to mention the fact
that they went head-to-head in a fairly heated competition. And now it looks more encouraging
that we're going to be able to show it to you now.
Did anyone happen to see this already? A few people. Okay, so it's new. It's coming through
the tubes now. [Video of "The Colbert Report" begins.]
MR. COLBERT: My guest tonight is the Secretary of Education who occasionally plays basketball
with the President. Before the show tonight, I showed him my game.
Okay, Secretary of Education, I hope you're ready to get schooled.
SECRETARY DUNCAN: Take it easy on me now. MR. COLBERT: Oh, my goodness.
(Music and video clip plays.) MR. COLBERT: Ladies, welcome Arne Duncan.
Sorry I had to bring it so hard. SECRETARY DUNCAN: You've got game.
MR. COLBERT: Thank you very much. SECRETARY DUNCAN: Pretty
impressive. MR. COLBERT: What goals does the Obama administration
have in reforming our school system? SECRETARY DUNCAN: We want every child to graduate
from high school. We have to dramatically reduce the dropout rate. We have to dramatically
increase the graduation rate. And the President has drawn a line in the sand. He said by 2020,
we have to lead the world in the percent of college graduates. That's the ultimate goal.
MR. COLBERT: At no point in your answer do you use the word death panels.
(Laughter.) SECRETARY DUNCAN: Correct. I try and stay
away from that one. MR. COLBERT: What makes it specifically an
Obama vision for the future? Does it include reparations? Because the whole health reform
is just reparations, you know that. SECRETARY DUNCAN: This isn't about death panels.
It isn't about reparations. This is about having high expectations for every child.
It's about challenging everyone to take responsibility, personal responsibility, students, parents,
teachers, principals. MR. COLBERT: I understand you're no longer
using the term No Child Left Behind. Is that true?
SECRETARY DUNCAN: Correct. MR. COLBERT: So you're fine with leaving children
behind? (Laughter.)
I just want to get that on record. SECRETARY DUNCAN: I'm not fine with leaving
children behind. No Child Left Behind did a pretty good job articulating the problem.
I'm much more focused on the solutions. How do we make sure every child has a great teacher?
How do we get our best teachers working in historically under served communities, rural,
inner city, urban? How do we raise expectations for everyone? At the end of the day, how do
we make sure that every high school graduate is college ready and career ready? That's
what this is about, start raising the bar for the country.
MR. COLBERT: Okay, here's what I don't get, okay? I already graduated from high school.
I already graduated from college. I am done. Why do I care about education any more? What's
in it for me? SECRETARY DUNCAN: I'll tell you what's in
it for you. We know your viewers are some of the smartest folks around.
MR. COLBERT: Absolutely. SECRETARY DUNCAN: You want more viewers. You
get more viewers if you do a better job of educating students. As we better educate,
more folks watch your show. As most folks watch your show, advertisers pay you more.
As advertisers pay you more, you get rich. This is all about you. I'm working for you.
(Cheers and applause.) MR. COLBERT: I've never been such a fan of
education before. I'm not sure what it is about what you just said that I liked so much.
(Laughter.) SECRETARY DUNCAN: It was the money part.
MR. COLBERT: But education itself seems socialist to me.
(Laughter.) First of all, it's about class. And the word
school and the word socialist have some letters in common.
(Laughter.) If my kids are getting a good education in
a private school, why as a taxpayer, should I pay money to a public school? Aren't those
kids just going to compete with my kids? Shouldn't I get my kids ahead and then once my kids
have landed a place in the world, then start paying for public schools. That's Darwin.
SECRETARY DUNCAN: I'll tell you what competition is. Our competition is not between your children
in private school and children in public school. Our competition is with the rest of the world
and our competition is either we're going to invest in education early or we're going
to keep building jail cells at the back end. And so I'd much rather you invest early on,
do the right thing. (Applause.)
We're going to pay now or pay later in a much worse situation. This is the right investment
to make. If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.
MR. COLBERT: I'll nail him eventually. What about this shortening the summer for the kids?
It seems like young people are the last bastion of Obama support. Do you really want to alienate
them too? SECRETARY DUNCAN: I've got to tell you, when
I talk about lengthening the school year, I often do get booed by students. But let
me tell you why this is so important. I don't worry about middle class children who are
going to the library every day, going to fancy summer camps. I worry about a lot of children
who are on the streets during the summer, who fall behind. We know about summer reading
loss. We don't need any more studies. We know a lot of our children get to a certain point
in June where teachers have worked really hard and they come back to school in September
and they're further behind than when they left. That's absolutely heart breaking.
Our students need to be engaged in the summer, on the weekends, longer hours. I think our
schools should be open, not just a longer day, but our schools should be community centers,
open 12, 13, 14 hours a day, activities for parents, GED classes, ESL classes, family
literacy nights, healthcare clinics. When schools are really the centers of the neighborhood
and the heart of the community, our students do very, very well.
Our school calendar is based upon the agrarian economy. There are not too many children working
the fields these days. And we need -- six hours a day, five days a week, nine months
a year, that's sort of a bygone era. It doesn't exist any more.
MR. COLBERT: Well, good luck with this program. Good luck with the reform because it sounds
like there's cash in it for me. SECRETARY DUNCAN: There is.
MR. COLBERT: Thank you, Arne Duncan, thank you so much. U.S. Secretary of Education,
Arne Duncan. We'll be right back. [End of video of "The Colbert Report."]
MR. RITSCH: So when things get too contentious among us, we're just going to settle all of
this with one game of horse and I like our Secretary's odds.
So now let's talk about the topic of the day, great teachers and leaders. For opening remarks,
our Assistant Secretary for the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Dr. Thelma
Melendez. (Applause.)
DR. MELENDEZ: Thank you, Massie. Good morning, and thank you for coming today.
We are beginning a series of conversations focused on the reauthorization of ESEA, the
Elementary and Secondary Education Act. We start with a discussion at the heart of our
nation's educational system, teachers and leaders. Effective teachers are our nation's
greatest educational resource and are the key to our reform efforts.
As Secretary Duncan has stated recently, "nothing is more important to the success of reform
than elevating the teaching profession and bolstering teacher quality. We know that one
dedicated professional can change the course of a child's life, can influence a child to
make positive choices, to work hard, to stay in school and to continue on track toward
academic success. There is no greater factor influencing student achievement than an effective,
dedicated, teacher." Effective teachers, of course, do not exist
in a vacuum. We cannot forget the critical importance of a school leadership team and
the collective effort of the school's faculty in fostering a culture of high expectations
and student growth and creating an environment that is not only nurturing to students and
their families, but to the community as a whole.
Schools with talented, master teachers and leaders change lives. They break cycles of
poverty and lift whole communities to new heights.
The question then is how do we ensure that all children, no matter their geographic location
or socio-economic level, have access to dedicated, highly skilled professionals, who will hold
them only to the highest expectations? For me, the question is deeply personal. As
some of you have already heard, I attended kindergarten at Freemont Elementary School
in Montovello, California. I am the daughter of Mexican immigrants and spoke only Spanish,
my first language, at home. My first day of school wasn't easy. It was difficult to communicate
with my classmates and my teacher, but one teacher, Ms. Silverman, didn't see this as
a problem. She saw it as an opportunity. She took it upon herself to find a way to teach
me. Ms. Silverman went above and beyond providing extra attention and encouragement. From the
first day, Ms. Silverman believed that I could succeed and took steps to ensure that I did.
Years later, as a teacher, as a principal, and eventually as a superintendent, I strove
every day to impart the lessons I learned from Ms. Silverman, to find the gift within
every child, to maintain high expectations at all times, and to lead with a purpose and
an eye on the overall goal of student success. I find myself inspired by teachers and principals
in the district I worked before who were constantly striving towards the same goals. Teachers
like Mary Lou Jameson-Ortiz, a master teacher who came into my office twice in the ten years
I worked in Pomona, asking me to place her in schools in which she would have the greatest
impact. Principals, like Janet Alvarez, a committed leader of a high achieving Title
1 school who nurtured her teachers and reached out to local community organizations and universities
to form partnerships and to form alliances with parents.
