Michigan State Board of Education Meeting April 24, 2019: Michael Rice Interview


>>GOOD MORNING. THE TIME IS NOW 9:33 AM AND A QUORUM OF THE BOARD IS PRESENT. THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION SPECIAL MEETING OF APRIL 24TH, 2019 IS CALLED TO ORDER. FIRST ON OUR AGENDA IS APPROVAL OF THE AGENDA IN ORDER OF PRIORITY. MAY I PLEASE HAVE A MOTION TO APPROVE THE AGENDA IN ORDER OF PRIORITY?>>SO MOVED.>>SUPPORT.>>IT’S BEEN MOVED AND SUPPORTED. IS THERE DISCUSSION? HEARING NONE. ALL THOSE IN FAVOR PLEASE SAY, “AYE.”>>AYE.>>AYE.>>AYE.>>OPPOSED, NAY. MOTION CARRIES. MARILYN, PLEASE INTRODUCE THE MEMBERS OF THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION.>>GLADLY. TO MY IMMEDIATE LEFT IS CASANDRA ULBRICH. SHE’S THE PRESIDENT OF THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION. SHE’S SERVING AS CHAIR AT THIS MEETING. AS WE GO AROUND THE TABLE, TO THE LEFT, PAMELA PUGH IS THE BOARD’S VICE PRESIDENT. SHE’S FROM SAGINAW. CASANDRA’S FROM ROCHESTER HILLS. MICHELLE FECTEAU’S THE BOARD SECRETARY. SHE’S FROM DETROIT. NIKKI SNYDER, BOARD MEMBER FROM DEXTER. TIFFANY TILLEY, BOARD MEMBER FROM SOUTHFIELD. AND AS WE GO ACROSS THE TABLE, JUDY PRITCHETT, BOARD MEMBER FROM WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP. LUPE RAMOS-MONTIGNY, BOARD MEMBER FROM GRAND RAPIDS. NEXT TO ME, THE BOARD’S TREASURER, TOM McMILLIN. HE’S FROM OAKLAND TOWNSHIP. I’M MARILYN SCHNEIDER. I’M THE STATE BOARD EXECUTIVE. THANK YOU.>>THANK YOU. WE HAVE PUBLIC PARTICIPATION FORMS ON THE TABLES AT THE END. IF YOU PLAN TO OFFER A PUBLIC COMMENT AT TODAY’S MEETING, PLEASE COMPLETE A FORM AND GET IT TO MARILYN, AND LIKE I SAID, FORMS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE TABLE JUST OUTSIDE OF THE BOARD ROOM. OKAY, SO WE ARE HERE AGAIN THIS WEEK. ON MONDAY WE WERE HERE AND WE HEARD FROM TWO CANDIDATES FOR STATE SUPERINTENDENT. TODAY WE WILL HEAR FROM THREE CANDIDATES. OUR FINAL THREE FIRST-ROUND INTERVIEWS. JUST A REMINDER THAT WE HAVE A RANKING SHEET IN YOUR PACKET. THE RANKING SHEET, JUST TO BE CLEAR, IS NOT THE FINAL DETERMINATE. SO, THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU TO KIND OF RANK YOUR THOUGHTS AS THE CANDIDATES PRESENT THEMSELVES. AND THEN WE WILL HAVE DISCUSSION AT THE END OF THE DAY TODAY. JUST BECAUSE YOU GAVE ONE CANDIDATE MORE POINTS THAN THE OTHER, DOESN’T NECESSARILY MEAN THAT YOU ARE SAYING “THIS IS THE CANDIDATE I WANT TO MOVE FORWARD.” THAT WILL BE DECIDED AS WE HAVE OUR DISCUSSION THIS AFTERNOON.>>EXCUSE ME?>>YES.>>BUT IT WILL HELP US WHO WE DETERMINE–>>ABSOLUTELY.>>WHO WE ARE GOING TO CHOOSE PERSONALLY, THAT’S GOING TO BE MY SCORE.>>THAT IS CORRECT.>>SO THAT’S IMPORTANT THAT WE–>>BUT IF THE–>>YES. AND THE SCORING, I LEFT OPEN. ONE IS THE LOWEST NUMBER, TEN IS THE HIGHEST. YOU DECIDE BETWEEN THERE HOW YOU WANT TO DETERMINE YOUR OWN RANKINGS. SO IF YOU DECIDE THAT SEVEN IS AN APPROPRIATE RANKING, THEN THAT’S FINE. SOMEONE ELSE MAY DECIDE FOUR IS AN APPROPRIATE RANKING. THAT IS COMPLETELY UP TO YOU. OTHER QUESTIONS?>>WELL, BUT TO BE CLEAR, IF WE RANK– IF WE SCORE OUR– AND, YOU KNOW, THERE’S TWO CANDIDATES THAT ARE AT THE TOP, IT DOESN’T MEAN WE HAVE TO SAY THOSE TWO CANDIDATES–>>CORRECT.>>–ARE MY CHOICE. IT JUST– THIS IS– THIS IS A TOOL.>>THAT IS CORRECT. THIS IS A USEFUL TOOL FOR YOU. IT IS NOT THE ONLY THING THAT WE WILL UTILIZE THIS AFTERNOON.>>THANK YOU.>>BECAUSE SOME CATEGORIES MAY BE MORE IMPORTANT.>>RIGHT.>>THAT IS CORRECT.>>RIGHT.>>ABSOLUTELY.>>BUT THERE’S TWENTY.>>YES. [ LAUGHS ]>>OKAY, IF THERE ARE NO OTHER QUESTIONS, THEN LET’S ASK DR. MICHAEL RICE TO COME JOIN US AT THE TABLE.>>THANK YOU, MICHELLE.>>YOU’RE WELCOME.>>WE HAD SOME ISSUES, YEAH.>>I’D LIKE TO INTRODUCE DR. MICHAEL RICE.>>GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE.>>GOOD MORNING.>>GOOD MORNING.>>GOOD MORNING.>>WELL, THANK YOU, DR. RICE, FOR JOINING US AND FOR PUTTING YOUR NAME INTO THE HAT FOR THIS NEXT STATE SUPERINTENDENT. WE HAVE 90 MINUTES FOR THE INTERVIEW AND AS YOU KNOW, WE HAVE A SERIES OF QUESTIONS THAT WE WILL ASK AND I WILL GIVE YOU, KIND OF AN UPDATE ON TIME AS WE MOVE FORWARD, SO YOU CAN ADJUST BASED ON WHAT YOU THINK IS– NEEDS TO BE SAID IN THE TIME ALLOTTED. SO LET’S GET STARTED WITH YOU JUST TAKING A FEW MINUTES TO INTRODUCE YOURSELF AND TELL US WHY YOU’D LIKE TO BE MICHIGAN’S NEXT STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION.>>WELL, GOOD MORNING, BOARD. THANK YOU FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE HERE TODAY. MY STORY, MY CHILDHOOD, BEGAN IN OHIO, WHICH, ARGUABLY, IS GROUNDS FOR DISQUALIFICATION IN THE PROCESS TODAY. [ LAUGHING ] I APPRECIATE YOU OVERLOOKING THAT FLAW IN MY BACKGROUND. AT 18, I WENT EAST FOR MY EDUCATION. BACHELOR’S DEGREE IN PSYCHOLOGY WITH HONORS FROM YALE UNIVERSITY. BY THE TIME THAT I HAD GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE, I HAD WORKED IN TWO VERY DIFFERENT SUMMER CAMPS FOR TWO VERY DIFFERENT GROUPS OF YOUNG PEOPLE. I HAD BEEN A PART OF THE SOCIO-EMOTIONAL LEARNING PROJECT IN THE NEW HAVEN PUBLIC SCHOOLS. I HAD BEEN A BIG BROTHER TO A TERRIFIC YOUNG MAN, WHO’S STILL MY LITTLE BROTHER. NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT HE IS 48 YEARS AND NOW A GRANDFATHER. I WENT TO WASHINGTON DC AS A CONGRESSIONAL INTERN. I WROTE AND RESEARCHED ON FEDERAL EDUCATION POLICY. AND I HAD THE VERY PROFOUND PRIVILEGE TO TEACH HIGH SCHOOL FRENCH AND START AND COACH SPEECH AND DEBATE PROGRAMS IN THE WASHINGTON DC PUBLIC SCHOOLS. FOR GRADUATE SCHOOL, I WENT TO NEW YORK UNIVERSITY. UM, MASTERS DEGREE AND PHD IN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION WITH HONORS. THREE DOCTORAL COMPREHENSIVE FIELDS. MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATIONAL ANALYSIS, POLICY ANALYSIS AND EDUCATION FINANCE. HAD THE OPPORTUNITY WHILE AT NYU, NOT NECESSARILY ASSOCIATED WITH TEACHING HIGH SCHOOL FRENCH, BUT HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO TEACH GRADUATE SCHOOL OF STATISTICS, BE A GRADUATE RESEARCH ASSISTANT, WORK IN EDUCATION POLICY IN NEW YORK CITY. I WROTE A DOCTORAL DISSERTATION ON NEW YORK CITY SCHOOL BASED MANAGEMENT. “AUTHORITY AND INFLUENCE IN NEW YORK CITY SCHOOL BASED MANAGEMENT.” WHAT WAS HAPPENING AT THE GROUND LEVEL IN CHANCELLOR FERNANDES’ SCHOOL BASED MANAGEMENT IN NEW YORK CITY. NEWLY MARRIED, NEWLY MINTED PHD, MY WIFE AND I WENT BACK TO WASHINGTON DC WHERE I WAS FINANCE DIRECTOR OF THE DC CITY COUNCIL, WORKING ON LOCAL DC ISSUES. CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER OF THE DC PUBLIC SCHOOLS, AND THEN, MORE BROADLY, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER OF THE FORT WAYNE COMMUNITY SCHOOLS, DEPUTY SUPERINTENDENT FOR BUSINESS RIGHT HERE IN LANSING, IN THE LANSING SCHOOL DISTRICT. EACH OF THOSE EXPERIENCES PROVIDED ME WITH AN OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN MORE BROADLY, TO CONTRIBUTE MORE BROADLY IN [ INDISTINCT ]. IN 2002, I BECAME SUPERINTENDENT OF THE CLIFTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS, CLIFTON, NEW JERSEY. CLIFTON IS A MAJORITY MINORITY, OR A MAJORITY OF COLOR DISTRICT IN NORTHERN NEW JERSEY, 20 MINUTES FROM MIDTOWN MANHATTAN. CLIFTON, AT THE TIME THAT I LEFT WAS APPROXIMATELY 44% LATINO, 44% WHITE WITH SMALLER PERCENTAGES OF AFRICAN AMERICAN, ASIAN AMERICAN, AND NATIVE AMERICAN STUDENTS. WHILE IN CLIFTON, THE BOARD OF EDUCATION AND I CRAFTED A STRATEGIC PLAN, IMPLEMENTED FULL DAY KINDERGARTEN, WORKED HARD TO ENGAGE A COMMUNITY THAT WAS HARD TO ENGAGE. CLIFTON WAS A, AND STILL REMAINS A PRETTY FRUGAL COMMUNITY. AND IN NEW JERSEY, WHEN I WAS THERE, YOU HAD TO PASS ANNUAL BUDGETS BY VOTES OF YOUR CITIZENRY. WHAT THAT MEANT WAS THAT THE BOARD PASSED THEIR BUDGETS AND THEN YOU WENT OUT AND YOU SOLD THAT BUDGET EACH YEAR TO YOUR– TO YOUR CITIZENRY, AND IN THE 14 YEARS BEFORE I’D GOTTEN THERE, THEY HAD PASSED 3 OF 14 BUDGETS. NOT NECESSARILY AWE INSPIRING. WE PASSED 8 VOTER QUESTIONS IN FIVE YEARS AND CLIFTON BUILT THE FIRST NEW SCHOOL IN CLIFTON IN 42 YEARS. IMPLEMENTED FULL DAY KINDERGARTEN, NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE FELT FULL DAY KINDERGARTEN WAS CHILD CARE. DIDN’T THINK WE HAD THE MONEY FOR IT. DIDN’T THINK THAT WE HAD THE SPACE FOR IT. WE PILOTED IT, WE EXPANDED IT, WE EXPANDED IT, ULTIMATELY IMPLEMENTED FULL DAY KINDERGARTEN AND RAISED STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT IN ALL LONG-TERM BOARD GOAL AREAS. IN 2007 I BECAME SUPERINTENDENT OF KALAMAZOO PUBLIC SCHOOLS. 73.4 MILES AWAY FROM THIS BUILDING. AND HAVE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK THERE FOR THE LAST 12 YEARS ON BEHALF OF ANOTHER DIVERSE COMMUNITY. THIS ONE IN MICHIGAN. WE’RE 38% AFRICAN AMERICAN. WE’RE 36% WHITE. WE’RE APPROXIMATELY 13% LATINO OR HISPANIC. A LITTLE BIT UNDER 11% MULTI-ETHNIC. A LITTLE BIT LESS THAN 2% ASIAN-AMERICAN. LESS THAN 1% NATIVE AMERICAN. WE’RE 71% FREE OR REDUCED PRICE LUNCH ELIGIBLE. A NUMBER OF OUR SCHOOLS ARE 90+% FREE OR REDUCED PRICE LUNCH ELIGIBLE. WE RECORDED THE LARGEST NUMBER OF HOMELESS CHILDREN LAST YEAR IN THE STATE OF MICHIGAN AT 905. WE’RE ALSO THE HOME, AS YOU KNOW, OF THE “KALAMAZOO PROMISE,” FREE COLLEGE TUITION FOR THOSE WHO GRADUATE FROM OUR– FROM OUR HIGH SCHOOLS. IN THE LAST 12 YEARS, OUR BOARD OF EDUCATION AND I HAVE WORKED ON LONG-TERM BOARD GOALS. WE BELIEVE STRONGLY ON ESTABLISHING GOALS AND WORKING TOWARD THOSE GOALS OVER A PERIOD OF YEARS, NOT CONSTANTLY CHANGING TARGETS AND CERTAINLY NOT HAVING NO TARGETS AT ALL. WE ESTABLISHED LONG-TERM BOARD GOALS IN JANUARY OF 2009. WE’VE AMENDED THOSE GOALS AND THE SUB GOALS AND THE METRIC SINCE, AS IS NEEDED, BECAUSE WE WENT, OF COURSE, AS YOU KNOW, BOARD, FROM LOW BAR MEAP TO HIGH BAR MEAP TO M-STEP WITHIN THE STATE. AND WE, IN OUR DISTRICT, USE NWEA MAP AS A REGULAR TRACKING MECHANISM IN READING AND MATH, SO WE’VE HAD TO AMEND OUR SUB GOALS AND METRICS, BUT WE’VE STAYED CONSTANT ON OUR FIVE GOALS. THE IMPROVEMENT OF READING, WRITING, MATH, ADVANCED PLACEMENT PARTICIPATION AND SUCCESS, AND GRADUATION RATES. IN NOVEMBER OF 2016, WE ADDED TWO LONG-TERM GOALS. WE ADDED A GOAL TO IMPROVE DISTRICT MARKETING AND CUSTOMER SERVICE, NUMBER ONE. AND WE