INSTITUTE FOR EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP
"LEADERSHIP FOR STUDENT LEARNING:
TASK FORCE PANEL PARTICIPANTS:
RESPONDENT PANEL PARTICIPANTS:
The First Amendment Lounge
MIKE USDAN: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to spring in Washington. Iím Mike Usdan from the Institute for Educational Leadership. And itís my pleasure to welcome you to this session this morning, which we think is a very, very significant one. The meeting this morning is part of a larger leadership project that IEL has been engaged in for some months now, details of which are included in your packets. The genesis of the project, about 18 months ago, there was growing concern as weíve all read about increasingly in recent months about the leadership crisis in American education. The leadership crisis is multi-faceted at a whole bunch of levels.
We felt, in getting involved in this project, that one of our unique contributions -- IEL, as some of you may know, is kind of a unique organization in the education business because we have no constituency. Since 1964, one of our unique contributions, we hope, has been the ability to pull people across sectors, if you will, to work with the business and political communities, to work at different levels in education. The leadership issue, as it has grown in intensity in the public discourse and so forth, seemed to be a particularly significant issue to try to secularize, to understand the complexities of school leadership these days, why the pipeline of people interested in principalships and superintendencies, really at all levels of the system Ė John Gardnerís old axiom about the anti-leadership vaccine in the public sector, you know, certainly comes to mind these days.
So, in one sense, thereís growing awareness of what is probably Ė well, many would consider a national crisis, if you will, in terms of the traditional pipeline. But at the same time, I think thereís a very unique opportunity to basically re-think and reconfigure our definitions of leadership. And what weíve done in this project is essentially to create four task forces, and looking at different realms of the leadership arena: district leadership, state leadership, the principalship.
This meeting today is the third task force to report, on the concept of the teacher as a leader. When one thinks of the countryís needs now in terms of something called instructional leadership, the rhetoric is out there. Lots of people in leadership positions are not sure what that means. Itís a unique opportunity to reconfigure, redefine the role of teachers as leaders, particularly in the instructional realm.
In each of these task forces, we basically asked, in addition to representatives from traditional education groups, teachers, principals, superintendents, so forth -- we deliberately included representatives from the business and political worlds who have been increasingly concerned with education. Indeed, a very persuasive case can be made that the business and political communities have basically driven the reform movement, standards, accountability, assessment, and so forth, and that it was terribly important to get these business and political leaders, with the kind of unique clout they have, to understand the complexities of school leadership and why weíre having the problems weíre having nationally.
So in addition to inviting all the mainstream education groups, weíve also dealt with business groups, the Committee for Economic Development, National Alliance of Business, Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, political groups, National Governors Association, National Conference of State Legislatures, US Conference of Mayors, to designate folks from their own constituency who might be interested in this leadership issue.
So the report that weíre releasing today basically, like the other task force reports, does not contain easy answers to very complex issues. Our goal is to try to generate local and regional discussion and debate about very, very complex issues. The task forces met last summer for approximately a day, and a day and a half, and obviously we do not purport that these reports are comprehensive in any manner, shape or form. But, again, they were designed to be provocative.
In each of the task force reports essentially we have a section called ďIn your own backyard.Ē And the goal here is to try to be catalytic, to create in communities and regions throughout the country a broadly gauged debate and discussion about leadership issues that include not just the closed circle of educators, but business and political leaders, as well, who are going to have to drive this and have to provide the resources and the political support to change some of the factors that are deterring lots of talented people from moving into leadership positions.
The fourth report and last report of the task force, as just kind of a preview of coming attractions, on state leadership will occur here at the National Press Club on May 17th.
In many ways, perhaps itís my own bias and not that of my colleagues, this report on teachers as leaders in many ways can be the most significant contribution, if indeed we can project kind of this juxtaposition of words which too often in our society arenít linked. Because itís obvious, probably the most enduring contribution of all the rhetoric about education change and reform is the centrality of teachers in terms of any kind of sustained progress in American education. As we say in the report, they indeed are the franchise players. Without the teachers, not very much is going to be sustained.
So I would like to thank the members of the task force, Jim Kelly and Mary Futrell, who co-chaired the task force. Buzz Bartlett. Youíll hear from them later in the morning. Iíd like to thank Mary Podmostko, who has been the glue of the project, Carrie Schmitz, Denise Slaughter, and now turn the podium over to Betty Hale, who is the president-designate of IEL, who will facilitate the meeting in her own inimitable and sparkling style. President-designate Hale.
BETTY HALE: Good morning.
As Michael said, this is the third in the Instituteís series of reports focused on leadership for student learning, and we are pleased that you have been able to join us this morning. Weíre going to ask you to give us about 30 minutes, and we want you to pretend one of two things, and you may decide for yourselves.
You can pretend that you are sitting in someoneís kitchen listening or overhearing a conversation. Or, if you prefer the 21st century notion of lurking, which is what they call you when you are on the computer and youíre trying to pay attention to what others are saying in a dialogue, and we want you to think about that as you listen carefully to the voices that we have assembled this morning.
Before I introduce the panelists, I want to say two things that were the absolute themes as the task force on teachers as leaders convened and really were the themes and the patterns throughout the day and a half of conversation. It was a constant underscoring of the vital role of the teacher in providing instructional leadership, and the constantly reiterated proposition that well-prepared professional teachers were central to the decades-long push for school reform.
What we want to try to consider this morning is both what would redefined teacher leadership look like. I also believe that in many instances what we might be trying to do is to define teacher leadership for a much larger audience. And Iíd like to start by getting a sense of the expertise in the room, and also to alert our panelists as to the knowledge base in this audience.
How many of you have been a school teacher? Very good. So you will know, and you can kind of help keep our comments honest here this morning.
We are joined by people who are seated to my right and my left, and as Iím constantly reminded, Iím making no political judgments when I introduce these people by saying, and on my far left we have Jim Kelly, who is the founding director, founding president of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
Buzz Bartlett, who is the director of corporate affairs at Lockheed Martin Corporation. The question that came to my mind was, we definitely at some point during Q & A want to ask Buzz sort of how much ed policy he thinks that he and his corporation have been driving, which is Michaelís suggestion that the business world had been playing a big role in that.
And Mary Hatwood Futrell, who is the Dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development at the George Washington University here in Washington, D.C.
On my far left again, Douglas Prouty, who is with the Montgomery County Public Schools. All of these individuals are teachers who are exercising leadership, and I believe will be able to say some very important things about teacher leadership in the 21st century.
Lisa Holm, who is with the Fairfax County Public Schools.
Stephanie Abney, who is with the District of Columbia Public Schools.
You have resumes on all of these individuals, but I want to mention two particular things. Lisa Holm also served as a Metropolitan Life fellow and is Board certified and will be able to say a bit more about what that means as we think about moving forward with teacher leadership. Mary Hatwood Futrell also served on the Metropolitan Life large teacher project, so we expect that she may have a few things to say.
Jim Kelly is going to provide the overview of the task force and its deliberations and the import of this report. We have asked Buzz Bartlett to talk about what this report says to the business world and to the policymaking world, because I failed to mention that Buzz also sits on the state board of education in the state of Maryland, so indeed wears two hats.
Mary is going to talk about what this report says to institutions of higher education and to the unions.
Weíre then going to shift to the reality. Weíre going to get to the ground and weíre going to ask the teachers to tell us what does this report say to teachers, and more importantly, what does this report not say. Or did it say anything with which you disagree.
So youíve heard enough from me. We shall start with Jim Kelly.
JIM KELLY: President-designate Hale, and still president and soon consultant-to-be Michael Usdan. Good morning. Iím pleased to be here.
While it is accurate to say that I am the founding president of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, a relationship I certainly am proud to carry, I am not now here on behalf of the National Board and Iím not now working for the National Board, or connected to the National Board. I retired, as they say, and Iím busier than ever as a consultant of different organizations, and so forth and so on. So I just wanted to sort of clarify my role.
But my real role here is that Iíve been hanging around the Institute for Educational Leadership for almost 30 years in a variety of roles. And Iíve known Mike Usdan for a little longer than that, and Betty Hale for a little shorter time than that, but Iíve watched IEL grow and change and roll with the times, and I think itís very interesting that today weíre here to in effect introduce a new stratum in the vision of leadership that the Institute for Educational Leadership projects.
It is not quite accurate, Mike, to say that IEL has no constituency. It may be a little hard to grab hold of and to convene in one big meeting, but, in fact, the Institute for Educational Leadership has a very substantial and influential network of state and local leaders and friends in the Washington community at the policy and staff levels. But across the country, in state capitals, in big cities, in school districts, school administrators, school boards, state legislators, governorsí staffs, legislative staffs, state interest groups, and so on, the Institute for Educational Leadership name means something.
Today it has validated the concept that not only incumbents in those kinds of roles Ė that is, incumbents with formal roles in the hierarchical administrative structure can be thought of as leaders, but that teachers are also leaders. As a matter of fact, as you stop to think about the pyramid and turn it upside down, this morning while weíre sitting here wasting our time talking to each other, three million people called teachers have just closed their doors and are teaching 50 million children in 100,000 different school buildings, and nobody in this town has a whole lot to say about what teaching and learning is going to go on inside those classrooms this morning or tomorrow morning or the next morning. Not the people in the great private foundations, not the people in the state legislative halls, not all the policy elites, many of whom, like me Ė Iíll admit it Ė former teacher, are paid more money not to teach. Thatís the game. Thatís the game.
