tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN February 16, 2016 12:00pm-2:01pm EST
and-greet. this meet- we don't take you to the cato institute. those watching on c-span and those following us on twitter. neal mccluskey, and i am the director of the center for educational freedom at the cato institute. before we begin, i want to remember andrew colson who is the director of the -- was the director of the center for a decade and a leading voice in the country, advocating for a full free market in education. andrew passed away earlier this week after a battle with cancer. official cato photograph
does not capture the true nature of andrew. off seeminglyght endless, sometimes maddening battles for school choice, educational freedom. the way andrew announced his cancer diagnosis captured perfectly who he was. he said, apparently it is a tumor. those of you who remember ads for kindergarten cop -- contributions to educational freedom will be his lasting legacy, including his last book, which he wrote after he retired as a microsoft software engineer, "market education." closely connected to this was his advocacy for scholarship credits.
has not yettion ended. for the last few years, andrew was working on a documentary series about the presence and promise of educational freedom, which was almost completed as of the time of his death. television in on the coming months. andrew will be painfully missed, but his ideas will continue to spur us on. topic, federal education policy, another area where andrew did important work, and her is a spoiler alert -- him.nclined to agree with now it is my pleasure to moderator,ur michael hansen, who will tell us about the limits in education policy. ansen is a senior fellow
at the brookings institution. a labor economist by training, he has conducted research on teacher quality, value added measurement, teacher michigan, and teacher responses to incentives. from thea ph.d. university of washington. michael? mr. hansen: thank you. it is a pleasure to be here today, and my condolences to decatur family on andrew's passing. actevery student succeeds passed both chambers last year and was quickly enacted by president obama thereafter. this current authorization of the elementary and secondary authorization act is turning the page on the predecessor law, no child left behind. no child left behind was wildly
unpopular with many stakeholders, including teachers and parents. the surprising and rapid progress of the bill ending no child left behind was received with much fanfare from many corners. it is useful to frame our conversation today around the tensions between the two opposing viewpoints that played a central role in both every 's enactment.eds is one of states rights versus civil rights. states have the authority to provide education and can design schools according to their interests, values, priorities, and in most states these are constitutional authorities they had. on the other end of the
spectrum, civil rights groups seek to promote the equal investment in an advancement of this advantaged dude groups within those states. from this perspective, public education is viewed as a vehicle for social mobility and ensuring alston sins have access to high-quality education as a condition to promoting a society where all have an equal chance for opportunity and an equal voice in society. the bipartisan support of essa with support the arguments that the law has found a way to successfully walk the line between these opposing viewpoints. have we been successful in achieving this? the questioning this assertion is part of today's debate. many public policy debate in the u.s. can be tracked back to this tension between states rights
versus civil rights. echoes of this debate are also in questions about access to health care, gun control, welfare policies, drug policies, many others education is not alone in turn to grapple with these conflicting views. in light of this i encourage the audience here and also the what is itre to ask about the nature of public education that makes this conversation different from debate and other policy settings. is the nature of education calling for a relationship between the state and federal government that we would not apply to other elements of policy decisions? maintopic is not our conversation, but a latent part of our conversation. the main topic is questions of the degree to which this new law, essa, has change the
federal role in education policymaking. we are here to question the gap between the perceived change of the law versus the real change of the law. it is reported that political opponents very soon after the enactment of the law walked away with different interpretations of what that law is actually doing. and so part of what we're here hone in on whether who is correct here and whether the federal government has stepped back to far or whether they have stepped back enough. one of the strong supporters of the new law was former u.s. equity in education arne duncombe, who viewed this law as a direct repudiation of. in that sense, given that mr. duncan has the support of the law is it reasonable that those
who are opposed to his leadership are also correct in their support of the law as well? given the variety of opinions, it is not everyone can be simultaneously correct about their assertions of the law. this brings us dry primary question today, which will kick off the conversation. how big of a change was made and hows new essa law, does this change the relationship in education policymaking between the federal government and states and districts who have the authority er publicstra education? i will offer a few words of logistics. i will introduce the participants who are sitting in and afterou here, those introductions, i will allow each of them 10 minutes to prepare -- to present their prepared remarks on the topic.
these remarks will run 10 minutes. we will try to keep audience questions and answers to a minimum of two after everyone has given these opening remarks, and then we will open it up for a moderated discussion and audience questions and answers thereafter. so it is my pleasure not introduce you to our four panelists. eary, whohave david cl is the chief of staff to united states senator lamar alexander and the majority staff director to the health, education, labor, and pensions committee. senator'sgers the personal office and is an advisor on alexander's legislative agenda. prior to joining lamar alexander's team, david worked for the house education and workforce committee for chairman john boehner from ohio on disability policy. david started his career at the u.s. department of education
working on elementary and secondary education and special education issues for several years. second to my far right we have burke. she writes on federal and state education issues as a fellow at the heritage foundation. to areasotes her time of education policy. federal intervention and education and second and powering with education choice. have's commentaries appeared in there is and she has spoken on education reform across the country and internationally and has appeared on numerous radio and television shows. she has published evaluations of school choice programs and options for public foundations, such as the virginia institute of public policy and freedom foundation -- friedman foundation for educational choice.