ADDED A GOAL TO CONTINUE TO IMPROVE CAREER AWARENESS, EXPLORATION AND DEVELOPMENT IN THE SO-CALLED MIDDLE YEARS OF EDUCATION. WE DEFINED MIDDLE YEARS AS 4TH THROUGH 10TH GRADE, SEPARATE AND DISTINCT FROM MIDDLE SCHOOL. WE HAVE RAISED STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT IN ALL LONG-TERM BOARD ESTABLISHED GOAL AREAS, NO EXCEPTIONS, AND I LOOK FORWARD TO TALKING A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT THAT DEEPER IN THE INTERVIEW. I THINK THOSE ARE– THOSE ARE IMPORTANT ACCOMPLISHMENTS, PARTICULARLY IN A MICHIGAN THAT HAS CHIPPED AWAY AT OUR FINANCES PRETTY SUBSTANTIALLY ON AN INFLATION ADJUSTED BASIS. OVER THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS. IT’S BECOME HARDER TO DO WHAT WE DO IN THIS STATE AND NOTWITHSTANDING A PRETTY SUBSTANTIAL HEADWIND. WE CONTINUE TO MAKE PROGRESS IN THIS STATE, AND NOT FOR SOME KIDS, BUT FOR ALL KIDS. WE’RE A LARGER DISTRICT THAN WE WERE WHEN I STARTED. WE’RE 1,300 STUDENTS LARGER THAN WE WERE WHEN I STARTED. WE’VE PASSED THREE BONDS IN THE LAST TEN YEARS. WE’VE BUILT THE FIRST THREE NEW SCHOOLS IN THE DISTRICT SINCE 1972. THAT’S A THING, AS YOU KNOW, WITH A DECLINING ENROLLMENT DISTRICT, YOU’RE USED TO CLOSING SCHOOLS, AND THAT’S WHAT WE WERE PRIOR TO THE PROMISE’S BEGINNING IN 2005. I STARTED IN ’07. WE’VE GROWN 1,300 KIDS SINCE 2007. WE ALSO PASSED A SPECIAL EDUCATION MILLAGE. PRETTY IMPORTANT SPECIAL EDUCATION MILLAGE IN 2015, BECAUSE WE WERE UNDERFUNDED NOT ONLY IN WHAT WE WERE DOING WITH OUR SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN, BUT MORE SUBSTANTIALLY WITH OUR GENERAL EDUCATION STUDENTS AS WELL OUR SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN BEING FEDERALLY PROTECTED, NOT THE CASE FOR OUR GENERAL EDUCATION STUDENTS. THEY SHOULD BE, BUT AREN’T. THAT, IN A NUTSHELL, IS MY BACKGROUND. BUT AS FAR AS WHY I’M HERE TODAY, I THINK THIS IS THE SECOND PART OF YOUR QUESTION, PRESIDENT ULBRICH. IT’S A GENERATIONAL MOMENT IN THE STATE’S HISTORY. IT’S A GENERATIONAL MOMENT, AT LEAST FROM MY PERSPECTIVE, WITH RESPECT TO SCHOOL FUNDING, WITH RESPECT TO LITERACY, ACCOUNTABILITY, ASSESSMENTS, CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION. THE LITERACY, IT’S A GENERATIONAL MOMENT, IF YOU WILL, FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE TEACHER SHORTAGE AND FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF SOCIO-EMOTIONAL LEARNING. IT IS A MOMENT IN OUR STATE’S HISTORY, AND I WANT TO WORK WITH YOU, STATE BOARD MEMBERS, IN THAT MOMENT.>>GOOD MORNING.>>GOOD MORNING.>>AND MY QUESTION THAT I HAVE AT THIS TIME IS, WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF PUBLIC EDUCATION?>>WELL, THESE ARE BIG QUESTIONS AND I KNOW I’M GOING TO HAVE TO SHOEHORN MY THINKING INTO SMALL SPACES. SO IF YOU NEED MORE CLARIFICATION, HAVE AT IT. THREE BROAD PURPOSES TO PUBLIC EDUCATION IN– FROM MY PERSPECTIVE. ONE, YOU HAVE TO GIVE CHILDREN THE KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, AND ABILITIES TO EARN A LIVING IN ADULTHOOD. TWO, YOU HAVE TO GIVE CHILDREN THE KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, AND ABILITY TO PARTICIPATE SUCCESSFULLY AS CITIZENS IN ADULTHOOD. THEY HAVE TO HAVE THE TOOLS TO PARTICIPATE AS CITIZENS IN ADULTHOOD. AND THREE, IT SEEMS TO ME THAT YOU’VE GOT TO GIVE YOUNG PEOPLE THE WIDEST POSSIBLE OPPORTUNITIES FOR– THE OPPORTUNITY TO PURSUE THEIR DREAMS. THEY MUST HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO PURSUE THEIR DREAMS. THEIR SENSE OF WHAT THEY WANT TO BE IN THEIR LIVES. IT WAS LANGSTON HUGHES WHO WROTE IN THE POEM “DREAMS,” “HOLD FAST TO DREAMS FOR IF DREAMS DIE, LIFE IS A BROKEN WINGED BIRD THAT CAN NOT FLY.” WE TAKE A THOUSAND FIRST GRADERS EVERY YEAR TO THE LIBRARY. WE TAKE THEM THERE THREE TIMES A YEAR, CLASS BY CLASS. I’M TALKING ABOUT THE PUBLIC LIBRARY. NOT THE SCHOOL LIBRARY, THE PUBLIC LIBRARY, BECAUSE THE PUBLIC LIBRARY’S OPEN VIRTUALLY EVERY DAY AND THEY NEED BOOKS EVERY DAY, NOT SOME DAYS. WE TAKE A THOUSAND FIRST GRADERS TO THE LIBRARY THREE TIMES A YEAR TO TEACH THEM HOW TO USE THE LIBRARY, TO GET A LIBRARY CARD, CHECK A BOOK OUT, RETURN THE BOOK, LEARN MORE ABOUT SUMMER READING, BECAUSE SUMMER READING IS CRITICAL. THEY CAN’T READ JUST DURING THE SCHOOL YEAR, BECAUSE THE SUMMER SLIDE IS A TREMENDOUS UNDERMINING OF THEIR ABILITY TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN SCHOOL. THIRD GRADE… I READ TO ALL THE THIRD GRADERS. I SPEND AN HOUR TALKING WITH THEM ABOUT THEIR DREAMS, TALKING WITH THEM ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THEIR DREAMS AND SCHOOL, THEIR DREAMS AND READING, THEIR DREAMS AND HIGHER EDUCATION. THAT THE DREAMS THAT THEY HAVE FOR THEIR LIVES, NOT MY DREAMS FOR THEIR LIVES, BUT THEIR DREAMS FOR THEIR LIVES, ARE DEPENDENT UPON HOW THEY DO IN SCHOOL. AND, YEAH, I DO READ LANGSTON HUGHES POETRY WITH THEM. ABSOLUTELY. SIXTH GRADE… WE TAKE A THOUSAND SIXTH GRADERS TO WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY. WE TAKE EVERY SIXTH GRADER TO WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY. NOT SOME, BUT EVERYONE, BECAUSE WE BELIEVE IN THE CAPACITY OF EVERY SINGLE SIXTH GRADER TO BE SUCCESSFUL. NOT SIMPLY IN HIGH SCHOOL, MIDDLE SCHOOL, HIGH SCHOOL, BUT ALSO IN POST SECONDARY EDUCATION. AND WE’RE NOT GOING TO MAKE ANY PREDETERMINATIONS ABOUT WHO’S CAPABLE AND WHO ISN’T, OF SUCCESS ON A COLLEGE CAMPUS. WE BRING THEM THERE TO GIVE THEM A TASTE OF WHAT LIFE IS LIKE ON A COLLEGE CAMPUS AND TO SHOW THEM THAT WE AND WESTERN BELIEVE IN THEIR ABILITY TO BE SUCCESSFUL THERE. SO THREE BROAD GOALS, IT SEEMS TO ME, OF PUBLIC EDUCATION. THE FIRST, TO HELP KIDS EARN LIVINGS IN ADULTHOOD. THE SECOND, TO PARTICIPATE SUCCESSFULLY AS ADULTS IN THE CITIZENRY AS THEY GROW UP AND THE THIRD, TO PURSUE THEIR DREAMS, WHATEVER THOSE DREAMS ARE, FOR THEIR LIVES.>>OKAY, MY QUESTION NUMBER THREE FOR YOU. DURING THE FIRST 90 DAYS ON THE JOB, HOW MIGHT YOU GO ABOUT DETERMINING THE STRENGTH, WEAKNESSES, OPPORTUNITIES, AND THREATS OF THE MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND WHAT SPECIFIC STEPS WOULD YOU TAKE?>>WELL, YOU KNOW, THE DEPARTMENT HAS A CHALLENGING TASK. IT REMINDS ME A LITTLE BIT OF THE OLD “SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE” COMMERCIAL, “NEW SHIMMER.” IT’S A FLOOR WAX AND A DESSERT TOPPING. YOU KNOW, IT’S HARD– IT’S PROBABLY, ARGUABLY IMPOSSIBLE TO BE A FLOOR WAX AND A DESSERT TOPPING. IT’S DIFFICULT TO BE BOTH A CUSTOMER SERVICE PROVIDER / TECHNICAL SUPPORT ON THE ONE HAND AND A COMPLIANCE MONITOR ON THE OTHER. BUT IT CAN BE DONE AND I THINK IT CAN BE DONE BETTER THAN IT CURRENTLY IS. I’VE SEEN IMPROVEMENTS IN THE DEPARTMENT OVER A PERIOD OF TIME. I THINK THOSE D– THOSE IMPROVEMENTS CAN CONTINUE TO TAKE PLACE. SO WITH RESPECT TO SWOT, WITH RESPECT TO STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES, OPPORTUNITIES AND THREATS, I’D BEGIN WITH ONE ON ONE MEETINGS WITH THE BOARD. YOU’RE THE BOARD. I’D LIKE TO UNDERSTAND WHAT YOUR THOUGHTS ARE, WITH RESPECT TO STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES, OPPORTUNITIES AND THREATS OF THE DEPARTMENT. I’D HAVE FOCUS GROUPS AND SURVEYS OF CUSTOMERS OF THE DEPARTMENT. WHAT DO THE CUSTOMERS THINK OF THE DEPARTMENT? TO WHAT EXTENT ARE THEY GETTING CUSTOMER SERVICE FROM THE DEPARTMENT? TO WHAT EXTENT DO THEY THINK THAT THE DEPARTMENT’S CUSTOMER SERVICE CAN BE IMPROVED? I’D HAVE MEETINGS AND SURVEYS OF DEPARTMENT STAFF. I’D LIKE TO UNDERSTAND HOW THE DEPARTMENT FEELS IT’S DOING, OFFICE BY OFFICE. AND I’D LIKE TO COMPARE THAT DATA TO THE DATA OF-OF CUSTOMERS. SO I THINK THAT THERE’S AN IMPORTANT COMPARISON THERE. I’D LIKE TO MEET WITH STAKEHOLDER GROUPS. ASSOCIATIONS, UNIONS, LEGISLATORS AND BUSINESS FOLK. I’D LIKE TO UNDERSTAND THEIR THINKING ABOUT THE DEPARTMENT AND THEIR THINKING ABOUT THE RESPONSIVENESS OF THE DEPARTMENT. AND, IF NECESSARY OR AS NECESSARY, I WOULD ENGAGE AN OUTSIDE CONSULTANT OR TWO TO IMPROVE AREAS WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT. OR, AT LEAST TO MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR IMPROVEMENTS WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT. TWENTY.>>SO, TWO PARTS. DESCRIBE YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE AND SUCCESS IN A LARGE, COMPLEX ORGANIZATION AND WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR MAJOR STRENGTHS AS A LEADER? PLEASE GIVE EXAMPLES.>>WELL, I’M STUDENT FOCUSED. I HAVE THREE STUDENT ADVISORY COUNCILS A MONTH. I WANT TO HEAR FROM MY CUSTOMERS ABOUT HOW WE’RE DOING. I WANT TO HEAR FROM KIDS AT GROUND LEVEL, WHAT THEY THINK ABOUT THEIR EDUCATION. I WANT TO HEAR THEIR QUESTIONS FOR WHAT WE’RE DOING AND SEE WHAT GAPS THEY THINK THERE ARE IN WHAT WE DO AND HOW WE DO. I’M COLLABORATIVE. I HAVE A TEACHER ADVISORY COUNCIL WITH WHICH I MEET MONTHLY. A PARENT ADVISORY COUNCIL WITH WHICH I MEET MONTHLY. I HAVE OTHER COMMUNICATION VEHICLES. INSTRUCTIONAL LEADERSHIP, KEY COMMUNICATORS, UNION LEADERSHIP, FAITH-BASED ORGANIZATIONS, BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS WITH WHICH I MEET ON A PERIODIC BASIS. I HAVE A BOARD. WE MEET TWICE A MONTH AS A RULE. WE HAVE FOUR BOARD COMMITTEES. WE’RE INTEGRALLY INVOLVED IN WHAT WE DO. I’M PARTNERING. WE HAVE 250 PARTNERS IN OUR COMMUNITY. I’M PASSIONATE ABOUT CHILDREN. IF THAT DOESN’T COME ACROSS IN THE NEXT HOUR AND A HALF, EITHER I HAVEN’T CLEARLY EXPRESSED WHO I AM, OR YOU’VE DOZED OFF DURING MY INTERVIEW, WHICH DOESN’T SPEAK WELL OF ME EITHER. I’M DRIVEN, I’M FOCUSED, I’M PRAGMATIC, ONE COULD ARGUE, A LITTLE BIT EDGY. BUT, IT’S EDGINESS IN SUPPORT OF CHILDREN. THERE ARE 1.5 MILLION CHILDREN IN THE STATE. THERE ARE 13,200 PRE-KINDERGARTEN THROUGH 12TH GRADE IN KALAMAZOO. WE CAN DO BETTER BY OUR KIDS. NOT SIMPLY IN KALAMAZOO, BUT IN THE STATE, AND IT’S THAT EDGINESS THAT I THINK DRIVES ME. COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT. JUST TO GIVE YOU A SENSE OF LEADERSHIP. COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT IN CLIFTON, I ALREADY MENTIONED WE PASSED EIGHT VOTER QUESTIONS IN FIVE YEARS IN A COMMUNITY THAT HAD HAD DIFFICULTIES PASSING VOTER QUESTIONS PREVIOUSLY. BUILT THE FIRST NEW SCHOOL THERE IN 42 YEARS