This report says we need to begin to rethink that game. It is not just a matter of words, rules, laws, and so forth. We are part of the problem and as we have grown up in a profession so full of formal administrative, highly structured and rigidified roles and bureaucracies that we donít really know how to think about it in any other terms which basically need to be functional. So think about us here talking while three million people are helping 50 million people learn.
There are two main ways in which this report speaks to the topic of teacher leadership. And it doesnít really matter which way you Ė Iím not mentioning one or the other in any particular importance, and youíll see theyíre no-brainer categories. One Iím going to discuss briefly is collective leadership and the other is more leadership acting as individuals.
With respect to collective leadership in the teaching profession, there has been profound change in the last 20 years. This profession now bears in its public and professional positions and policies -- bears precious little resemblance to that of 20 years ago. Leaders like Mary Futrell are a big part of that story. Today the teaching profession has set standards.
Letís just stop there for a second. Itís not just set advanced standards through National Board certification. It is struggling in a very difficult terrain to translate the concept of standards into state licensure approaches in a realm that has traditionally been dominated totally by labor markets, despite the rhetoric painted over it. And at the level of teacher education, hundreds of institutions of teacher education are trying to digest what new standards for the teaching profession mean to them. NCATE is performing an extremely important leadership role in saying to colleges that they canít be accredited any more unless they have standards for what their graduates should know and be able to do. Unprecedented. Would not have been imaginable 20 years ago.
This has not been done in the fragmented way in which student standards have developed. In the student standards movement, the folks doing geography donít talk much to people doing science and math. I went to an amazing meeting halfway through their early processes in which I discovered out of 14 in the meeting, the executive directors of these projects, most of them had never met each other before. This is not true in the teaching profession. We know each other. The people doing math standards, science standards, elementary standards, secondary standards, voc ed standards know each other. Theyíre in the same room working on them.
Furthermore, teachers have played a very important role throughout all of the standards-setting processes in the teaching profession. And in the teaching profession we now have performance assessments that are not only reliable and valid and fair in terms of measuring performances of teachers on teaching and learning exercises, but they turn out by the testimony of teachers to be powerful professional development activities. In other words, new assessments in which people learn while their behavior is being sampled in the actual performance of their work. Not ex post facto, number two pencil.
So we have confidence from the business community weíve never had before. Weíve had salaries going up because of National Board certification and other actions. Now emerging out of all this we have individual roles of teachers that are enumerated in this report, ranging from mentoring and a whole variety of curriculum and instructional leadership roles. Most importantly, beginning to take the leadership on a bubbling up basis in designing professional development activities for other teachers.
So we have teachers also, in formal ways that are visible, assuming governance and leadership roles in unions. Teachers control the board of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and so on. But finally, there is something emerging which is very difficult to put your finger on but which is very powerful. It is a sense of confidence among teachers that they can take care of their own professional development. They now have a language in which they can talk to each other. It has grown out of the standards movement in teaching, and out of the nature of the exercises in professional development work that theyíre doing in teacher education all the way through board certification.
So there is an informal, powerful networking of teachers at different levels of teaching and at different disciplines that is bubbling up across the country. There are many thousands of people involved in this, tens and hundreds of thousands. The Internet and e-mail has been a very stimulative catalytic factor in the emergence of this. It has not yet caught the measurable focus of the educational research and policy communities, but in the long run is as clear a symptom as any of teachers beginning to feel that they can in fact act like leaders.
BETTY HALE: Jim, this report suggests that teacher leadership is not about power. Do you agree with that?
JIM KELLY: Teacher leadership is not about power in the sense that it is focused on the attributes of power now held by senior administrative officials. It is about any and every aspect of the policy apparatus that touches on and influences teaching and learning in classrooms. Teachers arenít trying to get power in order to control construction contracts. Theyíre trying to get power in order to improve teaching in the classrooms. If you want to talk teaching and learning, youíd better involve teachers.
In a way theyíre saying, we are the function. This whole apparatus here, Max Weber can be happy, but we canít do much about it. Weíre just going to Ė weíre floating around it on the real issue.
BETTY HALE: Mary Hatwood Futrell, Dean of the Graduate School of Education.
MARY FUTRELL: First of all, let me say that it was indeed an honor for me to serve as the co-chair of this task force, and when Mike Usdan asked me to work with it, I was trying to figure out and I remember saying to him, where is all this going, what do you hope to achieve by writing these reports on leadership. He assured me that the basic purpose was to try to change the culture within the school system so that we could indeed work more closely together to improve the quality of education. When he explained it in that way, I said yes, I would be happy to listen and to be part of the group.
I think the report is very, very timely. It seems to me that the education reform movement has expanded, but we have not achieved the goals that we set out to achieve. In my honest opinion, I really donít think that we will achieve those goals until and unless we recognize teachers as leaders and take advantage of the expertise and experiences that they bring to the table.
As Jim just said a moment ago, the teachers are the ones who are in the classrooms all over the country who are going to make a difference as it relates to how much children learn, how well they learn, et cetera. I do believe that the vast majority of teachers are committed to making sure that children receive a quality education. But the question for me is, how do we make sure that all children receive a quality education, and how do we make sure that that education is one that is relevant to the changing society in which we live. I believe that if we want to accomplish that goal, then we must work very, very closely with the teachers and not simply as someone we tell what to do, but as someone to whom we listen and we take advantage of the expertise and the knowledge that they bring to the table to help us improve the quality of education.
Which brings me to the topic of higher education and unions. I must say that I was very pleased with the tone of the report as it relates to unions in particular. I havenít been head of a union now for over 11 years, so it was kind of interesting when I was asked to talk about unions, but let me do the best that I can.
I think that the report accurately reflects the role that unions have played in trying to improve the quality of education, but, at the same time, I would say to you that I think the unions could have and can do a lot more than they have done. I think theyíve made considerable progress, but thereís a lot more that we can do.
About 85 percent of the teachers in this country belong to either the NEA or the AFT, so obviously those two organizations will have a tremendous influence on the roles that teachers play as leaders in the schools and the school districts, and within the profession. I think that the teacher organizations can help, especially as it comes to helping us define what those roles and responsibilities will be. And I agree with the comment made by Jim. Itís not about imposing oneís power on the schools, or oneís influence, but itís trying to help shape the culture because the context within which the teachers are working will define what leadership means and how it is implemented.
Right now, the way the context is structured, itís top down. People tell the teachers what to do. I think that it should be reversed. I think it should be the teachers providing input to help administrators at the school level and the district level understand more realistically what the concerns, what the problems are, and how those problems can be resolved, and the role that teachers should play.
I think we need to admit that the way the schools are structured, teachers really donít have time to work together, and when they do have time, they come together most of the time theyíre talking about their students, theyíre talking about what is going on in the school, and then they really donít have time to come together to talk and to function as leaders. So how do we create that kind of culture in the schools so that teachers understand we are recognizing you as a leader, we value what you bring to the table. How do we use that to improve the quality of education?
I think the teachers unions can also help bridge distrust and suspicion. Letís face it. When the teachers are identified as leaders, even their colleagues probably are going to mistrust them. Who do you think you are? Youíre a leader and youíre trying to tell me what to do or tell us what to do. And again, going back to the point that Jim made, itís not about power, but itís about sharing and making the environment, making the culture better.
I think weíre going to really have to work with the administrators. This is another area where I think higher ed can help because as we train administrators, how do we train administrators to be instructional leaders and managerial leaders, but also help them to understand you have a vast reservoir, a talent in that classroom. Donít look at them as your underlings. Look at them as ďyour peersĒ who have the same concerns you have, and how do we work together to tap that experience, to improve the quality of education.
I think the unions can do a lot more to bring together teachers and administrators and parents and the community, again to help, to create this understanding and acceptance of teachers as leaders. Because I think a lot of parents will say, Buzz was hired to teach and heís supposed to be in the classroom. Heís not supposed to be out here being a leader. So what weíre trying to say is, as being a classroom teacher and being a leader, they go together. So how do we take advantage of that opportunity and how do we work with the community to understand that by creating a different culture in a school, and by giving teachers the opportunity to show leadership, that we can improve the quality of education.
I think the unions can also help by helping to identify resources that the teachers will need if they are to be successful in their efforts to be leaders. You can be a leader and not have anything to back up what youíre trying to do, and therefore, youíre going to fail. What we want is success. So how do we make sure that the teachers have the support that they need in order to move forward.
At the higher education level, schools or colleges or departments of education, to me this is a two-way street. This is an opportunity for colleges and universities to work with schools, school districts, and in particular with teachers, to provide support, to provide expertise, to help bring groups together. But itís also an opportunity for the colleges and the universities to learn from those experiences.
Iím a firm believer that simply because youíre at the higher ed level doesnít mean you have all the answers. As a matter of fact, I sometimes want to know how realistic are the answers you have. Whenís the last time youíve been in a classroom, and do you really know whatís going on in the classroom, and as you prepare teachers and administrators, how do you make sure that you are preparing them for the real world of education?
