Michigan Department of Education Special Meeting for March 10, 2015 – Ingram Interview


>>– CANDIDATES FOR THE STATE SUPERINTENDENCY. WE’RE VERY HAPPY TO BE JOINED BY ALAN INGRAM, WHO’S– WE APPRECIATE YOUR WILLINGNESS TO PUT YOURSELF FORWARD AS A CANDIDATE, FROM MASSACHUSETTS, MOST RECENTLY. WE’RE GOING TO TALK WITH AND HEAR MORE FROM ALAN IN A MOMENT. ALAN, LET ME FIRST INTRODUCE YOU TO SOME OF THE BOARD MEMBERS, BECAUSE YOU PROBABLY ARE THE ONE PERSON WHO DOESN’T KNOW EVERYONE HERE, UNLESS YOU’VE BEEN BORED WATCHING TV LATE AT NIGHT– MICHIGAN GOVERNMENT TELEVISION. EILEEN WEISER, IMMEDIATELY ON YOUR LEFT, HAS BEEN ON AND OFF THE BOARD FOR, WHAT– A DOZEN YEARS? KATHLEEN STRAUSS IS GOING TO JOIN US IN A MINUTE. I’LL INTRODUCE HER PROPERLY. LUPE RAMOS-MONTIGNY WAS ELECTED FOUR YEARS AGO, LUPE? FROM GRAND RAPIDS MICHIGAN– YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO SAY “GRAND RAPIDS.”>>GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN.>>OUR WEST MICHIGAN ADVOCATE, HERE.>>GOTCHA.>>SNEAKING UP ON YOUR LEFT IS KATHLEEN STRAUSS, A BOARD PRESIDENT EMERITUS. KATHLEEN, MEET ALAN INGRAM.>>THANK YOU.>>THANK YOU.>>KATHLEEN HAS BEEN ON THE BOARD FOR TWENTY-SOME YEARS.>>TWENTY-TWO.>>FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD. AND PAMELA SMITH PUGH, JUST ELECTED LAST FALL, FROM SAGINAW MICHIGAN. YOU MET MARILYN SCHNEIDER. I’M JOHN AUSTIN. WE’VE HAD A CHANCE TO TALK. CASANDRA ULBRICH IS VICE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION, FROM MACOMB COUNTY OR OAKLAND COUNTY, AND MICHELLE FECTEAU, FROM DETROIT. WORKS IN MACOMB COUNTY, EVERYTHING ELSE, FROM OAKLAND COUNTY. SO WE VERY MUCH APPRECIATE YOU OFFERING YOUR CANDIDACY AND, OBVIOUSLY, A TREMENDOUS BACKGROUND, AND WE APPRECIATE, LIKE ALL OUR GREAT CANDIDATES. ALAN, MOST RECENTLY, IS THE DEPUTY IN MASSACHUSETTS IN THEIR EQUIVALENT OF OUR STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION.>>THAT’S CORRECT.>>AND SO WE APPRECIATE YOUR COMING TO JOIN US SO WE CAN LEARN MORE ABOUT EACH OTHER.>>AGAIN, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE HERE. I’M REALLY EXCITED BY THE CHANCE IN MICHIGAN. I WON’T BORE YOU WITH A LOT OF MY BACKGROUND– I PROVIDED MY RESUME AND CV, SO YOU SHOULD HAVE ALL THOSE DETAILS, BUT I WOULD, BEFORE GETTING TO THE PRESENTATION, JUST WANT TO SUMMARIZE, ALBEIT BRIEFLY, THAT I’VE HAD A WIDE DEPTH AND BREADTH OF EXPERIENCES, NOT ONLY AT THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AT, ARGUABLY, ONE OF THE BEST AND TOP PERFORMING EDUCATION AGENCIES IN THE COUNTRY, BUT I’VE SPENT 4 YEARS AS AN URBAN SUPERINTENDENT, 10 YEARS IN OKLAHOMA CITY WORKING AS A CENTRAL OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR, A COUPLE YEARS IN HIGHER ED RECRUITING STUDENT TO THE LARGEST PRIVATE INSTITUTION IN OKLAHOMA CITY, AND PRIOR TO THAT, I HAD A CAREER IN THE AIR FORCE, WHICH I’M VERY PROUD OF. SO I’VE HAD A CHANCE TO SERVE OUR NATION ALL OVER THE WORLD– SEVERAL YEARS IN EUROPE AND HAWAII, AND A BUNCH OF PLACES IN BETWEEN. SO I JUST WANTED TO SET THE CONTEXT A LITTLE BIT. I WAS FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO GET INFORMATION ABOUT TWO QUESTIONS THAT YOU REALLY WANTED ANSWERED, SO NOT TO BELABOUR THE POINT, BUT I WANTED TO TAKE SOME TIME TO GET INTO THAT, SO WE’LL JUMP RIGHT IN. I WANTED TO START WITH SOME DATA PIECES, AND MAYBE A LITTLE DIFFICULT ON THE SCREEN, BUT WHAT I’M ATTEMPTING TO SHOW AND REFLECT IS WHAT I HOPE THE BOARD SHARES, THIS SENSE OF URGENCY AROUND THE NEED FOR IMPROVEMENT OF MICHIGAN’S SCHOOLS. I SAY THAT NOT AS A SLEIGHT TO SUPERINTENDENT FLANAGAN OR ANYONE WHO’S BEEN INVOLVED IN THE PAST EFFORTS OF YOUR SYSTEM, BUT LOOKING AT THE NAEP SCORES, THE NATION’S REPORT CARD, THE NAEP SCORES FOR READING IN AVERAGE SCALE SCORES COMPARED TO SURROUNDING STATES AS WELL AS MASSACHUSETTS, YOU GET A PRETTY GOOD FEEL FOR WHERE MICHIGAN IS NOW. SO YOU SEE THE 4th AND 8th GRADE RESULTS, AND THAT’S EVERY SCHOOL DISTRICT IN THE COUNTRY BEING REPRESENTED IN THOSE NUMBERS, OR EVERY STATE WITH A REPRESENTATIVE SAMPLING. AND THEN YOU SEE THE 12th GRADE ADMINISTERED IN ONLY 12 STATES. YOU CAN SEE MICHIGAN’S RELATIVE RANKING WITH THE BLUE-COLORED LINE GRAPH. MATH IS NOT MUCH BETTER. AGAIN, NOT AN INDICTMENT, BUT I THINK IT JUST SPEAKS TO THE NEED FOR URGENCY AND FOR A COMPREHENSIVE REFORM PLAN FOR THE NEXT SUPERINTENDENT FOR MICHIGAN. AND AGAIN, I THINK MASSACHUSETTS HAS DONE WELL. IT’S BEEN A LEADER IN THE STANDARDS MOVEMENT SINCE 1993 ED REFORM LAW, AND ONE OF THE THINGS I THINK HAS BEEN A CONTRIBUTOR TO THAT EFFORT IS THE COMMITMENT IN WHAT IS REFERRED TO OR IS KNOWN AS THE GRAND BARGAIN, BUT THE COMMITMENT WAS THAT THERE WAS GOING TO BE NOT ONLY ADDITIONAL RESOURCES, NOT ONLY CHOICE AND SOME CHARTER OPPORTUNITIES, BUT ALSO A STRONGER ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM TO MAKE SURE ALL CHILDREN WERE RECEIVING AN OPPORTUNITY FOR GOOD QUALITY EDUCATION ACROSS THE COMMONWEALTH. AND SO REGARDLESS OF GOVERNOR, REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT, THE LEGISLATURE, REGARDLESS OF THE CHANGES IN LEADERSHIP THERE, THE COMMITMENT HAS REMAINED FIRM FOR THE LAST TWENTY-PLUS YEARS, AND I THINK THAT’S A TESTAMENT TO MANY OF THE RESULTS THAT THE COMMONWEALTH IS ENJOYING TODAY. I’LL TALK A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT THAT, BUT BEFORE I GET THERE, I ALSO WANTED TO SHARE WITH YOU YOUR COHORT DROPOUT RATE, WHICH IS TAKING A LOOK AT 9th GRADERS WHO ENTER 9th GRADE IN MICHIGAN AND WHO, FOR WHATEVER REASON, 4 YEARS LATER WITH THEIR GRADUATING CLASS, DO NOT MAKE IT. AND YOU CAN SEE, LOOKING AT THE FIRST YEAR IN 2008 WHEN YOU WERE AT 14.2% COMPARED TO MASSACHUSETTS AT 9%, AND YOU CAN SEE WHERE YOU ARE NOW FOR 2013– I COULD NOT FIND YOUR 2014 NUMBERS. SO IT’S STAGNANT. AND AGAIN, ONE OF THE THINGS WE’VE DONE WELL IN MASSACHUSETTS IS TO DEVELOP A COMPREHENSIVE GRADUATION PLAN, TARGETED IN THE DISTRICTS WITH THE GREATEST NEED. SO, TO YOUR TWO QUESTIONS: STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE STATE PERFORMANCE ACROSS THE SYSTEM. FIRST AND FOREMOST, I THINK IT REQUIRES A CLEAR VISION AND A COMMITMENT TO THAT VISION, SHARED VISION AROUND HIGH EXPECTATIONS, EQUALITY, AND INSTRUCTION. AND TO BE SPECIFIC ABOUT THAT, WHAT I’M SIMPLY TRYING TO GET AT IS THAT TOO OFTEN, PARTICULARLY IN URBAN CENTERS, WHERE COMMUNITIES HAVE STUDENT PERFORMANCE WHERE IT DOESN’T NEED TO BE, THERE’S A RATIONALIZATION AROUND THEIR CONDITIONS IN LIFE, AND SO WE SEE THAT IN MASSACHUSETTS. I’VE SEEN IT IN OKLAHOMA. I LIVED PART OF IT AS A SON IN MICHIGAN, GROWING UP IN DETROIT, WHERE THE EXPECTATIONS FOR CHILDREN WHO COME FROM HIGH POVERTY BACKGROUNDS OR OTHER CHALLENGING CONDITIONS ARE LOWERED. AND WHAT WE KNOW IS THAT ALL CHILDREN CAN DO WELL WITH THE RIGHT SUPPORTS AND THE RIGHT EXPECTATIONS. SO THAT’S WHAT I HOPE TO BRING TO THE BOARD, IS A WAY TO SERVE AS A LYNCHPIN, IF YOU WILL, AND CO-DEVELOP AND CO-CONSTRUCT WHAT THAT VISION SHOULD BE TO MAKE SURE WE HOLD A HIGH BAR FOR ALL KIDS. MAKING SURE THERE’S CLARITY AROUND THE ROLES OF THE SUPERINTENDENT AND THE BOARD. I THINK THAT’S JUST GOOD PRACTICE, AND THE CENTER FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION HAS TOUTED THAT AS ONE OF THE LYNCHPINS THAT’S NECESSARY FOR A HIGH-FUNCTIONING BOARD AT THE STATE LEVEL. THIRD, I THINK IT’S ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL THAT THERE’S A COHERENT AND COMPREHENSIVE EDUCATION REFORM STRATEGY, AND THAT THIS STRATEGY IS DEVELOPED NOT IN ISOLATION BY THE STATE CHIEF OR THE STATE CHIEF AND THE ADMIN STAFF, BUT WITH CRITICAL PARTNERS AND FRIENDS. HOW DO YOU HELP THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH OF STATE GOVERNMENT? HOW DO YOU HELP THE LEGISLATORS, WHETHER IT’S THE EDUCATION CO-CHAIRS OR– HOW DO YOU HELP THE BOARD? BUT WHERE WE CAN ALL COME TOGETHER AND MAKE SURE THAT THE PRIORITIES FOR THE STATE ARE CLEAR, CONSISTENT, AND THAT THERE’S CONSENSUS ON WHAT THAT NEEDS TO BE. AND FIRST AND FOREMOST IS THAT WE’VE GOT TO GET REALLY TIGHT, IN MY ESTIMATION, AROUND CURRICULUM, INSTRUCTION, AND ASSESSMENT IN HAVING HIGH STANDARDS FOR ALL KIDS. AND THE MICHIGAN STANDARDS, I’M TOLD, AND I’M UNDER THE IMPRESSION THEY’VE UNDERGONE SOME REVISIONS. I UNDERSTAND YOU’VE MADE SOME CHANGES IN YOUR ASSESSMENT SYSTEM JUST RECENTLY THAT WERE EXPECTATIONS CREATED BY THE LEGISLATURE, AND SO JUST TO MAKE SURE THAT THERE’S SOME SYNERGY AND CONSISTENCY AROUND THAT. I DON’T THINK WE CAN TALK ABOUT JUST GETTING BETTER AS A STATE, AS WE’VE SEEN IN MASSACHUSETTS, AROUND JUST THE EFFORTS IN THE CLASSROOM. YOU’VE GOT TO LOOK AT THE PIPELINE, THE CONTINUUM. IN OTHER WORDS, HOW DO WE PREPARE EDUCATORS, RECRUIT THEM, INDUCT THEM, DEVELOP THEM OVER THE COURSE OF THEIR CAREERS AND MAKE SURE THEY HAVE THE WHEREWITHAL AND THE TOOLS TO DO THE HARD WORK OF PUBLIC EDUCATION IN THE K-12 SECTOR. SO, WORKING WITH HIGHER ED TO DEVELOP SOME COMMON DEFINITIONS ABOUT WHAT COLLEGE AND CAREER READINESS SHOULD LOOK LIKE IS REALLY IMPORTANT, AND WHAT WE’VE DONE IN MASSACHUSETTS, WHAT THAT DEFINITION IS, BOTH BOARDS COMING TOGETHER TO DEFINE THAT. OBVIOUSLY, YOU CAN’T IGNORE THAT MICHIGAN HAS FAR MORE SCHOOLS, TWICE THE NUMBER OF DISTRICTS. YOU HAVE ABOUT 1.5 MILLION SCHOOLS, AND WE HAVE– I’M SORRY, YOU HAVE ABOUT 3,500 SCHOOLS. WE HAVE ABOUT 1,800 IN MASSACHUSETTS. BUT MAKING SURE THERE’S AN EFFORT TO TURN AROUND THE LOW PERFORMING SCHOOLS ACROSS THE STATE AND DIFFERENTIATING THAT SUPPORT AND WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE, BECAUSE ALL THINGS ARE NOT EQUAL. SO MAKING SURE THAT THERE’S JUST SOME ATTENTION TO THAT. FINALLY, USING DATA TO INTEGRATE