IN 2004. SCHOOL SEVENTEEN. THEY HAVE VERY CREATIVE NAMES IN CLIFTON FOR THEIR SCHOOLS. FULL DAY KINDERGARTEN IN CLIFTON, WE WALKED THAT UP. WHAT I MEAN BY THAT IS IS THAT THERE WAS NO SUPPORT FOR FULL DAY KINDERGARTEN WHEN I CAME TO THE DISTRICT. WE BEGAN A STRATEGIC PLANNING PROCESS, WOVE IN THE IDEA OF A PILOT FOR FULL DAY KINDERGARTEN AT SCHOOL SEVENTEEN, AT THAT NEW SCHOOL AND THAT WAS SUCCESSFUL. VERY POPULAR AMONG PARENTS. WE EXPANDED IT TO SCHOOLS ONE, FOUR, NINE AND SIXTEEN. THE NEXT YEAR, SCHOOLS TWO, FIVE AND EIGHT THE YEAR AFTER. AND FINALLY THE REMAINING SIX SCHOOLS IN SEPTEMBER OF 2007. BY THE WAY, FULL DAY KINDERGARTEN IN KALAMAZOO, WE ALSO IMPLEMENTED, BUT WE DID IT IN ONE FELL SWOOP IN 2008. WE WENT FROM 176 CHILDREN TO 962 CHILDREN IN FULL DAY KINDERGARTEN. WE QUINTUPLED THE NUMBER OF KIDS IN FULL DAY KINDERGARTEN IN ONE YEAR. DIFFERENT JURISDICTION, DIFFERENT POLITICS, DIFFERENT ACCEPTANCE INITIALLY OF FULL DAY KINDERGARTEN. REQUIRED A DIFFERENT APPROACH IN A DIFFERENT COMMUNITY AND, YOU KNOW, YOU HAVE TO– YOU SORT OF HAVE TO UNDERSTAND YOUR CONTEXT TO LEAD WITHIN THAT CONTEXT. THE COUNTY-WIDE SPECIAL EDUCATION MILLAGE IN MAY OF 2015. YOU MAY REMEMBER MAY 5TH, 2015. I DO. IT WAS THE DAY THAT THE STATE’S TRANSPORTATION REFERENDUM WENT DOWN IN A HEAP. WE PASSED THE SPECIAL EDUCATION MILLAGE THAT DAY. I THINK THE RECORD WILL SHOW THAT NOT TOO MANY PEOPLE WERE FOOLISH ENOUGH TO PUT ANYTHING ELSE ON THE BALLOT ON MAY 5TH, 2015. WE WORKED HARD WITHIN OUR COUNTY TO PROMOTE THE NOTION OF A COUNTYWIDE SPECIAL EDUCATION MILLAGE SHOWED THAT WE WERE BEING UNDERFUNDED IN SPECIAL EDUCATION BY MILLIONS OF DOLLARS COUNTYWIDE A YEAR. MADE THE CASE. I PUSHED IT WITH MY BOARD. PUSHED IT WITH OTHER SUPERINTENDENTS, OTHER BOARDS, AND OVER A PERIOD OF TIME THE DRUM BEAT GOT LOUDER AND LOUDER AND LOUDER IN SPITE OF THE STATE CONTEXT, WHICH WASN’T A GOOD CONTEXT TO BE ON THE BALLOT. WE, NONETHELESS, MOVED THAT INITIATIVE FORWARD AND PASSED THAT– PASSED THAT INITIATIVE MAY 5TH, 2015. I BELIEVE BY 753 VOTES, BUT WHO’S COUNTING?>>THE MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION DEVELOPED A TOP 10 IN 10 PLAN. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE PLAN? ARE THERE ANY CHANGES, ADDITIONS, OR DELETIONS YOU WOULD RECOMMEND TO THIS PLAN?>>WELL, FIRST OF ALL, I THINK AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF WORK HAS BEEN PUT INTO THE TOP 10 IN 10 PLAN AND I THINK IT’S A CREDIT TO THE DEPARTMENT. I THINK IT’S A CREDIT TO THE BOARD. I THINK THERE’S A LOT– I THINK THERE’S A LOT OF THERE-THERE, IF YOU WILL. I PARTICULARLY APPRECIATE THE FOCUS ON WHOLE CHILD. THE FOCUS ON WRAP AROUND SERVICES. THE APPRECIATION THAT A 1,098 HOURS A YEAR– IN A YEAR THAT HAS 8,760 HOURS, THAT YOU CAN’T GET IT DONE WITH 12 ½% OF A CHILD’S HOURS A YEAR. YOU’VE GOT TO WRAP AROUND ADDITIONAL SERVICES. THERE ARE CHILDREN WHO GET VERY LITTLE AT HOME. THEY NEED A WHOLE LOT MORE AT SCHOOL, AND SCHOOL CAN’T JUST BE THE 1,098 HOURS. AND YOU CAN READ THAT AND FEEL THAT THROUGHOUT THE TOP 10 IN 10 PLAN, AND SO I THINK THAT’S REALLY TO ITS– TO ITS CREDIT. WE HAVE MORE THAN 250 COMMUNITY PARTNERS IN KALAMAZOO. WE MENTIONED THAT EARLIER. ONE OF THOSE MAJOR PARTNERS IS COMMUNITY IN SCHOOLS OF KALAMAZOO, WHICH PROVIDES THOSE WRAP AROUND SERVICES FOR US IN 20 OF OUR 26 SCHOOLS. I’M ON THE BOARD, HAVE BEEN FOR 12 YEARS. I WORK WITH BUSINESS AND OTHER PARTNERS ON COMMUNITIES IN SCHOOLS OF KALAMAZOO. WITH THAT SAID, YOUR QUESTION WASN’T SIMPLY, “GIVE US PRAISE.” YOUR QUESTION WAS, “HOW MIGHT WE THINK ABOUT IMPROVING?” AT LEAST THAT’S WHAT I THOUGHT THE SPIRIT OF THE QUESTION WAS. SO– THAT SAID. I THINK THE ANNUAL REVIEW FOCUSES ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY ON INPUTS, ALMOST AT THE EXCLUSION OF OUTPUTS AND I THINK THAT NEEDS TO BE THOUGHT THROUGH A LITTLE BIT. THE REPORT READS AS A SERIES OF NARRATIVES OR TESTIMONIALS ABOUT DIFFERENT INITIATIVES. PERHAPS ALL LEGITIMATE, BUT NOT NECESSARILY LINKED TO SPECIFIC OUTCOMES, STUDENT OUTCOMES THAT YOU’RE TRYING TO DRIVE. THERE ARE VERY FEW OUTPUT METRICS IN THE ANNUAL REPORT AND THEY’RE BURIED AT THE END OF THE REPORT. THE OUTPUT METRICS, ODDLY, RARELY HAVE RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER STATES. IN OTHER WORDS, MICHIGAN IS RARELY RANKED IN THE OUTPUT METRICS. IT’S HARD TO UNDERSTAND HOW WE BECOME A TOP 10 IN 10 IF WE’RE NOT ACTUALLY RANKING OURSELF ON A NUMBER OF METRICS IN A TOP 10 IN 10. HOW WILL WE KNOW WHEN WE’VE BECOME A TOP 10 IN 10 STATE BASED ON OUR ANNUAL REPORT AT THIS TIME? I THINK THAT NEEDS TO BE THOUGHT THROUGH. YOU HAVE SEVEN GOALS, YOU HAVE 44 STRATEGIES. THAT’S A LOT TO CHEW ON, AND THAT’S ALSO A LOT TO FOCUS ON FOR A– FOR A STRATEGIC PLAN. DO LOCAL EDUCATORS KNOW WHAT’S IN THE TOP 10 IN 10 PLAN? CAN THEY ARTICULATE THE GOALS? CAN THEY ARTICULATE THE METRICS TO– THAT SHOW THOSE GOALS ARE BEING ATTAINED OR NOT? IF THEY CAN’T TELL YOU WHAT THE GOALS ARE. IF THEY CAN’T TELL YOU WHAT THE METRICS ARE, HOW EXACTLY ARE WE GOING TO MEET THOSE METRICS? YOU DON’T NECESSARILY– YOU’RE NOT NECESSARILY WEDDED TO COMPARING YOURSELF WITH OTHER STATES. I THINK THERE’S A VALUE TO IT. I’M NOT WALKING AWAY FROM THAT IDEA. BUT IT SEEMS TO ME YOU HAVE TWO CHOICES. IF YOU’RE GOING TO TRY TO BECOME A TOP TEN IN TEN STATE — AND I THINK WE SHOULD — WE OUGHT TO HAVE METRICS TO DEFINE WHEN WE’RE GETTING CLOSER AND WHEN WE’VE ARRIVED. IF YOU’RE NOT, MAYBE THE CHOICE IS TO SIMPLY TRY TO BECOME THE BEST MICHIGAN THAT WE CAN IN OUR EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM. ONE WAY OR THE OTHER, I THINK IT REQUIRES SOME LOOKING AT OUR ANNUAL REPORT AND HOW WE GO ABOUT VIEWING OUR EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM.>>THANK YOU.>>ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT TASKS OF THE SUPERINTENDENT IS ADVOCATING FOR THE BOARD’S STRATEGIC PLAN FOR IMPROVING EDUCATION WITH THE EXECUTIVE OFFICE, THE LEGISLATURE, AND THE EDUCATIONAL INTEREST GROUPS. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCE AND APPROACH IN DOING THIS SUCCESSFULLY? AND HOW WOULD YOU MANAGE SITUATIONS WHERE THE LEGISLATURE AND THE EXECUTIVE OFFICE ARE IN CONFLICT, RELATED TO THE EDUCATIONAL POLICY AND IMPLEMENTATION?>>WELL, THAT’S A QUESTION.>>YES, IT IS.>>THAT’S A BIG QUESTION FOR THREE MINUTES. I HAVE MULTI-STATE ADVOCACY EXPERIENCE. I’VE ADVOCATED WITH MEMBERS OF CONGRESS IN DIFFERENT STATES. I’VE ADVOCATED IN DIFFERENT LEGISLATURES IN LANSING, IN TRENTON, IN INDIANAPOLIS. I’VE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO ADVOCATED WITH, FOR, ARGUABLY IN CONFLICT WITH GOVERNORS’ OFFICES IN DIFFERENT STATES. I THINK THE MULTI-STATE EXPERIENCE IS IMPORTANT. I THINK THAT THERE’S A VALUE TO BEING ABLE TO WORK WITH A DIVERSITY OF PEOPLE. CROSS AND AISLE — REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS. ACROSS DIFFERENCES IN APPROACHES, IN LANGUAGE, IN EXPERIENCES. I THINK THAT’S VERY IMPORTANT FOR WHOMEVER YOU HIRE IN THIS POSITION. AS A RULE, I FOUND YOU CATCH MORE FLIES WITH HONEY THAN WITH VINEGAR. I THINK IT’S A BETTER APPROACH. THE REALITY IS THAT THE PERSON WITH WHOM YOU DISAGREE TODAY IS THE PERSON WITH WHOM YOU’RE GOING TO BE INTERACTING WITH TOMORROW ON A WHOLE RANGE OF DIFFERENT ISSUES. TO MIX METAPHORS, YOU BETTER NOT BURN YOUR BRIDGES. REALLY, REALLY IMPORTANT TO BE ABLE TO GET ACROSS WHAT YOU HAVE, TO GET ACROSS RESPECTFULLY, CLEARLY, PROFESSIONALLY, AND FIRMLY. IF THERE ARE DISAGREEMENTS BETWEEN THE LEGISLATURE AND THE EXECUTIVE OFFICE, AND THERE WILL BE DISAGREEMENTS, THERE HAVE BEEN AND THERE WILL CONTINUE TO BE DISAGREEMENTS, MY JOB IS TO ADVOCATE FOR THE POSITION OF THE STATE BOARD. I WORK FOR THE STATE BOARD. MY JOB WILL BE TO ADVOCATE FOR THE POSITION OF THE STATE BOARD OR, TO THE EXTENT POSSIBLE, THE CLOSEST I CAN GET TO A STATE BOARD POSITION, RECOGNIZING THAT THERE ARE TREMENDOUS CROSS-CURRENTS, AS YOU ARE AWARE THAT, AS MY DOCTORAL DISSERTATION POINTED OUT, THERE ARE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN AUTHORITY AND INFLUENCE. AND WHEN YOU ADVOCATE IN THIS ENVIRONMENT, YOU’RE WORKING ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY WITH INFLUENCE. AND NOT AT ALL WITH AUTHORITY. SO, IT’S YOUR ABILITY TO BE PERSUASIVE THAT’S GOING TO WIN THE DAY OR NOT. BUT MY JOB WOULD BE TO WORK WITH STATE BOARD TO PUSH OR ADVOCATE A STATE BOARD POSITION, TRY TO GET AS CLOSE TO THAT AS POSSIBLE, RECOGNIZING THAT THAT’S GOING TO BE EASIER IN CERTAIN CASES THAN IN OTHERS.>>THANK YOU.>>OKAY.>>THE NEXT QUESTION IS HOW HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO BUILD EFFECTIVE WORKING RELATIONSHIPS WITH UNIONS AND OTHER ORGANIZED EDUCATIONAL GROUPS? AND WHAT ABOUT THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY? AND I THINK YOU ANSWERED SOME OF THAT.>>OKAY.>>GIVE SPECIFIC EXAMPLES, PLEASE.>>SURE. SO, WITH RESPECT TO THE UNIONS, WE HAVE REGULAR MEETINGS IN OUR DISTRICT WITH UNIONS. I’VE HAD MONTHLY MEETINGS WITH UNION LEADERSHIP GROUPS, TEACHERS, ADMINISTRATORS, SUPPORT STAFF, PRESIDENTS AND THE LIKE FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS. OTHER YEARS, I’VE HAD UNION DINNERS, WHERE WE’VE DISCUSSED UNION CONCERNS, POINTS OF PRIDE, AND POINTS OF PROGRESS WITHIN THE DISTRICTS, AND AREAS IN WHICH WE NEED TO IMPROVE. I HAVE A STANDING MONTHLY LUNCH WITH OUR TEACHERS ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT. AND CERTAINLY VET ME WITH UNIONS, IF YOU CARE TO DO SO. WE HAVE WORKED WITH UNIONS ON CHANGING THE MIDDLE SCHOOL SCHEDULE, CHANGING THE HIGH SCHOOL SCHEDULE, THE CREATION OF EL SOL ELEMENTARY, OUR DUAL LANGUAGE SCHOOL, WHICH WE OPENED IN 2008– A SPANISH-ENGLISH SCHOOL AND A FORMERLY-SHUTTERED SCHOOL IN KALAMAZOO. WE WORKED WITH UNIONS ON TEACHER EVALUATION, PRIOR TO TEACHER EVALUATION BECOMING A PROHIBITED SUBJECT OF BARGAINING. WE BARGAINED A TEACHER EVALUATION PROCESS. SINCE 2011, WE DON’T BARGAIN THAT ANYMORE, BUT WE DO DISCUSS IT BECAUSE, AS THE BOARD IS AWARE, SIMPLY BECAUSE SOMETHING ISN’T BARGAINABLE DOESN’T MEAN IT CAN’T BE DISCUSSED AND THAT IT SHOULDN’T BE DISCUSSED. IT SHOULD BE DISCUSSED. OUR 800 TEACHERS DRIVE INSTRUCTION FOR OUR YOUNG PEOPLE. SO, THAT’S WITH RESPECT TO UNIONS. WITH RESPECT TO OTHER GROUPS, I’M AN ACTIVE MEMBER OF MASA. I’VE BEEN A PART OF THE MASA GOVERNMENT RELATIONS AND POLICY COMMITTEE. I WAS PART OF THE SSRC, THE STATE SCHOOL REFORM COMMITTEE OF MASA. I’M ON THE STEERING AND TECHNICAL COMMITTEE OF THE SCHOOL FINANCE RESEARCH COLLABORATIVE, HAVE BEEN SINCE ITS INCEPTION. I WAS PRESIDENT OF MIDDLE CITY’S EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, THE URBAN SCHOOL DISTRICTS ASSOCIATION. SO, I’VE BEEN INVOLVED AT THE STATE LEVEL IN A VARIETY OF WAYS. AND WORKING ON BEHALF OF YOUNG PEOPLE AT THE STATE LEVEL TO DO WHAT WE CAN TO ADVOCATE FOR BETTER POLICY AND BETTER LAWS FOR CHILDREN. WITH RESPECT TO BUSINESS, BUSINESS HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN OUR MILLAGE CAMPAIGNS, OUR THREE BOND APPROVALS IN ’10, ’13, AND ’18 THAT OUR VOTERS APPROVED. BUSINESS IS INVOLVED WITH US INTEGRALLY IN IMPROVING OUR CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS IN THE DISTRICT AND IN THE COUNTY. LUNCH AND LEARNS AT OUR SCHOOLS. ON BOARDS ON WHICH I SERVE OR HAVE SERVED. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY AND MOST CRITICALLY AND MOST RECENTLY, WORKING WITH A GROUP OF BUSINESS PEOPLE ON IMPROVEMENTS TO OUR SECONDARY SCHOOL CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS, WHICH I THINK ARE GOING TO HAVE TREMENDOUS BENEFIT FOR CHILDREN IN KALAMAZOO COUNTY MOVING FORWARD. THAT’S A MAJOR PROJECT WHICH I THINK IS GOING TO LAUNCH IN THE NEXT SIX TO SEVEN MONTHS.>>THANK YOU.>>AS STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC EDUCATION, HOW WOULD YOU ENSURE ACCOUNTABILITY WITHIN THE MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION? HOW WOULD YOU JUDGE YOUR OWN EFFECTIVENESS AS A STATE SUPERINTENDENT? PLEASE DESCRIBE THE INTERNAL ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM YOU WOULD PUT IN PLACE.>>WELL, RELATIVE TO THE DEPARTMENT, I’D SET UP FEEDBACK LOOPS TO GET A SENSE OF HOW DIFFERENT OFFICES WERE PERFORMING. I’D WANT TO HAVE SOME TRADITIONAL MECHANISMS FOR — WITHIN THOSE FEEDBACK LOOPS. THEIR TRADITIONAL METRICS FOR PARTICULAR OFFICES, I’D WANT TO REVIEW THOSE. BUT I’D ALSO WANT TO CREATE SOME OTHER METRICS. SO, THERE’D BE SOME QUANTITATIVE DATA, QUANTITATIVE FEEDBACK LOOPS. BUT THERE WOULD ALSO BE SOME QUALITATIVE FEEDBACK LOOPS, AS WELL. PEOPLE SAY, “WELL, WHAT EXACTLY ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT BY A QUALITATIVE DATA POINT, IF YOU WILL?” YOU ADOPTED A PARENT DASHBOARD RECENTLY. I THINK THAT’S AN AMAZING ACCOMPLISHMENT, QUITE FRANKLY. I THINK IT’S A GREAT ACCOMPLISHMENT. I THINK IT’S A BENEFIT TO PARENTS ACROSS THE STATE. THAT, IN A SENSE, IS A QUALITATIVE DATA POINT. THAT YOU HAVE A PARENT DASHBOARD IS A THING THAT HAS MERIT FOR THE DEPARTMENT. THE DATA WITHIN IT, THE QUANTITATIVE DATA IS IMPORTANT, AS A RULE. BUT THE EXISTENCE OF THE DASHBOARD IS WHAT WOULD BE WHAT I WOULD CALL QUALITATIVE DATA POINT. SO, I’D WANT TO CREATE FEEDBACK LOOPS, NUMBER ONE. I’D BE WORKING PRETTY ACTIVELY TO GET A FEEL FOR HOTSPOTS WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT, OR PERCEIVED HOTSPOTS WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT. AREAS THAT YOU THINK ARE OF ISSUE. AREAS THAT OUR CUSTOMERS THINK ARE OF ISSUE THAT NEED TO BE IMPROVE, AND TO REALLY HONE IN ON THOSE AND TRY TO IMPROVE THEM. I LIKE TO COACH MY STAFF. MY SENIOR STAFF AND I SET MUTUAL EXPECTATIONS ANNUALLY FOR WHAT THEY DO. THEIR GOALS, ESSENTIALLY, FOR WHAT THEY DO. SOME OF THOSE ARE MORE ENDURING. THEY CROSS YEARS. SOME OF THOSE ARE UNIQUE TO A PARTICULAR YEAR. WE SET THOSE TOGETHER. WE REVIEW THOSE TOGETHER. WE DECIDE AT THE END OF THE YEAR THE EXTENT TO WHICH THEY’VE MADE THOSE GOALS OR NOT. WE RARELY DISAGREE, BECAUSE WERE CONSTANTLY TALKING ABOUT IT. I’M CONSTANTLY IN THEIR EARS ABOUT IT. BY THE WAY, I HAVE A TREMENDOUSLY STABLE SENIOR STAFF. AND I THINK THAT STABILITY HAS HELPED US DRIVE HIGHER STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT IN THE DISTRICT, AS WELL. I’VE HAD THE SAME DEPUTY SUPERINTENDENT FOR BUSINESS FOR 12 YEARS. MY ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT FOR TEACHING AND LEARNING SERVICES HAS BEEN IN MY SENIOR STAFF FOR 12 YEARS, ALTHOUGH SHE HAS MOVED OVER. MY TWO DIRECTORS WITHIN SENIOR STAFF HAVE BEEN IN THE DISTRICT ALMOST AS LONG AS I HAVE BEEN. MY ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT FOR HUMAN RESOURCES CAME FROM SAGINAW IN 2010. THAT COACHING UP A STAFF, DAILY COACHING, WEEKLY COACHING, I THINK IS OF TREMENDOUS VALUE. PEOPLE AREN’T SURPRISED. THAT SAID, THERE ARE PEOPLE IN THE ORGANIZATION THAT HAVEN’T PERFORMED THE WAY THEY’VE NEEDED TO PERFORM. WE’VE ATTEMPTED TO IMPROVE THEIR WORK, AND IMPROVE THEIR WORK, AND IMPROVE THEIR WORK, AND AT SOME POINT, WE’VE HAD TO SAY, “YOU KNOW, “IT’S NOT WORKING OUT. “YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE TO “LEAVE THE ORGANIZATION.” WE’VE HAD TO NON-RENEW OR TERMINATE SOME EMPLOYEES. AS FOR MY OWN EFFECTIVENESS, I’D JUDGE IT PRIMARILY IN FOUR WAYS. ONE, THROUGH THE STATE BOARD, WHICH IS RESPONSIBLE FOR EVALUATING THE PERFORMANCE OF THE STATE SUPERINTENDENT. TWO, THROUGH THE ABILITY TO PUSH PARTICULAR IDEAS IN A PUBLIC SQUARE, TO ADVOCATE FOR PARTICULAR IDEAS WITHIN THE PUBLIC EDUCATION POLICY ARENA. THREE, TO STEP ON, OR… LIMIT THE NUMBER OF BAD IDEAS IN PUBLIC EDUCATION. AND THERE’S NO SHORTAGE OF BAD IDEAS IN PUBLIC EDUCATION. YOU DON’T NECESSARILY ASK ME THAT QUESTION, BUT WERE YOU TO DO THAT, I COULD GO OFF ON A RIFF ON THOSE.>>SO COULD WE.>>I KNOW YOU COULD AS WELL. AND THEN THROUGH THE IMPROVEMENT OF OUTPUT MEASURES FOR CHILDREN. WE’RE HERE FOR KIDS. IT’S NOT A GAME. WE’RE HERE ABOUT KIDS, AND WE’RE HERE ABOUT IMPROVING THEIR OUTCOMES. AND IT SEEMS TO ME THAT THAT OUGHT TO BE A PART OF AN EVALUATION FOR STATE SUPERINTENDENT.>>GIVEN THE CHANGING DYNAMICS OF PUBLIC EDUCATION, WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE MOST CRITICAL ISSUES FACING THE MICHIGAN EDUCATION SYSTEM IN THE NEXT THREE TO FIVE YEARS?>>SCHOOL FUNDING IS HUGE. FOUR STUDIES IN THE LAST FOUR YEARS HAVE ALL SAID THE SAME THING. WE INADEQUATELY FUND OUR SCHOOLS. WE INEQUITABLY FUND OUR SCHOOLS. POOR CHILDREN REQUIRE MORE. SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN REQUIRE MORE. ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS REQUIRE MORE. THIS IS NOT JUST MY OPINION– ALTHOUGH IT IS MY OPINION– IT’S RESEARCH. AND IT OUGHT TO BE HEEDED. SO SCHOOL FUNDING IS A MAJOR ISSUE THAT WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO ADDRESS IN THE NEXT THREE TO FIVE YEARS. LITERACY IS A VERY, VERY IMPORTANT ISSUE. IT’S NOT SIMPLY ABOUT THE THIRD GRADE READING LAW. IN FACT, ARGUABLY, IT’S NOT THE THIRD GRADE READING LAW AT ALL. IT’S ABOUT CHILDREN’S ABILITY TO READ, AND THEIR CAPACITY TO BE FUNCTIONING, CAPABLE, PARTICIPATIVE ADULTS LATER IN LIFE. THE ACCOUNTABILITY ASSESSMENT, OR THE ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM IS AN ISSUE. YOU CAN’T HAVE TWO ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEMS. WE HAVE TO MAKE PEACE WITH THAT IN SOME WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM. PERHAPS MORE ON THAT LATER. BUT ACCOUNTABILITY IS AN ISSUE. ASSESSMENTS ARE AN ISSUE, AS WELL. WE NEED TO REVIEW OUR STATE ASSESSMENTS. CHILDREN DON’T DERIVE ANY BENEFIT FROM THE CURRENT INCARNATION OF OUR CURRENT STATE TEST. KIDS DON’T, EDUCATORS DON’T– EDUCATORS DON’T RESPECT THE TEST. IT BEGS THE QUESTION, IF THEY DON’T RESPECT A TEST, AND IF IT GENERATES NO BENEFIT FOR CHILDREN, WHY DO WE USE THIS TEST, AT LEAST IN THIS INCARNATION? AT LEAST IN THIS INCARNATION. CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS ARE AN IMPORTANT ISSUE FOR THE NEXT THREE TO FIVE YEARS. I THINK WE’VE OVERSOLD UNIVERSITY EDUCATION, AT THE EXPENSE OF CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS. IT’S NOT TO SAY UNIVERSITY EDUCATION IS-IS BAD. SPEAKING TO THE WRONG GROUP OF HIGHLY EDUCATED PEOPLE TO MAKE THAT POINT. IT’S SIMPLY TO SAY THAT THE VAST MAJORITY OF NEW JOBS IN THE NEXT TEN YEARS DO NOT REQUIRE FOUR-YEAR DEGREES. THEY REQUIRE TWO-YEAR DEGREES, AND WE’RE PUSHING, EXTRAORDINARILY, FOUR-YEAR DEGREES, AT THE EXPENSE OF THE EXPERIENCES, THE EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCES THAT MANY OF OUR YOUNG PEOPLE WILL NEED TO OCCUPY THOSE JOBS, WHICH ARE IN A SHORTAGE SITUATION NOW. SPEAKING OF SHORTAGE SITUATIONS, OUR TEACHER SHORTAGE IS A MAJOR ISSUE. AND I KNOW THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO SAY THAT THERE’S NO TEACHER SHORTAGE, BUT RESPECTFULLY, FROM THE FIELD, THERE’S A TEACHER SHORTAGE. THERE’S A TEACHER SHORTAGE TO TEACH OUR NEEDIEST CHILDREN, OUR POOREST CHILDREN, OUR DARKEST CHILDREN, OUR CHILDREN WHO HAVE THE GREATEST LINGUISTIC NEEDS. THERE’S A SHORTAGE. DETROIT HAS DONE A NICE JOB IN-IN FILLING ITS TEACHING POSITIONS, BUT IT SEEMS TO ME THAT WE OUGHT NOT TO UNCORK A BOTTLE OF CHAMPAGNE WHEN THERE ARE ONLY 90 VACANCIES IN THE LARGEST SCHOOL DISTRICT IN THE STATE. WE NEED TO PRODUCE MORE TEACHERS, WE NEED TO PRODUCE STRONGER TEACHERS. WE’VE GOT OUTSTANDING TEACHERS IN THE STATE. SOME OF THE BEST, BY THE WAY, ARE IN KALAMAZOO PUBLIC SCHOOLS. BUT WE DON’T PRODUCE ENOUGH OF THEM ANYMORE IN THE STATE. THE PROFESSION’S BEEN DENIGRATED. WE NEED TO REBUILD THE PROFESSION. AND THEN THE SEVENTH– THE SEVENTH ISSUE THAT I’D SHARE WITH YOU IS SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL LEARNING. WE HAVE A TREMENDOUS NUMBER OF MENTAL HEALTH CHALLENGES IN THE STATE OF MICHIGAN. FROM THE U.P. TO THE INDIANA BORDER, FROM LAKE MICHIGAN TO LAKE HURON, WE HAVE PROFOUND MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES THAT OUR EDUCATORS ARE DEALING WITH. AND YES, WE DO HAVE TOO MUCH TO DO IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS, I AGREE. BUT IF NOT US, THEN WHO? AND THE REALITY IS, IS THAT WE’RE NOT ASKING TO DEAL WITH THESE ISSUES. THEY’RE WALKING INTO SCHOOL EVERY SINGLE DAY. AND IN THE ABSENCE OF ADDRESSING THEM, IT’S HARD TO GET OUR CORE JOB, THE INSTRUCTION, ACCOMPLISHED. SO THOSE ARE THE SEVEN THAT I WOULD CITE. SCHOOL FUNDING, LITERACY, ACCOUNTABILITY, ASSESSMENTS, CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION, THE TEACHER SHORTAGE, AND SOCIAL/EMOTIONAL LEARNING.