Educators like these and Ms. Silverman are the ones who make the biggest difference in
the lives of children. Every child should know the comfort of having a strong mentor
to look up to. Every child should feel the pride of rising to meet the high expectations
set for them. Every child should have a teacher like Ms. Silverman and with the reauthorization
of ESEA, we can make sure that every child does.
We can make sure that every child has a teacher who is supported and treated as the professional
they are, a teacher who is compensated and advanced through a redesigned evaluation system
informed by multiple measures including classroom observations, and evidence of student engagement
and learning. We can create new pathways to recruit and
prepare a new generation of teachers who are supported in their first years in the classroom
through mentoring programs. We can empower successful school leadership and faculties
with the flexibility needed to build their school and create new and innovative programs
to meet the needs of their diverse populations. And we can reach out to master teachers and
leaders and ask them to bring their knowledge and expertise to the schools and communities
that need them the most. Schools that have struggled far too long need the best talent
to turn themselves around. Starting with these initiatives, we can ensure
every child is provided a teacher who will point them toward a bright and successful
future and a leadership team who will guide them there.
As we come together today in these listening and learning events, we look forward to hearing
from you, other stakeholders and from our panelists today about how we can make these
initiatives a reality. Thank you.
(Applause.) MR. RITSCH: Thanks, Thelma. And now we want
to introduce our panel to you, and to do that, Carmel Martin, our Assistant Secretary for
our Policy Office. MS. MARTIN: Thanks, Massie, and thanks, Thelma.
And thanks to our panelists and to all of you who are in the audience joining us today.
As many of you know, improving the effectiveness of our teachers and leaders and the equitable
distribution of teachers have been centerpieces of our agenda and they will continue to be
so in ESEA. Great teachers and a strong teaching profession are at the heart of educational
improvement. As Thelma said, teachers have the power to change lives. But it's more than
teachers. It's everyone in the school. Good leaders and good support are critical to making
schools work for kids and that's what really matters.
Throughout our work so far, we've been guided by four over-arching principles about how
we should approach teachers and leaders and we continue those in ESEA. Thelma mentioned
some of these. First, we must treat teachers like the professionals
they are by giving them support, tools, and development opportunities, by making sure
they enter the profession prepared, by providing them with timely, accurate data about their
students, by evaluating, compensating and advancing them based in part on the learning
outcomes of their students and by giving them the leaders they need and deserve to do their
best. Second, we must promote the recruitment and
preparation of excellent teachers by raising the prestige of the profession, breaking down
barriers to high-quality alternative certification programs, and holding all preparation programs
accountable for how well they're preparing teachers.
Third, we must focus on leaders. Good leaders make schools work, make teachers' jobs easier
and transform kids' experience. And finally, we need to do a better job of
getting good teachers and leaders where they're needed most, whether it's an inner city school
or a rural community. We've tried to move forward with each of these
themes through our work on the Recovery Act, but in ESEA, we hope to do more. We look forward
to hearing from our panelists and from you about how we can do more in Reauthorization,
what we should be thinking of, not just in Title 2, but in every title of the law to
make sure our students are taught by, led by, and supported by the best.
So we're pleased to have with us today four terrific panelists to help us start that discussion.
I'm honored to introduce them to you. First, Arlene Ackerman has served as the superintendent
of the School District of Philadelphia since June of 2008. She brings her vast on-the-ground
experience in major cities of: Philadelphia, San Francisco, and D.C., as well as a terrific
perspective from her time at Teachers' College in the Urban Leaders Program in directing
the Broad Superintendents' Academy. Thank you, Arlene, for joining us.
Kay Brilliant is Director of Education Policy and Practice at the NEA. She was previously
the Executive Director at the NEA New Mexico affiliate and a senior policy analyst in the
teaching and learning department at the NEA. She started her career in the Tucson Unified
School District teaching third and fifth grade in a high poverty middle school.
Richard Lane is the Director of Education Programs at The Wallace Foundation and heads-up
the Foundation's project on educational leadership. He'll share with us what the Foundation has
learned about effective school and district leaders, training and preparing leaders, and
how great leaders can help turn around low-performing schools.
And finally, Dan Weisberg who is Vice President of Policy and General Counsel at The New Teacher
Project where he helps lead the organization's efforts to improve and align local, state,
and federal policies to put good teachers in high-need schools. Previously, he worked
at the New York City Department of Education for six years.
So with that, I will turn it over to our panel. Once they're finished, we'll open it up to
those in the audience. We really do want to hear from you all as well. If you have questions
for our panelists, feel free to ask them, but we're also eager to hear from you in terms
of your perspective on the issues of the day. So with that, Arlene?
MS. ACKERMAN: Good morning. You've got to do much better than that. Good morning. All
right, that's much better. In my introduction they talked about my time
as a superintendent, but I'm most proud of the time I spent as a classroom teacher and
a middle school principal, so I like the call and response thing that happens with students
and teachers. It is my pleasure to be here today and to
talk a little bit about how the Federal Government can use its leverage and investment in ESEA
to improve educator quality and to talk a little bit about the second question that
I've been given and that was which parts of NCLB were most helpful in improving the quality
of teachers and leaders in our schools? And then which parts were the least helpful?
I'd like to say that I come from Philadelphia where we have over 12,000 teachers. Ninety-three
percent are highly qualified. Sixty-percent of them have B.A. degrees. Forty-percent have
masters and above. We're making progress in Philadelphia if you look at our progress and
you measure just by the Pennsylvania standards tests. We've made seven years of progress,
but what I'm most struck by is a question that I asked of my staff and that question
was how long will it take us to get all of our young people to proficiency -- and I know
that 2014 is looming -- but I know it's not going to happen in Philadelphia. So I wanted
to know how long it will take us to make sure that all of our children are proficient. It
will take Philadelphia until 2123. Did you hear me? 2123. There's nothing different about
Philadelphia and other large urban school districts. If you did the math, you probably
would still have a similar figure, similar time line. It's unacceptable.
What we have to have is dramatic improvement in teaching and learning. What we have to
have are great principals in every school. We realize that the research has shown us--and
there’s lots of it now, that for students to achieve and I mean make dramatic improvement,
they have to have effective leadership in every school and effective instruction in
every classroom. So we've got our work cut out in Philadelphia
as I'm sure that we'll see that same kind of number looming in other school districts.
So to the point of the question what can the Federal Government do? I want to make four
points, talk about recruitment, talk about value-added compensation, the neediest children
getting the most effective teachers and flexibility in funding.
First, in terms of recruitment, we've got to actively recruit now future teachers. We
have to hire in Philadelphia more than a thousand teachers a year. I believe that this recruitment
has to start before college. We now need to look in high school and we need to pick amongst
our highest-performing high school graduates and establish some kind of national priority
to get them to go into teaching. It is really important that we get the best and brightest
minds into the classrooms. Then we need to provide incentives for these high school graduates
so that they can pursue their certification by offering them grants, federal loans, or
forgiving their loans once they come into especially large, urban school systems. To
make dramatic improvement, we're going to have to get many more teachers in the classroom
who are effective and those teaches, we have to start now building the pipeline.
The other thing about recruitment is we have to, I believe, not only look for the hard-to-fill
areas of math and science-- we have a critical void right now in teachers of color and teachers
who speak a second language. Race does matter and it is important, I believe, that we have
teachers who look like our children. In Philadelphia, 76 percent of our children are children of
color. We only have 28 percent of our teachers who are of color and who speak a second language.
We've got to do something about that. We can't ignore that any more.
Thirty years ago when I became a teacher, there were very few options for people like
me and who looked like me. We went into nursing, if you were a woman, or you went into education.
Our children now have many more options. We've got to get them back into the classrooms and
into the schools. The second point is value-added compensation.