TECHNOLOGY AND SUPPORT STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT, I THINK THAT’S ONE OF THE BOARD PRIORITIES THAT I READ ABOUT. AND SO I WOULD MAKE SURE TO INTEGRATE THOSE INTO THIS COMPREHENSIVE, COHERENT PLAN. AND FINALLY, NOT JUST WORRIED ABOUT THE ACADEMICS OF CHILDREN, BUT ALSO THEIR SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL SUPPORTS, AND IN WAYS THAT CAN SUPPORT THEIR EFFORTS, HELP THEM BELIEVE IN THEMSELVES, HELP THEM FEEL GOOD ABOUT THEMSELVES, BUT ALSO HELP THEM WITH THE EMOTIONAL SUPPORTS THAT ALL CHILDREN NEED AS PART OF THEIR GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT. ADVOCATING FOR INVESTMENTS IN PUBLIC EDUCATION, BUT WITH A STRONG EMPHASIS ON ACCOUNTABILITY. AND AS I MENTIONED EARLIER, DIFFERENTIATING POLICY SUPPORTS. IN OTHER WORDS, WHAT’S CREATED BY THE LEGISLATURE, WHAT’S CREATED BY THE BOARD, IN REGULATION, THE SUPERINTENDENT AND THE STAFF ARE EXPECTED TO GO FORWARD AND IMPLEMENT WITH FIDELITY, BUT MAKING SURE THERE’S SOME DIFFERENTIATION FOR HIGH POVERTY SCHOOLS AND DISTRICTS ACROSS THE STATE, APPROPRIATELY. AND THEN, FINALLY, IN TERMS OF WHAT THE STATE CAN DO, IS TO TAKE A LOOK AT TEAM DEVELOPMENT AND OPPORTUNITIES TO BUILD A SHARED KNOWLEDGE OF VALUES, COMMITMENT, AND IMPROVEMENT EFFORTS, AND SO MY HOPE IS THAT WE’D SPEND SOME TIME TOGETHER. IN SOME STATES, SOME BOARDS DO THAT IN THE FORM OF RETREATS, SOME DO IT IN TERMS OF PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT, BUT I WOULD ASK THAT WE LOOK FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO WORK TOGETHER SO THAT WE CAN STRENGTHEN OURSELVES AS A TEAM TO BETTER MEET THE NEEDS OF THE CONSTITUENTS IN MICHIGAN. FINALLY, JUST TO– THE SECOND PART OF THE QUESTION WAS AROUND STRATEGIES TO ENSURE THE BOARD AND THE SUPERINTENDENT ARE EFFECTIVE. AND YOU MIGHT SEE SOME– WHAT LOOK LIKE REDUNDANCY, BUT THEY’RE THINGS I THINK ARE EQUALLY IMPORTANT, WHETHER WE’RE TALKING ABOUT FROM THE STATE’S PERSPECTIVE, THE SUPERINTENDENT’S PERSPECTIVE, BUT THIS NOTION OF COMMITMENT TO VISION AND HIGH EXPECTATIONS FOR ALL STUDENTS AND A QUALITY OF INSTRUCTION. I AM A– IF YOU JUST GO BACK AND LOOK AT MY CAREER, I’VE SPENT QUITE A BIT OF TIME WORKING IN TEAMS. I BELIEVE IN THEIR VALUE, BUT AT THE CORE FOR ME, WHAT I WANT YOU TO KNOW IS THAT TEAMWORK, TRUST, TRANSPARENCY, AND MUTUAL RESPECT ARE ABSOLUTELY IMPORTANT TO HIGH FUNCTIONING TEAMS, AND SO, AGAIN, MY COMMITMENT TO YOU IS WHAT I BRING TO THE TABLE IS– I’M NEVER GOING TO DISAGREE PUBLICLY, I’M NEVER GOING TO VIOLATE YOUR TRUST, IF I’M FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO BE YOUR SUPERINTENDENT, AND WE CAN AGREE TO DISAGREE, AND I WILL ALWAYS RESPECT THAT. BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY, I WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE HAVE CONSENSUS ON TEAMWORK, TRUST, TRANSPARENCY, MUTUAL RESPECT, AND KIDS AND THEIR LEARNING AS THE PRIORITY OF OUR EFFORTS. ALONG WITH THAT IS ACCOUNTABILITY. IT’S IMPORTANT, AND I’VE OFTEN SAID ACCOUNTABILITY IS THE BEST FORM OF ASSISTANCE. WE OFTEN TALK ABOUT WHAT WE CAN DO TO HELP DISTRICTS, BUT I THINK WE NEED TO MAKE SURE WE’RE PROTECTING THE INVESTMENT OF PUBLIC TRUST AND MAKING GOOD WILL BY MAKING SURE THAT WE HOLD EVERYONE ACCOUNTABLE, FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT, THE BOARD, THE ADMINISTRATORS, AND ALSO AT THE BUILDING LEVEL. AGAIN, EMBRACING DATA, MAKING SURE THAT THAT’S A FUNDAMENTAL PART OF HOW WE MAKE DECISIONS AND THE PROCESSES THAT WE GO ABOUT OUR WORK, AND THEN BEING INTENTIONAL ABOUT MONITORING AND NOT WAITING TO THE END OF SOMETHING TO DETERMINE WHETHER IT’S GOING TO WORK OR NOT, OR THAT IT HAS SHORTCOMINGS. AND FINALLY, ON THE FIRST PART OF THE STRATEGIES ABOUT THE SUPERINTENDENT AND THE BOARD BEING EFFECTIVE, IS TO MAKE SURE THAT WE HAVE ALIGNMENT WITH THE POLICY SUPPORTS SO THAT WE CAN BEST ACHIEVE THE GOALS OF THE BOARD. AND THEN THE LAST THREE THINGS I WOULD JUST MENTION, AGAIN, IS– AND I DON’T WANT TO MISREPRESENT ABOUT THIS TRANSITION, SO WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR, WHAT I THINK WOULD BE IMPORTANT IS HOW WOULD WE TAKE STOCK FOR YOUR NEW SUPERINTENDENT? AND IF I WERE THAT SUPERINTENDENT, I WOULD WANT TO TAKE STOCK. WHERE ARE WE RIGHT NOW? WHERE ARE WE IN TERMS OF PERFORMANCE AS AN AGENCY? I’D WANT TO BE INVOLVED, INCLUSIVE, I’D WANT TO BRING PEOPLE FROM ACROSS THE STATE, SO HIGHER ED PARTNERS, YOUR REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE LEGISLATURE, OR THE GOVERNOR’S EDUCATION ADVISOR, BUT HOW DO WE GET THE RIGHT PEOPLE AT THE TABLE TO TAKE STOCK, TO HAVE SOME INPUT TO THE BOARD ON THE DIRECTION THAT WE NEED TO GO? MY HOPE IS THAT BY DOING THAT AND INVOLVING PEOPLE IN THE PROCESS BEFORE DECISIONS ARE MADE THAT THEY’RE MORE LIKELY TO SEE THEMSELVES IN THOSE DECISIONS AND TO SUPPORT THEM. AND THEN, FINALLY, I WANT TO MAKE SURE YOU KNOW THAT I WOULD LEAD FROM STRENGTH, AND I WOULD MAKE SURE THAT WE WERE COLLABORATIVE, ENGAGED, AND RESPONSIVE TO THE NEEDS OF THE BOARD’S PUBLIC, AND THAT WE WERE TRANSPARENT AND INCLUSIVE AS WE WENT ABOUT OUR WORK. AND FINALLY, AGAIN, TEAM DEVELOPMENT– SOMEWHAT DUPLICATE, TOO, BUT I THINK IT’S IMPORTANT MOVING FORWARD IF WE HOPE TO BE EFFECTIVE IN THE LONG RUN FOR THE INTERESTS OF MICHIGAN’S CHILDREN.>>THANK YOU, AND THANK YOU FOR THAT INTRODUCTION. WELCOME BACK TO MICHIGAN.>>THANK YOU.>>WE HAVE 20 QUESTIONS, THE SAME QUESTIONS THAT WE’RE ASKING ALL OUR CANDIDATES. IF SOME OF THEM YOU’VE ALREADY SPOKEN TO, WE’LL BE HAPPY TO NOTE THAT, BUT– AND ALSO, AT THE END, PLENTY OF TIME TO ELABORATE AND REINFORCE THINGS YOU WANT TO MAKE SURE WE KNOW ABOUT YOU AND YOUR AGENDA, ABILITIES, AND EXPERIENCE, AND AN OPPORTUNITY TO ASK US SOME QUESTIONS AS WELL. SO I APPRECIATE THAT. CASANDRA, I THINK, HAS THE FIRST QUESTION.>>CAN YOU DESCRIBE AND OFFER SOME EXAMPLES OF YOUR SUCCESSFUL EXPERIENCE IN IMPROVING EDUCATION AND LEARNING OUTCOMES FOR STUDENTS?>>THANK YOU FOR YOUR QUESTION. MY EXPERIENCE IN IMPROVING OUTCOMES FOR STUDENTS– SO I WOULD THINK OF A COUPLE SPECIFIC EXAMPLES. ONE WOULD BE MY TENURE AS SUPERINTENDENT AT SPRINGFIELD, WHERE IN 2008, I WENT IN, AND SPRINGFIELD, A LARGE HIGH POVERTY COMMUNITY, VERY LOW EXPECTATIONS FOR CHILDREN IN GENERAL, BUT OUR GRADUATION RATE WAS HOVERING AROUND 50%, PROFICIENCY RATES FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS, GRADE 10 IN PARTICULAR, WERE WOEFUL. THE DROPOUT RATE WAS EQUALLY PAINFUL. AND SO WHAT WE TRIED TO DO GOING IN– MANY OF THE THINGS I DESCRIBED FOR YOU EARLIER ABOUT BEING INCLUSIVE IN TERMS OF BRINGING PEOPLE TO THE TABLE TO HELP MAKE DECISIONS TOGETHER. AND SO I BUILT A STRONG LEADERSHIP TEAM THERE, INCLUDED LABOR AS PART OF THE LEADERSHIP TEAM. I’M ALWAYS REMINDED THAT WHEN I BROUGHT OUR LABOR LEADER TO THE LEADERSHIP TEAM, THERE WERE MEMBERS OF MY TEAM WHO THOUGHT I’D LOST MY MIND, IN THAT THEY’RE GOING TO KNOW EVERYTHING THAT WE KNOW. AND MY POINT TO THE TEAM WAS THAT WE HAVE MUTUAL INTERESTS, VESTED INTERESTS, AND IF IT’S ABOUT THE CHILDREN, WE NEED TO BE TRANSPARENT. I DIDN’T BRING THEM TO THE TEAM TO NEGOTIATE ABOUT THE CONTRACT, BUT I DID BRING THEM TO THE TABLE TO WORK ON THE STRATEGIES, TACTICS, AND THE THINGS THAT AFFECTED HIS MEMBERSHIP, AFFECTED OUR KIDS, SO THAT WE COULD DO THAT JOINTLY. BUT ALSO, STRATEGIC PLANNING IS A BIG PART OF OUR SUCCESS AT SPRINGFIELD. AND TO BE CLEAR, NOT THAT WE CORNERED THE MARKET. I DID NOT GET EVERYTHING DONE IN SPRINGFIELD THAT I WANTED TO GET DONE. BUT IT WAS MUCH BETTER, MEASURABLY BETTER, WHEN I LEFT. AND I’LL GIVE YOU SOME STATISTICS TO GO WITH THAT. BUT WE HAD A COMPREHENSIVE STRATEGIC PLANNING PROCESS. THERE WERE APPROXIMATELY 70 PEOPLE FROM ACROSS THE COMMUNITY IN OUR FIRST EFFORT AT THIS MY FIRST YEAR, AND WE BROUGHT IN AN OUTSIDE FACILITATOR TO ASSIST US IN DEVELOPING A STRATEGIC PLAN THAT THE COMMUNITY, THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY, THE DISTRICT, AND THE BOARD COULD SEE THEMSELVES IN. WE HAD INPUT, USING AN AFFINITY PROCESS, FROM OVER 5,000 PEOPLE SO THAT WE COULD CAPTURE, CATEGORIZE, AND MAKE SURE THAT THOSE VOICES WERE HEARD AND CAPTURED IN THE PLAN. AT THE END OF THE DAY, I CAN TELL YOU THAT GRADE 10 PROFICIENCY RATES WENT UP BY ABOUT 20-23%. THE DROPOUT RATE IS NOW DOWN AT 7%. IT WAS DOUBLE DIGIT WHEN I GOT THERE. IT WAS DOUBLE DIGIT WHEN I LEFT, BUT MANY OF THE THINGS WE ATTEMPTED TO DO, THE DISTRICT CONTINUED TO DO. NOW, THEY DON’T HAVE THE SAME STRATEGIC PLAN, BUT THEY HAVE MADE MINOR MODIFICATIONS TO THAT EFFORT, SOME REVISIONS, BUT THE CORE OF THAT REFORM EFFORT IS STILL IN PLACE. WE APPOINTED– THE BOARD APPOINTED OUR DEPUTY SUPERINTENDENT, WHO I APPOINTED SO THAT THERE WAS SOME SUSTAINABILITY, SOME SUCCESSION PLANNING AND THOUGHT THAT WENT INTO THAT. THE GRADUATION RATE IS NOW AT AN ALL-TIME HIGH. WE MADE INCREMENTAL IMPROVEMENTS INITIALLY, BUT NOW IT’S FOR THE FIRST TIME JUST HIT THE 60% MARK. SO THEY’RE TRENDING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. THEY’RE NOT OUT OF THE WOODS BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION. AND THEN THE SECOND EXAMPLE I WOULD JUST WANT TO MENTION IS ATTENDANCE, IN TERMS OF THE WORK IN SPRINGFIELD. SO WHEN I ARRIVED, DISTRICT-WIDE, THE ATTENDANCE RATE WAS ABOUT 88%, MAYBE 87%. WHEN I LEFT, IT WAS ABOUT 93%, HOVERING CLOSE TO 94%. TEACHER ATTENDANCE, THE SAME WAY: IT WAS WOEFUL, BUT WE BEGAN TO PUT IN PROCESS STRUCTURES SO THAT THAT COULD BE TENDED TO, MONITORED CLOSELY, AND WE COULD MAKE MID-COURSE CORRECTIONS WHERE WE NEEDED TO. SO STRATEGIC PLANNING IS A BIG PART OF THAT. HAVING A SOUND ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM TO MEASURE AND MONITOR IS ALSO IMPORTANT. AND FINALLY, IN SPRINGFIELD IT WAS AROUND PARENT ENGAGEMENT. SO WE ENGAGED PARENTS MUCH DIFFERENTLY. WE TRIED TO MEET THEM WHERE THEY WERE. WE TRIED TO BUILD CAPACITY IN THEIR ABILITY TO BE GOOD PARENTS, AND ALSO TO HELP THEIR CHILDREN. MY WORK AT THE STATE EDUCATION AGENCY– MY WORK WITH SUPERINTENDENTS IN PARTICULAR, URBAN SUPERINTENDENTS ACROSS THE COMMONWEALTH, OUR LANGUAGE ACQUISITION PROGRAM, WE’RE RETHINKING EQUITY AND TEACHING FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS. WE’RE SEEING IMPROVEMENTS IN THAT AREA IN THE AGGREGATE ON THE STATE LEVEL, AND SO THOSE ARE A FEW THINGS THAT I THINK SPEAK TO THAT.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH. MICHELLE.>>SURE. HOW HAS YOUR PAST EXPERIENCE OTHERWISE PREPARED YOU FOR THIS POSITION?>>THANK YOU FOR YOUR QUESTION, MICHELLE. SO AS I ALLUDED TO EARLIER, I THINK MY EXPERIENCE IS UNIQUE. SO I’M NOT A TRADITIONAL EDUCATOR. I DIDN’T GROW UP AS A CLASSROOM TEACHER IN THE TRADITIONAL SENSE, BUILDING ADMINISTRATOR, CENTRAL OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR, SUPERINTENDENT, YOU KNOW, MAYBE GOING TO THE STATE AGENCY. BUT MY 22 YEARS IN THE AIR FORCE, 14 OF THOSE YEARS WERE IN EDUCATION AND TRAINING. AND I BELIEVE THAT THE AIR FORCE, AS AN ORGANIZATION, IS ONE OF THE BEST TEACHING AND LEARNING OUTFITS IN THE WORLD, MAYBE ARGUABLY, IN THE EYES OF SOME. BUT I’VE HAD A CHANCE TO ATTEND SOME OF THE BEST AIR FORCE SCHOOLS TO UNDERSTAND INSTRUCTION, HOW TO TEACH, PEDAGOGY, TO UNDERSTAND CONTENT. AND MY CONTENT AS A CLASSROOM FACILITATOR AND AN INSTRUCTIONAL LEADER WAS LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT. SO IT HELPED ME HONE MY SKILLS IN TERMS OF HOW DO WE HELP PEOPLE ACCOMPLISH GOALS, MISSION, VISION, AND PRIORITIES OF THE ORGANIZATION, AND I THINK THAT’S SERVED ME WELL. I ALSO SPENT, AS PART OF MY PREPARATION ALONG THE WAY, 10 YEARS IN OKLAHOMA CITY, LOTS OF WORK WITH FEDERAL PROGRAMS. SEVEN SUPERINTENDENTS IN THOSE 10 YEARS, AND I HAD 1-YEAR CONTRACTS EVERY YEAR OF THOSE 10 YEARS. BUT MY JOB WAS NEVER IN JEOPARDY: I SERVED THEM ALL WELL, AND AGAIN, THAT SPEAKS VOLUMES IN AND OF ITSELF. MY EXPERIENCE IN SPRINGFIELD. I’D ALSO MENTION TO YOU THAT IN PREPARATION FOR SPRINGFIELD, I WAS SELECTED FOR THE BROAD SUPERINTENDENT’S ACADEMY. ELI AND EDYTHE BROAD– MR. BROAD, A GREAT PHILANTHROPIST, A MICHIGANDER HIMSELF, AND– BUT THE BROAD PROGRAM HELPED PREPARE ME. IT DID NOT CHANGE MY THINKING ABOUT HOW I WOULD GO. IT GAVE ME MORE SKILLS, MORE THINGS TO THINK ABOUT. IN THAT 10-MONTH FELLOWSHIP AS A SUPERINTENDENT IN THE ACADEMY, WE HAD A CHANCE TO GO INTO ABOUT A DOZEN DISTRICTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO LEARN FROM SOME OF THE BEST MINDS IN EDUCATION, TO UNDERSTAND THE THEORIES OF ACTION, THE IMPORTANCE OF CORE INSTRUCTION, WHAT GOOD INSTRUCTION LOOKS LIKE, HOW TO MONITOR FOR SUCCESS, ACCOUNTABILITY. IT WASN’T ABOUT TAKING OVER DISTRICTS AND DISRUPTING THEM. I DIDN’T APPROACH SPRINGFIELD UPON COMPLETING THE BROAD ACADEMY. I WENT IN AND TRIED TO WORK WITH THE PEOPLE THAT WERE THERE. I DIDN’T BRING A BUNCH OF PEOPLE WITH ME. I LARGELY DID SOME RE-ASSIGNMENTS. THERE WERE SOME PEOPLE THAT LEFT OF THEIR OWN ACCORD AS A RESULT OF THE PACE AND THE VISION WE HAD SET, AND IT DIDN’T FIT WITH WHAT THEY WANTED, SO THEY LEFT OF THEIR OWN ACCORD. THERE WERE A COUPLE OF TERMINATIONS, BUT IT WAS DUE TO PERFORMANCE. THE ONLY POINT I’M TRYING TO MAKE IS THAT SOME, I THINK, HAVE PUBLICLY PERHAPS CHARACTERIZED THE BROAD FOUNDATION AND THE WORK THEY DO TO PREPARE SUPERINTENDENTS AS SOMEWHAT TO TAKE OVER DISTRICTS OR TO DO SOMETHING THAT IT’S JUST NOT ABOUT. BUT I’VE MET SOME GREAT PEOPLE, IT’S A GREAT NETWORK, AND THE SUPPORT SYSTEM I GOT IN MY FIRST YEAR AS A SUPERINTENDENT, BROAD ACADEMY, AS PART OF THOSE RESOURCES, CAME IN AND DID A CURRICULUM AUDIT, A TRANSPORTATION AUDIT, A FINANCIAL AUDIT. AND JUST TO GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE TO ILLUSTRATE THE POINT, MY FIRST WEEK IN SPRINGFIELD, I GET TOLD WE HAVE A $7.5 MILLION TRANSPORTATION SHORTFALL. THE FIRST WEEK OF JULY, OF THE NEW FISCAL YEAR– I DON’T KNOW HOW THAT’S POSSIBLE. AND SO TRYING TO GET TO THE ROOT CAUSE, I CONTACTED THE BROAD FOLKS, AND THEY BROUGHT IN SOME EXPERTISE, CONNECTED ME TO SOME FOLKS. AND THE EXPERTISE CAME FROM MASSACHUSETTS, NOT SOME NATIONAL ORGANIZATION. BUT THEY COVERED THE EXPENSES SO THAT I COULD REALLY GET A FEEL FOR THE LAY OF THE LAND, THE CONTEXT LOCALLY, AND SOME OF THE CHALLENGES THAT I’D BE FACING. AND FINALLY, IN TERMS OF EXPERIENCE, I WOULD JUST SAY THAT MY EXPERIENCE IN MASSACHUSETTS WORKING WITH WHO I BELIEVE IS ONE OF THE BEST CHIEFS IN THE COUNTRY, MR. CHESTER, AS HIS DEPUTY THE LAST FEW YEARS HAS PROVIDED UNBELIEVABLE INSIGHT AND A CHANCE TO LEARN FROM ONE OF THE BEST. WE SPEND TIME IN THE STATE HOUSE WITH LEGISLATORS. WE SPEND TIME, APPROPRIATELY, IN THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE WHEN NECESSARY. HE HAS A GREAT RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS BOARD CHAIR. I’VE JUST LEARNED SO MUCH ABOUT THE VALUE OF RELATIONSHIPS AND HOW TO PERSONALIZE THAT APPROACH. IT MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE. AND SO I THINK IT LEADS ME TO BE READY TO ASSUME A STATE CHIEF ROLE.>>THANK YOU, ALAN. I SHOULD’VE NOTED, RICHARD, DR. RICHARD ZEILE IS THE BOARD MEMBER WHO’S NOT SITTING RIGHT THERE. I’VE GOT HIS QUESTIONS, THOUGH. RICHARD IS GOING TO BE WATCHING THE PROGRAM, AND ALSO KAREN McPHEE, THE GOVERNOR’S EDUCATION ADVISOR, IS NOT HERE, BUT SHE IS TUNING IN TO WATCH THE PROCEEDINGS, AND WILL BE PART OF THE DELIBERATIONS. BUT I’VE GOT RICHARD’S QUESTIONS, SO HERE’S THE NEXT ONE, ALAN. WHAT EXAMPLE OR EXAMPLES CAN YOU OFFER TO YOUR SUCCESS IN ORGANIZING AND MOVING DISPARATE STAKEHOLDERS, OUTSIDE INTERESTS, AND YOUR OWN STAFF AROUND A SHARED VISION OF EDUCATIONAL IMPROVEMENT? AND HOW WOULD YOU GO ABOUT SUCH AN EFFORT HERE?>>SO FOR ME, PRESIDENT AUSTIN, AT THE END OF THE DAY, I THINK YOU HAVE TO BE CLEAR ABOUT EXPECTATIONS. WHAT IS IT YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH? BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND. BUT YOU’VE GOT TO MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT PEOPLE AT THE TABLE, THAT YOU’RE LISTENING, AND SOME CONSENSUS ON WHAT THE ULTIMATE OBJECTIVES WILL BE– HOW YOU MEASURE THAT, MONITOR IT. DEFINE SUCCESS– WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE? AND MY POINT IS THAT BY ENGAGING PEOPLE UP FRONT, YOU SPEND A LOT LESS TIME ON THE BACK END HAVING TO DO RE-WORK. ONE EXAMPLE OF THAT WOULD BE OUR WORK IN SPRINGFIELD AROUND LABOR MANAGEMENT COLLABORATIONS. LABOR MANAGEMENT COMMUNITY COLLABORATIONS. I DIDN’T ACQUIESCE TO THE UNION OR LABOR, THEY DIDN’T ACQUIESCE ME, BUT WE TRIED TO FIND A WAY TO FIND COMMON GROUND ON THE INTERESTS OF CHILDREN. AND PRESIDENT COLLINS OF THE LOCAL TEACHERS ASSOCIATION AND I DISAGREED ON A LOT OF THINGS, BUT WHAT WE TRIED TO FOCUS ON WAS WHERE WE COULD FIND COMMON GROUND, CONSENSUS, AND WE WERE SUCCESSFUL AND SAW THAT PLAYED OUT IN A NUMBER OF WAYS: EDUCATOR EVALUATION CHANGES, ADDITIONAL RESOURCES TO THE DISTRICT FROM OUTSIDE GROUPS THAT WERE WILLING TO CONTRIBUTE TO OUR EFFORTS.>>THANK YOU. EILEEN.>>ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT TASKS OF THE SUPERINTENDENT IS DEVELOPING WITH THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION ITS POLICIES AND STRATEGIC PLAN FOR IMPROVING EDUCATION AND ADVANCING IT EFFECTIVELY WITH THE GOVERNOR, LEGISLATURE, EDUCATIONAL POLICY GROUPS, AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCE AND APPROACH IN DOING THAT WORK? AND HOW WOULD YOU RESOLVE DIFFERENCES IN VISION, DIRECTION, AND EXPECTATIONS HELD BY ALL OF THOSE LEADERS?>>YOU KNOW, THEREIN LIES THE CHALLENGE. I MEAN, IF YOU CUT TO THE CHASE, THAT IS THE OPPORTUNITY AND THE CHALLENGE. AND FOR ME– I DON’T WANT TO MAKE LIGHT OF THE QUESTION, BUT FOR ME, IT’S ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS, BUILDING TRUST, BEING CANDID WITH ONE ANOTHER, BEING RESPECTFUL OF THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH AND THE LEGISLATURE, BUT ALSO RESPECTIVE OF THE BOARD, AND TRYING TO NAVIGATE AND FACILITATE THAT WHERE ALL THOSE PARTIES AND THEIR ASPIRATIONS FOR THE CHILDREN OF MICHIGAN CAN BE HEARD, VETTED, TALKED ABOUT BACK AND FORTH, AND AT THE END OF THE DAY, IT MAY MEAN SOME LEVEL OF COMPROMISE ON THE PARTS OF ALL THE PARTIES. QUITE FRANKLY, I DON’T THINK THE BOARD CAN OPERATE IN ISOLATION. YOU MAY THINK YOU CAN, BUT THERE ARE POWERS OF AUTHORITY THAT PEOPLE HAVE, AND IT’S JUST NOT A GOOD WAY OF GOING ABOUT THE BUSINESS. SO TRYING TO FIND COMMON GROUND, WORK THROUGH PROBLEMS. AND I THINK WHEN YOU HAVE A LOT OF CAPITAL BASED ON TRUST, YOU CAN GO TO THE BANK OF GOOD WILL WHEN THINGS HIT A RUB AND YOU CAN WORK THROUGH IT IF YOU’RE COMMITTED TO DO IT. IT WON’T BE EASY. WE’VE CERTAINLY DONE THAT IN MASSACHUSETTS. SOME OF THE REFORMS WE’VE EMBARKED UPON, WE, ON OCCASION, AND SOMETIMES FREQUENTLY, WILL HEAR ABOUT THE PACE OF REFORMS, THAT WE’RE GOING TOO FAST OR TRYING TO DO TOO MUCH. BUT OUR COMMISSIONER IS DETERMINED THAT WE’RE NOT GOING TO REST UNTIL ALL CHILDREN ARE EXPERIENCING THE SAME QUALITY OF EDUCATION AS THEIR MORE AFFLUENT PEERS. AND SO WE’RE NOT TONE DEAF. WE’VE MADE ADJUSTMENTS TO TIMELINES AND TAKEN FEEDBACK FROM THE LEGISLATIVE LEADERSHIP, INCLUDING THE EDUCATION CO-CHAIRS. WE’VE LISTENED TO THE GOVERNOR AND HIS INPUT, AND AGAIN, WE’VE FACTORED THAT INTO ADJUSTMENTS BY THE COMMISSIONER, THE BOARD PRESIDENT, AND THE BOARD ITSELF, THROUGH REGULATION WHERE APPROPRIATE. SO I’M JUST TRYING TO SAY YES, IT’S HARD WORK, BUT YOU CAN’T GIVE UP. AGAIN, 1.5 MILLION KIDS ARE DEPENDING ON THIS BOARD, THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH AND THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH TO FIND A WAY TO COME TOGETHER. AND I WANT TO BE THE SPOKE IN THAT HUB TO HELP FACILITATE THOSE CONVERSATIONS, THE TOUGH ONES, AND TO HELP US WORK THROUGH STICKING POINTS, BUT ALWAYS BE RESPECTFUL OF THE BOARD AND NEVER LEAVING YOU OUT OF THE LOOP, BUT ALSO BEING POLITICALLY ASTUTE TO THE OTHER BODIES OF THE STATE GOVERNMENT.>>THANK YOU.>>KATHY, I THINK YOU’VE GOT THE NEXT QUESTION.>>DIFFERENT PEOPLE HAVE DIFFERENT VIEWS OF EDUCATION. WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT AND FUNDAMENTAL PURPOSES OF PUBLIC EDUCATION?>>THANK YOU, MS. STRAUSS, FOR YOUR QUESTION. WHAT DO I THINK ARE THE FUNDAMENTAL PURPOSES OF PUBLIC EDUCATION? I THINK, AT ITS CORE, WE’RE CHARGED WITH PREPARING YOUNG PEOPLE TO BE PREPARED FOR OPTIONS IN LIFE, TO BE GOOD CITIZENS, TO BE GOOD STEWARDS OF THE THINGS WE TAKE FOR GRANTED, THE FREEDOMS THAT WE ENJOY EVERY DAY. AND I THINK IF WE CAN HELP PEOPLE UNDERSTAND OUR HISTORY, TO BE ABLE TO THINK CRITICALLY, BE GOOD COMMUNICATORS AND PROBLEM SOLVERS TO WORK THROUGH DIFFERENCES IN A WAY THAT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE HOSTILE OR NEGATIVE IN NATURE. WE CAN AGREE TO DISAGREE, BUT HELPING CHILDREN GARNER THOSE SKILLS SO THEY CAN BE ALL THEY CAN BE AND CHOOSE WHATEVER OPTIONS THEY CHOOSE TO DO IN LIFE. TO BE SMART, INTELLIGENT, AND HAVE A WORK ETHIC TO GO ABOUT WHATEVER CHOICES THEY MIGHT MAKE. TO HAVE GRIT, WHEN TIMES GET TOUGH TO BE ABLE TO BUCKLE DOWN AND WORK THROUGH IT. SO IT’S A LOT THAT WE ASK FOR FROM EDUCATION. IF WE’RE SMART ABOUT IT, WE FIGURE OUT THAT WE CAN’T DO IT BY OURSELF, SO WE HAVE TO BRING OTHER PEOPLE TO THE TABLE AND LEVERAGE THOSE EFFORTS IN A WAY THAT MAKES SENSE. THE WORK WE DID IN SPRINGFIELD, WE HAD A LONG LIST. WE HAD A FAITH COMMUNITY, BUSINESSES, HIGHER ED, COLLEGES, PARENTS, PHILANTHROPY FOUNDATIONS, BUT WHERE WE DIFFERED– BECAUSE THAT’S ONE OF THE CHALLENGES, IS THAT PEOPLE TRY TO DO TOO MUCH– WE NARROWED OUR FOCUS, HAD A PLAN, AND IF YOU DIDN’T FIT IN ONE OF THE PRIORITIES WE WERE TRYING TO WORK ON, WE SAID, “THANK YOU, BUT NO THANK YOU.” AND SO NOT EVERY OPPORTUNITY MERITS A YES.>>THANK YOU.>>LUPE.>>OKAY, MY QUESTION IS, “PLEASE SPEAK TO THE ISSUES OF WHAT POLICIES, PRACTICES, OR ACTIONS ARE IMPORTANT TO PURSUE IN ORDER TO IMPROVE TEACHER AND EDUCATOR PREPARATION, QUALITY, SUPPORT, MORALE, AND EFFECTIVENESS.”>>THAT’S A LOT. THAT’S A LOT. QUALITY, EFFECTIVENESS, MORALE, THAT’S A LOT. I THINK IT STARTS WITH THE RIGHT EXPECTATIONS, THE RIGHT STANDARDS, THE WILLINGNESS TO MAKE SURE YOU GO IN AND MONITOR AND MEASURE HOW WELL THINGS ARE WORKING. YOU KNOW, YOU’RE TAKING STOCK OF WHERE YOU ARE. EVERY DAY I COME TO WORK, I WANT TO BE BETTER THAN I WAS THE DAY BEFORE. I WANT TO HOLD PEOPLE AROUND ME TO THAT SAME THINKING, THAT WE’RE CONSTANTLY REFLECTING AND LOOKING AT HOW WE CAN DO THINGS BETTER. IT ALSO GOES BACK TO THE RELATIONSHIP PIECE, WHERE YOU– YOU KNOW, MY WIFE’S AN ELEMENTARY TEACHER, NATIONALLY BOARD CERTIFIED. AND I CAN TELL YOU IT’S NOT THE EXTERNAL STUFF THAT MAKES HER FEEL GOOD ABOUT THE WORK THAT SHE DOES, BUT IT’S BEING APPRECIATED, INCLUDED, AND INVOLVED. AND AGAIN, I THINK THE BEST WAY TO MAKE DECISIONS IS TO BE INCLUSIVE AND BRING PEOPLE TO THE TABLE. WE WORKED DILIGENTLY WITH THE URBAN SUPS. WE’VE GOT A SECONDARY– OR, NOT A SECONDARY, BUT WE’VE GOT ANOTHER GROUP, A STATEWIDE CABINET OF SUPERINTENDENTS, THE SUPERINTENDENTS ADVISORY COUNCIL, THAT OUR COMMISSIONER, I MYSELF, AND OTHER MEMBERS OF OUR SUPERVISORY TEAM MEET WITH REGULARLY. WE MEET WITH THE LABOR LEADERS OF BOTH AFT AND NEA, WHICH, AGAIN, WE DON’T AGREE ON EVERYTHING, BUT THERE’S JUST THIS OUTREACH. WE HAVE A TEACHER CABINET WHERE WE’VE BROUGHT TEACHERS IN FROM ACROSS THE STATE TO HELP US MAKE INFORMED DECISIONS AND MAKE SURE THAT VOICE IS CAPTURED AS PART OF THE PROCESS. I THINK WHAT I’VE SEEN MITCHELL DO AND WHAT I’VE ALWAYS TRIED TO DO– I LEARNED IT FROM SOME GREAT MENTORS: THAT WHICH I HAVE CONTROL OVER, I RESERVE THE RIGHT TO MAKE FINAL DECISIONS ABOUT. AND I’M UP FRONT ABOUT THAT, BUT I WANT PEOPLE TO BE PART OF THE PROCESS AND DECISIONS. AND FINALLY, I THINK I WOULD JUST SAY WE CAN’T BE AFRAID TO ADMIT WE MADE A MISTAKE. SO IF WE GET SOMETHING WRONG ON THE POLICY FRONT, IT’S OKAY TO MAKE ADJUSTMENTS, GO BACK AND DO REVISIONS WHERE WE NEED TO, BUT THAT OUGHT TO BE ROOTED IN WHAT THE EVIDENCE SAYS, NOT EMOTIONAL APPEALS OR JUST THE NOISE FROM ONE SEGMENT OF THE COMMUNITY. IT OUGHT TO BE ROOTED IN EVIDENCE.>>THANK YOU. PAM.>>WHAT IS THE ROLE OF ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEMS IN PUBLIC EDUCATION? AND WHAT ELSE HAS TO GO ALONG WITH ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEMS TO IMPROVE LEARNING?>>YEAH, THANK YOU FOR YOUR QUESTION, MS. SMITH. ACCOUNTABILITY MEANS DIFFERENT THINGS TO DIFFERENT PEOPLE, AND FOR ME, IT’S EASY, AS AN EXAMPLE, TO LABEL SCHOOLS AS FAILURES, TO PUT A LABEL ON THEM, BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT WE TRIED TO DO IN MASSACHUSETTS. IT DOESN’T WORK. SO ACCOUNTABILITY IS A CHECK AND BALANCE TO MAKE SURE WE’RE PROTECTING, PRESERVING THE PUBLIC INVESTMENT OF LIMITED RESOURCES. IT’S ABOUT MAKING SURE THAT EACH ONE OF US ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE COMMITMENTS WE MADE ON BEHALF OF CHILDREN. BUT YOU CAN’T HAVE ACCOUNTABILITY WITHOUT ASSISTANCE, AND NOT JUST ONCE A YEAR TELLING PEOPLE HOW THEY CAME OUT ON A HIGH STAKES EXAM, BUT YOU’VE GOT TO MAKE SURE YOU HAVE PEOPLE ON THE GROUND, IN DISTRICTS, DEPLOYED IN THE RIGHT WAY, OFFERING ASSISTANCE, BEING RESPONSIVE TO THE NEEDS TO HELP DISTRICTS AND SCHOOLS WORK THROUGH SOME TOUGH WORK THAT’S UNDERWAY. AND MY OWN EXPERIENCE IN SPRINGFIELD AND NOW AROUND THE STATE IN MASSACHUSETTS– PEOPLE WANT TO DO THE RIGHT THING. THEY WANT TO DO WELL. AND SOME OF THEM ARE SIMPLY STUCK AND DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO. AND AS A STATE AGENCY, WE HAVE AN OBLIGATION. I DON’T PROFESS THAT WE HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS. WE’VE TRIED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EXPERTISE OUTSIDE OUR AGENCY IN MASSACHUSETTS. WE’VE LEANED HEAVILY ON SOME OF THE GREAT INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING IN THE AREA. WE’VE CONTRACTED SMARTLY WITH OUTSIDE ENTITIES TO HELP BUILD OUR CAPACITY TO PROVIDE THE SUPPORTS AND SERVICES THAT SCHOOLS NEED. AND I WOULD DO THE SAME IF SELECTED TO LEAD THE MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF ED.>>THANK YOU.>>EILEEN.>>MICHIGAN, LIKE OTHER STATES, EXCEPT FOR MASSACHUSETTS, HAS SEEN POLICY DEBATES ABOUT THE NATURE AND UTILITY OF STATE LEARNING STANDARDS AND ASSESSMENTS, INCLUDING THE COMMON CORE STANDARDS IN ENGLISH AND MATH. AND LIKE MICHIGAN, MANY STATES ARE LOOKING AT UPDATING OUR SCIENCE AND SOCIAL STUDIES STANDARDS COMING UP. WHAT IS THE ROLE OF STANDARDS AND ASSESSMENTS IN IMPROVING STUDENT LEARNING? AND WHERE DO YOU RECOMMEND WE SHOULD GO IN OUR POLICIES REGARDING STANDARDS AND ASSESSMENTS?>>SO MASSACHUSETTS HAS BEEN A LEADER IN THE STANDARDS MOVEMENT FOR 20 PLUS YEARS, AND I THINK THERE’S SOME THINGS THEY’VE GOTTEN RIGHT, AND I SPOKE TO THAT EARLIER. REGARDLESS OF POLITICAL ASSOCIATION, THERE’S BEEN A STRONG, CONSISTENT COMMITMENT TO THOSE HIGH EXPECTATIONS. STANDARDS HELP US DETERMINE WHAT STUDENTS SHOULD KNOW AND BE ABLE TO DO. AND STANDARDS HELP EDUCATORS. AGAIN, THE ADULTS IN THE BUILDING, WHAT SHOULD THEY KNOW AND BE ABLE TO DO? STANDARDS HELP US WITH CHARTER SCHOOLS. WHAT DO WE WANT THEM TO KNOW AND BE ABLE TO DO, AND HOW ARE WE HOLDING THEM ACCOUNTABLE? SO THEY’RE ABSOLUTELY VITAL, IN MY ESTIMATION, TO HIGH PERFORMANCE AND MAKING SURE THAT YOU CAN HOLD PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE. BUT THE OTHER PART OF YOUR QUESTION THAT I WANT TO SPEAK TO A LITTLE BIT THAT’S A LITTLE DIFFERENT IN MASSACHUSETTS THAN WHAT YOU’VE DESCRIBED FOR MICHIGAN IS WE’VE ADOPTED FOR SURE WHAT WE REFER TO AS THE MASSACHUSETTS FRAMEWORKS FOR STANDARDS IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS, READING, AND MATH. WE HAVE BEEN PILOTING THE NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS. WE’VE TAKEN A SLOW STRATEGY ON SOCIAL STUDIES, AND LARGELY BECAUSE OF FEEDBACK FROM THE FIELD WHICH HAS SAID, “NOT TOO MUCH ALL AT ONE TIME.” AND SO I THINK FOR US, WE THINK WE CAN GET THERE WITHOUT THE PUSH IN SOCIAL STUDIES AT THIS TIME. BUT MY POINT WOULD BE, AS YOUR STATE SUPERINTENDENT, WHAT I WOULD WANT TO DO IS MAKE SURE THAT YOU HAVE THE RIGHT INFORMATION IN FRONT OF YOU IN TERMS OF PERCEPTIONS FROM THE FIELD, THAT YOU HAVE EVIDENCE OF WHAT DOES AND DOESN’T WORK, AND THAT WE’RE WILLING TO MAKE ADJUSTMENTS. AND THEN I WOULD WANT TO ADVISE YOU AS A STATE BOARD IN TERMS OF HOW WE SHOULD PROCEED. AT THE END OF THE DAY, MY JOB IS TO IMPLEMENT WHAT THE BOARD DECIDES TO DO. AND SO IF IT WAS THE DECISION OF THE BOARD THAT YOU WANTED TO GO FAST WITH SOCIAL STUDIES, THEN MY JOB IS TO MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WHAT IT WILL TAKE TO DO THAT WELL: ADDITIONAL RESOURCES, ADDITIONAL TIME, AND THEN TO MAKE SURE WE GALVANIZE OUR EFFORTS TO ENSURE THE IMPLEMENTATION WAS A SUCCESS.>>SO THAT’S AN EXCELLENT ANSWER, BUT THERE’S STILL ONE MORE QUESTION.>>OKAY.>>WHERE DO YOU RECOMMEND WE SHOULD GO IN OUR POLICIES REGARDING STANDARDS AND ASSESSMENTS? IN OTHER WORDS, CONTINUE THE HIGH STANDARDS, CONTINUE THE KIND OF ASSESSMENT WE HAVE?>>YEAH, THANK YOU FOR THE FOLLOW-UP. SO AGAIN, I DON’T KNOW HOW YOU CAN DO ED REFORM WITHOUT STANDARDS, SO DEFINITELY CONTINUE, BUT I THINK THE PIECE THAT I’M ADVOCATING FOR IS THE NEED TO MONITOR IMPLEMENTATION AND MAKE SURE YOU’RE GETTING DONE WHAT WE EXPECTED, AND, TWO, TO BE REFLECTIVE, TO GO BACK AND DO THE STOCK TAKE, IF YOU WILL. HOW IS THE IMPLEMENTATION GOING? HAVE WE LEARNED FROM IT? ARE THERE CHANGES THAT WE NEED TO MAKE TO POLICY? BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY, I THINK POLICIES HELP DISTRICTS AND SCHOOLS HELP CODIFY WHAT’S IMPORTANT AND HELP PEOPLE CARRY OUT WHAT YOU WANT THEM TO DO. SO WE NEED TO BE CAREFUL, BUT WE NEED TO BE CLEAR.>>THANK YOU. CASANDRA.>>THERE HAVE BEEN A NUMBER OF SO-CALLED EDUCATION REFORM IDEAS ADVANCED IN RECENT YEARS. WHICH OF THESE DO YOU THINK ARE WORTHY OF EXPLORATION, AND WHICH WOULD YOU RECOMMEND AGAINST?>>WORTHY OF EXPLORATION, AND RECOMMEND AGAINST. I THINK– I’M JUST THINKING OUT LOUD, HERE. FOR SURE, WHEN I WAS IN OKLAHOMA CITY, I ALWAYS FELT LIKE IF THERE WAS AN INITIATIVE THAT CAME ABOUT FOR EDUCATION, WE HAD TRIED IT. WHATEVER IT WAS, TRY IT AND SEE IF IT WORKS. AND WHEN I GOT TO SPRINGFIELD, IT WAS THE SAME WAY, JUST SATURATION WITH PROGRAMS AND INITIATIVES AND INTERVENTIONS. IT’S NOT COHERENT. SO I DON’T– WHICH WOULD I KEEP? WE’RE DOING SOME REALLY GOOD WORK WITH VIRTUAL LEARNING, AS ONE EXAMPLE, IN OUR OUTREACH IN MASSACHUSETTS TO TOUCH FAMILIES IN A DIFFERENT WAY. VIRTUAL LEARNING IS NOT FOR EVERY CHILD, BUT AGAIN, FOR SOME CHILDREN, IT PROVIDES A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN. SO WE HAVE TWO VIRTUAL ACADEMIES, AND I THINK THAT HAS PROMISE. I THINK TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION IN THE CLASSROOM, MAKING SURE THAT IT’S EMBEDDED IN A WAY THAT HELPS TEACHERS TEACH MORE EFFECTIVELY, HELPS THEM BE MORE EFFICIENT ABOUT THE WORK, HELPS STUDENTS ENGAGE IN A DIFFERENT WAY SO THEY CAN BE EXCITED ABOUT THE LEARNING. SO THOSE ARE A COUPLE OF EXAMPLES. IN TERMS OF ONES THAT I WOULD JETTISON, YOU KNOW, CONTEXT MATTERS. WHAT MIGHT NOT WORK IN ONE COMMUNITY, CONTEXTUALLY, CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES MAY MAKE IT WORK. I THINK ABOUT SEEING SOME WORK ON GENDER SPECIFIC SCHOOLS, AND I THINK IN RESULTS IN SOME CASES MAY BE MIXED. WHAT WOULD I JETTISON? I’VE SEEN SOME GRADUATION INITIATIVES IMPLEMENTED POORLY, SO IT WASN’T SO MUCH THE INTERVENTION, IT WAS THE LEVEL OF FIDELITY TO IMPLEMENTATION, WHICH IS THE CRUX OF MY ARGUMENT, THAT IT’S DOING SOMETHING WELL, WITH FIDELITY AND INTEGRITY, MAKING SURE THAT IT’S IMPLEMENTED IN THE RIGHT WAY AND THE RIGHT SUPPORTS ARE IN PLACE, LARGELY WILL YIELD SOME GOOD RESULTS. BUT THERE ARE SOME THINGS WE SHOULD STOP DOING. I THINK, WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT TEACHER PERFORMANCE AND COLLECTIVE BARGAINING, I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS THAT HAS WORKED WELL AND WE’VE LEARNED IN LAWRENCE, ONE OF THE DISTRICTS WE’VE TAKEN OVER, IS WE GOT RID OF STEP-IN LANES AND NOW THERE ARE CAREER PATHWAYS FOR TEACHERS TO BE ABLE TO ESSENTIALLY PAY FOR PERFORMANCE, BUT IT’S A WAY– I HATE TO USE THOSE WORDS, BECAUSE IT’S SOMEWHAT ANTAGONIZING, BUT THERE’S A WAY FOR TEACHERS TO TAKE ON MORE RESPONSIBILITY WITH THE RIGHT SUPPORTS, TO HAVE MORE VOICE IN THE BUILDING, AND A CAREER PATHWAY FOR THEM TO EARN MORE MONEY WITHOUT JUST MAKING PAY RAISES STIPULATED ON LONGEVITY AND TIME IN SERVICE.>>THANK YOU, ALAN. YOU SPOKE TO SOME OF THIS, AND YOU CAN ELABORATE– IT’S ABOUT THE ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY AND THE PLACE OF VIRTUAL, BLENDED, AND CYBER LEARNING IN EDUCATION, AND HOW THOSE TOOLS AND OPPORTUNITIES CAN BE USED TO IMPROVE LEARNING AND EDUCATIONAL OUTCOMES. ANY MORE YOU’D LIKE TO ELABORATE ON THAT?>>NO, I THINK JUST TO SAY, PRESIDENT AUSTIN, THAT I THINK TECHNOLOGY OFFERS– IN THE RIGHT WAY, IF WE CAN DO IT IN THE RIGHT WAY– IS, AGAIN, INTEGRATED INTO THE CLASSROOM IN A BLENDED WAY, ALLOWING TEACHERS TO STILL RELY ON THEIR EXPERTISE, BUT IT’S A TOOL. WHEN WE PREPARE TEACHERS TO USE THOSE TOOLS IN ADVANCE OF THOSE TOOLS, GENERALLY IT GOES VERY WELL. BUT WHEN WE JUST SIMPLY PUT GADGETS AND THINGS IN A BUILDING, KIND OF A WISH LIST, THE LIKELIHOOD OF BEING ABLE TO IMPLEMENT WITH ANY KIND OF RESULTS ARE REALLY MARGINALIZED.>>GREAT. THANK YOU. MICHELLE, I THINK YOU’VE GOT THE NEXT ONE.>>IT’S GOT A COUPLE PARTS HERE.>>OKAY.>>WHAT EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE WITH SPECIAL EDUCATION? WHAT DO YOU THINK THE DIRECTION AND AGENDA FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION IN MICHIGAN NEEDS TO BE TO IMPROVE THE EDUCATIONAL AND EMPLOYMENT OUTCOMES? AND HOW WOULD YOU WORK TO ENSURE SPECIAL EDUCATION STUDENTS, PARENTS, AND STAKEHOLDERS ARE INCLUDED IN THE PROCESS OF IMPROVING SPECIAL EDUCATION? SO WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR EXPERIENCE, THE DIRECTION AND AGENDA FOR BETTER OUTCOMES, AND HOW TO INCLUDE PARENTS AND STAKEHOLDERS.>>AND SO LET ME JUST START WITH, REAL QUICK– SO FEDERAL PROGRAMS AND OKLAHOMA CITY, OBVIOUSLY, A LARGE SPECIAL ED POPULATION. PART OF THAT WORK THERE. IN SPRINGFIELD, WHEN I ARRIVED THERE IN 2008, 24% OF THE STUDENT POPULATION IN SPRINGFIELD WERE IDENTIFIED FOR SPECIAL NEED SERVICES.>>TWENTY-FIVE PERCENT?>>TWENTY-FOUR PERCENT. THE NATIONAL AVERAGE IS ABOUT 13%. AND SO STATEWIDE IN MASSACHUSETTS, IT’S ABOUT 13%. I THINK HERE IN MICHIGAN, YOU’RE AT ABOUT 12 OR 13%, SO CONSISTENT WITH THE NATIONAL AVERAGE, I BELIEVE. BUT WHAT THAT TOLD ME WAS, AND WHAT I FOUND, AND I HAD SOME SUSPICIONS, BUT WHAT I FOUND WAS THAT WE WERE LARGELY LABELING CHILDREN FOR SPECIAL NEEDS SERVICES BECAUSE OF FAULTY INSTRUCTIONAL PROGRAMS AND STRATEGIES TO ADDRESS LEARNING NEEDS. AND SO SOMETIMES KIDS WITH LANGUAGE ACQUISITION STRUGGLES WERE BEING IDENTIFIED FOR SPECIAL NEEDS SERVICES WHEN IT WASN’T SPECIAL NEEDS, BUT THEY NEEDED HELP WITH LANGUAGE ACQUISITION. SOMETIMES CHILDREN WITH SOCIAL EMOTIONAL CHALLENGES WERE INAPPROPRIATELY– IN THE 4 YEARS IN SPRINGFIELD, I WAS ABLE TO GET THAT RATE DOWN FROM 24% TO 19%, NOT BY DENYING CHILDREN WHO NEEDED SPECIAL NEEDS SERVICES ACCESS, BUT BY MAKING SURE THAT WE HAD REMEDIATION STRATEGIES AND INTERVENTIONS TO THE CORE CURRICULUM THAT ALLOWED TEACHERS AND BUILDING ADMINISTRATORS TO WORK WITH CHILDREN IN A MUCH DIFFERENT WAY. AND SO I THINK, AGAIN, LARGELY UNDERPERFORMING COMMUNITIES ARE ALL TOO OFTEN OVER-GENERALIZED, ALL TOO OFTEN SEE CHILDREN BE MISLABELED. AND IT’S NOT MY INTENT TO DENY ANY CHILD ACCESS TO SERVICES– I WANT TO BE CLEAR ABOUT THAT. BUT I WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE’RE NOT MIS-IDENTIFYING THEM BASED ON SOME INSTRUCTIONAL PROBLEMS OR LACK OF QUALITY. SO TO THE AGENDA, I THINK ALL CHILDREN CAN LEARN, AND HOW WE PREPARE THEM FOR THE WORKFORCE– ONE OF THE PLACES I VISITED, I WILL NEVER FORGET, WAS THE MASSACHUSETTS DAY SCHOOL, WHICH IS A SCHOOL THAT ALLOWS THE MOST COGNITIVELY DISABLED STUDENTS, THOSE WITH THE MOST SERIOUS DISABILITIES, TO RECEIVE SOME INTENSIFIED INSTRUCTION, TEACHING, AND LEARNING IN A SPECIAL WAY. I CAN REMEMBER VISITING THAT SCHOOL LAST YEAR AND BEING IN A CLASSROOM WHERE A KID WAS USING ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGIES TO DO A MATH PROBLEM, AND WAS WORKING THROUGH IT QUITE WELL, BUT IT WAS AT HIS OWN PACE. AND I REMEMBER THE TEACHER TRYING TO ENCOURAGE HIM ALONG, AND I REMEMBER HIS RESPONSE. IT MAKES ME CHOKE UP EVEN NOW, BUT I REMEMBER HIM SAYING, “I’M NOT STUPID.” AND THE POINT I WANT TO MAKE IS THAT ALL CHILDREN CAN DO WELL. SOME OF US NEED DIFFERENT KINDS OF SUPPORT. SOME MAY NEED EXTRA HELP, BUT OUR JOB IS TO MAKE SURE WE HAVE HIGH EXPECTATIONS FOR ALL OF THEM, THAT WE PROVIDE THEM THE SUPPORT AND ASSISTANCE THAT THEY NEED, AND THAT WE ENCOURAGE THEM TO REALIZE THEIR FULL POTENTIAL. SO NOT LOWERING OUR EXPECTATIONS, SO THAT’S TO YOUR QUESTION ABOUT EMPLOYMENT AND CAREER OPPORTUNITY, HIGH EXPECTATIONS FOR ALL, AND THAT WE TRY TO MAKE SURE THEY’RE GETTING ACCESS TO THE RIGHT SUPPORTS. TO THE PARENT ENGAGEMENT PIECE, AGAIN, I THINK WE NEED TO TRY TO MEET PARENTS WHERE THEY ARE, WE NEED TO LISTEN, WE NEED TO MAKE SURE WE HAVE STRUCTURES IN PLACE TO HEAR CONCERNS FROM PARENTS, AND THAT THERE ARE, AGAIN, READDRESS OPPORTUNITIES WHEN THEY THINK THEY’VE NOT BEEN HEARD OR THERE’S A DISCONNECT WITH WHAT THEIR EXPECTATIONS ARE.>>THANK YOU. KATHY.>>WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE ROLE OF SCHOOL CHOICE AND CHARTER SCHOOLS IN IMPROVING LEARNING AND EDUCATIONAL OUTCOMES?>>FAIR QUESTION. SCHOOL CHOICE AND CHARTERS. SO I MENTIONED EARLIER THE GRAND BARGAIN IN MASSACHUSETTS. WE HAD A SMALL HANDFUL IN OKLAHOMA CITY. THE LEGISLATION IN OKLAHOMA CITY WAS MORE AROUND– WELL, THEY WERE RESTRICTED TO JUST THE URBAN CENTERS. SO I THOUGHT THAT WAS FLAWED. THE LEGISLATURE THOUGHT CHARTERS WERE GOOD, BUT THEY DIDN’T THINK THEY WERE GOOD FOR ALL COMMUNITIES. SO I WAS CHALLENGED BY THAT ONE ON A PERSONAL LEVEL. BUT I DON’T BELIEVE CHARTERS ARE A SILVER BULLET SOLUTION. BUT I DO BELIEVE THEY CAN BE PART OF A CHOICE PORTFOLIO. AND I DO BELIEVE, BECAUSE WE’RE SEEING SOME PHENOMENAL WORK IN MASSACHUSETTS, AGAIN, WHERE WE HAVE VERY HIGH EXPECTATIONS AND STANDARDS FOR THE APPROVAL PROCESS. IN MASSACHUSETTS, THE STATE BOARD IS THE AUTHORIZER, AND THE EXPECTATIONS FOR GETTING AUTHORIZED, THE PROCESS IS PRETTY RIGOROUS. AND IT’S NOT A LICENSE TO BE CHARTER FOREVER. THERE ARE REVIEW AND RENEWAL PROCESSES IN PLACE. I THINK– I WAS LOOKING AT SOME DATA THE OTHER DAY. I KNOW WE CLOSED TWO IN SPRINGFIELD WHERE I WAS SUPERINTENDENT. I THINK, ACROSS THE STATE, THEY CLOSED 23 AND CURRENTLY HAVE 81 CHARTERS IN PLACE. AND IN THE LAST 6 YEARS, TO THE COMMISSIONER’S CREDIT, AS A STATE CHIEF, WE HAVE APPROVED 31 CHARTERS AND CREATED ABOUT 21,000 SEATS FOR STUDENTS IN THOSE CHARTER SCHOOLS. SO I BELIEVE THEY HAVE A PLACE, BUT THEY’RE NOT A SILVER BULLET OR PANACEA FOR WHAT AILS PUBLIC EDUCATION. THE NEXT FRONTIER WHERE I THINK WE’RE HOPEFUL AND OPTIMISTIC ABOUT BEING ABLE TO PERHAPS LEAD SOME OF OUR PROVEN CHARTER PROVIDERS INTO THE TURNAROUND SPACE, AND THAT’S WHERE WE HAVE DISTRICTS OR SCHOOLS THAT ARE THE MOST STUCK. WE’RE TRYING TO GET MORE OF OUR CHARTER OPERATORS TO BE WILLING TO GO INTO THAT AREA.>>THANK YOU, ALAN. PAM.>>WHAT EXPERIENCE HAVE YOU HAD IN SUCCESSFULLY TURNING AROUND UNDERPERFORMING SCHOOLS? AND WHAT DO YOU SEE AS EFFECTIVE APPROACHES TO SCHOOL TURNAROUND?>>YEAH, SO EXPERIENCE, DEFINITELY, SPRINGFIELD STANDS OUT. IN 2010, THE STATE CREATED SPECIAL LEGISLATION THAT GAVE THE COMMISSIONER UNPRECEDENTED POWERS OVER PERSISTENTLY LOW PERFORMING SCHOOLS, AND HE IDENTIFIED 34 SCHOOLS AT THAT TIME, IN 2010, AND OF THOSE 34, WE WERE– BLESSING AND A CURSE. WE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK WITH 10 OF THEM IN SPRINGFIELD, AND OF THOSE 10, WE WERE ABLE TO GET 6 OF THOSE ACROSS THE BAR, ABOUT A 60% IMPROVEMENT RATING. IN ABOUT A 3-YEAR PERIOD, SIX WERE REMOVED FROM TURNAROUND STATUS. THE MIDDLE SCHOOLS WERE A LITTLE MORE TOUGH, AND WHILE I WASN’T ABLE TO FINISH THE WORK ON MY WATCH THERE, THERE ARE NOW SOME INITIATIVES THAT WE’RE TAKING WORKING FROM THE STATE AGENCY PERSPECTIVE IN WORKING WITH THE SCHOOL BOARD TO BRING IN SOME OUTSIDE PROVIDERS, LOOKING FOR CHARTER SOLUTIONS. WE’VE SEEN– I MENTIONED EARLIER WHERE THE STATE HAS TAKEN OVER A DISTRICT AS PART OF THE 2010 LEGISLATION. WE’RE SEEING PHENOMENAL RESULTS THERE IN TERMS OF OUR WORK. AND PART OF THE SOLUTION AND STRATEGY IS USING CHARTERS IN THIS TARGETED WAY. AGAIN, WE DIDN’T MAKE THE DISTRICT ALL CHARTERS, BUT WHAT WE TRIED TO DO WAS WHERE WE HAD PROVEN PROVIDERS AND EVIDENCE OF IMPACT, TO ASSIST THEM WHERE WE HAD THE MOST STUCK SCHOOLS. BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY, FOR ME, WHAT ARE THE RIGHT EXPECTATIONS, AGAIN, FOR ALL CHILDREN, NOT JUST THOSE IN CHARTERS, BUT MAKING SURE WE HAVE A HIGH BAR FOR ALL KIDS.>>GREAT. THANK YOU, ALAN. LUPE.>>AS STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION, YOU WOULD MANAGE AND BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION. WHAT ARE THE DIRECTIONS FOR CHANGE AND IMPROVEMENT IN THE WORK OF THE DEPARTMENT, AND/ OR WHAT PROCESS WOULD YOU USE TO LEARN HOW TO UNDERSTAND, IDENTIFY, AND MAKE SUCH IMPROVEMENTS?>>THANK YOU FOR YOUR QUESTION. A COUPLE THINGS COME TO MIND ABOUT CHANGE AND LEADING THE DEPARTMENT. AND THIS HAS WORKED FOR ME IN MANY PLACES, NOT JUST AT THE STATE EDUCATION AGENCY OR IN SPRINGFIELD, BUT ONE IS TO BE VERY INTENTIONAL ABOUT ENTRY, IN OTHER WORDS, TO HAVE A FORMALIZED PLAN FOR WHAT DO I INTEND TO GET DONE IN THOSE FIRST 90 DAYS. AND PART OF IT WOULD BE THAT I DON’T WANT TO ASSUME I KNOW ALL THE ISSUES FOR THE AGENCY, AND I’VE ONLY BEEN HERE FOR ONE INTERVIEW. SO PART OF IT IS I’VE GOT TO TAKE STOCK. AND FOR ME, IT’S VERY LABOR INTENSIVE, BUT I DO A LOT OF ONE-ON-ONE MEETINGS, A LOT OF SMALL GROUP MEETINGS. THERE’S A CONCERTED EFFORT TO LOOK AT DATA, TO LOOK AT A LOT OF DIFFERENT REPORTS THAT I DON’T HAVE ACCESS TO NOW AS A CANDIDATE BUT I WOULD HAVE ACCESS TO IF SELECTED. SO IT’S MAKING SURE THAT I GET RIGHT ON– THAT I GET THE CURRENT CONDITIONS RIGHT. IT’S FOLLOWED BY NOT JUST THE INTERACTIONS WITH STAFF– AND THE INTENTIONALITY WITH THE ENTRY PLAN AND THE MEETINGS WITH STAFF, IT GOES BEYOND JUST INTERNAL TO THE ORGANIZATION. SO I WANT TO TRIANGULATE PERCEPTIONS. YOU CAN’T JUST DEPEND ON WHAT THE STAFF SAYS THE CURRENT CONDITIONS ARE. SO I HAVE TO HEAR THE VOICES OF DISTRICTS AND SCHOOLS AND THEIR PERCEPTION OF THE AGENCY. I HAVE TO LISTEN TO THE BOARD– WHAT’S YOUR PERCEPTION OF THE AGENCY AND ITS EFFECTIVENESS. I HAVE TO LISTEN TO THE LEGISLATURE– WHAT’S THEIR PERCEPTION FROM THEIR CONSTITUENTS. THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH– WHAT’S THEIR PERCEPTION. SO TRY AND TRIANGULATE THAT BEFORE WE START TALKING ABOUT WHAT I’D DO. BUT JUST A FEW OTHER THINGS THAT WOULD GO IN CONCERT WITH THAT WOULD JUST BE THE NOTION OF HIGH EXPECTATIONS FOR EVERYONE. AND THE WAY I TRY TO DO THAT IS BE CLEAR ABOUT WHAT I EXPECT FROM MYSELF AND THE PEOPLE AROUND ME, BE CLEAR ABOUT WHERE WE’RE GOING AND HOW WE’RE GOING TO GET THERE AND WHAT OUR PRIORITIES ARE THAT ARE JOINTLY ESTABLISHED AND DEVELOPED WITH THE BOARD, MAKING SURE THAT WE USE DATA TO GET A REAL GRIP ON OUR CURRENT REALITIES, AND SO, AGAIN, I TRY TO SHARE SOME OF THAT WITH YOU IN THE BEGINNING OF THE PRESENTATION, THAT IF PEOPLE FEEL THAT THE NATION’S REPORT CARD RESULTS ARE OKAY FOR MICHIGAN’S CHILDREN, THAT WOULD BE CONCERNING TO ME, SO I WOULD WANT TO CREATE A SENSE OF URGENCY AROUND THE WORK. I TRY TO USE DATA AND DATA POINTS: DROPOUTS, GRADUATION, PROFICIENCY, PERCEPTION DATA FROM THE FIELD… BUT THERE’S A WAY TO DO THAT TO TRY TO TRIANGULATE HOW WE WOULD GO ABOUT CHANGE.>>THANK YOU.>>THANK YOU.>>CASANDRA.>>WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE ROLE OF THE SUPERINTENDENT AND DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION WITH LOCAL AND INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL DISTRICTS?>>YEAH. SO THE LOCAL AND INTERMEDIATE DISTRICTS, AND INTERMEDIATE SERVICE AGENCIES, AS I THINK OF THEM– AS A STATE CHIEF, WHAT IS IMPORTANT IS TO, AGAIN, FOR PEOPLE TO SEE THEMSELVES IN A REFORM AGENDA. AND THAT MEANS THOSE AT THE TOP OF THE PYRAMID WHO ARE THE HIGHEST PERFORMING DISTRICTS, AS WELL AS THOSE AT THE LOWEST END OF THE PYRAMID, WHO MAY BE IN THE MOST STUCK SCHOOLS, AND EVEN THOSE IN THE MIDDLE. SO I THINK AS THE STATE CHIEF OR STATE SUPERINTENDENT, YOU’VE GOT TO MAKE SURE YOU HAVE LINES OF COMMUNICATIONS, THAT PEOPLE HAVE ACCESS TO YOU AND YOU TO THEM. YOU’VE GOT TO MAKE SURE YOU’RE IN SCHOOLS AND DISTRICTS APPROPRIATELY, NOT JUST FOR THE SAKE OF BEING IN THE BUILDING. YOU’VE GOT TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU’RE ADVOCATING FOR THE INTERESTS OF CHILDREN AND DISTRICTS, AND SOME OF THE CHALLENGES THAT THEY’RE FACING. AND YOU’VE GOT TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU INVOLVE THEM IN DECISIONS OF REFORM. YOU CAN’T TAKE TO SUPERINTENDENTS, EITHER AT THE INTERMEDIATE AGENCY LEVEL OR AT THE SCHOOL OR DISTRICT LEVEL, YOU CAN’T TAKE TO THEM DECISIONS THAT HAVE ALREADY BEEN FINALIZED AND JUST TELL THEM TO GO FORTH AND DO IT. BUT THE INTERMEDIATE AGENCIES CAN BE A GOOD RESOURCE. I DON’T KNOW A LOT ABOUT THEM IN MICHIGAN’S CONTEXT, BUT I BELIEVE THEY CAN BE A RESOURCE. RIGHT NOW, ONE OF THE BIGGEST QUESTIONS I HAVE IS HOW DO THEY INTERSECT WITH THE AGENCY ITSELF, SO THAT’S SOMETHING THAT I’D LIKE TO EXPLORE AND LOOK AT A BIT FURTHER.>>OKAY. THANKS, ALAN. MICHELLE.>>NUMBER 16 OUT OF 21, BY THE WAY.>>OKAY.>>WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR SUCCESS AS AN EDUCATIONAL LEADER IN COLLABORATING AND PARTNERING WITH THE BUSINESS, LABOR, AND BROADER COMMUNITY? PLEASE DISCUSS SPECIFIC PARTNERSHIPS OR ACHIEVEMENTS DUE TO THESE PARTNERSHIPS THAT HAVE DEVELOPED AS A RESULT OF YOUR LEADERSHIP.>>SO I’LL START WITH THE CURRENT AND WORK BACK WITH JUST A COUPLE EXAMPLES. ONE IS THE MASSACHUSETTS BUSINESS LEADERS FOR EDUCATION, WHICH IS A NON-PROFIT GROUP OF BUSINESS LEADERS FROM ACROSS THE COMMONWEALTH WHO HAVE AN INTEREST IN EDUCATION, AND WORKING WITH THAT GROUP ON OUR STANDARDS MOVEMENT, ON OUR NEW ASSESSMENT SYSTEM– AND, BY THE WAY, IN MASSACHUSETTS, WE’RE TAKING 2 YEARS TO TEST DRIVE THAT SYSTEM BEFORE WE TAKE A RECOMMENDATION TO THE BOARD, AND TO MAKE SURE THAT WE DO THE APPROPRIATE SURROUNDING WORK, THE DUE DILIGENCE TO GIVE THE BOARD A GOOD RECOMMENDATION. BUT WE’VE HEARD FROM OUR BUSINESS LEADERS LOUD AND CLEAR ON THE DISCONNECT BETWEEN THE SKILLSETS THAT CHILDREN HAVE WHEN THEY GRADUATE FROM SCHOOL AND THEIR EMPLOYABILITY. AND SO THEY WERE VERY INSTRUMENTAL AND INTEGRAL TO THE REVISION OF STANDARDS IN MASSACHUSETTS. THEY ALSO HAVE BEEN A GREAT SOUNDING BOARD TO THE COMMISSIONER ABOUT THE WORK, AND, AGAIN, A WAY TO TRIANGULATE HOW THINGS ARE GOING AND WHERE WE MIGHT NEED TO RE-ADJUST AND/ OR PAY SOME DIFFERENT ATTENTION TO. IN SPRINGFIELD, I MENTIONED OUR LABOR MANAGEMENT COLLABORATION. WE DID LOTS OF WORK TOGETHER TRYING TO IMPROVE THE CULTURE OF THE SYSTEM, AND TRYING TO DO THAT WITH BETTER RELATIONSHIPS. AND THE PRESIDENT AND I COMMITTED PUBLICLY THAT WE WOULD TRY TO FIND COMMON GROUND. AND THERE WERE INSTANCES, JUST TO BE ABSOLUTELY CLEAR, WHERE WE DISAGREED, BUT WE NEVER TOOK OUR DISAGREEMENTS PUBLIC, IN FOUR YEARS. AND I CAN TELL YOU, I REMEMBER SPECIFICALLY TIMES WHERE HE’S BEEN IN MY OFFICE AND HE’S TELLING ME PRIVATELY HOW HE REALLY FEELS ABOUT SOMETHING I MAY HAVE DECIDED TO DO. AND I CAN REMEMBER ONE INSTANCE WHEN THE 2010 LEGISLATION CAME ABOUT WHERE THE STATE IDENTIFIED 34 SCHOOLS AND THERE WAS SOME TOUGH TIMELINES THAT WE HAD TO MEET TO WORK IN THOSE 10 SCHOOLS, AND I KIND OF DROPPED THE BALL IN ENGAGING HIM IN THAT WORK, AND IT WASN’T BECAUSE I DIDN’T RESPECT OR TRUST HIM. IT WAS BECAUSE I WAS JUST MORE CONCERNED ABOUT GETTING IT DONE AND MAKING SURE THAT WE DIDN’T IGNORE A CRITICAL TIMELINE THAT WOULD HAVE AN ADVERSE EFFECT ON THE DISTRICT. AT THE END OF THE DAY, HE WAS FORGIVING. AND HE CAME AND SHARED HOW HE REALLY FELT, AND I EXPLAINED TO HIM WHY IT OCCURRED, BUT I WAS ABLE TO OF TO THE BANK OF GOOD WILL, AND WE HAD A RELATIONSHIP THAT WAS BASED ON TRUST– NOT THAT WE AGREED ON EVERYTHING, BUT WE WERE JUST ABLE, I THINK, TO BE ABLE TO MOVE THE NEEDLE IN SEVERAL WAYS IN THAT REGARD. WE WERE ALSO RECIPIENTS OF A SIZABLE SIX-FIGURE GRANT FROM THE NEA FOUNDATION THAT, AGAIN, ALLOWED US TO EXPAND ON OUR PARENT OUTREACH EFFORTS, AND SO THAT IS TANGIBLE. IN OKLAHOMA CITY, I NEGOTIATED CONTRACTS OR ADJUSTMENTS TO CHANGES SO THAT WE COULD HAVE SOME MASTER TEACHERS AND DEPLOY THEM A LITTLE DIFFERENTLY THAN WHAT WE’D PREVIOUSLY HAD. SO THREE QUICK EXAMPLES THAT COME TO MIND.>>THANK YOU. LUPE.>>MICHIGAN AND MICHIGAN SCHOOLS ARE VERY DIVERSE IN TERMS OF RACE, ETHNICITY, CULTURE, AND SOCIOECONOMIC LEVELS.>>YEP.>>PLEASE SPEAK TO YOUR APPROACH, AND GIVE EXAMPLES OF YOUR SUCCESS, IN SUPPORTING DIVERSE LEARNERS AND POOR CHILDREN TO SUCCESS IN SCHOOLS.>>SO THE MOST DIVERSE EDUCATIONAL ENVIRONMENT THAT I’VE BEEN IN WAS SPRINGFIELD. AND AGAIN, THE LATINO COMMUNITY, ABOUT 60% OF OUR STUDENTS WERE LATINO. BUT THEY WERE THE FASTEST GROWING, AND WE HAD A SPECTRUM. LARGELY, AS A WHOLE, THE CITY WAS VERY POOR, BUT THERE WERE POCKETS OF DIFFERENT INCOME THRESHOLDS AND THE LIKE. AND AGAIN, THE LARGE SPECIAL EDUCATION NUMBER OF STUDENTS. BUT WHAT I’VE ALWAYS TRIED TO DO, LUPE, IS TO WORK WITH PEOPLE TO HELP THEM KNOW WHO I AM AS A PERSON, TO BE CLEAR ABOUT THE VISION, WHAT IS IT WE’RE DOING, WHY ARE WE DOING IT, TO MAKE SURE PEOPLE KNEW I HAVE HIGH EXPECTATIONS FOR ALL CHILDREN, AND THAT WE WOULDN’T MARGINALIZE THEIR FUTURES BY THEIR STATION OR CONDITIONS IN LIFE. AND, YOU KNOW, JUST– OUR PARENT OUTREACH IN SPRINGFIELD, I THINK, IS A MODEL, IN MANY WAYS. WE DID PARENT HOME VISITS. WE WOULD GO WHERE THEY ARE– WE TRIED TO MEET PARENTS WHERE THEY WERE, AND WE TRIED TO TAKE STOCK OF WHAT THEY SAID THEIR NEEDS WERE. SO SOMETIMES WE’RE IN HOUSING PROJECTS, SOMETIMES WE’RE AT COMMUNITY CENTERS, BUT WE DIDN’T JUST WAIT FOR THEM TO COME TO US TO TELL US WHAT THEY NEEDED OR WANTED FOR THEIR CHILDREN. SO JUST TRYING TO GO WHERE THEY WERE, BE GENUINE ABOUT THAT, AND TO NOT MAKE JUDGMENTS ABOUT THEIR STATION IN LIFE. LIKEWISE, MAKING SURE FAMILIES FROM THE MORE AFFLUENT SEGMENTS OF THAT COMMUNITY– THEIR CHILDREN WERE JUST AS IMPORTANT, AND WE HAD JUST AS MUCH RESPONSIBILITY FOR MAKING SURE THEIR EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE WAS EVERYTHING THAT IT NEEDED TO BE. JUST TRYING TO BE RESPONSIVE IN THAT REGARD.>>EILEEN.>>AS SUPERINTENDENT, YOU WOULD BE MANAGING MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION’S LARGE BUDGET AND COMPLEX ORGANIZATION, INCLUDING FEDERAL COMPLIANCE. PLEASE DESCRIBE YOUR APPROACH AND SUCCESS IN MANAGING A SIMILAR ORGANIZATION. WHAT DIRECTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT IN THE WORK OF THE DEPARTMENT WOULD YOU PURSUE, ALONG WITH WHAT PROCESS YOU WOULD USE TO UNDERSTAND, IDENTIFY, AND MAKE SUCH IMPROVEMENTS?>>THE LAST PART’S REPEATED, UNFORTUNATELY.>>IT’S A BIG QUESTION.>>YEAH. SO I WANTED TO MAKE SURE I GOT THE FIRST PART OF THE QUESTION RIGHT. YEAH, WE ARE, I THINK, TOTAL FUNDS OF ABOUT 19 BILLION– IS THAT CORRECT?>>WELL, THE FLOW THROUGH THE DEPARTMENT WHERE THEY GO TO SCHOOLS, YES, BUT A LOT OF THAT IS IN THE FOUNDATION GRANT, WHICH DOES NOT FLOW THROUGH THE DEPARTMENT.>>YEAH. AND THE POINT I WAS TRYING TO MAKE IS I THINK YOU’RE ABOUT 19 BILLION. I THINK WHEN WE LOOK AT TOTAL REVENUE, LOCAL AID, STATE AID, FEDERAL PROGRAMS– ALL THOSE DOLLARS IN MASSACHUSETTS ARE ABOUT 14 BILLION. IN SPRINGFIELD, IT WAS ABOUT ALMOST 400 MILLION, AND I MENTIONED TO YOU EARLIER THAT I CUT MY TEETH ON FEDERAL PROGRAMS IN OKLAHOMA CITY, WORKING A NUMBER OF NCLB PROGRAMS. SO WHAT WOULD I DO HERE? ONE THING IS I CAN TELL YOU THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND ITS MONEY AND THE COMPLIANCE ISSUES ARE NOTHING TO TAKE LIGHTLY. YOU WANT TO MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE RIGHT PROCESSES IN PLACE, THAT WE’RE TIMELY IN OUR REPORTING, THAT WE’RE ACCURATE, AND YET, WE DON’T WANT TO BE BURDENSOME TO SCHOOLS, AND SO SOME STATE AGENCIES HAVE FOUND A WAY TO DO THAT PROGRAMMING AND REPORTING IN A MUCH MORE EFFICIENT WAY THAN OTHERS. I DON’T KNOW THE NATURE OF THAT HERE IN MICHIGAN, BUT AS PART OF MY TRANSITION, IF SELECTED AS YOUR SUPERINTENDENT, THAT WOULD BE PART OF THE THINGS I WOULD WANT TO DO UPON ENTRY, AND TAKE A LOOK AT. BECAUSE THERE’S A LOT AT STAKE– IF YOU GET IT WRONG, YOU RISK LOSING ALL FEDERAL DOLLARS. I KNOW VERY FEW STATES OR DISTRICTS THAT COULD AFFORD FOR THAT TO OCCUR. SO IT’S ALWAYS BEEN A RESPONSIBILITY THAT I TAKE SERIOUS AND WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE GET RIGHT.>>I THINK THAT ANSWERS IT.>>YEAH. WE’VE GOT JUST A COUPLE MORE QUESTIONS, AND THEN THERE’S A CHANCE FOR YOU TO–>>THIS IS THE NEXT TO LAST.>>ELABORATE AND ASK US ANYTHING. KATHY, YOU’VE GOT THE–>>COULD YOU GIVE US SOME SPECIFIC IDEAS OF HOW YOU’D JUDGE YOUR OWN PERFORMANCE AND HOW THE BOARD SHOULD EVALUATE YOUR WORK?>>YEAH. AND SUPERINTENDENT PERFORMANCE IS IMPORTANT, FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS. I DON’T WANT TO OVERSTATE THE OBVIOUS, BUT HOW TO GO ABOUT THAT, I BELIEVE, IS, ONE, I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT I AM MY OWN WORST CRITIC. THERE IS NO HIGHER BAR– YOU CAN’T SET A HIGHER BAR FOR ME THAN I SET FOR MYSELF. BUT WHERE IT GETS TRICKY SOMETIME IS MAKING SURE WE HAVE CONSENSUS ON WHAT THE TARGETS ARE FOR A GIVEN YEAR. AND SO I ALWAYS WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE DO THAT UP FRONT, THAT WE’RE VERY CLEAR ABOUT WHAT THOSE TARGETS ARE, WHETHER THEY RELATE TO PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS, PERFORMANCE OF THE ORGANIZATION, ADVOCACY WORK, WORKING WITH THE LEGISLATURE IN A DIFFERENT WAY, OR THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH. BUT WHATEVER THOSE EXPECTATIONS ARE, I WANT TO MAKE SURE WE HAVE CONSENSUS ON THEM ALONG THE WAY. AND WHAT I BELIEVE IS WHEN YOU’RE CLEAR UP FRONT AND PROVIDE PERIODIC FEEDBACK THROUGHOUT THE YEAR, THAT IS THE BEST OPPORTUNITY FOR PEOPLE TO DO WHAT THEY WANT AND NEED TO DO AND BE SUCCESSFUL. AND SO IN MY OWN WORLD, THE PEOPLE THAT WORK WITH ME, I’M VERY CLEAR UP FRONT ABOUT– AND THAT’S A GIVE AND TAKE. IT’S NOT ONE WAY COMMUNICATION, BUT A GIVE AND TAKE. WE COME TO CONSENSUS ON WHAT THOSE GOALS ARE AND THEN, THROUGHOUT THE YEAR, WE’RE HAVING CONVERSATIONS ABOUT HOW WELL YOU HIT THOSE MARKS, AND THEN WE’RE MAKING ADJUSTMENTS AS NEEDED, IF NECESSARY, SO THAT AT THE END OF THE YEAR, WHEN IT COMES TIME FOR AN OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF YOUR PERFORMANCE, YOU’RE NOT SURPRISED AND I’M NOT SURPRISED. AND I THINK THAT WOULD BE THE SAME CONDITIONS THAT I WOULD EXPECT AND HOPE THAT THE BOARD AND I WOULD WORK THROUGH IF I WERE YOUR SUPERINTENDENT.>>THANKS.>>THANK YOU, ALAN. THE LAST AND MOST STRAIGHTFORWARD QUESTION, OR, PROBABLY, SIMPLEST ONE: WHY DO YOU WANT TO BE SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION HERE IN MICHIGAN?>>YEAH. THANK YOU SO MUCH, PRESIDENT AUSTIN, FOR YOUR QUESTION. SO LET ME JUST BEGIN BY SAYING THIS IS NOT SOME KNEE-JERK REACTION TO ANYTHING. THIS IS– MY DECISION TO APPLY TO MICHIGAN WAS WELL THOUGHT-OUT, BUT IT’S BASED ON MY UNIQUE EXPERIENCE AND THE SKILLS I BELIEVE I HAVE. I AM, I THINK, MENTALLY TOUGH, I’M POLITICALLY ASTUTE, I’VE GOT A WIDE RANGE OF EXPERIENCES AT THE DISTRICT LEVEL, THE CENTRAL OFFICE LEVEL, AND NOW THE STATE. I’VE SPENT THE LAST 3 YEARS WORKING WITH THE CHIEF OF ONE OF THE HIGHEST PERFORMING STATE AGENCIES IN THE COUNTRY, AND WE’VE HAD THE RESULTS TO PROVE IT. WE TRY TO LISTEN WELL, WE DON’T PROFESS TO KNOW ANYTHING, AND I THINK MICHIGAN IS AT THIS JUNCTURE, AT THIS CROSSROAD, WITH AN OPPORTUNITY FOR CHANGE AND AN OPPORTUNITY TO PERHAPS LEAD YOUR STATE AND THIS AGENCY IN A DIFFERENT DIRECTION ON BEHALF OF ITS CHILDREN, 1.5 MILLION KIDS, AND THAT EXCITES ME. I’M ALSO A SON OF MICHIGAN– I WAS BORN AND RAISED HERE FOR PART OF MY YOUNG LIFE. I ALSO KNOW THAT I’VE BEEN MENTORED AND JUST BLESSED WITH SO MANY GREAT MENTORS IN MY LIFE, EVEN TO THIS DAY, AND IT’S AN OPPORTUNITY TO GIVE BACK, AND NOT JUST TO THE URBAN CENTERS OF MICHIGAN, BUT TO THE STATE AS A WHOLE. MY FAITH TELLS ME THAT THAT OUGHT TO BE PART OF THE WORK THAT I DO EVERY DAY. SO IT’S A CHANCE TO MAKE A GREATER CONTRIBUTION AS A SON OF MICHIGAN IN THE REALM OF THE WORK THAT I LOVE EVERY DAY, AND THAT’S EDUCATION, PUBLIC EDUCATION IN PARTICULAR– IT EXCITES ME. AND SO I’M THRILLED BY THE OPPORTUNITY, AND HOPEFULLY, THINGS WILL WORK OUT.>>THANK YOU, ALAN. SO THOSE ARE ALL OUR FORMAL QUESTIONS. IF THERE’S ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE OR ADD TO OR REINFORCE ABOUT YOUR OFFERANCE TO US, OR ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ASK US.>>THANK YOU. THE FIRST QUESTION I HAVE IS CAN YOU TELL ME WHAT, IN YOUR MIND, WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR THE SUPERINTENDENT TO INTERACT– HOW– WHAT DOES THAT LOOK LIKE ON THE GROUND, WITH THE LEGISLATURE AND EXECUTIVE BRANCH? FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVES, WHAT DOES THAT INTERACTION LOOK LIKE, AND HOW SHOULD IT LOOK TO BEST FIT YOUR NEEDS AND THE NEEDS OF MICHIGAN’S CHILDREN?>>I THINK, AS WE’VE SAID PRIOR, ONE THING IS TO REALLY HAVE THE TRUST AND TOTAL COMMUNICATION WITH OUR SUPERINTENDENT, WHERE WE ARE ON A COMMON PAGE OF WHAT WE’RE TRYING TO GET DONE. AND THEN WE’RE LOOKING FOR ASSISTANCE WITH THE OTHER STAKEHOLDERS, WHETHER IT’S THE FIELD, THE GOVERNOR, THE LEGISLATURE, TO HELP US ENGAGE WITH THEM IN AN AFFIRMATIVE, CONSTRUCTIVE, AND EFFECTIVE WAY TO HELP US TOGETHER FIND THAT KIND OF COMMON AGENDA FOR IMPROVING AND TO GET TO THAT WORK THAT YOU’VE STARTED WITH, WHICH IS WE’D HAVE TO MOVE THE NEEDLE ON STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT, AND WE NEED TO BE EFFECTIVELY ENGAGED WITH ALL THOSE PARTIES TO HELP DIRECT OR REDIRECT OUR EFFORTS, IN MY VIEW, IN MICHIGAN TOWARDS MORE EFFECTIVE POLICY, PRACTICES, FINANCING, AND PROGRAMS. AND, MY COLLEAGUES, I WELCOME SIMILAR OR DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES.>>I WOULD ADD THAT WE DO HAVE AN EDUCATION ADVISOR THAT WORKS FOR THE GOVERNOR.>>YES, THAT WOULD BE MY SECOND QUESTION, SO I READ THAT.>>AND THIS POSITION WORKS FOR THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION, BUT IT ACTS AS A CABINET ADVISOR FOR THE GOVERNOR.>>GOTCHA.>>SO YOU’RE IN A POSITION TO TRANSLATE FOR US, VERY EFFECTIVELY, AND WHILE THERE ARE POLITICAL PEOPLE HERE IN THE DEPARTMENT, THE LEGISLATURE WELCOMES CONTACT WITH THE STATE SUPERINTENDENT, WITH THE KNOWLEDGE AND PERSPECTIVE AND HOPES AND AMBITIONS.>>YEP. FAIR ENOUGH. REMEMBER THAT WE– THE GOVERNOR IS A MEMBER, EX OFFICIO, NON-VOTING MEMBER OF THE BOARD. WE ENCOURAGE THE GOVERNOR’S PERSPECTIVE TO BE FELT ALWAYS HERE ON WEIGHING IN ON OUR DECISION-MAKING, AND VICE VERSA. I THINK YOU PUT IT WELL IN THE SENSE OF BEING– IF YOU WERE MOST EFFECTIVE TO BE THE HUB THAT HELPS US RELATE AS DIFFERENT CENTERS OF INFLUENCE IN DECISION-MAKING TOWARD THE WHEEL THAT ACTUALLY TURNS IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.>>YEAH, FAIR ENOUGH.>>GOOD QUESTION.>>SORRY?>>IT WAS A GOOD QUESTION.>>OH, THANK YOU. THANK YOU. I HAVE DONE SOME HOMEWORK ABOUT MICHIGAN, REST ASSURED. SO YOU’VE BEEN VERY CLEAR IN SOME OF THE DOCUMENTS I’VE READ ABOUT YOUR PRIORITIES. YOU’VE TALKED ABOUT CLOSING THE GAP, EARLY CHILDHOOD AND HIGH QUALITY EARLY CHILDHOOD INVESTMENTS, PERSONALIZED TEACHING AND TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION, ED PREPARATION, AND HEALTH AND STABILITY FINANCIALLY AND HEALTH-WISE FOR SCHOOLS. WHAT I JUST– BEYOND THE PARTY PARTIES, WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES AND DREAMS FOR MICHIGAN’S CHILDREN, FOR THE 1.5 MILLION KIDS ALL OVER THE STATE? WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES AND DREAMS FOR THE KIDS OF THIS GREAT STATE?>>WELL– OH, GO AHEAD.>>GO AHEAD.>>GO AHEAD. WELL, I THINK WHAT WE ALL WANT IS FOR ALL OUR CHILDREN TO BE EXPOSED TO A QUALITY EDUCATION AND BE SUCCESSFUL CITIZENS IN MICHIGAN OR ANYWHERE IN THE COUNTRY, NOT ONLY TO BE ABLE TO WORK PRODUCTIVELY, BUT TO BE PARTICIPATORY, INFORMED CITIZENS, NOT JUST– IN MY VIEW, IT’S NOT JUST JOB TRAINING. IT’S MORE THAN JOB TRAINING. IT’S EDUCATION.>>ABSOLUTELY. OTHERS? MICHELLE.>>WELL, I WAS GOING TO SAY– I SEE THE– I’VE BEEN VERY INVOLVED WITH THE DETROIT STUFF, AND I LIVE IN DETROIT, SO I DO HAVE SORT OF AN EXTRA CONCERN ABOUT WHAT WE HAVE RIGHT NOW WITH SOME OF THE URBAN SCHOOLS AND THE REFORMS THAT ARE THERE. AND WHAT I SEE IN MY COMMUNITY IS NEIGHBORS GOING– LIKE NEXT TO ME, THERE’S A BLOCK OF KIDS, AND THEY GO TO SCHOOL ALL OVER THE PLACE, AND THEY’RE ALWAYS HOPPING AROUND, LIKE THEY’RE– AND OUR COMMUNITY SCHOOL IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER. AND I WOULD LOVE WHAT IT USED TO BE BUT BETTER, WHERE WE HAVE A COMMUNITY WHERE MY CHILDREN KNOW THE NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOR’S CHILDREN AND THEY HAVE A COMMON COMMUNITY EXPERIENCE, AND THAT THE SCHOOLS ARE, AS IT IS IN MANY COMMUNITIES– IN MY COMMUNITY, THE SCHOOL ENFORCES A SENSE OF– IT BUILDS THE COMMUNITY AROUND THE CHILDREN AND SUPPORTS THE CHILDREN IN A WAY THAT, I THINK, RIGHT NOW IN THE CITY, IS TATTERED AND FALLING APART, AND I THINK IT HURTS THE KIDS. SO THAT’S MY DREAM, THAT WE HAVE MORE COHESIVE COMMUNITY WORKING AROUND AND WITH THE SCHOOLS.>>AND THE FINAL QUESTION I WOULD ASK–>>CAN I JUST ADD TO YOUR QUESTION? MICHIGAN HAS AMONG THE MOST SOCIO-ECONOMICALLY AND RACIALLY DIVERSE AND SEGREGATED COMMUNITIES. AND OUR– MY GOAL, CERTAINLY, IS GIVEN THAT, THE ZIPCODE YOU GROW UP IN OR THE COMMUNITY DETERMINES A LOT OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY, LIFE CHANCES, GIVEN THE QUALITY OF EDUCATION AVAILABLE. BUT WE HAVE TO DELIVER THE SAME QUALITY LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES AND ABILITY TO FIND THEIR WAY INTO THE FUTURE FOR ALL OF OUR CHILDREN, NO MATTER WHAT ZIPCODE OR COMMUNITY THEY’RE IN.>>COULDN’T AGREE MORE.>>AND IF I COULD ADD, ONE OF THE REALLY DIFFICULT PARTS OF SOLVING THIS IS THAT WE’RE 22nd HIGHEST IN TOTAL OUTLAY FOR EDUCATION K-12, 8th HIGHEST ADJUSTED FOR PER CAPITA INCOME, ACCORDING TO THE CENSUS BUREAU, 1st IN THE COUNTRY IN TEACHER SALARIES OVERALL, ADJUSTED FOR COST OF LIVING, BUT WE’RE 37th TO 41st IN– ON THE NAEP IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS AND MATH. AND I HAVE NO TROUBLE BEING FIRST IN THE COUNTRY FOR TOTAL SUPPORT FOR EDUCATION, BUT I HAVE A LOT OF TROUBLE WITH THE DISPARITY RIGHT NOW BETWEEN WHAT WE’RE PUTTING INTO IT AND HOW ARE CHILDREN ARE ACHIEVING. AND IF WE’RE GOING TO FIND A FUTURE FOR THE STATE THAT WORKS– AS YOU KNOW, IN MASSACHUSETTS, 20 YEARS AGO, OUR NAEP SCORES WERE THE SAME, VIRTUALLY THE SAME AS MASSACHUSETTS.>>RIGHT.>>AND I KNOW THAT YOU’RE SAYING THAT THAT’S WHY YOU SEE MICHIGAN AS A BIG OPPORTUNITY, BECAUSE WE’RE RECOGNIZING THAT. THE QUESTION IS HOW DO WE FIND A WAY TO PUT THOSE DOLLARS AND POSSIBLY NEW DOLLARS AS THE ECONOMY IMPROVES INTO SOMETHING THAT REWARDS EVERY CHILD FOR BEING BORN IN THIS STATE AND LEADS THEM TO A PRODUCTIVE LIFE OF BEING A GREAT CITIZEN AND A GREAT WORKER.>>CLEAR.>>CAN I ADD SOMETHING ELSE? ALL OF THESE THINGS THAT ARE BEING SAID AT THE TABLE, THEY HAVE ONE PERSON THAT IS EXTREMELY, VERY IMPORTANT IN THE DELIVERY OF, AND THAT’S THE TEACHER, THE CLASSROOM TEACHER. AND SO ONE OF MY QUESTIONS WAS ABOUT THE TEACHERS AND TEACHER EVALUATION, PREPARING TEACHERS AND ALL OF THAT. SO, IN MY MIND, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT IS LACKING WITH THIS VERY IMPORTANT PERSON IS THAT RESPECT, INCLUSION, IMPORTANCE, ELEVATING THE POSITION, AS OTHER PEOPLE HAVE SAID. I TAUGHT FOR 36 YEARS AND WAS A PRINCIPAL AND ALL THAT KIND OF THING, SO I HAVE LIVED WHAT THE TEACHERS ARE FEELING NOW, AND I THINK THAT’S VERY, VERY IMPORTANT, BECAUSE ALL THESE THINGS THAT ARE SAID AROUND THIS TABLE, IF THAT PERSON IS NOT FEELING GOOD ABOUT WHO SHE OR HE IS, NOTHING IS GOING TO GET DONE. SO THAT’S ONE AREA WHERE WE MUST CONCENTRATE TO GET THE TEACHERS TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT WHO THEY ARE, AND IN TURN, THEY TEACH OUR CHILDREN.>>I COULD NOT AGREE WITH YOU MORE. ANY REFORM WORK, ANY ASPIRATIONS YOU HAVE FOR CHILDREN IN MICHIGAN IS– YOU KNOW, THAT IS THE NUMBER ONE NUMBER. IT’S CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION, HOW YOU HELP THE TEACHERS HAVE THE WHEREWITHAL THEY NEED, HOW YOU HELP THEM HAVE A VOICE AT THE TABLE AND A HAND IN SOME OF THE WORK THAT’S UNDERWAY, AND HOW YOU HONOR THEIR CRAFT AND PRACTICE AND AT THE SAME TIME, HELP THEM SEE THE NEED OF URGENCY WITH OUR CURRENT CONDITIONS. AND SO THERE’S A WAY TO DO THAT WITHOUT ASSIGNING BLAME AND FINDING FAULT, BUT BRINGING PEOPLE TO THE TABLE COLLABORATIVELY TO SAY, “LOOK, HERE’S WHERE WE ARE. HERE’S WHERE WE WANT TO BE.” NOW WE NEED TO START THINKING TOUGH AND ACTING DIFFERENTLY AND WORKING TOWARD ACHIEVING THAT. NOW, I DON’T WANT TO MISREPRESENT THAT IT’S EASY WORK. IT IS NOT. IT IS VERY DIFFICULT WORK, BUT IT CAN BE DONE, AND THERE ARE STATES AND DISTRICTS THAT ARE DOING IT, AND I WANT TO BE PART OF THAT WORK IN MICHIGAN.>>OKAY. ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO QUIZ US ON?>>TIMELINE, TIMELINE– THAT’S MY FINAL QUESTION. NEXT STEPS.>>TOMORROW, WE’RE GOING TO GET BETTER ACQUAINTED WITH THREE OTHER CANDIDATES. OUR HOPE IS TOMORROW WE’LL BE ABLE TO PRUNE THAT GROUP, WHICH IS GOING TO BE DIFFICULT, TO A FEW OR A HANDFUL OF FINALISTS, DO SOME MORE HOMEWORK AND HAVE SOME MORE INTERVIEWS, IDEALLY SCHEDULING THEM FOR NEXT WEEK, THE 18th, AND MAKE A DECISION AT THAT POINT. AS ALWAYS, IF WE’RE WRESTLING WITH A DECISION AND NEED TO TAKE APPROPRIATE TIME TO GET IT RIGHT, WE’LL DO SO, BUT I’M VERY HAPPY, AND I THANK ALL OUR COLLEAGUES FOR HELPING US HIT OUR MARKS IN TERMS OF TRYING TO MAKE A GOOD DECISION BUT ALSO TRYING TO RESPECT EVERYBODY’S TIME AND WILLINGNESS TO STEP FORWARD. SO I JUST WANT TO SAY, ON BEHALF OF ALL OF US, THANK YOU FOR OFFERING YOURSELF AS A CANDIDATE. YOU KNOW THE FOLKS YOU’VE WORKED WITH IN MASSACHUSETTS AND ELSEWHERE ALL SAY TREMENDOUSLY GOOD THINGS ABOUT YOUR INTEGRITY AND ABILITIES. YOU SHOULD BE PROUD OF THAT. YOU SHOULD BE– CLEARLY, TODAY AND YOUR COMMITMENT TO EDUCATION AND CHILDREN AND HOW WE COME TOGETHER TO WORK TOGETHER ON ALL OF THIS, IT SHINES AND IT SPEAKS VERY CLEARLY TO US. SO AGAIN, THANK YOU FOR YOU BEING– YOU’D OFFER MICHIGAN A LOT, AND WE REALLY THANK YOU FOR STEPPING FORWARD AND OFFERING YOUR SERVICE TO US. WE WILL– WE NEED TO INVITE ANY PUBLIC PARTICIPATION, BUT IF THERE ISN’T WE’LL ADJOURN IN A MOMENT, BUT IF YOU WANT TO STAND BY, I’M SURE YOU WANT TO SAY HI TO THE OTHER BOARD MEMBERS WE DIDN’T GET TO INTRODUCE YOU TO. SO THANK YOU. IF YOU’LL STEP ASIDE FOR JUST A MINUTE, I WILL– AS WE ALWAYS DO, WE ALWAYS INVITE THE PUBLIC TO COMMENT AT OUR MEETINGS, AND ANYONE WHO WANTS TO SAY SOMETHING MORE CAN HAVE A COUPLE MINUTES. IS THERE ANYONE WHO WANTS TO SPEAK? IF NOT, CAN I HAVE A MOTION TO ADJOURN?>>SO MOVED.>>SUPPORT.>>ALL IN FAVOR, AYE.>>all: AYE.>>WE’RE ADJOURNED. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

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