Keynote – Greatness by Design: Progress and Possibilities by Linda Darling-Hammond


>>Well, the moment
you’ve all been waiting for. I consider
the omnipresent, if not, omniscient person
of educator excellence, a person who has helped
the department reach for a new higher level
of achievement and serving you, the teachers and educators
at California. A person we all know
outs be our Northern Star, Linda Darling-Hammond.>>Wonderful to be here, thank you so much. I apologize for being late, there are senate hearings
going on right now on the teacher shortage and I was over there with them thinking about what
we’re going to do about it. So you are the reasons that we’re worrying about this and I am delighted to be with this very important group of fellow profession builders from all across the State. And I want to thank
Tom Torlakson and all of the good folks
in the CDE who are lined up here
in the front row for continuing to blow
on the embers of the teacher quality agenda, the Greatness by Design, a work that we started
a few years ago. And I’m so pleased that we’re still having
this conversation and making progress each year on various parts of that agenda. Of course, one of the things that we wanted to put forward in that report was how to have a continuum and aligned education
development process over the course
of a teaching carrier. And of course,
the notion of alignment assumes we have a clear idea
of what we are aiming for and what we are aligning around. And as you all know
in recent years, we have replaced our old standards with new California standards
in ELA, and math, and science. These are intended to be fewer, higher, and deeper. And so this question of what
kind of learning constitutes deeper learning is one
that I wanted to start with. And I… so I love thinking
about these questions kind of metaphorically, and one of the ways
that I remind myself that, in fact, students can achieve deeper learning, they can understand things
and apply them, and sophisticated ways
to solve problems is by collecting evidence from other English teachers
around the country. And this little bit
of evidence comes from students’ responses
to instruction around learning the meaning
of metaphor. Now, you can understand the concept of metaphor
shallowly as some of these examples
suggest. For example,
starting off the process, he is as tall as a
six-foot-three-inch tree. So there’s a metaphor there, there’s an “as” but it is not a deep
understanding. Now, here’s a little deeper, John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who also had never met. Now, that’s progress, but with great…
with more instruction, you know, we can get more
to the deep understanding of this idea of metaphor. Here’s another one
that gets a little closer, the ballerina
rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg
behind her, just like a dog
at a fire hydrant. That’s what you call
connecting instruction to the real world. Link learning. Here’s one that comes from a young person in New York, and you can see that
deeper learning is indeed possible. He fell for her like his heart
was a mob informant and she was the East River. And finally, proof that deeper learning
can occur, she grew on him like
she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature
Canadian beef. And let me tell you,
I took out the grossest ones, so you didn’t have to live
through that. So it is true that the nature of learning is changing, our expectations for this kind
of deeper learning are coming to the fore. And we are accepting the idea that teaching is not just about covering the curriculum or getting through the book, it’s actually about
enabling learning from a wide range
of diverse learners who come with different
experiences, and knowledge basis,
and strengths to build on. And in many respects
in California right now it is the best of times and it is the worst of times. We are emerging
from the dark ages of California budget cuts, and also the dark ages of a test-and-punish era of No Child Left Behind. So there’s a lot of reasons
to be optimistic about the future. We have, of course, you know, a new funding system
that really allocates funds based on student needs, it gets communities involved, along with educators,
and thinking about what our priority should be, and how should we allocate
those funds. We have, as I said,
new standards, new assessments
that are being used for information and improvement, not for sanctions
and punishments. We need to keep it
that way overtime. We have a multiple
measure system that is looking at a variety
of things that matter when you want
to understand schools. Not only what our student
outcomes on things like tests and English language
proficiency measures, but also things like
