3. Education

Stanford University. Good evening. I’d like to welcome you
all to the third class in this course on the
State of the Union 2014. This is a big week in
education at Stanford. I suppose that’s redundant. It’s always a big week
for education at Stanford. But in particular, not only
do we have this terrific panel of people here this evening to
discuss the issue of education, but I want to call your
attention especially to something that’s been
cycling up here on the screen. Tomorrow afternoon, and
also Thursday afternoon, there’ll be two lectures in the
Annual Tanner Lecture Series by Danielle Allen, who comes
to us from the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton. And she’s going to talk about–
the title of her two lectures is Education and
Equality, another topic that will concern us
directly in this course in a couple of weeks’ time. Education and Equality,
Two Concepts of Education. Both lectures are at
5:30 in the afternoon. Both are in the Bechtel
Conference Center, which is just a
stone’s throw away from where we’re sitting
here this evening. I’ve known Danielle
Allen and worked with for a number of years. And I can tell you she is an
uncommonly elegant and fresh thinker with the philosopher’s
knack for cutting through to the essential
core of the issue at hand and probing it was
a great cogency and clarity and originality. I recently looked at
her most recent book, which is about the Declaration
of Independence, a book that I recommend to you as well. It’s called Our Declaration. And thinking about her
connection with Jefferson and her lectures on
education this week, I was reminded of a famous
statement of Thomas Jefferson’s that we might take as
the charter for tonight’s discussion as well as
for Danielle Allen’s lectures and the
remainder of the week. He said, “If a nation expects
to be ignorant and free in a state of
civilization, it expects what never was and
never will be.” If we are to guard against
ignorance and remain free, it is the responsibility of
every American to be informed.” Well, that’s part of the reason
why we’re offering this course and we take our hats
off to all of you, and thank you commend you for
your interest in being here to get better informed about
various matters that concern the health of this Republic. And tonight our
topic is education, and Rob Reich is
going to lead us off. Just a quick addendum
to what David Kennedy mentioned about Danielle Allen. I spent 18 months recently
co-editing a book with Danielle that came out last year under
the title Education, Justice, and Democracy, some of the
material in which you’ll hear if you attend the lectures. And the impression
that David gave you is the same impression I have. She is really a fantastic
intellectual, great presence as well in the classroom,
and you can make it tomorrow or Thursday, it
would be fantastic. All right. So I have a special interest
in the topic of education. So as David Kennedy
did last week when we considered the
state of California, I wanted to take
just a few moments to give a set of
framing observations about education for our
discussion on stage today. About 20, 25 years ago when I
was graduating from college, a new organization had just been
created that I learned about. It is called Teach For America. And inspired by the
civic mission of Teach For America to make public
education the civil rights struggle for the generation
of college students, I was attracted by its
mission, applied shortly after graduating, was
accepted, and was sent off to Houston, Texas where I
taught sixth grade for two years at Rusk Elementary School. Sixth grade was the top grade
of the elementary school there, and I had completely embraced
the civic mission of TFA. And I agreed then,
as I agree now, with TFA’s mission
or motto, which is that every child
deserves the opportunity to attain an
excellent education. While I was at Rusk
Elementary School, I was thrown unsuspecting
into the front lines of school reform battles because, after
my very first year of teaching, which as anyone who has
been a school teacher knows, is among the most difficult
professional tasks one can undertake, Rusk
found itself thrust into the center of school
reform because it was one of the first schools in the
country that was reconstituted, which was a kind of novel
school intervention, which meant the entire school’s staff,
from the principal down to the janitors, we’re fired. They were guaranteed jobs
within the Houston district, but no one was
entitled to return to the school the
following year. A new principal was hired. And I was one of maybe
three or four faculty who remained at Rusk
in the second year. I have to confess
something personal now. I had an enormous challenge when
I was a teacher, wanted very much to stay in education,
but as a non-Houston native, I really did not find myself
enjoying living in Houston and began to look
elsewhere in the country. And I found myself applying
to graduate school, and I arrived here in
1994 at the Stanford School of Education to
study in the Ph.D. program. And probably within
the first three days of arriving on campus in
1994, I picked up an article by a professor whose name
I did not know at the time. Her name is Linda
Darling Hammond. She’s with us tonight. The article was “A
Broadside Against Teach for America,” which said that
it was an active injustice to children in urban schools
and that the best case scenario would be that TFA
should more or less shut down tomorrow. It gave me something
to think about. I had what was a very
productive problem then as a graduate
student, and it’s been really one of the
reasons I’ve continued thinking about and writing
about education for the past 20 years. So I want to start with
just four brief observations about public
education, which put the entire context of
contemporary school reform questions and battles
into, I think, a broader historical frame. So the first is
something that I think is not as appreciated
as it ought to be by ordinary
folks who participate in public schools in some way,
whether as teachers, students, parents who send their kids
to the schools, and in fact by school reform
debaters, which is that the very idea that
a government should take responsibility to provide,
at public expense, an education for children,
and then to couple that free opportunity
for education with compulsory attendance
laws, is roughly speaking only 100 years
old in the United States. The advent of freely
provided schools dates back into
the 19th century, but the addition of
compulsory attendance laws is a feature that
really came alive in states in the
1910s and 1920s. So it’s an
experiment, and really a kind of wondrous feature
of democratic states that they undertake to
provide universal education at no expense to any
child in the country. Second observation. The complaint that you sometimes
hear about school reform, often in newspapers or on
television or in magazines, is that school reform has
been hyper politicized. We hear people weighing
in on either side of the political spectrum
about what ought to happen or what ought not to
happen, and that it’d be much better if education,
which everyone universally agrees ought to be provided,
were not as politicized as it currently is. However, it’s apropos
that David Kennedy mentioned Thomas Jefferson. All the way back
from the founding era of the country, the founders,
in particular Thomas Jefferson, had in mind this system
of public education that was intended
to be political. Thomas Jefferson,
you may know if you go to visit Monticello
and see his grave, there are three
accomplishments that Jefferson chose to list on his grave site. The first is that he’s the
author of the Declaration, the second is that
he’s the author of the Bill for Religious
Liberty or Freedom in Virginia, and the third is
that he’s the founder of the University of Virginia. And notably, he did
not include being the third president
of the United States. Something that’s in keeping with
his view about the importance of education, first of all, the
institution of the University of Virginia, is the
perhaps lesser known fact that he had, for many years
in the Virginia legislature, proposed bills that would
require the state of Virginia to provide public schooling
to children in Virginia. And he had in mind a very
decentralized system for it. There would be small,
municipal units, which would have democratic
governance of the school itself, the school districts
if there were to be such, which would be a welcome
enticement for adults in the community who
naturally would care about the education
of their own children, to participate in the
local democratic governance of their own schools,
which would itself be then a mechanism
for active citizenship. Not merely with the schools,
as David’s quote from Jefferson suggested, be
important preparation for children to learn
something about what the tasks of
citizenship required, but the school design
and governance itself would facilitate adult
civic participation as well. So from the beginning,
it was intended to be a political undertaking. Adults in local
communities would participate in
local school boards and try to figure out what they
wanted most for their children. And we got a massively
decentralized system. Although Jefferson’s
plan was never adopted, something like the
design did come to pass in the United States. And so, of course, we have