bachelorsholds a agree from hollins university. she is currently setting policy as a doctoral student at george mason university. third, we have gerard robinson to my left. gerard robinson is a president fellow at the american enterprise institute, where he educational policy issues, including choice in public and private schools, implementation of k-12 standards, and the role of community colleges and historically black colleges and universities in adult advancements. user of asing aei, commissioner of education for the state of florida and secretary of education for virginia. as president of the black lines for educational options -- alliance for educational options, he works to ensure that
children in black families were given the opportunity to attend good schools. he has evaluated the effects of reform initiatives of parental choice and student achievement. he has advocated for loss of delivery of teaching and essays onnd published how to make good policy to give all children a good chance at a good job in future. the importance of education to civil society, robinson has spoken before audiences in united states, china, and united kingdom. he started his career by and -- fifthrade grade. he is a master of education harvard, a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy from howard university, and an associate of arts degree from el camino college. finally, i would like to introduce neal mccluskey. neal is the director of cato's
center for educational freedom and is the author of the book s in thatthe classroom." he holds a masters degree in political science from rutgers in public and a ph.d. policy from george mason university. tois now my pleasure firsthand the microphone over to david cleary. i would remind all the speakers to please turn off your cell phone. thed, i will hand microphone to you, and it will go into the succession in the order of you were introduced. thank you. mr. cleary: good afternoon.
goal we set out to achieve was reduce the federal role in our nation's educational system, knowing that we needed 60 votes to pass a piece of legislation. we needed president obama to sign the legislation, and we need to get on the floor and off the floor. it was central in our mind. we think the every student succeeds act is a step in the right direction. it is not the panacea to all bills that the federal government has created over the past 35 and 40 years in education, but it is better than the no child left behind, better vers.the wai we look at the environment we were in. we were seven years overdue for .he reauthorization of nclb duncan was the chairman of
the national school board, essentially. that was the wrong direction and not a good thing. we look at what was in the waivers and what was going on and we were concerned. you had in essence a common core mandate. they were clever and crafting it. it was not an overt mandate that would have violated the department of education organization act or the no child act, which had a robust provision on an actual mandate. forceound clever ways to every state to adopt common core. that was difficult for us to do with. it was offensive to the notion of states rights and letting state figure this out. we set out to overturn that. waiversot like in the
the teacher in violation mandate, the requirement that states adopt teacher evaluation that link teacher performance to student performance through tests. it was a very republican idea. it was something that lamar created when he was governor in the 1980's, and an evaluation performancehers' to student performance. it created a system where state put their system together and come to washington and say, mother, may i, did we get it right, and it was the wrong thing to do. environment that and try to figure out how do we how to get obama to sign it, how to get the house to pass a piece of legislation, and that guided our principles. what we think we did was we had significant success. we turned off the hidden mandate
on the common core. we turned off the teacher violation mandate. we significantly for the first in education legislation and probably lots of other legislation turned off the secretary's ability to regulate and dictate and turned it in a different direction. all the prohibitions and the restrictions on the secretary's authority are virtually unprecedented in federal legislation, and it was what almost brought the bill down in conference, when we have the white house and democrats concerned about the nature of the provisions we were putting on the secretary. it was easy to get reversal of course, and didn't go far enough? that is debatable. there is an appetite for more local control, or state control. i would point out when we were on the floor, senator alexander's amendment to turn all the programs into a voucher was defeated, so the
political appetite for a voucher or a complete block grant was not there. we try to do as much as we could to turn the tide. we think we have accomplished that. "the wall street journal" call it the biggest reversal of federal control in 25 years in education policy. now the question is up to the states about how to implement the law. we have to keep a very careful on on the department of , what they are going to do with regulations, rulemaking. the secretary has the right to regulate, but what he can't regulate is constrained. it is up to states to push back. if states do not want to have common core state standards, it is up to them. that has not been the case. if they want to have a teacher violation system, that is up to them.
they can choose to implement it or not. as we look at what the department does, states have much more freedom and flexibility to say no and push back on the secretary. waivers are no longer the condition. gone.ld left behind is there is no more adequate progress. there's no more qualified teacher. there are no more objectives. no child left behind the whole idea of and the waivers is ended. now states can develop their own measurements were trying to figure out whether schools are succeeding or failing, which schools you identify. we have guardrails or parameters that were insisted on to get to 60 and get a presidential signature. states have to identify the schools,rforming bomb -- bottom schools, and it is a tolerable confession to states.