what proportion of kids are getting a college ready curriculum and completing it. What proportion of kids
are getting a career technical sequence that meets
a set of standards and completing that. Things that really matter for life success. What proportion of kids
are graduating, what kind of opportunities
to learn do they have? Are they getting a full,
rich curriculum. All of these kinds of things
are going…overtime, are going to help schools
think about the things that matter most. And it’s very important
for members of the profession to be very involved in that local LCAP process of thinking about, “What are we going to value
in our community? What are we going to hold
ourselves accountable for? What are we going to measure
our progress toward that really matters for the learning of children and for the kind of teaching that we want to undertake?” We have some wonderful work going on around the State in terms of helping us implement the new standards. From all kinds of places, from the subject matter
projects, from the
Instructional Leadership Corps that CTA has created with the
National Board Resource Center where teachers are learning
to engage their colleagues in professional development and then building more teacher
leadership in the schools as we engage in cycles
of inquiry about, “Let’s try developing a shift in the standards, let’s try it out. Let’s come back together, let’s talk about what’s working, what’s not working. Let’s plan curriculum
together.” To the extent that
we can deepen that work, we can begin to build the kind of collegial shaping of educational progress that characterizes high-achieving countries
around the world and our best schools and districts here
in California. In some ways,
we are leading the nation with this new image
of accountability, this new image
of how to implement standards. Well, some of you may have seen the EdSource article recently about California’s progress on the Common Core Standards in contrast to New York’s where they have…
they put a basket of different kinds
of ever-changing tests before they put
the standards themselves and are actually retrenching now because of the number
of teachers, and principals,
and superintendents, and parents who rejected a very hard edged
punitive approach to…trying to implement
the standards. We did not follow
the federal guidance on the race to the top, and the waiver programs
that dictated more intense approaches to shame and blame and more test-based
decision making for teacher evaluation
and other things. And now,
the FEDs are following us because the new
Elementary-Secondary Education Act
which is called ESSA, the Every Student Succeeds Act which was passed in December, calls for multiple measures to evaluate schools. It gives states the opportunity to figure out how they will
evaluate school progress and student progress. It gives states the opportunity to develop continuous
improvement systems rather than punitive
accountability systems, it invests or allows for and encourages investments in high-quality
professional learning, in teacher residency models, in a variety of things
that we know are likely to help
teachers learn. And it provides a lot of these possibilities. But there are also perils
in front of us, and one of the most critical, those are the teacher shortages that we were just talking about over in the capital. Over the last decade, we’ve had a 76% decline in the number of individuals coming into teaching through our higher education
institutions. That was not a big problem when we were also cutting
teachers, and having lay-offs, and not hiring,
but now we are hiring. There’s a big increase in demand over the last few years. Districts are trying to return to more reasonable
pupil-teacher ratios. We have the highest
pupil-teacher ratios in the country by far. And there is progress
being made at getting to more reasonable
pupil loads and class sizes, but that means that
there’s a demand for teachers who now are not there. And one of our questions is how are we going to build a teaching profession, rebuild a teaching profession that is attractive, that people want to come
into and stay in. And while there is some increase
in the number of young people
coming into teaching, they’re not necessarily going to our high-shortage fields, special education, bilingual, ESL education, math and science. And so all of these things could threaten our progress if we don’t put in place a very aggressive set
of policies to help people come into teaching without that, to come into the profession on which all other professions depend in a way that honors and values them. A lot of people ask me, “Well, what should we do
about our teacher shortages, like, right now?”
