Michigan Department of Education Special Meeting for March 18, 2015 – Whiston Interview


>>THE TIME IS NOW 9:46. WELCOME TO THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING. IT’S AN IMPORTANT ONE, TO SAY THE LEAST: THE BEGINNING OF MY LIBERATION. I’M GOING TO TURN THIS OVER TO PRESIDENT JOHN AUSTIN AT THIS POINT.>>THANK YOU, MIKE. I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR SERVING AS CHAIR. YOU KNOW, THE SUPERINTENDENT GETS TO BE CHAIR OF THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION. THAT’S ANOTHER THING THAT’S IN THE CONSTITUTION, WHICH IS TERRIFIC, SO THANK YOU. AND — CAN I PRESIDE OVER THE MEETING?>>OH, SURE.>>THANK YOU. SO I WAS TEASING WITH MIKE –>>YEAH, I’M HAPPY FOR IT TO BE THIS WAY, ACTUALLY. I DON’T KNOW HOW IT EVER GOT MESSED UP WITH — DON’T EVER WISH FOR THAT, BY THE WAY.>>IT’S IN THE CONSTITUTION. IT’S ONE OF THE CLEAR ROLES DEFINED. SO IT’S AS IT SHOULD BE. SO I APPRECIATE YOUR YIELDING THE CHAIR FOR THIS DISCUSSION AND MEETING OF THE SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH PROCESS, WHICH, THIS IS OTHERWISE KNOWN AS, WHAT? GROUNDHOG DAY EDUCATION MOVIE. WE’RE GOING TO HAVE A HAPPY ENDING TODAY, AS WE GO THROUGH THE FINAL INTERVIEWS, AND I REALLY APPRECIATE MIKE’S LEADERSHIP TO DATE, AND AS WE LOOK AHEAD, WE’LL TRY OUR BEST TO TRY TO IDENTIFY THE SUPERINTENDENT WHO CAN HELP LEAD US INTO THE FUTURE AND HELP US WORK TOGETHER TO IMPLEMENT EFFECTIVE EDUCATION IMPROVEMENT FOR THE FUTURE. I JUST WANT TO TALK WITH MY COLLEAGUES A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HOW THIS IS GOING TO WORK, AND THEN WE’RE GOING TO BRING IN OUR FIRST FINALIST, BRIAN WHISTON, SUPERINTENDENT AT DEARBORN SCHOOLS. WE HAVE LIST OF QUESTIONS THAT ARE JUST CANDIDATES THAT — BY BOARD MEMBERS AND KAREN MCPHEE, WHO’S WITH US, AND PROBABLY, MARILYN SHOULD, IN A MINUTE, DO INTRODUCTIONS AND ORDER OF PRIORITY, BUT JUST SO PEOPLE KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT, AFTER THAT AND AFTER WE INVITE IN OUR FIRST CANDIDATE, WE’RE GOING TO GO AROUND, EACH BOARD MEMBER WILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO ASK ANY QUESTION THAT THEY WANT. IF THEY LIKE ONE ON THIS LIST THAT WAS CULLED FROM YOUR SUGGESTIONS, GREAT. IF YOU WANT TO PUT ANOTHER QUESTION TO THE CANDIDATE PARTICULAR TO THE CANDIDATE AND YOUR OWN INTERESTS, THAT’S FINE. WE’LL HAVE SOME TIME FOR RESPECTFUL FOLLOW-UPS, AND WE’LL TRY TO DO A COUPLE LAPS OF THE TABLE TO GET AS MANY QUESTIONS IN AND AS MANY RESPONSES ON THESE ISSUES AS WE CAN. SO WITH THAT — AND THAT’S WHAT WE’LL DO WITH ALL THREE OF OUR INTERVIEWS, AND THEN WE’LL BREAK, AND WE’LL BE COMING BACK THIS AFTERNOON FOR DELIBERATIONS, DISCUSSION, AND TO REACH A DECISION ABOUT WHO WE WOULD LIKE TO MAKE AN OFFER TO AND HOPEFULLY NEGOTIATE A CONTRACT WITH. WITH THAT, MARILYN, CAN WE — CAN I HAVE A MOTION FOR APPROVAL OF THE AGENDA IN ORDER OF PRIORITY?>>SO MOVED.>>SUPPORT.>>A MOTION HAS BEEN MADE AND SECONDED. ALL IN FAVOR, SIGNIFY BY SAYING AYE.>>AYE.>>ALL OPPOSED? MOTION CARRIES. MARILYN, WHY DON’T YOU — WELL, LET’S DO INTRODUCTIONS FIRST, AND THEN WE CAN INVITE BRIAN WHISTON IN.>>OKAY. JOHN AUSTIN, PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD, FROM ANN ARBOR, AND AS WE GO AROUND THE TABLE, MIKE FLANAGAN, WHO’S SERVING AS CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD, CURRENTLY. HE’S THE STATE SUPERINTENDENT. AND CASANDRA ULBRICH IS FROM ROCHESTER HILLS. SHE’S THE BOARD’S VICE PRESIDENT. MICHELLE FECTEAU. SHE’S FROM DETROIT AND SHE’S THE BOARD’S SECRETARY. RICHARD ZEILE IS MOMENTS AWAY. HE SITS NEXT TO MICHELLE, AND HE’S A BOARD MEMBER AND HE’S FROM DEARBORN. AND GO ACROSS THE TABLE, AND THE GOVERNOR’S SENIOR EDUCATION POLICY ADVISOR IS KAREN McPHEE. NEXT TO HER, EILEEN WEISER, BOARD MEMBER FROM ANN ARBOR. KATHLEEN STRAUSS, BOARD MEMBER FROM DETROIT. LUPE RAMOS-MONTIGNY, BOARD MEMBER FROM GRAND RAPIDS. SHE’S THE BOARD’S NASBE DELEGATE. AND NEXT TO ME IS PAMELA PUGH SMITH. SHE IS THE BOARD MEMBER WHO’S TREASURER OF THE BOARD AND RESIDES IN SAGINAW. THANK YOU.>>DO YOU WANT TO GO GET BRIAN? AND AS WE GET STARTED, THEN I’LL AGAIN WELCOME BRIAN, BUT ALSO THANK PUBLICLY HIM AND OUR OTHER TERRIFIC FINALISTS THAT WE’RE GOING TO BE TALKING WITH TODAY, VICKIE MARKAVITCH AND SCOTT MENZEL, VERY STRONG CANDIDATES, AS WELL AS ALL THE SEMI-FINALISTS AND ALL THOSE WHO PUT FORWARD THEIR CANDIDACY, AND PARTICULARLY THOSE WHO WERE WILLING TO GO THROUGH THE FINAL LAPS HERE AND HAVE THE KIND OF PUBLIC DISCUSSION THAT’S HEALTHY AND IMPORTANT, BUT SOMETHING TO BE ADMIRED IN THE PEOPLE PUTTING THEMSELVES FORWARD TO PROVIDE EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP. YOU ALSO SEE THAT IN ADDITION TO SOME POTENTIAL QUESTIONS THAT YOU ALL MAY WANT TO ASK, LUPE ALSO CIRCULATED SOME QUESTIONS SHE’S INTERESTED IN, SO YOU HAVE THOSE AS WELL. WE’LL TRY NOT TO REPEAT OUR QUESTIONS, BUT MOVE AROUND THE TABLE. BRIAN WHISTON, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. BRIAN, I VERY MUCH APPRECIATE YOUR CANDIDACY, YOUR OFFERING OF YOUR SERVICE TO THIS IMPORTANT LEADERSHIP POSITION IN PUBLIC EDUCATION, AND WILLINGNESS TO STEP FORWARD AND HAVE THIS KIND OF PUBLIC DISCUSSION ABOUT — WHICH WE’LL BE HAVING WITH ALL THREE OF THE CANDIDATES. WE’VE BEEN HEARING A LOT, WE ARE LEARNING A LOT ABOUT ALL OF OUR CANDIDATES — CONSIDERABLE STRENGTHS AND ABILITIES, LOTS OF GOOD THINGS. FOLKS HAVE BEEN ENCOURAGING ABOUT YOU, BRIAN, AND OUR OTHER CANDIDATES. ALSO, ANY CONCERNS THAT HAVE BEEN RAISED THAT WE WANT TO EXPLORE WITH YOU THAT ARE RELEVANT TO ABILITY, PERSPECTIVE, TO DO THIS KIND OF JOB, AS WE WRESTLE WITH OUR DECISION, I KNOW YOU’LL UNDERSTAND, WE’LL BE ASKING YOU ABOUT, I KNOW, AS WELL AS A RANGE OF EDUCATION AND MANAGEMENT ISSUES, AS WE TRY TO COME TO A GOOD UNDERSTANDING OF EACH OF YOU AND MAKE A GOOD DECISION THIS AFTERNOON. SO AGAIN, BRIAN, THANKS VERY MUCH FOR BEING HERE. AND AFTER — I’M GOING TO ASK THE FIRST QUESTION, I THINK, OF EACH OF THE CANDIDATES, AND THEN I THINK CASANDRA WILL GO AROUND THE TABLE, TO OUR LEFT AND WORK OUR WAY AROUND. AND WE’RE GOING TO GIVE EVERYBODY THE SAME AMOUNT OF TIME THAT WE’RE GOING TO BE TALKING TOGETHER: AN HOUR AND 15 MINUTES OR SO. SO THANK YOU. AND — FIRST QUESTION, BRIAN, IS ONE AROUND THOSE CONCERNS OR ISSUES, AS YOU ARE AWARE, SOME MEDIA OUTLETS OR OFFICIALS ARE DRAWING MORE ATTENTION TO THE NEWS ACCOUNTS AROUND THE MEDIA AND THE STATE LEGISLATIVE INVESTIGATIONS INTO THE OAKLAND ISD 14 YEARS AGO, WHEN JIM REDMOND WAS SUPERINTENDENT, WHERE YOU WERE THE LOBBYIST, INCLUDING THE COUNCIL’S SEEMINGLY EXCESSIVE EXPENSE ACCOUNT EXPENDITURES. CAN YOU, AS YOU HAVE BEEN IN THE PAST, EXPLAIN THESE ACCOUNTS, YOUR ROLE, WHAT YOU LEARNED FROM THIS, AND WHETHER THERE’S ANYTHING NEW HERE THAT WOULD AFFECT YOUR SELECTION OR PERFORMANCE — POTENTIAL PERFORMANCE AS SUPERINTENDENT, SHOULD YOU BE SELECTED?>>THANK YOU, JOHN, AND I APPRECIATE THAT OPPORTUNITY TO BE HERE, AGAIN, WITH THE BOARD AND ANSWER ALL YOUR QUESTIONS AND TALK ABOUT HOW WE COULD WORK TOGETHER TO — ON PUBLIC EDUCATION. SO IN TERMS OF OAKLAND SCHOOLS, THANK YOU FOR THE QUESTION. I WAS A LOBBYIST FOR 11 YEARS FOR OAKLAND SCHOOLS, AND AS PART OF THE JOB OF ANY LOBBYIST IS TO TAKE LEGISLATORS OUT TO BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER, THERE ARE TIMES WE HOLD RECEPTIONS WHERE A LARGE NUMBER OF PEOPLE — THE SUPERINTENDENT, SCHOOL BOARD, AND OTHER ADMINISTRATORS COME TO A RECEPTION WITH LEGISLATORS IN LANSING AND/ OR CONGRESSMEN AND SENATORS IN WASHINGTON, SO, YOU KNOW, LOOKING AT THOSE EXPENSES, THEY’RE NOT OUT OF LINE FROM WHAT YOU SEE EVERY DAY IN LANSING AND WASHINGTON IN TERMS OF PEOPLE HOLDING RECEPTIONS OR PEOPLE TAKING PEOPLE OUT TO BREAKFAST, LUNCH OR DINNER, SO, QUITE FRANKLY, IF YOU LOOKED AT MY EXPENSES AS A LOBBYIST OVER A YEAR’S PERIOD AND COMPARED THAT TO MOST LOBBYIST FIRMS IN LANSING, I WAS A MINNOW. I SPENT VERY LITTLE MONEY COMPARED TO WHAT MOST LOBBYING FIRMS SPEND ON RECEPTIONS, ON TAKING PEOPLE OUT TO BREAKFAST, LUNCH, DINNER, GOLF. SO WHILE I CERTAINLY UNDERSTAND AND APPRECIATE THE QUESTION, IT IS WHAT TAKES PLACE IN LANSING AND WASHINGTON ON AN EVERYDAY BASIS, AND, CERTAINLY, AS PART OF THAT, I DID GET TO ASK QUESTIONS IN FRONT OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE. I ANSWERED ALL THOSE QUESTIONS. I APPRECIATED THAT OPPORTUNITY. I WAS NEVER INVESTIGATED BY OR NEVER TALKED TO ANYONE WITHIN LAW ENFORCEMENT, WAS NEVER QUESTIONED, NEVER — NO ONE EVER BROUGHT UP ANY LEGAL ISSUES. I CERTAINLY LEARNED SOME LESSONS IN TERMS OF SOME OF THOSE EXPENSES, THINGS I CHANGED MOVING FORWARD, PAYING OUT OF MY OWN POCKET FOR THINGS LIKE ALCOHOL OR EXPENSIVE MEALS, SO I CERTAINLY LEARNED SOME LIFE LESSONS THROUGH THAT PROCESS THAT WERE LIFE LESSONS, BUT I MUST SAY, HONESTLY, I’M PROUD OF MY WORK AT OAKLAND SCHOOLS. I DID A LOT OF GOOD THINGS WORKING WITH ADMINISTRATORS, BOARD MEMBERS, WORKING WITH PEOPLE AT OAKLAND SCHOOLS, WORKING WITH LEGISLATORS, ON SOME IMPORTANT LEGISLATION. AND I THINK YOU’VE HEARD FROM SOME OF THOSE LEGISLATORS I WORKED WITH DURING THAT TIME ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIPS WE HAD AND THE WORK THAT I DID. AND, CERTAINLY, AFTER THAT EXPERIENCE OF OAKLAND SCHOOLS INVESTIGATION, I WAS CHOSEN BY LEGISLATORS AND THEIR STAFF MEMBERS AS THE 2007 LOBBYIST OF THE YEAR FOR THE WORK THAT I DID FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION. CERTAINLY, WHEN I WAS HIRED BY DEARBORN PUBLIC SCHOOLS SEVEN YEARS AGO, THE ISSUE WAS BROUGHT UP AND REVIEWED BY THE CONSULTANT AND THE BOARD, AND I WAS LOOKED AT. WHEN I APPLIED FOR STATE SUPERINTENDENT