I think the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, in my opinion, has done an enormous job in helping us rethink the culture and the schools, especially as relates to the role of higher education, the role of teachers and working with teacher unions and administrators as well.
So let me just say that I think the report is very timely. I hope that people will read it seriously, and not simply read it but take heed and begin to change the culture in the schools, and begin to take advantage of that reservoir of expertise that we have called teachers.
BETTY HALE: Thanks, Mary. Weíre going to now go to the business and policymaking world. Buzz, we donít want you to feel any pressure to sort of speak on behalf of those large audiences.
BUZZ BARTLETT: Good. I wonít.
I do think that business brings two things to this debate. One I think everybody hears is the need statement, that business needs better trained students. But business has also brought an expertise, and I think an objectivity Ė and anybody could have brought it. It just happens to be that business has been at the table. And itís that objectivity that I want to speak to, and I want to look at this report through that lens.
I'm going to make a series of statements that, as I was going through the report again, I kind of had my own eureka moment. To back you up, I hope that many of you have been aware that in this country business has been restructuring itself for the last 20 years, and weíve been either, in business terms, retooling the worker or weíve been retooling the structure.
Mary has talked a little bit about this, but I want to bring this right down to the finite system that is being put in place in this country that has made Ė forgive the term ďworkerĒ Ė but in fact the worker as the leader. Or in this case the teacher as the leader.
Business looked a number of years ago to that place in this world where the workers have most been leaders, and they found it at the Yorkshire mineheads. This is where a worker team really doesnít pay much attention to the structure above the ground, in the offices. The people in front of the minehead make the decisions about how theyíre going to operate. They facilitate what theyíre going to operate. They become a self-contained team.
In fact, thatís what this report is beginning to talk about, that if weíre going to restructure the system, the teacher is the person at the minehead, the teacher calls the shot, the teacher creates the team. The people up top, if you want to put it in those kind of pyramid terms, the principal needs to learn to be a facilitator and a coach, needs to be the person who deals with the system, needs to be the person who carries the standards into the school. And that, by the way, is an extremely difficult job because a lot of the people who become principals donít know how to step back and say, Iím going to be a coach, Iím going to turn to the teachers and help them work as a team, Iím going to help facilitate it, structure it, and then Iím going to step back and let it happen.
But, in fact, if you look around this country at those businesses that have been most successful, the one with which youíre most familiar is the Saturn plant in Tennessee, and thatís how they operate, through the teams where any member of the team has the authority to call the shots. Iím sure youíve seen the ad where that one worker pulls the cord that stops the line, and everybody figures out what the problem is. And Iím sure equally that every one of you understands how revolutionary that concept is. But I think thatís what this report is hinting at.
I think thereís a lot of people in business who, and people in this room as well. We have worked with this retooling of the worker issue. It is best embodied in the Professional Board for Teaching Standards. We have worked with the issue of standards as well. But itís been very difficult to step back far enough and look at how you then restructure what has been adequately described as almost Ė Iím not even sure what the phrase that Jim used, about how this incredible structure that weíve created in education, it is going to be tough to break it. But thatís what really has to happen. Thatís what business has done in some cases. We havenít all succeeded. Itís a revolutionary way of looking at the world, but I think itís the only way weíre going to move ahead, and I think this report speaks to it.
BETTY HALE: Thank you. Do you want to say a word at all about making policy at the state level in terms of how this report said anything to you?
BUZZ BARTLETT: Well, only in that this is going to be, as Iím sure everyone in this room knows, this is going to be something that canít be dictated from the top. This is going to be something thatís going to have to be passed on by word of mouth and by practice. In Montgomery County, and Iím glad Doug is here this morning. He can speak to the beginning growth of the concept of the teams in Montgomery County, peer reviews, all the things that really hint at this issue. They more than hint at it. They go a good deal of the distance.
But itís something that is going to happen at the local education agency, and the state simply has to make sure it doesnít do something that gets in the way.
BETTY HALE: Thank you. I will point out thereís a very small little blurb in this morningís Washington Post business section, that the current president of Saturn has stepped down, and she has been replaced by another female.
Iím now actually going to shift to the people who are seated on my left. And we are going to ask Doug from Montgomery Country to take a few minutes and talk about what he thinks this report says to teachers.
DOUG PROUTY: Thank you. Just to pick up on what Buzz was saying, in Montgomery County we are in the midst of trying to change the culture of the school system by means of collaboration between teachers, administrators, and other professional educators. The report hints at and suggests ways in which this can be done effectively. Weíre seeing how that operates in the classroom right now. Itís something thatís going to take a lot of time. Itís going to take a lot of resources.
There are a couple of areas in which I want to focus in terms of the resources that teachers need to be able to become leaders. One is time. In our most recent contract negotiations, I was on the bargaining team for our contract that takes effect this July, one of the issues we tried to focus on and found very difficult to address was the issue of time. Most teachers want to become leaders, and most teachers want to show that leadership in the classroom and outside the classroom as well. But as soon as you get in the classroom, you realize time is perhaps the most important factor in the ability you have to show that leadership.
Unless youíre willing to sacrifice virtually all of your personal life and most of your sleep as well, itís difficult to become an effective teacher and also to show that leadership outside of the classroom.
Some of the things that show promise in terms of that is professional development in terms of job-embedded professional development. Weíre working now with ways to try to have teachers work together to develop professional development plans that focus what weíre doing in the classroom and focus on ways that what we do in the classroom can become more effective and also shared amongst other teachers.
Another issue thatís very important in terms of teacher leadership is curriculum and instruction, and how much input teachers have into curriculum that they deliver. Traditionally teachers have been deliverers of curriculum and not designers of curriculum, not nearly to the extent that they should be. And this was one of the biggest issues when we did a survey of our membership in Montgomery County, the union did a survey, in terms of what teachers wanted addressed.
The movement towards testing and accountability measures is in some ways at odds with teachers contributing to curriculum because the more that there are national tests the more that there are tests from the state level, the more curriculum becomes designed to meet those tests and not the other way around. So we need to pay attention to how these tests are designed and whether theyíre designed first and the curriculum then designed to meet them, or whether the curriculum is designed first and the tests are designed to actually test the curriculum.
A lot of the tests that are out there donít actually test the curriculum. They do just the opposite. They tell the curriculum or they influence what the curriculum is, and teachers want a lot more input into that. Thereís a number of ways this can happen. Curriculum needs to be brought from the level of the state and the county into the school, and the schools need to be able to adapt and to design their own curriculum and have that bubble up instead of bubbling down.
That for a lot of classroom teachers is one of the key issues because when youíre handed a curriculum, you have to teach it. But at the same time, it can limit, and the testing that you know is coming can also limit the ability of a classroom teacher to be able to differentiate instruction to try new and different instructional strategies with their students that they know will be able to succeed with those students.
One of the other things that I wanted to comment about in terms of the report is the issue of recognition for teachers as a profession. This is something that may be the crux of the matter in terms of teachers showing leadership, and thereís a number of ways that this can happen. One is, Iíve already mentioned the issue of input into curriculum and instruction. Another is for teachers to be recognized as leaders just by dint of what they do.
Teachers are leaders in the classroom every day. I teach three classes as part of my job, and every time that I start a class, Iím leading that class. One of the things that is difficult for a lot of teachers to do is to take that leadership and apply it outside the classroom, and the more that the structures that are inherent in schools are adapted to and are changed to reflect teachersí input into the decisionmaking that goes on in the school, the more thatís going to happen.
Thereís a design that we have at my school for the leadership of the school that is a representative structure that is a consensus-based structure that makes the decisions for the school. So instead of the principal telling us, or telling the teachers and the support service what to do in the school, all of us work with the principal and the assistant principals to make the decisions in the school. That sort of structure is very important in terms of teachers feeling that they are leaders outside of just their own classroom.
BETTY HALE: In the report, is there anything you think they missed the opportunity to say, Doug?
DOUG PROUTY: The one thing I think that needs to be addressed in more detail, and the report mentioned it but didnít go into enough detail, is the tension thatís going to exist over the next 10 years, Iíd say, in terms of accountability in testing and teacher leadership because these two in a lot of ways, they can work together, but right now I donít think people perceive them as working together, and I donít think people perceive the need of teachers to be able to influence the ways in which their students and themselves are held accountable.
BETTY HALE: Thank you. Lisa. Fairfax County.
LISA HOLM: Thank you. I was really excited to read the report because I really feel that this is a critical issue that we need to be addressing in education. Teachers need to be recognized as leaders, and, as Doug said, weíre leaders every day in the classroom when weíre working with our children, and weíre leaders when weíre working outside the children.
In the setting where Iím teaching, at Riverside Elementary in Fairfax, I teach first graders half-day and then work with teachers the other half-day. And this gives me the opportunity to work with children and to work with students. And working with other teachers too, you also have more validity if you are still in the classroom because youíre not somebody coming in who hasnít been in a classroom in 20 years, or someone who has never been in a classroom other than as a student, telling teachers what to do.
Teachers do need to be recognized as the experts in what theyíre doing. We are in with the children, we understand the children. We work with the children continually, and we need to have a voice, and a voice thatís heard.