>>WHAT DOES AN EFFECTIVE ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM LOOK LIKE? IF YOU WERE TO DESIGN ONE FROM SCRATCH, WHAT ELEMENTS WOULD YOU INCLUDE, AND WHAT WOULD YOU ELIMINATE? HOW WOULD THE SYSTEM HOLD SCHOOLS AND DISTRICTS ACCOUNTABLE FOR STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT?>>WELL, ONE THING IT WOULDN’T LOOK LIKE IS A SINGLE LETTER A THROUGH F. THAT’S NONSENSE. COMPLEX ORGANIZATIONS LIKE SCHOOLS OUGHT NOT TO BE DISTILLED TO SINGLE-LETTER GRADES. THEY ALSO OUGHT NOT TO BE DISTILLED TO FIVE LETTER GRADES. THEY’RE COMPLEX ORGANIZATIONS, THEY DESERVE COMPLEX TREATMENT. ALL THE DATA OUGHT TO BE PUBLIC. ALL THE DATA OUGHT TO BE ABLE TO BE SCRUTINIZED BY PEOPLE WHO WANT TO ATTEND SCHOOLS, OR BY PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS OF CHILDREN WHO MIGHT GO TO THOSE SCHOOLS. BUT THAT’S DIFFERENT FROM DISTILLING THAT DATA INTO AN A-F PLAN. I DIDN’T HEAR IF THAT “FROM SCRATCH” WAS WITHIN ESSA, OR IRRESPECTIVE OF ESSA. SO I DIDN’T HEAR IF MY WAND COULD HELP ME GET RID OF ESSA, OR NOT. SO I’M GOING TO ASSUME THAT, IMPERFECTLY, MY WAND ONLY WORKS WITHIN ESSA, AND NOT BEYOND THAT, THAT I HAVE A CONSTRAINED MAGIC WAND. SO I THINK YOU’VE GOT THE BEST ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM YOU’VE HAD IN A HALF A DECADE. YOU HAVE AN ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM THAT INCLUDES GROWTH. THAT’S GOOD. YOU HAVE AN ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM THAT NOT ONLY INCLUDES GROWTH, BUT WEIGHTS GROWTH MORE HEAVILY THAN IT DOES PROFICIENCY. 34% TO 29%. I THINK THAT’S GOOD. I THINK THAT’S IMPORTANT. YOU HAVE AN ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM THAT INCLUDES GRADUATION RATES, THAT INCLUDES ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNER SUCCESS. I THINK THOSE ARE IMPORTANT. YOU ALSO HAVE AN OTHER STUDENT OUTCOME COMPONENT, AND I THINK ALL OF THOSE ARE POSITIVE, FROM MY VANTAGE POINT. MUCH MORE BALANCED THAN THE ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEMS THAT WE HAD UNDER NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND, AND THEN COURSING THROUGH RACE TO THE TOP, AND, YOU KNOW, KIND OF THAT ODD PERIOD WHERE WE WERE NOT REALLY IN RACE TO THE TOP, BUT NOT REALLY IN ESSA, EITHER. SO I THINK IT’S THE STRONGEST ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM THAT WE’VE HAD. I THINK THAT THERE’S SOME CHALLENGES WITH IT. THE FOUNDATION OF YOUR CURRENT ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM IS M-STEP. AND THAT’S A PROBLEM, BECAUSE M-STEP HAS ISSUES. IT HAS COMPARABILITY ISSUES, IT HAS RELIABILITY ISSUES, IT HAS VALIDITY ISSUES. IT MINIMALLY NEEDS TO BE REVIEWED PRETTY CAREFULLY AND THOUGHTFULLY IF IT IS GOING TO REMAIN AT THE FOUNDATION OF THE ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM. SO THAT’S ONE THOUGHT. I WOULD COMPARE ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS TO ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS, MIDDLE TO MIDDLE, HIGH SCHOOL TO HIGH SCHOOL. COMPARING A SMALL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL OF 200 CHILDREN, HOMOGENEOUS, PERHAPS K-3 TO A 9-12 HIGH SCHOOL OF 1,700 CHILDREN, DIVERSE, WITH LOTS OF DIFFERENT CATEGORIES THAT COUNT DOESN’T SEEM TO MAKE A WHOLE LOT OF SENSE TO ME. THERE ARE SCHOOLS THAT LITERALLY HAVE ONE CATEGORY. IT’S THE WHOLE OF THE SCHOOL. THEY HAVE NO ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS, THEY HAVE NO AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDENTS, THEY HAVE NO LATINO STUDENTS, AND NO MULTI-ETHNIC STUDENTS. THEY HAVE VERY FEW ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED STUDENTS. ALL OF THOSE SUBCATEGORIES WHICH COUNT IN OUR CURRENT ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM DON’T COUNT FOR THEM. THEY DON’T EXIST FOR THEM. I THINK THAT LIKES OUGHT TO BE COMPARED TO LIKES. AND IF YOU HAVE DIVERSITY, YOU OUGHT TO BE COMPARED TO SIMILARLY DIVERSE SCHOOLS. IT’S HARD TO COMPARE A SCHOOL THAT HAS PARTICULAR CHILDREN IN IT TO A SCHOOL THAT DOESN’T. EL SOL ELEMENTARY IS 50% NATIVE SPANISH-SPEAKING, 50% NATIVE ENGLISH-SPEAKING. IT IS A MORE COMPLICATED SCHOOL THAN SCHOOLS THAT ARE RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER FROM IT IN KALAMAZOO, MICHIGAN. THAT’S NOT BAD OR GOOD, THAT’S JUST FACT. WE TEACH TWO LANGUAGES THERE TO CHILDREN WHOSE HOME LANGUAGE IS DIFFERENT, ONE FROM THE OTHER, AND THAT’S A DIFFERENT TASK, A MORE CHALLENGING TASK. IT OUGHT TO BE COMPARED IN A MORE CHALLENGING FASHION. SO I’D LOOK AT SOME OF THOSE ISSUES. I ALSO WOULD SAY THAT… YOU KNOW, YOU’VE GOT AN ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM THAT GOES ABOUT COMPARING DIFFERENT SCHOOLS, SOME OF WHICH ARE MUCH BETTER-RESOURCED THAN OTHER SCHOOLS. AND I DON’T MEAN THAT SIMPLY IN TERMS OF A PER PUPIL AMOUNT, I MEAN THAT RELATIVE TO THE NEEDS OF THE CHILDREN IN THE SCHOOL, BECAUSE WE CAN LEAD TWO SCHOOL DISTRICTS ADJACENT TO ONE ANOTHER, AND OUR CHILDREN CAN GET LITERALLY THE EXACT SAME AMOUNT OF MONEY PER CHILD. AND YET RELATIVE TO THE NEEDS OF YOUR CHILDREN VERSUS MY CHILDREN, A VERY, VERY DIFFERENT FEELING. ONE SCHOOL DISTRICT CAN TAKE CARE OF THEIR CHILDREN QUITE WELL. THE OTHER SCHOOL DISTRICT, NOT SO WELL, WITH THE EXACT SAME AMOUNT OF MONEY. AND THEN, THE ONLY OTHER THING THAT I’D SUGGEST IS, YOU HAVE AN ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM NOW THAT’S BEGUN WORK WITH PARTNERSHIP SCHOOLS AND PARTNERSHIP DISTRICTS. AND I HAPPEN TO THINK THAT THE MODEL IS A STRONG MODEL. IT’S A MODEL THAT INDICATES GAPS, THAT WORKS WITH INDIVIDUAL SCHOOLS, IN SOME CASES SCHOOL DISTRICTS, ON THOSE GAPS, WORKS WITH PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATED WITH THOSE GAPS, WORKS WITH MONITORING ASSOCIATED WITH THOSE GAPS, WORKS WITH RESOURCE PROVISION OR INTERVENTION ASSOCIATED WITH THOSE GAPS, AND ULTIMATELY, IF CHANGE IS NEEDED, WORKS WITH CHANGE ASSOCIATED WITH THOSE GAPS. SO THAT PARTNERSHIP MODEL ARGUABLY IS PART OF YOUR ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM, AND I THINK YOU’RE ON THE RIGHT TRACK IN THAT REGARD.>>THANKS.>>YOU BET.>>OKAY, SO DESCRIBE BEST PRACTICES IN A SCHOOL TURNAROUND, INCLUDING THE ROLE OF THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION.>>RIGHT, WELL SO, WITH RESPECT TO TURNAROUND, I THINK THAT A STRONG PRINCIPAL, CRITICAL TO BEGIN WITH. IF YOU DON’T HAVE A STRONG PRINCIPAL, YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE TO GET RID OF THE PRINCIPAL. IT’S A TURNAROUND SCHOOL. IT’S NOT AN ORDINARY SCHOOL WITH ORDINARY CHALLENGES. IT’S AN EXTRAORDINARY SCHOOL WITH EXTRAORDINARY CHALLENGES. IT’S GOING TO REQUIRE A PRETTY SIGNIFICANT LEADER. AND SO YOU’VE GOT TO HAVE A STRONG LEADER. NOW, THE LEADER THAT YOU HAVE MAY BE JUST FINE AT THE SCHOOL DOWN THE ROAD, BUT NOT NECESSARILY AS A TURNAROUND LEADER. SO THAT’S ONE. TWO, THERE’S GOT TO BE SHARED OWNERSHIP. HAS TO BE SHARED OWNERSHIP WITHIN THAT SCHOOL. THE PRINCIPAL HAS TO GET BUY-IN OF STAFF TOWARD A COMMON VISION OF HOW THE SCHOOL IS GOING TO RUN. THE SCHOOL HAS TO BE SAFE, IT HAS TO BE ORDERLY. IN THE ABSENCE OF SAFETY, IN THE ABSENCE OF ORDERLINESS, YOU’RE NOT GOING TO DRIVE INSTRUCTION. AND REMEMBER THAT IN TURNAROUND SCHOOLS, YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT EXTRAORDINARILY HIGH-POVERTY SCHOOLS. TYPICALLY, SCHOOLS THAT ARE 85%, 90%, 95% FREE/REDUCED PRICE LUNCH-ELIGIBLE, OKAY? ALL THE DISTRACTIONS TO THE EXTENT POSSIBLE HAVE TO BE SHUT OUT TO GET OUR YOUNG PEOPLE IN THAT SPACE TO LEARN. THEY’RE BRINGING A LOT TO SCHOOL. SCHOOL HAS TO BE THEIR PROTECTIVE BUBBLE, IF YOU WILL, THEIR OPPORTUNITY TO FOCUS AND TO BE PRESENT ON SCHOOL. SO SAFETY IS IMPORTANT, A CLEARLY DEFINED SET OF RULES IS IMPORTANT. YOU HAVE TO HAVE SOLID TIER ONE INSTRUCTION. YOU HAVE TO HAVE STRONG INTERVENTIONS WHEN CHILDREN NEED SUPPORT. YOU HAVE TO HAVE FEEDBACK LOOPS ASSOCIATED WITH ALL OF THOSE ELEMENTS, WITH THE TEACHER, WITH THE STAFF, WITH THAT STAFF BUY-IN, WITH THE TIER ONE INSTRUCTION, WITH THE INTERVENTIONS, WITH RESPECT TO THE FEEDBACK LOOPS. YOU’RE LOOKING CLOSELY AT THE ACHIEVEMENT, AND SHORT-CYCLE ACHIEVEMENT, NOT LONG-CYCLE ACHIEVEMENT. NOT HOW DO WE DO YEAR-TO-YEAR, WHICH IS IMPORTANT, BUT HOW DID WE DO ON THAT UNIT? HOW DID WE DO ON THAT THREE-WEEK UNIT? HOW DID WE DO ON THAT NEXT THREE-WEEK UNIT? HOW DID WE DO ON THE NEXT THREE-WEEK UNIT? BUT THOSE ARE SOME OF THE THOUGHTS RELATIVE TO TURNAROUND SCHOOLS. WITH RESPECT TO THE DEPARTMENT, AGAIN, I THINK YOU’RE ON THE RIGHT TRACK WITH THE PARTNERSHIP MODEL. I FEEL LIKE YOU’VE GOT A RECOGNITION OF THE IMPORTANCE OF THE LEADER, SHARED VALUES, OR, YOU KNOW, COMMON BUY-IN, STRONG TIER ONE INSTRUCTION, STRONGER INTERVENTIONS FOR TIER TWO AND TIER THREE ISSUES AMONG CHILDREN. A SENSE OF ORDERLINESS, THE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT THAT’S NECESSARY ASSOCIATED THEREWITH. IN SOME CASES YOU’VE GOT CURRICULUM GAPS THAT NEED TO BE ADDRESSED. BUT AGAIN, I THINK THE PARTNERSHIP MODEL IS THE RIGHT DIRECTION. DOES IT NEED TO BE FINE-TUNED? SURE. YOU’VE BEEN AT IT FOR, WHATEVER, LESS THAN TWO YEARS. OF COURSE IT DOES. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU SAW A CHILD RUN DOWN THE STREET AT 20 MONTHS? THEY’RE TODDLING. AND YOUR MODEL IS YOUNG, BUT IT’S-IT’S-IT’S SOMETHING. AND IT’S ON THE RIGHT PATH, AND IF PROPERLY RESOURCED, WILL IMPROVE PUBLIC EDUCATION IN THE STATE.>>IF WE WERE TO TALK TO YOUR GREATEST CRITIC IN YOUR CURRENT POSITION AND/OR ORGANIZATION, WHAT WOULD THEIR CRITICISM BE OF YOU AND WHAT WOULD BE THEIR GREATEST COMPLIMENT?