I believe that we have to reward states and school districts for adopting performance-based,
value-added compensation systems that recognize and reward not only individual teachers, but
entire schools for achieving high academic performance. And I'm not just talking about
looking at test scores, but we could come up with a rubric and rubrics that are appropriate,
but we've got to start rewarding those teachers and those schools that consistently get progress,
make progress with children. In Philadelphia again, I asked a question
because I was hearing back from across the table that until all of these things are in
place, we can't get dramatic improvement. I didn't believe that, because all of us know
people, we know teachers that get dramatic improvement year after year. So I said take
fourth grade, and let's see what we get. We found 40 teachers that consistently get high
achievement from their children year, after year, after year. So if it can be done in
those 40 classrooms and they weren't just in our high achieving classrooms, I mean in
our special admit classrooms, they were from across the school district. If it can happen
in those classrooms, it can happen across the school system and in classrooms across
school systems. So I believe it's really important that we
begin to reward individual performance as well as whole school performance and the Federal
Government could certainly help us, those of us who are trying to make these kinds of
changes. The third place I think we need help is in
supporting flexibility in moving the most effective teachers in front of our most challenging
students, students who need to have effective teachers. And what does that mean? That means
that sometimes it's really, really hard to move there or to get that movement, to get
that language change. It's in contracts. I believe that we could stand to have some support
and pressure from the federal level to give districts the ability to move or place the
most effective teachers in the schools where the students are most in need.
Now I know that's a little controversial, but until that happens, when I take a look
at my 95 under-performing schools, I can tell you that the majority of those schools experience
year-to-year lots of turnover. They can't get the most experienced teachers and something
else has to happen to make that happen. When I talk to teachers-- some of our best teachers
teaching in some of our special admit schools--I've asked them why can't you -- why won't you
go into these schools? And they say it's hard. Of course, it's hard. Some of them started
there and they told me they needed some other support things which goes to my fourth point.
We need flexible funding to make sure that we have wrap around services for these young
people. Many of these schools, when we looked at our 95 schools, have things in common.
They don't have lots of experienced teachers. They have teacher turnover. That happens when
schools experience 70 percent of its school teachers turning over in one year, every year,
70 percent. You will never get dramatic improvement when you have those kinds of statistics facing
a school district. So we need to make sure that we wrap around
social service, health services, around our young people, because many of these young
people are coming from poverty and we know all of the impact -- we know the impact of
poverty. And teachers have told me that if we can't address some of those issues, to
make it easier to come into those schools. Allow them to come, they said in cohorts of
five, six, or seven. It's too hard to be a singleton or a doubleton in a school where
there are lots of needs, not only from the students, but from the teachers.
So if we got that kind of support, just those four points that I've just tried to make,
it would make a difference in Philadelphia and I'm sure in other school districts.
The second question, what parts of NCLB were most helpful in improving the quality of teachers
and leaders in our school? I believe that the No Child Left Behind Act established a
ground floor for educators to be certified and monitored to ensure that they meet the
requirements. And I'm happy for that. I'm actually happy for No Child Left Behind. I
may be a little different than some of my colleagues, but I actually believe it's the
first time that “ALL” meant “ALL” and “ALL” students were going to be looked
at and all students suppoted. It's the first time that we've really looked
at teacher quality in my 40 years as an educator. What was least helpful was that I thought
that the No Child Left Behind Act stopped short of clearly defining teacher and leader
competencies and ensuring that the institutions that grant the licenses tailor their programs
to effectively prepare our graduates or their graduates to demonstrate these competencies.
The second point that I'd like to make here is that I believe that No Child Left Behind,
the standard does not necessarily, because a teacher is certified does not necessarily
mean that you can get -- that that teacher is effective. Basically, 95 percent of core
academic classes in all of our nation's public schools were staffed by highly qualified teachers,
but I just gave you the statistics. Something is wrong there. So having -- being certified
is not enough. We've got to look at what needs to happen to ensure that people who are certified
also come with the necessary skills that they need to be successful.
So I would suggest that we need to look at our institutions of education to make sure
they go back to this issue of competencies, to make sure that teachers can demonstrate
that not only are they qualified because they've met the course requirements, they're qualified
because they can actually do the work and teach young people.
This is a great time, I believe, in America's public schools. I'm happy to be here. I love
this administration's zest and zeal. There appears to be an alignment of the educational
stars and all the stars, you out there, those of us up here. I'm really excited about the
possibilities. I believe that we can together, come together
on these issues, these important issues, all of our children, and I do mean all, not some,
not those, not yours, not mine, all of our children will be ready to take their place
in tomorrow's world. Thank you for listening to me.
(Applause.) MS. BRILLIANT: Good morning. I'm Kay Brilliant,
a recovering teacher. And I think it's odd that many of my colleagues who work in schools
and now work for the union or work in the Department were middle school teachers. I
think it was the best preparation for recognizing that every educational decision is a political
decision, no matter whether it's somebody elected or somebody appointed by somebody
who is elected. I think you learn that in middle school.
NEA believes that the preparation of -- we have the same questions, so I'm going to talk
a little bit about improving teacher quality, particularly in recruitment, preparation,
identification, rewarding and retention of teachers.
The NEA believes that the preparation of teachers is a very important part of getting ready
for a career in education. And I chose the word career not by accident. Like many professionals,
teachers get better over time. It's like good wine. So the importance of identifying, preparing
candidates for career is particularly critical. In Finland, I just got back from there, so
be patient with me while I get excited about a different style of how they prepare teachers.
Every candidate enters a classroom for practice teaching, if you will, at the very beginning
of their education to become a teacher. So over the period of what essentially is five
years, equivalent to our master's, every single teacher candidate is in the classroom from
the day they begin. Teachers are among the most educated professionals
in their entire country. And although not well paid, they are highly regarded and have
an exceptional amount of respect by their country. So the commitment to a profession
requires the investment at the beginning of the career to guarantee the best going into
the classroom as teachers of record. Preparation and continuous learning is part
and parcel to the improvement of instruction. So the drive-by professional development does
not address the importance of continuous improvement for teaching. A rigorous, on-going learning
environment is best created at the school or district level and at the student population
of a particular school or school district. In Tucson Unified School District where I
taught, the best professional development would need to be at the site level as the
district is quite large and serves a multitude of student populations. Being excellent at
their work is the most important thing to our members. And thus, the inclusion of the
local union is most important in the development of professional development curriculum, if
you will. So let's get to the sticky topic of rewarding
excellence. Let me start with learning and working conditions. Three items always come
out of our conversations with teachers and other school employees about what makes the
best conditions for working and learning. One is the importance of parental or caregiver
in the life of the student in relationship to their schooling. And this should not be
overlooked, especially for students in middle and high school where by the nature of those
children parents aren't always welcome. Two is school leadership. It cannot be understated
that a good leadership team at a school or a worksite is very important to the actual
retention of school employees, teachers at that site.
And third is the school building and materials. Over and over again, teachers talk about having
a safe, secure environment in which to work, a place where the air conditioning and heating
works, where the plumbing is in order and the physical plant is functional. Obviously,
not all school will be the Taj Mahal, but safe and functional would be nice.
The tools for teaching being available is also very important. This includes books,
computers, and access to the Internet and training for all of the above. For our most
under served populations, it is still surprising that these conditions do not exist.
I know that we often list the aforementioned items that will probably likely to continue
as we need to think of those places and these conditions as places where our very own children
should like to go in and where we would like to work or visit. This is not the case in
many of our schools. So let's get to the rewards. I do not know
of any teacher who would not like to be recognized on any given day for making it through a lesson
on Shakespeare's King Lear without groans and sniping remarks. That goes almost without
saying. But what is more important is the support
for excellence that only a colleague or a leader from the school can actually bring.
I am willing to be judged on my practice and how I perform with any given group of students
when I know that the person who is observing and providing feedback to improve my practice
actually knows what he or she is actually seeing.