Teacher leadership is important too in helping to mentor the new teachers that are coming in to the profession. We have so many teachers who will be retiring in the next five years. We have teachers who are coming in who fortunately have had more preparation in alignment with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, but they face a very grueling task when they come into the classroom. They need support. It is daunting to stand in front of a group of students, regardless of the age, and be expected to be responsible for their learning. Weíre not just making sure that theyíre safe during the time theyíre with us. We need to make sure that theyíre learning, that theyíre advancing, and that weíre meeting their needs.
Also, teachers I think need to be more vocal in expressing the differences among children, and this relates I think to what Doug was saying too about the testing. Every child in my classroom is unique and has different needs. To expect every child to be able to perform in the same way or to the same standard on a given test is really not realistic. They have different needs and those needs need to be addressed.
We need to keep teachers who are successful teachers and who are teacher leaders working with children, working with other teachers. I think one frustration for teachers has been that there is not a career path for teachers to follow if they want to continue to stay in the classroom. Your options are pretty much to go into administration or you stay in the classroom and you teach with your children.
Looking at the roles of leadership gives additional options and will allow us to keep those experienced teachers in the classrooms, and also working with others. Working with the professional development, too, and having a say and a role in that, thatís one thing that weíre doing at Riverside too. In our coaching and mentoring weíre very heavily involved in developing professional development based on what the teachers want and based on what the teachers need.
We go into classrooms and we can work individually with teachers, we can work with teams of teachers, and it gives teachers that reinforcement and support that they need. Studies have shown that teachers need at least 50 hours of reinforcement and practice in order to implement new teaching practices. So often we have in-service training that might be three hours in duration and weíre expected to go back and implement a totally new program. So again, itís critical to have the support within the school system.
The National Board process for certification, which several people have mentioned already this morning, is also an excellent way to support the development of teacher leadership. Teachers who go through that process continually remark on how valuable it was to their growth as a teacher. Whether they certify or whether they donít certify, because a large number of teachers do not certify, itís a very grueling process. It takes the better part of a school year.
One of the teachers I was working with this year, she said, just in looking at what she was doing with her math instruction and having to observe herself teaching, on videotape, she realized that she really needed to completely rethink her way of instruction. And it just made such a powerful impact on what sheís doing with her children. And over and over again, as I worked with teachers in Virginia and the District and even in other states, Iíve heard that same comment. So we really need to give some support to that and recognize the credibility of that process.
I think, as Doug said, we need to look at the time. I would think this is one of the big issues that was not really addressed in the report. Teachers donít have the time that they need to be professionals and to be leaders and to do their job correctly. We need time to collaborate with one another, we need time to spend in dialogue with one another, and right now thatís not part of the system.
If you are an elementary teacher, youíre with your children six hours a day, teaching. You also have to do your lesson planing, your preparation. Youíre up to about nine hours, which is beyond your contract, and you havenít had time yet to even talk with another professional in the building. So I think thatís something that we really need to look at. How can we build more time into our system and give teachers the time that they need to be effective teacher leaders.
BETTY HALE: Thank you. Stephanie Abney, District of Columbia.
STEPHANIE ABNEY: I would like to thank the IEL for inviting me here.
As Mike Usdan mentioned, we are the franchise players, and without teachers who help to lay down the foundation, of course the system is going to collapse. Iíve been very fortunate to have been recognized in my school system and been given the opportunities to be in leadership positions, to be on committees, to do consultant work. But thatís not always the norm for the average teacher, and sometimes youíre not recognized for those things until years later.
When everyone who comes to the table, even a new teacher, theyíre not neophytes, as sometimes Iíve heard them referred to. They have something to bring to the table also. Although Iím not a connoisseur of wine, I like to think of the analogy of the teaching profession like working in a vineyard. You hear a lot about the wine tasters, or the analogy would be the policymakers, and those are the people who are up front. You hear very little about the people who are working in the vineyards, who are really doing the hard work, and whoís going out and asking them about what theyíre doing and their opinion about what theyíre doing?
In foreign countries, teachers are held in high esteem. Itís really considered a profession. Iíve often felt that teachers here in the United States were not recognized as professionals, and Iím sure that youíve known that through what youíve read in the newspapers, or even when youíre talking to other professionals. Iíve often gone places, even when Iím doing consultant work, and when people found out that Iím ďjust a classroom teacher,Ē then the conversation seems to turn to someone else. Maybe someone who they consider of more importance, or who has a higher position, which tells me that, gee, what does that say about my position as teacher.
As quoted in the report, teachers are experts on certain matters and should be partners rather than subordinates in the running of schools, as quoted by Harriet Tyson. Also in the report, it states that teachers should be more than fringe players available as a resource when called upon, but seldom directly and continuously involved in decisions of substance.
Iíve been involved for the last 12 years in our Local School Restructuring Team, which Iím very happy that we have in place. But also I think this process should be a real process of decisionmaking, and not one wherein teachers and administrators and parents are called in to make decisions and then a local school plan is set up and may not be followed through on. Again, Iíve been fortunate to be at a school where I get to make those policies, and usually when we sit down and the report comes back to us, it is not foreign to us. Of course we run into obstacles with the budget and with the administration downtown on how we follow through on the process.
There are four kinds of teachers, as mentioned in the report -- the cynics, the sleepy people, and "yes, but" teachers, and the teacher leaders. One thing that the report did not mention is the teacher who is afraid to rock the boat, the teacher who is afraid to bite the hand, so to speak, that feeds them. So they may, in union meetings or in grade level meetings, speak about things, but they may be afraid to voice their opinion in an open forum, either with their local administrator or with administrators downtown. And the local administrators run into the same problem with the superintendents. They too are afraid. The superintendents, as evidenced by our superintendent who just left, they are accountable to so many people that things just donít happen that should happen.
Mary Futrell had mentioned as she was speaking that weíre not Ė teacher leaders are not respected Ė sometimes by their own. When I go out of town for consultant work, Iím recognized as a professional. Iím held in high esteem. When I do work in my own district, I donít get the same feeling sometimes. Thereís some type of threat there. I really canít pinpoint what it is. It comes from my peers, itís come from friends when youíre put in a different position, but itís like a pseudo-leadership position. Youíre not rating that person. Theyíre threatened because they feel that maybe youíre a go-between between them and administration, and you may give information that they donít want the administration to be privy to. So then people step back from leadership positions because you have that teacher who may be afraid to be in a leadership position because they really canít say what they feel. This is true in a lot of different situations.
As a mentor, and luckily Iím a full-time mentor this year because we have so many teachers coming into the system, I try to foster growth in the new teachers, to acquaint them with the realities of their profession. Unfortunately, a lot of teachers are not familiar with the real reality of whatís going on in the school system. Theyíre getting theory, but theyíre unable to cope and have an understanding of how to manage things like classroom management, and even some of the strategies Ė say, for instance in literacy, we all have heard the words, ďphonological awarenessĒ. Well, weíre still not getting a lot of training in our universities until recently on phonological awareness, so that people do know what that means and the impact that it has on literacy.
How can you be a leader and still be an effective classroom teacher? As Doug and Lisa mentioned, you need to have time, and so often teachers do not have time, even though theyíre putting in extra, unpaid time. The training strategies. We come up with new processes for reading, for math, for standards. And you seem to get it all at one time, so itís difficult for you to be a leader when youíre just trying to find ground within yourself. How am I going to manage this manual, this manual, this manual, and they all fit together but people need to see that and they need to know that is going to fit together and that theyíre not separate.
Doug mentioned about appropriate tests, and teachers are administering tests and really feeling, oh, this test doesnít really fit in with what the curriculum is teaching, but yet Iím not supposed to teach to the test. But if the children donít do well on the test, then Iíll lose my job, my principal will lose his job, my school will be restructured or targeted. So how do you fit that all in and not have teachers almost teaching to the test, when the test may not fit in with the standards or the curriculum? So there are a lot of challenges.
Again, I would like for a teacher to have more of the opportunities that I have had and being able to speak of particular subjects, but not when theyíre five or ten year veterans. Some of the new teachers whoíve come in and theyíve been there six months or a year, they have an opinion right away because theyíve been there in the vineyards working, so they know whatís going on. They know what the grapes need, the nurturing that they need, and they need to be heard.
BETTY HALE: Weíve had some wonderful analogies this morning. It seems to me, I wanted to take just an extra minute and ask the teachers if anything that our guests who represent sort of Ė weíre back to the pyramid again, sort of the top of the pyramid, if they said anything that you wanted to ask them a question. In other words, this would be your chance before I open it up, if anyone on this side has anything to say.
STEPHANIE ABNEY: I had a question for Mary Futrell. In your opinion, what can we do so that we can go beyond the six months, nine-month student teaching, so that when we receive teachers theyíre not in shock because that just wasnít enough immersion into the school system, and then we lose them. Because they do have other choices for careers, they do find out that, oh, I can get a higher salary, and be respected somewhere else.
Most of us stay in teaching because of the motivation, not because of the income, and because of the joy for teaching. But when youíre in shock and you feel overwhelmed and itís just not what you thought it was, and you certainly didnít read about it in your text manuals, and your professor, who may have been removed from the school and only visits schools occasionally. So in your opinion, what can we do?
MARY FUTRELL: Thank you.
Let me start by saying that when I did my student teaching, they had a philosophy to send us as far away from the college campus as possible. They sent me to Alexandria, where I did my student teaching for nine weeks, and I think I saw my supervising teacher from the campus twice in the nine-week period. By the time he would get there, he would spend, for example, maybe an hour or so in the school and then he had to leave, because he had to drive all the way back to Petersburg.
I have become a very strong advocate of induction, and I think that if we put in place an induction period and some of you are going to find my remarks a little controversial, but thatís okay, I think the induction period should be anywhere from one to three years. I think the new teachers should get paid while theyíre going through that induction process. They should teach, but they should be assigned to work with an experienced teacher, a master teacher who will help them negotiate what itís like to be in that classroom as a full-time professional.
I think that if we could have someone working with the teachers, mentoring them as they deal with behavioral problems, as they deal with problems related to instruction and curriculum, as they deal with issues related to professional development, the way the school is structured, the politics, et cetera, how to work with parents, the community, I think that we will go a long way toward encouraging the teachers to stay in the school and to stay there for a longer period of time.
That has budgetary implications and it has policy implications for the school district because those mentor teachers will need to be paid. Youíre going to have to have someone covering their classes. Those new teachers I believe should be there and should get paid. They are treated just like regular faculty, they go to the faculty meetings, theyíre expected to be on committees, theyíre expected to do the same in classroom as any other teacher would do, except theyíve got someone there mentoring and supporting and helping them. I think that if we do that, teachers will have more confidence about who they are and what the expectations are as those expectations relate to them being a successful teacher.
I think it would also help them do the kinds of things we describing here, and that is to become leaders in the school. Again, not just say you take the teacher out of the school, but that teacher stays there, and Betty Hale, who mentored Mary Futrell, maybe Mary Futrell in a couple of years would then mentor Buzz as he comes in. So youíre expanding the leadership role and youíre keeping those teachers in the classroom. And the studies show that teachers who go through a mentoring/induction period stay longer. Theyíre more confident about their ability to teach, and they are more effective as teachers.
BETTY HALE: Well, Mary, you and I definitely had the same experience. You took me back to my student teaching days, which was obviously a long time ago, but it seems to me that from the moment I walked in the school, I donít think I ever saw the person from the university, and the person in the school was so happy to see me that she just sort of turned it over.
MARY FUTRELL: Thatís right. Thatís exactly what happened.
BETTY HALE: Questions? Doug?
DOUG PROUTY: I just wanted to agree with what Mary Futrell just said. I think that the induction, and the way in which new teachers are mentored is very important, especially we have an opportunity in the next 10 years with the turnover in the teaching population to refocus the way in which new teachers are mentored, the way in which theyíre supported. And that will provide us an opportunity to have those new teachers turn around and become leaders in the future as well.
I wanted to ask Buzz about applying the business model to education. I think itís very important that the example you gave of the Saturn plant is one that has a lot of applications to how we can restructure individual schools and school systems themselves. Thereís also the tension between that model and what some people are pushing in terms of having schools looked at as a market system. So I wanted you to comment if you will on how business models, in terms of restructuring management, can be implemented in a school system where itís not focused on creating a product per se, but instead is focused on creating educated children.
BUZZ BARTLETT: I think I understand what you mean by the market model, and it just doesnít hold up, as far as Iím concerned. It doesnít fit. We are talking about students. Weíre talking about probably the most complicated production line, if you wanted to look at that, that there possibly is, and thatís helping someone learn. So all the analogies and all the metaphors fall away when you come down to that.
I think that the business models that weíre talking about are really talking about structure, how do you get out waste, how do you remove layers of management that donít add anything, how do you Ė I found it interesting, and I donít remember who mentioned it, but it may have been Stephanie Ė that a new system is put in place and the words come out of the mouths of the administrators talking to the new system, but, in reality, just below the surface of the new system is everybody functioning the way they used to always function. You try to respond as a teacher to the new system, and you get the little surprise that in reality the new system is not really being embraced.
In business, the most difficult problem that we all faced as we restructured was middle management. I have in my mind kind of tried to figure out where in the typical school system to state leadership, where the middle management wall is, because I know itís there somewhere. I donít know if itís in the people who are developing the curriculum and the local education administration or agency. I donít know if itís at the state level. But those are the kinds of models that Iím trying to figure out, just the structural ones that ultimately just continue to push responsibility to the front lines, to the teachers, and frankly, to the students.
BETTY HALE: Jim, do you want to take a crack at that question?
JIM KELLY: Iíd say just two things about it. First, I think that there are important induction models in other professions that we can pay attention to. The classic, of course, is medicine, where people not only get a formal university based education, but several years of intensive practical experience, while closely observed by very senior board-certified leaders of their specialty field. We have, of course, a rather bizarre system that contrasts in extremis from that approach in the teaching field, although I believe there are very important ways in which these traditional barriers are beginning to break down, as a small but steadily growing number of teacher educators maintains actual work in schools, in classrooms with students, and as more and more teachers, many board certified but many not, assume essentially adjunct professorial roles in the clinical aspects of teacher education.
The other thing I would say about this is that once a teacher is inducted and is a regular professional teacher, we are at the early stages of facing up to the labor market issue that someone spoke to, that the primary incentive for any financial advancement is to leave teaching, become an ex-teacher and to be paid more money for not teaching. This is called promotion. It is the primary, the fundamental incentive in the labor market for teachers, other than "Donít come in if youíre financially ambitious."
What we have tried to do through the National Board, we have a tight labor market. We have to go out and recruit people. Weíre recruiting them in other countries to come be teachers because we donít have enough Americans who want to be teachers. The implications of this are that we need to find ways to pay accomplished teachers, Board certified or others, enough that it is equivalent to the first level jump into middle management. That is what my goal was with the National Board all along. Find a way, some kind of skyhook somewhere, that would create some financial incentives for teachers so that they would get 10 or 20 percent more money for being an excellent teacher, and they wouldnít have to leave teaching forever to get that 10 or 20 percent.
That crosses a line that, first of all, shouldnít be that rigid but is there. It also has very clear implications, Buzz, for a differentiated workforce on functional and knowledge expertise on performance grounds, other than the old administrative hierarchical grounds. Because we donít have 3 million accomplished teachers in America, and weíre not going to have three million excellent teachers in America in our lifetime. Letís just say it straight out. But maybe thereís a half a million, a million, million and a half. No one knows what the number is because we have never tried to find out. However many it is, they should be given incentives to remain close to the classroom, not necessarily full time forever in it, moving back and forth with some fluidity.
Letís get real here. Get a grip. We have to change that system and you canít change it without changing it.
BUZZ BARTLETT: Just as an aside, thereís another similarity in business, and that is the corporate laboratory where a really good lab technician can aspire with training, with schooling, to become a scientist, but if they really want to make money, theyíve got to become a manager. Thereís a need for a dual ladder in other parts of the world that have not also succeeded, I must say.
BETTY HALE: Questions, burning questions. Mary is coming around with a microphone on that side. And here's a question, and then there's one back here.
WENDY RUSSELL: Iím Wendy Russell and I work with the Region III Comprehensive Center, which takes me into schools, districts and state departments of education.
And I completely agree with what Stephanie, Lisa and Doug were saying in terms of the roadblocks to teacher leaders, and thatís the aspect of time and recognition. And I was extremely pleased to hear in Secretary Rileyís final speech that he agreed with one of my very firm beliefs, that teaching should become a fulltime profession, that it should be paid for a 40-hour work week, 12 months a year. And I was wondering from the perspective of Jim at a national organization, of Buzz as a state board member, and as Mary, a union leader, and from the university perspective as well, what is it going to take to facilitate that change so that teaching is considered and paid for and facilitated as a fulltime profession in our country?
BUZZ BARTLETT: Well, Iíll take it from the state level first. I mean, itís obvious that this is going to be a chicken and egg thing that evolves over time. But as everyone in this room knows, itís going to take more money. We in Maryland, and I know elsewhere in the country, are looking at the whole way we fund education and whether itís structured right and whether the moneyís there.
Let me back up and say that five, eight, maybe ten years ago the business community, as it started to get involved in education, said, there must be pockets of inefficiency that we can tap to get the money to do the things that we need to do to change. Well, Iím fairly well convinced there arenít many of those. How we will get to the point where this society is willing to cough up the amount of money it needs to pay for 40-hour week, 12 months a year, to provide the 10 and 15 and 20 percent pay hikes, all the things that everybody has said, it all comes down to the resources.
We have a federal government that is looking at it now in the current administrationís packages. I donít think theyíve necessarily figured out how theyíre going to do it either. The present ESEA Ė I donít think it really solves it either. Thatís my point of view. Iím not sure how weíll get there.
Iíll give you a perfect example. The state board of education in Maryland several months ago dictated that there would be full-day kindergarten for all districts. Well, the financial implications of that one little move, and we didnít give any money along with that, it was an unfunded mandate, were just enormous. So itís the same for all the things you suggested.