My answer is, “Keep the teachers
you have,” because, in fact, attrition is one of the biggest reasons that we’re in this pickle. In high-achieving countries like Singapore,
and Finland, and others, only about two percent
of teachers leave the teaching force
each year. In the United States, it’s about eight percent. If we even reduced attrition to about three percent
of the teaching force, we would cut the demand in half and we would have enough
teachers already to fill all of our positions. So part of what we have to do is value the teachers we have and ensure that
beginning teachers are getting the mentoring and the coaching that they need. Ensure that teachers
are getting the solid preparation
that they need because prepared teachers leave at half the rate
of unprepared teachers, so it feel more confident. That we make teaching
more affordable, that we continue to get salaries equalized and competitive with those in other professions, that we support the development of school principals, the single, biggest reason teachers will stay in a school is the quality of the principal, or leave. And it has to do with whether there’s a collegial
environment, whether there are supports
for teaching, whether there is the time
available for teachers to work
with each other and reach out to students
and parents. So this is part
of our challenge, but I think we are definitely
up for it. One of the key critical things for all of us to do, if you are in higher education, if you are in K-12 education, is to organize and advocate for supporting the learning and the preparation of all of the people
who are coming into the profession. Because without that, we won’t be able to meet
this challenge around the new standards, nor will we be able to ensure that we have
what a profession requires. Profession requires
that everybody has a common knowledge base that they can work with on behalf of the kids. And as we know, everyone struggles when not every member
of the profession has acquired
that knowledge base. It spills over
in all kinds of ways. And in every occupation that has become a profession during the 20th century, and that started
with medicine in 1910, and then law became
a profession after that, engineering became
a profession after that, accounting, many other fields. The single most important thing was to say we have
a common knowledge base that we’re going to ensure that everyone has mastered so that the public will trust us to manage ourselves, to be the technical
decision-makers. And that’s going to be
a big part of our challenge come…
going forward. So we want to get good teachers
into the profession, and the Greatness by Design… and keep good teachers
in the profession, and the Greatness by Design
report talked about what we could do
in terms of recruitment, in preparation, and induction and mentoring
professional learning that is more than the drive-by, spray and pray, one shot workshops that many of us
have experienced. One person said to me once
when I’m in, “I hope that when I pass over
to the other side, I’m in one of those workshops because I will already be
closer to death and it will be
an easier transition.” So, you know, we talked about how to create the kind of professional learning settings where teachers can intensely engage around curriculum that they’re teaching and the students
that they teach. Learn new strategies, curriculum strategies, share those with each other, and then work together to improve their practice
in and out of each other’s classrooms
and so on. So we want that
and we want career ladders that are emphasizing how we share expertise. There have been
different versions of views about how to improve
the teaching profession. One, view kind of things that teachers are motivated primarily by money and other extrinsic
carrots and sticks. And you need to, kind of, flag people if they don’t meet
a standard, you know, to try to offer bonuses or merit pay based on how students test scores turnout, and basically incentivize greater motivation because the view is that teachers are withholding what they know and could do unless there were
carrot to say, you know, “You’ll get a bonus
if you put out more of what you already know.” Another philosophy says that people are motivated by being effective with their colleagues
and learning, and that what we really
need to do is enable people
to have those opportunities for learning and in that… and sharing that with others as they become more effective. We all know this as, teachers, when you succeed with a student or with a group of them, that’s the greatest reward. And by the way, you don’t necessarily want a merit pay system that says, “If I win, you,
my colleague, loses.” And we are actually
competing with each other rather than collaborating to get this very complicated
job done, because teaching
is ultimately a team sport and not an individual
undertaking. So in that view, career ladders which recognized teachers for their excellence
in their accomplishment should be designed
so that we’re always sharing expertise. The whole point
of recognition should be to allow us to stimulate more learning and people can be recognized for many different things, for many different skills
and accomplishments, and then utilize in districts and in their schools to share with others
in many different ways. So that is, in fact, the North Star
of Greatness by Design. And it really takes up
this idea that it’s not just about
individual teachers being good, but creating
a teaching context in which everyone can become accomplished
together, that that really is the goal. And it suggests that
we need a teaching and learning system. Good teaching can’t be dissociated from curriculum and assessment. Everything has to point together towards meaningful learning. And we have to build
what Michael Fullan calls the Professional Capital that we collectively share and that allows us to move a whole school forward, or a whole district forward, or a whole network of other professionals forward. When I travel, I see this kind of teaching and learning system
in a lot of countries and I think we ought to try
to envision what that might look like
in California. If you were in some
of the places I’ve mentioned, Singapore or Finland, or some of the states
in Australia and so on, the curriculum, like our new California Standards, is a shared curriculum. Teachers are working together in pre-service
and in-service settings to learn to implement and to… in that curriculum
they’re designing units and lessons together. There are no pacing guides because students
are at the center and what they know and can do guides what teachers do in working with the curriculum. Teachers are, in fact, designing lessons together, typically in the 10 or 15
hours a week that they have when they’re not
teaching. Part of what we need
to accomplish in this kind of a system is a set of school settings where teachers
in the United States, in California
have that kind of time. We…our teachers
teach more hours per year than teachers in any other
country in the world. We’re tied with Chile in that. Twenty-seven hours a week, often there are hall duties, and recess duties,
and other things on top of that, and so teachers end up with three to five hours a week for individual planning and a very short lunch period if they get one of those. And the average
across the world is 19 hours a week of time that is spent with students. In Shanghai or Norway, it’s 15 hours a week spent with students. The rest of the time
is in and out of other teachers’ classrooms, observing, giving feedback, designing curriculum together, designing assessments together, working with individual students who need extra help, reaching out to that parent
who you know you need to get a hold of to get the student
back on track. And we have the factory model still in place
in a lot of places and we need to begin to tackle how we’ll get a curriculum
and assessment, teaching and learning system which builds instruction by redesigning schools, and I’m going to come back
to that thing. The other thing that is going
on in these countries is that teachers are part of often designing the assessments and scoring them. And we had an exercise
in California and three other states
this last January. Teachers came to together and scored the performance tasks for smarter balanced, and the feedback from that was extraordinary. Well over 95% of teachers
in California and the other states said scoring those performance tests
together, thinking about
what the standard should be informed their instruction, helped them understand the standards more deeply, increased their capacity to develop curriculum and ought to be part
of what we do regularly. And California intends to have a contract
on its ongoing assessments which requires that teachers will score
those open-ended items, and that’s going to be part
of a process of linking curriculum
and assessment together because tests
should not be something that are done onto kids
or teachers. They should be things
that guide and inform and are shaped by teachers as we build the system. The other thing we need
to realize is that teaching quality is different than teacher quality. Teacher quality
is the knowledge, skills, and dispositions
we try to help teachers acquire both in the profession and as they’re on their way in, but we’ve had a lot in recent conversations
of attention to, “Let’s get the right teachers and let’s fire the ones that are not the right
teachers,” and it’s all about
the individual teacher. Yet, we have a lot of
evidence from studies that the effectiveness of individual teachers is greater in their shared
effectiveness in promoting student learning when they are in teams
of teachers who work together overtime in a collaborative setting. That an individual teacher will be more effective in a setting where they have
that opportunity than building the little
island oasis in their own classroom, which I remember doing
in my time as a teacher in big urban high schools,
you know, that was the best
I could manage, was trying to build
my little oasis. But we know that
the collaboration matters and it actually matters more than the individual
teacher effectiveness, that a teacher who has that wraparound can become significantly better as she plans with colleagues
and so on, and that an excellent teacher may not be able to offer
high quality instruction if the context doesn’t allow it. Think of a doctor,
two doctors, I’m going to use
Stanford Hospital as my benchmark here just because it’s right up
the street from where I live. And one of those
Stanford doctors’ best training in the world goes off to a developing country with Doctors Without Borders and works in a little clinic where there are no tools, very few medicines, and no technology. And the other doctor goes
and takes a job maybe at Stanford Hospital where there is googobs of tools and technology and so on. And both them
are cardiac surgeons. The outcomes for one doctor are going to be
extraordinarily different than those for the other doctor even though they know and can do the same things because the tools
available to them are going to be so radically
different. And we have to recognize
that that’s also true for teachers, that it matters for teachers’
effectiveness what the curriculum
and assessment system is that they sit in, what the fit is
between the demands that they’re asked to fulfill, the job assignment
that they have, and their qualifications. We know that teachers
are more effective if they’re able to teach
the same grade level or subject area
for multiple years, particularly as beginning
teachers. And yet in a lot of schools, you’re asked to teach
2nd grade one year and 5th grade the next, and kindergarten
the year after that. We know that continuity matters for student learning and for teacher learning, and that peers matter. And so an excellent teacher asked to teach a flawed
curriculum without appropriate materials and assessments or out of field will be able to do much less than an excellent teacher
with all of the tools and context that they need. And so we need to begin
to focus on teaching quality as well as teacher quality, and understand that
it is the job of our system as a whole, or administrators, and our teachers to figure out how to create the context within which teachers
can be successful. Teachers, we know, are more
likely to stay in schools where they feel
they can succeed. And if teachers stay in schools where they can
succeed, we will also solve
the teacher shortage problem as well as building
the context within which kids can also succeed. So I want to end this frame for you with a challenge to those of you who are in teacher education, higher education, those who are administrators, those who are teachers, about the need to support educator quality and learning by redesigning our schools as well as by offering strong professional development and fabulous pre-service
teacher education. In many contexts, teacher educators find
themselves having the struggle
to find placements for student teachers were they can actually
experience high quality education being offered to diverse
students in an equitable way with certainty. The practice has been
to go out and say, “Can you take
a student teacher?” “Oh, so-and-so
didn’t get one last year, maybe they would like one
this year,” et cetera, you know. You’ve seen it, probably. But there are places that are building new models where universities are reaching
out to schools and say, “We don’t want your classrooms, we want your expertise.” Build a setting with us where the best possible
curriculum is being offered in a way where we…as we’ve seen
in some of the schools we’ve worked with, in my own university, where we get past the old
traditions of tracking some students into one
curriculum and others into another, where we train teachers to be able to teach
the English language learners in their classroom
to be prepared because expert teachers
are guiding them to teach students with a range
of special needs where the school, as a whole, enacts restorative justice and equitable strategies. And where those become
the teaching hospitals that medicine created in 1910, and that we need for education to move forward. And then in other schools, we need educators to step up as they did in New York City some years ago when I was there, and redesign schools. Teachers redesign schools, the chancellor
of New York City said, “You’ve got a good idea
for designing schools. Let me know what it is,
we’ll take proposals, we’ll fund the ones that make
the most sense,” several hundred schools
in that district were redesigned over the course
of that decade and several hundred more have been redesigned since. And get…what did educators do? Principals, teachers, sometimes community members and parents together. They created schedules where teachers had
10 or 12 hours a week to work together. Sometimes in grade level teams, talking about the kids and what they needed and sometimes
in departmental teams, talking about the content,
and the curriculum, and how to build it
across the grade levels and throughout the school. They built that time
and they built relationships in where teams of teachers work with the same kids sometimes over multiple years so that they had a group
of colleagues together. They taught about how to create more continuity for children with relationships. They built the schedules and the funding
into parent visits, home visits
and parent-teacher conferences that strengthen the nature
of the school. They embedded high quality
professional learning in the schools, job embedded, as well as connect it
to other networks of things like
the writing project and mathematics networks and so on where all teachers could get that access
on a regular basis. When educators design schools, they don’t look like factories, they look like
learning communities. They look like places
that nurture children as well as adults, and if we’re going to
achieve the goals of Greatness by Design, we need to do everything
we can do with respect to individual
teachers in their access to knowledge. And then we have to do
even more with respect to the collective opportunities of teachers to build a strong profession in organizations designed to support
their success. And educators have done that
in California. Many of you have been involved in efforts like this. And they’ve done it
around the country. And that’s what
it’s going to take to switch us from shortages
to surpluses, and some of the schools that I had just talked about, where they used to have
all kinds of trouble getting teachers to apply, where two-thirds of the kids
were dropping out of big warehouse
factory high schools. And now, 90% are graduating, same kids, same community, and 500 teachers
are applying for every job because people want to work in settings where they can love the children effectively and be successful. That’s what it’s going to take for California as well to achieve the goals
that we’ve set out. So let me close with the notion that Horace Mann suggested some years ago. He said,
“Where anything is growing, one former is worth
a thousand reformers.” We are the formers
in this room today and I wish you all Godspeed in the forming work
that you’re doing. Thank you.

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