famously, for some infamously, one of the most decentralized
systems of schools provision in the entire world. In California– I
don’t know the figure. I could gesture over
here because I’m sure someone would know,
there are many, many hundreds of school districts
across the states. Many, many thousands
of school districts all with this local
governance feature. Think, by contrast,
to France where there’s a single system of
education, highly centralized. And I’m not sure whether the
following is actually true, but if it’s not true the spirit
of it is certainly correct, and it ought to be
true for the sake of a nice quip about France. The French education
minister is rumored to have said when asked
in a press conference, if you tell me the day of the
year and the time of the day, I can tell you what every
single French school child is doing
across the country. That’s not true between
Palo Alto and Menlo Park, much less the entire country. Massive decentralization. And a tight connection
with democracy, which leads to my
third observation. In a democratic system,
there’s one troubling feature about how we think about the
education of children, which is that children are
not permitted to vote. The very beings we claim to
be organizing a system for are formally disenfranchised
from the process of expressing their
interests in the system. Their interests need to be
represented by other people, by their parents,
by their teachers, by experts, by corporations,
by unions, by principals. Lots of people weigh in
to represent the interests of our children, and the
children themselves don’t. Now, to reflect how
significant this is a design feature
of our system, I want you to just imagine
for yourself the following. And I’ll show you a slide
in just a moment with this. Think to yourself the sum
total of federal, state, and local spending that goes
for adults over the age of 65, and that goes for children
under the age of 18. Just try to fix
in your head what the number is for a minute. Here’s the answer. The sum total of federal,
local, and state spending for people over 65? $26,000. For children, only $11,000. That’s not the product
of a technocratic expert design about how
to allocate funds. That’s the product of
democratic governance in which people vote
their interests, and in where children, because
they are disenfranchised, happy to be represented
by other people to show their interest
in the system. Which leads to my fourth
and final observation. In many times in which you
hear people talk about school reform, you’ll often
hear indications of how important it is
to put children first, to think about the students. And we have this romantic
vision that somehow, if only all the adults in the room who
were concerned with education put aside their self interest
and altruistically elevated the perspective of the
child to the only thing they cared about, miraculously
everything would be better. Now, the political
scientist in me, as a result of my
previous comment about democratic governance
and who gets to vote, wants to approach any romantic
invocation of the child’s interest and if
we could set aside our own partisan squabbles and
just think of the children, as nothing more than romance and
that essentially you should– and whenever you
hear that, take that with a massive grain of salt. Or even better, or worse as
the case may be, be skeptical. Adults will sometimes represent
the independent interests of the child, but
also expectedly and intentionally, partly
represent their own interests. Parents may vote for
things that benefit them more than the
schoolchildren. Senior citizens
may vote for things that benefit them more
than schoolchildren. Same with corporations,
same with unions, and on down the line. We should expect that. Not a bug in the system
of democratic governance, but an intended design feature. So this leads into
my final observation. You may not know
who this guy is. His name is Terrel Bell, and he
was the Secretary of Education under Ronald Reagan,
between 1981 and 1985. You may remember, if you pay
attention to school reform, that the Federal
Department of Education was initially created
by Jimmy Carter in the 1970s, late 1970s. And Ronald Reagan campaigned
on a platform including, among other things,
abolishing the Federal Department of Education. However, when he
got into office, he appointed this
man Terrel Bell to the position of
Secretary of Education. Terrel Bell was raised in Idaho. He was one of eight siblings,
a single mother, kind of an improbable
type, in certain ways, to rise to this level. And one of the
first things that he did when he assumed
the office was appoint a blue ribbon
commission, something that happens quite frequently in
Washington, a blue ribbon panel to study education. It was called The National
Commission on Excellence in Education. And in 1983 it
concluded its duties and issued a report
called “A Nation at Risk.” “A Nation at Risk,” I
want to suggest to you, is the intellectual foundation
of the contemporary school reform movement. It is where a lot of the
current buzz words and trends and indeed school
reform efforts– you can trace them
back to elements in the “Nation at Risk” report. It had an arresting
preface in which the author said the following. “If an unfriendly
power, foreign power, had attempted to
impose on America the mediocre educational
performance that exists today, we would consider
it an act of war. As it stands, we’ve let
it happen to ourselves. We have in effect
been committing an act of unthinking,
unilateral, educational disarmament.” Now, you can hear the
language of the Cold War there very clearly. Notice, however, no
language about citizenship. “Nation at Risk” included a
whole host of recommendations. Boosting graduation
requirements, establishing learning
standards, outcomes, measure student learning
according to these standards, measure teacher and school
effectiveness, experiment with merit pay, hold
schools accountable, encourage experimentation. And I think this report
is the foundation of the current moment
in school reform in which we talked about No
Child Left Behind, the Common Core, competition amongst
schools, student performance, teacher performance,
value added measures. And it reflects, I want
to conclude by saying, that Americans have long
had an unrivaled faith in the power of the schoolhouse
and in particular the power of the individual teacher to
rise above any social challenge and to make the schoolhouse
the cure for any social ill. Think of the movies
that came out in the 1980s that
reflect this view. Stand and Deliver. Dangerous Minds. And we have the heroic
single schoolteacher overcoming every
possible obstacle. That may well be
romance, but it reflects this longstanding faith
of American citizens in the power of the
schoolhouse to solve all ills, including deals of
poverty, including the ills of inequality. If you think for a moment
of the model of KIPP, the largest network I believe of
charter schools in the country, perhaps the most
successful as well. KIPP stands for Knowledge
Is Power Program. There motto is “No excuses.” They can get incredible
student performance, no matter what the background,
conditions of the students, the community, the country. It’s meant to be the teacher
and the school culture that will rise above all, reflecting
this long secular faith. So when we talk about
school reform today, I hope to set up a conversation
in which we discuss it within the context
of the broadest array of social problems,
and whether or not this longstanding faith in the
power of an individual teacher, and of an individual school,
democratically governed, where students
themselves can’t vote, is really worth that faith. So we have a really,
really great group of folks here tonight. And it’s hard. Every week we have this
extraordinary panel. I say. I’m as excited about this
group is I could possibly be. To be a season ticket
holder to the Giants and to give up my
ticket for tonight because these guys are
such an incredible panel. So I’m going to start
on my right, your left, introducing three folks. And then we’re going to have
Linda, and then Checker, and then Randi do their opening
two minute State of the Union, and then we’ll go
into discussion. To Rob’s point,
I would say this. I spend my days as an advocate
for kids in education, so I actually do believe
that kids and education need to be a number one
priority in our society. And that adults, like those
of us here in the audience or on the stage, need to make
that an absolute critical choice and convince the
rest of this society to come into line with
us on some of these. And actually tonight, this
is quite an honor because a, you have five extraordinary
educators here. And advocates as well, so you
have great teachers, educators, and advocates. And this is quite a panel. On my right, and on your
left, is Linda Darling-Hammond who is, by all accounts,
one of the most important and influential
experts on education policy in the United States. Like all of us, a teacher
here at Stanford, but also a former classroom
teacher, Linda has had more impact on issues
related to equity and access than almost anyone I
know in this country. She’s an incredible advocate
for a number of issues. It is our honor to
have her here and we are so lucky at
Stanford University to have had Linda on the
faculty for 20 years. So she will lead us
off with her comment. Next to her is Chester E.