HERE, I BROUGHT IT UP TO THE BOARD PRESIDENT AND THE CONSULTANTS ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS TO MAKE SURE THEY WERE AWARE OF IT. AND, CERTAINLY, I UNDERSTAND IT. IT’S PART OF THE BODY OF WORK THAT I HAVE ACCOMPLISHED. CERTAINLY, LESSONS LEARNED. I HOPE YOU LOOK AT MY FULL BODY OF WORK AND THE SUCCESS I’VE HAD AS A BIPARTISAN PERSON, SOMEONE WHO HAS WORKED WITH THE BOARD AND DEARBORN TO RAISE STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT, GRADUATION RATES, AND MY ABILITY TO BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER. SO I’M NOT AWARE OF ANYTHING NEW COMING OUT OF IT. I MEAN, I HAVEN’T SEEN ALL THE REPORTS COMING OUT OR WHATEVER, BUT, YOU KNOW, IT IS WHAT IT IS. IT IS WHAT LOBBYISTS DO EACH AND EVERY DAY. SURE, SOME OF MY EXPENSES WERE SOMETHING YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE ON THE FRONT PAGE OF THE PAPER, BUT IT IS WHAT IT IS, AND –>>QUICKLY, HERE, BRIAN, I APPRECIATE YOUR RESPONSE. EILEEN AND, I KNOW, KATHY PROBABLY REMEMBER, 14 YEARS AGO, YOUR BOSS AT THE TIME, JIM REDMOND, WAS A FINALIST FOR A STATE BOARD SUPERINTENDENCY. AND THANKFULLY, PEOPLE WE REALLY TRUST TOLD US THERE WERE SOME SERIOUS ISSUES THERE AND NOT TO GO THERE, AND WE DIDN’T. HE WAS INDICTED — WAS HE CONVICTED? OF STEERING CONTRACTS. THERE WAS NOTHING ABOUT THIS LOBBYING FRONT PAGE STUFF. SO I JUST WANTED TO ASK YOU, WERE YOU EVER INVOLVED IN ANY OF THAT ACTIVITY THAT JIM REDMOND DID — WAS PUNISHED FOR?>>NO, I WAS NOT INVOLVED. I MEAN, THERE WAS SOME CONTRACT ISSUE ABOUT WHETHER HIS SON WORKED FOR A COMPANY AND WHETHER PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT IT, SOME MONEY SPENT ON THE NEW BUILDING, WHETHER IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN SPECIAL ED OR — DIFFERENT FUNDS THE MONEY CAME FROM TO BUILD THE BUILDING, WHERE THEY CAME FROM, AND I DIDN’T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH ANY OF THOSE DECISIONS.>>THANK YOU.>>ANY OF THE THINGS THAT THE POLICE INVESTIGATED, AGAIN, I WAS NEVER QUESTIONED ABOUT.>>THANK YOU. CASANDRA?>>WELL, THIS IS KIND OF OUR OPPORTUNITY TO KIND OF GO BACK TO SOME OF THE QUESTIONS THAT YOU ANSWERED AT THE LAST INTERVIEW, AND MAYBE PROBE A LITTLE DEEPER ON SOME OF THE RESPONSES THAT YOU GAVE. AND SO I HAVE A FEW OF THOSE, BUT I’M GOING TO START WITH THE ONE THAT HAS TO DO WITH ASSESSMENTS. AND YOU HAD INDICATED THAT YOU THINK WE’RE ASSESSING TOO MUCH. THE TESTS NEED TO DRIVE OR CHANGE INSTRUCTION, AND THE CURRENT ASSESSMENTS DO NOT DO THAT. MY QUESTION TO YOU IS HOW IS A STATE SUPERINTENDENT, IF YOU’RE CAUGHT BETWEEN STATE LEGISLATION AND FEDERAL LEGISLATION THAT REQUIRES CERTAIN TESTING, HOW CAN YOU, AS A STATE SUPERINTENDENT, IMPACT THAT? AND WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO IMPACT EITHER THE AMOUNT OF ASSESSMENT THAT WE DO OR THE TYPES OF ASSESSMENT THAT WE DO?>>CERTAINLY, THERE ARE DIFFERENT TYPES OF ASSESSMENTS. YOU KNOW, TEACHERS USE FORMATIVE ASSESSMENTS TO CHECK FOR UNDERSTANDING, THEY USE SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENTS TO MAKE SURE THE STUDENTS — WHETHER IT’S END OF SEMESTER OR A LARGE PAPER THAT STUDENTS WRITE, THERE’S DIFFERENT FORMS OF ASSESSMENTS THAT TEACHERS USE IN THE CLASSROOM EACH AND EVERY DAY, AND I CERTAINLY UNDERSTAND THAT WE NEED TO USE ASSESSMENTS TO HOLD SCHOOLS ACCOUNTABLE. I BELIEVE IN ACCOUNTABILITY, AND I BELIEVE IN TESTING, AND I BELIEVE THAT STUDENTS AND DISTRICTS SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR HOW WE’RE ACHIEVING, BUT I THINK, IF I WERE KING FOR A DAY, I WOULD LOOK AT ASSESSMENTS THAT LOOK AT A YEAR’S WORTH OF GROWTH, AND I THINK THAT’S WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO PARENTS. YOU KNOW, MY STUDENT’S IN 3RD GRADE. ARE THEY ON GRADE LEVEL? DID MY STUDENT GROW A YEAR OR MORE? I THINK THAT’S WHAT’S IMPORTANT, AND SO I CERTAINLY WOULD WANT TO FOCUS THE CONVERSATION ON ARE WE GETTING A YEAR OR MORE WORTH OUT OF GROWTH, AND SOME STUDENTS, WE NEED MORE THAN A YEAR BECAUSE THEY’RE BEHIND. SO I’D WANT TO LOOK AT THOSE ASSESSMENTS. SO CERTAINLY, I’D WANT TO WORK WITH THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND TESTING EXPERTS HERE IN THE DEPARTMENT TO SEE HOW WE CAN DO THOSE THINGS WORKING TOGETHER. AND CERTAINLY, AS PART OF THE WAIVER REQUEST, I WOULD LOOK AT THOSE KINDS OF THINGS. I’M NOT, YOU KNOW, A TESTING EXPERT, SO WE WOULD HAVE TO WORK WITH EXPERTS ON THAT ISSUE, BUT I DO KNOW THAT PARENTS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE AMOUNT OF TESTING. I KNOW THAT WE’RE LOSING A LOT OF INSTRUCTIONAL TIME BECAUSE OF STATE AND LOCAL ASSESSMENTS, AND I THINK THERE’S A GROWING CONCERN ABOUT THAT. SO I THINK THAT THE FOCUS OUGHT TO BE ON A YEAR’S WORTH OF GROWTH, AND I WOULD LIKE TO WORK WITH THE U.S. DEPARTMENT, THIS DEPARTMENT, AND I WOULD LIKE TO LOOK AT WAIVER REQUESTS AND HOW WE COULD LOOK AT THAT KIND OF ASSESSMENT MODEL.>>WHAT ABOUT THE LEGISLATIVE PIECE OF IT?>>CERTAINLY, YOU KNOW, CERTAINLY, WORKING WITH LEGISLATORS TO — I THINK IF THEY’RE HEARING FROM PARENTS WHAT THE PARENTS ARE TELLING THEM, HOW THEY WANT A YEAR’S GROWTH OUT OF THEIR STUDENTS, THAT’S WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO THEM. SO I THINK WORKING WITH LEGISLATORS TO UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF ASSESSMENTS AND WHAT THEY’RE USED FOR AND HOW TEACHERS USE THEM TO DRIVE INSTRUCTION AND HOW WE CAN USE THEM TO HOLD SCHOOL DISTRICTS ACCOUNTABLE, I CERTAINLY WOULD WANT TO WORK ON THAT. BUT AGAIN, I THINK THE FOCUS SHOULD BE ON A YEAR’S WORTH OF GROWTH, NOT COMPARING ONE SCHOOL DISTRICT’S 3RD GRADE CLASS TO ANOTHER DISTRICT’S 3RD OR 4TH GRADE CLASS, BUT HOW DID BRIAN WHISTON, AS A 3RD GRADER, DID I GROW A YEAR OR MORE? THAT OUGHT TO BE THE FOCUS.>>MICHELLE?>>I AM NOTING THAT YOU ARE GOING FIRST AGAIN. [ LAUGHTER ]>>I LIKE EARLY MORNINGS. NOT REALLY. [ LAUGHTER ]>>ESPECIALLY AFTER A VERY HOLY DAY YESTERDAY.>>YES, YEAH.>>I CALLED, WHEN I WAS TALKING TO ALL THE CANDIDATES OVER LAST WEEKEND, AND BRIAN ANSWERED THE PHONE AT THE DEARBORN SCHOOLS, WHICH SHOCKED ME. I SAID, “YOU’RE REALLY SUCKING UP. YOU’RE PUTTING ON A GOOD SHOW, HERE.” BUT HE HAPPENED TO BE BY HIS SECRETARY’S DESK, SO — ANYWAY.>>YOU AND ALL OF THE FINALISTS HAVE BEEN CRITICIZED ON ISSUES OF SPECIAL EDUCATION, BY SPECIAL EDUCATION APPLICANTS AND EDUCATORS, ABOUT YOUR COMMITMENT TO, MANAGEMENT OF, AND DELIVERY OF SPECIAL ED SERVICES. SO I WANT TO KNOW HOW YOU WOULD RESPOND TO THESE CRITICISMS.>>SURE. WELL, FIRST OF ALL, I DON’T THINK YOU’VE HEARD CRITICISM FROM MOST OF MY SPECIAL ED PARENTS IN MY DISTRICT, BECAUSE I THINK MOST OF THEM WOULD TELL YOU — MOST OF THEM, NOT ALL — WOULD TELL YOU THAT WE HAVE A GOOD RELATIONSHIP. THERE’S A SPECIAL EDUCATION PARENT GROUP THAT WE MEET WITH ON A REGULAR BASIS, AND I THINK THE REPRESENTATIVES WHO REPRESENT US ON THE SPECIAL ED COMMITTEE AT WAYNE RESA, I MEET WITH ON AN OCCASIONAL BASIS AND ATTEND MEETINGS WITH THEM. AND I THINK IF YOU TALKED TO THE PEOPLE IN THE DISTRICT, MOST OF THEM WOULD TELL YOU THAT WE’RE ALIGNED, THAT I CARE ABOUT SPECIAL EDUCATION. I SHARED DURING MY INTERVIEW LAST TIME THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT THE JOB OUR SPECIAL EDUCATION TEAM IS DOING IN REFORMING THE CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION FOR SPECIAL ED KIDS, AND HOW OUR NUMBERS WENT DOWN FROM 12% TO 8% IN TERMS OF THE PERCENTAGE OF SPECIAL ED. SO I THINK WE’RE GETTING RESULTS IN DEARBORN IN TERMS OF WORKING WITH OUR SPECIAL ED STUDENTS, AND I THINK IF YOU TALKED TO MOST PARENTS IN MY DISTRICT WHO HAVE CHILDREN WHO ARE SPECIAL ED, MOST OF THEM WOULD TELL YOU THAT WE HAVE A GOOD WORKING RELATIONSHIP. I DON’T KNOW WHY OUTSIDE PEOPLE ARE BLASTING ME. I’VE NEVER MET WITH THESE PEOPLE. I DON’T KNOW THEM. CERTAINLY, THERE IS A LITTLE BIT OF A CONTROVERSY IN THE DISTRICT RIGHT NOW IN OUR HEARING IMPAIRED PROGRAM. AND THERE’S DIFFERENT PHILOSOPHIES ON HOW THAT HEARING IMPAIRED PROGRAM OUGHT TO MOVE FORWARD. I THINK BOTH SIDES CARE ABOUT KIDS AND WANT TO DO WHAT’S BEST FOR KIDS. I WANT TO SEE RESULTS IN HOW THE KIDS ARE PERFORMING, AND SO, CERTAINLY, SOME OF THOSE PARENTS, IF YOU TALKED TO THEM, THEY WOULDN’T BE VERY HAPPY WITH ME. BUT I THINK IF YOU TALKED OVERALL, YOU KNOW, THE 8% OF THE POPULATION IN DEARBORN, I THINK YOU’D GET A DIFFERENT MESSAGE, A VERY POSITIVE, SUPPORTIVE MESSAGE. I’VE ALWAYS WORKED ON SPECIAL EDUCATION LAWS AND RULES WITH THE DEPARTMENT WHEN I WAS — THE 17 YEARS I WAS IN LANSING, VERY SUPPORTIVE. I BELIEVE IN MEETING THE NEEDS OF EACH CHILD, WHETHER IT’S SPECIAL ED, ELL, OR ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED. WHOEVER THAT CHILD IS, THEY DON’T — IT ISN’T — THEY ARE WHO THEY ARE, AND IT’S OUR JOB TO HELP THEM BE SUCCESSFUL. SO I THINK PEOPLE WHO KNOW ME WOULDN’T SHARE THAT SAME STORY, THAT I’M NOT SUPPORTIVE OF SPECIAL ED, AND OUR RESULTS IN OUR DISTRICT — WE’RE GETTING RESULTS.>>SO YOU’RE SAYING THE REDUCTION IN THE IEPS IS A REFLECTION OF –>>DOING GOOD THINGS IN THE CLASSROOM TO HELP STUDENTS BE SUCCESSFUL.>>OKAY.>>QUICK FOLLOW UP.>>YEAH. THERE WAS A COMMENT THAT YOU MADE IN THE LAST INTERVIEW. I THOUGHT YOU DID WELL, BUT THERE WAS A COMMENT THAT YOU MADE THAT SORT OF STRUCK ME, AND I WANTED TO FOLLOW UP ON IT.>>SURE.>>AND LET ME PREFACE IT BY SAYING I AM A PARENT OF –>>ME TOO. WE SHARE THAT.>>– SEVERAL KIDS WITH SPECIAL ED NEEDS, AND YOU MADE A COMMENT THAT SOME PARENTS JUST ASK FOR TOO MUCH. AND AS SOMEONE WHO’S BEEN ACCUSED OF ASKING FOR TOO MUCH FOR MY KIDS, COULD YOU EXPLAIN WHAT YOU MEANT BY THAT COMMENT AND KIND OF PUT IT IN PERSPECTIVE?