they have to say identify 5%, states have to figure out how to do it. there is no micromanagement from washington. goodink we have had a balance. we have gotten rid of the bush and obama turnaround strategies where washington was telling state this is how it is that you have to fix your schools, shut them down, fire half the teachers, turn it into a charter, agnes, those types of things. all that is gone. we have taken away the federal requirement. now governors and state legislators have to grapple with it, figure out what they're going to do. how do we turn schools around? a lot of these students are now back in the hands of the states, and that is a good thing. responding and not
filibustering, so i will close early. i'm hoping we do not get into an insult round like the president in debates, i am ready. important things i would put is this is a four-year law. we listened to folks concerned we were setting the stage for the next administration, whoever that is, and so we accepted that, and that was an important thing that we made we got people 3 concede that, but in 3 1/2 years, a new administration their recommendations forward, and hopefully we will have a republican administration make a big's. in then important step right direction to turn the tide, so to speak. with that, i will close. mr. hansen: i will now have dsey speak for us.
i will affect the speakers that i will request -- i will request the speakers and their remarks from the podium. [indiscernible] [laughter] burke: thanks for having me today. thanks for neal for the invitation. condolences to the cato family for andrew. we are here to think through how big of a change is it from what was no child left behind 600 pages of to the new 1059 pages of essa. or essa? it "essa" how much of a change is this really from the 600 pages of ilb to thousands of pages of
a" and theith "ess thousands of pages of rules that will copy it. will touch on this, but one thing that we often hear eliminated the yearly progress, and it was a great stop enough yearly progress. adequate yearly progress was not working way intended, and i would argue it had unintended consequences. if you are a parent sitting around your kitchen table at night worrying about mandated standardized tests, i do not think the change really makes that much of a difference to you. there was a report that came out a few months ago from the council of city schools that said if you are a child within a large school district, you take on an average of 112 standard
ized tests. some of those were no child left behind mandates. gracde 3very child through 8 had to take these tests. what we saw, the fact that essa retains the requirement for annual testing i think in practice will make very little difference for the kids who currently feel they are taking an outsized number of standardized tests. to get that out of the way to begin with, i do not think it is going to make much of a difference, considering the fact that part of the accountability plan that states now have to send it to the department are based in part and only part on how students do on these standardized assessments.
what i want to talk about today is why would the obama administration and teachers unions essa call an early christmas present. why does the left think this is a good deal for them? i want to think about this to the lens of programs that are currently retained in essa and what it looks like under no child left behind. no child left behind was a labyrinth of federal programs. there is no two ways about it. i wanted it to the overwhelming for you, but this is the labyrinth of programs under no , roughly 80ehind programs under nclb depending on how you count them, when you count set of programs or not. keep this in your mind. this is no child left behind. and a part of what proponents of essa pointed out was that there
was significant program elimination. program say, elimination and consolidation, and i would add it is right they ed on consolidation. these are the programs under nclb. many of these programs have not been funded for years and years. .hey were part nclb programsse roughly 80 had been unfounded, at least since 2013 or before then. no funny had been appropriated for them, so these are the programs that make up no child left behind. if we are thinking about the baseline for program elimination, we have cut it down to about 40 programs by my estimate. this is what we are working with. the programs on the left that
were funded under no child left behind and programs on the right that had not seen a penny since 2013 earlier. what if we just think about the programs on the left. if this is really our baseline program consolidation, or is what we are working with, and it is still unwieldy. there are a lot of programs in the baseline. how many of the programs that were funded programs got cut, and i mean their funding was cut as well under essa? a couple. there is a handful of programs. that had funding that were cut under the rewrite of nclb. pretty limited. math.s our programs that were funded and programs that got cut out of essa. what about the programs that
remained? image ofthat the programs that were funded? under the programs that remained under essa, not cut the funded, more than half of them sought spending increase under essa. that is pretty significant when we think about the proponents' position that essa actually cut programs. what does this mean on balance? it means more than half the programs that remained got additional funding under essa, but only four or five programs were actually eliminated with their attendant spending and that we still have a terrible ill, in 1050 a b webpages being a big part of that and it means on the aggregate we did not see spending reduced whatsoever. this has been billed as a conservative rewrite of no child left behind it is hard to
swallow. when you look at all those programs, about $23 billion annually in the last fiscal year. fundy has not been appropriate, but is authorized at $24.9 billion. if funded, it will exceed the funding of no child left behind for all these programs. i would just leave that. david had brought up the reoperation -- reauthorization period. he mentioned that no child left behind was seven years past it rewrite deadline. periodere is a four-year when it should be reauthorize, but it is highly unlikely that we will see a rewrite of essa on that nice short timeline. thank you.
good afternoon. let me think neal for extending to me an invitation to talk about education today. begin my condolences to the cato family and in particular to andrew's family. he and i had an opportunity to debate school choice in atlanta some years ago, at an event sponsored by the institute for humane studies. he was a smart guy, and he will be missed in person, and his ideas will live forever. when we had a conversation about the role of federal government in education, we often speak as if it was a new idea that came into fruition in with no child left behind or more importantly in 1965 with the elementary and secondary education act. laws, both passed by texans, lyndon johnson and president george w. bush.
