Larry Cuban, Julius and Rosa Sachs Lecturer, 2001-2002
Teachers College, Columbia University

Betty Hale, President
Institute for Educational Leadership

Denis P. Doyle, Co-Founder & Chief Academic Officer

Stephanie Robinson, Principal Partner
The Education Trust

E. Joseph Schneider, Deputy Executive Director
American Association of School Administrators

The Benjamin Franklin Holeman Lounge
National Press Club
529 14TH Street, NW
Washington, DC 20045
Thursday, October 4, 2001
9:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Transcript by:
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

BETTY HALE: Good morning, and thank you for joining us as we, at the Institute for Educational Leadership, try to engage you in a conversation about "Urban School Leadership - Different in Kind and Degree." It seems to me that the events of September 11th also give us a totally different context and perhaps a much more important context in which to have this discussion this morning, so we are delighted to have you with us, and we are also pleased that we have the author of the Institute's most recent report, "Urban School Leadership - Different in Kind and Degree."

Let me share with you that evidently, as a part of IEL's 21st School Leadership for the 21st Century Initiative, as we would plan for these press conferences, some member of the press would call the day before and we would have a discussion and then we would have the press conference. And I had a call from a reporter who shall remain nameless two days ago, and said, "Now, here's the way I'm writing the story, Betty. 'Standards-based Reform is No Friend of Urban Education.'" And I said, "Well, it's clear to me that your headline would sell more newspapers than mine." And he said, "Well, what would your headline be?" And I said, "My headline would be, 'Urban Education Needs Standards Plus,'" so it seems to me that if you can sort of keep those in mind as we begin this discussion.

The way we're going to work this is that the author of this report, Larry Cuban, who as I indicated to my fellow panelists is quite possibly the only other person up here who will be able to say that he actually has worked in urban schools. One of the panelists said, "Well, that doesn't mean we don't have opinions."


So let me try to share with you and then we'll establish some bona fides of our panelists.

Larry is currently the Julius and Rosa Sachs Lecturer at Teachers College, Columbia University. He has written this essay also as a part of some additional work he has been doing with IEL, and sometime in 2002 we will be publishing a book that will be case studies of six urban school systems and some governance activities and things that have been going on in those six urban school systems.

Stephanie Robinson then will kick off following Larry's prepared remarks about his essay, and Stephanie is a principal partner with the Education Trust. Stephanie, I believe, is the only other person here this morning on the panel who actually has worked in an urban school, and if that's not true, I'm sure that Denis and Joe will correct me.

Denis Doyle is the chief academic officer of Schoolnet, and at some point he may want to even say a word about how the work that his organization is doing, around data and helping individuals in school systems make decisions, might be useful.

Joe Schneider is the deputy executive director of the American Association of School Administrators, and each of the panelists will take about four minutes and give you some immediate reactions to Larry's comments as well as Larry's essay. So if you can bear with us for about 45 minutes of listening, then we're going to turn it over to you and then let you engage in a discussion.

In preparation for this morning, I happened to come across a report that one of our former fellows in IEL's network had sent to me in early September, and it is a report from the Pew Foundation's initiative, and the title of this report is "When Theory Hits Reality: Standards-Based Reform in Urban School Districts." And I thought that just this phrase alone might also be an interesting backdrop as you are thinking about Larry's comments: "We found that over four years of the grant that sites worked hard to put standards and assessments in place and attempted to create sustainable accountability systems at the same time all sites encountered strong headwinds."

So with that I'm pleased to introduce Larry Cuban who's going to speak for about 20 minutes.

Thank you, Larry.

LARRY CUBAN: Thank you, Betty.

I'm most pleased to be here. What I see is my past unfolding. It's hard to believe that I began teaching in 1955, and I see in the audience a former student of mine from Glenville High School in Cleveland -- and I won't introduce him or embarrass him -- and I taught him and his wife, and his mom was a colleague of mine. And then I see some people that I worked with in the DC schools when I was here in the 60's and 70's, and even one of my successors, as superintendent in Arlington. So, I mean, that's a kind of rewind and a kind of a rewind of a tape that is just marvelous for me, so I appreciate this opportunity.

Let me tell you what I plan to do. I'm going to outline the argument that I make in the essay in about four to five statements, and then I'm going to elaborate the statements drawing from the essay itself. This should give those in the audience who haven't read what is in that essay at least some kind of sense of the drift of the argument. The panel members have already read the essay so I don't worry about them at all. Here are the statements.

In the past 25 years economic fears of an unprepared workforce weakening the nation's capacity to compete in the global marketplace have produced a powerful coalition of business leaders, civic officials and educators determined to harness all public schools to the economy. Even though these fears of unprepared graduates focus most sharply on the city, where one third of all future workers are located and where minority-dominated schools have the sorriest performance records, reformers are dedicated to turning around all 90,000 American schools -- public schools.

Second statement: Current reformers, depending on test-driven, standards-based accountability measures for almost 50 million students, assume that all schools, including urban ones, will improve teaching and learning and all leaders will put these reforms into practice. Both assumptions are incorrect. The history, demography, governance and resources characterizing urban schools make them very different than suburban and rural schools. Furthermore, urban school leaders face very different job demands than their suburban and rural colleagues.

And the last statement: Thus, reforming urban schools to improve teaching and learning requires different goals, different strategies and different leaders. If the current coalition of civic and business leaders refuses to note these differences and continues to treat all U.S. schools as needing the same reforms, urban districts have little chance to improve classroom teaching and learning.

So let me elaborate on this by going to the essay itself and just kind of going over portions of it. Those are the four statements that frame the argument and I hope they're clear.

Since the "Nation at Risk Report" in 1983 judged public schools to be so mediocre as to jeopardize the economic future of the country, blaming educators has become common fare in the media. In the past two decades a broad coalition of corporate executives, public officials and business groups has pressed educational leaders to copy successful businesses. School leaders should do what successful corporate leaders have done: trim bureaucracies, focus on measurable goals, manage through incentives and penalties, and hold employees accountable for reaching those desired goals. Presidents, mayors, business executives and parents have said and say again, and again, that public schools must focus on preparing students for jobs.

Responding to this kind of scorching criticism, educators in suburbs, rural districts, and big cities -- beginning in the early nineties, but actually you can trace it to the mid eighties -- have embraced something called systemic reform. They have established standards-based curricula, aligned the curricula to tests, monitored the test scores closely, and rewarded and punished teachers, principals, schools and students, when scores rose and fell. The swift spread of this brand of reform has become an early 21st century formula for reforming all American public schools. The theory behind this formula predicts that systemic school reform will produce graduates who can secure high-paying jobs for themselves while ensuring that American businesses can compete in the global economy.

The theory also contains two assumptions: All public schools can profit from this approach, and any good leader can put these changes into place regardless of location. Both assumptions are flawed. All public schools are hardly alike. In 50 states almost 15,000 school districts with almost 90,000 schools serve almost 50 million students. The social, academic and cultural diversity among districts and within districts are stunning. Just think of New York City, L.A. and Chicago with high schools that send 90 percent of their graduates onto college, and those same cities have schools that only have 10 percent that will go on to further education.

Generally speaking, however, what now exists in the U.S. is a three-tiered system of schooling. Across the nation there is the first tier: about one in 10 schools that already exceed the high academic standards and tests in the test score thresholds that are set by states. Another four to five of these 10 schools, the second tier, either already meet or come close to their standards and cut-off scores on tests. The rest, the third tier, don't. Most of these latter schools are located in urban districts with high concentrations of poor and minority families.

Yet the current reform recipe is to hammer this three-tiered system of schooling into one mold. Forcing all schools to fit the same mold, however, ignores those students already meeting and exceeding those standards. Reformers have confused setting standards with standardization.

These reforms are really aimed at a large number of urban schools struggling with students who perform in the lowest quartiles of academic achievement and often drop out. Publicly admitting this is politically risky because the majority of voters -- who are middle class, white and live in suburbs -- might be distressed to see such targeted use of their tax dollars. Nor do these reforms, with their underlying aim to make schools an arm of the economy, touch upon the broad and historic purposes of tax-supported public schools, that is, promoting democratic equality and molding citizens who contribute to their communities beyond being efficient employees.

Also needing inspection is a second assumption buried in the current reform agenda. In looking back over the last century, each generation of reformers sang one refrain again and again: The nation's schools need more and better school leaders. These expectations imply that leading city schools is the same as leading suburban, small town and rural schools. That is not the case at all. Crucial differences distinguish urban school leaders from those in other districts.

First, while the early history of suburbs has been one of searching for racial and ethic homogeneity, larger homes and better schools, cities have historically been racially and ethnically heterogeneity -- have been heterogeneous. Century-old conflicts in cities over assimilating immigrants, using English as a sole language of instruction, desegregating schools, and reducing poverty have been proxies for dealing with the issues of color and class. Both are mainstays of urban schools and not suburbs and rural areas, for the most part. Leading urban districts from San Diego to Philadelphia have demanded from superintendents a keener sensitivity to inequalities and a well-developed capacity to deal with racial isolation, ethnic conflict and economic disparities.

Well, as a result of these public demands for improved academic achievement among those students who have historically done least well in school, persistent issues of race, ethnicity, language and class have required urban superintendents in small and large districts -- Compton, California to Baltimore -- to expand their customary repertoire of political, managerial and instructional roles to cope with the abiding conflicts that arise from time to time in urban districts.

For many of these superintendents, the job is overwhelming. Frequent turnover among school chiefs has created the false image of an impossible job and a turnstile superintendency. Those urban superintendents who thrive in the post learn to lead by consciously blending the political, managerial and instructional roles to cope with the conflicts arising from issues of race and class as they affect test scores and the broader purposes of public schools.

The second distinguishing characteristic for urban superintendents is a strong belief that schools can help restore a city's economic, cultural and social vitality. The once-great American cities that were taken for granted in the early decades of the 20th century declined dramatically in the post World War II decades as they lost their appeal and businesses to suburbs, particularly with the increase in casting cities as associated with poverty and crime during the 1960s. Not until the early 1990s, with major shifts in work and the economy, did some cities begin to see a reverse migration from suburbs and employers relocating because of lower land and labor costs. Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, for example, have begun to regain their cache of greatness, while other cities, such as Austin, San Jose, have become magnets for technology-based businesses.

For many urban politicians, the quality of public schools play a key part in attracting employers and young families to their neighborhoods and sustaining the vitality of cities. Their reputations as mayors in large and small cities are deeply affected by the quality of their schools. Some superintendents have become key players in the revival of urban America and urban politics.