>>WELL, I HOPE I DIDN’T SAY PARENTS ASK FOR TOO MUCH. IF I DID, I NEVER — NO, I DON’T BELIEVE THAT. I THINK –>>SOME PARENTS.>>YEAH, I THINK WE CERTAINLY, AS PARENTS, ARE THERE TO FIGHT FOR OUR KIDS, AND HOPEFULLY WE DON’T HAVE TO FIGHT IN THAT NEGATIVE SENSE, BUT WE ARE THERE TO ADVOCATE FOR OUR STUDENTS. AND I CERTAINLY HAVE HAD TO DO THAT FOR MY CHILD OF SPECIAL NEEDS. I CERTAINLY THINK PARENTS OUGHT TO WORK FOR WHAT THEY BELIEVE IN AND DO WHAT’S BEST FOR THEIR KIDS, BUT I DO HAVE A BUDGET THAT I HAVE TO SPEND, AND I — THE TAXPAYERS SAY THAT I HAVE SO MUCH MONEY TO SPEND, AND I HAVE TO STAY WITHIN THOSE LIMITS, AND I HAVE TO MEET THE NEEDS OF ALL STUDENTS. AND I WANT TO DO THAT, BUT I HAVE TO SOMETIMES SAY NO TO PEOPLE. I HAVE TO SOMETIMES SAY, “NO, I CAN’T DO A PARA PRO,” OR “I CAN’T PROVIDE THIS SERVICE.” BECAUSE, LOOKING AT THE TOTALITY OF WHAT’S BEST FOR KIDS TO LIVE WITHIN MY MEANS, I CAN’T DO THAT. I CERTAINLY DON’T MIND PARENTS ASKING. I ENCOURAGE PARENTS TO ASK. BUT SOMETIMES WE DO NEED TO SAY NO, TO GENERAL ED PARENTS, TO SPECIAL ED PARENTS, TO ELL STUDENTS — I MEAN, SOMETIMES, WE CAN’T DO EVERYTHING FOR EVERYONE THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE BECAUSE WE HAVE TO LIVE WITHIN OUR MEANS. YOU KNOW, WORKING WITH THE SPECIAL ED PARENTS AND COMMUNITY, I THINK THEY WOULD SAY WE HAVE A POSITIVE WORKING RELATIONSHIP IN MEETING THEIR STUDENTS’ NEEDS. I’VE WORKED WITH THE STATE PTA, WHO I WORKED LEADERSHIP POSITIONS OF, VICE PRESIDENT, TREASURER, PRESIDENT ELECT — SO I’VE CERTAINLY BEEN VERY ENGAGED WITH PARENTS IN MY CAREER IN A VERY REAL SENSE, AND ANY PARENT WHO WANTS TO MEET WITH ME MEETS WITH ME. I CERTAINLY HAVE A PROCESS TO MAKE SURE THEY’VE TRIED TO WORK IT OUT WITH THEIR TEACHER OR PRINCIPAL AND THE APPROPRIATE DIRECTOR, BUT IF THAT DOESN’T WORK, MY DOOR IS OPEN AND I’M THERE TO HELP SOLVE PROBLEMS. SO I CERTAINLY ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO MEET WITH SCHOOL OFFICIALS TO TRY TO GET WHAT THEY NEED FOR THEIR KIDS. BUT THERE IS A BUDGET I HAVE TO LIVE WITH.>>THANKS. RICHARD?>>MY QUESTION KIND OF IS RELATED, IN SOME WAY — I HAVE DISCOVERED THAT THE WORLD OF EDUCATION IS IN SOME WAYS VERY HEIGHTENED, AND SO THERE’S A PROBLEM WITH SETTING REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS, WHAT IS POSSIBLE, FOR INSTANCE, HOW MUCH OF GAPS IN STUDENT LEARNING CAN REALLY BE MADE UP AND HOW MUCH MONEY DOES IT COST. WE HAVE TO COME TO TERMS WITH LIMITS, BOTH IN TERMS OF WHAT CAN BE DONE AND IN TERMS OF WHAT — OF RATIONING LIMITED COSTS. AND I WOULD APPRECIATE YOUR THOUGHTS, HOW YOU WOULD SET OUR EXPECTATIONS AS A BOARD, AND I THINK MOST OF US WOULD AGREE, WE DON’T EXPECT ALL OF OUR STUDENTS TO BE BRAIN SURGEONS. IS IT REASONABLE TO EXPECT ALL OF OUR STUDENTS TO GO TO COLLEGE? ONE OFTEN HEARS SENTIMENTS EXPRESSED THAT WAY, AND ON THE ONE HAND, IT’S GOOD TO HAVE HIGH EXPECTATIONS FOR ALL STUDENTS, BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, I THINK IT’S GOOD TO HAVE REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS. BUT PERHAPS YOU HAVE SOME THOUGHTS ON THAT.>>WELL, CERTAINLY IN DEARBORN, I’VE HAD TO CUT $40 MILLION OR MORE OUT OF MY BUDGET SIX OUT OF THE SEVEN YEARS I’VE BEEN SUPERINTENDENT. I’VE CUT ANYWHERE FROM $4 MILLION TO $20 MILLION TO LIVE WITHIN OUR MEANS OF WHAT THE TAXPAYERS GIVE US. SO I UNDERSTAND THAT THERE ISN’T AN ENDLESS SUPPLY OF RESOURCES OR MONEY. BUT WITH THAT SAID, I DO BELIEVE THAT EVERY CHILD CAN REACH HIGH, AND I BELIEVE THAT EVERY CHILD CAN REACH HIGHER THAN THEIR POTENTIAL. WE’VE HAD LOW PERFORMING SCHOOLS IN DEARBORN WHERE, YOU KNOW, THEY WERE PERFORMING LOWLY, AND NOW THEY’RE IN THE TOP 75% OF THE SCHOOLS IN THE STATE IN JUST A FEW YEARS. SO I DO BELIEVE THAT IF WE FOCUS ON CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION, FOCUS ON PUTTING STUDENTS IN CHARGE OF THEIR LEARNING, IF WE WORK WITH PARENTS ON WHAT WE’RE WORKING ON IN THE CLASSROOM SO THAT THEY CAN SUPPORT US IN THE 88% OF THE TIME THAT THEY HAVE THE KIDS, BECAUSE WE ONLY HAVE THEM ABOUT 12%, THAT WE CAN RAISE STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT AND WE CAN MEET STUDENTS’ NEEDS. NOW, SHOULD EVERY CHILD GO TO COLLEGE? THAT’S UP TO THE CHILD AND THE PARENT. BUT I THINK EVERY CHILD OUGHT TO BE PREPARED TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN LIFE, WHETHER THAT MEANS THEY CHOOSE TO COLLEGE OR CHOOSE TO GO TO A TRADE SCHOOL, WHETHER THEY CHOOSE TO GO RIGHT TO WORK OR WHETHER THEY CHOOSE TO GO INTO THE MILITARY, WE HAVE TO TEACH THEM TO BE DECISION MAKERS, HOW TO SOLVE PROBLEMS, HOW TO WORK WITHIN TEAMS AND HOW TO HANDLE CONFLICT. AND THAT’S OUR JOB AS EDUCATORS. SO CAN EACH CHILD BE A BRAIN SURGEON? NO, BUT I HOPE THERE’S SOME GOOD ONES JUST IN CASE I EVER NEED ONE. AND I DO THINK WE NEED TO PREPARE EVERY CHILD, AND I DO THINK EVERY CHILD CAN REACH HIGH. SO IT’S OUR OBLIGATION TO DO THAT. NOW, WE DO HAVE TO DO THAT WITHIN OUR MEANS, AND I’VE DONE THAT IN DEARBORN. I’VE HAD A BALANCED BUDGET EVERY YEAR BUT ONE, I THINK, AND THAT WAS A PLANNED SPEND DOWN OF SOME RESOURCES. SO IT’S A TOUGH QUESTION, BUT WE HAVE TO MEET EVERY CHILD’S NEEDS. I CAN’T LOOK INTO A CHILD’S EYES AND SAY TO THEM, “YOU CAN ONLY ACCOMPLISH THIS MUCH,” SO I — THAT’S WHERE I’M GOING TO END. I HAVE TO LOOK INTO THEIR EYES AND SAY, “I’M GOING TO DO WHAT I THINK IS BEST,” FOR THEM SO THAT THEY CAN REACH THEIR HIGHEST POTENTIAL AND BEYOND. AND I KNOW I TOLD THIS STORY LAST TIME, ABOUT A PARENT WHO DIDN’T THINK THEIR CHILD WAS GOING TO GO TO COLLEGE, BUT BECAUSE OF OUR FIVE-YEAR PLAN, WHERE ANY CHILD CAN GO TO COLLEGE, GRADUATE IN FIVE YEARS WITH A HIGH SCHOOL DEGREE IN THE TWO YEARS OF COLLEGE, WHAT THAT MEANT TO THAT PARENT AND CHILD, BECAUSE THEY ARE — SHE IS BEING SUCCESSFUL IN COLLEGE, AND SHE DIDN’T THINK SHE’D EVER GET TO GO.>>THE MARKET FOR BRAIN SURGEONS MAY BE DIMINISHED IF ALL THE FOOTBALL PLAYERS RETIRE. [ LAUGHTER ] MAYBE BETTER OPPORTUNITIES ELSEWHERE. AS YOU KNOW, WE’VE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE TO PARTICIPATE IN THESE DELIBERATIONS, AND THANK YOU, KAREN, FOR BEING HERE TO ASK QUESTIONS AND BE PART OF OUR DISCUSSION THIS AFTERNOON AS WE SELECT A FINALIST. SO IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION.>>I APPRECIATE IT. I’LL DEFER TO THE BOARD. CONTINUE AROUND, PLEASE.>>EILEEN?>>ADMINISTERING THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION IS SIMILAR TO LOCAL DISTRICTS, OF WHICH YOU’RE A SUPERINTENDENT, INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL DISTRICTS, BUT VERY DIFFERENT, I THINK, THAN — SUPERINTENDENT FLANAGAN HAD A VERY RUDE AWAKENING ON THAT — EVERYBODY DOES WHEN THEY COME IN, BECAUSE WHAT APPEARS TO BE SO FROM –>>WILL YOU SPEAK A LITTLE LOUDER, PLEASE?>>YES, I WILL. AND IN FACT, I’LL MOVE A LITTLE CLOSER TO YOU, BECAUSE HE CAN HEAR.>>I CAN HEAR.>>I KNOW. [ LAUGHTER ] HOW CAN I NOT LOOK AT HIM? OKAY. SO, BUT ADMINISTERING THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION IS SO MUCH MORE A COMPLEX AND DIFFICULT ENDEAVOR THAN DOING A LOCAL OR INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL DISTRICT. THE LENGTH OF OUR ASSESSMENTS ARE ACTUALLY DRIVEN BY OUR STATE STANDARDS, WHICH ARE COLLEGE AND CAREER READY, REQUIRING CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS, PROBLEM SOLVING, AND ANALYTICS SKILLS. IT’S NOT A REGURGITATION OF INFORMATION. IT’S A DISPLAY OF WHETHER STUDENTS CAN TAKE THOSE SKILLS AND THAT KNOWLEDGE AND WORK WITH IT TO PRODUCE THINGS THAT THEY WILL HAVE TO DO AS ADULTS. I HEAR THAT THE CONCERNS OF MANY DISTRICTS ARE THAT THEY’VE BEEN ON DISPLAY FOR THE LAST TWO OR THREE YEARS — AS THEY SHOULD BE, BECAUSE THIS IS A COOPERATIVE RELATIONSHIP, A COLLABORATIVE RELATIONSHIP. BUT WOULD YOU CONTINUE SUPPORTING HIGH MICHIGAN STANDARDS IN ALL SUBJECTS IF ASSESSING THEM WELL DOES RESULT IN CONTINUING LENGTHENING OF ASSESSMENTS OF STUDENTS IN THOSE AREAS? AND WHAT WOULD YOU CUT OR PROPOSE CUTTING TO THE STATE, WHO REQUIRE US TO DO THAT, AND THE FEDS, WHO ALSO REQUIRE US TO DO THAT FOR OUR TITLE I, II, AND III MONEY, WHICH IS ABOUT $800 MILLION A YEAR?>>SO I THINK I GOT THREE QUESTIONS THERE. SO MDE IS A VERY DIFFERENT ENTITY THAN RUNNING A SCHOOL DISTRICT. I UNDERSTAND THAT, AND I UNDERSTAND THAT I WILL HAVE A LOT TO LEARN, BUT I THINK MY MANAGEMENT STYLE IS PERFECT FOR THAT, BECAUSE MY MANAGEMENT STYLE IS TO HIRE OR RETAIN THE BEST EMPLOYEES, SET GOALS FOR THEM, AND HELP THEM ACCOMPLISH THOSE GOALS, AND IF THEY DO THAT, THEY ENJOY WORKING WITH ME. AND CERTAINLY I’LL HAVE A LOT TO LEARN IF I AM THE CHOICE IN TERMS OF RUNNING THE DEPARTMENT VERSUS RUNNING A SCHOOL DISTRICT, BUT A SCHOOL DISTRICT, I HAVE 2,500 EMPLOYEES, AND IT IS A VERY COMPLEX THING TO CHANGE AS WELL. I WILL HAVE A LOT TO LEARN. AND IN TERMS OF TESTING, YOU KNOW, I DO BELIEVE IN TESTING. I DO BELIEVE IN HIGH STANDARDS. I DO BELIEVE IN HAVING STUDENTS MEET THOSE HIGH STANDARDS. IF IT MEANS TESTING THE WAY WE’RE DOING IT OR TESTING IN A DIFFERENT WAY AND WE CAN ACCOMPLISH THE SAME THING, THAT’S GREAT. WE HAVE TO HOLD OURSELVES — I HOLD MYSELF, AS SUPERINTENDENT, TO HIGH STANDARDS. I HOLD MY ADMINISTRATIVE TEAM TO HIGH STANDARDS, AND I HOLD MY TEACHERS AND STUDENTS TO HIGH STANDARDS. WE NEED TO PREPARE STUDENTS FOR SUCCESS, AND TO DO THAT, WE HAVE TO HOLD THEM TO HIGH STANDARDS TO BE CRITICAL THINKERS, PROBLEM SOLVERS, TO TRANSFER KNOWLEDGE FROM ONE AREA TO ANOTHER, TO BE ABLE TO HANDLE CONFLICT AND WORK IN TEAMS. SO I CERTAINLY UNDERSTAND WE HAVE TO HOLD KIDS TO HIGH STANDARDS, AND WE HAVE TO SEE IF WHAT WE’RE DOING IN THE CLASSROOMS AND PREPARING THE STUDENTS FOR MEETING THOSE HIGH STANDARDS. SO YES, I SUPPORT HIGH ACCOUNTABILITY.