I'm not slamming school principals. I wouldn't be one if you paid me a lot of money these
days. Or school leader, but when it is equally important for them to be in charge of all
the management of a particular school, my performance is usually not at the top of the
list. School leader teams are burdened with all kinds of responsibilities, the parking
lot, athletics, parents, business partners, discipline, physical plant and a host of other
items, all of which are important. So if I'm doing my job as a teacher and causing no waves,
I'm a blessing to him or her, but I do need their support to do the very best I can do.
So here's the theory. If my performance is based on observation and evaluation, assuming
that I have a commonly understood set of expectations and that I know what is being measured and
how it is being measured, that all of us in our school are part of a team, then I feel
like rewards would then be part of an overall system of assessment evaluation of my work
and the work of the students. This is an ideal environment by which I would
be rewarded with my colleagues on student progress over time, along with other variables.
But I would object, as you can guess, to having my reward system attached to a single test
score, where other elements that I have described are not supportive for a single outcome.
We can think of the profession as the continuum of identification of candidates, the preparation
of those candidates, the licensure of those candidates, the on-going learning, training
and improvement of these candidates and support of the candidates that makes a career for
teachers, school leaders and other school employees. On the theory that having a pulse
allows you the opportunity to be a teacher I think is flawed.
And I do believe that other school employees help support the efforts and are often underlooked
or overlooked by professionals in terms of the support that they bring for our education
support professionals. So what parts of NCLB were most helpful in
improving the quality of teachers and leaders and which parts were least helpful?
I think that defining and expecting qualified personnel in the classroom was very important.
And like Arlene, the raising the expectations around what qualified is was very helpful.
States had to rethink how to identify and improve their teaching force. And for many
states, commitments to these expectations were actually in process when NCLB passed.
New Mexico, for example, had been on the road to having teachers in the classroom of their
own subject area was improving the licensure system just prior to NCLB.
What didn't work so well was in the narrowing down of the curriculum due to an over-emphasis
on testing. So even when you were highly qualified, teachers were in place, they were so driven
by testing that it was a shame to have them not have the freedom to actually teach. It
seemed antithetical that highly qualified teachers should have to use a script to teach.
I think that the light shown on the disaggregation of the data was also very important for NCLB.
Teachers knew that the gap was still there and growing, but the system did not and still
does not focus on the conditions that improve the learning in diverse, underserved schools
and neighborhoods. The parts that were not particularly supportive
are related to the focus on testing and consequences that were part of the over-emphasis of scores
rather than learning over time by students. NEA wrote a book on the impact of NCLB on
teaching and the two most used words were testing and joy. And you can guess that there
was too much of one and too little of the other.
We now have a group of teachers in our schools who have never had the experience of teaching
outside of the heavy-handed rules of NCLB. We, however, look forward to having them experience
the joy and professional approach towards teaching and learning. NEA and the AFT look
forward to working with the Secretary of Education in crafting a more supportive and kinder Elementary
and Secondary Education Act. Thank you. (Applause.)
MR. LANE: Good morning. My name is Richard Lane and I'm honored to be here to represent
The Wallace Foundation. The Wallace Foundation seeks to support and share effective ideas
and practices that will expand the opportunities for children through strengthening educational
leadership, arts participation, and out-of-school learning.
As a representative of the Foundation, I cannot offer any recommendations on specific laws
or legislation, however, the Wallace Foundation and/or grantees have developed a body of knowledge
and field base lessons that can inform your thinking about the importance of leadership
in the reauthorization of ESEA. Research confirms that low-performing schools
cannot be turned around without effective leadership and that leadership is the critical
bridge that determines whether any school improvement effort actually makes a genuine
difference for all students. But it is not the traditional view of the principal that's
needed. In short, the role of the principal needs to change. But the job description,
their preparation and the support they need to be successful is not changing quickly enough
to meet the demands of this new reality. Let me briefly share the lessons from our
work over the last decade that are relevant. First, I want to focus on the new role of
the principal and what it looks like. Second, how training must change to prepare principals
for that new role. And third, what districts and states can do to better support principal
effectiveness. So let me begin with the emerging new role
of the principal. Research shows that effective principals set the vision for schools for
success for all students. They build the team and they align the resources to achieve the
vision. And effective principals exert powerful effects. Good principals, and as you've heard
from my colleagues here, are the single most important determinant on whether a school
can attract and keep high-quality teachers. The converse is also true. Poor leaders are
a great way to drive away good teachers from the highest needs schools.
We know that teachers matter most in a child's education, but it is only the principal who
can ensure that every student every year has an effective teacher so that in low performing
schools excellent teaching and learning spreads behind isolated classrooms.
This new role demands training that is different from what has been the norm. And it requires
attracting people that bring a different set of skills and experience to that training
and to the job. Research we've commissioned shows the effective
leadership training shares several common characteristics. These include selective recruitment
of those with leadership potential. In other words, the quality of those that enter the
preparation program is the major determinant of the quality of the graduates. This is why
we pay researchers the big money. (Laughter.)
We might want to pay the politicians a little more if we could execute against that research.
Challenging coursework, effective programs also focus on challenging coursework aligned
with standards and focus on instructional leadership, the ability to change the culture
of a school and improve the skills of teachers so that graduates are better prepared to tackle
the challenges they will face. And lastly, training done in cohorts with
well-designed and supervised internships in order to build learning networks and make
the training real and relevant for the schools that these leaders will lead.
Graduates of programs with these characteristics report being better prepared for the schools
they led. Now it is true that this training is much more expensive, but the placement
of these graduates -- of graduates of these programs is significantly higher than the
average of traditional programs. Remember, typically 20 to 30 percent of graduates
of traditional programs become principals within a few years, but fewer than 50 percent
of graduates of traditional programs ever go into administration. On the contrary, among
the exemplary programs studied, 60 percent of the graduates were principals within three
years and another 20 percent were assistant principals. The graduates of these programs
were being placed in the jobs they were being prepared to do and they were reporting that
they were better prepared to do that job. But just having better trained leaders is
not enough. We believe that if you put a better trained leader into a bad system, over time
the system will win. Therefore, our work is also focused on how districts can begin to
change the system or conditions within which these better-trained principals will work.
So let me turn to the role of the district and change in some of those conditions. Districts
can and must take steps to help principals be effective, especially in the schools where
good principals are needed most. Research has identified poor working conditions as
a major reason why effective leaders often avoid low-performing schools. To address these
conditions, districts can refocus central office staff to provide greater support to
the principals as instructional leaders. They can create incentive to attract high-quality
principals to the low-performing schools. They can direct greater resources to the highest
needs schools and highest needs students. They can provide timely, relevant and actionable
data to those leaders. They can also use valid assessments that hold principals primarily
accountable for the quality of their instructional leadership. In fact, we funded the development
of such an instrument because one did not exist.
And the districts can enable districts to have more time to focus on improving instruction.
As an example, we're funding a project to increase the principal's time as an instructional
leader by having the principal delegate more and in some cases an out-of-school administration
manager to the school to assume more non-instructional responsibilities in the building.
Research we funded to evaluate the impact of this is being finalized and is showing
that this effort is paying important dividends. It is enabling the participating principals
to spend nearly an hour more a day on focusing on the quality of improving the instruction.
Think about that. Another hour on focusing on what's important. This is significant,
since this is what we want principals to prioritize. And if districts do these kinds of activities,
survey reports results appear to demonstrate a clear advantage. Improve the quality of
the principal and the conditions of a low-performing school, and the teachers report that they
are much more likely to go and stay in the schools that need them the most.
Finally, the research we've commissioned shows that state and district coordination also
plays an important role in helping principals succeed.
Forthcoming research by Rand that found where state and district policies--where leadership
was closely aligned, school principals reported relatively strong authority over hiring practices
of teachers and they were able to devote more of their time, on average, to the improvement
of classroom instruction. You'll find the details of the topics that
I've mentioned in the Wallace publication, "Research Findings and Action Items to Support
Effective Education Policymaking" which is one of nearly 70 publications on our website
that is trying to put new knowledge into the field and into the hands of policymakers to
improve the success of teachers, of leaders, and most importantly, of students.