Thus President Bush, appointing the Houston, Texas, superintendent as his secretary of education, acknowledges symbolically this current truth. These differences counter the prevailing assumption buried within standards-based reform that school leadership is the same across all districts. Leading urban schools, unlike leading other districts, is intimately tied to a unique and complex mission, and that mission is, through improved schooling, to reduce the dire consequences of racial and ethnic isolation and the impact of poverty on academic achievement while -- and this is where the complexity, if that isn't hard enough, the complexity is added -- while increasing the life chances of families and their children to succeed economically and to contribute to their communities.

An unfortunate byproduct of this distinct mission is a nourishing of the pervasive myth that urban schools alone can improve life chances of poor children. They cannot. The current concentration on accountability-driven school reform assumes that if students, teachers and principals in city schools would work harder than they have in the past, then test scores would improve, more students would earn diplomas, and jobs in an information-based economy will await graduates.

Certainly there is some truth in that assumption. Much has been written about the prevailing low expectations urban principals and teachers have held regarding poor and minority students. Studies have shown, again and again, how children in large schools get easily lost in the impersonal throng of students and the hectic schedules of overworked and underpaid staff. Other studies reveal that schools that seldom meet academic standards suffer few consequences. This research gives credibility to the belief that harder work and higher standards will translate into better academic achievement.

What weakens the assumption, however, are other facts that too many policy makers, business leaders and journalists neglect to mention. Anyone who has ever visited an urban elementary or secondary school for at least one week -- not a drive-by visit -- to sit in classes, listen to teachers and students, and observe lunch rooms, playgrounds, corridors and offices, would begin to appreciate a simple but inescapable truth: An urban school is deeply influenced by the neighborhoods from which it draws its students.

Also of importance is that tax-supported public schools in a democracy are more than training grounds for future employees. Schools are expected to instill in students civic and social attitudes and skills that shape how graduates will lead their lives in communities. Schools are expected to build respect for differences in ideas and cultures.

These are historic aims of public schools that have been largely neglected in the rush to direct schools to be the engines for the economy. Yet the present agenda for urban school reform, narrowly concentrating on raising test scores and getting jobs, largely ignores a pervasive influence upon the school of the community's particular racial, ethnic and social class strengths and limitations. In middle class and wealthy neighborhoods, focusing only on what the school can do is reasonable since these families have the money and networks to provide help for their children with academic, health or emotional problems, and to live in communities where civic institutions thrive.

That is not the case in most poor communities. Families lack personal institutional resources, they depend upon the school and other public agencies. In short, in cities, schools can't do it alone. This fundamental fact is ignored in popular accountability-driven reforms. The obvious fact that schools are entangled in their communities only makes clear the task that forces urban school leaders. They need to mobilize civic and corporate elites, and educate those opinion setters to the plain fact that raising academic achievement in big city schools involves far more than designing merit pay plans, threatening teachers and principals, or withholding diplomas for students who fail their graduation test.

Few suburban or rural superintendents face such tasks. This then is the larger argument that I make in this brief for spotlighting the importance and singularity of urban leaders in pursuing school reform. It also offers a glimpse of a tough task ahead for those who believe in the civic and moral obligations that accompany making both cities and schools far better than they are for those who have been so ill served in the past. Thank you.

BETTY HALE: Well, you -- I thought you might be going to go and lay out, Larry -- and perhaps we will in the Q&A -- your sense of sort of what it is that can be done.

LARRY CUBAN: Yeah, I didn't want to end with that because people might focus on that first.


LARRY CUBAN: I want the argument to be out there.

BETTY HALE: Very good. And if we didn't know that this man was a college professor, we know it now.


We are delighted to have Stephanie Robinson from the Education Trust. As I indicated, she has certainly worked in urban schools and more recently with urban schools across the country.

Actually, I want to ask Larry a question before I let Stephanie jump in here. Larry, given the argument you just presented, can we -- would it be easy to conclude, or is it a simple conclusion--that it's a job that's too big for one person?

LARRY CUBAN: The superintendency?

BETTY HALE: In urban schools.


BETTY HALE: Okay. All right, that's where that took me as you talked about --

LARRY CUBAN: One person as a superintendent?


LARRY CUBAN: Meaning that that superintendent can pick other people and all that? Yeah, no! Was the presidency too big for one person?


LARRY CUBAN: Is the governor too big? Is a mayor too big?


This is democracy, it's that kind-- okay, all right, enough said.

BETTY HALE: Okay. Stephanie.

STEPHANIE ROBINSON: Thank you, Betty, and thank you, Larry, for that very provocative assessment of leadership -- urban leadership, different in kind, different in degree. The report actually says things with which I agree. [Chuckles.]

LARRY CUBAN: It's hard for you.

STEPHANIE ROBINSON: Yes, it is. [Laughter.]

BETTY HALE: You heard it here first.


STEPHANIE ROBINSON: Yes. There are differences in what leaders have to do in urban schools. I think there's an urgency in urban schools that you haven't talked about. There's an urgency because the failure in urban leadership in schools has much more dire consequences for education. For urban students it is virtually a death sentence because there are fewer safety nets. So it's imperative that urban schools produce the conditions where students can improve. But it's more important than ever to focus on what schools can do, what leaders can do in schools and what they can't. So I'm going to take this opportunity to put it together from my vantage point on the ground, looking at schools and working in urban schools and this urgency to fix the situation - what leaders have to do.

First of all, urban leadership has to deal with, I think, three institutional factors that contribute to the differential in performance between urban schools and suburban schools. And that focus is on the quality of instruction, the quality of the curriculum and the different standards to which students are held in urban and suburban schools. And I'll go through each of those. And when I use the word "standards" I mean the agreed-upon goals for education, the statement of what all students should know and do, not the standardization. And this premise -- underlying this premise is that race and class affect the resources available to schools and the quality of what goes on in those schools.

Poverty doesn't make kids uneducable. Poverty, we think, makes schools and school systems dysfunctional. We can't change the parents and can't change the parents that these kids are born to, and we're not going to change the wealth distribution in this country any time soon, but we can change who teaches whom, and we can change what is taught, and we can make sure that the standards for students are all high; that is, what they are required to learn, sooner rather than later.

Now, the low quality of instruction -- and we work in schools, and you see that schools that educate, urban schools that educate students who need the most expert instruction are more likely to have the least prepared teachers. Recently the Chicago Sun Times did a report on teachers. Many teachers in that school system couldn't pass a basic skills test. Now are we trashing teachers? What I'm saying here is that the system hasn't provided the leadership, hasn't provided the support for schools and school staff to do the job that we're requiring them to do in this different frame of reference here.

In Texas, there was an inverse relationship between the scores on teacher tests and the racial composition of the campus. The more -- the higher the scores on the teacher tests, the less likely they were to be teaching in schools of high poverty or high minority. And of course, Ferguson and Linda Darling-Hammond have talked about the impact of -- the devastating impact of three years of ineffective teaching. So it's clear that there's that differential.

If you're poor and of color, you're much more likely to be taught math and science by a person who lacks the degree in those subjects, or experience in those subjects. So we have a differential in who teaches what where between urban and suburban districts.

We have the low-level curriculum -- and here I want to talk about that this weak curriculum -- and high-poverty schools spent less -- teachers spend less time working on thinking and reasoning skills, students get more daily work sheets, they do less writing, they do less reading or response to literature and their literature work.

In one report -- an organization called DataWorks in California calibrated the assignments that students were getting in this low-poverty school with the local standard. They took the kindergarten assignments that teachers were giving and looked at the standards and see if there was a match. They looked at the first grade assignment and the first grade standards and so on up to fifth grade.

They found that until about third grade there was a pretty good match. There was slippage, and until about the fifth grade the -- only 2 percent of the assignments were on grade level. So there's a differential in what kids get to learn between these urban and suburban schools that needs more attention.

The other is difference in standards. Kids in high-poverty schools get As for the same kind of work that kids in low-poverty schools get Cs for. And they graduate because they're on the dean's list, and they go to college and fail. And that's a difference in the quality of work that they're given and how that work is judged.

We argue that it takes more, yes, than just threatening change; it takes then -- and more than threatening accountability systems -- it takes teacher development, and leaders have to focus on teacher development, pedagogy and content. Teachers cannot teach without the content, and they have to have skills, and we work with them every day, they have to have the skills to close that achievement gap in the classroom -- the skills to teach students at widely varying levels of achievement. You don't have that -- that kind of gap in suburban schools. I'll skip it -- I'll come back because --

BETTY HALE: Because we'll get some questions from the audience, yes.

STEPHANIE ROBINSON: So what does this all mean? Recognizing that schools are in this situation -- there've always been standards. The fact that the standards vary by race and by socioeconomic status, this standards-based reform is attempting to make the standards public and make them apply to all students.

We can fix the things that are wrong with tests. We can fix the things that are wrong with how we implement standards-based reform, but we can't fix the results of not dealing with or educating all students because of the impact on the economy and because certainly that this society or livelihood depends upon well-educated populace. And I think that standards-based reform has the promise of educating all students to a high degree.

BETTY HALE: So you agree with part of Larry's argument, but you think that standards-based reform does hold some promise, but there are some other things that need to be focused upon.

I guess I wanted to also say -- and I didn't plan it this way -- but Larry, you made a statement that urban school leaders needed to be able to do a blend of the political, the managerial, or I might say the organizational and the instructional. And it seems to be that part of Stephanie's argument in response is that there's a whole lot around the sort of organizational and instructional that she's focusing upon.

Let's see what our other respondents have to say. Denis Doyle, Schoolnet.

DENIS DOYLE: Thank you. Stephanie, I agree. Glad to hear you say what you did about standards in particular. And I want to put all your minds at ease. I've taken the pledge. I'm not going to talk about vouchers today. That's last century's reform. The next century's reform is standards and technology.

It seems to me it would be useful to put this into a bit of an historical context. I found Larry's essay provocative and stimulating as usual, and it's always a pleasure to read Larry, and to hear him is even more of a pleasure. But it seems to me that a couple of things that are important.

As recently as 1930, give or take a decade, there were about 130 million Americans, about 130,000 school districts -- one school district for every thousand Americans.

Fast-forward to 2001 and we have 14,035 school districts, 260 million Americans. We are suffering from a case of gigantism run wild. It's like a science fiction movie when you look at the big districts. The head of the dinosaur can't communicate with the tail. This is largely a product, at least conceptually and spiritually as it were, of Frederick Taylor and his scientific management movement in which he advanced a set of arguments about economies of scale which have proved altogether illusory. There are no economies of scale in school that I'm aware of, and indeed there are only about 500 districts in the country that are larger than 1,500 youngsters.

And when you compare that set of kind of brute facts -- the public attitudes which I think are really quite striking, looking again at the Phi Delta Kappa Annual Gallup Poll, now a third of a century old and an extraordinarily useful tracking device -- it turns out for this year for the first time in the history of the poll a simple majority, 51 percent of Americans, give their schools good marks. That's a very welcome improvement, modest to be sure, but nevertheless welcome. And if you disaggregate those numbers and look at where the approvals lie, it's, I think, striking to me that they are to be found in cities - villages and towns, small communities where Americans have always given their schools high marks and continue to give their schools very high marks indeed.

Indeed the only identifiable group of Americans who give their schools continuously low marks are minorities in the cross-belt cities who have given their schools Fs and Ds for a very, very long time. And I would suggest they know whereof they speak.

Now, I was here a couple of days ago in this very room listening to the MetLife poll rollout and was fascinated by some of the findings in the poll. About 85 percent -- 87 percent of principals think that standards are high and good. About 62 percent of teachers think the same thing; about 35 percent of students do. And the student-teacher-principal disparity is maintained throughout the poll no matter where you look.

"Are expectations high in our school?" The same kind of breakdown; 80-odd percent of principals think they are, 60-odd percent of teachers do and 30-odd percent of kids do.

"Are the expectations the same for all of our kids, regardless of race?" The kids know what's going on; they are not the same. There's a kind of a fantasy life that pervades schools.

And it seems to me that it is now incumbent upon schools to demonstrate that scale is in fact useful, that we've had a century now of giant school districts, and I would like them to make the case -- I think the evidence is in on the other side that they are simply too big to be run by anybody. I've had this argument for a very long time, not just with Larry, but people like John Murphy.

And indeed I think the case can be made that extraordinarily gifted individuals -- men and women on horseback -- can in fact run large districts, but they are few and far between. And no mass enterprise can be organized around the concept of charismatic leadership. It's simply is too big to be done that way.

To the contrary, as Peter Drucker is fond of saying -- he has many, many things of which he's fond of saying, but among others -- the job of mass education is to have ordinary people do extraordinary things, and to do that you need management and organization of a very high order. And I would suggest that the convergence of public opinion polling of public attitudes of history suggests that these school districts are simply too big to be led and to be ruled.

I'm going to close with one final point, and I offer it to provoke and stimulate debate and discussion. But we've got about 88,000 school buildings in this country, 28,000 are public school buildings, 28,000 private schools. None of those private schools, as we'd understand it, are members of systems in the way public schools are. To be sure, some of them -- Missouri Lutheran schools, some of the Jewish schools, some of the -- and most of the Catholic schools -- are associated with administrative units that look like school districts on paper.

But the famous example -- Andy Greeley and his colleagues in Chicago, doing research in the Chicago public and private schools, show that Chicago has half-a-million kids in public school and 3700 administrators to run the system. The Catholic schools have half the number of kids, two-hundred-odd-thousand-and-thirty-five administrators. So they're not -- on paper may look like administrative units but in fact these schools are tubs in their own bottoms. And I think there is a lesson to be learned in this.

In addition to the fact there aren't any systems in the private sector, the number of private schools which enroll more than a thousand kids can be counted on both hands. They're very tiny institutions. And there is wisdom in that. You ask a private school headmaster how many kids he or she will accept, and he will say, "The number of first names I can remember." And that is -- there is folk wisdom in that which I think speaks directly to this issue. I'll say no more but encourage discussion and comment.

BETTY HALE: I'm tempted to say that yesterday I was looking at the "Chronicle of Philanthropy," and they were doing their annual issue on salaries in the not-for-profit sector. And I will only make the comment that the headmaster at Exeter earns $225,000 a year.

Having said that, I do want to make a more focused comment here, Denis.


I mean, actually the other thing I wished to say was the business about the differences between the public schools in Chicago and the Catholic schools. I was going to say to Denis that it gave one a totally different understanding of what it meant to do the Lord's work. Having said that, Denis, then can we assume that you disagree with Larry around the notion of "is the job too big" in the sense of having a superintendent in an urban school?

DENIS DOYLE: Yes, I would say, yes, it is too big, but there is one notable exception or a set of notable exceptions. They're our foreign compatriots, Korea, Japan, Australia, France and so on where an extraordinarily high degree of social consensus exists about what to do and when to do it and how to do it.

So the old canard about the French minister of education knowing at 9:37 exactly where every kid in France is and on which page and in which book is almost true. And it is in fact the case, according to people like E. D. Hirsch, the core knowledge person, that the French, because of their high degree of social consensus, have had extraordinary success educating racial minorities in their own country. And the population profiles of big French cities look very much like American cities now: Marseilles, Lyon, Paris. Large numbers of kids from former colonial holdings of the French empire are being educated successfully. Their scores are not quite as high as native-born French kids, but the racial gap that exists in this country does not exist there. It is a function of an extraordinarily high degree of social and political consensus about what to do and how to do it. That is absent in our country and I see no way to imagine it into happening.

BETTY HALE: Thank you.

Joe Schneider, American Association of School Administrators.

JOSEPH SCHNEIDER: Thank you, Betty. I have to admit I've been sitting here feeling unqualified to comment because of my lack of urban experience. But I do think, for the record, it's worth mentioning that I did graduate from the largest high school in my home state.


BETTY HALE: And do we want to press on this?




There's much about Larry's paper I like, and some of the comments I would normally make have already been made. So let me push a little bit.

Those of you who haven't read Larry's paper, it is broken into four sections. And the first section, of course, is what Larry calls "Learning from the Past." And as one of our eminent historians, probably the best we've got writing these days, Larry did a masterful job on talking about where we are right now.

What you heard him say orally is the second section of his paper called "Reforming Schools: the Current Agenda," and it's hard to quibble with that. He skipped over the third and fourth parts of his paper, and I want to talk a little bit about those because I think that's where the action is. The third part of this paper is called "Dispelling Urban Myths," and I'm going to make the argument that he has to dispel some of these myths to make the point for what he's leading up to with his recommendations, and that is with the fourth section, "An Initial Action for Agenda."

If you believe, as Larry does, that things can be better in urban education, then you have to dispel two very, very common myths. The first myth is that urban schools are ungovernable, and Larry says that is a myth. The second one is that the turnover among urban school superintendents is high. He also argues that's a myth. Now, to make his point about the big city schools are governable, he mentions Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle and Boston, and I was struck by the fact that the reason the Chicago superintendent left, as I understand it, is because he lost his standing with the mayor.

In Philadelphia, the superintendent, David Hornbeck, left and as soon as he did the mayor and the governor got together and brought in Chris Whittle to draw up a plan for how Edison could run Philadelphia public schools. Just last week the NAACP called a big protest in Seattle complaining about the racial politics of that city's schools. Hard to make a point that those are governable districts.

To make his point that there isn't a revolving door for urban superintendents, Larry mentions the longevity of superintendents in Memphis, Chicago, Baltimore and Philadelphia. I would argue his premise would be a lot stronger if any of those superintendents he mentioned were still on the job, or if any of them even had left with their boards asking them to stay, or if any one of them had even stayed in the superintendency after they left these jobs. You know, thank God for Tom Payzant from Boston because, without Tom Payzant from Boston to reference, these people who want to dispel urban myths would be left with very few examples. [Laughter.]

You turn to Larry's initial agenda for action, and I was really kind of hoping, again from an historian, to see something new and exciting here, and what I tripped over was something that sounded awfully familiar, and that is he thinks, number one, we need more dollars; in fact, to quote him, "far more than is spent now." I would argue, Larry, that will bring you right back into our membership as a full-fledged member, that's what we say all the time -- our familiar drum beat.

Second recommendation is more special programs for poor and minority students. In this town, that translates into Title I. Right now the congress spends in excess of $8 billion a year on Title I. With the majority -- as Larry pointed in his comments -- with the majority of the voters in this country now living in suburban communities and the majority of our Congress representing suburban communities, it's hard to imagine that number going up in any significant amount. It would probably help if we had some evidence, by the way, that Title I made huge differences with these children.

His third recommendation is that we concentrate on recruiting large numbers of teachers and principals. I think the school superintendents in urban America are way ahead of you on that one, Larry. They're spending more and more of their time doing just that. Larry believes that we should train urban leaders and give them paid internships and intensive summer programs, and we ought to pay premium salaries to the best-trained teachers and principals. Again, I don't think you'll find an argument from any urban administrator to that recommendation. But, of course, it leaves out any suggestion of where the funds would come from to pay for that kind of a program, and so I guess that recommendation kind of goes back into his first recommendation, which is more money. Maybe before we leave here today, Larry, you could give us some help on where we could go to tap that.

Otherwise, he talks about urban schools need to go beyond vocational preparation, and I think that's a fairly safe recommendation. He wants city schools to work more with museums and other social service agencies in the cities, and again, I think that's a worthwhile recommendation. Those of you who've read Paul Hill's books -- and I know that Larry has - about what it takes for a city to pull this together might be a little discouraged by how easy that recommendation will be to implement.

I guess I'm disappointed that we didn't get a home run out of this paper, but on the other hand, there's a lot of foundations putting money into this issue and it'd be probably a shame if we scooped them on this one.


BETTY HALE: Thank you, Joe. Actually, as long as Joe has identified your agenda for action, Larry, one of the things I was curious about was that you didn't have, as a part of that agenda for action, the business about -- sort of my words -- educating the public, and educating those who go in to take a look at what's going on in urban schools as a way of beginning to broaden a base that might get some different messages out that might then help in terms of people understanding that maybe my standards-plus movement requires more money.

LARRY CUBAN: That's a question then?


LARRY CUBAN: I would agree that you want to educate as many different, one of the virtues of programs like Teach for America, is that it draws into education for teaching for a few people for two years, people who ordinarily might not have gone in and who, as with the older national Teacher Corps, develop a cadre of people who leave teaching but stay in education one way or another and even become board members later in their life and so on like that. That's wonderful. So educating people, you know, becomes very important, so how can one disagree with that?

BETTY HALE: It's your turn. Do we have questions from the audience? The purpose of this is to have a discussion and try to push our thinking. As Joe said, we perhaps don't have a home run yet, but let's see what kinds of questions you have that might get us closer. What we're going to do is we have people who will run around and bring a microphone because we are taping the proceedings, so --

QUESTION: I actually have five questions.

BETTY HALE: And we're going to take the first one.


QUESTION: Okay, I am an urban school district teacher coming from there -- I'm not that right now -- I'm working here in Washington, DC, or a suburb. I teach physics and applied physics in a very poor, low-performing school, and in four years in the program, brought those kids up to where they were beating the science academy in our school district in competitions in engineering, et cetera, so I know the children can do the work.

It was interesting to hear Robinson talking about good teachers not teaching in the poor schools. There is a number of very good teachers that want to make a difference and do work in those schools, but they get burned out because the effort to get the kids to that point is so extreme.

One of the big concerns I have is Hispanic teachers, Hispanic school leaders -- we lack them, and there is a real lack of Hispanics who want to pursue careers in education. And I've taken -- I've done studies within the schools asking Hispanics why they don't want to be teachers. And the reason is they dislike the schools, they dislike the predominant cultures in the schools, they do not trust schools. The ones that are successful learn to overcome the system.

My big concern is the number, and my question is, the increase in the Hispanic population is tremendous and we are not getting the teachers and the leaders that we need in the schools. What can we do to improve that?

BETTY HALE: Thank you. Who wants to take a shot at that question?

LARRY CUBAN: Well, there are many, there are many ways to try to deal with that and have been taken. The issue of under-qualified, uncertified teachers piling up in low-income minority schools goes back, I should point out, to the 1950s. This is a post-World-War-II phenomenon. So, we're not dealing with something that all of a sudden someone's discovered. This has been going on -- anyone who takes a look at what urban schools have been like since the late forties has identified that. What can be done?

Let me tell you what has been done is that you appeal to people, you have combat-pay plans, you have career programs for teachers that have differentiated salaries, and then you go to court. The judge -- the Supreme Court Justice in the State of New York, DeGrasse has ordered -- has in this case found that the article in the Constitution of the State of New York providing for a sound basic education has not been delivered to the City of New York's children. And this decision came out in January of this year and one of -- he has seven criteria by which you determine a sound, basic education. And he goes back to the old policy question: Do resources affect achievement? And he says it does. Even with the Coleman report, all of the analysis, even having Eric Hanushek testify in a case and all of that, he finds that resources affect achievement.

First item: sufficient numbers of qualified teachers, principals and other personnel -- first item of the seven. And he says if you want to have an impact, you've got to have more resources. And he, in effect -- although the governor and the Board of Education of the City of New York have challenged, have appealed his decision, if that decision is overcome, as happened in the State of Kentucky where they overhauled their educational system and as a consequence raised salaries and so on, that's another way to go. This is the legal remedies kind of thing, and it's one that I think is always worthwhile to consider.

BETTY HALE: Stephanie?

STEPHANIE ROBINSON: There's another approach. The do it while it's -- the Reader's Digest funded a program called Pathways, and you go where the people are, and that Pathways program looked at teacher aides, teacher -- developing teacher aides and teacher assistants into professionals, and there are high -- a number of Hispanic and African Americans in the teacher aide cadre, and often they're from the community, have good skills, and so you grow your own by focusing on and developing people with those skills that area already in the school district.

I want to talk to your point about the lack of support for teachers in high-poverty schools who try to, who work alone, and the problem, one of the main problems is the isolation in these schools and the professional development that takes teachers out of the isolation of the class puts them together in working on improving their craft. They're --improving teaching in groups is another way to reduce the isolation and reduce the pressure to not succeed in those schools which happens sometimes, and some teachers are making it hard for others by showing them up and improving things.

BETTY HALE: Question? Yes, over on the --

QUESTION: I have a question which is sort of a more general question about this sort of work and its usefulness. It has to do with what I call the problem of variability in fit. One of the things you pointed out, Larry, is that when you talk about school systems there are really many kinds of school systems. But even within the distinctions you've made, there are many subsets of those school systems. When you try to generate a set of recommendations or even a way of thinking about the problem, you're forced to deal at a level of generality that is applicable across a lot of situations that are -- it doesn't necessarily tie in very closely with, the fit is not very tight.

So, my question is this: Given that we want to do something useful, what sort of level of discussion and/or what particular recommendations or approaches are broadly applicable? And given that you can't cover all the bases with the huge variability in this country, what kind of capacity should we be supporting for those ground-level troops that have to actually do the work that will allow them to both carry out the broader recommendations, but also generate that kind of self-derived, problem-solving capabilities that are going to be necessary to really make things happen at ground level?

LARRY CUBAN: You're looking at me.

BETTY HALE: I'm looking at Larry -


He was looking at Larry and then I was going to ask other panelists.

LARRY CUBAN: This is a policy audience so I expect policy questions. It's a familiar question, Ron, and the response that I have is one that Joe would find kind of mundane and other members would find you know, that it's not a home-run, it may be a single -- singles are important in baseball. But because these are familiar responses to your question of how do you deal with that much variability, I can state -- let me say three things.

One is that you don't prescribe. The current administration's plan is prescriptive. The legislation now is prescriptive in a way that will cause predictably unfortunate consequences in terms of what you have to do on annual progress, how do you intervene, you must intervene every year, all of that. That's prescriptive. On a nation's system that is so decentralized, even though there have been efforts to centralize at the state level and now we have it at the federal level, that decentralization means that any prescriptions like that in terms of process, of what you must do, are doomed to failure. And the degree of prescriptions is so evident in the history of American education, number one.

Number two: You need resources, particularly about urban schools. Now there is nothing new about that. It is so familiar. So that's why we are constantly seeking these issues through legal remedies, through appeals to politicians to try to get these resources. The argument that I make in the brief is that the current standards-based, accountability, test-driven strategy does not require very much money, and that is appealing. It ignores the differentials and the variability that goes on in schools. That's the Judge DeGrasse decision. And that -- so if I say something that's familiar, old hat -- "Oh, Larry, that's so you know" -- that's the way it is.

Third is that you want to develop the capacities of teachers. I know of no reform aimed at the classroom of teaching and learning that has not mobilized teachers so that they could understand and adapt that innovation in their classroom. You have to do that. Everyone says, "Yes, Larry, you've got to do it." It doesn't get done.


DENIS DOYLE: Well, I was the actually the one who made the comment about Ron's question about the physics teacher's question which seems to me requires a more complete answer, if I may.

I've got this issue surrounded. My wife is Mexican. Her sister is a school teacher, her niece is a school teacher. My daughter had the option of becoming a school teacher, as all of us do. She got an MBA instead, which -- I think there's a cautionary tale on that. My daughter-in-law is a school teacher, too.

The MBA occurred because as economists have it, there are two kinds of income: psychic income and real income. Real income is money and psychic income is professional satisfaction. And to get professional satisfaction out of teaching ordinarily you have to be in a small intermittent environment with kids who are responsive in an institutional environment in which the institution is responsive, as well. And the hard truth is that to teach in the public sector you have to get a license, and Webster defines a license as permission to do something which is otherwise prohibited. So if you don't get your license, you don't get to teach. There's lots of problems with this, of course -- provisionals and temporaries and so on -- but fundamentally a person with a career commitment to teaching gets a real license. Now the threshold test of getting a license is taking education courses, and, truth be told, they are as bad today as they ever have been.

As my own wife is not a teacher, she couldn't abide it. I did a L.A. Times piece recently on teacher education, and the editor ran it within 24 hours. It's never happened before, it will never happen again. So I called him and asked him why he didn't take the usual three or four weeks to mull this thing over. He said because his son -- the light of his life, the apple of his eye -- had just completed with honors a program of study in Government/Political Science at the University of California Irvine, and he wanted to give something back. He wanted to pay back to society what society had given to him, and he wanted to become a public school teacher. And he signed up at a state college in California, which will remain nameless, and he lasted one week. And he said if he'd stayed he would have died of boredom, so he became a private detective instead.


And that is a problem which must be addressed as we all know it to be true and it is absolutely intractable, and the Teach for America kids that Larry referenced earlier are fabulous. I have started a company that is -- it maybe the only company left standing right now -- but in any case, we're quite successful largely because we have been able to recruit MBAs who are Teach for America products. Two to three years of Teach for America then they want to do something about education, but they cannot abide the prospect of having to go through an education school, so they get MBAs and they go to work in the private sector.

I did a book with David Kearns, the former head of Xerox, called "Winning the Brain Race"; a book with Lou Gerstner, former head of RJR and now the head of IBM, and they both would admit privately, off-the-record, that they were embarrassed, but it was true that the very best recruits they got in their corporate headquarters were teachers because teachers had all the skills you needed to be a good salesman or a good manager. They were verbal, they were inquisitive, they were theatrical frequently, they were smart, they were capable, they were affable, they had -- the traits of personality that made good teachers also made good workers, and that's where the principal recruitment would go on, particularly after a teacher had six, seven, eight, nine years in the saddle and realized there was another world out there beyond teaching where you'd make some money and get some respect and have an environment which was congenial.

I'll close with a final story. The First Child -- the recent First Child to go to high school, Chelsea Clinton, went to Sidwell Friends here in town. She could have gone to any school she wanted to in the country, picked what she, what that family thought was the best school for their daughter. The head of the Math department there is Joan Reinthaler and has a Master's degree in applied mathematics. She's been there for 30 years, she's the Washington Post opera critic, and she couldn't get a job in a public school in North America. There is no provision -- maybe New Jersey would hire her under some alternate certification option. But this is an issue which I think is so important, and I don't know if you're a trained physicist, but the number of trained physicists in our schools with say a bachelor degree in physics you could probably count in three, you know, two hands and two feet. And, they're principally concentrated in a few schools like Peter Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Tech, Bronx School of Science, and the number of physicists with say masters degrees or PhDs, is probably too tiny to count.

BETTY HALE: Joe, do you have any response to Ron's question about variability in fit?

JOSEPH SCHNEIDER: Oh, I was back more focusing on Larry's comment about money.


We're all four square for money, okay - [laughter] - we like money. But you know, what it really comes down to, and as -- Larry said something very smart earlier -- and that is that these city school systems are all different. We tend to overgeneralize about urban districts. Art Gosling knows more about this than I do -- Art is in the audience, but you just take the Washington metropolitan area. You know, when you think of P.G. County, which is probably the county school system in this area, along with D.C., that has the most challenging needs. And I was just sitting here thinking, what if we pumped a lot of resources into P.G. County to pay teachers more so that they could attract better quality teachers. All that would mean is that Montgomery County and Fairfax would have to jack up their salaries for their teachers to continue to attract the best teachers in the region. The difficulty is -- of simple solutions to problems is that they hardly ever work.

What we need is to identify why it is we want these children to be educated, and Larry's a little critical -- and we all are because it is a liberal thing to do -- for the motivation for why we're now spending money to educate children. That's to get jobs, okay. Those of us in education tend to look the other way when that argument was made by David Kearns and some others because after all the motive may have been not what we would've liked. We might have liked to have children educated just for the sake of the fact that they ought to be well-rounded and want to live in a democracy and vote accordingly, but if in fact the government wants to give money to schools to help children get education so they can go to work in the economy, well, what's wrong with that?

And, probably what we need, Larry, is another one of these motivations for why all children need to be well educated so that we can convince the taxpayers in this country that they ought to dig deeper in their pockets. Otherwise we're just going to take a limited amount of money and spread it around to a lot of different places. I mean, my earlier comment about understanding the Congress -- I mean, right now Title I gets $8 billion simply because Congress cut a deal a long time ago among itself to say let's spread that money to every congressional district in the country. We don't put the resources where the greatest needs are. I mean, that's been well documented and we don't do anything about it. So if we really were concerned about that we would say let's put the money where the need is, just like we'd put the best teachers in the classrooms that have the most challenging kids. But we don't do that either.

BETTY HALE: Are you suggesting that people in the audience could write to their congressmen and women?



BETTY HALE: I mean, you can say that; I can't. Letters are coming. I want -- before we take these other questions -- I want to ask Ron Anson a question. Do you feel that you got any response to the question about variability in fit?

RON ANSON: Any response? Well --


BETTY HALE: Or maybe you ought to phrase that question in a slightly different way and if you'll think about how you would rephrase it, we'll take a question here and then we'll get back to Ron -- oh, back there, I'm sorry.

QUESTION: Hi. Dr. Cuban, I wanted to thank you for your brief. I think one of the most important points that you made was talking about broadening the urban agenda to encompass a community-based strategy and reconceptualizing schools to incorporate community resources.

My question kind of incorporates Betty's first question about whether superintendency is a position for one person and Stephanie's response that quality instruction, quality teachers and high standards are very important. I think effective teaching is essential for students to learn, but they also need to be ready and able to learn, and there are schools that are doing this, called community schools, that are bringing in the resources from the community and community-based agencies to create youth development and other type of supports for students. And, I was wondering, how do you think we can get school administrators and leaders to broaden their thinking to bring in the resources from the community to help create the conditions for learning for students?

LARRY CUBAN: A number of years ago when systemic reform, the original article written by my colleague, Mike Smith and a Doctoral student Jennifer O'Day -- when that appeared that triggered an early discussion of something called Opportunity to Learn Standards, which is basically what we're talking about. You know, why hold kids to certain kinds of standards if they're not ready to learn? As many of you in this audience know, Opportunity To Learn Standards debate fell off the edge of the table. It's no longer around. So it's not the federal contribution to American education, because that's still seven cents on the dollar, it's states', which is why people have moved to states to try to change the funding kind of patterns in states.

And what we have is basically this kind of thrust that resources are coming back into the picture, and I would argue that we ought to have Opportunity To Learn Standards, but public officials -- by and large -- policy makers have moved that off the agenda. That's no longer there. But it's getting back through the states. I mentioned this particular decision -- San Francisco -- the civil liberties union in San Francisco has now a judge in San Francisco, just made it. The -- what was a case representing 16 school districts is now a class action state case for inferior facilities, uncertified teachers. So the resource issue keeps coming back, one way or another.

I would like to have this Opportunity to Learn Standards, but what happens is that you get this debate is that we got to hold everyone to the same standards. Of course! Any time you question that, somehow you're either somewhere either as a racist or you are out of touch with political reality. The point about it is that a lot of things have to happen.

When you have a one-size-fits-all prescription for school reform in this country, you're going to have these kinds of problems of which you have to keep coming back to. All kids aren't the same. All districts aren't the same. You've got to have a differential set of strategies.

BETTY HALE: Stephanie, you want to --

STEPHANIE ROBINSON: I just want to addendum to that. It's all true. However, the excuse that people use is that we can't educate these kids until all of these things are put in place. And I would argue that we have to do all of it -- we have to do things at the same time.

LARRY CUBAN: Of course.

STEPHANIE ROBINSON: But that's not how -- you say "of course" but that's not how it plays out.

LARRY CUBAN: But we don't have any of that -- Opportunity to Learn Standards is not even discussed by policymakers. That's what's so -- from my point --

STEPHANIE ROBINSON: I agree, I agree --

LARRY CUBAN: Well, then, shaping political agendas occurs through many factors, not just one person. And what we're saying is that this resource issue will inevitably keep returning.

BETTY HALE: Joe or Denis, -- any response to that sort of larger policy question about I think, Bela, the words you used were readiness to learn and then the sorts of things that would happen on that?

JOSEPH SCHNEIDER: Let me jump in before Denis does. I mean, I think, Larry hit on something that's very important. And I think that when we started this systemic reform bandwagon, it was predicated on the fact that we were going to have Opportunities to Learn. And the silliness is that once we lost that battle, we should've stopped the train - [Laughter] because we went ahead and did a lot of dumb things under the guise of systemic reform that we couldn't pay for. It just was unrealistic.

And I would quibble a little bit, Larry, with how far systemic reform has actually driven the agenda for this country. I don't think it's -- I mean, I think it's the rhetoric, but I'm not sure it's a reality. But we ought to be honest about why Opportunity to Learn never happened. And that was simply because the governors said, "Holy smokes, do you realize what that would cost?" And now we're going to have to deal with people's housing, we're going to have to deal with people's living arrangements. I mean, it just became more than this country was willing to endure.

And even when everyone was convinced that without Opportunity to Learn the massive reform of American education wasn't going to happen, they weren't willing to pay for it. And that's when we turned into, well let's just beat up on the educators, that's more fun anyway.


DENIS DOYLE: Let me suggest that Larry's absolutely right. If the standards movement transmogrifies into standardization, we will have created a Frankenstein's monster without parallel. And the notion of Uncle Sam bludgeoning people into standardized behavior is a terrifying one.

And I think it is informative and instructive -- kind of a cautionary tale when you think back about what's happened politically -- once upon a time people in favor of local control were called Republicans, and now Larry Cuban's very much in favor of local control, I'm pleased to see.

I think in part it is the fact that the Democrats have carried the day politically. That they have in fact won the battle that education is in fact a national issue, will remain a federal government issue and will remain as far as we can see as a federal government issue into the future. And indeed it's the only domestic policy agenda that the Bush administration will persevere with as far as I can tell especially in light of the disaster of September 11. But that is a commentary, an ironical commentary. I guess when Republicans get a Democratic issue they love it to death -


-- and there's great risk there, there's no question about it. Larry, you're right.

BETTY HALE: We had a question here and then you wanted to take that one there and then the gentleman in the middle and then we'll come to the front row? Okay.

QUESTION: Joe makes an interesting if not compelling argument debunking two or three of Larry's myths, although there may be a notable exception to the tenure myth which Larry could have cited in his essay. Long Beach Unified School District Superintendent Carl Cohen holds the longest tenure of any urban school superintendent and he was just recently renewed. And the reason I bring that up is ironically he happens to serve in a district which is a neighborhood where Joe worked and lived in Southern California.

My question goes to the third myth that urban schools alone can improve chances of poor school children. To what extent does the panel agree with that myth and what do they propose to do to help urban schools?

DENIS DOYLE: Well, we have plenty of evidence of urban schools do in fact improve the life chances of children. And I could count and name the schools by name: Lowell in San Francisco -- I guess you're from California; certainly Central High and Philadelphia Girls High in Philadelphia; Boston Latin, Dunbar here -- Floretta just left, I'm sorry to see -- but Floretta was our first superintendent here in our home town who was a Dunbar graduate. Dunbar, as it happened, was ruined by Brown v. Board of Education and the bizarre twist of fate turned into a neighborhood school rather than a district-wide magnet school, but its history is long and glorious. In any case, each of you would have schools similar to that.

I guess in Larry's hometown, Pally and Gunn performed pretty well, and any poor kid lucky enough to get out of East Palo Alto and into Pally or Gunn is going to have his or her life chances significantly improve. It seems to me clearly the case that we are either wasting our time as educators if we don't believe that education will improve life chances, or we actually believe it and we are prepared to deliver on it. And we have lots of evidence around us. Now it's not the case that all kids' life chances are improved, but improving the life chances of some sizable fraction is certainly a worthwhile enterprise.

LARRY CUBAN: Can I respond to that?


LARRY CUBAN: I assume I'm a member of the panel, too?

BETTY HALE: Oh, absolutely.


LARRY CUBAN: All right. Every school that Denis mentioned is basically a selective school. He mentioned two schools in Palo Alto. I do not consider that an urban area, although it's a city of 50,000, but believe me, it's not. But all of those schools he mentioned are selective schools -- Lowell, Boston Latin -- you've got to apply. Those are basically salvage operations. We're talking about the bottom two quartiles of the distribution of academic achievement. Can schools do that alone is the question, not whether we can -- you can get kids who are highly motivated in cities. Of course there are kids like that in every single city. What we're talking about is the bottom quartiles and that is whether schools can do it alone. Certainly there are cities and superintendents who are trying to do that. Carl Cohen in Long Beach is certainly one of those.

But we have to -- we're focused on those two bottom quartiles. That's where that action is and that's where life chances are affected.

BETTY HALE: Stephanie.

STEPHANIE ROBINSON: Yes, the Education Trust produced a report, "Dispelling the Myth", a few years ago, and we're going to do "Son of Dispelling the Myth" in about a week.

BETTY HALE: Or daughter.


STEPHANIE ROBINSON: Or daughter, thank you. "Person of Dispelling the Myth." Anyway, the collection of high-poverty, high-minority schools where students are being educated at or above proficiency levels designed to bolster the argument that they're not the exam schools, not the teachers and principals in schools that are really succeeding with these students. And so this database will be available to the public to interact with and to use as part of this notion that certainly it's easiest to have the support systems. Certainly we want the support systems, but I mean we need to have the existing proof that it can be accomplished irrespective of that.

BETTY HALE: Stephanie, in your report, "Dispelling the Myths", in addition to the things that went on inside the school system, what were the other kinds of supports that you found that were contributory?

STEPHANIE ROBINSON: You know, there were outside supports at a lot of these schools that where students were given extra time. I mean if there's one thing that students and teachers in high-poverty, high-minority schools need it is extra time, and we did -- there were support systems that were in the community that allowed, you know, to have -- students to have extra time.


STEPHANIE ROBINSON: And there were also, you know, the breakfast programs and those and a high parent involvement. But interestingly enough the parent involvement in these schools tended to be around parents understanding the academics and supporting the academics of the school.

BETTY HALE: Now here's how we're going to handle this. We're going to take this question from this gentleman in the rear of the room, we're going to come to the front, and then I've got two, three questions on this side. So, sir?

QUESTION: Good morning. Thank you for your comments on the panel, but I think it's time for us to think on a different pattern and a different avenue of thinking. As a teacher, administrator and now a director of training, it is important for us to understand two things. I have been a teacher in an impoverished area as well as a teacher at one of our stellar schools over in Alexandria -- Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. I have found good teaching at both places, but I have also found places where the teachers -- those people at Thomas Jefferson, those students will learn regardless whether that teacher comes to the class or not.

Those teachers who work in impoverished areas -- you have students who have that zeal to learn also. I think it's time for us to look at what we call taking the teaching profession to another level, to professionalize the profession itself. That brings the level -- it's not about the superintendent, can he do his job, or all the students there -- that happens, that machine will run. It is time for us to take a look at the factors -- can we professionalize this profession so that teachers will come here and get salaries that are actually -- can help them live above the poverty level, at the same time provide them with a think-tank and a clearing house where they can sit and share ideas as other professionals do.

We need to take a look at these impoverished areas [that] are not passing, should I say, the National Board of teaching standards, or how they're not taking that test. That's a nationwide standard put together by teachers who sit and talk about what should happen in classrooms, and I think it's time for us to take a look at that from a very different perspective.

Once you leave the classroom, then you are considered an educational profession -- professional, should I say. But before that when you're out there trying to raise a level of understanding of that student, you're just a grunt worker, and it's time for us to raise it up very, very high. Superintendents and principals cannot run this by themselves.

It's time to look at teacher leadership from a very different perspective, and I would like to ask the panel to comment and say, yes, it's going to cost some money, but when are we going to stop and say, hey, let's put the money where it actually happens. They put together that product -- Tommy that leaves that classroom, Susie that leaves that classroom -- not the individuals who do things, who sit on high, lofty jobs and policy down to us as teachers. When you take a look at them, they're an applied physics teacher here, and myself as an AP biology teacher. We teach all students, and it's time for us to look at the product rather than the process itself.

BETTY HALE: Any comment? Yes, Stephanie's going right on, I think.

STEPHANIE ROBINSON: I would say that I spend a great chunk of my time working with teachers and principals in schools around just those kinds of issues, and professionalizing the profession, you know, so, I'd just say yes.


JOSEPH SCHNEIDER: I'm struck by a comment that Bill Clinton made back when he was governor of Arkansas. He was giving a speech, and he was talking about when he ran for governor, he got elected, he ran for reelection, got beat. He went around the state to find out what he did wrong, because he wanted to run again. And he tells the story about going to the Cracker Barrel in the old gas station, the guys sitting around, the old story Bill Clinton would tell, and the message he got was, you know, "Mr. Governor, you've started paying the teachers too much money."

What Clinton said is he realized that there's a sense in this society about what teachers ought to make, and it's pretty close to what they think policemen ought to make, and what firemen ought to make. The sense is they've got more dangerous jobs and you guys only have to work 9 months of the year; the point being that we in education all think that teachers ought to be paid more. And for heavens sake, that's certainly true, but we've got a real hard struggle to convince the population in general of that. If you look at where we are with teachers' salaries today and where we were a decade ago, we made some pretty good progress. In fact, I work for an administrator association, and we're having a hard time finding principals because, as you know, a lot of them can stay in the classroom and not have to have the stress of being an administrator because the pay isn't that much better. But we've pretty much got a ceiling on what we can pay principals in this country and what people will tolerate for that. So I don't know that we're going to solve our problems with quality teaching by just simply saying we're going to be able to find a way to pay them more money.


DENIS DOYLE: A quick comment. First as to Larry's comment that schools can't do it alone, he's quite right about that. You need social capital, as Jim Coleman said -- and we need to do many, many things in addition to what schools can do. I don't want to leave the impression that schools can do it alone. They're a very important part of the puzzle, but not the only part.

As to teachers, I think that teachers made a very serious wrong turn - both the NEA and the AFT -- in the union model they chose to emphasize, and that -- I have nothing against unions, I worked my way through college as a member of the Hod Carriers Union, I've been a confirmed union member and believer all my life, maybe the only right-wing union supporter in North America, but there you are.

In any case, the issue here, as Tom Mooney would have it -- the head of the AFT in Ohio -- is that the model should have been the medieval arts guilds and crafts, with novices joining him in the masters. In the arcane crafts and trades, secrets are passed down from master to journeyman to novice. So you do, in fact, have differentiated salaries, differentiated responsibilities, and you do, in fact, profess to have a knowledge base which makes you special and unique in some way so that other people can't do what you do. And you have a very active conspiracy and restraint of trade, and you do not as a union permit unqualified people to be brought on to the schools.

The schools could be brought to a halt with a simple strike which would revolve around having unqualified teachers in the classroom. And if I were a union leader, I would argue on behalf of that actively and enthusiastically, but that to my knowledge has never been talked about seriously. It should be.

A couple of other things that could, in fact, be done dramatically and immediately: One would be to ease entry for people who are demonstrated competents, mathematicians, scientists who would otherwise not go through the rigors of teacher training, who could, in fact, be paid more. Even Al Shanker agreed that scarcity deserved higher pay than non-scarce positions. It's a hard sell if you have a kindergarten teacher, if they're in abundance and biology teachers are not abundant, but colleges and universities have done this now for 35 years, and archaeologists don't get paid as much as doctors or lawyers or engineers. It's just a fact of life and it's a market response which schools would be well advised to respond to in a positive way.

BETTY HALE: Looking at the survey yesterday, it appears, Denis, that the only people in universities who make substantially more money than the college president are the head of the medical schools and the college basketball coaches.

Having said that, though, I think that Denis made a comment earlier when he talked about the Teach for America types who then got MBAs who are now working with him, and I think you talked about, Dennis, sort of the psychic rewards that one gets from a career, and I believe you said you used the word -- sort of a "congenial" work environment, and one of the things that the Institute in its report on recognizing and at least trying to understand the teachers' leadership role -- is that there are a number of things that need to go on inside a school building where teachers are in fact seen as the leaders.

I had a quick conversation with a director of staff development in a school district in upstate New York earlier this week, and I think what she was asking me was where can I find on the shelf the model for the new principal leadership? And I tried to talk with her about imagining that she might sit and have a conversation with the principal and the teachers in the school to think about new ways -- my words - to, quote, "run that railroad," where there were some things that the teachers were doing where it was their leadership that was going to make the difference.

I think I heard you also say something about you don't want all of it to come from down, you would like to have an opportunity where teachers are very active and vital part in that.

STEPHANIE ROBINSON: I want to support Denis' comment about changing the entry requirements to the profession, and I think an odd thing is happening in California with the demise of the dot.coms and the teacher shortage. There are people coming into the teaching profession, and because of the shortage, they're having to provide alternative ways in, and these people bring not only content knowledge but a very different orientation to the problem of teaching. They see it as a problem to solve; not as something wrong with the kids, but you know, a problem that can - that they think they can solve. They haven't taught yet.

BETTY HALE: Sort of a can-do mentality.

We have a question on the front row, and then we're coming to this side. Mary, can you see there are three people there. No, I think it's Peggy and then you.

QUESTION: I've been listening to your thoughtful discussion, and I keep -- I guess a sign of the times -- keep thinking about what happened on September 11th, and I guess my questions go a little bit in a different vein, and I'd love your comments on it.

It seems like in addition to the realism and the reality of what has happened, we've kind of entered into a reflective time that could be a positive inducement to a dialogue that we all admit needs to occur, but politically or economically, we haven't really approached because it's been too difficult, but if you see the happy news turning over into people returning to effective journalism and reporting, if you see Republicans and Democrats on the Hill coming together and playing nicely, maybe we have an opportunity here in terms of having a realistic civic dialogue that would, in essence, take the inequities in our cities and what you've pointed out and make it a national discussion, a national responsibility, capture the urgency of that and make a long-term commitment.

So I guess my thought would be -- do you see anyway that coming out of sorrow that we can lead to something positive of what it means to be an American in this country that we all take a responsibility for the disparities?

And then secondly, if that's possible -- what to do about it in -- and I keep thinking about almost a Marshall Plan -- so that we can have the discussions, you know, do we need small schools? How do we engage people in the teaching profession so they can get both psychic and substantive energy, stay, go, work together -- how do our communities really have the national support to bring general governance -- mayors, council people and superintendents -- together to really address the needs of children in a very realistic way. Do you have any thoughts?

DENIS DOYLE: Put the E back in HEW. It was a big mistake to take it out. It was, I think, conceptually a very serious mistake, an error in judgment.

The common thread that knits together the problems of urban schools are, of course, poverty, the illness, disease, lack of language facility, and not just among immigrant youngsters, but poor white and poor black kids with limited language development. Roosevelt's vision of a third of a nation ill-fed, ill-housed and ill-clothed: that third now is urban public school youngsters. And it is clear to me that what we need is some kind of national children's policy to begin to knit all these things together. A school superintendent cannot be all things to all people, man or woman, as good as they may be, as hard as they may work. Again, Peter Drucker's wisdom I think is to be called upon, and that is to say institutions and firms that are successful are those that optimize, not those that maximize. By optimizing, he means doing a few things well and having other people do the things they're good at. By maximizing, he means doing everything for everybody and it never works, it doesn't work in a for-profit firm, and it doesn't work in schools either. And if your energies and enthusiasms are consumed with the collateral problems associated with poverty, illness, and too often with minority status, the ability to run the district seems to me to be impossible.

I spent the day recently with Roy Romer in L.A. and I was struck by the contrast between that day and the days I will spend in places like Beaufort, South Carolina, Reynoldsburg, Ohio or Red Clay, Delaware. They are just night and day. They are entirely different environments.

My sister-in-law, who teaches at another Thomas Jefferson in L.A. City Unified, comes home after a day at work -- what happened today? And she heard shorts ring out and she calls 911 and they say, "Do you have your morning newspaper with you?" She said yes. "Use it -- it's a good way to mop up the blood." She goes outside to the portico, she puts -- makes the kid comfortable -- luckily he lives so it has a happy ending -- and she's expected to go back and finish her day's work. I mean this is just nuts stuff. And teachers and principals and superintendents who are expected to be social workers, probation officers, dieticians, nutritionists, and so on, are people that can't attend to academics, which is what they should be attending to, and someone's got to have the nerve and the initiative and the vision to knit it all together so these youngsters are taken care of so they arrive at school in a way that can be taken care of. And our European counterparts and our Asian counterparts, at least by reputation, approach it that way, and I think it's time for us to do the same thing.

JOSEPH SCHNEIDER: Let me -- I don't ever like to agree with Denis, but I will on this one.


I do think -- and it's surprising in this conversation that we haven't gotten into the whole issue of governance, because in our business we tend to always, with school boards justifiably so.

And I do think we -- I made light earlier of Tom Payzant, who, by everybody's definition, is an outstanding urban superintendent. And one of the reasons I think he's so successful in Boston is that he works for the mayor. And the mayor makes sure that, in fact, someone worries about these kids, where they're housed, and somebody worries about whether these kids are getting the proper support financially, and Tom's job is to worry about getting these kids educated. That makes it very rare.

I think the experiment going on in Detroit, where the governor and the mayor disbanded the board in Detroit and said that the superintendent now works for them, is an interesting experiment and we're all watching that with interest. I mean, there may be ways by energizing cities, as opposed to just districts, to see some fairly major changes in the way we educate urban kids.

BETTY HALE: Stephanie, any response to that -- to Peggy's question?

STEPHANIE ROBINSON: I think the recent events do press for -- or increase the press for the civil dialogue about what education really means. And I think the whole issue -- I think what we saw was partly a result of the increasing gulf of between the haves and have nots and the despair that total degradation and poverty produces and then so --

I don't have an answer to it but certainly the question --

BETTY HALE: It's interesting, Peggy. Some of you will remember in the first national summit in the first Bush administration, our colleague Vern Cunningham gave a presentation in which he said we do not need superintendents of schools we need chancellors of well-being.

I believe that the notion, Peggy, of what you're suggesting, I mean -- and Denis' response is a national children's policy -- the Institute's work in public engagement and how one begins to have conversations at the local and community level -- we discovered that it was impossible to talk about any particular issue in an education -- about the schools until you let the community talk about and reach some kind of agreement on what are the purposes of public education in this community.

And I think that one thing that has been absent -- and our discussion this morning has been -- given the incredible diversity in communities that, particularly in the urban communities -- figuring out the way to find some common ground as a way to then start thinking about all of these issues, I think is important.


QUESTION: Thank you, Betty -- Is this on? Yes.

You led directly into my question. Refocusing the concept of opportunities to learn -- picking up on the concept of the gentleman in the back on the product -- I was struck by the comment Denis made, "the kids know what's going on." And then Larry in one of his recommendations says that we need to focus on -- this is his recommendation number four -- on principles of youth development, seeking broader goals for youth beyond raising test scores.

So to your question, Betty: how do we begin to engage the youth? We keep talking about policy, all the things that are good for them, that need to be for them. They are the product of all of this, but yet we do not give them a voice and an opportunity because oftentimes they do know what's going on, and I think they would have some very valuable recommendations for us. And I have a very defiant second grader who keeps saying, "I want to learn what I want to learn!"

How do we provide those opportunities?

STEPHANIE ROBINSON: Well, I can just talk a little about Youth Think, which is an initiative that the Education Trust is developing, and that is an effort to -- will be involving youth in things like collecting data on what is happening, who's taking what kind of courses? What are the conditions? And helping them to be vocal participants in the reform effort, because they certainly I think -- there was one piece that I think three out of 10 students responded their schools are not rigorous enough on the survey. So they do go and so it's important.

LARRY CUBAN: One response I would have is that because the national debate on education has been so narrowed -- and from my point of view, so parochial and ignoring the historic purposes of public schools -- is that we forget that there are schools in the country, where -- there are small schools, middle size schools, elementary and secondary -- that believe that if you want to improve schools, that you have to have democratic communities in these schools. Now we don't hear about any of that, because that is so asymmetrical to the current debate about public schools. But there are schools that have literally practiced democratic kinds of politics, governance in the school and in the classroom. There aren't many of them. There are more -- there are some in private schools as well as public schools. They exist. Now do their test scores -- how are their test scores, they're fine.

The point is, there are other models of good schools and there always have been. But right now, we've narrowed that focus. As some of you remember, the current -- in reference to Peggy's question, and yours, Wendy -- the current administration program, which is a carryover from the Clinton administration, which is so focused on test scores and testing and accountability and intervention, is intervening in the process of schooling across this diverse country. In fact, September 11th aborted a reading assembly, a national reading assembly in which the administration was going to say certain types of reading instruction are better than other types of reading instruction. You don't get any more prescriptive than that.

The point I'm making is that that's the debate right now. And how do you then talk about these other purposes that are equally as good, that will produce the kind of literacy that everyone wants, also? That kind of debate doesn't exist now.

STEPHANIE ROBINSON: I would argue that there is another debate. I may be the only one in this audience that thinks that some prescription is not bad, that, you know, we can't allow the continuing failure of schools to produce better learning among students. Now, what's the balance there between that? And I know that vignettes are, you know, idiosyncratic, but I was in a -- the Everglades in Florida, in a small school in probably one of the poorest areas in the country. We were working with parents and looking at the Florida State standards and the Florida test. And her comment, after we went through this meeting -- this African American, older woman, grandmother raising her kids said -- and schools in Florida as you know do the F -- grade the schools -- so she said, well, how come this is an F school and we have all these kids on the honor roll? Rhetorical question. I mean, without the tests, without the standards, without those conditions, she never would have known that. That's because we continue to get as, you know, for the work and continue to be duped into thinking that they knew something. So for certain people in this country, and for certain kids, we've got to have those kinds of conditions. So we've got to have a debate upon how to make it work.

QUESTION: My question really was triggered by Stephanie's comment about your successful, high-poverty schools, and I was curious, how many of those schools are high schools? It seems like -- you all have touched on some really interesting areas that I think really impact high schools most: the size issue, the teachers teaching out of field issue. Without a doubt, the highest dropout issues happen in high schools, probably the biggest concerns about career preparation and development of young families and things like that. Yet that's the area that we've seen probably the least federal investment, except for perhaps vocational education, and the least discussion as the focus has been on early readiness, elementary school preparation. I mean, really, so we're looking at high schools sitting on this shaky foundation while everybody is working on the foundation, but I really would like you to speak to secondary education.

[Cross talk and laughter.]

STEPHANIE ROBINSON: Just having come from almost a week and a half of working with high school teachers --

BETTY HALE: We're pleased that you were able to make it.


STEPHANIE ROBINSON: Me, too. In answer to that question: not many. I can't give you an exact number -- the database -- but I will after we search it. But where there are high schools that are performing above standards, they tend to be in places that have accountability systems and assessments. And high school, I think -- we thought that -- some of us thought that, well, if we started off with elementary, that the kids who got more proficient in elementary would push the high schools into better functioning, which we now know is just not the case. And so I think, Glenda, there's a budding awareness, or beginning awareness, that reforms -- you know, that high schools have to be, we have to be -- we have to figure out ways to bring the reform effort into secondary work.

BETTY HALE: But you did say that there's almost a pre-existing condition, which is that the ones that are trying to make some difference are in places where there are standards and accountability systems.

STEPHANIE ROBINSON: That's where they tend to be, in those states -- Texas, Kentucky.

QUESTION: [Inaudible.]

STEPHANIE ROBINSON: Well, yes and no. We did a report on the Texas -- and you know dropouts -- the rates are how you look at it -- but the report that we did indicated that there was a bump and now that it's -- the dropout rate in there generally is not any greater than it was before now. Not saying too much -- too much exactly -- but the cause may not be the reform. So --

BETTY HALE: Okay, we have a question here, and one there, and Ron, I'm going to let you ask the very last question. Okay.

QUESTION: Thank you all for your comments. Speaking of accountability, my question was sort of inspired by something Denis Doyle said about the pervasive dissatisfaction with the way teachers are prepared and teacher education programs. My question is to what extent do we sort of accept this as a reality, and/or hold public institutions that prepare teachers accountable for the teachers they prepare, for teachers -- also for something the gentleman back there remarked on, the professionalization of the profession and teachers who are basically prepared for diverse classrooms, culturally, linguistically diverse classrooms?

DENIS DOYLE: Well, I'll take a crack at it. Next to urban superintendents, we tend to pick on colleges of education more than any other phase of our business.


I do think there's a positive movement, in that I think that we're recognizing more and more that young people -- older people, it doesn't make any difference -- who go through a teacher preparation program that includes a master's degree as part of it and a year internship as part of it, tend to be better teachers. We seem to have some pretty good evidence of that. And they also tend to stay in their occupation -- in the business longer than the others, and that would suggest that we ought to be recruiting people into teaching who were willing to make that kind of commitment to a fifth year and probably provide them scholarships to do so, and in a sense being -- those would be the ones that we'd want to be recruiting into our classrooms, particularly into districts and classrooms where we have the toughest kids to educate.

One thing we do know, from all the literature that's done on promising practices -- going back to Ron Edmond's studies -- is that where you find schools that work in urban districts -- you know the schools that we all point to as the exception to the rule -- you have a core group of qualified teachers who have been together for a while with a very supportive principal -- may or may not be instructional leader but certainly doesn't interfere with good instruction -- provides cover for the teachers who are doing good instruction, and that will work. The difficulty is getting teachers to go into those schools initially and to stay together as a group long enough to turn things around.

We find it -- and again putting on my administrator hat -- we find it very difficult to recruit principals into schools that don't have this core group of good teachers because they know that teachers are turning over -- which they are in most urban districts, particularly the low performing schools -- that you're never going to get a program together because your teachers aren't going to be there with you long enough to make it work. And so the principals will keep turning over.

I mean, in the old days we asked principals to run schools, not to improve instruction in them. Now that the rules have changed, the requirements for improving instruction in these schools is much, much more onerous, and as a consequence the principals can't succeed without good teachers, and they can't get good teachers because traditionally in urban districts, we don't put our best teachers, our most experienced teachers, in those schools.

QUESTION: Okay. Thank you. I'd like to say that many of you, I guess, ideological --

BETTY HALE: Excuse me, would you speak into the mike, please?

QUESTION: Sure. Your ideological, theoretical comments are great for this audience and sometimes flippant comments are great for this audience, but very foreign to urban schools, meaning local schools. And they see this new agenda as not as supportive education of urban schools, but an attack or getting tough on schools, and because of it they feel that, you know, it's exacerbating the academic gap, and because of it I think the resource that they're speaking of, or the asset, is time. While they would agree with many of the issues of urban schools, they don't have enough time to implement and to show results or evidence.

And I would say for Mr. Cuban's recommendations, they are great recommendations, but they're broadsweep and I know Mrs. Robinson mentioned several areas -- it would be instruction, standards and curriculum. Although you need substrategies and based on your comments those are some of the ways that you can start to build substrategies, but the missing piece is the local school. How do they track the strategies in order to reform? They're in reform scramble and they want to do a great job. You know, they have students who are willing to learn and educators or instructors who are ready to go to bat for these kids, and leaders who, though maybe ill-trained, are willing to take the training, but they need the time. And even the federal government -- we put a -- we put a timetable there, but you have to give us results and X amount of years which is one, two or three, in terms of funding. But schools are very aware that it takes three, five, 10, 20 years to reform.

So how are we going to start to bridge that catastrophic gap in terms of time in order to see group reforms take place?

JOSEPH SCHNEIDER: Well, I mean the obvious answer is find the time. I mean, we've got so many models of how not to do it, you'd think we'd learn. I mean, you look at what Gerry House did in Memphis, I mean, there's a classic example. It should be taught in every graduate course in education. She went into Memphis and, to most people's way of thinking, did a fairly remarkable job of implementing massive reform, school by school, a lot of support in the community, et cetera, et cetera.

A year after she left a new superintendent came in and threw everything out that she'd put in. Everything. Every reform initiative. He just said there was not enough evidence that it was working and tossed it. Well, you know - [cross talk and laughter.]

What a criminal way to treat people, professional educators who work to implement reform, a community that supported it and just say, well, we don't know if it's working so we're going to get rid of everything. And you see that done at the school building level when you get new principals, you see it done at district levels with new superintendents, and the sense is you've got to be doing something to look like you're progressive, and something generally means whatever the guy, person before me was doing obviously needs to be changed.

DENIS DOYLE: You have that time, you're absolutely on target. I served on the National Commission on Time and Learning, and if you haven't seen the report, "Prisoners of Time," I commend it to you. But we made a very simple argument that for 150 years we've held time constant, let learning vary, and now in the future we have to make everybody hew to high standards of accomplishment and time becomes a flexible variable to achieve those, both for teachers and for students.

STEPHANIE ROBINSON: I, too -- I think that is real important we -- high schools were doing an inventory of exactly how much time a high school has -- high school teacher, and this one particular school did a study and they found out they had 16 eight-hour instructional days during the whole year, for four subjects. So that's about 64 hours of instructional time out of the whole year. So we really have to do more about looking at how we use time and extending time.


LARRY CUBAN: I'm struck by -- I haven't been in Washington for a while. So the last time that I really engaged in policy discussions with Washington folks was about four or five years ago and then before that it was another four or five. So, I'm so -- it's just something to hear these arguments keep coming back over and over again. And what I'm curious about, in reference to your point about time, is that what shapes time use in school is the age-graded school, which was adopted in the middle of the nineteenth century as an efficiency mechanism to make access to public schools better. So what you have is that you have one -- as opposed to the one-room schoolhouse which it replaced. This is mid nineteenth century, it was imported from Prussia, the age-graded school. Well, no one has raised a question about the age-graded school, which is the unspoken and assumed way of organizing schools in the current way that we are prescribing reform now in this country -- not we, the current administration. The age-graded school says you cut up the curriculum into pieces that are covered in 30-36 weeks by every kid, and the teacher is expected to cover that. If the kid does not demonstrate some kind of learning at the end of that period of time, they are retained. Now the age-graded school is elementary and secondary, someone raised about secondary school.

Well, who in this country talks about -- and Denis talked about that time, that commission -- who talks about saying, well, maybe we ought to rethink the age-graded school, as has been done historically at a particular point, and saying that the chief variable is not that you have to have it, learn it in a certain amount of time. Take as much time as you could, but learn it. Well, that's a very simple idea. Psychologists have pointed out that we have variability in learning all the time. But, no one questions the age-graded school because it has worked for most Americans, but not all.

BETTY HALE: It's Ron Anson's turn to ask the absolute last question, and we will close up as scheduled by 11 a.m.


RON ANSON: Well, my last question keeps on changing.


You're not in the hamburger business. You're in the training business. You've got to change the whole model of what this company is about. Now, in the same sense, the thing that you just said, Larry, brought to mind a sense that we all talk about education as though we're in the hamburger business, but we're in a lot of other businesses. There are a lot of other things that go on, and it seems that one of the things we have to do is to find the political will to look more realistically at what schools are doing because if you prepare an agenda to help the school meet a certain set of standards or whatever, but it has nothing to do with what goes on in that school and what that school's about and what the community is about, so the agenda is, I mean, it's just something from another planet as far as they're concerned. We're not doing them any good.

So, my question I guess is, how do we begin to generate the sort of political will and consensus to look at the variability in schools so that we can begin to design the kinds of -- I would call them resources, I would call them smart resources, not just money. I mean, Joe, I know you don't want just money. Money is great, but you know, you throw money in there and that doesn't mean anything in itself. How do you design smart resources so you get quality resources addressed to the real problems that exist in a school?

Now, I remember talking with Tony Alvarado up in District Two. We had some people doing some work up there, and he kind of muddled through to figure out what to do out there, and at one point he noticed a lot of his schools, they just weren't making the grade.

He said, "You know what I've got to do? I've got to take money that I was giving to schools that are just whirring along fine, they don't even need me here, and I've got to send it over there." And that's the problem, on a larger scale, when you get to a district or a state or even national -- that's the Title I problem, in a sense. How do you generate the political will so that we, in this country -- both nationally, but at the district level and at the community level -- can focus the resources intelligently to what the real problems are? Because right now it isn't there.

BETTY HALE: Okay, I'm going to ask the panelists to answer Ron's question, and each of you, sort of, say a word and also use that as your final thoughts for the morning.

Smart money, how do you find it and how do you get it targeted where it needs to be targeted?

JOSEPH SCHNEIDER: I don't know the answer to the question, but I do think I've got somebody I can reference who I think does, and that's the superintendent in Montgomery County.

If Weast can pull off what he's trying to do in Montgomery County, it could very easily become a model for the rest of the country. If you follow the Washington Post, which is my only experience with Montgomery County, what Weiss is trying to do is get the money where the needs are, which is very courageous in Montgomery County because they've tended to have south of beltway SOB schools and then the top of the county schools, and ran them pretty separately. I think he -- against some fairly formidable political odds -- is trying to turn around the way they treat all their schools. He might be able to pull it off.

DENIS DOYLE: I certainly hope so, I'm an alumnus of the Montgomery County schools and live in Montgomery Country so I hope for the best to be sure, personally as well as professionally, but there is a very great danger in the scheme of this kind; that is if you penalize the wealth, the ones that are doing well, and reward those that are doing poorly, you have an absolute formula for disaster over the long haul. There's got to be some way to, I think, through standards that are carefully enough calibrated to make sense, there's sufficient specificity to be measurable, sufficiently general to not only permit, but to encourage variability, but you may have the possibility of linking resources and performance in a way that will actually encourage high performance and not discourage high performers and not reward low performers.

BETTY HALE: Stephanie?

STEPHANIE ROBINSON: That's a tough question, but nothing succeeds like success. Steve Adamowski in Cincinnati had a real tough time passing a millage until the schools showed some degree of progress, until he was making progress. He had been working in the community, so I think one of the things - it's not just all - but one of the things is identifying for the public that, in fact, if they spend the money, we'll get some results. I think that will help create the wealth. The polls say that people are willing to spend money for education, but I do think it's incumbent on the education profession to take responsibility for results and accountability for that.

One of the things we haven't talked about and underlying the substance in all this, is that the suburban schools are doing just fine. I would argue that if you desegregate the data in many of those schools that are doing fine, the data mask some achievement gaps that we need to take care of and that until we can say that all schools, suburban and urban, are educating all kids to high levels, that we can't claim success.


LARRY CUBAN: Just two responses to Ron's question.

One is that there is no common definition of what the real problems are. This panel up here would vary greatly in saying what are the problems of urban schools: too much bureaucracy, mismanagement, not applying business principles, lack of resources, unqualified -- there's no common denominator for defining what the problems are, which is an issue all the time in education. So getting consensus about agreement around that -- right now we have had, for the last 25 years, basic agreement that the problem of urban -- of American public schools is bureaucracy, mismanagement, and a sound application of business principles will cure that. Well, we haven't seen those kinds of cures from my point of view, so no common definition.

The second is leadership, the theme of the IEL briefs over the past year, and that there is district leadership, and there is school leadership that sets certain kinds of examples that I think are -- could be imitated and applied to different settings. San Diego with Alan Bersin and Tony Alvarado, Boston with Tom Payzant and working with Tom Menino, I think it is, working with the mayor, different forms of governance, different kids of leaders adapting this kind of standards-plus to these kinds of districts strikes me as answering the question in the affirmative that one person can do this kind of job, and that with a sharp focus on teaching and learning, it could occur.

BETTY HALE: Thank you.

I want to do two things. First I want to thank the panelists for taking time and coming this morning and helping us begin to engage in a discussion. The role of the Institute's work on school leadership for the 21st century in its first stage was to do just that. We knew from the outset that we wouldn't come up with the answers, but we thought that by providing an opportunity for people to have some focused and guided discussions, that we might find ourselves sort of moving the issue forward.

I want to thank first the people of the organizations that made it possible for the Institute to do this work. The Office of Educational Research and Improvement at the U.S. Department of Education gave the initial grant that sort of got us started on this work; the Ford Foundation, the UPS Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the MetLife Foundation.

I also want to thank the IEL staff members who are here this morning, who also played a significant role in making this happen. Mary Podmostko, who is Project Associate - Mary, do you want to raise your hand so people can see you? Jerry Medrano who has just joined us at IEL. We're delighted to have him. Jerry is not trained as a teacher. I think his background is in the arts, so we're delighted to have him with us. Denise Slaughter, who is the director of communications at IEL, and Sheri Jobe, who is ID Associate working with me.

I want to also make one final, final comment. I think that as we have talked about the role of the leader today, that one of the things to think about is what Larry Cuban had suggested, which is three kinds of leadership: the political leadership, the instructional leadership and the organizational or the management work that needs to be done.

I would draw our attention to the Anne E. Casey Foundation's work. They are doing a huge initiative called Neighborhood Transformation and Family Development, and they are going to be working in 22 urban communities across the country trying to, I believe, test the proposition, Larry, that says that the schools can't do it alone and that you have to have strong families and strong economic sustenance to be able to have a community that then can work to try to strengthen and get the schools to work.

Jay Matthews from the Washington Post was supposed to be with us this morning, and he called yesterday to say he just, what you might imagined, he had been called, pulled away to do another story. I think Denis has suggested that education is a huge domestic policy agenda and we know that the role of the media is very important in telling the story. Thank you again, we hope to use the media to help tell this story.

We stand adjourned.