>>SO YOU’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT MY DAUGHTERS THINKING ABOUT SCHOOL DAY CALLS. OKAY, ALL RIGHT, FAIR ENOUGH. AND THIS IS NOT ABOUT MY REPUTATION FOR HAVING TROUBLE CLEARING MY THROAT IN UNDER 20 MINUTES. [ LAUGHTER ] I THINK THE CRITICISM WOULD BE THAT I’M… THAT I’M GLASS HALF FULL MORE THAN GLASS HALF EMPTY, THAT I PROMOTE THE DISTRICT’S GOOD POINTS RATHER THAN TALK A LOT ABOUT THE DISTRICT’S BAD POINTS. I THINK THIS IS INTERESTING CRITICISM. FIVE YEARS AGO, SIX YEARS AGO, IN 2013, OUR AFRICAN AMERICAN MALE FOUR-YEAR GRADUATION RATE WAS 46.7%. UNACCEPTABLE. WE PUT THAT OUT IN THE COMMUNITY. WE SAID WE NEEDED TO IMPROVE IT. IT WASN’T WHERE IT NEEDED TO BE. FIVE YEARS LATER, 2018, OUR AFRICAN AMERICAN MALE GRADUATION RATE IS 15 PERCENTAGE POINTS HIGHER. AFRICAN AMERICAN MALE FIVE-YEAR GRADUATION RATE IS 66.5%, 0.7 OF A PERCENTAGE POINT BELOW THE STATE’S 67.2% FIVE-YEAR AFRICAN AMERICAN MALE GRADUATION RATE. I WOULD SCARCELY SAY THAT THAT’S A GLASS HALF FULL MOMENT– AT LEAST NOT IN 2013, IT WASN’T. THAT’S A BEARING YOUR SOUL, SAYING WE NEED TO IMPROVE, SAYING WE NEED COMMUNITY SUPPORT TO DO IT AND MARSHALLING THE EFFORT TO GET THAT DONE. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE DID WAS WE BEGAN A MENTORING PROGRAM IN OUR DISTRICT. THAT MENTORING PROGRAM LAST YEAR HAD 413 PEOPLE, INCLUDING EVERY ONE OF OUR ADMINISTRATORS, MENTORING 1,168 CHILDREN IN 9,572 WEEKLY MENTORING SESSIONS. THAT MENTORING PROGRAM WAS BEGUN, FIRST AND FOREMOST, TO ADDRESS THE NEEDS OF AFRICAN AMERICAN MALES IN OUR DISTRICT. AND THAT EXPANDED OUT TO ALL MALES, AND THEN EXPANDED OUT TO ALL FEMALE STUDENTS AS WELL, BECAUSE OUR MOMS AND DADS SAID, “HEY, DON’T FORGET “OUR GIRLS AS WELL.” TO THE QUESTION OF WHAT MY CRITICS MIGHT SAY WOULD BE THEIR GREATEST COMPLIMENT OF ME, THEY MIGHT OR MIGHT NOT ACKNOWLEDGE MY PERSISTENCE.>>SO JUST TO LET YOU KNOW YOU’RE HALFWAY THROUGH THE QUESTIONS AND YOU HAVE ABOUT 35 MINUTES LEFT.>>OH, THANK YOU.>>THANK YOU. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THE ROLE OF THE STATE SUPERINTENDENT AND THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION? WHAT IS YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE SUPERINTENDENT AND THE BOARD?>>THE STATE BOARD EMPLOYS THE SUPERINTENDENT, EVALUATES THE SUPERINTENDENT. THE STATE SUPERINTENDENT CHAIRS BOARD MEETINGS. MY RESPONSIBILITY TO SUPPORT YOU AND ADVISE YOU ON POLICY DEVELOPMENT, MY RESPONSIBILITY WOULD BE TO RUN THE DAY TO DAY OPERATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT AND TO ADVOCATE FOR YOUR POLICY POSITIONS AND FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF YOUR STRATEGIC PLAN.>>THANK YOU.>>YOU BET.>>YOU’VE TOUCHED UPON THIS ALREADY A LITTLE BIT. AS STATE SUPERINTENDENT, YOU’LL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR A LARGE BUDGET. WHAT ARE SOME PRINCIPLES YOU BELIEVE ARE KEY TO BUILDING AND MANAGING A BUDGET, AND WHAT DO YOU FORESEE AS YOUR ROLE IN THE STATE BUDGETARY PROCESS?>>I’VE BEEN INVOLVED IN BUDGET FORMATION FOR 30 YEARS. I STARTED AS A FISCAL ANALYST WHEN I WAS IN GRADUATE SCHOOL AT THE NEW YORK STATE FINANCIAL CONTROL BOARD, ANALYZING THE NEW YORK CITY PUBLIC SCHOOL BUDGET. FIVE SCHOOL DISTRICTS, FOUR STATES, TWO SUPERINTENDENCIES, 17 YEARS. WHEN I LOOK AT BUDGETS, I WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT RECURRING REVENUES ARE EQUAL TO OR GREATER THAN RECURRING EXPENDITURES, NUMBER ONE. I WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT DOLLARS ARE ON GOALS, THAT WE’RE NOT SIMPLY DOING WHAT WE’VE DONE BUT WE’RE PUTTING DOLLARS ON WHAT WE’RE TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH AS AN ORGANIZATION. ARE DOLLARS DISTRIBUTED EQUITABLY? ARE THERE SUFFICIENT DOLLARS, AND IF NOT, ARE THE GAPS MINIMALLY ADVERSELY AFFECTING YOUNG PEOPLE? BECAUSE WE ARE UNDERFUNDED IN SCHOOL DISTRICTS ACROSS THE STATE. BUDGETS SHOULD BE MONITORED MONTHLY, THEY SHOULD BE ADJUSTED PERIODICALLY AS NEED BE. IN MY ROLE IN THE STATE BUDGETARY PROCESS, I’D HELP THE STATE BOARD DEFINE BUDGET PRIORITIES, WOULD HELP MEDIATE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE STATE BOARD’S BUDGET PRIORITIES AND THE GOVERNOR’S BUDGET PRIORITIES, WOULD WORK WITH THE LEGISLATURE TO ADVOCATE FOR THE CLOSEST APPROXIMATION OF THOSE BUDGET PRIORITIES IN THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS. I WOULD ALSO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR SHARING WITH STAKEHOLDER GROUPS AND OTHERS THE LOGIC OF THE BUDGET PRIORITIES OF THE STATE BOARD.>>OKAY, THE NEXT QUESTION IS HOW WOULD YOU HANDLE DECISIONS THAT ARE UNPOPULAR WITH STAKEHOLDERS, BUT EDUCATIONALLY NECESSARY FOR THE STATE EDUCATION SYSTEM TO MEET THE NEEDS OF ALL CHILDREN? AND I THINK YOU TOUCHED SOME ON THIS, BUT– AND THEN THEY WANT ACTUAL–>>EXAMPLES.>>EXAMPLES.>>OKAY, ALL RIGHT, FAIR ENOUGH. SO I’VE HAD TO MAKE A LOT OF UNPOPULAR DECISIONS IN MY CAREER. I DON’T THINK ANY SUPERINTENDENT TODAY HASN’T. A NUMBER OF THOSE COME TO MIND. WE HAD TO CLOSE SCHOOLS IN LANSING ALMOST TWO DECADES AGO. IT’S HARD TO CLOSE LOCAL SCHOOLS, HARD TO DO BOUNDARY CHANGES, DIFFICULT TO MAKE BUDGET CUTS. I REMEMBER THE $470 PER KID BUDGET CUT IN 2011, WHICH REQUIRED US IN KALAMAZOO TO CUT $6 MILLION. WE’RE STILL ADVERSELY AFFECTED BY THOSE $6 MILLION WORTH OF BUDGET CUTS. SO YOU WORK AS BROADLY AS POSSIBLE TO GET THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF INPUT ASSOCIATED WITH YOUR DECISION MAKING. AND AT SOME POINT, AS A LEADER OR AS A LEADERSHIP BODY, A BOARD, A SUPERINTENDENT, YOU HAVE TO MAKE THOSE DECISIONS. AND YOU HAVE TO COMMUNICATE ON THE FRONT END AND MAKE DETERMINATIONS ABOUT WHAT THE BEST DECISIONS ARE ON THE FRONT END. AND ON THE BACK END, YOU’RE EXPLAINING AND CONTINUING TO EXPLAIN THE LOGIC ASSOCIATED THEREWITH. A-F ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM, UNPOPULAR, UNTENABLE AND ARGUABLY ILLEGAL, AT LEAST IN THE WAY THAT IT WAS PASSED BY THE STATE LEGISLATURE. HOWEVER, IF WE HAVE TO IMPLEMENT THAT IN ITS CURRENT INCARNATION, IT’S GOING TO BE THE STATE SUPERINTENDENT’S RESPONSIBILITY TO EXPLAIN TO THE FIELD WHAT THIS IS, WHY IT IS WHAT IT IS, AND HOW WE’RE GOING TO DO THE BEST WE CAN WITH IT. AND IN SOME CASES, THAT REQUIRES A LEADER TO GO OUT AND TAKE SOME SHOTS. AND THAT’S JUST WHAT IT IS. THERE’LL BE A FAIR BIT OF ANGER AROUND THAT. MINIMALLY, IT WOULD BE NICE IF THE A-F SYSTEM THAT WERE PASSED IN DECEMBER WERE RETHOUGHT TO BE CONSISTENT WITH FEDERAL LAW. JUST SAYING.>>THANK YOU.>>WHAT’S THE MOST DIFFICULT DECISION YOU’VE HAD TO MAKE IN THE LAST TWO OR THREE YEARS AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN?>>SO I MENTIONED A NUMBER OF DECISIONS I’VE MADE IN THE PAST– BUDGET CUTS, SCHOOL CLOSURES, BOUNDARY CHANGES, DECISIONS TO HAVE TO SEPARATE FROM SERVICE PEOPLE THAT I PERSONALLY LIKED BUT WHOM I DIDN’T THINK WERE GETTING THE JOB DONE. THOSE ARE ISSUES THAT I’VE DEALT WITH IN ONE WAY, SHAPE OR FORM IN MY CAREER. BUT YOUR QUESTION WAS IN THE LAST TWO OR THREE YEARS, AND THE ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION IS THE DECISION TO APPLY FOR THIS JOB, A JOB TO WHICH I NEVER ASPIRED, WHICH I NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT A WHOLE LOT UNTIL THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS, UNTIL IT BECAME CLEAR THAT IT WAS A MOMENT, THAT MORE THAN ANY OTHER TIME THAT I RECALL IN THIS STATE’S HISTORY, SINCE PROP A, IT IS A MOMENT FOR CHANGE. AND I WANTED TO BE A PART OF THAT GENERATIONAL MOMENT AND WORK WITH YOU IN THAT GENERATIONAL MOMENT.>>CAN YOU DISCUSS IN DETAIL EFFORTS YOU HAVE TAKEN PERSONALLY TO RAISE/SUSTAIN STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT AND THE RESULTS, AND WHAT ELEMENTS OF THESE EFFORTS SHOULD BE PRESENT IN THE MDE STRATEGIC PLAN FOR EDUCATIONAL IMPROVEMENT IN THIS STATE?>>AS I MENTIONED EARLIER, WE HAVE LONG-TERM GOALS IN KALAMAZOO. WE HAVE MADE PROGRESS, SUBSTANTIAL PROGRESS ON EVERY ONE OF THOSE LONG-TERM GOALS. NO EXCEPTIONS– READING, WRITING, MATH, ADVANCED PLACEMENT PARTICIPATION AND SUCCESS AND GRADUATION RATES. THOSE ARE THE FIVE THAT WE BEGAN WITH IN JANUARY OF 2009. THEY ENDURE TO THIS DAY. WITH RESPECT TO LITERACY, READING, WRITING, AND MATHEMATICS, WE HAVE ADOPTED NEW READING AND WRITING MATERIALS, NEW MATH MATERIALS. WE’VE REWRITTEN CURRICULUM GUIDES, REWRITTEN PACING CHARTS. WE HAVE WORKED HARD TO CREATE PARENT EDUCATION AND FAMILY LITERACY PROGRAMS IN OUR COMMUNITY. WE CALL THEM LIFT UP THROUGH LITERACY. THEY’VE TRAINED THOUSANDS OF PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS IN OUR COMMUNITY TO WORK WITH CHILDREN AROUND LITERACY AND TO WORK WITH CHILDREN AROUND SCHOOL, TEACHING PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS HOW TO DO SCHOOL WITH CHILDREN AND HOW TO DO LITERACY WITH THEIR CHILDREN. WE SEND BOOKS HOME EVERY SUMMER, EIGHT BOOKS A YEAR, EIGHT BOOKS A SUMMER FOR EVERY THIRD, FOURTH, FIFTH AND SIXTH GRADER. THEY RECEIVE THE BOOKS EVERY WEEK AND A HALF IN AREAS OF INTEREST, ROUGHLY AT THEIR GRADE LEVELS, BECAUSE WE KNOW WE HAVE TO BEAT BACK THE SUMMER SLIDE, BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT WHAT RESEARCH SAYS IS THAT WORKING CLASS AND POOR CHILDREN GROW IN THEIR READING LEVELS AT ROUGHLY THE SAME RATES AS MIDDLE CLASS CHILDREN DURING THE SCHOOL YEAR. BUT THAT DURING THE SUMMER, WORKING CLASS AND POOR CHILDREN ARE MORE LIKELY TO SLIDE BECAUSE THEY HAVE LESS EXPOSURE TO LITERATURE. NOT TO SAY THAT EVERYONE DOES, BUT ON AVERAGE WORKING CLASS AND POOR CHILDREN HAVE LESS EXPOSURE THAN MIDDLE CLASS CHILDREN. AND SO WE TRY TO BEAT BACK THE SUMMER SLIDE BY SENDING 30,000 BOOKS OUT TO 4,000 THIRD, FOURTH AND FIFTH AND SIXTH GRADERS TO PUSH OUR LITERACY EFFORT. DIVERSITY IN LITERATURE IS IMPORTANT AS WELL. 14% OF ALL LITERATURE HAS A CHILDREN OF COLOR IN IT. WE’RE 63.5% OF COLOR IN OUR DISTRICT. NOT THAT YOU ALWAYS NEED TO SEE CHILDREN OF COLOR IN A BOOK, BUT IT WOULD BE NICE IF BOOKS RESEMBLED THE READERS. IT WOULD BE NICE IF CHILDREN GOT TO SEE THEMSELVES IN THEIR READING. SO WE SPEARHEADED A CONFERENCE WITH MDE, MASA, MASB, MASSP ON DIVERSITY IN LITERATURE. I WANT TO MENTION ADVANCED PLACEMENT PARTICIPATION AND SUCCESS IN GRADUATION RATES IN A LITTLE BIT GREATER DETAIL. WHEN I STARTED IN THE DISTRICT IN 2007 I ASKED 20 CHILDREN, “RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU’VE “TAKEN AN AP COURSE.” ONE KID RAISED HIS HAND. I DO IT NOW AT GRADUATIONS, AND A SEA OF CHILDREN RAISE THEIR HANDS. IN THE LAST TEN YEARS, WE’VE RAISED THE NUMBER OF KIDS TAKING AP COURSES BY 156%, THE NUMBER OF AP COURSES THAT THEY TAKE BY 226%. WE’VE DONE IT BY PUSHING IT, BY PUSHING AP WITH OUR