Finn, Jr., better known– and you can call him
this too– Checker, as he is known to everyone in
the world of education, who’s also one of the most influential
thinkers in issues related to education and education
policy in this country. Since he was appointed by
Terrel Bell probably to the– Bill Bennett. OK. Bill Bennett. Bill Bennett to the
Department of Education in the Reagan
administration in 1985. And in addition to
being a leading scholar and running a think
tank at Fordham, he is also a senior fellow
here at the Hoover Institution and has some of the most
thoughtful and provocative views on the state of
education in this country and will be a fabulous
discussant with our panel tonight. And next to Checker
is Randi Weingarten who is an ex-teacher
also, an ex-New York schoolteacher like myself. And also the most important
teachers union leader in the United States. And perhaps the person
who has an opportunity to improve the quality of
teaching in this country and also lead teachers
into 21st century classrooms and education. And impassioned and an
incredibly effective advocate for a lot of the issues
that we all care about here. And someone who
affects everything from the quality of
teaching in a classroom to the politics of education at
the state and national level. It should be a great discussion. Linda gets to kick it off. Two minute State of
the Union and then it will be a free for all
discussion as always. So Linda Darling-Hammond I guess I’ll start talking
about the State of the Union by noting that, while I started
off as a classroom teacher on the east coast also,
in New Jersey, Camden, I quickly realized
that policy had a lot to do with the conditions
under which teachers can do their work. And to Rob’s
question about is it the individual
teacher, anyone who spends any time in
the education system knows that there are many, many
forces beyond the schoolhouse itself that make the
conditions under which teachers and kids try to work and
teach and learn together, different from one
school to another. I would point to
three things that are huge challenges in the
state of education in this union today. Inequality, high stakes
testing, and teacher bashing. And I’ll say a word
about each of those and what I think we
need to do about them. In terms of inequality,
we are the most unequal educational system
in the industrialized world, in terms of funding, and we
later that inequality on top of a system that has become
more segregated racially and economically and in
which there are huge income disparities in the country. So the graph that you saw
with $11,000 per child as the average allocation
actually plays out so that some students
in public schools have as little as $5,000
spent on them, and others have more than $30,000
spent on them per pupil in districts across the country. Other countries that have
surpassed us in recent years spend their money
equitably and usually add money for education
of students who are of high needs or low income. We often spend the most on
the more affluent students and, in California and
in many other states, less than the average on
students of color and low income students and schools
who then cannot get the kinds of jobs needed and pay the wages
needed to afford the Social Security and health care
benefits that all the rest of us would like for them to
be able to support for us. That’s a huge issue. It’s partly the
result of the fact that we had a local
system from the beginning, and it was our
passion for education, as American people, that led to
this decentralized system that hasn’t been brought
into the 21st century. The second issue is
that, in the effort to reform schools
in the early 2000s, we doubled down on
more and more testing. We test more frequently than
any other country in the world. And we, unlike other
countries, almost use exclusively multiple
choice tests. Pick one answer out of five,
which don’t resemble anything that anyone actually
has to do in the world in the 21st century. That has to do with problem
solving finding resources, using them, critical thinking,
and all the other things that we really do in the world. That because it’s been tied to
high stakes, and consequences, and sanctions for schools,
has driven the curriculum, particularly in lower
achieving schools to be just a test
prep curriculum. And while creativity has
been the American selling point in the world,
it’s been our strength, we threaten to undermine
our biggest strength by making that kind of testing,
in the way that we’re doing it, the be all and end all
of education reform. And the final thing
that’s happened is that we have really
undervalued the teaching profession. And both in terms of how
we pay for teachers– salaries, and status,
and compensation, and those things–
but also in terms of how we invest in the
knowledge base of teachers. Their capacity to do
this very hard work well. And we’ve had in
the last few years a growing amount
of teacher bashing, which is making teaching a
less attractive profession, increasing turnover,
and none of those things will allow us to become a
leading education nation again. What we need to do, like
some other countries, and what the state of
California is beginning to do, is really redesign
our investment system so that it is equitable and the
dollars follow student needs. So every kid will be
a productive citizen and make it affordable
for all the rest of us to survive in this society. We need to rethink the
way we organize curriculum and assessment so that it’s
pointed at 21st century skills. And the right ways. And we need to build a
strong and well respected profession of
teaching and educators so that all of our
best and brightest want to come into education
and stay there for a career. Thank you. Thank you Linda. OK. Checker, you’re up. Thanks much for including
me this evening. I also taught in an
eastern public school. Also moved in to
the world of policy. Rob found himself at the
side of Professor Linda Darling-Hammond. I found myself at the side
of Professor Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and have been
working on education policy issues for the better
part of 40 years. Why do you stick with
something this long? Partly because it’s
important and it needs to be stuck with for
the good of the country. Partly because it’s
not all bad news. We have made, I think,
in the last 30 years two enormous breakthroughs
in American education. One of them is we do
no longer judge schools by how much goes into them
or what their intentions are, but by whether the kids in
them are learning anything. We are judging schools
by their results, not by their intentions
or their inputs. This is a huge shift and a
very important one, I think. We also no longer
take for granted that you have to go to the
nearest school to your house. You can if you want to, but the
principle of education choice has been pretty well established
across most United States. Other district schools,
charter schools, some places private
schools, virtual schools, right on down the list. You don’t have to change,
but you’re no longer compelled to go to a school
you don’t want to go to. Not all the choices are as
good as they ought to be. And not all kids have choices. But this is another
enormous shift from the public schools of
Dayton, Ohio in the 1950s where I was a kid. These are good things and these
do represent the proposition that education change,
education reform, is not a hopeless undertaking. That said, we’ve got
a long way to go. I’m working over at
Hoover now on a book that involves international
comparisons, and I’m struck by
the fact that– look at international comparison
after national comparison, the United States
is basically flat while a lot of other
countries are rising. We’re not getting worse, but
we’re not getting better, and they are. And this is big countries
and little countries, Asian countries and
European countries, centralized countries and
decentralized countries. I’ve discovered that
a lot of countries that I thought were centralized,
by the way, are not. You’d be amazed how
decentralized the education system of Switzerland
is, for example. And Japan too when you
look closely at it, but that’s another topic. We’ve got countries eating
our lunch educationally. We’ve got huge gaps at home in
terms of academic achievement. We’ve got serious
neglect of high ability or gifted students, even as
we also have serious problems with poor and minority
and low achieving kids. And pulling them up to a level. We also have an
enormous fraction of the population that doesn’t
think there’s a problem. Call it the complacency
gap, if you will, or the discontent gap. Most of the great
American middle class thinks their kids’ school
is just fine the way it is. And their kid is basically
getting a good education because it’s pretty much
like the education they got a while back. The school looks the same
and the teacher’s nice. And so things are fine. And those troubled schools that
are pulling down the scores are on the other side of town. They’re somebody else’s
school, not mine. So we’ve got, I think, a
complacency problem that goes into the politics
of this, and we’ve got the politicization problem. So we need to make
a bunch of changes. I think we’ll be talking
about several of them in the course of
the next hour or so. And I think we’ve got it in
our capacity as a country to make them. We’ve made big ones, such
as the ones I described. And we need not to be
complacent, and not to give up, but I think to redouble our
efforts to make things better. Randi. So this is what happens
when you go last when you do your two minutes. You’re thinking and
racing, oh my god, I’m not going to say what
I was going to say. So the most important job
that I’ve ever had in my life, in terms of a
sense of worldview, was teaching 11th
graders and 12th graders at Clara Barton High School
in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. And to the point that was made