>>THANKS, EILEEN. KATHY.>>WELL, IT’S NICE TO SEE YOU BACK HERE, BRIAN. I WONDERED IF YOU — FOLLOWING UP ON EILEEN’S QUESTION ON YOUR ROLE AS SUPERINTENDENT, THE ROLE OF THE DEPARTMENT AND THE ROLE OF LOCAL SCHOOLS AND ISDS AND THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE SUPERINTENDENT — THE STATE SUPERINTENDENT TO THE LOCAL SUPERINTENDENTS, LOCAL DISTRICTS, THE ISDS, COULD YOU EXPLAIN JUST A LITTLE MORE ABOUT WHAT YOU WOULD DO TO IMPROVE STUDENT GROWTH FROM A STATE SUPERINTENDENT’S CHAIR, WORKING WITH — HOW WOULD YOU WORK WITH THE LOCAL DISTRICTS AND LOCAL SUPERINTENDENTS?>>SO I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I TALKED ABOUT IN MY FIRST INTERVIEW WAS, AT THE STATE BOARD MEETINGS, FOCUS ON SOME THINGS THAT ARE WORKING TO CHANGE CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION, CHANGE GRADUATION RATES, AND USE THIS FORUM AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO COME IN AND SHARE THE GOOD THINGS THEY’RE DOING TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN. SO AS STATE SUPERINTENDENT, GIVING DISTRICTS THE OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE. AND I KNOW IN THE DEPARTMENT, THERE WAS A CONFERENCE JUST HELD WHERE, I KNOW, DEARBORN AND OTHER DISTRICTS CAME IN AND SHARED THOSE GOOD THINGS THAT THEY’RE DOING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE, AND I THINK THOSE THINGS NEED TO CONTINUE. BUT CERTAINLY, AS STATE SUPERINTENDENT — WELL, I THINK — AND CONGRATULATE MIKE FLANAGAN. HE DID A GOOD JOB VISITING LOCAL DISTRICTS AND HIGHLIGHTING THE GOOD THINGS THAT ARE GOING ON IN THOSE DISTRICTS, AND ALSO SOME CHALLENGES THAT WE HAVE IN THOSE DISTRICTS AND WHERE, QUITE FRANKLY, WE’RE NOT GETTING THE JOB DONE. YOU KNOW, HE WASN’T AFRAID TO TALK ABOUT THOSE THINGS. AND I THINK, AS STATE SUPERINTENDENT, WE HAVE TO HOLD SCHOOL DISTRICTS ACCOUNTABLE. WE HAVE TO PROVIDE THE SUPPORT NECESSARY FOR THEM TO BE SUCCESSFUL. WE HAVE TO HELP SUPPORT PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE INNOVATIVE THINGS THAT ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE. SO AS STATE SUPERINTENDENT, I’D WANT TO USE THE BOARD MEETING, I’D WANT TO USE MY OPPORTUNITY TO MEET WITH SUPERINTENDENTS AND SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO HIGHLIGHT THE GOOD THINGS, I’D WANT TO HEAR FROM SUPERINTENDENTS ABOUT WHAT WE CAN DO AS A DEPARTMENT TO HELP THEM BE SUCCESSFUL. THERE ARE A LOT OF GREAT EMPLOYEES IN THE DEPARTMENT OF ED WHO HELP PROVIDE SERVICES, TO HELP US BE SUCCESSFUL AT A LOCAL DISTRICT, AND I CERTAINLY WANT TO THANK AND REWARD THOSE EMPLOYEES THAT ARE DOING GOOD WORK, AND I WANT TO HOLD MY TEAM ACCOUNTABLE. BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT, IS STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT AND HELPING DISTRICTS BE SUCCESSFUL. THAT’S WHY THE DEPARTMENT IS HERE, AND SO EVERY MINUTE OF MY DAY WOULD BE USED TO SUPPORT LOCAL DISTRICTS IN HELPING THEM BE SUCCESSFUL AND CHANGING AND GROWING STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT.>>LUPE?>>WELL, DIOS. BRIAN, I’M GOING TO GO BACK TO THE FIRST QUESTION THAT JOHN ASKED, CONCERNING YOUR LOBBY DAYS.>>YUP.>>AND YOU — PART OF YOUR ANSWER WAS, “IT IS WHAT IT IS.” OKAY, NOW HOW WOULD THAT ANSWER REFLECT ON YOUR PROFESSIONAL JUDGMENT? HOW WOULD THAT REFLECT ON THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, ON THE POSITION AS A SUPERINTENDENT OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN? AND EVEN WHEN YOU ARE SELECTED AS A STATE SUPERINTENDENT AND THIS CRITICISM CONTINUES, HOW ARE YOU GOING TO HANDLE THAT IN THE MEDIA AND THE PUBLIC?>>WELL, I THINK THE WAY I’VE ALWAYS HANDLED IT, WHICH IS, HONESTLY, YOU KNOW. I DID HAVE SOME EXPENSES, MOST OF MY EXPENSES, IF YOU LOOK AT MY 11 YEARS, WERE APPROPRIATE AND IN LINE. A FEW OF THEM WEREN’T, AND I’VE LEARNED MY LESSON ON THAT. IT WAS 14 YEARS AGO, AND LOOK AT WHAT I’VE DONE IN THE YEARS SINCE THEN, I THINK, IS IMPORTANT. IN TERMS OF JUDGMENT, YOU KNOW, I TOOK PEOPLE OUT TO BREAKFAST, LUNCH, AND DINNER, AND I HELD RECEPTIONS. THAT GOES ON IN LANSING EVERY DAY. GROUPS HOLD THOSE KINDS OF EVENTS. SO I DON’T THINK I DID ANYTHING WRONG OR MY PROFESSIONAL JUDGMENT WAS WRONG IN ANY WAY. DID I LEARN SOME LESSONS AND DID I MAKE SURE I KEPT THE BILLS REASONABLE? YES. AND DID I PAY MONEY OUT OF MY OWN POCKET TO DO THAT? YES. BUT RIGHT NOW, IF YOU WALK AROUND DOWNTOWN LANSING, THERE’S GOING TO BE SOME BUSINESS GROUP, SOME GOVERNMENT GROUP, SOME FARMERS, SOME SNOWBOARD GROUP WHO IS HOLDING A RECEPTION FOR LEGISLATORS. IT HAPPENS IN LANSING EACH AND EVERY DAY. AND SO I AM PROUD OF THE WORK I DID. SO IF SUPPORTERS CONTINUE, WHETHER IT’S THIS JOB OR I APPLY IN FIVE YEARS OR TEN YEARS AND IT COMES UP, I’LL BE HONEST. I LEARNED SOME LESSONS, MADE SOME MISTAKES. I LEARNED FROM THEM. I MOVED FORWARD. LOOK AT MY RECORD IN THE INTERIM. I’M PROUD OF THE WORK THAT I DID FOR THE STUDENTS IN OAKLAND COUNTY AND THE SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN OAKLAND COUNTY, AS REFLECTED BY THE GOOD EVALUATIONS I RECEIVED, BY THE SUPPORT WHEN OAKLAND SCHOOLS WOULD, EVERY YEAR — OR NOT EVERY YEAR BUT EVERY FEW YEARS, WOULD SURVEY THE LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND SUPERINTENDENTS AND BOARD MEMBERS, AND MY DEPARTMENTS THAT I RAN WERE ALWAYS HIGHLY REGARDED FOR THE QUALITY OF SERVICES THAT I PROVIDED TO THEM. SO I’M PROUD OF A LOT OF THE GREAT THINGS THAT WE ACCOMPLISHED AS A TEAM, MY EMPLOYEES AND I, WORKING WITH LEGISLATORS AND THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE, THE THINGS I ACCOMPLISHED. I’M PROUD OF THAT. SO IT IS PART OF MY BODY OF WORK, LESSONS LEARNED, AND I MOVE FORWARD.>>THANK YOU.>>PAM?>>GOOD MORNING, AND CONGRATULATIONS ON MAKING IT TO THIS POINT. YOU SPOKE BEFORE ABOUT HOW DIVERSE THE DISTRICT IS THAT YOU WORK WITH CURRENTLY. AND I REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR RESPONSE TO RICHARD’S QUESTION, AS WELL, AND I DO ALSO RECOGNIZE THE ROLES THAT STUDENTS AND PARENTS HAVE IN THEIR ACHIEVEMENT. BUT SOME PARENTS FEEL THAT — SOME PARENTS AND COMMUNITIES, IN PARTICULAR, FEEL THAT IT IS FELT BY DECISION-MAKERS AND LAWMAKERS THAT SOME OF THOSE CHILDREN ARE DISPOSABLE. SO HOW IS IT THAT YOU WOULD WORK WITH THOSE DECISION-MAKERS? HOW DO WE IMPRESS UPON DECISION-MAKERS — STATE BOARD MEMBERS AS WELL AS POLICY MAKERS, TO MAKE THIS IMPRESSION THAT YOU HAVE, THAT EVERYBODY IS WORTH A CHANCE?>>I MEAN, THAT HURTS ME, WHEN YOU SAY THAT, BECAUSE YOU PUT A PICTURE OF 100 KIDS ON THE WALL, AND WE’RE GOING TO SAY SOME OF THOSE ARE NOT WORTHY OF ACCOMPLISHMENT OR NOT WORTHY OF ACHIEVEMENT, AND I CERTAINLY CAN’T LIVE THAT WAY. I WOULD WANT TO MAKE SURE EVERY ONE OF THEM IS PROVIDED THE SERVICE, SUPPORT, LOVE THAT THEY NEED TO BE SUCCESSFUL. SO I CERTAINLY WOULD TAKE MY PASSION FOR WORKING WITH STUDENTS AND SHARE THAT WITH LEGISLATORS AND THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE AND THE OTHER CONSTITUENT GROUPS. I’D INVITE THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL DISTRICTS WITH ME TO SEE THE GOOD THINGS THAT ARE GOING ON, BECAUSE WE HAVE A LOT TO CELEBRATE OF GOOD THINGS THAT ARE GOING ON IN A LOT OF OUR CLASSROOMS. WE HAVE A LOT OF VERY DEDICATED, PASSIONATE, QUALITY TEACHERS OUT THERE, AND THEY NEED TO BE REWARDED. CERTAINLY, WE HAVE SOME AREAS THAT WE NEED TO IMPROVE ON, AS WELL. SO I GUESS I WOULD TAKE MY PASSION FOR EDUCATION, SHARE THAT WITH LEGISLATORS, TAKE THEM TO VISIT SOME SCHOOLS WHERE THEY WERE STRUGGLING IN THE PAST AND NOW THEY’RE BEING SUCCESSFUL, AND JUST SHOW THEM THAT EVERY STUDENT CAN BE SUCCESSFUL. NOW, WE’VE SAID BEFORE THAT NOT EVERY STUDENT WILL BE HERE, BUT EVERY STUDENT CAN REACH A HIGH POTENTIAL. EVERY STUDENT DESERVES THAT OPPORTUNITY AND DESERVES US FIGHTING FOR THEM TO GET THERE, SO I WOULD SHARE THAT WITH LEGISLATORS.>>AND THAT FIGHTING WOULD BE MAKING SURE THAT THOSE COMMUNITIES OR THOSE STUDENTS HAVE THE ADEQUATE RESOURCES THAT MAY BE DIFFERENTIATED RESOURCES FROM OTHER MORE –>>YEAH, WE HAVEN’T TALKED ABOUT SCHOOL FINANCE, BUT OBVIOUSLY, WE NEED TO REFORM OUR SCHOOL FINANCE, AND I DID SAY IN MY FIRST INTERVIEW, THE IMPORTANCE OF GETTING MONEY TO THOSE WHO ARE THE HARDEST TO EDUCATE, WE NEED TO DO THAT. WE NEED TO LOOK AT, YOU KNOW, PROPOSAL A HAS WORKED FOR MANY YEARS, BUT WE KNOW FROM 2004 TO 2014, IT’S DOWN, IN REAL TERMS, ABOUT 16%. WE KNOW IN PERSONAL INCOME, IT’S DOWN FROM 4.1 TO 3.4. WE KNOW THAT THANK GOODNESS FOR THE LEGISLATURE FOR DEALING — AND THE GOVERNOR FOR DEALING WITH THE PENSION PROBLEMS, OR WE’D HAVE MANY MORE THAN 56 DEFICIT DISTRICTS, BUT WE DO HAVE TO LOOK AT HOW WE SPEND OUR TAX DOLLARS, AND WE DO HAVE TO LOOK AT THOSE WHO ARE THE HARDEST TO EDUCATE AND MAKE SURE WE’RE PROVIDING SUPPORT SERVICES, PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT, AND RESOURCES TO HELP THEM BE SUCCESSFUL.>>THANK YOU, PAM. BRIAN, MY NEXT QUESTION IS, AS YOU KNOW, THE GOVERNOR SIGNED AN EXECUTIVE ORDER TAKING SCHOOL TURNAROUND FUNCTIONS OUT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND THE SUPERINTENDENT, AND THE STATE BOARD, YESTERDAY, APPROVED A RESOLUTION CALLING THIS ACTION UNCONSTITUTIONAL. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE THE STATE BOARD AND OTHER STAKEHOLDERS ON HOW WE BEST NAVIGATE THIS SITUATION TOWARDS BETTER REALIZING EVERYONE’S GOAL OF IMPROVING EDUCATION FOR CHILDREN AND FAILING SCHOOLS?