Let me close by applauding the administration's priorities. It's increased urgency to turn
around this country's lowest-performing schools and its recognition that both great teachers
and great leaders are needed to do the job. In fact, as I said at the beginning of my
remarks, our research shows that turnarounds are basically impossible without effective
leadership. As Ken Leathwood and his colleagues wrote in a summary of what's known about how
leadership influences student learning and I quote, "there are virtually no documented
instances of troubled schools being turned around without intervention by a powerful
leader. Many other factors may contribute to such turnarounds, but leadership is the
catalyst." Thank you.
(Applause.) MR. WEISBERG: Good morning. Let me deal with
the question first that's on all your minds. Richard and I are not, in fact, related. We
just have the same sort of top flight style. So come and talk to us after if you want to
know about beards and grooming and so forth. (Laughter.)
I know what you're thinking right now as you see this, oh god, he's the last speaker and
he has slides. Don't worry, I only have a few of them.
Let me talk first about NCLB and I don't have a lot of insight to add to that analysis beyond
what my colleagues have already talked about. I do think that--putting my district hat on
for a second and taking off my nonprofit hat--one of the most important things that NCLB did
was to shine a very bright spotlight on the inequities in the system. And that was very
important. That motivated districts like in New York City and Philadelphia and others
to act in ways they hadn't before, to focus on disadvantaged subgroups of students that
they hadn't looked at before. I'm thinking in particular about disabled students and
English language learners that had been shunted aside to a great extent, all very positive.
The negative was NCLB focused on the wrong levers to remedy the achievement gap to remedy
the fundamental inequities in the system. It focused on teachers to some extent, but
on qualifications. The reality is teachers are the biggest school-based lever to eliminate
the achievement gap to producing student academic success. And I think that is one of the things
we can all agree on. What we also should agree on is the biggest
predictor of teacher effectiveness is past performance, the reverse of those disclaimers
you hear on the brokerage ads on television. Past performance, in fact, is a predictor
of future success. But what NCLB did was focus on things that at this point don't matter,
at least not in ways we can measure which is do they have the right sheepskin, do teachers
have the right piece of paper? That didn't change the game fundamentally.
And we know this. We know that the inequities exist because you can walk into any high needs
school in a poor neighborhood whether it's in Philadelphia or in Brooklyn, New York where
I'm from and what you will see is probably a revolving door in the principal's office
to Richard's point, and you will see a collection of teachers, let's be very honest, who are
either brand new and haven't learned their craft yet or people who have bounced around
the system, veterans who have bounced around the system because they haven't been successful
because they aren't effective and they found a home in a place where there isn't any accountability.
That is a recipe for continued inequality and the calamity we have in the achievement
gap. Where do we go from here? Well, we found in
the report that we released over the summer, the widget effect, we looked at 12 districts
across the country and how they evaluated teachers that districts and states don't know
where the Ms. Silvermans are. They don't know, in fact, how many Ms. Silvermans they have.
They don't know where the teachers are who are really struggling. They don't even measure
this. That's got to be the starting point for where we go. You have to have a system
and I think frankly the regulations or the proposed guidelines for both Race to the Top
and I-3 say it pretty well. You need a rigorous, transparent and fair system that differentiates
among teachers based on how well they promise student achievement.
By the way, I'm not just talking about English language, arts, and math, tested grades and
subjects. I'm talking about music, phys. ed., everything. You've got to have clear goals
for teachers. Kay talks about that and I think that's exactly right. You've got to give them
not just a drive-by evaluation, but constant feedback about how they're doing versus those
performance metrics. And they have to be aligned to how the kids are doing and how they're
succeeding and not succeeding. The reality is we're not doing any of that now.
And we're not doing it virtually anywhere. So what are the metrics. If we're really talking
about dramatic increases, not small incremental increases of the type Dr. Ackerman talked
about that we're getting in Philadelphia and elsewhere, but dramatic increases. If you
think of this wheel as a continuum of all the points along the human capital factors
that impact teachers, all of them, whether it's selection, recruitment, training, certification,
etcetera, evaluation, compensation, they should all be focused on effectiveness and putting
the most effective teachers into particularly high-need classrooms, but all classrooms,
and making sure we support teachers in ways that they're all going to develop to their
highest potential. So what does that literally mean if you do
the math and look, I went to law school because I wasn't good at math. You have to, if you
think of a bell curve of teacher effectiveness, so the number of teachers is up on the vertical
axis, the horizontal axis is the effectiveness rating, very simple, what do you need to do?
You need to really retain at a very high rate the teachers in that green zone who are the
types that Dr. Ackerman talked about, the 40, I think, fourth grade teachers who year
after year after year are producing exemplary gains for those kids. Right now, we don't
identify them in any systematic way, so how could you then have a differential retention
program if you don't know where these teachers are. So that's one.
Two, you've got to address the people at the orange or yellow end of the spectrum and you've
either got to intervene and get them up so that they're producing, they're not dragging
kids backwards and frankly, doing damage to kids every day and every year they're in a
classroom. They're actually moving kids ahead or if they can't or wont' do that, you have
to figure out a way to exit them out of the system.
And for everybody, for the large, massive teachers that are in the middle, you've got
to really focus on developing them. And that does not mean the kind of top-down, one size
fits all professional development that frankly Title 2 spends a lot of money funding. It
means you actually have a system that I think Kay talked about quite articulately where
you are actually doing something revolutionary for education. You are watching the practice
of teachers. You are looking at the results that they get. You are identifying areas where
they can get better and then you are giving them support in those areas.
You're not putting all the teachers of a large faculty in the auditorium and teaching the
20-year veterans and the brand new teachers the same thing about classroom management.
That's what happens now. We've got to get away from that.
So what does this look like now? Do we have this bell curve flattening and moving over
to the right on the effectiveness scale? No. What we'll see now, because the other major
piece is you've got to be recruiting teachers in who are at least giving kids a decent chance
at success. You can't have a pipeline in, if you are exiting out teachers who are persistently
poor performers. You have to replace them with better performers. So right now, let's
say that districts' teachers on average are producing only three quarters of a year of
growth for every year the kids are in the classroom.
The 75th percentile is doing a little better. The 25th percentile is obviously doing a little
worse. If you want to boost effect the average effectiveness, you want at least four out
of five of the teachers to get to the 1.0 years of growth. In other words, you want
to get to the point where four out of five of your teachers for every year the kids are
in the classroom, you're getting a year's worth of learning. This by the way folks,
is not a hypothetical. If you do the math here, this is the achievement gap. This is
the kids on the long end of the achievement gap. They are getting about three-quarter's
of a year of learning for each year they're in the classroom and so they wind up getting
into 9th grade three or four years behind. So this is real. We've got to change this.
And I won't bore you with the math here, but the idea is the strategy should be about differential
retention and development, so if you're effectively developing teachers, now the teachers who
are doing great, you're not going to be able to get much more improvement out of them,
but there are probably some areas there where you can improve them. The teachers who are
really struggling, you want to get substantial improvement and these paradigms are talking
about 40 to 60 percent. And you see 1.1 years near the right margin, that's the average
performance of teachers coming in through the pipeline.
If you do these things, differential retention, really effective targeted development, you
can get 30 or 40 percent gains. Now this all looks good on a slide. It's obviously
extraordinarily hard to execute on. How do we know this? Nobody has done it. But this
is where we need to go. So what does that mean? What does that mean
differential retention, focus on effectiveness. Again, first you need that and where can the
lever that the Federal Government has particularly under ESEA and particularly under the Reauthorized
ESEA, where do they go? They can fund these measurement systems that again are transparent,
are rigorous, but fair. And they can fund efforts to make those human capital decisions
on that pinwheel slide I showed you based on that. So we can start to do revolutionary
things like guess what? Hire more teachers from the preparation programs who are producing
effective teachers. We don't do that now. We can actually pay the teachers who are on
the right end of that bell curve, we can pay them to stay in our high needs schools, because
if you say to them you're going to make the same whether you work in a suburban school
or whether you work in a middle class school or whether you work in a school in a poor
neighborhood with lots of challenges, people are naturally going to gravitate as they do
from the high needs schools to the low needs schools. You need to reverse that somehow,
so in compensation. On certification something that my friends
in state government spend a ton of time on, none of them really, virtually none are basing
certification on effectiveness. They're saying if you show me that you completed the right
courses, you have the right degree, you get this license to teach our children for the
next 30 years regardless of whether you've shown that you're actually producing at least
a year's worth of gain for every year you're in the classroom or whether you're producing
only .6 of a year of gains for every year you're in the classroom. You can start making
development decisions about how to develop new teachers versus veteran teachers.