earlier, what differentiates American public education
from virtually anywhere else in the world
is the commitment to universal access and
universal attainment. And I learned, more than at
anything else I’ve ever done, that when you put in and have
the investment and the support that Linda was talking
about, and have all the time and a
lot of resources, virtually every single child
can achieve his or her dreams and his or her
God-given potential. And I saw that with my
kids over and over again in terms of the
work that we did. Not my work individually,
but the work we did together as a team
of teachers helping our kids meet and beat kids in Scarsdale,
New York and other places on competitions on
the Bill of Rights. And that, in some ways,
is the same ideology as Teach for America, but in
a very, very different way. Because what I see right now is
the system in a state of flux. We believe in public education. At least many of
us in the country. And frankly, and this is
where I diverge from Checker, basically parents
and communities throughout the country want
great neighborhood public schools with lots of different
options like career tech options and other
kinds of options. But they want as their first
choice a great neighborhood public school. They love their
teachers, they want teachers to have more
flexibility and more autonomy, and they hate all the
budget cuts and the top down on high regulations
that have come, including all the testing. The flip side is the
elite of the country believe in this testing, believe
in the kind of competition and privatization
and, in some ways, this deprofessionalization
that Teach for America, no matter how noble it was,
actually brought to schooling. Because it’s pretty much the
only profession these days where you think that somebody’s
better the less experience they have. Think about that. So you have this dissonance
between the elite in the country
and people who are closest to kids in classrooms. And in some ways, you
also saw with the chart between what we say
about education, about how important it is, and
what we spend on education. And so I’ll leave you with
two thoughts, which is this. You see this dissonance
reflected in the statistics about education. If you knew that two
thirds of a problem was created by some
issue, and 7% of a problem was created by another issue,
if you are a policymaker, which would you attack? The two thirds or the 7%? If you knew that the way in
which teachers worked best was collaborative, or being
collaborative and sharing and wanting to actually
work with each other, or being individually
rated and assigned, which way would you have
your accountability system? The way in which
teachers work best, or the way in which
they worked less best? Which way? OK. So our dilemma in
public education are all the things that
Linda talked about in terms of an equity and segregation
and all this other stuff. But the way in which we’re
trying to solve things is we’re focused
on the 7%, which is the impact that individual
teachers may have on student achievement, not the
two thirds, which is all of the
socioeconomic issues. And we’re focused using a kind
of sanctioning and testing and punishing, as opposed to
helping create the capacity and doing things
collaboratively. And that’s where you see the
big shouting and craziness and polarization, because
teachers are saying, wait a second. I want to help kids. Give me the investment, the
tools, the time, the trust we need. And the places that actually
do things collaboratively are the places that
work best, but we don’t sustain and scale out. So there’s a lot of things
that are actually happening. Interesting, good things
that are happening. But if we don’t
actually align policy with what we know
works and doesn’t work, and with what is going on in
terms of social immobility and the socioeconomic
issues in our country, then we’re never going to move
forward to the universal access and attainment that we
all want for all kids. So that they are the critical
thinkers, the creative problem solvers, the kids who understand
and deal with and have resilience and persistence,
and know and have the kind of
relationships they need to have to actually not just
experience the joy of learning, but be the people who
take care of all of us when we are in that
category of elderly. But seriously, the
people who take care of our country
going forward. Thank you. I have a question
about teachers. Linda, you called that
out as a particular issue that the public focuses
on, teacher bashing. You represent, Randi, more
than a million teachers. So I expect both you
to have views on this, but there’s an
historical argument that the elementary
and secondary K-12 educational system
for generations was parasitic on or, put
a little more charitably, was the incidental
beneficiary of the fact that women had very few
career opportunities other than teaching. So that a lot of talented
women for generations, from the late mid-19th century
on to the mid-20th century, very talented women were
attracted to the teaching profession because they
didn’t have any choices. And that something happened in
the post-World War II era that opened up other
opportunities for women, and the educational
system as a whole hasn’t recognized that and
so we now recruit teachers from a much less talented and
gifted pool of our people. I’ve read things. I don’t know if– I ask you
about the accuracy of them, that we now recruit
our elementary school teachers from the bottom quarter
of college graduates measured in terms of their
college accomplishment. I don’t know if
that’s true or not, so I put it to
you as a question. But the larger question
is, why have we not recognized this
demographic shift in who can take an interest
in the teaching profession and done more to recruit
more talented people? I’ll kick it off and I’m
sure others will want to– in international assessments,
if we look across the world, in the highest achieving
countries typically teachers are paid about the
same as other college graduates. In the United States. Teachers are paid on
average 60% of what other college
graduates are paid. That makes it hard to
recruit from the top tier and, as you say, we’re
the beneficiaries of what was often called
the captive labor market. The fact that other occupations
were closed to women. And I was in kind of that
last cohort of people for whom high
ability women would choose that as one of a few
occupations that were open. And why we haven’t changed is
a really interesting question, because the other thing you
see about other countries is that they spend about 70 to
80% of their education budget on teachers. And we spend about 50% of our
education budget on teachers. And we spend a lot
of money on people who look over the
shoulder of teachers and try to tell them what to do. And that’s a kind of a
remnant of the factory model and a sort of bureaucratized
way of doing business that for many, many generations
sought to deprofessionalize the work of teaching and make
it more like an assembly line. Now, it is true that there are
big differences across states. Some states have
very high standards for teachers and very high
salaries relative to others. Most of the states
are in New England. Some states have lower
salaries and lower standards and let people
come into teaching with less training and
all the rest of it. And by the way,
achievement often tracks that if you
look across the states. So the investments
are very different, but we have a
longstanding problem around the way in which we
consider the work of teaching, and whether we want to invest in
it to be the kind of profession that it needs to be to
continuously attract, in all places, the kind of
talent that we need to have. I’ll do a quick anecdote
that goes to your point, but let me just say there’s
two books that are out. One by Dana Goldstein
called The Teacher Wars, which I would endorse
wholeheartedly reading, reading, reading if
you’re interested in the history of this. And the other book is
one that Bob Herbert just wrote that’s just
out this week called The Plot Against
Public Education. They both get to some of
the same conclusions here, but Dana’s book interestingly
tracks this ants and shows that, before the turn
of the century, before the turn of the 19th century,
sorry, teaching was a male-dominated profession. And there was a very
intentional change of heart by elites and policymakers
and foundations to make it a female
profession so that they could cut the costs of education
and pay people far less. And get to this point. And read the book because
it’s interesting in terms of then all of a sudden
the demonization of men. And men are not appropriate
for kids, and small kids, and what are men going to do. And so you’ll see
that in the book. But people are– so I do
think for years we actually got the benefit of two things. African-American women, in
particular in urban settings, and women in general. And you see that in some places,
like District of Columbia and New Orleans,
teaching became– you remember the normal
schools and things like that– but teaching became
one of the few avenues for African-Americans to
get into the middle class. And that was a really
important role in community as well, because what you
then saw in many schools is that when you saw
people from community, and you saw diversity,
and you saw career ladders in this kind of way, it
had a virtuous effect in terms of the community and creating a
more shared, prosperous middle class. So that was something
you also saw in terms of the ’40s, the
’50s, the ’60s, the ’70s. What we saw a lot at the
beginning of the ’80s, was exactly what you just said. And you saw, in lots
of large urban systems, huge numbers of
uncertified teachers. And this is the vignette
I wanted to say. We used to tease then
in New York City, all you had to do is
pass the breath test. Because there was a