any conversation about education is a discussion about what in 1867 149 years ago, when congress created what was then the first federal department of education. the goal was to make sure there was a federal presence in the national dialogue of education. education today was very different that then. within one year the department of education was minimized to a bureau of education, because people in the state that we do not want the federal government meddling intricately funding, and other matters. imagine, fast-forward to 2016, we are having the same conversation. no matter how we look at the outlet soup in no child left esea, we have e-cigarette two things -- is there a role for the federal government and education, and, number two, should the role shoul expensive or small?
i had a chance to serve as secretary of education in virginia was proud in 2010 to recommend that we not accept common core -- that we not apply for common core, not apply for race to the top, because i was against them, but i believe that virginia standards, which had been in place before no child left behind, was worth keeping and moving forward. i had a chance to serve as commissioner in florida at a time when we had common core, and it made sense for florida to have common core and it made sense were several of the state to have common core. the chance to manage the process to move florida into a waiver process, and as someone once said, given the way that -- they are giving ers it was av monumental effort to get a number of's stakeholders at the table, university personnel, those represented
students, parents, and those who represented school systems to figure out how do we write a 100-plus page report to allow us to manage our school system. we submitted a number of changes that were made. if we had the current act in place versus what we had before, it would have made my life much easier. as a state chief, the new law will it me an opportunity to overseee of a state of aid. teachers are providing services. it will provide me a better opportunity on how to invest the funds i have from the federal government also at the state level. i expect the federal government to set away, but there is a stronger role for state chiefs, and it will provide stronger opportunity for school student attendance, school boards, to have a bigger say from the ground from the state.
here's how you can be a great partner and not just a senior partner and we find ourselves being sickly the junior partner. i think it was a step in the right direction. i do not think that the federal government some of our friends say within the conservative movement that it is from education. if you look at the 1965 element and secondary education act, the act that was approved when clinton was in office, if you look at no child left behind or the current law, with a number of changes, as the said before, there are a number of changes, programs that remained, a number of programs that were removed from there is one paragraph that remains in their. the federal government should not have to control over state in education. that is in every single law, from 1965 until the present. yet while funny continues to ase, will continue to have
long that the federal government will have very little or no control, it continues to remain in place. i think that will stay in place. when i talk to parents, i said, what do you like about the new ill? they say it will give me more opportunities. probably not as many as i would've liked. i would have loved to have seen title i portability, counters, but it can happen. when i talked to superintendents, they say, it will give me more control the local level. state chiefs say the same thing. what i see as probably a silver thatg in this is the role the non-state education entities will play in the process, primarily the role of consultants. the federal government cannot do everything in state education, state education cannot do everything by itself without some support from the federal government. for this and reason we created a program in 1867, to at least
have a bottom that can disseminate information, there is still that role for the federal government. you have to realize then state parameters, there are human and financial capital challenges, stuff that will make it tough to do all the work. from an entrepreneur standpoint, this is a way to bring in other partners, nonprofit, for-profit organizations, that can say, here is one part of the new law b,l require you to do a, c. while no law -- i see the new law is providing an opportunity for entrepreneurs to come to us with ideas and ways to try to streamline the process. about whattimistic it would do for education. i think no child left behind has great things in it.
one was the opportunity to make sure we did not leave any child behind, but that we did not hide every child. states and school systems for decades were able to hide through manipulation of data how poorly some of our students were doing those who are low income, those who came from homes where they qualify for free or reduced price lunch, where minority groups were in place, and homes that had kids were special needs, and at times of students who spoke a leg which other than english. let'sld left behind said see the good, bad, and ugly so we can find a way of trying to address it. i think that was something great. in dailymay have that progress, lets him were states and the will systems have the opportunity and authority to create annual tests independent of what the government says. when i speak to superintendents,
they would say it is the state'' fault. if it were not for the state, you would not have to take this test. when i take a look at your database, i see you have 10 tests. the additional five or six were tests at the local school board and superintendent approved. we have a conversation about tests, realize they are always federal and state mandates and also a role for the locals to play as well. i understand there will be a federal footprint. maybe the indent will not be as deep as it was before no child left behind, but i think there should be a footprint and there should be a dialogue. iq. mr. hansen: i want to talk briefly about this idea having an insult period. it may be entertaining if we had
but i do notiod, have anything bad to say about anybody here. i have some bad things to say about essa. maybe that can be the insult period. even if essa -- and we could have a debate about how you say -- ifi will go with essa it reduces federal influence to the said that even its most optimistic supporters say, at least washington far too involved in education. lindsey's presentation made that clear. there are countless programs no child left behind under that exist. few of those have any meaningful track record of success. and it is important to note when we talk about federal education policy, it is unconstitutional. the constitution gives washington no authority over education. you can scour every word of it.
you will not find education anywhere in there. what about the track record? while there is evidence that no child left behind may have helped to boost standardized test scores for some kids, if you look at the scores for 17-year-olds, they tell us the overall tale of american education over the last 40 years, the same time the federal government has been heavily involved. if you look at 17-year-old scores, they's show is in the least has driven no major improvement in education, at least that are discernible through these scores. scores have been completely flat since the 1970's despite real federal spending having risen 1979,696 per pupil in inflation-adjusted, to $1140 in 2012, a near dublin, but essentially flat outcomes.
it has not been a federal spending that has eluded over the decades, the federal control, which tends to go with federal money. it culminated in no child left behind dictations for uniform state tests and the punishment for schools that make adequate yearly progress. know theped up, if you movie "spinal tap," they took it to 11. a lot of movie references today. it was amped up with race to the top, as well as no child left behind. what we now saw was the executive branch beginning to exert control, and it ultimately led to the adoption of the common core. when essa came about, we were on the verge of having washington
dictate the operation of education, how it would be structured and held accountable for performance, and what the schools would actually teach, which is what common core was about. i think what we saw was the opposition to this top-down dictates, and i think a growing dissatisfaction with test-obsessed education system which was coalescing on the left and the right. especially with waiver requirements that teachers be assessed based on standardized test scores. toconservative opposition the common core national curriculum standards. test.l as the federal i think essa cleared the result of this coalescing the satisfaction, and it is supposed to great lee strip washington of the power and return it to states and districts. as others have said, it contains good proposals, especially andy
adequate yearly progress and and ito pains to say, will quote from the act, the secretary shall not attempt to influence or coerced the adoption of the state standard developed and the common core initiative or any other academic standards, coming to a significant number of states, resistance type to such standards or participation in such partnerships. it also says the secretary shall not have the authority to mandate or exercise any russian or supervision over any academic standards and limited by a state. and the act prohibits the secretary from promulgating rules that require or specific measures. that makes ending most of the federal control of education seem pretty complete, right? it does not, the problem seems to be inherently contradictory
components of this law, and it is open to potentially pretty broad interpretation. the basic contradiction is that while the law as it was returned authority to states and the use ofit demands federal funds. that implies there is an enforcement authority even where the law suggests it does not have that authority. this is what the obama administration and some groups are saying as the age of regulation writing process nears . in its latest armor of education budget, demonstration rights, t embraces when he performs administration has long supported, requiring states to set standards for college and ensuring that states are held accountable for the successful students. education a state
advocacy group with the national presence, they have asked what other groups, not just them, but -- they want the feds make the states maintain challenging and high standards for all students, ensure high-quality assessments, and implement robust accountability and performance systems that help identify and improve our highest state schools and district. that to me does not sound like a situation with the feds would have no authority to have control to exercise any direction for supervision of state standards and assessments, or can ability mechanisms. seems very least the essa contradictory and and a dress, at least contradictory enough to alow the administration heavily prescriptive reading of the law, leaving it to the government to define what
constitutes challenging in requirements for states to have challenging state academic challenges -- standards and stated can ability systems. let's washington decide the success in which schools will be judged. in numerous cases, the law calls for state decisions to be based.e this matters because the education secretary ultimately must approve all state plan. what are those numerous prohibitions against identification of specific standards or tests? don't they remove federal teeth? no, while to that is, the secretary cannot say you
must use common core, there is a danger they could just veto plans that they do not want, saying i cannot tell you what to include, but i can tell you this is not challenging enough. or they could say i do not like the evidentiary area base of what you plan to do about it. by could exercise the death a thousand vetoes, and placed a strategic call to a state education chief or write an op-ed laying out what seems in the view of the secretary of education to be challenging standards or good evidence. about, nowhere in the race to the top regulations or legislation that led to race to the top did the administration say state had use the common core state standards to get maximum voice in the race to the top money. it did make maximizing your points contingent on a dusting
standards that were common to a majority of states, which everyone knew was a definition only met by the common core. the regs you state that conference designed to accommodate common core. thatan look at the waivers the administration put out from no child left behind. it is true that no child left behind gives the secretary to give waivers of components from no child left behind, but it does not allow him to attach conditions to the waivers, allowing these negative to rewrite the law. what happened? secretary essentially said it does not say we cannot do this. therefore, we can. this is a great illustration of the dangers we had. it is not that many of the legislators who worked very hard on essa, that they wanted to it isower in many cases, that as we have seen over the last eight years how open any
ambiguity or contradiction is to exploitation. we see how power tends to grow even without that. i think this all has a very dangerous ambiguity and that as we are seeing already as we are ramping up to writing regulations that are being targeted for exploitation. thank you. >> thank you, neal. and thank you to all the participants for their prepared result -- remarks. many of the presenters touched on several common themes, and i am going to kick off our questioning on some of his common things. first off, let's talk about standardized testing. i will first direct this to
lindsey, who was not the only person bringing this up, but does the law do enough to accommodate current preferences with regard to standardized testing? would you endorse provisions for states to go further? has this sufficiently reigned in excessive testing beyond what was required for no child left behind? burke: note your first question, and partly know your second question. no, because we should have gotten to a point where we have done better than nclb. nclb was the first time federal government ever dictated to state the frequency with which they had to test students, saying every kid, and high school, that did not exist nclb
.re nclb a better approach would have been to eliminate that annual testing mandate in federal law. with a gold to the opt out provision, that is tricky because the law recognizes that there are federal tests and then there are state tests. many folks would is thinking about it at the federal level recognize that as well. with an opt out provision, you run the risk of said mandating to states they have to allow parents to out-of-state tests, and that is not the direct. that's and that is not the direction. it should be up to the states to determine if that is the policy. let's have a provision saying state have a provision to opt out would not record it completely eliminated the annual testing mandate in the lot, but after having done that, left it
to states. the --ays will have [indiscernible] references. we will always have the -- and it is required. states have to participate. it is a representative sample for kids, and we can see how kids in texas do relative do kids in new york. i think that is smart policy and done a way that does not drive local schools' turtle him or curricula that is used. it is something that is valuable who want toe me, know how kids in the aggregate are doing. that is a different accountability measure than what parents often look for. as a parent, you do not think, how did the kid do on the mandated and denies test -- mandated tests?
you see how they do on quizzes and assessments. i think we should always when we think about accountability keep say provisions uccinct. thank you. i want to open up the opportunity for you to respond. choice guy, iool am conflicted because i want parents to have the choice on where to send their children, but i want to prescript the choice not to avoid taking tests. ofre is a role and a need to highway or better yet with us how well students are doing. the majority of the state, education is the number one line item in a governor's budget. it would be great to know how well students are doing. we can debate whether it is a
reference test or otherwise, that at the state level we should assess students and giving parents the opportunity to opt out, and write an administrative challenge for states. i think it will question whether or not we will get any data to assess how students will do, how well teachers are doing in correlation to teaching students, and at some point you have to hold schools accountable. we do not do it accountable. we will continue to give you a raise for the most part, so there has to be a way to make that happen. i'm torn on that part. important,is most school choice, we want the parent to choose schools, educators choose how they want to educate, and you will see people choosing based on what they think is most important. whether or not their children participate in standardized tests. when we talk about federal law, should the district to tell you what test use or the state or
the federal government, and those are second-best. it is important to note before there was no child left behind the improving american school act, lots of people were taking national tests. they were telling them things about their children. that is what is really important, that parent should have information about their own child and be able to act on that. to parentsormation has not been the problem, it is giving them the ability to act on it. the other thing that has been very unfortunate about no child left behind, and the use of tests generally is because they are easy to point to come if you got 30 seconds to say i think the school system is good or bad, test scores are up, down, good or bad, you got to know what is on this tests. you got to know the conditions and there taken on,
are a whole number of things that cannot reflect in the test. what is important is you have real freedom in education were people choose what they think is tendencyrtant, and the when we were car everybody to take a test is to say the tests will tell us what is important even when it is not. >> this was one of the mystical things that we faced as we were looking at reauthorizing. it was the first hearing we had in the senate. it was a question of the annual tests. should we keep it or eliminate it. i do not have a lot to disagree with what the three of them have said. the politics of it were very clear, pretty quickly. we had a big coalition of people who said if you get rid of the annual testing requirement, we will oppose the bill and veto the bill. you had the civil rights community, business community, you have a lot of school choice advocates saying we need to test. washington, but the old republic of establishment that was very in
favor of george bush's law were saying outside washington, we got to keep it. even within washington, within the republican circles, you have never say maybe the annual test is important, it provides information, school choice, for what we ended up deciding was that the problem was not be .ederal mandate of the 17 tests one reading test and one math test every year once in high school and he signs test three through six and once in high school. is not a huge burden for the $24 billion in federal government, but still a federal mandate. if you did not meet the amo on
the test, you get the death penalty. the school had to shut down and this school have to convert. tests, butith the 17 then the schools says they were doing 112 test per year. ofrybody was so terrified the one-size-fits-all accountability testing of no child left behind in the waivers, the adults could wait until the end of the year tests and they have a quarterly test and a monthly test in a daily tasks and a test right now. explosion -- this is being broadcast, really bad tests that were being used for the wrong purposes. on top of that, the teacher evaluation mandate that says you cannot just test the math and reading teachers, that is not fair.
now, there are test for every subject. we do not have standardized test , but someone created it so they could sell it and we started testing in these other subjects with really bad standardized test ariz for inappropriate purposes. we have the continued explosion of testing for all of the wrong purpose. we fixed it by trying to say keep the tests, but have the accountability of the state level. reduce the impact of the importance of test. i looked at the back of a third grader. it is kind of important to find therew my kids doing, but is a lot more that goes into whether my kid is succeeding or failing in school. the she show up every day, that she participate in class and these other things. those are much more robust and important. i think we have created a system where over time, we will hopefully see the diminution of
all of those testing and more focus on other things. it is now up to states, they have to figure this out. i think we have turned the tide. on the opt out, we did not do enough. those tough, political situation where people were saying, oh my god, you cannot let parents opt out. we cannot mandate the states to have an off out because some states like tennessee requires the use of the state task -- state test as part of their accountability. we passed a law that you have to have an opt out and we broke the tennessee accountability program. should more students have been able to opt out? absolutely, but the politics were not there. >> thank you, david, i want to push on the difference i the arising between your statement
and the statements from earlier. , he made a note in his comments about how many of the test that we're complaining about -- how many as it? these are federal mandated, and david, we are to reading these -- gerardesponse to would you like to comment on that? if you like this is a fair characterization? is it too much blame on the federal government? >> is someone says there are too
many tests, we have changed it. to say state. it is too early to see how that plays out. think it is also important to point out that not all tests are created equal. there are the big standardized test that take a lot of time and effort. there is the spelling quiz at the end of the week. we have to be careful about saying that everything is a federally required or stable zes and teachers do quizaes tests regularly. i think we're critical moment more states can eliminate their 112 if they want. they cannot blame washington ford, so it is up to every government in every legislator. is this what we want?
>> what is interesting about opt out, you do not your parents opting out of the sat or the azt -- azt. ct. they have consequences. >> thanks, gerard. quickly add that it is part of the state's accountability system. it should include some portion on how kids do on federally mandated tests. not to contradict gerard at all, i do think we are still going to see states pointing upward to washington saying we have to include this in our accountability system. i guarantee you, we were not see a reduction on those standardized test. >> that is one of the ambiguities that i think is important. --appears to leave it to the to define how much the state and district uses to assess their
schools has to be test scores. i think it is something like much more of it has to be academic assessments versus nonacademic. room fores a lot of things tonight, the way we want. people do actually opt out of act or sat and we see colleges opting out now. i think that is sort of an illustration, not that i will havesay that -- we can several forms on that, it is more of a market that the institutions are autonomous and people choose. not surprisingly, uc schools that tell you the think we do not think the sat is important. the system were we do have national tests but there's
flexibility in there for people to tailor the end -- education they deliver. >> thank you, neil. i think we're spent a lot of time on that and i was moved to a different topic. to theto open the floor audience if there are any questions. for on his, note please wait to be called down -- called on and wait for the microphone. please also announce your name and affiliation and make sure you ask a question. appear, go ahead sir. retired have recently from a national charter school organization. i'm interested in the pragmatic effects.
i was thinking about the case of the state of mississippi. cite this as an objective measure for school performance in mississippi and they were near the bottom. behind, ithild left was designed to bring state performance up. mississippi and other states responded with a race to the bottom. they lowered their standards so that enough of the kids were passed or appear exemplary and that way they did not have to punish no child behind. i'm curious what you think will happen with the revised structure and the new law? is there anything there that will change the behavior of states that are not delivering strong education to the children tests?asure of
will this just be business as usual for them? or is your answer just none of your business? -- none of our business? >> great question. >> i would take it. for the most part, it will be business as usual in terms of how they respond to federal policymaking and mandates. you are absolutely right, you illustrated the unintended consequences. on i was talking about earlier. the unintended paradigm.nses mississippi became one of five states that activated a savings accounts. that would do far more to revolutionize what is happening in mississippi than anything we have seen handed down from the federal level.
far more to infuse accountability in mississippi's education system far more to empower parents with mask learning options. i'm incredibly optimistic about what is happening at the state level. mississippi has a small program they are trying to expand and i'm optimistic on that front. i think it will be business as usual in terms of how they interact at the federal level. combinationt is a of it is not much of our business. driversre the primary in k-12ly in education education. the federal government pays and federal education is like the mafia.