You can make staffing decisions so we can stop doing what we do now in schools in poor
neighborhoods which is to force place teachers who can't get a job somewhere else into those
schools so they are the ones, the .6 year teachers the ones teaching the kids who most
desperately need those teachers on the right side of the spectrum. We can stop doing that.
We can treat teachers like professionals and allow them to decide where they're going to
teach with the right incentives in place and allow principals and their staffs to decide
who is the best fit for their schools. And then finally, we can have systems of due
process and tenure that protect against arbitrary terminations and arbitrary discipline but
take very heavily into account something they do not take into account right now which is
how effective that teacher is in the classroom at promoting student achievement which is
supposed to be the core mission. So I want to end by adding my remarks to Richard's
and others. This is an extraordinarily exciting time. It is, I think, a perfect storm for
education reform. I have to say and I'm not saying this just because of the folks who
are sitting behind me, this perfect storm has been created in large part by the administration
and the leadership that it has shown in every policy decision where they could have made
a less courageous choice, but a more politically expedient choice. They have not done that.
Now it is up to all of us to capitalize on this opportunity that has been created and
really be in a position where five and ten years from now we can look back and we can
say, we didn't miss that opportunity. We truly have created a new paradigm where we are seeing
the type of quantum leaps that I just put up on the slide.
Thank you. (Applause.)
MR. RITSCH: Thanks, Dan. Thanks to the panel as well.
Now let's turn to your comments, your reaction and responses to what you've heard, other
things you'd like to throw in. We may ask some questions of you to try and guide the
discussion. We've got two microphones, one here, one here. Because we do have a lot of
folks with a lot of thoughts, let's try and keep them brief and I'll reserve the right
to move on to the next person if we're going too long. We'll alternate between.
Please identify yourself, if you feel you need to spell your name for the transcription,
please do so and tell us which organization you're representing and if you feel a need
to describe it, some of us don't have the most obviously named organizations. Let us
know what your focus is. Why don't we start with Jane over here?
MS. WEST: Thanks, Massie. I'm Jane West with the American Association of Colleges for Teacher
Education. Is this on? MR. RITSCH: Tilt it up, Jane.
MS. WEST: Hello? That's better. I'll stand on my tip toes.
Thank you for that very rich discussion. I think you really set the stage for some good
dialogue here. There's sort of three things I'd like to just
put out there and get your response to. The first thing and I'm going to sound like a
broken record on this is the teach grants. The Department of Education has an unlimited
amount of money available for people who want to get either bachelor's or master's degrees
and work in high need fields and high need schools. And in terms of the requirement side
of that you've got to have either a 3.5 or be in the top ten percent of your graduating
class to be eligible for these grants. I see you looking with a puzzled look. You
know, people don't know about it. It's not promoted. But it addresses the two key things
which are recruiting high, achieving people and secondly there's a service obligation
with this grant to teach for four out of the following eight years in the high need place
where you were prepared or in a high need school.
I just wish that we could do more with that program. It's not a perfect program. There's
some logistical flaws. I know it's hard to administer, but it's such a great opportunity
that we're just not utilizing as we should be. I think.
Secondly is the notion of partnerships between higher education and high needs school districts.
I know Chicago, Trenton, New Jersey, Long Beach have these fabulous residencies and
partnerships where the university virtually in collaboration with the school district
trains the new teachers for those school districts and the university or in the school people
are in the schools, the teachers are at the university. I mean you can't tell the difference
in Long Beach, who works where. And we've seen a lot of promising results from that
and I just wonder what your thoughts might be on that.
Last point, teacher performance assessment. California has something called the PACT,
the Performance Assessment of California Teachers. At ACTE we have received a grant from the
Ford Foundation to look at how to make a national model of that available. What it means is
that you have to demonstrate that you can perform effective instruction based on school
gains before you get credentialed. And I think that's the sort of measurement took we're
all after, but I wonder if you see any promise in that? Thank you for letting me talk so
long. MR. RITSCH: Does anyone want to respond there?
MS. BRILLIANT: I guess it goes without saying that the more time we put into the teacher
prep for all teacher preparation programs, at least you've increased the odds.
My experience is that kind of redefining what a teacher, a quality teacher needs to have
before they actually go into the classroom might be worth our while as well. And elevating
the profession to the point where we know that prior to becoming a teacher of record
that there's evidence of performance to some standard that allows for working in a classroom
in isolation with a bunch of kids. And I know that's harder to actually define the partnerships
are worth doing. Thanks. MS. ACKERMAN: I support the idea of school
districts working with institutions of higher learning, working to make sure that young
people come prepared to teach. I actually think though, and I can probably say this
having been in one of those institutions of higher learning, that we really do have to
look at graduate schools of education. I don't think they're preparing young people to come
and teach in school districts like Philadelphia. We spend years and years and years of training
in professional development and we lose many young people and they've spent five years
in a teacher preparation program before they get to us and they don't last, some don't
last the first month. Many don't last after the first year. So I do think we're going
to have to take a close look at what's happening in our graduate schools of education and we
need to completely revamp what's happening. MS. WEST: I think those residency programs
hold a lot of promise in that area. Thank you.
MR. RITSCH: Thanks. Next comment. MS. REISER: Good morning. My name is Deitra
Reiser from the National Association of School Psychologists. And I wanted to just make a
few points and hear your comments about specifically teacher retention.
I think what Dr. Ackerman just mentioned with the graduate school training is an important
one. Many students are coming to school with mental health challenges and behavior challenges
and that is cited as one of the number one reasons why teachers are not staying in the
classroom. And just remembering that there all those support people in the school who
also, their certification and their qualifications and competencies also need to be looked at
to make sure that those school-based mental health folks are able to support teachers
with children who have those challenges. And then the other thing is teacher morale.
I think that a lot of effective teachers are leaving the classroom even after some years
just feeling like they aren't getting the support really from the community at large,
even with support of principal. So I think those are a few things that we need to think
about as we move forward and wondered if you all have any comments?
MR. RITSCH: Laura. MS. KALOI: I'm Laura Kaloi. I'm with the National
Center for Learning Disabilities and my last name is spelled K-A-L-O-I.
MR. RITSCH: Thank you. Laura Kaloi. MS. KALOI: It's Hawaiian. We last year issued
this report called "Challenging Change, How Schools and Districts are Improving their
Performance of Special Education Students." And I just wanted to thank the panel. So much
of what you said tracks with what we were able to show in this report funded by the
Charles and Ellen Schwab Foundation. And I just wanted to touch on a couple of
things and get your reaction to comments made here and what we learned in the total commitment
to inclusion and that's one of the premises of No Child Left Behind is that when all students
are being looked at through the same filter and lens that it did promote a stronger inclusion
model which we know comes with many challenges, for some schools who had not been using an
inclusion model prior to NCLB: use of duly certified teachers, how schools are moving
into that mode; school-wide behavior management programs, how that can help improve what's
happening within the school environment; creative scheduling for teachers; extra planning time;
joint professional development for teachers and the para-professionals who support them
in the classroom and for extra services; frequent communication with parents; and strong before-
and after-school programs. I just wanted to get your reaction. I know
each of you come from a different perspective on this, but this whole notion of joint training
seems to be from what we're learning and understanding from the schools and districts that we work
with and talk with that this is relatively new in the last seven or eight years. I wanted
to see if you had a reaction to how, what that looks like.