sense of every classroom had to be filled, and who
was going to fill them? Because it was more
important to make sure the classrooms were filled. To Checker’s point
about learning was secondary to custodial care. And the issue that
Linda just raised, which the countries that
out-compete us understood, is that if you don’t make
this a profession that people care about, and want to go
into, why would people do it? It is an incredibly hard job. And what we saw in the
contract that we negotiated with Michael Bloomberg, in 2002. Was we negotiated
a contract that increased starting teacher
pay by somewhere between 25 and 30%. And we increased everybody
else’s pay by about 16%. So that’s a little bit
of debunking of myths, in terms of what we
do as a labor union. And so starting teachers
pay went from $31,000 to about $40,000. And that was June, 2002. September, 2002, we went
from 17% of our staff in New York City, who
were uncertified, to 2%. In three months, just
with a 25% increase. Because what else happened? It wasn’t that all
of a sudden people wanted to work for
Michael Bloomberg. It was just, there
was a huge change. And then six months later–
because they were rechanging and reorganizing the system, so
the new chancellor didn’t much care about what was going on
in schools– but six months, or eight months later,
you saw a huge increase in the test scores. The test scores went up that
year by six or seven points in literacy, and in mathematics. And so the whole notion of
pay becomes very important. But the other notion is what
countries that out-compete us do. Which is, they give people
the tools, the time, the trust to get
their jobs done. And the worst thing– if
you talk to new teachers, when you’re asked to do
a job for which you have no support, no control,
no authority, and other than the moxie of your own grit,
people get really frustrated. And that doesn’t happen in the
countries that out-compete us. I want to get Checker
into the conversation, and then I want to
add something too. I just want to throw a couple
of facts into the picture. Sorry. 50% of the employees of
American public schools are not teachers. Yeah. We just did a study
of this at Fordham. I think I just said that. I think Linda just
said that, Checker. 50% are not teachers, OK? Second fact– there are
about 55 million kids in school in the US. And there are about 3.7
million teachers in the US. Do the long-division
yourself, and ask yourself, what is the ratio
of kids to teachers. If you do the crude
statistics, it’s about 14:1. When I was a kid, in
Dayton, Ohio, in the ’50s, the crude ratio is 27:1. If the ratio today were
the same as it was then, the average pay of teachers
in America would be $100,000. But what we’ve done with
all the huge additions to public education spending
over the last 50 years, is we’ve spent it to hire more
people to work in our schools. Not to hire better ones. Not to hire better
prepared ones. Not to hire smarter ones. Not to pay them more. We’ve hired more people,
teachers and non-teachers. The number of teacher
aides has gone up faster than the number of teachers. So I don’t think we
can realistically– when we are the second
highest, last time I looked, per student spending country
in the world on K-12 education. I don’t think we can simply
say, we need to spend more, we need to pay more. We have to think about how many
people are we paying it to. And what are they doing. Think of a class of, pick
your number, 18 kids. And $10,000 a kid. And it’s $180,000 is being
spent on that classroom of kids. How much of the $180,000
is going to the teacher? Where’s the rest of it going? Put a few of these
questions in the hopper, and ask yourself why is
our education finance system and our HR system
as screwed up is it is. Thank you. Checker, I’m
long-division challenged. You gave the Korean ratio. But you left it to us to
calculate the US ratio. Could you just tell
us what it is, please? It’s about 14:1,
the crude ratio. Oh I thought– I misunderstood. About 14:1 if you do the
simple long-division. There are all sorts
of reasons for it, special ed and a
bunch of other things. And the class sizes
are about 23 24:1. Correct. Yeah. That’s $230,000 per
class, by the way. One other interesting
fact, when we compare spending in the
US and other countries, is that in virtually
all the countries we would be compared to
the industrialized OECD rankings, they
have nationalized, or other buckets in the
society from which they pay health care. So about 20% of the
US education budget actually goes to health
care for employees, who are 80% of the budget. And in other countries, that’s
paid outside the education budget. So that and food for kids
you don’t have food at home, and a lot of other
things, mean that we’re paying for a lot of
things at our schools that other societies pay
for routinely in other ways. And if you look at that in
terms of– if you look dollar for dollar, in terms of
health care, pensions, which other societies pay
centrally, as well as food services, we actually spend
comparably, if not less, per child. But Checker, I think you
have a point in terms of what has happened
in terms of schools. Schools now feed, transport. We have the IDA, which
has never been funded. It’s been funded like 40%
nationally, the federal part. Where we require an
individual education plan for every special needs
student, which I think is a good idea, not a bad idea. But what has happened is, and
I just want to go to this, it skews the ratio. Because the ratio for special
these kids is about 6:1, or sometimes 4:1, or
sometimes 1:1 for kids. So what you see, is other
kids, like kids in my classes, we had classes of 33. Right now, because
of austerity, you have classes in lots of
urban settings of 40 kids. So when you look at these
national norm statistics, you see a different
picture than when you look at the
districts and the kids that frankly– I
care about all kids. But I really care about
kids who are poor. I care about kids who
really need public schools. Half the kids in the
United States of America who are in public
schools are poor. And one of the
things that we see from the international
statistics, is when you actually
look at– I just want to make sure
I have this right. When you look at students
in more affluent schools in the US, where poverty
rates of less than 10%, they actually surpass the
countries that out-compete us. So this issue of equity,
which is an underlying issue that Linda raised
earlier, is a huge issue. There’s no other countries
in the world that actually give kids that need
the most the least. They basically equalize funding. So that’s part of
the issue we have. We do have, even in
public schools, two very different school systems. One for middle class
to wealthier kids. And one for poor kids. I want to stay on the
topic of teacher pay, but introduce a different
dimension of the question that hasn’t come up yet. David began the conversation
around teacher pay by reminding us that there
was this captive labor market. And we could have expected that
highly talented women found a place to work within
the school system, and not many other places. And I think no one in the room
would disagree with the idea that boosting
teacher compensation would be one way to build a
talent pool into schooling, into the profession
of being a teacher. So I doubt that there’s
much disagreement, if any, about that particular
question in the room. I want to ask though,
about a different feature of the teacher pay
system, which I often hear from students at Stanford. And I, myself,
didn’t know about, when I first became a
teacher, that I found odd. And I think also deserves
to be in the conversation when we think about
attracting talented people into the profession. Which is that
there’s what I think is often called a
step ladder system. When you’re a first year
teacher, you get this salary. When you’re a
third year teacher, your salary schedule
is already set. When you’re a fifth year
teacher with a master’s degree to add on, your salary is set. You can predict 20
years ahead of time what it is you’re going to be
making within the school system as a public school
teacher, independent of your performance. Independent of the value
you bring to the school. And I think that serves as a
signal to aspiring teachers, that if their performance in the
classroom measured in an as yet unspecified way, won’t
be a feature of how they’re compensated. And all they have
is a salary schedule to look forward to,
in a step ladder way. That deters highly
talented people from entering the
profession, is my hypothesis. Why is the step ladder system a
good feature of the teacher pay system? So frankly, most of
us who’ve negotiated would much rather
have a lot more money upfront, than backloaded. And it’s been, basically,
that’s the way districts could afford it. So the step and
credentialing system was put in place– predates
collective bargaining by years, and years, and
years– and it was put in place as a proxy for
experience and expertise. With the sense that with every
year that you had experience, you would be better. And there’s research that
says that is absolutely true in terms of the
first five to 10 years. There’s conflicting research
in terms of after that. But then it became a
matter of fairness. Of making sure that people
would get a predictable raise that they could rely on,
over the course of time. And the issue about
having a master’s was that this was a proxy for
more skills and knowledge. Now there’s a bunch
of districts that have actually
changed these things. But I think the more important
point is that many of us actually believe in having
robust evaluation systems. And that tenure
should be earned. And that tenure is really
about just cause dismissal, meaning that teaching should
not be a job for life. And tenure should not be
a cloak of incompetence, or an excuse for