TRADITIONALLY UNDERREPRESENTED POPULATIONS IN ADVANCED PLACEMENT. OUR AFRICAN AMERICAN CHILDREN, 313% INCREASE IN AFRICAN AMERICAN CHILDREN TAKING ADVANCED PLACEMENT COURSES IN THE LAST DECADE. OUR ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED CHILDREN, 402% INCREASE IN TAKING AP COURSES IN THE LAST DECADE. OUR LATINO CHILDREN, 1,212% INCREASE TAKING AP COURSES IN THE LAST DECADE. WE DON’T JUST BELIEVE IN AP COURSE TAKING, WE BELIEVE IN THE SUCCESS AS WELL. YOU’RE REQUIRED TO TAKE THE END OF THE YEAR TEST IN AN AP COURSE IF YOU TAKE THE AP COURSE. IT’S A CHECK ON THE TEACHING, IT’S A CHECK ON THE COURSE, IT’S A CHECK ON THE LEARNING. AND SO IN EACH OF THE LAST TEN YEARS, WE’VE GENERATED MORE TESTS EARNING COLLEGE CREDIT THAN THE YEAR BEFORE. TEN YEARS IN A ROW. 296% INCREASE IN A TEN-YEAR PERIOD OF TIME. LAST SIX YEARS IN A ROW, WE’VE GENERATED AN INCREASE IN THE PERCENTAGE OF TESTS EARNING COLLEGE CREDIT. WE’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT CHERRY PICKING. WE’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT DOING WITH PARTICULAR KIDS OR PARTICULAR GROUPS OF KIDS. WE’RE TALKING ABOUT ALL KIDS. AND THEN WITH RESPECT TO GRADUATION RATES. PRESIDENT OBAMA CAME TO OUR DISTRICT IN 2010 TO HONOR US FOR WINNING THE FIRST ANNUAL RACE TO THE TOP COMMENCEMENT CHALLENGE. HE SPOKE AT THE KALAMAZOO CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION FOR EFFORTS THAT WE WERE MAKING IN THE DISTRICT TO PUSH A COLLEGE-GOING CULTURE, TO FORM A COLLEGE-GOING CULTURE. NOT THAT WE WERE THERE FULLY IN 2010, NOT THAT WE ARE THERE FULLY IN 2019. NOT MY POINT. BUT FOR EFFORTS TOWARD. OUR DISTRICT GRADUATION RATE AT THE TIME WAS 63%. 2018, LAST SUMMER, OUR GRADUATION RATE WAS 75%, 12 PERCENTAGE POINTS HIGHER, EIGHT YEARS. OUR FIVE YEAR GRADUATION RATE WAS 80.4%, 2.8 PERCENTAGE POINTS BELOW THE STATE. NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT OUR FREE AND REDUCED PRICE LUNCH PERCENTAGE IS 20 PERCENTAGE POINTS HIGHER THAN THE STATE AS A WHOLE. 20 PERCENTAGE POINTS HIGHER, 2.8% BELOW THE STATE IN GRADUATION RATE. YOU ASK ME WHAT EFFORTS WE’RE MAKING, WE’RE MAKING A VARIETY OF EFFORTS TO IMPROVE STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT IN OUR DISTRICT, AND WE’RE GENERATING PROGRESS IN ALL LONG TERM BOARD GOAL AREAS. WHAT I’D SEE– WHAT I’D SUGGEST WEAVING INTO THE STRATEGIC PLAN, I DO THINK THERE’S A VALUE TO INCLUDING ADVANCED PLACEMENT PARTICIPATION, ALSO ADVANCED PLACEMENT SUCCESS. I THINK THERE OUGHT TO BE A TRACKING OF EARLY MIDDLE COLLEGE PROGRAMS. I THINK THERE’S A VALUE TO THAT. I THINK THERE’S A VALUE TO THE TRACKING THAT YOU DO WITH CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION PROGRAM PARTICIPATION. GRADUATION RATES SHOULD BE TRACKED, AND YOU DO TRACK THEM INTERNALLY FOR FOUR, FIVE AND SIX YEAR GRADUATION RATES. BUT I’D PUT THE FOUR AND FIVE YEAR GRADUATION RATES IN YOUR REPORT. SOME CHILDREN DON’T GRADUATE IN FOUR YEARS. YOU COULD ARGUE THAT’S GOOD, YOU COULD ARGUE THAT’S BAD. YOU CAN’T ARGUE THAT IT DOESN’T TAKE PLACE. CHILDREN BLOOM ON THEIR OWN TIME TABLES. AND THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS IS THAT WE SHOULD HONOR THE FACT THAT THEY’VE GRADUATED, NOT LAMENT THE FACT THAT THEY’VE TAKEN A YEAR TOO LONG IN OUR ADULT VIEW.>>WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION WITH THE LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL DISTRICTS?>>WELL, THE DEPARTMENT WITH LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS, IT’S A CUSTOMER SERVICE PROVIDER, IT’S A TECHNICAL SUPPORT, AS I MENTIONED. IT’S ALSO A COMPLIANCE MONITOR. WITH ISDs, IT PLAYS SOME OF THE SAME ROLES, BUT ISDs ARE ALSO EXTENSIONS OR ARMS OF THE STATE. THEY’RE IMPERFECT EXTENSIONS OR ARMS OF THE STATE, AS THE BOARD IS AWARE. THEY HAVE UNEVEN FUNDING. THEY HAVE UNEVEN STAFFING. THEY HAVE UNEVEN EXPERIENCES. BUT THEY ARE NONETHELESS IN ADDITION TO, YOU KNOW, ALL THE RELATIONSHIPS THAT MIGHT EXIST OR DO EXIST BETWEEN THE STATE AND LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS. THEY ARE ALSO ARMS OF THE STATE OR THE STATE DEPARTMENT AS WELL, OR EXTENSIONS OF AT TIMES.>>OKAY. SO THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION HAS IDENTIFIED MICHIGAN’S SPECIAL EDUCATION PROGRAM AS NEEDING INTERVENTION DUE TO POOR ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE AND LOW GRADUATION RATES. WHAT STEPS WOULD YOU TAKE AS STATE SUPERINTENDENT TO IMPROVE SPECIAL EDUCATION? AND I WANTED TO ADD ONE QUESTION THAT WE’VE ASKED TO ALL OF THE OTHER CANDIDATES BEFORE– I DON’T KNOW– IF I SAY IT WRONG, LET ME KNOW. SO THERE’S BEEN SOME CONCERNS WITH THE APPEALS PROCESS. WE GET A LOT OF FEEDBACK FROM PARENTS AND ADVOCATES AND DIFFERENT NONPROFIT GROUPS THAT ADVOCATE ON BEHALF OF PARENTS THAT THE APPEALS PROCESS IS NOT– DOES NOT WORK EFFECTIVELY FOR PARENTS. SO WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO IMPROVE THE SPECIFICALLY APPEALS PROCESS? SO FIRST GENERALLY, WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO GET US OUT OF THE NEEDING INTERVENTION DUE TO THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE AND GRADUATION RATES, THE RESULTS? AND THEN IF YOU COULD SPEAK SPECIFICALLY ABOUT THE APPEALS PROCESS.>>SURE. SO WE HAVE 1,600, OR MORE THAN 1,600 SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN IN KALAMAZOO. WE RUN OUR OWN ASD PROGRAMS, OUR OWN AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER PROGRAMS. I WAS IN A NUMBER OF THOSE CLASSROOMS LAST WEEK. WE HAVE OUR OWN CI PROGRAMS. WE HAVE OUR OWN EI PROGRAMS. OFTENTIMES, LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS HAVE THE COUNTY OR THE RESA OR THE ISD RUN THOSE PROGRAMS FOR US. FOR THE MOST PART, WE DON’T. WE RUN OUR OWN. I WOULD LOOK AT THE SPECIAL EDUCATION FUNCTION THE SAME WAY THAT I WOULD LOOK AT OTHER FUNCTIONS. I’D WANT TO GET FEEDBACKS FROM CUSTOMERS, FOCUS GROUP SURVEYS. I’D WANT TO HEAR FROM THE DEPARTMENT. I’D WANT TO HEAR FROM ASSOCIATIONS RELATIVE TO THEIR INTERACTION WITH THE DEPARTMENT. I’D PROBABLY ENGAGE A CONSULTANT TO LOOK AT BEST PRACTICES IN HIGH PERFORMING STATES, THAT IS TO SAY, STATES THAT ARE HIGH PERFORMING WHEN IT COMES TO CHILDREN OF SPECIAL NEEDS. AND I’D WANT TO HAVE THAT CONSULTANT EITHER BE FROM ONE OF THOSE STATES, OR IF NOT, BE ABLE TO LOOK AT THOSE STATES AND BRING BACK LESSONS LEARNED, BEST PRACTICES FROM THOSE STATES. HOW CAN WE DO IN OUR STATE WHAT THOSE STATES ARE DOING IN THEIRS? TO THE ISSUE SPECIFICALLY, I’D WANT A COUPLE OF– THREE QUESTIONS ASKED. ONE, I’D WANT TO UNDERSTAND IF THE OFFICE WAS PROPERLY RESOURCED. DOES IT HAVE THE PROPER STAFF, THE PROPER FUNDS TO DO ITS JOB? SO THAT’S A RESOURCE ISSUE. THE OTHER RESOURCE ISSUE IS HOW IS IT SPENDING ITS TIME? IS IT SPENDING ITS TIME IN HIGH IMPACT ACTIVITIES OR IS IT SPENDING ITS TIME IN WAYS THAT PERHAPS ARE LOWER IMPACT ACTIVITIES AND NOT NECESSARILY INTEGRAL TO THE FUNCTIONING OF THE DEPARTMENT? SO THERE ARE TWO RESOURCE ISSUES, TIME AND MONEY. AND I’D WANT OUR CONSULTANT AMONG OTHER THINGS TO FOCUS ON THAT. TO THE ISSUE OF APPEALS, I’D BE INTERESTED IN UNDERSTANDING IF WHEN APPEALS ARE HEARD… IF THE DEPARTMENT IS LOOKING AT THOSE APPEALS NARROWLY, RELATIVE TO THE INSTANCE AT HAND OR MORE BROADLY. AND IF THE LATTER, IS THAT STATUTORY OR IS THAT BY CHOICE? AND IF BY CHOICE, IS THAT A PROBLEM– IS THAT A HOLD UP IN THE PROCESS? IS THAT WHAT DELAYS A DECISION ON THE INSTANT CASE? THERE SHOULD BE AN APPEALS PROCESS. IT SHOULD BE A TIMELY APPEALS PROCESS, BUT IT ALSO SHOULD BE AN APPEALS PROCESS ASSOCIATED WITH THE ISSUE BROUGHT FORWARD. AND THE ISSUE BROUGHT FORWARD SHOULD BE AN ISSUE BROUGHT FORWARD BY THE PARENT OR GUARDIAN ON BEHALF OF HIS OR HER CHILD, NOT A FAR FLUNG APPEAL THAT THE DEPARTMENT GETS ENGAGED IN AT THE EXPENSE OF THE INDIVIDUAL APPEALS OF INDIVIDUAL FAMILIES.>>WHAT EXPERIENCE HAVE YOU HAD IN WORKING IN A COMPLEX ORGANIZATION THAT SERVES A HIGHLY DIVERSE POPULATION INCLUDING THOSE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS, DIVERSE SOCIOECONOMIC AND EDUCATIONAL LEVELS, CULTURE, RACE AND ETHNICITY? PLEASE EXPLAIN IN DETAIL.>>FIVE SCHOOL DISTRICTS, FOUR STATES, ALL DIVERSE. KALAMAZOO IS WHAT I SAID IT WAS. IF YOU’D LIKE ME TO REPEAT IT, I WILL. CLIFTON IS WHAT I SAID IT WAS. IF YOU’D LIKE ME TO REPEAT IT, I WILL. I HAVE NEVER WORKED IN AN ENVIRONMENT THAT WASN’T DIVERSE IN MY CAREER. NO EXCEPTIONS. DIVERSE IN TERMS OF PARENTS, DIVERSE IN TERMS OF STAFF, DIVERSE IN TERMS OF CHILDREN, DIVERSE ETHNICALLY OR RACIALLY, DIVERSE SOCIOECONOMICALLY, DIVERSE LINGUISTICALLY. FROM MY VANTAGE POINT, THAT DIVERSITY IS RICHNESS.>>WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR MAJOR STRENGTHS AS A LEADER? WHAT WOULD YOU TARGET FOR PERSONAL OR PROFESSIONAL IMPROVEMENT IF YOU ARE HIRED FOR THIS POSITION?>>I THINK I’M COLLABORATIVE. I THINK I’M PARTNERING. I THINK I CARE DEEPLY ABOUT CHILDREN AND HOW WE SERVE CHILDREN. I’M LONG-TERM GOAL ORIENTED, FOCUSED ON DRIVING LONG-TERM GOALS ASSOCIATED WITH CHILDREN AND CHILDREN’S NEEDS AND THINGS THAT CHILDREN CAN TAKE INTO ADULTHOOD.>>CASANDRA, DID YOU–?>>JURY’S A LITTLE BIT OUT ON WHETHER I HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR. [ LAUGHTER ] IF I WERE-IF I WERE HIRED… I WOULD WANT TO DRIVE UP MY LEARNING CURVE IN THE SEVEN AREAS THAT I NOTED AS ISSUES MOVING FORWARD. AND BY THE WAY, THOSE WERE A SAMPLE SET OF IMPORTANT ISSUES. IT WASN’T MEANT TO BE THE WATERFRONT. I’D WANT TO LEARN A LOT ABOUT THE INDIVIDUAL OFFICES WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT, THE ASSOCIATION PLAYERS, THE LEGISLATURE. I MEAN, I HAVE AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT TO LEARN. ANYBODY WHO IS HIRED, ANYBODY WHOM YOU HIRE FOR THIS POSITION HAS A TREMENDOUS LEARNING CURVE. AND ANYBODY WHO FAILS TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT PROBABLY ISN’T THE PERSON YOU WANT TO HIRE.>>THANK YOU.>>OH, I BEG YOUR PARDON, THE ONE OTHER THING THAT I FAILED TO MENTION WAS I’D WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE NEEDS OF RURAL EDUCATORS AND HOW THEY SERVE CHILDREN, PARTICULARLY GEOGRAPHICALLY– YOU KNOW, GEOGRAPHICALLY AT A DISTANCE. I THINK THAT’S A SPECIAL CHALLENGE IN THE STATE, ONE PERHAPS THAT GETS LESS ATTENTION THAN IT DESERVES.