>>CERTAINLY, I’D LIKE TO BE WITH THE GOVERNOR AND HIS TEAM AND THE STATE BOARD AND FIND OUT WHY WE’RE IN THIS POSITION WE’RE IN AND SEE IF THERE’S SOME PROBLEMS OR ISSUES THAT NEED TO BE RESOLVED SO THAT WE CAN MOVE FORWARD IN A JOINT FORMAT, BECAUSE WE HAVE TO LOOK AT WHAT’S IN THE BEST INTEREST OF KIDS. THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT TOPIC, AND WORKING TOGETHER, WE’RE GOING TO GET MORE SUCCESS FOR STUDENTS THAN FIGHTING WITH EACH OTHER. SO THE FIRST THING I’D LIKE TO DO IS MEET WITH THE GOVERNOR AND STATE BOARD AND HIS — THE GOVERNOR’S TEAM AND TALK ABOUT WHAT ARE THE ISSUES THAT HE FELT WHY HE NEEDED TO DO THAT, AND SO WE CAN ADDRESS THOSE ISSUES AND SHOW THE GOVERNOR THAT WE ARE PARTNERS IN IMPROVING STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT, THAT WE BELIEVE, AS I KNOW THE BOARD DOES — I SAW THE RESOLUTION PASS — THAT SCHOOLS WHO ARE CONSISTENTLY FAILING FOR THREE OR MORE YEARS SHOULD BE PUT IN THE REFORM DISTRICT. AND I THINK WE NEED TO SHOW THE GOVERNOR WE SUPPORT HOLDING DISTRICTS ACCOUNTABLE. WE HAVE TO PROVIDE RESOURCES, PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND SUPPORT. WE HAVE TO GIVE THEM AN OPPORTUNITY TO IMPROVE, BUT IF THEY ARE CONSISTENTLY PERFORMING AT THE LOW LEVEL, WE HAVE TO MAKE A CHANGE, AND WE WANT TO WORK IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE GOVERNOR AND HIS TEAM AND THE STATE BOARD TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN, WITH OUR EXPERTS HERE IN THE DEPARTMENT. SO I WISH THAT IT HADN’T HAPPENED YET. I WISH THE NEW STATE SUPERINTENDENT HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO TALK TO THE GOVERNOR AND SHARE THEIR VISION ON WORKING TOGETHER AND PUTTING STUDENTS FIRST, BUT WHAT WE HAVE TO DO NOW IS TRY TO CHANGE THAT MOVING FORWARD, BUT WE ALSO HAVE TO FOCUS ON THE STUDENTS AND PROVIDING THE STUDENTS AND STAFF THE RESOURCES AND SUPPORT NECESSARY TO BE SUCCESSFUL, WITH THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF MOVING THAT BACK WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT.>>THANK YOU, BRIAN. CASANDRA?>>THERE’S BEEN SOME CONVERSATIONS LATELY ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EQUAL FUNDING AND EQUITABLE FUNDING. AND THERE ARE SOME ORGANIZATIONS IN THE STATE THAT ARE CALLING FOR SIMPLY DIVIDING UP THE ENTIRE POOL OF FUNDING EQUALLY BETWEEN EVERY STUDENT AND USING THAT AS THE BASIS OF A FOUNDATION ALLOWANCE. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON EQUITABLE VERSUS EQUAL FUNDING IN THE STATE OF MICHIGAN?>>WELL, I UNDERSTAND THE DEBATE, WHERE YOU SAY IF A CHILD IS IN TRAVERSE CITY OR A CHILD IS IN DEARBORN, WE SHOULD SPEND THE SAME AMOUNT OF MONEY ON THEM. I GET THAT CONCEPTUALLY, BUT THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS THAT THERE’S COST DIFFERENCES. YOU KNOW, I THINK THE STATE POLICE AND OTHERS USE THESE COST DIFFERENCES FOR CONTRACTS AND PAY DIFFERENCES. SO IT’S NOT UNUSUAL TO LOOK AT AN EQUITY ISSUE, AND I THINK WE HAVE TO LOOK AT AN EQUITY ISSUE. IN LOOKING AT SCHOOL FINANCE REFORM, AND I KNOW I TOLD THE BOARD THAT ONE OF THE THINGS I’D LIKE TO DO IS BRING A PLAN, WITHIN 100 DAYS AFTER WORKING WITH THE SCHOOL GROUPS AND THE BOARD, OF HOW WE WOULD PROPOSE TO FIX FUNDING MOVING FORWARD, BUT WE HAVE TO LOOK AT THE COST OF EDUCATING CHILDREN IN CERTAIN AREAS. WE HAVE TO LOOK AT TRANSPORTATION COSTS. SOME DISTRICTS HAVE ZERO TRANSPORTATION COSTS. SOME DISTRICTS SPEND A LOT ON TRANSPORTATION. SOME HAVE A HIGH NUMBER OF ELLS. SOME HAVE NONE. SOME HAVE A HIGH NUMBER OF SPECIAL ED, SOME HAVE VERY LITTLE. ALL THESE FACTOR INTO THE COST OF EDUCATION. AND I DON’T THINK IT’S FAIR THAT, YOU KNOW, ONE CHILD IN ONE DISTRICT IS IN THE CLASSROOM WITH 34 KIDS AND THE ONE NEXT DOOR IS IN WITH 24. SO WE DO NEED TO LOOK AT THESE ISSUES, AND SCHOOL FUNDING IS KEY. IF I HAD TO FALL ON ONE OR THE OTHER, I’D LOOK AT EQUITABLE IN TERMS OF WHAT’S — WHAT WE’D NEED TO FUND EDUCATION FOR EACH CHILD, AND IT IS TRULY DIFFERENT. ALTHOUGH I GET THE CONCEPT OF SAYING EVERY CHILD SHOULD BE WORTH THE SAME AMOUNT, BUT THE SAME AMOUNT IN BIRMINGHAM, WHERE COST OF LIVING IS ONE THING, OR COST OF LIVING SOMEWHERE ELSE HAS TO BE FACTORED IN AS WELL. SO ALL THESE SHOULD BE PART OF THE SCHOOL FINANCE REFORM.>>OKAY. MICHELLE?>>MY QUESTION IS WITH REGARD TO TEACHER PREP PROGRAMS. SO IN TRYING TO GET PEOPLE INTO THE PROFESSION, IT’S BEEN REPORTED THAT THE ENROLLMENT IN THESE TEACHER PREP PROGRAMS IS PLUMMETING, SOMETHING LIKE 50% DOWN IN CALIFORNIA THE LAST THREE YEARS, AND NORTH CAROLINA DOWN 25%, AND IT’S CERTAINLY DOWN IN MICHIGAN IN WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY, WHERE I WORK. THE ENROLLMENT IS PLUMMETING. SO WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO LIFT OR SUPPORT THE PROFESSION OR TO ATTRACT MORE SO WE HAVE THE HIGH QUALITY TEACHERS THAT WE NEED IN THE CLASSROOM? AND ALSO, WHY DO YOU THINK THIS IS HAPPENING?>>I THINK, AS I TALKED IN THE FIRST –>>– FOR ONE SECOND. JUST, PEOPLE SHOULD BE AWARE, THE LIVE STREAM IS DOWN.>>OH, YAY.>>BUT IS BEING WORKED ON FIXED.>>SORRY. THAT’S WHAT WE WERE –>>SO JUST SO THAT PEOPLE ARE AWARE OF THAT. WE’LL PROCEED, BUT –>>THAT’S ALL RIGHT, THEN THEY ALL CAN’T MAKE FUN OF ME. [ LAUGHTER ] SO CERTAINLY, AND I TALKED ABOUT SYSTEMATIC REFORM IN MY FIRST INTERVIEW, AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I TALKED ABOUT WAS TEACHER PREP, AND THAT’S VERY IMPORTANT, NOT ONLY HOW WE’RE PREPARING OUR TEACHERS, FOR A DIFFERENT CLASSROOM TODAY, REALLY, THAN WHAT IT WAS 20, 30, 40 YEARS AGO. SO TEACHER PREP, FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF HOW WE’RE PREPARING TEACHERS, HAS TO BE LOOKED AT. AND SECONDLY, YOUR QUESTION IS, YOU KNOW, QUITE FRANKLY, IT’S NOT AS ATTRACTIVE TO GO INTO PUBLIC EDUCATION RIGHT NOW. IT’S SAD. I HEAR SUPERINTENDENTS AND OTHER TEACHERS TELLING THEIR CHILDREN NOT TO GO INTO THE FIELD ANYMORE. AND THAT SADDENS ME BECAUSE I DON’T THINK THERE’S A GREATER PROFESSION. SEEING THE LIGHT BULB GO OFF IN A CHILD WHEN THEY GET SOMETHING AND THAT EXCITEMENT, OR HAVING A CHILD COME BACK THAT YOU TAUGHT AND HAVE THEM TELL YOU ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE YOU MADE IN THEIR LIVES IS REALLY BEYOND REWARDING. AND SO WE NEED TO CELEBRATE THE GREAT THINGS THAT OUR TEACHERS ARE DOING, BUT WE ALSO HAVE TO TALK ABOUT THE FACT THAT WE DO NEED TO MAKE SOME CHANGES. AND WE HAVE TO CELEBRATE THE CAREER, THE FIELD OF EDUCATION, AND WE HAVE TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO GO INTO IT. WE HAVE TO SAY, “YES, YOU’RE GOING TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF YOUR STUDENTS, BUT WE’RE GOING TO BE THERE, HAND IN HAND, PROVIDING PARTNERSHIP, PROVIDING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT TO HELP YOU BE SUCCESSFUL.” WE HAVE TO CHANGE THE CONVERSATION ABOUT IT’S NOT GOOD TO GO INTO EDUCATION ANYMORE, BECAUSE TEACHERS HAVE FELT PICKED ON, TEACHERS HAVE FELT NOT SUPPORTED. CERTAINLY, THE NEW ECONOMY THAT WE LIVE IN HAS HAD AN IMPACT ON TEACHER SALARIES. I KNOW MY TEACHERS TOOK AN 8% PAY CUT AND TOOK INSURANCE CUTS LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE, AND THAT HAS AN IMPACT. SO I THINK WE HAVE TO DO A LOT OF THINGS TO CHANGE THIS. ONE IS TO JUST CELEBRATE THAT BEING A TEACHER — THERE’S NO MORE REWARDING THING. AND HAVE TEACHERS TALK ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS TO SEE THAT LIGHT BULB GO OFF AND HAVE TEACHERS TALK ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS TO HAVE KIDS COME BACK AND SAY WHAT A DIFFERENCE THEY MADE IN THEIR LIVES, SO THAT PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT IT IS STILL A GREAT PROFESSION, AND THAT WE’RE THERE TO HELP THEM AND SUPPORT THEM TO BE SUCCESSFUL. AND SO THAT CELEBRATION, I THINK, IS KEY. CHANGING THE CONVERSATION, I THINK, IS KEY. HOW WE PREPARE TEACHERS TO BE SUCCESSFUL IS KEY. IN PARTICULAR, WE NEED TO HELP TEACHERS REALIZE THAT WE WANT THEM TO BE MORE WORKING IN SMALL GROUPS, WHAT IT’S LIKE TO WORK WITH ELL STUDENTS AND ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED STUDENTS AND HELP THEM BE SUCCESSFUL, BECAUSE ONE OF THE PROBLEMS IS WHEN TEACHERS GO INTO THE FIELD AND THEY’RE NOT SUCCESSFUL IN THEIR FIRST COUPLE OF YEARS, THEN THEY LEAVE THE FIELD. SO WE HAVE TO PROVIDE MORE SUPPORT, SO THAT WHEN PEOPLE DO CHOOSE TO BECOME TEACHERS, THEY ARE SUCCESSFUL WHEN THEY GO INTO THE CLASSROOM. THAT’S PART OF TEACHER PREP RESPONSIBILITY, AND THAT’S ONE THAT’S PART OF ME AND MY TEAM’S RESPONSIBILITY TO HELP THEM BE SUCCESSFUL. SO THERE’S SEVERAL ANSWERS TO YOUR QUESTION THERE, BUT IT’S TO CELEBRATE, IT’S TO HELP THEM BE SUCCESSFUL, AND IT’S TO CHANGE THE CONVERSATION THAT YES, EDUCATION IS A GREAT CAREER.>>APPARENTLY THE LIVE FEED IS BACK ON, SO EVERYBODY WATCH WHAT THEY SAY. [ LAUGHTER ]>>RICHARD?>>GREAT. THERE’S AN ISSUE WHICH THERE ARE VERY STRONGLY DIFFERING OPINIONS ON, AND THAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OR RELATIVE IMPORTANCE OR IMPORTANCE OF PARENTAL CHOICE IN EDUCATION. AND WE HAVE CHARTER SCHOOLS WHICH ARE FOUNDED ON THE IDEA OF CHOICE, AND MANY PEOPLE FEEL THAT — I’VE HEARD THE ARGUMENT MADE THAT IF WE CAN’T PROVIDE THE SAME ACCESS TO EVERYONE, THAT IS TO SAY, THIS ONLY BENEFITS PARENTS WHO HAVE CARS, THAT’S PROBABLY 80 TO 90% OF PARENTS, BUT STILL, THE ARGUMENT HAS BEEN MADE THAT WE SHOULDN’T OFFER THAT IF WE CAN’T OFFER IT TO THE 10% THAT ARE WITHOUT THE TRANSPORTATION. THERE ARE SOME STUDIES TO ACTUALLY INDICATE THAT CHOICE ACTUALLY BENEFITS STUDENTS. THEY ACTUALLY DO BETTER IN SCHOOLS WHERE THE PARENTS FEEL EMPOWERED. ON THE OTHER HAND, WHEN PEOPLE MAKE A CHOICE, THEY CHOOSE TO LEAVE CERTAIN SCHOOLS, CERTAIN DISTRICTS, AND THOSE BECOME — AND THOSE DISTRICTS BECOME IN DANGER OF CLOSING, AND IN FACT, THE STATE HAS HAD TO CLOSE A FEW. WHAT IS THE RELATIVE VALUE OF PARENTAL CHOICE THAT SHOULD INFORM OUR POLICY DECISIONS HERE ON THE STATE LEVEL, AND — PEOPLE SEEM TO SUPPORT CHOICE UNTIL THEIR OWN JOBS ARE THREATENED, AND I CAN CERTAINLY APPRECIATE THAT, BUT… SO I’D CERTAINLY APPRECIATE YOUR VIEWS AND WHAT YOU’D BE ENCOURAGING US TO THINK ABOUT ON THE BOARD.