JIM KELLY: Iíll respond in my own way, which is not directly. In the first place, there isnít enough money. I say this as an old public school finance fellow. Thereís not enough money to take three million teachers and increase their pay by 20 percent, call them year-round, and then say, oh, well, we forgot that first we had to restructure the roles and the systems so that thereís actually something meaningful that they can do in the summer besides go back and pretend theyíre 20 years old and take a course. Thatís not going to happen.
For a variety of reasons, let me take off any hat I might be wearing as an IEL board member, task force, whatever, and just talk as Jim Kelly for a second. What we need to do is we need to have teachers become leaders, we need to think in the following terms. Rather than give you the general speech, Iíll give you a scenario just as an example of a different way to think.
In Maryland let the state board of education send out an RFP and say that any certified, licensed professional educator in Maryland could respond, and that the state is interested in funding 50 different models of new things. Weíll call them new schools, which would be organized essentially as professional firms, publicly financed, perhaps governed in some way like a nonprofit or like a local school parent council or something. But they would propose how to govern themselves, what the instructional program would be.
In two important respects there would be criteria in the RFP that they would have to respond to. One would be that there has to be attention paid to the career paths of teachers and their professional differentiations based on knowledge, expertise, function, however they want to measure them. But they canít say that theyíre all the same, from 22 to 65 years of age. This is not permitted.
And the second is, they must say they figure out that modern technology has moved beyond the telephone, and they must understand how theyíre going to use modern technology in actual organization and delivery of the main service, not just supporting the analysis of the light bill to see if itís being paid regularly.
I offer that scenario. And if there are any administrators, support people, revenue producers, whoís going to clean the building and so forth, allow the licensed educators who are in charge of teaching and learning to decide that. Thatís a problem. Somebody has to do that support work.
Until we can begin to clear out the clutter of the current pyramid, buildings, boxes, squares, and all that stuff, I donít think that we can develop a profession that can move beyond its current salary strictures, and why not trust them to invent something? Ask them to invent something new.
MARY FUTRELL: Iím not going to tell you what I wrote down on my paper when you first asked that question.
I agree that I think we need more money because if weíre going to create a 12-month work policy, youíre going to have to pay for it. I think youíll also have to define what are you going to do with that extra time, for what purpose. Is it to keep schools open, is it for professional development? To use it as time to make changes in the school? Why are we expanding it?
But I think thereís something else that we need to do. We need to understand that teaching, like no other profession, is not self-governing. It is controlled by the public because we are responsible to the public. And I would very much like for us to become a profession like other professions, but will we ever really reach that level? Iím not sure.
I think as a person, as individual teachers, yes. Thatís what we want to do. We aspire to be professionals like everyone else. But when it comes to controlling the profession, who comes in, who stays, what the standards are, how theyíre prepared, all of that, I think we, unlike other professions, we have to deal with the public being there and helping us do all those things.
But it would say to me that what we need to say to the public, especially to policymakers, if you really want a seismic change in the schools, youíve got to be willing to open up this process and involve the people who are responsible for education and helping to determine what those standards are, how we are utilized within the profession, how we function within the profession, and how those schools are structured and how the schools are set up.
To me that means a major change, a major shift in mindset because what we have has been in place for over 100 years, longer, and itís not going to happen overnight.
Iím going to tell you what I had on the paper. I wrote, ďAn act of God.Ē
BETTY HALE: Anyone on this side of the table want to respond to that question?
DOUG PROUTY: I think that in terms of teaching becoming a full year profession, it really already is. Most of us work during the summers, but we just donít get paid for it. Again, I think to echo what a lot of people are saying, teachers know whatís best in terms of how to develop new curriculum, how to develop new instructional strategies, and all we need to do is find ways, and a lot of it is money, to recognize what people are already doing on their own, unpaid.
So part of it is just allowing teachers to have that sort of input, and recognizing that input as being valuable, as being a significant part of their profession.
BETTY HALE: We had a question back there.
MICHELE McLAUGHLIN: Michele McLaughlin, American Federation of Teachers. I had a question about the report.
I noticed that the teacher advancement program, one of the Milken Family Foundation programs -- can you hear me?
DOUG PROUTY: Say it again. Which program?
MICHELE McLAUGHLIN: The teacher advancement program, the Milken program, is highlighted in the report. And one of the components of the program is pay for performance. And, specifically, it calls for linking individual teachers to student test scores. And I was curious what some of the panelists felt about that, and particularly the teachers.
BETTY HALE: Excuse me. Are you referring to the program thatís described on page 18? I just want to make sure that when we respond we are on the right page.
MICHELE McLAUGHLIN: Yes.
BETTY HALE: Page 18 is the program in Arizona. And it seems to me that you wouldnít have to even know anything about it. Is your question a more generic, sort of, what does this group of individuals think about pay for performance?
MICHELE McLAUGHLIN: I guess since the report chose to highlight it, it said that they thought it was a good model. And that is a specific component of the foundationís model, so I would be curious to know if in general the panelists feel that thatís a good component. Particularly the part about tying individual teachers to student test scores.
JIM KELLY: I donít favor tying teachersí pay and careers to individual student test scores, or the test scores in particular classes, although I think Ė that is not an anti-accountability position in my mind at all, but I would not favor that. On the other hand, I think it is appropriate to include in this sort of a report a variety of kinds of efforts to upgrade the teaching profession. It doesnít mean necessarily that IEL or the panel members endorse every single aspect of every single thing in the program.
Iíve been to Ė never had any involvement in the Milken teacher awards program, except to attend one of them as a guest. So my take on this is a free dinner. Iíve rarely seen Ė I have to say, Iíve rarely seen teachers feel as honored and special as the ones who were being honored there. Thatís a different thing than saying that teachers should be Ė youíre an 8th grade teacher, you get kids who are 13, 14 years old, and they have been, first of all, massaged by life, by family, by circumstances, by seven years of prior schooling and by other teachers during the school day. The test is probably only vaguely related to what the state thinks the curriculum is. The governor and the state department in most states donít really agree on what the curriculum should be. That may or may not agree with what the National Council of Teachers of Math thinks, and we could go on and on and on.
And then to say that the one test in March, or in October, who cares when, will be Ė itís very crude Ė we donít care whether the airplane flies all the time, Buzz. We just want to take kind of a snapshot on March the 2nd. If it happens to be up in the air, weíll say, pay that engineer more, without any history or context.
BETTY HALE: Stephanie.
STEPHANIE ABNEY: I would be very fearful, and weíre already close to that point, of teacher performance or teacher salaries being tied into test scores, when the standardized testing is not the only way of assessing what children are doing in the classroom. We need to use anecdotal record-taking more, observation. For a teacher to be held accountable for what a child does on a test totally, when the test may be inappropriate, you may receive a child from another school district two days before the test, which often happens, and that child is sent to that school district because maybe they werenít performing well, or were not receiving adequate services, or the parent was in denial as to the problems that the child had. So you receive that child knowing that theyíre probably not going to do well on your test, which is in two days, and youíre being held accountable for it.
Or the children who are not receiving the immediate services because theyíre still in the process of being diagnosed for particular challenges that they have. So they havenít been designated as a non-tester and they take the test. So there are a lot of factors, a lot of other things, a lot of systems that also have to be held accountable aside from the classroom teacher before you put everything on the classroom teacher.
I think incentives are wonderful for teachers. They definitely need incentives, but the downside, again, is when you tie it in totally to testing, which I feel testing and using that as the only factor for promoting or retaining a child is just not efficient or effective.
BETTY HALE: Lisa?
LISA HOLM: I think, too, that we have to recognize that there are so many other factors that go into a teacherís performance other than just what a child scores on a test given on one day in time. Weíre responsible for the content, weíre responsible for teaching the content in multiple ways so that all children can understand it. Weíre responsible for monitoring their learning, for managing their learning. We have to know the students as individuals. We have to be in dialogue with our colleagues. There really is a lot to that performance.
And also, a standardized test does not begin to take into account a child who may have made tremendous progress during the course of the year but was below grade level to start out with, and is still below grade level. I think we really need to think about that before we tie those two together.
BETTY HALE: We have a question over here.
EMILY CRANDALL: Iím Emily Crandall. Iím from the George Washington Universityís Region III Comprehension Center.
Iím very impressed with this panel, and especially those teachers, and I think that Mary Futrell has sort of attempted to answer part of my question. Iím thinking about how babies usually love the peaches and spit out the pablum, and you have to alternate the feeding.
Iíd like to know how we can force-feed Congress and the other policymakers so that they are aware of all of the wonderful things which you are talking about, and that we donít just hear, nod, and then go back to doing the very same things that we always do. Iím paraphrasing what I think I heard the teachers saying. These things that youíre saying I think are too important for Congress to decree, and someone say, oh, yes, thatís a great idea, and the policymakers then kind of, you know, do what they are told.
How can this information then permeate the borders of the high-ups?
JIM KELLY: Since Buzz has told you I have to leave, I apologize for having to leave in five minutes because I have to be in another city at 1:00 PM for a meeting. Iíll say two things about that.
First, it is important to say what needs to be said, so long as the Congress and state legislatures, about which Iíll speak in a minute, hear whatís spoken, but as long as what they hear is, you stupid legislators, we already deserve more money. Dammit, give it to us, and weíll be in charge of what we do with it and donít bother with that. That isnít the message that is said, but Iím telling you, itís the message thatís heard.
I made my living for a long time working with state legislatures and governors, and so I think we have to have a little role-playing to figure out what messages are sent and what messages are received. Having said that, Iím very proud of the way in which our country, through 7,500 state legislators and 100,000 Americans serving on local boards of education, has provided steady annual income, increased revenues for public schools, year after year, decade after decade, inflation after recession Ė if you look at it over the decades, itís a real increase in economic terms, after inflation. Almost every year itís a real increase. Only in really tough times is the inflation exceeding the increase.
Is it enough? Iím in favor of more, but I would tend to focus on state legislators. After all, Congress provides seven percent of the money for schools and most people in schools therefore think they deserve seven percent of their attention. That isnít the view that is given in this town, but in fact it is the fact.
So I would concentrate on going where the money is. Itís in state capitols. There there is a very direct connection between local groups of teachers and state groups of teachers and state legislatures. Those paths are worn well and successfully for decades. The teachersí groups are the most powerful lobby in many state capitols. We need to improve the message, professionalize the message, but I would focus on local and state efforts and try to sort of get the federal government to focus on it as a regulatory idea. Loosen it up, donít put so many strings. Because I donít see in the next decade, given the attitudes of the president, the attempts to constrict federal revenues over time, which is a definite program to restrict the capacity of the federal government to address national problems Ė I donít think itís going to be productive to think of huge surges of revenue coming out of Washington and dribbling down to the schools.
BETTY HALE: Letís ask the teachers if any of them have had any experiences trying to take a message to their state policymakers.
STEPHANIE ABNEY: I think thatís a very interesting point. Unfortunately, because I live in Washington, D.C., thatís not even an option for us because we donít have a representative. So Iím asking the people here to help us voice our concerns because thatís one of the major problems that we have here, is so many people to be accountable to, and then we donít even have a voice once we do get to that point.
The other thing I wanted to mention, in reference to something that Jim had said about change. Our acting principal, Yvonne Anderson, had given everyone the book ďWho Moved My Cheese?Ē Itís very quick reading and it can apply to both your personal and professional life. Itís about change and how you cope and deal with change.
Some of the teachers got this book because itís also the time of year when youíre finding out what position you are in or you are not in, and weíre wondering, what does this mean. Thatís because thereís a whole area of paranoia in D.C. schools. Not just teachers, but also administrators and superintendents.
My fear with change is that we too often throw the baby out with the bath water and we already have some things that are very, very effective in place. Then we get rid of them and then we act as if someone comes in that this is something that is entirely new, and itís not. So we need to recognize the things that work and be consistent.
Again, I agree that it should be something thatís local. When you have someone whoís from another state, and I donít want to say a particular state because some of you may be from that state, making a decision about whatís going on locally Ė and thatís what happens in Washington, D.C. Ė itís very, very frightening. Unfortunately that has always been the case with us.
DOUG PROUTY: I can comment on that as well. Buzz and I were talking about this before the forum began today. There was a bill in the state legislature recently in Maryland to address collective bargaining reform in terms of educators and professionals. I know that there were some aspects of it that Buzz liked and some he did not. But a number of teachers, both from Montgomery County and from elsewhere in the state, went to talk to legislators about it.
It was passed in one house. It was passed in the House, but not in the Senate. It wasnít voted on in committee and therefore did not pass. And legislators were responsive to us, but not to the extent that this bill got a chance to be voted on in the Senate. So we do have some input on the state level into how legislators function. But I think too often the characterization of teachers just coming to ask for more money is how people perceive it. And people have to perceive that thatís part of what we want, but part of it also goes into restructuring in terms of power. We donít want power for the sake of power. We donít want to decide what kind of toilet paper is in the bathroom. We want to have control over what goes on in our own classrooms, and thatís important on the state level as well as the local level.
So when we talk with legislators, we need to make clear they need to hear that what weíre looking for is the input into what goes on in our classrooms and the ability to do that both through how we bargain our contracts and also how what we teach is designed for us.
BETTY HALE: Lisa, do you have a comment on that? And then Mary wants to wrap that comment. And then we'll get to you.
LISA HOLM: A lot of it goes back to the recognition of teachers as professionals. Your voice is listened to when youíre considered to be a professional, and thatís one of the biggest obstacles we face. When I was working with the National Teacher Policy Institute as a Met Life fellow, one of the things that we were encouraged to do was to conduct research, action research, to support the changes that we were promoting. And I think that thatís something that we as teachers need to be more involved in, too. Instead of just going and saying, we need this Ė well, this is why we need this, because we have done this research and we have found this to be true.
And just as an aside, the research that I did with one of my colleagues was on teacher leadership, and that has been a factor in leading to the position where I am now because it was on job-sharing and how to keep teacher leaders in the classroom and not going out of the classroom or into other professions. So I think it goes back to the professional recognition. We have to recognize ourselves as professionals, and we need to expect to be treated as professionals.
BETTY HALE: Well, it seems to me that Jim Kelly did talk about this sort of quiet movement of the incredible increase in confidence among Americaís teaching force.
Mary, you wanted to make a comment?
MARY FUTRELL: Yes, I just want to make a point on the question raised by Emily and to agree in part with what Jim said. I think the focus should be at the state level because thatís where most of the decisions are going to be made and thatís where most of the resources are, et cetera.
But I would like to suggest that we not simply wait until we have an issue that we want to present. And let me give an example of what Iím talking about.
Some of you may remember when ďA Nation at RiskĒ came out and everyone was caught by surprise as to what it contained and what should be done, and people didnít really know how to respond, and everyone was trying to run around to explain what we meant by education and what that report really meant, and we have to educate people.
And one of the lessons that I learned from that, that I gleaned from that, was you have to educate people all along. And we're educating the policymakers, but I think we also have to work with and educate the media as well, because they have a tremendous influence over what the policymakers hear and believe and how they respond. And so I would suggest that, Emily, part of what we need to do is know, first of all, who the people are within the state legislatures and within our local communities serving on these education boards, committees, et cetera. I think you need to meet with them on a regular basis. I think you need to give them information on a regular basis and meet with them not only in the state capitol or whatever, but when they come back home as well.
Unless you do that, I think what youíre going to find is, here you have an issue, and you try to persuade them to support you, and youíve got to spend most of your time just trying to educate them as opposed to they ought to know who you are better, they ought to understand what the issues are youíre bringing forth, and that gives you, I think, more of an opportunity to persuade them to be supportive of the position that youíre advocating.
BETTY HALE: The Institute published years ago a little book entitled ďGuide for the Powerless and Those Who Donít Know Their Power,Ē and that book has just been re-issued. And thereís a great old political adage in it, which is simply to say that the time to make friends is before you need them. This is about developing relationships.
We have a question here; then there's a gentleman in the back, and then weíll let Carole Kennedy, the Principal in Residence at the U.S. Department of Ed., ask the final question before we turn it back to Michael.
SHARON NELSON: Good morning, and, first of all, thanks to the panel for an excellent discussion. My name is Sharon Nelson and Iím the Teacher in Residence at the U.S. Department of Ed., Caroleís counterpart.
In 1996 I attended my first national teacher forum, and the quote that I remember from that is a little bit different than whatís in your book here. You have in here, ďHonor what we know and listen to our voices.Ē I would like to take it a step beyond that, which is, ďHonor what we know and respect what we say," which is what weíve been hearing from everyone this morning.
When I went back to Wisconsin, my home state, after attending that forum, I decided that I thought I had been doing everything right as a professional for years and as a teacher leader. And I realized that the most important piece that I had not been doing was encouraging other teachers to have that teacher voice.
So I went home and started Wisconsin Teacher Forum. And we talked with a person in our community, Cal Potter, who had been a teacher, a state legislator, and then was working at our State Department of Public Instruction. And we asked him. We said, Cal, with all the hats that you have worn, what would you say is the message we need to get to teachers? And he said something I will never forget, and I share it every time I can. He said, ďTeachers are notoriously silent about issues they should not be silent about.Ē And we heard him, and so we offered a forum that encouraged teachers to become advocates for their profession with people where it would make a difference. And so the National Teacher Forum continues, and I will be directing that.
But here is my question thatís embedded in all of this for you. As we talk about the role that teachers must take, we need to encourage teachers to be proactive. Instead of talking about not having enough time, we need to educate the public about why we need the time. What is the use of that time? What shall we be doing? And so our role as teachers is to educate. And I would ask you this. We need to educate teachers across the country. They need to see this report. They need to be challenged about their roles as teacher leaders.
And so my question is the same question Iíve been asking since day one when I got to the department: how do we get to all those teachers? How will you disseminate this report, and how can we help you do that?
MARY FUTRELL: Well, I think one way to reach a critical mass of teachers would be for the professional organizations to publish a synthesis or summary of what this report is and make sure that they know how to access it. And that goes back to the unions. I think the teacher unions can do that. I think the national board can do that. I think there are a number of organizations which can make sure that the critical points contained in this report are made available to teachers. A lot of teachers do subscribe to Ed Week, or at least itís in their libraries. I think thatís what you have to do.