managers not to manage. And tenure in K12
is supposed to be different than higher ed tenure. And it’s certainly really
different than Supreme Court tenure. It’s really supposed to be
that before you get fired, there has to be a reason. And it was there,
again, it pre-dated collective bargaining. Because you had a
new school board. The democratization
you were talking about. And it was kind of like,
off with your heads. Everybody who was old, goodbye. Because you were in
the wrong party, or you knew the wrong people. And so this was really
about what you knew, not who you knew. And it was supposed to
be about allowing people to exercise their professional
judgment, take risks. This whole situation,
like in Jefferson County, Colorado right now
is a good example in terms of the
history curriculum. But the point is, there has to
be an evaluation system there too. It’s not supposed
to be you’re just sitting there not
doing anything. And frankly, overwhelmingly,
most teachers work incredibly,
incredibly hard, and want that kind
of predictability. But there’s lots of other things
that should be pieces of it as well. There should be career ladders. There should be ways
to have opportunities to earn more money, and
still stay in the classroom. Do different kinds of things. And frankly, the new
Baltimore contract actually does some
of that stuff. There were a lot
of contracts that were negotiated in the late
’80s, early ’90s, with peer review, and other
kinds of opportunities that did some of that. But a lot of that was replaced
by this refactorization that Linda talked about earlier. I want to see if
we can switch some, because we’re here in the
great state of California. And at least several of us
are permanent residents, and you guys are visitors. I want to talk about
some quick answers, just a couple of questions. The first one, Linda, is we
touched on this last week when we were talking about
California [? politics. ?] Tell us the big– because
Linda is very involved also with another Stanford ed
school professor, Mike Hurst, in crafting Jerry Brown’s
approach to reforming education in California. Very innovative stuff. So first, to you
Linda, tell us what the big change that the Brown
administration made in school finance here, and why you think
that’s a good, or not good idea. I think I know whether you
think it’s good or not good. But tell everybody
about it, because I want to ask a
series of questions to you, and Checker, and Randy,
about California specifically. I think it will make some
of these issues come alive. I will say a word about
that, and what’s followed it. There was a video made some
years ago, that some of you may have seen, by John Merrill
called, From First to Worst. And it kind of tracked
California’s decline from one of the most
high-performing education states in the
nation in the ’70s, to one of the lowest
achieving, as well as one of the lowest spending
states over the period of years from about 1979 till today. So we’re now in a moment where
we’re kind of doing a U-turn. And I think we’re going
probably from worst to first. And a lot of states
are now looking at what California has done. So one of the most
important things was that we stopped the
slide in spending that had been a result
of Proposition 13. And some other cuts in
the budgets over years. And many of you voted
for Proposition 30, and that brought new
money into public schools. But instead of putting it
back into the old, irrational funding formula, which
had what Mike Hurst calls the hardening
of the categoricals. All kinds of categorical
programs that said you have to spend it
this way, and you have to spend it
that way, and so on. It’s all put in one pot. All the money goes
directly to locals. And its allocated by
dollar amount per pupil, with additional weights
for students in poverty, students who are
English learners, and students who
are in foster care. Which means, if you are a
district that serves students like that, you’ll get more
money because of those weights. And if you serve a
concentration of such students, you’ll get an
additional allocation for that concentration,
because we know that creates additional
needs of the schools. So we will have one of the
most progressive formulas for funding. And very much like what you
see in many other countries. But by the way, this approach
has been used elsewhere, and Massachusetts did
this in the early 1990s. And it was one of the
things that propelled them to becoming one of the
highest achieving states in the country, along with
a very thoughtful program of standards,
thoughtful assessments, professional development,
preschool education, and so on. So we’ve started
down that path, which is making a difference already
in what’s happening in schools. In addition to that,
we put in place a local control
accountability program, which means that
local communities have to be involved in deciding
how the money will be used. And determining, along with
some of the requirements from the state, how there’ll
be a bunch of measures to see how kids are doing,
where the money’s going, accountability about
the uses of funding. And it won’t just be, what
were your scores on the reading and math tests. In fact, most of the old
tests have been ended. California had 35
tests that kids had to take before they got
to the SAT, the ACT, the AP, and everything else. About a third of
those are remaining, required by federal
requirements. And new assessments
are coming in, tied to common core
standards, which are more about higher order
thinking skills and performance skills. And the range of things that
districts will report about will be much greater–
graduation rates, AP passage, college
and career readiness. Are kids getting
suspended or expelled. Are they staying in
school, graduation rates. So the public will be able to
see where the money’s going, how kids are doing, and the
state can make judgments along with local districts about
how to invest in improvements. So Checker, would you
agree California’s moving in the right direction? You’re now living out here,
although you’re probably going to escape back
to Washington soon. The weather is– Do you think that we’re
moving in the right direction, with what Linda described? Well the recipe is right. The recipe is right. But you’ve got to be
able to cook also. Massachusetts had a good
recipe, and they cooked from it. California has a
long history, we see on the other coast, of
good recipes and lousy food. I’m not talking about
what grows in the ground. Or what’s served in your
restaurants, which is lovely. But California,
for example, long before common core, back in the
’90s, California established, I thought, a pretty good
set of academic standards for its schools. And yet achievement kept going
down, and down, and down. Because California wasn’t
putting its standards into operation. Through all the many steps
in the education system, where something has to work in
order for anything the work. Whether it’s from
teacher preparation, or textbook selection, or
assessment, or accountability, or professionalism, or
financing arrangements, categoricals versus block
grants , all and so on. Massachusetts cooked well. California has a good recipe. I’m sure that Linda and
Mike Hurst are expert cooks. But you’ve got a lot of
other people in the kitchen. OK. Fair enough. So Randy, let me
take in another, because I want to stay
in California a little. So we brought up
the common core. We promised we wouldn’t
open with a common core, but everybody here has some
knowledge of the common core. Maybe I’ll let Rob define it. But Randy, let me
ask you a question. In general, on the common
core, right, higher standards. Framing it for the
audience, higher standards for achievement for kids using
not just, as Linda I think mentioned earlier, five answer
multiple choice questions. But they’re going to teach
different forms of learning, greater use of creativity,
collaboration, etc. The common core in California
versus the common core in New York, right. Battle of two states. But tell us why. And tell us why, for example,
that the AFT in New York has come out against the way
that the common core has been rolled out, whereas in
California, you think it’s been rolled out well. Because people think it’s
sort of for or against. But this is a
critical issue now. So explain to us why you
guys came out, in general, criticizing what
happened in New York, and saying what was going
on in California was good. I really think we should
define the common core. I’m looking at the
audience, and I see a lot of people
kind of going whoa. Linda, you define
it or Rob define it. I’ll say one sentence. A lot of states got
together and tried to see if they could develop
common standards in English, language arts, and mathematics. And those were developed, and
then many states adopted them. And they really strived to be
fewer than the standards that were in place before,
higher, and deeper. That is, they go
for a deeper kind of learning that gets kids
involved in problem solving, and critical thinking, and
that kind of performance. So New York versus
California, why one looks good versus the other. So if you are a fourth grader,
and you’re learning mathematics now in fourth grade. Under the common core,
you’re not simply memorizing division, addition,
multiplication, I forgot one. Subtraction. Subtraction, thank you. He subtracted it. Thank you for that. You are actually trying to do
what we learned from Japan. And you’re trying to
actually think through how you get to an answer. And there may be many
different avenues. Now, why do I do that? Because most of us didn’t
learn math that way. And most teachers didn’t
learn math that way. So the difference between
New York and California was California understood that
this is a really big transition and that there needs
to be in any transition where you’re learning to
do things differently, you need to give people
time to work together, to try things out,
to fail at it. You need to actually
talk to parents so that when somebody sees
like four different ways to get to the
number of four or 10 that it’s not just
five and five. It’s like so that
people then say oh, I understand what’s behind this. And we need to give
kids a lot of support, particularly say
it’s children who are in seventh grade
and eighth grade. And they’re learning
in a different way than they learned
in fourth grade. We need to give kids
a lot of support. California– And California’s doing that –understood that. New York did not. And what New York
did was New York wanted to be first to test. And with the tax
cap in New York– so California and
New York are going in the opposite direction. California basically got
rid of Proposition 13. No it’s still there. Oh, excuse me. Excuse me. [INTERPOSING VOICES] –other sources of money. OK, ixnay. Never mind. California found
different revenue. New York did a property tax cap. California said, let’s really
work on implementation first and not focus on testing. New York said, we’re
focused on testing first. California, people are not
getting the test results reported even when tests are
starting to be implemented. So people are starting to look
at the data, look at the tests, see what they look
like, get a sense of how the whole system works together
and is aligned together. New York, after the tests
were given first time, the superintendent declared
that the test results would be 30 points
below what they were. This was six months before
the tests were given. Six months after the
tests were given, where there was a gag
order on the tests. So nobody actually
saw the tests. We didn’t talk to kids
about the tests afterwards. It was all kind of
like a secret society. Six months later, when the
test results were unearthed, what a shocker. They were exactly
30 points lower. So people felt
this huge distrust that this was not on
the level and this was something that was being
done to kids and to teachers to make them look bad,
as opposed to what the purposes of the common
core are, which I support, which is how to actually
do this higher, fewer, deeper standards so we can align
what kids need to know and be able to do with career, and
college, and life readiness. Randi, so basically
what you’re saying is that it’s not about the
goals of the common core. It’s not about whether
or not the common core is a good idea for the
society, and 46 or 47 states agreed to do this. It’s that it was implemented
poorly in New York and implemented in a much more
patient way here in California. I would actually say that
is where the middle is. You’re going to have people
on the both end extremes. So you’ll have a bunch
of people who are saying, this is federal
intervention done to me. And then you have
people who actually think that standards
are not appropriate. But I would say Jim that we’ve
gone from teachers really believing that this
was the right thing to do with supports
and the right thing to do for purpose of
equity in particular. But they, and I’ve
said this before. I’ll say it again. Common core was implemented in
New York worse than the worst, worst aspects of the initial
health care implementation. And it, as a result,
created tremendous distrust. And instead of doing
the adjustments, New York pretty much said,
let’s double down on it. Jack, would you
agree or disagree? Quick, we’re going to move on
to some other topics, so quick. We’re only four years in. The common core
was born in 2010. Nobody has finished
implementing it. Nobody, except New
York and Kentucky, have seen the results of any
new tests attached to it. Most places don’t
have textbooks yet that have any plausible
relationship to what’s in these standards. We have no idea what
implementation of this thing is really going to entail. I think I agree with
both Linda and Randi that rushing to judgment before
people have had a chance to put this into operation
is a mistake. But I also think most
people haven’t figured out how many things
have to change for a set of new standards
in English and math to penetrate into every single
public school in 45 states, or maybe this week it’s 44. Bob? I’m going to come
back to the broader frame of the conversation we’ve
been having about school reform and in fact the function that
the school has in society as this place to be
the universal solvent for social ills. And Randi, I’m not sure where
the data points came from, but if they’re at
least in the spirit correct, the school
performance– Chetty, Friedman, and Rockoff. That’s the 7% 2/3? Yeah. That’s where– I was pretty
surprised when I saw it again. Well, and that’s similar
to Hanushek’s number, which was at 8%. Exactly. OK, so the teacher
explains 7%, 8% of school performance
for any child, and 2/3 of the performance
explained by factors completely outside of the
control of the school. All right. So thinking then as a
matter of public policy and how to improve
school performance. You said, why are we
not paying attention to the 2/3 of the
things that we think have some predictable effect
on school performance. So let’s imagine now
rival policies, which involve allocating
more money somehow to teacher pay or school
system, school finance. Let’s call an additional $5,000
per child in a state and then compare it to a $5,000 increase
in the Earned Income Tax Credit, which would be
a significant increase in the amount of money that
low income people have, which of course is
one of the strongest predictors of
school performance. If I forced upon you the binary
choice, $5,000 spent in the way you want to spend it within the
existing school system, $5,000 to alleviate low
income or to improve the position of
low income people with the Earned
Income Tax Credit. Which one do you go for? So you know I’m not going
answer that question. [LAUGHTER] But that’s because
when you force a choice between two competing
and important priorities, it becomes a Hobson’s choice. And at the end of the day, even
though I raise those numbers about 66% and 7%, we all
believe that public education has the potential to
be the great equalizer. We’re not going
to give up on it. And that teaching and learning,
great neighborhood public schools that have welcoming,
safe environments where we’re really working on building
the teacher core and teacher capacity from preparation
throughout a teacher’s career where we’re really working
on rich curriculum, project based curriculum
and having music and art, and then doing things like
early childhood education, doing things like
wrap around services. I would actually argue if you
gave us $5,000 more per child in high needs districts,
we could figure out how to spend it in a way
that was very effective. But I would also argue that
we need in this country an industrial policy for
good jobs with living wages. And one should not be
pitted against the other. So the answer is both. Yes. Absolutely. Can I offer just a reinforcing
fact about the fact that the money
could be spent well? State came out just a couple of
months ago from Kirabo Jackson and Rucker Johnson is
across the Bay at Cal. If there are any Cal
people in the audience, I don’t usually like to quote. Yeah, there’s
always one at least. [LAUGHTER] Thought we got rid of them. Yeah, right. We have next week the
head of the UC system. Oh my god. They looked at over 40
years in more than 20 states that had done school
finance reform. They looked at what
happened to kids who are low income kids who
have more than, had about 25% more spent on their
education, K-12, over the course of that time. And what they found
was that it basically closed the adult gap and much
of the child gap in achievement, and graduation rates, in
employment, reduced property, reduced incarceration. And then, of
course, that allowed all of those young people to
be able to contribute wages and taxes rather than being on
the other side of the equation, in jail or on welfare. So people did figure
out how to spend it. Now we have other
evidence that when you spend that
money in particular to raise the
quality of teaching. And I would say it’s
not just salaries. It’s better more
rigorous preparation. [INAUDIBLE] Making sure you raise
the standards, you get, as Ron Ferguson found, an
even greater leverage on that. So I would actually do
things like also how do we do affordable housing? How do we have living wages? I mean so it’s a
bigger issue in terms of dealing with social
economic issues. Absolutely. And I didn’t mean
the question at all in some kind of gotcha spirit. I’m going to get the head
of the teachers’ union to say that she
turned down money for public education [INAUDIBLE]
for the Earned Income Tax Credit. I meant to build off
the initial and rather precise specification that
2/3 of school performance is determined by out of
school factors, which leads me to think that anyone
who cares about school reform and the performance
of kids ought also to be focused on
these 2/3 of things that are outside the school. And of course, the
obvious point to make here from the perspective
of any policy maker is that budgets
aren’t unlimited. So we have to make choices
at the end of the day. They may not be
Hobson’s choices. But we don’t have
an infinite budget. But you can do–
take Cincinnati. Cincinnati has actually wrapped
services around schools. And it’s cost them only the
cost of a Title I Coordinator. They’ve done it much
more efficiently. And I don’t know if
[? Chekker’s ?] numbers are the same as my numbers here. But if you look
at Cincinnati, you see over the course
of the last 10 years when they’ve had these
health and social services, and mental health services,
and after school services around schools, you see an
increase in the graduation rate from about 51% to about
80 some odd percent. Huge decrease in
the dropout rate. The achievement gap
has gone way down. And you see a huge influx
back into public schools. Now [? Chekker ?]
has done a great job in terms of looking at
achievement in Ohio’s charter schools that have had pretty up
and down achievement process, let’s just put it that way. Very mixed. And what’s happened is that
these public neighborhood schools in Cincinnati
with wrap-around services have done a lot to
mitigate poverty. But just one of
the people who’ve been so amazing
doing this work has said– I was just at one of the
schools, Robert School, which is at the foothills of
Appalachia two weeks ago. And she said the
next horizon for them is trying to figure
out affordable housing and transportation. [? Chekker ?], do you
want to get into this? One of the reasons–
I once set out to calculate how much of a kid’s
life does he spend in school? And you’ll be staggered
by how little of it it is. Turns out to be about
9% of the hours on earth of an 18-year-old in America. About 9% of the hours on
earth were spent in school. This is one of the reasons that
the other factors that are not school have a very
significant effect on everything about that kid. Not just academic achievement. That’s also one of the
reasons, incidently, why wrapping other things
around the school is helpful. It’s also one of the reasons
why, especially for poor kids, they need more
than 9% whether you do if through preshcool,
or longer days, or years, or virtually, or blended,
or flippe, or call it what you like. They need more than 9%. And the other thing
that needs to be said is that the 2/3
outside of school isn’t just things the
government pays for. Correct. Its parenting, it’s family
structure, it’s television, it’s the cultural stuff. It’s a whole lot
of stuff that it’s very hard to spend money to fix. Very well said. Here’s a comment I want to make. And then David I want
you– since so many of us know you as an eminent
historian and writer of history textbooks, I want you to
comment on Jefferson, Colorado, too because that is a very
interesting issue that just came up for
us about textbooks. But here’s the
point I want to make because it goes to your
opening remarks, Rob. See if this is a society
that’s spent a trillion or $2 trillion– I lost
count– on Afghanistan and Iraq in the last decade. And here we are arguing
about whether or not you’re also going to
wrap around services and a little more teacher pay. So I actually think
that– I was going to say as someone who’s spent
his life as a child advocate and who always talks,
as you know Randi and you know Linda,
about kids in education. Never about one or the other. But isn’t this fundamentally–
it goes to your stat, too, the fact
that, as a society, we really have not
valued– no matter how many improvements
we’ve had– we don’t really value
because it’s always this choice versus that choice. But we’re willing to
spend one or $2 trillion on Iraq and Afghanistan. Or we’re willing to
go spend whatever it’s going to take
now to deal with ISO. And when you look at the real
national security of a society, you have to look where
we spend the resources, well or not by the
way [? Chekker ?] because obviously we could
talk a lot of other ways. But to me, that’s the
fundamental dynamic here and the choice that
you posed, Rob, shows it’s because we’re
always choosing this or that when it comes
to kids in education, as opposed to saying, they
ought to be our big priority. So from that soapbox
statement that you did not call for but you got–
because I think it’s so key. And I think it’s so–
I also think sometimes when [? Chekker ?] or Randi will
disagree about this or that. They both totally care
about education and kids. They spent 40 years both
working in this area. He’s younger. OK, thanks. Well, I would agree on
that statement actually. Hahaha. But I think that’s
a really big point, even when you see
the people who work– I’m not sure after tonight. But I think that’s such an
important point from the frame that you all have
in this debate. It’s because we’re always
fighting between this or that with kids in education but
saying, we need all of that and we need to stop focusing
on this stuff over here. So now, flipping to
you David on this, what was your reaction
as someone who’s probably written– has had
more history textbooks read by anybody in the country. When they did this in Jefferson
County, Colorado, and you saw the movement to
change history texts. And I’d be interested in
what you all great educators think of that as well. I’m not sure we have time to
do this justice because it’s a little bit of a
complicated narrative. But the background is that the
advanced placement US history exam, which has gone
from maybe 70 or 80,000 takers 25 years ago to
almost 500,000 today. It’s become a big
program nationwide. And a lot of teachers began
complaining to the College Board that the subject
was just expanded, the subject of American
history, and the way they were expected
to teach it in order to meet the standards of
the AP US History exam, the subject had just become
too large for the good reason that university based
scholars, for the most part, have added whole dimensions to
the field of American history in the last two or three
generations, things that weren’t taught to our
parents or grandparents, like environmental history,
women’s history, and so on, so forth. And also we’ve added
a half century of time since the AP US
History program began. They’ve added more history. So the College Board
undertook a project to redimension the
guidelines for teachers who are teaching this course. It’s called a framework. And they simultaneously
undertook to change the character of the
exam that’s eventually given in order to cultivate
something other than just rote in gestation memorization
of facts and more critical and analytical
abilities, which is what, at the university level,
what the teaching of history, at its essence, is all about. This has, I suppose
predictably, produced a backlash in certain corners. The Republican National
Committee met last summer and passed a formal resolution
condemning this framework. The State of Texas
Board of Education has forbidden the framework
to be implemented in Texas. And for some reason,
Jefferson County, Colorado is the place
that’s gotten the most media attention about this
in the last few weeks because a local
school board has also tried to void this
new framework. And students have taken to
the streets, as it were, to protest this
because they think that any attempt
by the school board to condemn this new
approach is indoctrination and should be more
concrete about this. All of the criticism
so far or most of the criticism aimed
at this framework is that it’s
insufficiently patriotic. Things are called out
by some of the critics that it never mentions
the heroism of D-day, and doesn’t mention
Benjamin Franklin, and so on, and has a negative
view of American history. The fact is it’s a
framework not a curriculum. That’s a technical difference
but one that counts. And the expectation of those
who drafted this document was that, of
course, teachers are going to teach D-day
and Benjamin Franklin. Who wouldn’t if you’re teaching
a course in American history? But that didn’t need
to be called out as a particular item, but that’s
got lot of people quite upset. That’s the history. And the panel’s take
on this in terms of what it says about anything
really important for us to take, or is it
a blip in time? I’m going to
[? let Chekker ?] take this. I’ve looked at the framework
in the sample test, and I think they
need some repairs. I actually do as somebody
who once upon a time took an AP US History test. I think that a lot
of the criticism is goofy and hysterical. But I also think the College
Board has done the right thing by saying they’re going to
take another look at it. I think the issue, from what
I’ve heard from the teachers and the students in JeffCo is
that they didn’t– what they really didn’t like was that
the school board wanted them to learn a particular
sect of economics, that private enterprise was
more important than any other economic system. And that’s what ultimately
triggered the response. But what I think is
pretty remarkable is this is students
actually taking control. Think about the engagement here. This is students taking
control of their education and saying that this is really
important enough to them and what their lives are
going to be that they engaged in this kind of civil protest. And frankly, I thought
that was pretty cool. Linda? I just want to underscore the
fact that around the country and around the world, students
are marching around education. I feel like we’re coming back
around to the era of the ’60s and ’70s where students
are saying what’s needed. In Chili, for example,
which privatized its system and created a very
inequitable system, 2 and 1/2 million
students took the streets and brought the whole system
down for a number of years. We’ve seen students marching
in Spain, and England, and in Philadelphia, and so on. So I think this is the
era where education is going to get fixed
by the people who have the most at stake, who
are going to demand a much more thoughtful, a much more
equitable education system. That’s a hopeful way to end. What a good note to end on. Please join me in
thanking our guests. [APPLAUSE] It didn’t come up
today, but I’m sure it will next week, the issue of
technology within education. Essentially something of
concern for people here. But we have Reed Hastings,
the CEO of Netflix, as well as Janet
Napolitano, the head of the UC system in California
to talk about technology and social change, in which I’m
certain the topic of technology in education will arise. For more, please visit
us at stanford.edu.

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