>>WELL, CERTAINLY, IN TERMS OF PARENTAL CHOICE, I BELIEVE IN PARENTAL CHOICE. I THINK PARENTS HAVE CHOICES. THERE’S CHARTER SCHOOLS, PUBLIC SCHOOLS, THEY HAVE CHOICES OF COMMUNITIES THAT THEY MOVE TO, THEY HAVE CHOICES ONCE THEY LIVE IN COMMUNITIES, OFTEN, SO PARENTAL CHOICE IS IMPORTANT. IT’S PART OF THE LANDSCAPE. CERTAINLY, IN DEARBORN, I’VE TRIED TO IMPLEMENT WHAT’S CALLED MY LEARNING PLAN, WHICH GIVES PARENTS AND, MOST IMPORTANTLY, STUDENTS, CHOICES ABOUT HOW THEY GO THROUGH EDUCATION TO TAKE THE THINGS THAT THEY’RE PASSIONATE ABOUT AND USE THOSE THINGS TO HELP DRIVE INSTRUCTION, AND TO GIVE THEM CHOICES SO THEY CAN GO THROUGH THE TRADITIONAL PIPELINE OR THEY CAN DESIGN THEIR OWN PLAN. AND THAT’S SOMETHING THAT WE WANT TO DO, BUT IT’S ALSO ABOUT GIVING STUDENTS OWNERSHIP OF THEIR LEARNING AND TRACKING WHETHER THEY’RE ON GRADE LEVEL IN READING AND MATH, AS AN EXAMPLE, AND LOOKING AT WHERE THEY SHOULD BE AND HOW THEY’RE GOING TO GET THERE. SO HAVING PARENTS AND STUDENTS ENGAGED IN THEIR LEARNING AND HAVING CHOICES, I THINK, IS VERY IMPORTANT. BUT AS PART OF THE CHOICE MODEL, WE ALSO HAVE TO BE ACCOUNTABLE. TRADITIONAL PUBLIC SCHOOLS HAVE TO BE ACCOUNTABLE, CHARTER SCHOOLS HAVE TO BE ACCOUNTABLE, ONLINE SCHOOLS HAVE TO BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT, FOR HOW WE SPEND OUR MONEY — ALL OF US WHO ARE IN THE TAXPAYER REALM AND GET DOLLARS FROM TAXPAYERS HAVE TO BE ACCOUNTABLE TO THEM ON HOW WE SPEND OUR MONEY AND HOW WE’RE GETTING ACHIEVEMENT. AND SO AS LONG AS WE HAVE THE SAME ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM IN PLACE, I THINK THAT’S IMPORTANT. I THINK CHARTER SCHOOLS, SPECIFICALLY, THAT ARE BEING SUCCESSFUL OUGHT TO BE ALLOWED TO CHARTER MORE SCHOOLS. CHARTER SCHOOLS THAT AREN’T BEING SUCCESSFUL SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO CHARTER MORE SCHOOLS. BUT IN TERMS OF GIVING PARENTS AND, MOST IMPORTANTLY, STUDENTS CHOICES, I THINK THAT IS IMPORTANT. I DO WISH WE COULD TAKE THE POLITICS OUT OF LIFE AND LOOK AT SOME OF THESE CHOICE QUESTIONS. FOR EXAMPLE, I HEAR FROM MY PRINCIPALS ABOUT SOME OF THE REVOLVING DOOR OF KIDS LEAVING, GOING TO CHARTERS, AND COMING BACK, AND WHAT IMPACT THAT HAS ON STUDENTS AND THEIR SUCCESS. I WISH WE COULD HAVE THAT CONVERSATION, BUT IT’S ALMOST TOO POLITICAL TO HAVE, BECAUSE PEOPLE THINK YOU’RE ATTACKING SOMETHING, AND I’M NOT. I WANT TO UNDERSTAND HOW IT IMPACTS STUDENTS AND WHETHER IT HAS A POSITIVE OR A NEGATIVE IMPACT ON THEIR LEARNING. SO I REALLY WISH WE COULD TAKE SOME OF THE POLITICS OUT OF THIS AND HAVE AN HONEST CONVERSATION AND LOOK AT INDEPENDENT RESEARCH TO SEE WHAT THE IMPACT TRULY AND REALLY IS, BUT I AM ABOUT PROVIDING PARENTS AND, MOST IMPORTANTLY, STUDENTS CHOICES.>>THANK YOU. EILEEN?>>BRIAN, YOU’VE REFERENCED THE — I SEE A PARENT ACTIVIST BACK HERE THAT TOLD A COMMUNICATION PROGRAM — WHICH HAS BEEN IN THE NEWS. IT WAS JUST — THE CANCELLATION OF IT WAS JUST ANNOUNCED LAST WEEK, I BELIEVE. IT’S A TINY CENTER. IT’S A COUNTY-WIDE SPECIALTY CENTER.>>IT’S A 33-STUDENT CENTER, AND IT’S COUNTY-WIDE.>>AND ONLY 10 OF THOSE ARE DEARBORN STUDENTS.>>CORRECT.>>BUT ONE OF THE PROBLEMS I HAVE WITH — THIS IS IT. I’M BLOWING MY COVER. I’M DEAF ON MY RIGHT SIDE. AND I WAS LUCKY, BECAUSE IT DIDN’T HAPPEN UNTIL I WAS AN ADULT, AND I HAVE VERY FINE HEARING IN THE OTHER EAR, BUT I RECOGNIZE, IN SITUATIONS THAT I’M IN WHERE I CAN’T HEAR, WHAT THAT’S LIKE. SO ONE OF THE ISSUES THAT I HAVE WITH THIS IS THAT — AND BECAUSE SO MANY DEAF OR HARD-OF-HEARING DHH CHILDREN WEAR HEARING ASSISTIVE DEVICES, THEY CAN’T UNDERSTAND THE TEACHER AT THE FRONT OF THE CLASSROOM WITH AN ASSISTIVE MICROPHONE, BECAUSE IT JUST COMES OUT AS A BUZZING. AND MOST DHH CHILDREN GRADUATE WITH ABOUT A 4TH OR 5TH GRADE LEVEL OF LANGUAGE COMPLEXITY KNOWLEDGE, BECAUSE WHETHER — WHATEVER PROGRAM THEY’RE IN, THEY JUST CAN’T ACCESS THE INFORMATION. I KNOW THAT YOU’VE BEEN INVOLVED IN THIS, AND I WOULD LOVE FOR YOU TO ADDRESS HOW YOU’RE GOING TO MAKE SURE THAT THOSE CHILDREN DON’T LOSE TRACTION, AND HOW THEY’RE GOING TO BE DEALT WITH AT YOUR DISTRICT — YOU CAN’T CONTROL THE OTHER 23.>>RIGHT. I MEAN, THIS IS A VERY EMOTIONAL, VERY COMPLICATED ISSUE, AND IT’S BEEN GOING ON IN DEARBORN LONG BEFORE I WAS SUPERINTENDENT, AS TO WHETHER THIS PROGRAM WAS MEETING THE NEEDS OF THE STUDENTS OR NOT. CERTAINLY, THE PARENTS FEEL IT’S MEETING THE NEEDS. SOME EDUCATORS BELIEVE IT’S MEETING THE NEEDS, AND SOME EDUCATORS BELIEVE IT’S NOT MEETING THE NEEDS. IN A MEETING WITH PARENTS — IN THE SECOND MEETING WITH PARENTS, SOME OF THE TEACHERS IN THE PROGRAM STOOD UP AND SAID, “THIS ISN’T MEETING THE NEEDS OF STUDENTS.” OTHER TEACHERS SAID IT IS, SO IT’S A VERY COMPLICATED, VERY EMOTIONAL ISSUE. AND I HAVE PLEDGED TO MEET WITH THE PARENTS, UPCOMING, TO TALK ABOUT WHETHER WE CAN DO SOME THINGS TOGETHER TO CONTINUE THE PROGRAM OR NOT, SO I’LL HAVE THAT CONVERSATION WITH THE PARENTS, BUT BOTTOM LINE, WE’RE GOING TO DO WHAT WE FEEL IS BEST FOR KIDS. THE PARENTS’ IEP DRIVES THE PROCESS ON HOW THEIR STUDENT’S — AND WHAT SERVICES THEY’LL BE GIVEN. THEY WILL BE GIVEN OPTIONS, SOME THAT WE KNOW ABOUT TODAY, SOME DISTRICTS ARE JUST PUTTING TOGETHER BECAUSE OF THIS NEWS. SO WE DON’T KNOW WHAT ALL THE OPTIONS ARE, BUT SOME DISTRICTS ARE GETTING TOGETHER TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY’RE PROVIDING OPTIONS FOR PARENTS. SO ONE, I WILL REVIEW THE DECISION. TWO, WE WILL HAVE OPTIONS FOR STUDENTS. THREE, IT IS DRIVEN BY THE IEP PROCESS. AND FOUR, THE DIRECTOR OF THE PROGRAM IS HEARING IMPAIRED — HE HAS HEARING ISSUES, THE PERSON WHO RUNS THE PROGRAM, AND HE’S VERY INVOLVED IN THESE DECISIONS, SO I KNOW THIS IS A COMPLICATED AND EMOTIONAL ISSUE, BUT I PLEDGE TO YOU THAT WE WILL WORK WITH THE PARENTS TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THE STUDENTS. WE’RE NOT GOING TO — JUST BECAUSE WE’RE LOOKING AT DIFFERENT MODELS OF MOVING FORWARD DOESN’T MEAN WE’RE NOT GOING TO MEET THE NEEDS OF STUDENTS.>>I’M — BRIAN, I’M ACTUALLY LOOKING FOR SPECIFICS, BECAUSE CLEARLY, YOU’VE THOUGHT THIS THROUGH A LOT. YOU’VE HAD ENOUGH NUMBER OF YEARS ON IT. WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR IS — I KNOW THAT THERE’S A STUDENT WHO CAN ONLY USE AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE, AND I’M CURIOUS AS TO WHAT COMMITMENT THE DISTRICT MUST HAVE MADE INTERNALLY TO BE ABLE TO MAKE SURE THAT THOSE CHILDREN CAN COMMUNICATE WITH THEIR COHORT, WHO DON’T SPEAK ASL, AND TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY ARE KEPT AT PACE IN INSTRUCTION. ARE YOU GOING TO COMMIT TO HAVING ASL TEACHERS AND AIDES –>>ABSOLUTELY.>>– IN THE CLASSROOM?>>OH, ABSOLUTELY. THAT WOULD BE PART OF THE IEP. WE COULDN’T GET AN IEP APPROVED WITHOUT HAVING THAT SUPPORT SERVICES IN THE CLASSROOM. SO IF THAT’S THE DECISION THAT THE PARENTS AND THE DISTRICT MAKE, TO — WHETHER IT’S MAINSTREAM, OR TO BE PART OF THE DAY IN A PROGRAM AND PART OF THE DAY IN A CLASSROOM, THEY WILL HAVE THE SUPPORT. IF THAT’S THE DECISION MADE BY THE IEP, THEY WILL HAVE THAT SUPPORT OF SIGN LANGUAGE FOLLOWING THEM IN THE CLASSROOM. SO WE WILL MEET THE NEEDS OF THE KIDS.>>THANKS.>>AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO WORK WITH THE PARENTS.>>THANKS.>>KATHY? AND CAN YOU SPEAK UP AS BEST YOU CAN?>>– SIMILAR TO RICHARD’S, AND I WANT TO FOLLOW UP ON THAT ONE. WE TALKED ABOUT CHOICE, PARENTAL CHOICE. DOES THAT INCLUDE — WOULD YOU THINK THAT WOULD INCLUDE VOUCHERS FOR CHILDREN TO ATTEND NON-PUBLIC SCHOOLS AS WELL?>>PERSONALLY, NO. I MEAN, I DON’T KNOW IF YOU’RE AWARE OF IT, BUT — I DON’T KNOW WHAT YEAR WE HAD THAT QUESTION ON THE BALLOT. I WAS ONE OF THE FIVE PEOPLE WHO HELPED RUN THE ANTI-VOUCHER CAMPAIGN. IT’S NOT SOMETHING I BELIEVE IN. I DON’T THINK PUBLIC TAX DOLLARS SHOULD GO TO PAY FOR RELIGIOUS EDUCATION OF ANY SORT. I THINK THAT’S UP TO FAMILIES TO DO THAT. SO, NO, I DON’T BELIEVE IN PROVIDING VOUCHERS.>>THANK YOU FOR THAT. THE OTHER PART OF THE FOLLOW-UP WAS THE CYBER SCHOOLS. THERE’S BEEN ALMOST A LIFTING OF THE CAP — NOT COMPLETELY, BUT ALMOST, ON CYBER SCHOOLS. WHAT IS YOUR VIEW OF WHAT THE ROLE OF CYBER SCHOOL SHOULD BE IN THE PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEM?>>WELL, AGAIN, I THINK THEY HAVE TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR HOW THEY SPEND THEIR MONEY IF THEY ACCEPT TAX DOLLARS, AND THEY HAVE TO BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR HOW STUDENTS ACHIEVE. IN DEARBORN, WE’D LIKE TO HAVE THAT AS ONE OF THE OPTIONS, THAT STUDENTS CAN TAKE CLASSES THROUGH DEARBORN TEACHERS, AS AN EXAMPLE, OR MICHIGAN VIRTUAL UNIVERSITY, OR OTHER OPTIONS OUT THERE. SO IT COULD BE PART OF THE MI LEARNING PLAN, WHERE THEY MAY WANT TO TAKE A CLASS OR TWO ONLINE, AND THEY CERTAINLY SHOULD HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO THAT, BUT IF — WHETHER IT’S DEARBORN PROVIDING THAT OR ANOTHER PROVIDER, WE HAVE TO BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR HOW WE SPEND THOSE DOLLARS AND ARE STUDENTS ACHIEVING? AND I THINK WHOEVER IS PROVIDING THAT SERVICE NEEDS TO KEEP VERY CLEAR STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT DATA, AND WE OUGHT TO LOOK AT IT IN A COUPLE YEARS — IS IT WORKING OR IS IT NOT WORKING? BUT I DO BELIEVE PARENTS AND STUDENTS SHOULD HAVE THAT OPTION. I THINK SOMETIMES, STUDENTS, MAYBE THEY WANT TO LEARN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE, THEY CAN’T FIT IT INTO THEIR DAY, SO WE PROVIDE IT TO THEM, YOU KNOW, THROUGH THAT KIND OF MECHANISM. SO I THINK AS A CHOICE MODEL, IT OUGHT TO BE SOMETHING PARENTS AND STUDENTS HAVE AN OPTION FROM, BUT WE HAVE TO BE ACCOUNTABLE FOR IT.