MR. WEISBERG: I just -- this may be unsatisfying because I'm not going to talk specifically
about the joint training idea. There are a lot of great ideas out there.
If any of you have insomnia and you want to read Title 2, there are many, many interesting,
promising initiatives that can be funded through Title 2. The problem is we don't have a way
to measure the outputs from this. We're not saying that these things either lead directly
or indirectly in ways we can measure to better outcomes for students and again, that doesn't
just mean test scores, then we shouldn't do them.
If we have programs that we can't measure those things, they may be very promising,
they should potentially do an I-3 application, but they shouldn't be prioritized. And we
should be prioritizing the things that we know are going to produce better outcomes
most prominently principal and teacher effectiveness. MS. BRILLIANT: I would just add to that, that
we need to find the things that we know work best and then we need to stay on them for
a while. I've been in this business since 1971 and
I -- it would take me an hour to name all the programs that have come and gone in my
lifetime. We have a very severe case of ADD. But that is the hopefulness around what is
in our environment right now is to note the research, notice the concepts that are able
to be adapted to other conditions. So I always balk a little bit with lifting
a program and moving it to some other district or some other school as if that ground is
the same ground that you would plant the seed somewhere else. So I'm always a little reluctant
about the program being duplicated versus being viral. So good ideas need to become
viral and they need to be adapted to a new location. But we need to understand the concepts
and the conditions in which it makes the very best result.
And we have the capacity to do that now and we may not have moved our resources in that
direction in a very concentrated or focused way in the past.
MS. KALOI: Thank you, and just for clarification I wasn't trying to endorse a specific program,
but just get at the point of all students being in the classroom for a greater amount
of the day now does require more of both the general ed. teacher and those supporting them.
So that was really my point in trying to have this discussion. Thank you.
MR. RITSCH: Thanks. We have three people over here.
MR. JOYCE: Speaking of things that work and that are effective we're here to tell you
about one. I'm Jeff Joyce from Charlotte; Stephanie Brown-Bryant from Atlanta; Molly
Shaw from Charlotte and we're here in support of the Yale National Initiative and the Teachers
Professional Development Institute Act S2212HR3209. As you were all talking, I wrote down several
things that you said, so I wanted to address each of the speakers and how the Yale model
meets some of the things that you said. Ms. Ackerman said best and brightest minds. Well,
that's what the Yale National Initiative attempts to do and you should know because the Yale
Model is in Philadelphia and so we work to help teachers by giving them content-based
professional development, not methods. And it works for the young teacher, for the old
teacher and it makes them more knowledgeable, thus, we think it gives them great confidence
and it invigorates them and it makes them better at what they do.
And Ms. Brilliant said something about drive-by professional development. That's not what
we do. Our professional development is meant to help teachers. It's product oriented. It's
for their classrooms. They help shape it for where they are. It's not one of these things
like you said where it goes from one place to another and it's some stiff model that
they can't shake to their own needs. To improve skills and have quality of instruction
and we think that it does that. We've done some measurement on our own at Yale and we
found that it does improve the quality of instruction. And our teachers seem to say
there's a swell, of course, of teachers all across the nation, in Atlanta, Jacksonville,
Wilmington, Delaware, Santa Fe, Charlotte, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Chicago, where
teachers have taken this and they've told us how it improves their quality instruction.
And last, the biggest school-based level, well, we're ready to pull it. Because we're
the teachers that we think can do it the best because of the Yale National Model.
Thank you for your time.. MS. BROWN-BRYANT: And I have to say coming
from DeKalb County and the Metro Atlanta area I do have very supportive administrators and
this program works for us because they know that we are dedicated professionals. Thank
you. MR. RITSCH: Thanks.
MR. DeWITT: Hi. I'm Steve DeWitt. I'm with the Association for Career and Technical Education.
And I used to have a goatee, so I hope that reflects kindly upon me.
We actually, at our association, have been going through what a high-quality CTE teacher
should look like. And it's not been an easy discussion and we don't have agreement around
the table yet, but we're still working on that.
I was pleased to hear Mr. Weisberg talk about other teachers in the school and am wondering
what your thoughts might be, either from the Department or people on the panel about how
that -- how core academic teachers and other teachers should work together.
We happen to believe that the lines between not only career and technical education, but
I'm assuming probably other classes as well in the school are starting to blur. Some of
our courses are actually receiving academic credit now. We see a lot of work being done
to bring corps of teachers together, much like what was discussed today with I think
core academic teachers. But are there other things like that that
you think are positive and what should we be doing to improve the teacher quality of
all teachers in the school? MR. WEISBERG: So I'll take the first shot
at that. If you look at the teachers for whom we have standardized test data on, it's going
to be about a quarter of the total teachers. It's a minority of subjects and a minority
of grades. It should not be that difficult because it is happening in places for every
teacher to have his or her effectiveness assessed. So in New York City we've got a terrific high
school, Bronx Aerospace Academy which is a CTE school and kids are learning aerospace
engineering essentially. These are highly-talented teachers who work up there. I will tell you,
some of them produce more learning than others, even though we don't test a lot of those subjects,
at least in the state. There's no reason a principal can't sit down with those teachers
and figure out a reasonable way to test the learning, I don't mean through the use of
standardized tests. It could be portfolios. It could be student work audits. It could
be any one of a number of methods to figure out what a reasonable baseline would be and
then measure against it. And that's true for CTE and that's true for every subject.
MR. RITSCH: Thanks. MR. MAHAFFEY: Good Morning. Robert Mahaffey
with the Rural School and Community Trust. I'm from the Annenbourg Challenge. Forgive
my voice. I'd like to focus for a moment on rural schools, obviously and school districts.
Having a certified qualified teacher in every classroom in a rural school, particularly
in poor communities has always been very problematic, pre-No Child Left Behind.
So we have the issue of recruitment and retention in rural communities that continues to have
to be very, very creative and supportive. The Title I innovation grants have remedies
built in them. Three of those require some sort of change in staffing. Again, the problem
of getting a teacher, a qualified teacher to stay in that community needs creative options
that have not only to do with preparation and training and experience. They need to
do with housing, medical care, delivery of child support services, transportation.
So as we're looking at this whole issue, I'd like your thoughts on what we need to do in
rural communities to address those issues. Thank you.
MS. BRILLIANT: I'm sitting here nodding my head. I taught in Arizona and New Mexico,
so there's a lot of nowhere out there. And the issue around staffing schools that
are especially in isolated rural communities is particularly challenging. The partnerships
with the universities there actually was one of the things that schools of education were
doing, but it did not address the issue of retention.
So I believe that the challenge has to do with looking at what the community actually
has to offer to somebody who is coming from the university out to wherever that is and
the ability to create a community of learners that are supported by the community itself.
I mean it's hard enough to go to a school and get in a room with a whole bunch of kids
in isolation, but at least there's a cohort usually called the school and there's usually
a community in which you can have some kind of a life, but in those more isolated and
rural areas that really is a challenge. So I would just suggest that there are community
resolutions to this around wrapping your arms around people who are coming into a relatively
rural isolated area and then the incentive around keeping them there has to do with I
think their success there. MR. MAHAFFEY: What do you think about grow
your own programs? That's one of the sort of approaches that we're hoping will get a
great deal of investment. MS. BRILLIANT: Yes. Actually, that is a strategy
worth identifying now. Remember, both in New Mexico and Arizona we have large reservation
areas as well. And to get to the issue that Arlene made, making sure we have instructors
that look like the kids they teach and so in particular, that's a really good strategy,
requires quite a bit of leverage if young people in that community have no desire to
stay. So again, it's hard to talk to about the school
in isolation of the entire community, would require some effort on everybody's part to
show the good reason why kids should stay in their own community.
MR. LANE: Let me just broaden to both leaders beyond just teachers is one of the examples
in the research that we funded Linden Darling Hammond to do around effective leadership
training. The program identified was Delta State, fairly rural.