I think it also raises a question that Betty and Mike would have to answer, [which] is how widely available is this report, and to whom do you plan to disseminate it? Do you have sufficient resources, for example, to send it to every state superintendent? Do you have the resources to send it to maybe every school district, one to every school district? Youíre talking about thousands, and maybe thatís not being realistic. But unless you have a way to disseminate it, the information is not going to filter down into the schools.
I would also encourage IEL to take this report, and where they know of groups coming together to provide training for administrators, for school board representatives, for teachers, et cetera, this should be one of those sessions where you actually talk about whatís in this report. If you donít do that, a handful of people will get this report. It will get some coverage in some newspapers, and thatís it.
BETTY HALE: Thank you. We have a question. The gentleman.
TONY FOWLER: Iím Tony Fowler, Department of Education.
I think that what weíve been talking about here is promoting individual autonomy in a system and really a culture that promotes uniformity. And I think that thatís a very difficult thing to overcome. And the thing that I keep thinking about in those terms is the charter school movement because a lot of the results that weíve seen coming back from the charter schools is that both the school systems and unions do everything they can to place obstacles in the way of change in that context.
How are individual teachers going to overcome this? I mean I work for the federal government, and I know what it is to try to change a system from an individual perspective. I think that some of the questions in terms of autonomy havenít fully been addressed in this presentation. And I was wondering if some folks could talk to that, in terms of getting teachers the kinds of recognition that they need when they go outside of the box, if you understand what Iím saying.
BUZZ BARTLETT: Youíre absolutely right. And I think if we take the collective answers of the last 10 minutes about how do you take the report to the people who have to do something about it -- that is, to the teachers -- how do you get the unions to make this the number one priority and recognize that after they do everything else that the unions want, that will follow in place. Thatís the only way itís going to happen because youíve obviously correctly described the monolith that has to change that will only change when thereís an extraordinary groundswell of teachers who are saying "This has got to be done differently."
And weíre in the middle of something thatís been going on for a generation. Itís going to take another generation, Iím certain, and this may be the seminal beginning of the next phase, but this is where it could start.
DOUG PROUTY: I think also one way to address the issue of sort of individual autonomy and how itís recognized is that that can only be done on a local level first. You know, the charter schools are one way to do that, the charter schools that are controlled by the teachers involved and not controlled by outside forces involved. But also allowing teachers the time and the recognition that they need to be able to innovate in ways that arenít constricted by the system that theyíre in.
Itís a difficult challenge, but I think thatís what youíre talking about here. And I think one way to do that is to find ways within teaching Ė we've been talking about letting people remain in the classroom, but work in ways that are different in terms of working with their colleagues and working with students and having that be recognized as valid a way of being a leader as being the principal in the school or the superintendent in the system. And itís a difficult challenge to figure out how we can do that, but I think thatís the essence of what the solution of the problem is.
BETTY HALE: Lisa?
LISA HOLM: A lot of it relates to persistence on the part of individuals, too. Sometimes weíre involved in something and we donít see change occurring, but we need to keep with it and realize that change takes a long time, and not everybody is going to jump on board right away. And even if weíre not getting the recognition, we need to keep working at it. I mean I can speak to that from personal experience, and Iíve seen a lot of changes in my own professional life over the last 10 years. If I had given up at the beginning, I wouldnít be sitting here today.
BETTY HALE: Final question, then weíll turn it back to Michael Usdan.
CAROLE KENNEDY: Thank you. Betty and Mary, first of all, I donít want you to think that you were the only two that did not get adequate supervision in your student teaching. My supervisor visited twice, and she slept through both lessons, and I was not quite sure whether that was a commentary on my teaching ability or whether the problem was all hers.
My question. Buzz, Iíd like for you to put on your state school board hat for this one. Last summer we brought about 114 elementary, middle, and secondary school principals to Washington, D.C., for the first principals leadership summit. And as this panel has indicated their issue with time, so was it an issue with those principals of time, time to be instructional leaders.
And so as we look at the critical need for principals to learn how to share that leadership role and teachers to learn how to assume that role, how do we find the time to make that happen? We also heard people talking about the need for teachers, and I would include principals in that, to learn to use their voices to talk to those state legislators, and time becomes an issue in that, too.
Earlier I had heard you say that the state board you felt should make sure they werenít throwing up any barriers as this groundswell of teacher leadership comes up. In other words, donít get in their way. But is there a role that state boards of education across the country can play that theyíre not playing now as a go-between between what the teachers and principals need and what the legislature is giving, or address the time issue in ways itís not being addressed now?
BUZZ BARTLETT: First, I can only speak from the Maryland point of view, and, frankly, we have a rather ideal situation where the state board is responsible for the educational system, and the legislators dabble in it every session and get into things, not inconsequential things, like collective bargaining. But for the most part, I think there are a lot of states around the country where that's not the case. Youíve got to really work the legislature.
But I donít honestly see that the state board would have any policy making role in what youíre describing. I think it has a bully pulpit role. And I do believe that thatís the role that should be promoted through the National Association of State Boards of Education, to start with, as a way to begin to get the word out. But it can only be, and should only be, a bully pulpit role, except for what I said earlier. If weíve got some rules, regulations on the books that get in the way, we should change them. But otherwise this is something thatís going to happen in the local education administration. Itís going to happen school to school. Itís not something that should be legislated or regulated from the top because it wonít work, as far as Iím concerned.
BETTY HALE: Well, on behalf of the panel, I want to thank you. Youíve been a wonderful audience. And I want to thank the panelists for coming to spend time with us this morning.
I want to close by just saying that in this report it suggests that teacher leadership is not about power, and yet weíve had these phenomenal images this morning about teachers wanting and gaining more confidence so that they can then take control of the teaching and learning, and having a major impact or a greater impact on the shaping of the culture. And this report says that what teacher leadership is about is about mobilizing the still largely untapped attributes of teachers to strengthen student performance at the ground level and to work toward real collaboration, a locally tailored kind of leadership in the daily lives of schools.
Carole has asked a question, and she used a wonderful phrase: for principals to learn how to share power and for teachers to learn how to take it. And I think that thatís what this conversation has been about this morning. And thank you so much.
MIKE USDAN: I wonít be presumptuous enough to try to summarize what has, I think, been a very, very rich discussion. And Iíd like to -- I think it's to my left, Betty -- thank the panel very, very, very much for a rich discussion. And weíre going to have to try to figure out how to do justice to this discussion in terms of obviously weíre going to have a transcript and to try to figure out how to get this discussion into as many hands as possible.
I may be slipping into my dotage earlier than I thought as the head of a nonprofit organization, but Iíve been particularly derelict in not thanking the funders of this enterprise, explicitly and publicly. And the support for this entire leadership endeavor, of which the teacher task force is obviously a very vital component, has been provided by the Ford and Carnegie Foundations, the UPS Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, OERI, and particularly this effort in terms of teachers by Metropolitan Life, which has had an ongoing, sustained interest in developing and improving the teaching profession.
We do wrestle with the issue of dissemination and how if indeed Ė I think people have been very polite this morning, but I think there has been a broad consensus that whether one agrees or disagrees with everything in this report, thereís a message, thereís a thesis, thereís a philosophy, thereís an undergirding rationale to it that basically is very important to disseminate to the widest possible audience.
And advance copies have been provided to appropriate folks at the NEA and the AFT, and NCATE and AACTE, and all these acronyms that those of us in the closed world of education are aware of, but nobody else is aware of. And in addition to this infrastructure which is pivotal, in terms of particularly the teacher market or constituency for this report, we also are going to make very vigorous efforts to get it through, as I said in my initial comments, out through the business and political organizations, as well as the associations. And we would welcome very much any suggestions that any of you folks have in terms of dissemination. Our resources arenít unlimited obviously, but we will try to get it out. Mary Podmostko basically is, as I indicated earlier, the glue of the project. Itís on the Web, but we will try to get it to the widest possible audience.
A prelude to our May 17th meeting. People were asked about the role of the state and the state task force. Remember, the states have the legal responsibility for education. They will be in a more pivotal position not only legally and financially, as they have been for many, many years, but the standards movement, and assessment, the incredible dilemma and paradox between the standards movement and teacher autonomy that was mentioned I think is a singularly significant issue that unfortunately was neglected in the report.
But the reason we basically have made the state task force report last is that weíre going to attempt to synthesize and distill from the district task force, the principal task force, the teacher leader task force, a set of issues that only the state is in a position to kind of put together in terms of any kind of architecture and reference to overall coherent policy. So that meeting is May 17th.
We also in a related area will be co-sponsoring, IEL with the National Center for Public Policy in Higher Education, a session here on Friday morning, May the 11th. Mike Kirst will be releasing a report that the National Center for Higher Ed and IEL are jointly co-sponsoring, talking about the senior year in high school as kind of -- well, I don't think Mike perhaps used the word -- but it's a year that isnít used as productively as it might be. Howís that for a euphemism?
But in any event, this relates to the evolving interest, which was not the subject today, of K-12 higher relationships or the lack thereof. And, obviously, the teacher education issue is a very seminal piece of connecting the levels of education. So thatís May 11th here at the National Press Club.
Thank you all for attending. Thank the panel again. Thank
Betty for her customary consummate job of moderating, and we hope to see
you on May 11th and/or May 17th. Thank you.
[APPLAUSE AND END OF EVENT.]