>>THANK YOU.>>LUPE.>>IN LOOKING AT YOUR RESUME, I SEE THAT — AND I’M GOING TO FOLLOW UP ON MICHELLE’S QUESTION ON TEACHER PREPARATION. AND I’M LOOKING AT YOUR RESUME, AND YOU WERE WORKING IN THE ROAD COMMISSION, AND BEFORE THAT YOU WERE A LOBBYIST, ROAD COMMISSION, THEN YOU WERE DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENT AND COMMUNITY SERVICES FOR OAKLAND SCHOOLS, AND THEN YOU BECAME THE SUPERINTENDENT. EXCUSE ME. NOW, WHAT RELATIONSHIP OR WHAT — I WANT TO KNOW WHAT RELATIONSHIP OR WHAT IMPACT YOU HAVE WITH TEACHERS IN THE CLASSROOM, BECAUSE I DON’T SEE ANYTHING IN YOUR RESUME THAT TELLS ME THAT YOU WERE INVOLVED WITH TEACHING OR PRINCIPAL OR THOSE KIND OF THINGS. SO YOUR CAREER LADDER IS A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT. SO — BUT, THE TEACHER BEING THE HEARTBEAT OF A SCHOOL DISTRICT, AS FAR AS I’M CONCERNED, WHAT RELATIONSHIP DO YOU HAVE IN THE CLASSROOM WITH THE TEACHERS IN THE OAKLAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS?>>SURE. THE ONLY TEACHING I EVER DID WAS MY STUDENT TEACHING AT OAK PARK HIGH SCHOOL. SO THAT’S THE ONLY TEACHING THAT I EVER DID DO, AND I NEVER WAS A PRINCIPAL, AS MY RESUME SAYS. BUT I DO VISIT THE CLASSROOMS. WE HAVE 32, 33 SCHOOLS AND MORE THAN THAT NUMBER OF PROGRAMS. I’M AT EACH SCHOOL AT LEAST 5 TIMES AND EACH HIGH SCHOOL AT LEAST 15 TIMES, AND EVERY TIME I’M IN THERE — SO THAT’S OVER 200 VISITS A YEAR TO SCHOOLS, AND EVERY TIME, I WALK THROUGH CLASSROOMS AND I LOOK TO SEE IF THEY’RE IMPLEMENTING THEIR SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT PLANS AND THE DISTRICT INITIATIVES. I CERTAINLY UNDERSTAND CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION AND THE SUPPORT TEACHERS NEED TO BE SUCCESSFUL. ON MY WAY UP HERE, MY TEACHERS UNION PRESIDENT SENT ME A TEXT WISHING ME GOOD LUCK, BUT NOT TOO MUCH LUCK. [ LAUGHTER ]>>I HAVE A GREAT RELATIONSHIP WITH THE TEACHERS UNION IN DEARBORN. WE WORK VERY WELL TOGETHER IN TERMS OF, YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT IS DIFFICULT IS MANAGING THE RATE OF CHANGE. AND, OF COURSE, I WANT TO GO 100 MILES AN HOUR, MY TEAM WANTS TO GO 200 MILES AN HOUR, BUT TO MAKE THE CHANGE, WE PROBABLY HAVE TO GO 10 MILES AN HOUR. AND SO THE TEACHERS UNION AND THE TEACHERS SOMETIMES SAY WE HAVE TO PULL BACK, AND WE’RE DOING TOO MUCH, BUT WE HAVE THAT RELATIONSHIP WHERE WE CAN SIT DOWN AND HAVE THOSE TOUGH CONVERSATIONS ABOUT WHAT WE NEED TO DO TO CHANGE CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION, SUPPORT TEACHERS TO HELP THEM BE SUCCESSFUL, SO I HAVE THOSE RELATIONSHIPS WITH MY TEACHERS UNION, BUT I THINK THEY’RE VERY SUPPORTIVE OF ME. I’M IN CLASSROOMS OVER 200 SCHOOL VISITS A YEAR, AND I’M IN CLASSROOMS ALMOST EVERY DAY SUPPORTING TEACHERS AND MAKING SURE THEY’RE BEING HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT PLAN AND OUR DISTRICT-WIDE INITIATIVES.>>I HAVE A FOLLOW-UP. OKAY, VISITING A CLASSROOM IS WONDERFUL. I WANT TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE EVER SAT IN FRONT OF A CLASSROOM AND TAUGHT THE STUDENTS.>>SURE. I MEAN, FIRST OF ALL, I DID TEACH FOR WAYNE STATE FOR FIVE YEARS, SO I CERTAINLY DID THAT AT WAYNE STATE. AT THE HIGH SCHOOL LEVEL, THE ONLY TEACHING I EVER DID WAS MY STUDENT TEACHING, SO I WAS IN THE CLASSROOM FOR A SEMESTER, TEACHING THE STUDENTS FOR THAT SEMESTER, BUT THAT’S IT. I HAVE NOT TAUGHT FOR 20 YEARS, LIKE SOME PEOPLE, OR 30 YEARS. SO THAT’S MY EXPERIENCE LEVEL.>>THANK YOU. PAM?>>SO THERE’S A QUESTION THAT WE’VE ALL HAD. OUR GOAL IS TO HELP ALL MICHIGAN YOUNG PEOPLE TO BE PREPARED FOR COLLEGE, CAREER AND CITIZENSHIP. THERE’S MORE TALK RECENTLY ABOUT CAREER READINESS. QUESTION A: WHAT MORE DOES MICHIGAN NEED TO DO TO SUPPORT EFFECTIVE CAREER READINESS, AND HOW DOES PREPARATION FOR CAREER SUPPORT OR CONFLICT WITH OTHER GOALS FOR EDUCATION?>>WELL, CERTAINLY, WE DO NEED TO PROVIDE STUDENTS SUPPORT TO BE COLLEGE AND CAREER READY. YOU KNOW, WE HAVE SURVEYS THAT STUDENTS TAKE TO GET OF INTEREST. WE HAVE POSTERS IN OUR HALLWAYS AND CLASSROOMS THAT TALK ABOUT, “IF YOU’RE INTERESTED IN THESE CAREERS, THESE ARE THE THINGS YOU NEED TO THINK ABOUT.” WE HAVE TOOLS THAT STUDENTS CAN GO ONLINE AND SAY, “I WANT TO BE A POLICE OFFICER. WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE THAT I NEED? WHAT TYPE OF CLASSES DO I NEED TO TAKE?” SO WE CERTAINLY PROVIDE THOSE SERVICES TO STUDENTS. WE NEED TO CHANGE, AS I’VE TALKED ABOUT, OUR CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION TO INCREASE OUR RIGOR AND BETTER PREPARE KIDS TO BE SUCCESSFUL AND BE PROBLEM-SOLVERS, TO WORK IN TEAMS AND TO DEAL WITH CONFLICT. SO WE NEED TO PREPARE KIDS TO BE COLLEGE, CAREER, TRADE SCHOOL, OR MILITARY, OR LIFE — WHATEVER THEY’RE PLANNING ON DOING, TO BE PREPARING THEM TO DO THAT. AND I DON’T KNOW THAT THERE’S REALLY CONFLICT, BECAUSE ALL OF THOSE SKILLS ARE — HELP YOU BE SUCCESSFUL IN WHATEVER YOU CHOOSE TO DO. AND SO WE NEED TO DO THAT. I DO THINK — AND IN DEARBORN, WE MEET WITH THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY ON A REGULAR BASIS TO TALK ABOUT WHAT IT NEED — WHAT STUDENTS NEED TO BE SUCCESSFUL WHEN THEY GRADUATE, AND SO WE HAVE THOSE CONVERSATIONS. THEY SIT ON — SOME BUSINESS PEOPLE SIT ON OUR CURRICULUM TEAMS TO HELP SHAPE WHAT TAKES PLACE IN THE CLASSROOM AND WHAT CURRICULUM WE’RE TEACHING, SO, YOU KNOW, COLLEGE AND CAREER READINESS, PREPARING KIDS FOR SUCCESS, THAT’S WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT, AND WE NEED TO DO THAT, SO WHAT CHANGES DO WE NEED TO MAKE, OR DO WE NEED TO CHANGE CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION TO INCREASE THE RIGOR, TO MAKE STUDENTS TAKE OWNERSHIP OF THEIR LEARNING, TO HAVE STUDENTS SETTING GOALS, ACADEMIC AND PERSONAL, SO THAT THEY CAN ACHIEVE THOSE GOALS AND BE SUCCESSFUL.>>SO I THINK — RECENTLY, I THINK WE HAD A PRESENTATION BY SEMCOG AND OTHERS, AND I THINK THERE WAS A MENTION OF 80,000 ENTRY LEVEL POSITIONS THAT ARE COMING UP THAT ARE AVAILABLE. AND SO SOMETIMES, THERE SEEMS TO BE THIS GROWING PUSH FOR EMPLOYERS TO GET THESE ENTRY LEVEL POSITIONS. MAYBE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS GOING TO — PREPARING HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS OR STUDENTS WHILE THEY’RE IN HIGH SCHOOL TO GOING STRAIGHT TO WORK, WHICH, FOR SOME STUDENTS, THAT MAY BE GOOD AND SOME PARENTS MAY BE APPRECIATIVE OF THAT. HOW DO WE WORK WITH STUDENTS, AS YOU SAY, TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY’RE PREPARED TO GO TO COLLEGE OR WHATEVER CAREER, TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY’RE CONTINUING TO GROW, VERSUS, POSSIBLY AS WELL AS, WORKING WITH OUR EMPLOYERS TO MAKE SURE THEY’RE GETTING QUALITY EMPLOYEES, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, MAKING SURE THAT WE’RE NOT STOPPING SHORT OF SENDING STUDENTS INTO POSITIONS THAT MAY NOT PUT THEM ON A TRAJECTORY THAT MAY NOT — THAT FURTHER EXPANDS THEIR CAREER CHOICES?>>WELL, A LOT OF STUDENTS HAVE TO BE ABLE TO WORK TO PAY FOR THEIR COLLEGE AND CAREER, SO A LOT OF TIMES, STUDENTS WILL GO INTO — I KNOW I DID — WENT INTO ENTRY LEVEL JOBS TO WORK WHILE THEY WERE ALSO GOING TO SCHOOL, AND SO WE NEED TO PREPARE STUDENTS TO BE SUCCESSFUL AS THEY ENTER THOSE POSITIONS, BUT WE ALSO WANT THEM TO BE ABLE TO GO ON AND, IF THEY CHOOSE TO, TO BE SUCCESSFUL AS THEY GO ON TO COLLEGE OR TRAINING. AND SO WORKING WITH STUDENTS TO GIVE THEM MENTORSHIPS — I KNOW IN OUR HIGH SCHOOLS, WE HAVE BUSINESS LEADERS WHO COME IN AND HAVE LUNCH WITH THE STUDENTS, TALK ABOUT SETTING CAREER GOALS AND SETTING OBJECTIVES TO HELP THEM ACCOMPLISH THAT. SO IF THEY WANT TO BE A DOCTOR, WHAT DO THEY NEED TO DO, IF THEY WANT TO GO INTO THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY, WHAT DO THEY NEED TO DO, SO WE HAVE THESE LEADERS, BUSINESSMEN, DOCTORS, COME IN AND HAVE LUNCH WITH OUR STUDENTS AND HAVE THOSE KIND OF CONVERSATIONS SO THAT THE STUDENTS CAN BE PREPARED ON WHAT THEY NEED TO DO. THEY HAVE THEIR PLANNING PROCESS THAT THEY GO THROUGH AS MIDDLE SCHOOL AND HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY IDENTIFY CAREERS THAT THEY’RE INTERESTED IN, SO THAT THEY CAN TALK TO OUR COUNSELORS ABOUT WHAT THEY NEED TO DO TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN THOSE CAREERS. AS I SAID, WE HAVE POSTERS HANGING IN THE HIGH SCHOOLS THAT IDENTIFY DIFFERENT CAREER PATHS AND WHAT ARE SOME OF THE SKILLS NECESSARY TO BE SUCCESSFUL, SO STUDENTS HAVE OPPORTUNITIES TO LOOK AT THOSE AS WELL. AND AS I SAID, WE DO WORK WITH THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY AND WE WORK WITH OUR COLLEGES TO SAY, “WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO TO BETTER PREPARE OUR KIDS TO BE SUCCESSFUL?” IF THEY’RE ENTERING THE WORKFORCE OR ENTERING COLLEGE.>>THANK YOU. BRIAN, WE HAVE NOT ACTUALLY TALKED AT ALL WITH ANYBODY ABOUT EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION, AND I THINK IF DAN VARNER WERE STILL WITH US, HE’D SCOLD US FOR THAT. THE QUESTION IS — EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION IS ONE AREA WHERE GREATER INVESTMENT AND EXPANDED PROGRAMMING HAS FOUND SOME BIPARTISAN SUPPORT. SHOULD EARLY CHILDHOOD REMAIN A BUDGET AND POLICY PRIORITY, AND IT HAS DONE SO AT THE EXPENSE, IN PART, OF OTHER FUNDING FOR EDUCATION AND HIGHER EDUCATION. SO SHOULD THAT ALSO CONTINUE?>>I MEAN, I AM VERY SUPPORTIVE OF EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION. WHEN I WAS A LOBBYIST, I ACTUALLY HELPED GET $300 MILLION OF NEW MONEY PUT INTO EARLY CHILDHOOD, WORKING WITH LEGISLATORS TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN, AND CERTAINLY THEY DESERVE THE CREDIT FOR IT HAPPENING, BUT I CERTAINLY WORKED BEHIND THE SCENES. IN DEARBORN, WE DO HAVE — WE’VE GOT A NUMBER OF SLOTS, AROUND 800. SO WE ARE SERVICING STUDENTS, SOME FULL DAY, SOME HALF DAY. I BELIEVE, QUITE FRANKLY, IN THE RESEARCH THAT SAYS THAT IF WE INVEST IN EARLY CHILDHOOD, WE SAVE MONEY LATER. AND CERTAINLY, YOU TALK TO ANY KINDERGARTEN OR FIRST GRADE TEACHER, THEY KNOW THE STUDENTS WHO WENT THROUGH PRE-SCHOOL, AND THEY ARE AHEAD OF THE STUDENTS THAT DIDN’T GO TO PRESCHOOL IN TERMS OF JUST MANAGING THEIR DAY, KNOWING THE ALPHABET, KNOWING THEIR COLORS, KNOWING THEIR SHAPES, YOU KNOW, KNOWING THE THINGS THEY NEED TO BE SUCCESSFUL, KNOWING THEIR ALPHABET AND COUNTING. SO EARLY CHILDHOOD SHOULD CONTINUE TO BE A PRIORITY. I’D LOVE TO SEE AN OPPORTUNITY — NOW, PARENTS CAN MAKE CHOICES, BUT I’D LOVE TO SEE AN OPPORTUNITY WHERE EVERY FOUR AND FIVE YEAR-OLD HAS ACCESS OR CHOICE TO BE ABLE TO ATTEND A QUALITY PRESCHOOL PROGRAM. AND I THINK THE RESEARCH SHOWS YOU AND OUR OWN DATA IN DEARBORN SHOWS YOU THAT STUDENTS WHO DO GO TO PRESCHOOL ARE MORE SUCCESSFUL. YOU ALSO CAN HEAD OFF SOME SPECIAL ED AND OTHER ISSUES BY GETTING TO THE KIDS EARLIER. YOU LOOK AT THE BRAIN RESEARCH, THE BRAIN AND ITS DEVELOPMENT THROUGH BIRTH THROUGH AGE SEVEN, SO WE KNOW THAT IT’S HARDER, THE OLDER KIDS GET, TO BE SUCCESSFUL, THAT WE NEED TO GET TO THEM AT AN EARLIER AGE. SO YES, EARLY CHILDHOOD SHOULD REMAIN A PRIORITY, BECOME EVEN MORE OF A PRIORITY, AND GIVE PARENTS THAT OPTION TO PUT THEIR KIDS IN A QUALITY PRESCHOOL PROGRAM.>>WE HAVE A FEW MORE MINUTES. I WANT TO LEAVE SOME TIME AT THE END IN CASE THERE’S ANYTHING YOU WANT US TO ADDRESS. ANYBODY HAVE A BURNING OR UNANSWERED QUESTION FOR BRIAN THAT THEY ARE VERY EAGER TO ASK?>>YEAH, I HAVE –>>MICHELLE.>>I HAVE ONE. THANKS. ACTUALLY, I HAVE SEVERAL, BUT — [ LAUGHTER ] I HAVE TWO — I’M FROM DETROIT, AND I’M ALSO INVOLVED IN — THEY HAVE THIS COALITION THAT’S IN DETROIT, AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT HAS COME OUT IS A NEED TO STABILIZE. WE’VE HAD, I’M SURE EVERYONE KNOWS, HALF OF OUR KIDS IN CHARTERS, WE HAVE THE EMERGENCY — WE HAVE THE EAA AND ALL THIS. AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT HAS COME OUT IS THAT PRETTY MUCH ALL OF THE SEVERELY DISABLED KIDS ARE IN DETROIT PUBLIC SCHOOLS. THEY’RE NOT IN THE CHARTERS, THEY’RE — I MEAN, IF YOU’RE SEVERE COGNITIVE DISABILITY OR EVEN MODERATE COGNITIVE DISABILITY, FROM THE DATA THAT I’VE GOTTEN FROM THE DEPARTMENT, THERE ARE ZERO IN CHARTER SCHOOLS IN ALL OF WAYNE COUNTY, NOT JUST DETROIT. SO ONE OF THE THINGS THAT — SO WHEN WE SPEAK OF CHOICE, CHOICES, THERE’S NOT — I DON’T SEE ANY CHARTERS — I HAVE NOT SEEN CHARTER SCHOOLS FOR KIDS WITH THESE SEVERE DISABILITIES. HOW ARE — AND, YOU KNOW, IT’S ALSO A $28 MILLION DEFICIT, WE’VE CREATED $28 MILLION IN DEBT FOR DPS. SO WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO PROPOSE TO ADDRESS THIS?>>WELL, AS YOU JUST THROW AN EASY QUESTION ON THE TABLE, I’M SURE I’LL JUST HIT IT OUT OF THE PARK HERE IN A FEW SECONDS. CERTAINLY, I’M EXCITED ABOUT THE DETROIT COMMITTEE WORKING TOGETHER TO TRY TO COME UP WITH A DETROIT SOLUTION THAT CAN BE IMPLEMENTED IN DETROIT AND MAYBE, WITH SOME TWEAKS, BE IMPLEMENTED IN OTHER AREAS AS WELL. SO I WISH THE COMMITTEE MUCH GOOD WILL, BECAUSE I THINK THEY CAN TAKE OWNERSHIP AND CAN REALLY MAYBE COME UP WITH SOMETHING SPECIAL, SO I HOPE THE COMMITTEE DOES. YOU RAISE A VERY IMPORTANT ISSUE THAT IS TRUE IN TERMS OF THE NUMBER OF SPECIAL ED KIDS, PARTICULARLY SEVERE SPECIAL ED KIDS, AND THEIR SERVICE BY CHARTER SCHOOLS. THE RESOURCES JUST AREN’T THERE IN THE CHARTER SCHOOLS TO DO THAT. THAT’S WHY THEY COME BACK, OR ARE ALWAYS SERVED BY THE TRADITIONAL PUBLIC SCHOOLS, AND THAT’S AN ISSUE THAT NEEDS TO BE LOOKED AT, HOW THOSE SERVICES ARE PROVIDING THEM, AND WHO’S PROVIDING THEM. ARE WE GETTING SUCCESS? YOU RAISE A VERY, VERY DIFFICULT QUESTION, AND I’M REALLY HOPING THE DETROIT COMMITTEE CAN COME UP WITH AN ANSWER, BUT IN TERMS OF HELPING DETROIT OUT OF THE DEFICIT, WE HAVE TO DO THAT. YOU KNOW, PART OF ME IS FRUSTRATED BY THAT, BECAUSE QUITE FRANKLY, IN DEARBORN, WE SAW A CRISIS COMING, AND WE CAME TOGETHER AS AN EMPLOYEE GROUP AND MANAGEMENT TEAM AND BOARD OF EDUCATION, AND WE HEADED OFF THAT PROBLEM. NOW, MAYBE THE PROBLEM IS SO SEVERE IN DETROIT THEY COULDN’T HEAD IT OFF, AND THEREFORE WE HAVE TO PROVIDE SOME ASSISTANCE AND SUPPORT. I KNOW — OR, AT LEAST, THE RUMOR IS DETROIT HAS SET ASIDE SOME MONEY TO HELP DO THAT, AND I CERTAINLY WOULD ENCOURAGE THE LEGISLATURE TO DO — TO PROVIDE THE SUPPORT TO DETROIT AND ANY OTHER SCHOOL DISTRICT LIKE THAT WHO IS FACING THAT KIND OF ISSUE, SOME OF THEIR OWN CHOOSING, AND SOME JUST BECAUSE OF THE NATURE OF THE CHOICE AND WHERE STUDENTS ENDED UP GOING AND STAYING. IT’S A VERY DIFFICULT ISSUE, AND I WISH THE DETROIT GROUP WELL, AND I CERTAINLY WANT TO WORK WITH THEM IF I AM STATE SUPERINTENDENT OR EVEN IN DEARBORN, HOW WE CAN HELP THEM BE SUCCESSFUL.>>THANK YOU.>>I THINK ANOTHER LAST QUESTION, LUPE?>>OKAY. ONE LAST QUESTION. FROM ME, ANYWAY. OKAY, UNDERSTANDING THAT THE GOVERNOR, THE LEGISLATURE, THE STATE SUPERINTENDENT, THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION AND THE MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, WE ALL HAVE TO WORK TOGETHER TO GET THESE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT TO THE LEVEL THAT WE WANT. IN YOUR LAST INTERVIEW, YOU CRITICIZED THE DEPARTMENT FOR NOT BEING CUSTOMER-FOCUSED. DO YOU THINK YOU UNDERSTAND THE DAY-TO-DAY RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE DEPARTMENT AND ITS FEDERAL COMPLIANCE AND OVERSIGHT?>>YEAH, I THINK WHAT I SAID IS, IF YOU WENT BACK AND LISTENED TO IT, I SAID THAT EVEN IN DEARBORN SCHOOLS, WE CAN DO BETTER IN CUSTOMER SERVICE. AND I’VE BEEN THE SUPERINTENDENT THERE FOR SEVEN YEARS, AND WE CAN DO BETTER IN DEARBORN. AND THEN I SAID THAT IN THE DEPARTMENT, THEY DO A LOT OF THINGS WELL. I MEAN, WE GET A LOT OF GREAT SERVICES FROM MIKE RADKE, DR. TABRIZI, DAN HANRAHAN — I MEAN, I CAN LIST A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO DO A GREAT JOB AND PROVIDE A LOT OF GREAT SERVICES TO THE DEPARTMENT, TO LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO HELP US BE SUCCESSFUL. WHAT I WAS SAYING WAS THAT I WANTED TO WORK WITH THE BOARD OF EDUCATION TO MAKE THIS DEPARTMENT, AS GOOD AS IT IS, EVEN BETTER BY SETTING GOALS AND BY HOLDING THE DEPARTMENT ACCOUNTABLE TO SETTING THOSE GOALS. I DID CITE SOME EXAMPLES WHERE I THOUGHT THE DEPARTMENT COULD HAVE HANDLED THINGS DIFFERENTLY, AND I STAND BY THOSE. WE CAN — WHETHER — LET’S SAY YOU’D CHOSEN ME AS STATE SUPERINTENDENT. FIVE YEARS FROM NOW, I’M STILL GOING TO BE ABLE TO SAY WE CAN DO BETTER. I CAN DO BETTER AS STATE SUPERINTENDENT. THE DEPARTMENT CAN DO BETTER. WE ALWAYS HAVE TO BE CONSTANT LEARNERS. WE ALWAYS HAVE TO HOLD OURSELVES TO HIGH STANDARDS, AND WE SHOULD DO THAT. SO I WASN’T IN ANY WAY SAYING THE DEPARTMENT — OR KNOCKING THE DEPARTMENT AS A WHOLE OR SAYING THAT THERE WAS AN OVERALL PROBLEM WITH CUSTOMER SERVICE. I CITED JUST A COUPLE SMALL EXAMPLES, AND I COULD CITE A HUNDRED POSITIVE THINGS THE DEPARTMENT HAS DONE TO HELP DEARBORN BE SUCCESSFUL.>>THANK YOU.>>BRIAN, IS THERE — AGAIN, I APPRECIATE YOUR COMING FORWARD. IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADDITIONALLY SHARE ABOUT YOUR INTEREST, YOUR ABILITIES, TO HELP US IMPROVE EDUCATION IN MICHIGAN? YOU HAVEN’T HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE AS PART OF THE QUESTIONING. AND IS THERE ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADDRESS OR ASK US TO ADDRESS TO REASSURE YOU THAT YOU STILL WANT THE JOB? [ LAUGHTER ]>>WELL, IT’S AN EXCITING OPPORTUNITY TO WORK WITH THIS BOARD, TO WORK WITH THE GOVERNOR AND THE LEGISLATURE, TO REALLY TAKE PUBLIC EDUCATION, LIKE MIKE HAS DONE A GREAT JOB MOVING THE NEEDLE, AND I WANT TO JUST CONTINUE MOVING THAT NEEDLE. YOU KNOW, WE OWE IT TO — LOOKING AT THE FACE OF THOSE 100 KIDS WE TALKED ABOUT EARLIER, AND GIVING IT ALL WE CAN GIVE THEM IN TERMS OF SUPPORT TO HELP THEM BE SUCCESSFUL. YOU KNOW, I AM A COALITION BUILDER. I’M A LEADER WHO HAS A RECORD OF SUCCESS IN TERMS OF BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER. I’M BIPARTISAN. I BELIEVE WE CAN WORK TOGETHER TO SHAPE PUBLIC EDUCATION IN A MANNER THAT IS HELPING US TO RAISE STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT, GRADUATION RATES AND ACCOUNTABILITY. AND I WOULD CHERISH THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK WITH THE BOARD TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN, AND TO WORK WITH THE GOVERNOR AND THE LEGISLATURE TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN. IT’S A GREAT OPPORTUNITY, AND WHOEVER YOU HIRE HAS A WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY TO HELP, AND I JUST HOPE YOU GIVE ME THAT OPPORTUNITY.>>THANK YOU, BRIAN. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR OFFERING YOUR SERVICE, AND I VERY MUCH APPRECIATE YOUR INTERVIEWS. THANK YOU. WE WILL STAND AT EASE. WE’LL START PROMPTLY AT FIVE AFTER THE HOUR WITH OUR NEXT INTERVIEW, SO LET’S TAKE A QUICK BREAK AND WE’LL RECONVENE.

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