In that case, what they did was they didn't do it on their own, but they had state support
so that the state actually subsidized teachers that demonstrated leadership to go into a
program. They supported the program to strengthen its effort. So in effect, the partnership
between the local and the state was able to create an opportunity to grow your own in
that area and support the leader, the teachers going into those schools that they knew and
they looked like their students. So I think there is an opportunity. I'm not
quite sure Delta State could have done it on their own, and so I think the partnership
between state policy and the local community and the districts they served was a way to
create grow your own model. MR. RITSCH: Thanks. We're a few minutes past
our time of adjournment. We're going to keep going, but do keep an eye on the clock. If
you do have to leave, please fill out those evaluation forms and leave your name tags
behind. Yes, sir.
MR. BROWN: Hi. I'm Charlie Brown with Democrats for Education Reform. I just wanted to echo
what some of the other folks said that leadership of the administration on these issues has
been phenomenal. You were able in this context, so many other issues going on to make education
an important issue is great. I want to echo what Jane West said that -- and
I was going to say this any way, so I was glad you said it, Jane.
There are things on the books now to do some of what's being talked about now, not just
the teach grants, but loan forgiveness programs that accumulated beginning back in '98 and
have been added on to. They have mandatory funding.
I just don't think they've been packaged well. I don't think the administration, the previous
administration packaged them very well. They're not going to cure every problem, but I think
if a kid went in and they were thinking about going into teaching and someone presented
them with this or they were a new teacher and someone said if you stay in this school
for five years, we're going to forgive your loans because I know a lot of people aren't
being told that, that would start a discussion maybe about some of the broader things and
have you all created other packages around it to get at some of the other issues.
The other point I want to make and this is part of the question, you know, a lot of this
stuff has been talked about for years. You can go back to the Holmes Report of the 1980s
or the Nick Tapp Report of 1996 or even -- I was cleaning out my office a couple of weeks
ago and I came across a pamphlet from AACT, 1972, it said performance-based evaluation
of teacher education programs and performance evaluations of teachers was on the way.
A few years ago, it said. Okay? So we've known about this stuff. I just think that self-admonition
around this is not going to get us there. We've been doing this for decades and I just
wanted to prompt the discussion about what kinds of things would need to change.
We have internship programs. These are the school superintendent Ackerman talked about
the turnover, 70 percent of their teachers, the ones you talked about that have 65 percent
growth rates for their students. So those kids are the test folks. They're the kids
we experiment on. Last two weeks ago, President Van Roekel made
a significant announcement that he was willing to look at the collective bargaining agreements
and I think they're the elephant in the room around a lot of these things, around principal-based
hiring, around differential pay, around incentives. And I'm just wondering has there been any
progress in the two weeks to kind of address some of the things we've heard here today
and see where we can move some knobs and dials. MS. ACKERMAN: Ron Edmonds said 30 years ago,
I remember this, we already know everything we need to know about how to educate our children
well. I really believe that. He said that 30 years go and 30 years ago I believed it.
It's whether or not we have the will, the collective will to make it happen.
And that's why I'm excited about this administration. I believe it takes collective will, not just
at the school district level, but at every level and all of the stakeholders.
We, in Philadelphia, have now and are discussing everything from value-added compensation to
differentiated compensation. It's on the table, you know? But it's going to take the collective
will, not just what Arlene Ackerman wants to do. Not even what our PFT President wants
to do. It's everybody says that this is important. Twenty-one-twenty-three is unacceptable for
our children and we can't keep doing what we've been doing before.
So I am pleading with this government and this Secretary of Education, this President,
down to our state, to put the pressure on because it's the only way. We have to have
the political will to make it happen. The talk is -- I'm tired of talking too. It's
all on the table for this school district. We don't mind being the first one out to do
all of this, but it's going to take a lot of collective will to make it happen.
MS. BRILLIANT: I wouldn't dare to say anything about President Van Roekel without some assurance,
but -- and in two weeks which is different than when he opened his mouth. But let me
just say this. There are lots of random acts of excellence already in systems out there.
The ability of us to find those, understand the conditions, the concepts under which they
work. And we have pay for performance in all kinds of places in negotiated and collective
bargaining agreements. The issue of whether it's a system change or an enlightened progressive
set of leaders makes the difference between whether you have it and can sustain it or
whether it's just because you have great leadership in the union and in the superintendent and
the school board. So it seems to me that what we want to do
is we want to do and suggest that we find those parts of the system that need to encourage
that. MR. WEISBERG: So just quickly, I mean one
of the things we did in our widget effect report is we looked at Arkansas as well where
you don't have collective bargaining. They hire, pay, manage, promote, discharge teachers
exactly the same way, without any collective bargaining agreements.
It's comfortable for the adults. We've got to be willing to own that. The system we have
is not broken for the adults. It works fine for the adults. It doesn't work well for the
kids, particularly if you happen to be a poor, minority kid.
I think the theory of change, Secretary Duncan has gone about this exactly the right way.
If it were easy, it would already be happening. We wouldn't be waiting since 1972. But if
we can find a few places, a few states, a few districts, with some really progressive
leadership on both the union side and the district side and the state side and go really
deep, do something we've never done before which is comprehensive reform in all the four
priority areas, if we can do that and we can sustain it for a few years and prove up again
not just the 2123 type gains, but some ground-breaking gains, unprecedented gains, then we've got
some. That's where you can build a movement around.
So again, I sometimes literally wake up at night worrying about this. We could very much
miss this opportunity if we can't find those few places where everybody is willing to swallow
hard and do a lot of things we haven't done before.
MR. LANE: Let me just add, we're talking a lot about different programs, a lot of policies.
The key piece here and I applaud the administration's connection between great teachers and great
leaders, but without the role of the great leader, we miss the opportunity to make the
connection between policy and practice. Because what we're talking about here is about implementation
of what we know and doing it consistently and holding everyone to a high level of expectation.
And until we can do that and do it very focused and evaluate people against it and give people
time to do what they need to do, I don't think we're going to be making any changes for kids.
We'll just be implementing a new program of the day.
MR. RITSCH: Thanks. Just a couple comments. Let's get to those.
MS. TAVALIN: My name is Kuna Tavalin and I'm from the National Disabilities Rights Network.
We represent protection and advocacy agencies in every state and while we offer services
for individuals across the board, the overwhelming majority of our case load is in special education.
And what we'd like to see is that professional development support and tools are on-going
throughout teachers' careers and that they incorporate ways to address a diversity of
learning styles and alternative methods of teaching and learning which we believe will
benefit both special education students and the rest of the student body.
Thank you. MR. KNEZEK: I'm Don Knezek with the International
Society for Technology and Education based here in Washington, D.C. And the main thing
I want to do is just point out and agree that there's a real shortcoming in the definition
of highly-qualified teacher under the current ESEA legislation. Because we have 90 percent
highly-qualified in Philadelphia, but many of those teachers are unable to use modern
information tools, cannot operate modern communications, collaboration or learning strategies and are
also unable to use on-line learning experiences or digital content to engage students.
So if our goal is truly every student completing high school prepared to enter or succeed in
college and enter a career, we won't get there if our current teacher preparation and professional
development continues as it is. We know from the Pew Study, 80 percent of
the students we lose are completely in line to achieve academically and academic success
in high school and complete high school. They're leaving us because they're so disengaged partly,
in fact, a vast majority of them tell us because they unplug when they come to school and it
has no resemblance to the real world. Thank you.
MR. RITSCH: All right, thank you everyone for your comments this morning. Thank you
very much panel, for taking the time to be with us today.
We will convene again on October 21st for our next forum. The topic we will have the
panel to address is promoting innovation and rethinking the federal role
Fill out your evaluation forms please, and drop those when you leave. Drop your nametags.
We will be posting that registration is open for the October 21st forum in the next day
or two. Until then, please don't try to sign up.
And as always we can take your written comments at eseacomments@ed.gov. So we will see you
soon. Thank you.