>>THANK YOU.>>DID YOU HAVE A FOLLOW-UP?>>YEAH, I DID.>>WE HAVE A FOLLOW-UP QUESTION.>>RIGHT, IT WAS ONE OF THE QUESTIONS ACTUALLY THAT I ASKED PREVIOUS CANDIDATES, AND IT IS, RECENTLY– AND IT’S MORE IN LINE WITH QUESTION 19 AND 20, BUT– THE STATE OF MICHIGAN IN A RECENT REPORT SHOWED THAT MICHIGAN FARES WORSE FOR OUTCOMES FOR AFRICAN AMERICAN CHILDREN, AND JUST WANTING TO KNOW, YOU’VE SPOKEN TO SOME OF THESE ITEMS, BUT– OR THIS ISSUE, BUT WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO ADDRESS THAT STATISTIC?>>THAT– I HEARD AFRICAN AMERICAN CHILDREN.>>THAT THERE IS A REPORT BY THE ANNIE CASEY FOUNDATION, RECENTLY, I THINK IN 2017 THAT SHOWED THAT AFRICAN AMERICAN FARE WORSE IN OUTCOMES. AND WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO ADDRESS THAT STATISTIC?>>SO I THINK IT’S A NATIONAL PROBLEM. I THINK WE HAVE TO CONCEDE THAT WE OWN OUR PORTION OF IT WITHIN THE STATE OF MICHIGAN. I THINK WE HAVE TO CALL IT OUT. I THINK IT HAS TO BE RAISED TO CONSCIOUSNESS. I DON’T THINK IT CAN BE ADDRESSED IN THE ABSENCE OF RAISING IT TO CONSCIOUSNESS. AND WITHOUT DISRESPECT TO THE ANNIE E. CASEY FOUNDATION, THE REPORT DOESN’T RAISE IT TO CONSCIOUSNESS. IT HAS TO BE RAISED TO CONSCIOUSNESS BY ALL OF US, BY DECISION MAKERS, BY POLICY MAKERS, PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING TO POUR INTO THIS ISSUE. WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT OF AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDENTS, OR FOR THAT MATTER, STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT OF CHILDREN OF COLOR, YOU ARE ALSO OFTEN, NOT ALWAYS, BUT OFTEN TALKING ABOUT CHILDREN WHO ARE DISPROPORTIONATELY WORKING CLASS OR POOR. SO IN SOME CASES YOU ARE NOT TALKING SIMPLY ABOUT ETHNICITY OR RACE, YOU ARE ALSO TALKING ABOUT SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS AS WELL. AND IF YOU LOOK AT OUR STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT, THERE’S A PRETTY STRONG GAP BETWEEN MIDDLE CLASS CHILDREN ON THE ONE HAND, WORKING CLASS AND POOR CHILDREN ON THE OTHER. I THINK ALL OF THOSE GAPS HAVE TO BE RAISED TO A LEVEL OF CONSCIOUSNESS. IF YOU LOOK AT THE GOVERNOR’S BUDGET, NUMBER ONE, IF YOU LOOK AT THE SCHOOL FINANCE RESEARCH COLLABORATIVE, NUMBER TWO, EACH OF THOSE WILL TALK ABOUT THE NEED TO FUND DIFFERENT NEEDS DIFFERENTLY. DIFFERENT CHILDREN HAVE DIFFERENT NEEDS. DIFFERENT NEEDS HAVE DIFFERENT COSTS. AND DIFFERENT COSTS OUGHT TO GENERATE DIFFERENT REVENUE. AND I THINK THAT’S A PIECE OF THE ISSUE. BUT I THINK ANOTHER PIECE OF THE ISSUE IS MAKING THE PROFESSION INTERESTING ENOUGH AND ENGAGING ENOUGH AND EXCITING ENOUGH AS A PROFESSION THAT WE HAVE YOUNG PEOPLE WHO WANT TO GO INTO THE PROFESSION, AND TEACH IN KALAMAZOO AND GRAND RAPIDS AND MUSKEGON AND SAGINAW AND FLINT AND DETROIT AND JACKSON AND LANSING. BECAUSE SO MUCH OF THIS IS WHO’S IN FRONT OF OUR YOUNG PEOPLE IN INDIVIDUAL CLASSROOMS. THERE’S NO RESEARCH AT ALL, AS YOU WELL KNOW, DR. PUGH, THAT SUGGESTS THAT SOME KIDS LEARN BETTER THAN OTHERS BECAUSE OF THEIR SKIN. NONE AT ALL.>>THANK YOU.>>YOU BET.>>CAN YOU DISCUSS YOUR EXPERIENCE IN CREATING, IMPLEMENTING AND/OR OVERSEEING POLICIES AND PROCEDURES RELATED TO SCHOOL AND STUDENT SAFETY?>>SO WE’VE DONE A NUMBER OF THINGS IN KALAMAZOO OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS TO IMPROVE OUR SECURITY. I MENTIONED CLIFTON, NEW JERSEY. FROM VALLEY ROAD, CLIFTON IN 2001 IN 9/11 THEY COULD SEE THE TWIN TOWERS BURNING. AND SO WHEN I CAME THERE IN 2002, THE NOTION OF BUZZER INTERCOM CAMERA SYSTEMS ON THEIR FRONT DOORS WAS A NO-BRAINER. OF COURSE, WE’LL PUT BUZZER INTERCOM CAMERAS AT OUR FRONT DOORS, SINGLE POINT OF ENTRY. FROM VALLEY ROAD, WE COULD SEE THE TWIN TOWERS BURNING. FIVE YEARS LATER, IN KALAMAZOO, WHEN I MENTIONED THE SAME INITIATIVE, YOU WOULD’VE THOUGHT THAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT TAKING PEOPLE’S FIRST BORNS AWAY FROM THEM, PARTICULARLY AT OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS THAT SEEMED TO THINK THAT I WAS INTERESTED IN CREATING LITTLE MINI PRISONS. SO WHAT WE DID WAS WE BEGAN WITH THE HIGH SCHOOLS. WE PUT CAMERAS IN THE HIGH SCHOOLS. WE DID SINGLE POINT OF ENTRY AT THE HIGH SCHOOLS AND THE MIDDLE SCHOOLS. WE’VE IMPLEMENTED THOUSANDS– MORE THAN A THOUSAND CAMERAS AT OUR MIDDLE SCHOOLS AND HIGH SCHOOLS. WE ULTIMATELY TURNED THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL COMMUNITY’S THINKING AROUND BUZZER INTERCOM CAMERAS AT THEIR SINGLE POINTS OF ENTRY. WE HAVE HUNDREDS OF CAMERAS ON OUR BUSSES. WE’VE DONE ALICE TRAINING, ALERT LOCKDOWN INFORM COUNTER EVACUATE TRAINING. THAT’S IMPORTANT TRAINING IN THE EVENT OF AN ARMED INTRUDER. WE’VE BANNED WEAPONS. WE THINK THERE’S NO PLACE FOR A WEAPON IN A SCHOOL, WHETHER IT’S LEGAL OR NOT, WHETHER IT’S WITH AN ADULT OR NOT. WE DON’T THINK THAT THEY BELONG IN SCHOOL. WE’VE HIRED MORE CAMPUS SAFETY OFFICERS. WE’VE MORE STRONGLY ENGAGED OUR RELATIONSHIPS WITH LOCAL POLICE DEPARTMENTS. AND WE WORK WITH TWO LOCAL POLICE DEPARTMENTS, THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE, THE STATE POLICE AND THE LIKE. SO THOSE ARE AMONG THE THINGS THAT WE’VE DONE WITH RESPECT TO SAFETY AND SECURITY IN OUR SCHOOLS. WE ALSO RECENTLY WON A STATE GRANT, $442,000 TO IMPROVE SOME OF OUR SECURITY MEASURES IN OUR SCHOOLS’ TIP LINE. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY PERHAPS, PERHAPS, WE’VE MADE CLEAR TO OUR KIDS IF THEY SEE SOMETHING, THEY NEED TO SAY SOMETHING. IT’S NOT ABOUT SNITCHING. IT’S NOT ABOUT DIMING ANYBODY OUT. IT’S ABOUT KEEPING PEOPLE SAFE. SO, YOU KNOW, BE REAL, OKAY? YOU KNOW, THE CHILD YOU PROTECT MAY BE A CHILD WHO OFF-BALANCE AT A GIVEN MOMENT MAY CREATE SOME DANGER FOR OTHER CHILDREN. YOU NEED TO TELL SOMEBODY IF YOU KNOW SOMETHING.>>THANK YOU.>>WHAT WILL PUBLIC EDUCATION BE LIKE IN THE FUTURE?>>WELL, BILL DAGGETT, THE WELL KNOWN EDUCATOR, SAID THAT IF YOUR JOB CAN BE DONE WITH A FORMULA, WITH AN ALGORITHM, YOUR JOB IS GOING TO BE ELIMINATED. AND I FOUND THAT HOPELESSLY DYSTOPIAN AND SCARY. BUT I WOULDN’T HAVE EXPECTED ALL THE JOBS TO DISAPPEAR IN THE LAST 20 YEARS THAT HAVE DISAPPEARED, THAT HAVE DISAPPEARED BECAUSE OF TECHNOLOGY OR BECAUSE OF OFFSHORING IN ONE WAY, SHAPE OR FORM. SO HE MAY BE MORE RIGHT THAN WRONG. I THINK EDUCATION IS BECOMING AND WILL BECOME MORE PROBLEM BASED. I THINK IT IS BECOMING AND WILL BECOME MORE ENGAGING. IT’LL BE MORE SMALL GROUP. IT’LL BE MORE STUDENT-CENTERED AND TEACHER GUIDED RATHER THAN… THAN NECESSARILY TEACHER-CENTERED. I BELIEVE IT’S GOING TO BE MORE DIVERSE. IT’S GOING TO BE MORE OPEN ENDED. IT’S GOING TO BE MORE ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS. IT’S GOING TO BE MORE ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE WANT, WHAT OUR BUSINESS PEOPLE SAY THEY WANT IN A WORKFORCE. THE ABILITY TO WORK WITH OTHERS, THE ABILITY TO THINK THROUGH PROBLEMS, THE ABILITY TO CONNECT ACROSS DIFFERENCE, AND I MEAN ALL SORTS OF DIFFERENCES. THOSE ARE GOING TO BE INCREASINGLY VALUED IN OUR WORLD. IT’S GOING TO BE MORE HIGHER ORDER THAN LOWER ORDER. THAT’S MY IMPRESSION OF WHAT PUBLIC EDUCATION IS GOING TO BE IN THE COMING YEARS.>>THANK YOU.>>GREAT, SO THAT’S IT FOR OUR QUESTIONS. WE HAVE JUST A COUPLE MINUTES LEFT. IF THERE’S ANYTHING ELSE THAT YOU WANT TO ADD THAT YOU THINK THAT WE SHOULD KNOW, OR IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS FOR US, THIS IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY.>>SO… I RECENTLY GOT AN INVITATION TO MY 35TH COLLEGE REUNION. I FIND THAT SOBERING, SINCE I STILL HAVE CLOTHING FROM COLLEGE. [ LAUGHTER ] IT DOESN’T FIT. BUT I STILL FOUND THAT SOBERING, AND SURPRISING SOMEHOW. I’M NOT REALLY SURE WHERE 35 YEARS WENT. BUT 35 YEARS AGO NEXT MONTH, I LEFT SCHOOL. AND WITHIN A YEAR OF THAT, I’D BEEN A BIG BROTHER, I’D BEEN A CAMP COUNSELOR, I’D BEEN A MENTOR, I’D BEEN A COACH. AND I’M NOT A WHOLE LOT DIFFERENT THAN WHAT I WAS 35 YEARS AGO, NOT IN TERMS OF MY VALUES. I’M PRETTY SIMILAR TO WHAT I WAS 35 YEARS AGO. I’M ABOUT KIDS, I’M ABOUT ALL KIDS. YOU CAN SEE IT IN MY ACTIONS. YOU CAN VET THAT. YOU CAN TRY IT OUT. YOU CAN WALK DOWN THE STREET WITH ME AND TRY IT ON. OR YOU CAN WALK BEHIND ME AND SEE THE INTERACTIONS WITH CHILDREN AND HOW I DO, WHAT AND FOR I DO, WITH CHILDREN. FOR THE LAST 17 YEARS, I’VE RUN TWO URBAN SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN TWO STATES. 12 YEARS– 12 YEARS IN KALAMAZOO, FIVE YEARS IN CLIFTON, NEW JERSEY. AND WE’VE MADE PROGRESS, SUBSTANTIAL PROGRESS ON ALL OF OUR LONG-TERM BOARD ESTABLISHED GOALS IN TWO DISTRICTS, IN TWO STATES OVER THAT PERIOD OF TIME. THAT’S A CHALLENGE IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, PARTICULARLY A CHALLENGE WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT THE FACT THAT OUR REVENUES IN THIS STATE ON AN INFLATION ADJUSTED BASIS HAVE BEEN CHIPPED AWAY AT IN A PRETTY SUBSTANTIAL WAY. AND THEY WEREN’T SUFFICIENT WHEN I GOT HERE. BUT THEY BECAME MARKEDLY LESS SUFFICIENT MOVING FORWARD OVER THE LAST 12 YEARS. YOU’D BE HARD PRESSED TO FIND SOMEONE WHO’S GOING TO ADVOCATE HARDER ON BEHALF OF CHILDREN, ALL CHILDREN, IN THIS STATE THAN I WOULD. IF YOU FIND THAT PERSON, HIRE HIM OR HER. I THINK THAT’S A GOOD IDEA. IF YOU DON’T, YOU MIGHT WANT TO CONSIDER MY CANDIDACY. YOU HAVE A LOT OF IMPORTANT WORK BEFORE YOU, NOT JUST IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS BUT IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS. I WISH YOU WELL. MORE IMPORTANTLY, I THINK I WISH THE 1.5 MILLION CHILDREN IN THE STATE WELL. THEY DEPEND ON YOU. THANK YOU.>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH. WE REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR INTEREST IN THE POSITION AND THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO COME AND TALK TO US TODAY.>>TAKE CARE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.>>WE ARE GOING TO– LET’S SEE HOW WE’RE DOING ON TIME. WE WILL TAKE A BRIEF RECESS. IF WE COULD BE BACK AT 11:20. THAT’S ABOUT 10 MINUTES FROM NOW, YEAH. [ INDISTINCT CHATTER ]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *