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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 29, 2015 2:00am-4:01am EDT

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you end up cutting the nhs. you end up cutting even more deeply policing budget. those are the truths. when is he going to stop his denial, get off the fence and tell us what he will do? [shouting] >> mr. speaker, -- >> order. a moment ago i said the answers must be heard. the questions need to be heard. he will ask his question. it will be heard. if it takes longer, so be it. jeremy corbyn. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i five times asked the prime minister today whether or not they have all been worse off if they receive working tax credits next april. he still has not been able to
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answer me or indeed many others. can i put you in a question i was sent by -- [shouting] >> mr. speaker, at may be very amusing to members opposite, but -- [shouting] >> i was sent this question by karen, and she, i quote, what is the prime minister punishing working families? i work full-time and earns a living wage within the public sector. that tax credit cuts will push me and my family into hardship. can he give a cast-iron guarantee, to karen come and to all the other families who are very worried what is going to happen next april to the income, how are they going to make ends meet? he could give them the after today. i hope you will. i ask them for the sixth time,
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please give us an answer to a very straightforward, very simple question. >> what i would say to karen is this. if she is on the living wage working in the public sector, next year in april she will benefit from been able to earn 11,000 pounds before she pays any income tax at all. it was about 6000 pounds when i became prime minister. if she is sure she will benefit from 30 hours of childcare every week. that is something that has happened under this government. but above all she will benefit because with a growing economy, because we have zero inflation, because with 2 million more people in work, because we had to drink 3 billion apprentices in this parliament and that is the fact. the reason the labour party lost the last election is ever completely un-trusted on the deficit come on debt, and on a stable economy. and sense of in the deficit
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deniers have taken over the labour party. that is what happened when you look at their plans, borrowing forever, printing money, hiking up taxes come it is working people like karen that would pay the price. [shouting] >> david morris. >> thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, in my constituency unemployment has fallen by 30% since 2010. this government has delivered the link road after six years which will create even more jobs in my area when it is completed. does my friend the prime minister agreed that the conservatives are ensuring that it is back open for business the? >> i well remember visiting my honorable friend's constituency a look at the road works that were being put in place a going to open up the port, that will help would bring for new nuclear power station and all the steps he wants to see. i can tell in the long-term use claimant count in his constituency has fallen by 30% in the last year.
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those are all young people not able to work, able to benefit from our growing economy. >> sir angus robertson. >> we associate ourselves with the condolences of our been expressed by the prime minister and leader of the opposite. last week i asked about the tragic circumstances of a man from north london to a disabled man who took his own life after an assessment by the department of work and pensions. we know 60 investigations have taken place into suicides following the cancellation of benefits, but the findings have been published. the prime minister said to me last week that he would look very carefully at the specific question about publication. will the prime minister confirm windows findings will be published? >> i will write to him about this but my memory for looking into his question afterwards is the are very good reasons why we can't publish this specific report that he talks about because it has, it has personal
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and medical data in it which would not be appropriate for publication. if i've got that wrong on the right to them but that is my clear memory of looking this question after last week. >> thank you very much. will a man in the west midlands was 53 when he took his life. the corner wrote a major factor in his death was a statement had greatly reduce leaving almost destitute. his sister said it's a double of a deal for going to be affected the worst. the dwp need to publish these reviews. the prime minister says that he is concerned by the views of the families involved. the families say the findings should be published. will be published the findings? 3 million pounds are going to have their child tax credits cancel. we need the answer to these questions. >> first of all let me just correct him on his last point. under the proposals we put forward, those people on the
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lowest levels as they were protected because of the national living wage and those people on the lowest incomes were protected because we were protecting the basic award of the child tax credit at 2780 pounds. i think the other part of the question is the bit i've already answered which is my understanding but i will send him about if i've got it wrong come is there were too many personal and medical details for that to be published. i think that is an important consideration in whether deciding whether to publish something. >> thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i'd like to ask the prime minister about ruby your ruby is one of my youngest constituents, she is just one month old. why should ruby face the prospect of spending her entire working life paying off the debt that's been built up by visit generation? >> i think ruby is absolutely right to care about ruby when we became the government, one in four pounds spent by the
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government was borrowed money. we had one of the biggest budget deficits anywhere in the world, and it's always easier for people to say put off the difficult decisions, don't make any spending reductions. but what they're doing is burdening future generations with debt. what i would take to the labour front bench, that is not generosity. that is selfishness. >> will thank you, mr. speaker. >> thank you, mr. speaker. [shouting] >> i think the honorable lady must have misheard. innocent. mrs. sharon hutchins center. >> we all know about prime minister is open promise on tax credits but will the final nail in the coffin of compassionate conservatism be hammered home if you were to scrap universal infantry school meals in the review, taking hot healthy meals out of the mouth of innocent, blameless infant children? will be guaranteed now not to scrap the universal infant
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preschool meals -- [shouting] >> i'm immensely proud that it was a government i lead that introduced this policy. [shouting] thirteen years, 13 years of labour government. did they ever do that? >> no speed and do we remember the infant new builds on the labour party? i'm proud of what we have done and we will be keeping at. [shouting] >> stephen phillips. >> thank you very much, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, my right honorable friend has demonstrated considerable leadership enjoyed a britain is the second largest donor of bilateral aid in series you. but there is another crisis going on which the world has largely forgotten about. in yemen there is an ongoing war. 1.4 many people have been forced to flee their homes, 3 billion faced starvation, half a million
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children are ever some life-threatening malnutrition malnutrition under president of the international red cross has said in yemen after five months we are in the same position as we are in serious after five years. please, can we do more? >> my honorable friend is right to raise this and we have been involved in trying to help in this situation right from the start as in syria we are a major contributor in terms of humanitarian aid. we've made clear all of yemeni party should engage without preconditions and in good faith in piece talks to allow yemen to move towards a sustainable piece and that needs to be a piece based on the fact that all people in yemen need proper representation by their government. to our similarities with syria which is on a government on behalf of one part of the country is never going to be a sustainable solution. >> cristy blackmon. >> mr. speaker, how dare anyone in this house are in a 74 a year till families that their combined income of 25,000 pounds
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is too much affinity give it some of the back to bounce the economy? >> try to do the prime minister refused to put this in his manifesto because he knew he wouldn't be a lack of? >> let me remind the honorable lady about the situation we inherited. when i became prime minister nine out of 10 families were getting tax credits including members of parliament. that is a crazy this is a we inherited. we reduce that during the last parliament, pose that is of course by labour and the snp to 610 families. our proposals would take it down to five out of 10 families but these are not proposals on their own. they are accompanied by national living wage for the first time. they are accompanied by allowing people to earn 11,000 pounds before paying tax for the first time. those sorts of measures while the short family that she talks about. michel donovan.
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>> the prime minister spoke movingly at conference at the plight of young people. can't be answered, what with the government actually did improve the life chances of these young disadvantaged children and give them opportunities as they move forward in their lives? >> i think but are open for her question for the most important think we can do is to speed up the adoption system so that more children get a copy at what we've seen since i've been partnership is an increase in adoptions but then because of what one or two judgments it's slipped backwards a bit and we did work very hard to make sure more children get up out of. up for those who can't be adopted we need to make sure or residential homes are doing the best possible job they can't and that is why today i can as i passed the former chief executive who is an excellent public servant who worked with wins at the home office to conduct an independent review of children's residential care, reporting to the education secretary and myself so we can
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take every possible step to give these children the best start in life. >> thank you, mr. speaker. redundant steelworkers such as those in wrexham pay national insurance contributions and play by the rules. why then is this government limiting mortgage interest support for them in the future and making them pay twice, once for national insurance and wants to paying back a loan? is a that type of action and a responsible government like is should not be pursuing, and isn't it an example of compassionate conservatism dying? >> actually what he refers to as a temporary recession measure on mortgage payments that was continued for five years, but he does give me the opportunity to say as i promised i would last night to update the house on what we're doing to help this evening and she which i know is
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important as constituency. and on energy costs i can announce today we will refund the energy intensive industries for the full amount of the policy cost they face as soon as we get the state is a judgment from's -- brussels. payment will be making elite and that payment will be made throughout this parliament. far more generous than what is been proposed by the party office at. [shouting] >> mr. grimm abends. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i've had hundreds of e-mails from constituents regarding the northern powerhouse and i have just chosen one. john e-mailed me to tell me -- [shouting] -- cannot listen to leader of the opposition with his strategy of higher spending, higher barbara, more debt, but instead to stick your long-term economic plan for higher wage, lower welfare, low tax society. does the prime minister agree with john?
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>> i do agree. john estimates and more sense in his e-mail and the leader of the opposition did in at least six questions to the point i would make is not only have we seen an economy that is growing, 2 million more people in work, inflation that is low so living standards are rising but we can see their art 680,000 fewer workers households and 480,000 fewer children and workers -- workers households. if you want to measure the real difference, think of those children, think of those households and think of the dignity of work. >> mr. speaker, last weekend was the first anniversary of the death from cervical cancer of my constituent age 23 put in june 2013 should been concerned enough to ask for an early test but she was refused because she was under 20 --
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[inaudible] her family have written an open letter to the prime minister. can i ask you not to offer here a reflex repeat of the rationale for current screening age policy, but to reflect on the questions raised about how this translates into refusing smear tests the young women? and to consider the age-related data since the screening age was increased in 20 -- 2004 speak with he raises a tragic case and our thoughts go to her family and her friends. he raises an important case because of course the uk national screening committee said the age at 25 to understand is the reason for that is not a resources based decision to it's because of the potential perverse medical consequences of carrying out screening routinely below that age that would be a number potential false positives because of actually anatomical changes that go on at that age. it's not a resource decision. what has he says it is worth
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looking at those people who fear they have a family history and ask for a test and i will write to on that specific issue. >> thank you, mr. speaker. yesterday the eu said we can no longer have dealt with on the internet to protect our children from indecent images. i want to know what the prime minister is going to do to make sure that our children remain protected. >> like her i think it is absolutely vital important we enable parents to have that protection for their children from this that you on the internet. probably like i a wonder bread y get e-mail this morning i splattered on my complex because we worked hard to put in place these filters. but i can reassure her, i can reassure her because we actually security and opt out yesterday so we can keep our family-friendly filters to protect children. and i can tell the house that we will legislate to put out agreement with internet companies on this issue into the
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law of the land so that our children will be protected. >> mr. speaker, could associate myself with the prime minister's earlier remarks about the late michael meacher who is a decent man, they could constituent mp and an extreme effective environment secretary. yesterday i visited the refugee camps, and there i met families that were inspirational and desperate. alongside with the british charity workers that i found, i am frankly ashamed we will not offer to help a single one of those refugee families. may i ask this question, with the agreed with save the children that we take as a country 3000 vulnerable unaccompanied children in europe some of whom are as young as six? lasslast the last.
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.. confirm to our partners and the british people that no option is off the table or british options will be considered including the option of a relationship such as that of norway if it is negativable and in our --
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negotiable. >> no options are off the table. if they don't get what we need in our renegotiation i rule absolutely nothing out. but it is important we have the debate in this nation we're firm about the fact as figures. some are arguing britain to leave the european union. not all people, some people particularly pointed to position of norway saying saying that isd outcome. i would guide very against that. norway pays as much per head to the e.u. as we do. they take as twice as many migrants as we do in this country. they have no seat at table, no ability to negotiate. i'm not arguing that all those who want to leave the e.u. say they want to borrow the norwegian path but some do. very important in the debate we're absolutely clear about the consequences of these
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consequences. >> join me in congratulating myself tone-year-old constituent jesse mcabe on 3800 name petition first time ever to accept women composers on the syllabus. will you tell us is a -- [inaudible] >> if feminism means we should treat people equally, yes absolutely. absolutely. i'm proud of the fact that i have got sitting around the cabinet table, a third of women sitting around cabinet table and something we promised and something we delivered. but can i congratulate her above all, can i congratulate her for her achievement in terms of this e-petition and constituents and her have done a good job. >> mr. turner. >> sir, the nhs england, nhs
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england knows that the aisle the white commission group is outlyer in relation to the outpatient partners. can my right honourable friend confirm that progress is being made to identify factors affecting the island? will we benefit from amendments to the new ccg formula. >> what i can say to my honourable friend it is right that decisions on allocations are made independent of ghost and not by government. so that is how the formula is reached. i can also tell them that there is an independent review of the funding formula underway we expect to see its recommendations later this year but these things should be done in a fair and transparent way. >> mary cray. >> mr. speaker, remember meeting my constituent neil shepherd and sharon wood nine years ago this week. they took their two children,
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christie age seven, and bobby age six on holiday. the children tragically died of carb carb poison -- carbon monoxide poisoning. they wish that other people not suffer the tragedy they endured. in the european parliament on recommendation that the commission bring forward on legislation to improve carbon monoxide safety and fire safety for tourism premises in the e.u. can i ask the prime minister that his mep support it and if this false would he look to insit gait legislation nationally in this country? >> i remember the meeting we had and great bravery of irparent in that terrible loss to campaign that others didn't lose children the way they had. as for legislation in country, we do have strict legislation on particular things about fire
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resistant materials but i will look after that too. >> question 14, closed question. >> 14, sir. prime minister, set out a ambitious long-term plan for the midlands, future engine of growth for the whole of u.k. across bost we're working with business leaders and local authorities to progress this ambition. >> michael fabrika. >> i thank the right honourable friend for his answer. the northern powerhouse will help millions but the west midlands is the only region in the u.k. which has a trade balance surplus with china and greater birm birmingham, has greatest private sector job creation in the u.k. since 2010. will the prime minister now insure in the national interest that the west midlands secures the best evolution deal possible? >> prime minister. >> huge potential here to secure massive devolution to the west
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midlands. everyone in in the midlands they will be left out of northern powerhouse. west midlands is perfect place to benefit and success and growth of london and of course rebalancing of our economy towards the north of england. in terms of the west midlands we look forward to, the west midlands combined authority coming forward with its plan. what i say to all of these areas, contemplating devolution and devolution deals the more you put on table. bolder you can be with your vision, the bolder the response you will get from government. >> mr. speaker, can i tell the prime minister and the chancellor strong support of all party, left, business, local authorities right across the west midlands for properly funded significant devo solution field to get the brownfield sites redeveloped, to tackle congestion so we can transform the west midlands with more jobs, better skills, quicker transport and new homes?
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>> i'm very glad to hear from the honourable gentleman what there is opportunity in the west midlands to work across parties to get the best deal across all these authorities. as i said the more we get the local authorities to come together and work together and put their ambition and vision on the table, the even the better response they will get from the government. >> simon burns. [shouting] >> does my right honourable friend agree with me that bullying in the work place is reprehensible? can he tell me whether the government is planning any review of the legislation with a view to extending it to this chamber? >> prime minister. >> given that my honourable friend called for prime minister questions at 12:38, i would have thought any hint of bullying was clearly over in this house. in any conceivable way he suffers no disadvantage.
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i must admit, bullying in the work place is problem. i think we need to make sure it is stamped out and dealt with wherever it occurs that should ap >> you can join the conversation with facebook and twitter. hearing, a confirmation for thomas shannon to be under secretary of state for political affairs. we are alive with the senate foreign relations committee at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span3. >> it is a very touching
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business, being the son or daughter of a dictator. he would not wish this kind of life for most people. it is a collection of interesting and lurid stories. there are points about tyranny, son ship or daughter ship, about nature or nurture, about politics, even about democracy. the bs sunday night, ook "children of monsters." this looks at the children of dictators. i was able to talk to knowledgeable people. a could not talk to any family members, which was usually the case. there are only some of the around to talk to and only so many willing to say what they know, or to diebold their feelings or experiences at all. i was digging around for any scrap that i could.
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these of sons and daughters, most of them, some of them are famous, some of them become dictators. footnoteshem are put i and you have to dig to find out about them. an'sunday night on csp "q&a." this week on c-span's "landmark cases," we will discuss the case of schenck versus the united states. we entered world war i, patriotism was high, and some criticism of the government were federal offenses. leaflets were mailed out against the draft. >> this was a flyer produced by charles shank in 1917.
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15,000 copies of this per produced and the point was, to encourage men not to register for the draft. it calls on every citizen of the united states to resist the conscription laws. >> he was arrested and found guilty under the newly written espionage act. the case went to the supreme court. find out how the court ruled, weighing the issues of clear and present danger and freedom of speech. our guests include thomas goldstein and beverly gage. that is coming up on the next "landmark cases." c-span, c-span3, and c-span radio. for background on every case, order your "landmark cases" book.
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>> the white house has announced plans to limit the number of exams required i the no child left behind law. uncantion secretary arne d talked about the effectiveness of standardized testing. long.s one hour >> we have been asked to meet with the president at 11:00. we will end here early so we can meet with them they are. around take questions
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10:30. i apologize for that. >> i want to thank the team that produced this report that we are here about today. please?u stand [applause] thank you so much. morning to talk about a new report called and america'sng great schools."
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this council study was initiated our board of by directors. this is comprised of the superintendent and one school board member from each city. in a discussion they had when they met in albuquerque and 2013, my board realized that aankly, we did not know as urban school coalition, how much testing we were doing. nor did we have a good sense of the testing policies and practices in place from district to district. our board charged us with taking inventory of the tests inministered the 2014-2015 school year as well as reviewing how these tests were being used in reporting the results of our inventory, much of what they said. we were not interested here and
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saying who was right, who was wrong and the public debate about testing. we were interested in informing the public conversation with some actual evidence about the extent of testing in our schools and proposing some next steps. finally, you should know that no one paid us to do this study. it was all done in-house with our own and staff and it was released as soon as we had finished it. there is more data in this report then we can possibly describe this morning. we generally concluded three overarching things. one, everybody has had a hand in what our current testing system looks like. this situation was not created by just one entity. alot of people have played role. a lot of people have pointed fingers at one another. we have concluded that they were all correct. two, because so many people have been involved, our system of
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assessing students, which is really not a system at all, is disjointed, incoherent, and redundant. it generally lax any strategy or theory of action behind how it is defined or how it operates. and three, there are a lot of tests. it is hard to know how many tests are too many. it would be difficult for anyone to conclude from the results that we are releasing over the weekend and today that what we have here is not too many tests. not toothe tests are frequently given. in general, we found the average student will be required to take tests112 standardized between pre-k and high school graduation. this amounts to about eight standardized tests per year. differentests in subjects like reading and math as two separate test.
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we count multiple administrations of the tests as separate tests as well. there were over 400 test titles 66minister across the districts, not counting special education mik diagnostic tests. students across the school systems sat for testing over 6700 times in the 2014 school year, the focus of this review. the time devoted to taking the mandatory testing constituted 2.3% of the school grade eight. at this time, we only included the time devoted to these mandatory testing that every school would take. this did not include optional testing. it did not include time for test
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prep, time to prepare for a test administration or scoring, and it did not include time spent on tests that were purchased or developed at the school level. we did not count these tests because not everybody takes them. adding them to the time of testing that everybody is given seemed to us to be just adding apples and oranges. we only counted one type of test in our calculation. one should also keep in mind that many of these tests are given in a three-month span during the second semester of any school year. that period often feels like a very long period of continuous testing. we divided the tests into three broad categories. and a tory test -- mandatory tests given to every child. optional tests.
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we divided mandatory tests into five subcategories. including college and career ready exams given by the state. two, and of course exams typically given at the secondary grade level. that is such as test in american history or chemistry. three, formative exams given periodically throughout the school year to assess progress. some of these were required by the state and some by the district. some were commercial and somewhere homegrown. four, student learning objectives previously given in untested grades and subjects provided the business for evaluating staff. five, other mandated assessments . are when those tests required for all students in a particular grade. all of our districts administer
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congressionally mandated exams that will take between six and nine hours aps. 71% administer and of course test in one or more subjects consuming hours per grade. 60% administer formative exams three times a gear that will take between seven and 11 hours per year in the districts that give them. about 38% also administer student learning objectives that take between five and 11 hours in each grade. nearly all of the districts will give other mandatory tests that consume an average of three and nine hours. many in the same subjects to the same students in the same grade. our second big category involved testing administered only two samples of students. although they were sometimes required, like the national
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assessment of educational progress. the category also includes optional tests at the ect and thlike the act and sat. the category also included tests associated with precipitation like ap or career and technical courses. assessmentsthese can take another five hours or so. some program tests, particularly career and technical education, can take longer. the final category included special population assessments. we included english language proficiency tests and various diagnostic tests for those with disabilities. in addition to the overarching conclusions i mentioned earlier tests didd the
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not align with one another or with any particular standard. correlateme did not with student reading or math achievement. third, there was considerable redundancy in the testing and i am sure we will talk about that on the panel. used some tests are not for the purposes which they are designed. not, test results are always used to inform or improve instruction. six, the technical quality is suspect. in addition, districts often receive their summative results too late to use them for instructional purposes. parents obviously, don't always like tests, but they do want to know how their children are doing and whether or not they are on track. in general, we think that these and other findings that this report is full of should give the nation pause. we made a number of preliminary
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recommendations and we have listed steps that many cities are taking to reduce testing. you will hear more about what miami and north carolina are doing this morning. we got word last night that the boston public schools will be by half aseir tests a result of this study. we are pleased to announce that the council of the great city schools will form a commission practitioners, teachers, and parents. we will do this in conjunction with our partners in the council. will charge this commission was developing proposals and models with how we can make our testing system more strategic, thoughtful, and coherent. i will be happy to answer your questions during the panel discussion, but i want to introduce our secretary of education, arne duncan. arne? [applause] arne: thank you so much.
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i will be quick. mike and his team. i don't know what the equivalent of an enemy or a pulitzer in test understanding would be. i want to mike about two years ago and said we don't know what is out there. when we do it at the federal level it becomes more of a requirement. as usual, mike was ahead of me. yearserally took two and that speaks to the complexity of the issue. this is why i think all of us in struggled with this for a long time. we were taking the illinois state test. we were taking the iowa state test, which i thought made less sense. we lived in illinois, not iowa. we stopped taking the iowa test
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and try to get to a place that made sense. team believes in is the goal of high standards is important. the low standards many states adopted have had devastating impacts on young people. particularly, disadvantaged communities that are told they are on track to be successful. they are not even close. we believe in high-quality assessments. mike spoke about that. we believe in accountability. we have to talk about achievement cap's. we have to look at the students not served well. we are to know who is making progress and why and who is not. what we don't believe in are unnecessary or low-quality, or redundant, assessments. that does not help anyone. with his leadership, the chief -- these ares
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organizations that fight for kids every single day. helping to leave the nation where we need to go. their leadership and partnership has been important. i think we all have to look in the mirror and say, what have we done to contribute? collectively is more important to get us to a better spot. a lot of focus has been put on the amount of testing. that is a very important question to have an think about. we're making recommendations in terms of the amount of time. that is something better determined at the local level, rather than by us. theircommendation of actually came from what john king did in new york. what is important for all of us
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to think about is, how do we get to more coherent assessments that drive instruction? strong assessments actually help promote instruction. parents actually wants to know where their children are. they want to help their children get better. if it doesn't make sense, if it is month after month, it is not helping to drive instruction. and timenk about time, is one part of this conversation, the other part is a coherent strategy where good assessments lead to better instruction. the goal of every great teacher is not to teach. the goal is to have children learn. how we assess their learning, how we assess their strengths we empowerses, how students themselves, along with parents and teachers to know what the child's strengths and weaknesses are, and how they can do better and help them improve, that is where we need to get to.
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we want to be a better partner at the federal level. we have tried to lay out a road map with suggestions we think will be helpful. listen to mike and his things and chris and his thing and figure out how we get this to a more rational place. it is a very important conversation to have. we will not solve little today, but we have to open this topic up. on an ongoing basis, we should be looking at this. we should not look at who is reducing test. if you are reducing the amount of time, but it is still incoherent, that is a good sound bite, but it does not get you where you want to go. if what you are doing is leading to better learning, that is powerful. start of something that i think is very important. i want to thank mike and his
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team for his extraordinary work and i want to thank chris for his work as well. to begin our panel discussion this morning, i want to introduce our moderator, caroline, the executive director of the education writers association. caroline: i am so honored to be here today. it has been a whirlwind. my members have been very busy, burning the midnight oil. for those of you who do not know. nationale professional organization. all of these folks have been keeping them very busy. we have a really great panel. chris from the executive director of the council of chief state school officers. ,e also have deputy secretary who will be taking over for secretary duncan at the end of
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the year. we have dr. june atkinson from north carolina. she is a leader among state chiefs. she was just named president of the council. octor, namedker superintendent of the year. he is very active on the issue of assessments. we have a lot to people who are knowledgeable about this topic. i am delighted to jump in. you,rst question is for deputy secretary king. have allweekend, as we heard, the administration a knology that it bore some responsibility for over testing of students. the presidentced has directed the education department to review the administration's role in this and how to address how it may have attributed to the problem and to respond accordingly.
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the department came out with a 10 page testing action plan. only acceptedot responsibility, but the late out steps that he plan to take to help states and districts cut back on testing. some of my members have written about this. some of this is new, but some is not so new. i am hoping you can walk us through this. what is new in this plan and 20 think is mos -- and what do you think is most significant? king: thank you for the question. i would like to thank chris for the leadership he council has shown around these issues. i come at this from the perspective of having been a teacher and principal. the key question is, how do you establish the right balance? a high-quality assessment can
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meaningfully inform assessments and learning. parents howm student the students are progressing. low-level and poor quality assessments can distract from good instruction. that are assessments not providing useful information can't get in the way. the good news, which we call out over the weekend in the plan is that we have states all over the country that are moving toward higher-quality assessments. dozens have adopted that are assessments that better reflect our plan. it is clear from conversations with parents and educators, and from this report, that there are places where there is too much testing and too much that is low-quality and not helping to inform instruction. we lay out some principles we think should drive policy at all
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levels. assessments should be worth taking and high-quality. they should provide meaningful l indicators of the growth students are making over time. the assessment should be time-limited. thehink states should cap amount of instructional time spent on testing. many states are taking action in this way. workll talk about the happening in north carolina, new mexico, and delaware on these issues. be one of multiple measures used when evaluating the progress that students and schools are making. we lay out the principle that assessments -- assessment
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results should be transparent. we commit to a set of actions to get into the heart of your question. actions help support district and state work. we have already made available through our assessed enhancement program. the president made a very significant budget proposal for 2016, focused on state's assessment work. they should cull the testing that is unnecessary. teaching is the core effort. dollars.
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two, technical assistance. we will continue to work with states as they continue to work and evaluate the assessments they give. more importantly, one is that they can improve. aaces where they can replace low level simplistic test with a more comprehensive writing focused and critical thinking focused assessment. third, we will continue to work with states on flexibility. we will do that through the waiver process and other areas to help states identify opportunities to reduce unnecessary testing. one good example as many states have received waivers for giving the eighth grade tests to students who also take high school assessments.
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of states have taken advantage of that flexibility. fourth, we continue to identify policy areas where we can reduce to the appropriate level febrile of assessments. we're looking at teacher prep regulations. teacher prep programs are focused on how well their candidates are assisting student learning. we don't want them to look through that only through the lens of assessment. it should be one of many. looking at teacher evaluation. rather than using a low-level bubble test, they can use a performance-based assessment. toimately, we hope accelerate progress of work that mike and chris have already begun. caroline: thank you for laying that out. one thing you did not get into madeuch is the point that
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the most news. this idea of a 2% cap. secretary duncan, when you were at our conference in chicago learlypring, you said c that you had been public about the fact that there is too much testing and you had said at that time, that you would urge states to cap the amount of state and district testing. past six months, what has changed in your view, if anything, to put forward this recommendation that congress states capre that the amount of state assessments? forhere a federal rule
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this, beyond you urging states to do it. and congress actually coming in and saying, thou shalt cap testing? arne: these are all hard, complicated issues. this looks at what the local, state, and federal roles are. the lack of clarity has led to and low-quality exams. the amount of time, the lack of coherence, the lack of strategy, and the lack of driving instruction are they problems. i think collectively, we all toe a mutual responsibility help get this to a better place. we are all trying to beat self
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reflective. we have been trying to survive flexibility. some people did amazing things. i always point out the example in tennessee with the testing arts teacher. he created his own. he did amazing work. it has been adopted statewide. that is the example of flexibility that never existed. in some places, flexibility has not been used in a flexible, thoughtful way. we are creating a roadmap of what we think makes more sense. we can have an academic debate of state versus local versus federal? at the end of the day, is it working for children, teachers, and parents? wayeed to find a collectively, to get to a better place. caroline: you did not talk too much about the federal role.
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you heard a plan that states impose a cap. are you saying 2% of classroom time? and if so, where did that come from? maybe deputy secretary king you can add to that? talk tome from john, so john. >> in new york, the time was to statewideount spent and then cap the amount of time spent on districts and also, to cap the amount of time spent on test prep. the challenges, it is difficult at the federal level to figure out what the right answer is across 50 states. what we have suggested is states should take on this responsibility of setting a cap
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and again, the goal here is balance. what we do not want is for states to move away from quality and say that we are going to do less writing and less problem-solving. caroline: there is a concern about people responding to cap's and lopping off test willy-nilly. mike, i had a question for you. i was impressed with how the report did not mince words about local school systems role in this. you said that they share responsibility for what today's testing portfolio looks like. which is too often incoherent, misaligned, redundant, or inappropriate. i think those are pretty tough words for your own member district. how hard will it be to fix the
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situation at the district level? michael: first of all, after this is all over, if anybody has any job openings, please let me know. [laughter] actually, our board of directors asked for the report. they also review the report after it was done. they saw the language that we used to describe what they were doing and they said, amen. you are exactly right. that is what we are doing. i think because they have embraced what the nature of the issue is that we are going to have a much easier conversation with our own members about strategies they can use to reduce the amount of testing. i'm not actually terribly worried about them because they really own the issue and in a lot of ways. let me also ask chris to join me in this on the 2% think. -- 2% thing.
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i appreciate what the administration is proposing and i think generally what the administration is proposing in its 10 point action plan is really an important step in the right direction. i think there's no doubt about that. at the same time, it is not clear to me that implementing a kind of one-size-fits-all, across-the-board 2% cap on the amount of testing time is what the solution is to this problem. it will reduce the amount of time that one spends, but issues of quality and use an redundancy and all that get unaddressed and there is a very strong possibility that people will cap the tests and eliminate tests that actually could be helpful in informing instruction. and you could easily have a situation where under 2%, it is
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federally required test. and locally administered assessments are given to informed instruction could be squeezed out of this. i would be concerned about being too hard and fast about what a percentage ought to be. but i think the sentiment of reducing time is the right sentiment, but drawing a line and nothing clear what is over that line and what is under that line could create negative unintended consequences that we almost cannot foresee at this point. caroline: chris, i know you want to jump in on the idea of capping. as you speak, i would love for you to kind of address one of
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the findings in the report about the lack of alignment on many of the tests being given in the urban districts to college and career ready standards as a leader of an organization that has been at the forefront of promoting the highest standards and the aligned assessments. i think that would be a finding that would be somewhat concerning to you. chris: definitely. thanks mike and deputy secretary for all the work on this. i think mike said it well. on the cap, it is clear that could have unintended consequences. we are in a place where i would rather talk about quality and the idea that we are getting a bunch of tests that are not aligned to the standards that are being taught in these districts is really the headline for me, that these tests are
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just being given because they were given in the past. no one would have bought these tests if they had read their standards at that point. these tests were still being given because they have been given over the last 10-12-15 years i think. i think that is a really important point for states. i think what the secretary stated about the state owning this and the federal government needs to own some of this and the district needs to own some of this. i'm hoping today will be the start of a conversation with our states and districts. the second thing is that mike and i worked together to release a report last year where we laid out some actions that the states and districts were going to take to reduce testing. obviously, given that the survey had been completed with mike's districts, we do not have data to show the impacts yet, but we have data to reduce testing.
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we are checking that and we have conversations at the local level. our members care about this. i was just in school last week where the parents were telling me how important it was but they were getting assessments regularly. for all the hubbub about how much of assessment there is, i know that their parents out there that want to know how their kids are doing. caroline: i apologize for interrupting. i do want to get the conversation started. you mentioned in the districts. i would love dr. atkinson to respond to this idea of the cap and to talk about what you are doing on the testing front to reduce testing and to experiment with approaches to how you are giving your tests. >> thank you. i appreciate the opportunity to be part of the panel. when i was a student at mondale university and the entire time i was in school i had to take and we did an extensive survey to
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find out about testing. we just include state and federal test and that takes about 1.6% of the students' time. local tests bumped it up to about 2.3%. we talk about the issue of testing. that brought us to the point of students and teachers and parents saying what should be the purpose should be to help students and teachers do next in the classroom. this year we are doing a proof
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of concept where we take the standards for fifth grade and then we are administering shorter assessments to students during the year so that we can give immediate feedback to the teachers and students about what to do next. this became important to me after having focus groups. one a great student -- one eighth-grade student said it would be helpful to give me a shorter test so i would know what to do to improve if i am not learning certain stuff.
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we are taking the lead of an eighth-grader who said let's have shorter test, spread over time, and use the feedback to help students improve. we want to get to the place where assessment is integrated so much into instruction. students and parents and teachers cannot tell the difference between instruction and assessment. we believe we're on the bridge to a 21st century artifact testing. it will take a lot of work. we do not know how long that bridge is. we believe we can get to that place and the proof of concept will have greater assurance we
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will have alignment, coherence, and purpose. caroline: you did not mention the cap idea. do you want to quickly respond? >> i believe that the cap is the way to have a conversation and to bring attention to the issue. but in the end i believe that the purpose of the test and the coherence should drive how long we test. caroline: i know that you've been active in miami-dade on the issue of over-testing and even to the point of going to the state legislature. do you want to tell folks about that? >> good morning and congratulations for leaving this effort approved by the board and the leadership of the secretary for attacking this issue. number one the benefit of being
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last to speak is that all of the smart things have been said. i will bring you the perspective of a practicing principal. i experience this situation as i hear from teachers and colleagues. i think one of the most important conclusions is not clearly stated in the report. we will not assess our way to academic excellence. that is clear. we need to shift away from a quantitative analysis of how much time and how many exams we put before kids over to a conversation towards teaching and learning that these tests provide. can they form teaching and learning in the classroom? the third point is this.
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the problem we are facing is the result of an impact of federal to state requirements and local districts engaging in the benchmark assessments to not be surprised about the scores that will come out. you do have a complex issue. in many cases, assessment across the country reflected the proverbial tail wagging the dog. they were not generated for the purpose of teaching and learning, but to drive teacher evaluations. in florida, statutes were passed that requires that a student
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achievement level would be used of every teacher. end-of-course assessment for every single course taught in the state. that is hundreds if not thousands of assessments. rather than ask permission, you ought to embark on forgiveness if caught. we decided to decommission 24 assessments that were under our control for the purpose of generating benchmark data. eliminating those assessments restored up to 260 minutes of teaching time. the governor issued an executive order that eliminated the need for the vast majority of end-of-course assessments.
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we went from 23 assessments to zero. at the middle school level, down to four. at the senior high school level, just six. so we are supportive of this report. i think the next phase cannot be a cap is a form of percentage of time. it is a quantitative analysis of how many exams and an honest conversation about the relevance, duplication of effort, and the purpose behind these assessments. that is a qualitative conversation about what assessments should measure and inform.
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caroline: secretary duncan, one thing we didn't mention this morning is that the president went on facebook on saturday and put out a statement about over testing and it is tempting to see this as the end of an era. do you think that is accurate, or is this a missed reading? secretary duncan: it's important to look at the facts, and the facts are pretty clear. i think the president echoes what everybody here has said. he thinks in some places there is too much testing. he has believed that for a while. we have a database rather than anecdotes. the president believes it is important to hold ourselves accountable for student learning.
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understanding the facts and not putting a spin on it is very important. we can talk about the 2%. this is a lesson in courageous leadership. what mike and chris have done, we live in a town where most folks say why they are right and why everybody is wrong and they repeat that. you do not have many folks trying to be self reflective. we will work through the details. we will get there. the question is, are you willing to do it a little bit differently? that's what doesn't happen too often. i am optimistic about where we are going. people with humility.
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caroline: this is an issue that has inflamed people's passion, and certainly you have seen in new york. you were the target of the kind of fierce criticism over the rollout of new standards and tests. i believe it was 200,000 students for the opt-out movement. is this an effort to bury the hatchet? >> it is an effort to make sure we have a smart approach to assessment in schools, and at the end of the day, the purpose of the assessment is to help us serve students as well as possible. all of us and the president are committed to the roles that assessment plays in accountability. we need to have good information about the progress that students are making.
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we need to pay attention to our persistent achievement gaps and we need to act on that. there are smart ways we can have educators at the local levels looking at the assessments and saying, do we need all of these? are there places where we can replace with one that has students making strong arguments, doing historical research and doing science experiments. i think the president talked about that face video. it has to be a part that helps drive instruction. >> i think you touched on something.
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i think nobody is advocating for the elimination of -- i think over-testing or no testing are two sides of the new -- of an immoral proposition. you need some degree of assessment. it ought to be non-redundant. this report is not meant to empower an abdication of this moral responsibility we have to our kids and our parents and our teachers. caroline: at this point we would like to open up to questions from members of the media. so if there is a member of the media that has a question, could you raised your hand and the ruby people coming around with microphones. please identify yourself, your name and organization.
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do we have a mic runner over here? thank you. >> i am from politico and i thought the most interesting part of the plan and probably the newest thing about it was the fact that you are sort of easing up on this inclusion of student test scores in relation to the regulations. if you could talk more about that and offer more details on how you are going to give states that flexibility. does this change the comments, which were largely critical? >> we are adopting the role on the feedback that we've got. the key thing there at the assessment is that we want to make sure that the teacher programs have good information about how the graduates affect
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student learning. flexibility for the states in the evaluation of teacher prep programs. this is something that will evolve over time. we want states to be creative as they do this and to have the evaluations evolve over time. caroline: any other questions? >> to follow up, i think that it's important to understand what we are doing is part of a larger portion of higher ed, which is to move to the system that looks at outcomes and we can have on his debates about how to measure that. but to act like outcomes and teachers teaching and being effective and working in disadvantage communities, to think that should be divorced from funding or the ongoing
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operation of teacher rep programs, we're going to continue to challenge that. >> emma? emma: i am still unclear after listening to you both, secretary duncan, whether you put that forward or whether you really mean it. >> it is a recommendation and there is flexibility to the results of interest enough today. for the fifth time, to be very clear, the goal is not just a cap. although want to limit and reduce testing. if you reduce testing to 1% and it is redundant, that is a loss, a failure not a win. 2.3%, it is good assessment that is driving instruction.
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the parents understand. that is a good outcome. we have the clear recommendation. that is one piece of this important puzzle. caroline: other questions? right here, bob. bob: the report doesn't quantify the amount of tests, but it seems that's one area that really eats into instruction, and i wondered if any of the panelists have an estimate of how much time is taking up on test prep. if you could say about your cap in new york and the effect on classrooms. >> sure, the goal was really the cap, bad test prep. having students do low-level
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worksheets that simulate endlessly and the goal was to try to cap the amount of time that districts would stand on that. it goes to quality assessment. if you have assessment that asked students to demonstrate how they solve problems in math, instruction will follow that you will have a strong relationship between quality assessment and quality instruction. if it rewards students for guessing, you will often have instruction that reflects those same low level skills. this cannot just be about the time. >> we did not include the amount of time to spend on the test
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prep. it largely exist at the individual school level in response to the test that is mandated. the schools are responding to the requirements to test and the accountability portion with in some cases inordinate test prep. we did not study it. we wanted to make sure that the time we resented did not include that. we urge somebody to do that study. it took us two years to do what we did on this. me and my folks are tired. we will let somebody else do that one. caroline: any other questions from members of the media?
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if not, i have a question for you. there were over 400 titles. often there is a phenomenon of vendors pushing the shiniest new test with maybe a greater level of granularity. with so many folks making so much money, is it realistic to think we will have a reduction in the amount of testing and test prep. so many vendors have materials that are aligned to the test. >> it is a great question. everybody has had a hand in this and i meant everybody. and the test vendors have played a role in kind of driving up the amount of testing. it is our fault for buying them.
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sometimes an extraordinary amount of political pressure is sometimes put on people to do this. it is important for a coalition like this to be working on these issues is because just because you put out a report on the amount of testing does not mean the vendors will say, "i got it." we should stop selling more tests. they are not going to do that. federal state and local actors, to create an environment and a set of proposals that makes it harder for random, disconnected tests of low quality to be given.
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some of this -- caroline: i know chris and the secretary want to comment on this, as well. >> they are very big and many of the state levels, and we are already starting to see the states look at this, and we have example after example, so when john was in new york and did some work to reduce testing. new mexico do an audit. this is just in one year. we're on the right pathway to reduce testing. the time issue is secondary to the idea we need high quality assessments in front of every students. with the new assessments aligned to the new standards, we need to take a look at the old tests and make sure we do not keep giving them. >> if i could step back and look
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at the bigger picture that we are entering a new era in education and for decades you have 50 different states all doing their own thing. you had no way to compare across states or districts. it was all apples to oranges, which was crazy. there is a common metric. you know now to figure out is doing a good job. now some states are starting to evaluate themselves in a comment way. you will be able to see over time which states and districts are improving faster. if she is making some mistakes, we can look at other states and figure that out. we are still calling, but having a chance -- we are still crawling. we should look at who is
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accelerating the learning of poor children and black children and figure out what combination of practices. what combination of practices are helping them get better faster. we have never had that chance in education. caroline: are you disappointed that fewer are states in fewer states are not engaged in what initially seems as an effort to be able to make all of these kinds of interstate comparisons? >> i have been pleasantly surprised that the states have raised standards and are thinking differently about assessments and no one predicted this six or seven years ago, so we are not there yet. this is an ongoing process. so many states are thinking differently.
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no one would have said that was possible. that all goes to local leaders. caroline: i do have to ask. we are headed into 2016 to campaign. some folks have seen the moves over the weekend by the administration as a political move designed to make it smoother between the democratic party and the teachers union who have been leading critics of teacher evaluation. they are seeing this in a political context. i would love for you to respond to that. is this going to be the beginning of the administration doing about-face is on issues like charter schools? are we going to see that down the road? >> this is about students and
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advancing the interests of students. we have an opportunity to me our system better and to make instruction that are. a key source will be resources. districts will make unfortunate choices because they do not have the resources to invest teachers and analyzing richer assessments. we made a proposal and the president is proposing adding one billion dollars to title one. resources would help a lot here. this is about how do we ensure a system that helps students achieve the highest level. >> i don't want the media to
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misread, but we have had one clear vestige from day number one and that is to do the right thing for kids. the president ranks this is the right thing for kids. some have been politically unpopular. just keep it in the category to not make it something it is not. >> not to offend the administration in any way that everything becomes political at some point, but i can assure you one thing not only myself as superintendent but as a member of the board, we commission and demanded this analysis be conducted two years ago. we just recently concluded. shame on us if this reveals testing abuses and we limit our action to talking a lot about it
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and that we did something. hopefully that will not be the case. >> and at the end of the day, the big idea is that we passed the goldilocks test when it comes to assessments and testing. not too many coming, not too few, just right, all for the benefit of our students. caroline: you got the last word. let's give a round of applause and thank you very much. [applause] >> of the next on washington journal, sheila jackson talks about the budget deal. journal is live every morning at 7:00 a.m. on c-span. you can join conversation with
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your calls and comments. today a confirmation hearing for the state department consular to the undersecretary of state for political affairs. we will be live with the senate foreign relations committee at 10:00 a.m. >> it does not require silence. why should my husband's job, or yours, prevent us from being ourselves? i do not believe that being first lady should prevent me from expressing my ideas. [applause] ford spoke her mind and was a supporter of equal rights amendment. she and president gerald ford
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openly discussed her battle with breast cancer. confronting her addiction defined to boost white house years. betty ford -- this sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span to original series first ladies -- examine any public -- the public and private lives and their influence on the presidency. from martha washington, to president obama -- michelle obama. >> a signature feature of book tv is our all day coverage of book fairs and festivals across the country with top nonfiction officers. here is our schedule, we will be an nashville for the southern festival of books. back in the east coast for the boston book festival. in the middle of the month and is the louisiana book festival. at the end of november we're alive for the 18th year in a row
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miami booka for the fair international. at the national book award to new york city. the fairs and festivals this fall on c-span's book tv. >> the senate finance committee had a meeting on tuesday on the irs's response on the treatment of organization of applying for tax exempt status. is two hours. motion today comes after the commissioner's appearance before a committee. the senate finance committee heard from him earlier today and this hearing is about two hours. >> the committee will come to order and i want to welcome everyone to this morning's hearing. in may 2013, the treasury inspector general for tax administration revealed in the
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run-up to the 2012 and 2010 elections the irs targeted certain organizations with extra and undue scrutiny. needless to say, we take this matter very seriously. indeed at the time both republicans and democrats condemned the agency's actions. and as the senate committee with exclusive legislative and oversight jurisdiction over the irs, the finance committee launched a bipartisan investigation into the matter. on august 5th of this year after more than two years of investigation, we released a 375-page bipartisan investigative committee report that included approximately 4700 pages of exhibits. this report is, i believe, the definitive record of what occurred at the irs and why. as we all know, last week the department of justice stated
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publicly that they would not be pressing criminal charges with regard to these events at the irs. this has led some to argue that the justice department is corrupt or biassed in some way. i believe the committee's report speaks for itself on this matter and in my opinion, rather than fueling the echo chamber, we would do better to focus on what we know actually happened and what changes need to take place to make sure it doesn't happen again. that's why we're here today. the committee's report included 10 major findings that formed the basis of various recommendations for changes we believe the agency should make to ensure the irs' actions remain above board. the purpose of today's hearing is to hear directly from the irs about their response to our report. toward that end, i want to thank commissioner koskinen for being here today and for the agency's
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thoughtful response to our recommendations. in that response, the irs indicated that they have implemented all of the bipartisan recommendations from the report that are within the agency's control as well as a strike that majority and minority recommendations. our overall goal here should be to restore the creditability of the irs. while i want to commend the irs for the efforts they have made thus far, it is my understanding that up to now most of the changes they've made have been procedural in nature and very little has been done to begin work on the needed structural changes at the agency. today i hope to hear more details as to why these types of changes are being delayed. at the same time, i believe the finance committee should consider statutory changes. for example, there was bipartisan agreement on the report in the need to update the hatch act to ensure with regard
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to political activities irs employees receive the same considerations as employees of other highly sensitive agencies like the federal election commission and the federal bureau of investigation. in addition as the majority views and the report noted and as i have stated publicly on multiple occasions, i have serious concern about the influence of labor union active at the irs. while i am not anti-union and why i do not oppose collective bargaining in general, we know 2/3 of irs workers are represented by an union organization that is very politically active and that a fair number of irs employees work full-time for the benefit of that union. i don't think it's much of a stretch to argue that such a strong union presence could have contributed to a politicized argument at irs.
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generally with agencies that have important law enforcement obligations or perform other highly sensitive work. while i expect there to be some resistance to this idea, i think it is only reasonable that we take the time to consider whether the irs should be placed in a similar category. i hope today we can have a good discussion and get commissioner koskinen's views on these and other legislative proposals. ultimately the theme i want to stress most today is accountability. our report clearly shows that political targeting at the irs resulted from a number of bad decisions made by a number of different officials. however, as of yet very few of these individuals have been held accountable while others have since received bonuses and promotions. i am more concerned that the irs lacks the necessary structural and procedural mechanisms to ensure as an agency it remains accountable. the recommendations we included in our report were designed to
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provide this type of accountability. and i look forward to discussing our ideas in more detail today. before i conclude, i just want to briefly comment on the ongoing effort at the irs regarding the political activities of 501c organizations. this is an issue that deeply concerns a number of people throughout the country, including members of this committee. as we know regulations proposed in 2013 were criticized by people and organizations across the political spectrum and were subsequently withdrawn. that proposal would have created nonsensical rules and dubious speech restrictions. oddly enough it would have created stricter standards for 501c organizations that exist for public charities, which would be a perverse reversal of roles for these types of organizations. i think it's fair to say that
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agencies still carries with it a cloud of perceived political bias. therefore i would caution mr. koskinen and others in the administration that have made this regulation a priority to focus instead on actions to restore the irs's creditability than to abandon any effort to inject more rules and restrictions into the political process. i expect that members of the committee will want to discuss this matter today as well as once again it is an issue that is on the minds of many people. with that, i'll turn to our distinguished co-chairman, senator wyden for his opening remarks. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. in early august, the finance committee released the final report on the bipartisan inquiry we undertook to examine the irs' processing of applications for tax exempt status. our investigation looked back at the period between 2010 and
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2013. the committee reviewed 1.5 million pages of e-mails and documents and conducted interviews with more than 30 irs officials. the finance committee inquiry colleagues was the only bipartisan inquiry on either side of capitol hill. what we found on a bipartisan basis was alarming bureaucratic dysfunction. many applicants for tax exempt status were treated badly. for example, between 2010 and late 2011 a total of 290 applications for tax exempt status had been set aside for review. only two applications had been resolved successfully. not 200. two. that was unacceptable mismanagement. the investigation, however, did
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not find any evidence of criminal wrongdoing. chairman hatch and i both took time to speak about our views on the senate floor when the report was issued. the focus of today's hearing, however, is what the irs is doing to guarantee once and for all that this type of deeply troubling mismanagement never happens again. the finance committee's report included 36 recommendations. 18 were bipartisan. 12 were democratic. 6 were republican. among them set minimum training standards for managers in the exempt organization office to ensure that these employees can adequately perform their duties. institute a standard policy that employees must reach a decision on all tax exempt applications within 270 days of when they're filed. three, create a position with the taxpayer advocates office dedicated solely to helping
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organizations apply for tax exempt status and several others. i would like to thank the commissioner for responding to those recommendations into a letter he sent to chairman and i. my takeaway from the letter it is the commissioner's view is there's been genuine progress to clean up the mess and i look forward to hearing his assessment in further detail this morning. while the commissioner is here, i also want to address the problem that cuoccurred in martinsburg, west virginia. they deleted backup tapes that deleted e-mails that were within the scope of the committee's inquiry was ongoing. it was completely unacceptable and inexcusable. there are also reports that there was some lying afterward. commissioner, that can just not happen again. i want to hear what the irs is doing this morning to fix it.
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finally on friday the committee received a detailed letter from the department of justice concerning their investigation into this matter. i ask for unanimous consent that be entered into the record. i want to be clear on this point. the vast majority of americans want disclosure in political spending. they want all sides to be more open and more straightforward on these issues. the american people overwhelmingly disapprove of the citizens united decision that knocked down some of the key limits on political campaign spending. if there's no oversight of who receives 501c status, meaning anybody could get it and hide their donor list, then political spending will be hidden even deeper in the shadows, so my request to you on this point,
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mr. commissioner, is that you all work with this committee, democrats and republicans, you work with committee in a bipartisan fashion to get this right. thank you very much, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator wydewyden. today's witness commissioner koskinen. he was confirmed to this position in december of 2013. prior to his appointment to lead the irs he served for four years at freddy mack where he served for a period as the acting chief executive officer. before that time, commissioner koskinen held various high-profile positions in public service, including president of the u.s. soccer foundation, deputy mayor of the district of columbia, and president clinton's chair of the presence council on year 2000 conversion. the commissioner spent more than two decades in the private
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sector including time as ceo of the paul mary company. commissioner koskinen has a law degree from yale university school of law. we want to thank you once again for being here today. you can proceed with your opening remarks. i ask you, if you can, to limit your opening statement to five minutes. >> right. chairman hatch, ranking member, and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to discuss the work the irs has been doing to correct the mistakes associated with the process of tax exempt status two years ago. the irs must continue to do everything possible to make sure all individuals and organizations can be confident that they will be treated fairly in their dealings with this agency. they need to know they will receive fair, unbiased treatment regardless of their political affiliation, their position on
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political issues, or whom they've supported in the last election. when someone hears from us regarding their tax return, they need to understand it's only because of something that is or should be on their return and no other factors. and if someone else has the same issue regarding that return, they'll hear from us as well within the limits of our bungt resources. it's important because even with our declining resources, the irs will audit 1 million taxpayers this year. the situation described by the inspector general in his may 2013 report should never have happened and we are doing everything possible to ensure that the mistakes referenced in the ig's report and reflected in the committee's bipartisan report do not happen again. it's part of our work to move forward we have implemented all of the report's recommendations from the ig. the ig noted our efforts in a follow-up report issued march of this year. as to the finance committee's
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own investigation, i'm pleased to report as noted the irs has accepted all the recommendations in the committee's report that are within our control, that includes recommendations in the majority report and the minority report. let me briefly summarize the actions we have taken thus far. we've taken steps to ensure the determination process for tax exempt status is transparent and information on the procedures. we have reduced the processing times for applications for tax exempt status and we're committed to resolving all cases within 270 days as the committee has recommended. as a result of the work we have taken over the last two years is down to 112 days. we continue to develop new training and workshops for employees on a number of critical issues connected with the application process for tax exempt status. we have established procedures to ensure that applications
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undergo a neutral review process. this includes training employees on the proper way to request additional information is needed. treasury and the irs has noted our drafting guidance on social welfare and non-social welfare activities of 501c organizations as recommended by the inspector general. to ensure our accountability in the determination process, the irs has done a number of things, including requiring managers to conduct periodic workload reviews their employees. information is regularly shared up the chain of command with me and other irs leaders. our efforts to improve accountability also included centralizing our exempt organization work forces, so leaders now work in the same location as employees who process applications for tax exempt status. we've also taken actions to
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ensure risks are managed more effectively in the exempt organization area and throughout the irs. we now have an agency wide enterprise risk management program providing for the regular identification and analysis of risks to be eliminated or managed across the agency. to ensure we properly respond to requests under the freedom of information act, we're developing standard procedures for employees to use when they search for information and we will provide training to those employees on those procedures. as recommended my both the committee and the gao, we are tighteni tightening internal controls. although the gao recently found no evidence of unfair or biassed audit selections, we agree with them that tightening the controls will reduce the risk that any unfair selections would occur in the future. anher issue is the need for us to improve our records retention process. we've initiated a process to secure the e-mail records of all
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senior officials of the agency. in addition we're taking steps to ensure employees preserve official records created when they send messages using our office communicator system. while we continue working to kplem the committee's recommendations, we appreciate the committee's bipartisan issues. these include accelerating due dates for information returns, allowing the irs to require minimum kw minimum qualifications for paid tax preparers. i'd encourage to committee to consider two other options. this concludes my opening statement and i'd be happy to take your questions. >> thank you, mr. commissioner. again, i appreciate the way your agency has worked with this
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committee on our recommendations, but i also want to emphasize that there remains several open issues stemming from the targeting of conservative groups, and i want to get your response on two of those issues. the first is i understand there's at least one group caught up in the targeting that is still waiting on a determination. can you commit that your agency is moving with all appropriate expediency to resolve any remaining open applications? >> yes, we will do that. i can't talk about any application, but we're down to just a handful. several of those are in litigation. in some cases we're still waiting for responses, but as i noted we have reduced the backlog and a new application today will get processed on that average of 112 days. >> secondly, in my opening statement i mentioned the irs and treasury department's 2013 proposal to restrict the free speech of certain groups by
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americans by rewriting rules of 501c-4 social welfare organizations. i know we disagree on the need for changes to the rules governing c-4 organizations and i know you have committed that no new rules will take effect until 2014, but this leaves open the irs will make proposals this year or next year creating confusion or uncertainty regarding the free speech of certain groups and their ability to engage in civic activities like non-partisan voter registration or candidate forums. can you tell the committee whether any new proposals will be released before 2017 and if so, when do you expect that to happen? >> we are following up on a recommendation of the inspector general who said the facts and
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circumstances standard, which has been used for the last years, is confusing and was part of the problem employees had in interpreting the applications from c-4 organizations across the spectrum. it is, as you noted, just before my confirmation hearing draft regulations went thout that generated 160,000 comments. many of them agreeing restricting the use of bipartisan/non-partisan get out the vote campaigns, candidate forms. we're taking those into consideration. but it is clear to us that in fact what we're trying to do is not change the rules of the game. what we're trying to do is make them clearer not only for irs employees, but to have a clearer set of guidelines for those organizing these organizations and for those operating them.
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when you're running one of those organizations, you ought to be able to be confident that you know what the rules are. no one is going to second guess you on the interpretation of what the facts and circumstances are. it would be important to clarify, not change, but clarify the rules under which organizations operation. that is our goal and intent. >> can you tell the committee whether any new proposals will be released before 2017 and if so, when you expect that to be? >> we don't have a timeline. we are continuing to finish our view of all those comments and continue to review the told statutory framework the congress has set up. we've made it clear that we have no intention of influencing the next election. on the other hand, when we issue these -- reissue them in the new format that we think will be more acceptable to people, it will be open to public comment for 90 days. we'll have a public hearing
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about it. we've committed we'll keep the committees updated on the progress. at this point, we don't have a timeline. we'd hope that we would be able to provide these new proposed rules early enough next year so that the work on them could be completed well in advance of the election so there wouldn't be any confusion. the work we're doing now is not focused on changing, but clarifying the rules. once we get those out, people on all sides will understand much better what it is we're talking about within the existing standards of operation. i think the clarity will benefit everyone. >> the irs unable to meet its basic duties of answering taxpayer phone calls and protecting against tax fraud, i encourage you to stop spending time on counterproductive proposals. commissioner koskinen, you've mentioned several ways the irs
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has adjusted its operations to serve taxpayers better and even more fairly. one area in which the irs needs to continue to strive to do better is in protecting taxpayers identifying information and the vast amount of financial information that the irs maintains about taxpayers. the irs also needs to do better in preventing stolen identity refund fraud. you've mentioned the regulation of paid tax return preparers, but i know there's concern providing such authority could lead to more bureaucracy and potential harm to taxpayers. just one last question. will you commit today that if the irs were to be provided authority to regulate paid tax return prepares, that the irs will utilize the secular 230 framework that's already in place, not create another new


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