you're the junior partner in telling the big partner what to do on everything and that is what we are trying to change. , in it comes to mississippi do not know who the governor is, but i like the good governor and legislature and school board and take responsibility for it. that is what we think we have done. -- all no child left behind, you have the race at the bottom because there are federal consequences for low test scores. of course everyone is trying to get out of it. somethinged to impose to my third-grader, she tries to figure how not to get blamed for something. she is a good kid, but she does not want to disappoint me and get a consequence. she tries to be a four tries to avoid it. mississippi under the no child itt behind try to avoid and so now their standards are this and they are fine because they will not get punished. now with washington not having
,he talk down ability mississippi now owns these decisions. if you get a governor and the legislature and people that says , they were onthis the accountability system and on their standards. if you create a civic community that says this is important and this is what we would need, that i think is the only way to change it. goodd not do very with mississippi. more washington will not change anything. maybe we turn it back to the for thend say it is first time since the 1980's, it was our view and you own it. you cannot say that george bush or barack obama or bernie sanders or hillary clinton or martin o'malley and all the
, it is not washington's responsibility to tells what to do anymore and we have to own it. >> i would say that i do think there will be less of this pressure to keep low standards. i do not know if we ultimately as mostce to the bottom states were at the bottom in terms of their level of standards and what they called efficiency. liftshink that the essa that pressure. you have all of the schools get bad grades. by eliminating annual yearly progress, i think everyone agrees that we got rid of the annual yearly progress. if you are in the lowest 5% of schools that you have to have changes made, it is not like the testing is irrelevant, but it
certainly reduces the pressure on all of the schools and districts in the state. the other thing i think is important is that we like to abuse mississippi or the states that have low test scores. i do think it is important to realize that different states and different districts have different populations of kids that they are working with. some have bigger challenges than others. things the fundamental behind no child left behind. we have to accept that some schools are dealing with kids who are much further behind or need a lot more help and that is one of the bad parts of no child behind. it did not distinguish among those schools. i think we have a tendency to say the system or a school or district is that because the test scores are bad and we need to have a much more nuanced assessment of what is going on in education rather than the
saying the school is bad. that is why you want to get away often from the sort of one size fits all dictate in federal government or states. ultimately, europe to put the power in the hands of parents. gerard, did you have a comment? >> one of the reasons president bush had to push for annual state testing is because of the absence of doing a you have to do this. states were doing little to nothing. fast-forward to 2016, there are two things in place that will make it a lot tougher to lower the standards. families are little more sophisticated about how to utilize not only choice, but ask for the type of education they think their kid deserves. whether it is based upon there
model andwith a f that changes one dynamic. number two, you have a lot of nonprofit organizations who have grown to such a size that they are now from state legislators testifying in organizing. i think there will be a strong grassroots approach that will make the conversation harder when it comes down to learning standards. >> things, gerard. thanks. this is pushing on david's comments. have a mothernclb relationshipent and you say this is more or less removed with essa. a countering view where it says that it does not do
enough and there's is still a lot of power within a veto which cannot be subject to interpretation and open the door on any potential variety of action on the federal government's part. think? you >> i do work for a politician. the easy answer is we are both right. good we do enough -- did we do enough? no, absolutely not. you have to make concessions. you have senate democrats and we did not get the majority vote on our voucher bill amendment. we lost a bunch of republicans. concessions and
compromise. it is not necessarily a horrible thing. is we significantly curtailed the ability of the secretary to regulate any areas. we also changed the peer-reviewed process. usedboth the ministrations to great power and advantage. i worked at the bush administration when the java behind was being implemented. -- when the no child left behind was implemented. what they didd and i saw from the congressional perspective what obama's a ministrations did with waivers. we took a lot of experience and restricted the secretary's ability to micromanage and saying no on things. we prevented the secretary from dictating a range or specific
number on how much the test count. we leave it to states to say that tests are important to us and some states will say that 100% testing is all we care about. that is your choice. some states will say the bare minimum is 51%. that is fine with us, too. negotiating has been done on a state planned behind closed dictating whatf the states are supposed to do. we have turned that around and made a lot more transparent. we are giving governors the -- sometimes i forget i'm in front of the camera. without the hammer of no child left behind, governors have a lot more flexibility to say no
to the whims of the secretary. no, it is absolutely not enough. states take over all of k-12 and federal government takeover medicaid and we leave each other alone. he still thinks it would be the ideal policy. get out of federal government and education entirely. did we make a certificate change in the right direction?we think yes. important to is say from where i stand that i completely understand the difficulty of getting laws written in having to compromise. you sometimes don't have to compromise and you can put out what you think is the ideal. i totally recognize the difficulty of that. but my main concern is i think we should all be clear on what that looks tois
me when you read it, there's enough play in the words and contradiction with what we are trying to ask the federal government to do and you can see the intent be subverted to having secretary again exercise control. when it comes to the peer-reviewed, this is a question i have asked. i asked that the secretary required to do what peer-review says they should do. what they told me was, no he is not bound to use it. i could be wrong about that. that is what i was told and if that is the case, then peer-review is good. it does not sound like it is legally binding on him to use it. i think what is most important is this being clear on and gerard, i think you mentioned that since 1965, there been
provisions in every federal education law that says the federal government cannot dictate the program of instruction. it has not ever said you must use for instance, common core. i think somebody said that education lawyers are smarter than congressional lawyers or something like that. do not quote me on that. >> you have reached the insult around. >> this from secretary duncan. >> that was uncalled for and very inappropriate with what he said. we worked carefully with the department and with the white house and congressional immigrants and republicans trying to reach a consensus on what the language was. i hope that he regrets those comments.
the language that you read in your opening on the common core something that is that took 11. we have to open up the source and kept running -- the stars -- kept running out of words thesaurus. it that this administration wanted to do and we would try to figure out many different ways to block it in a way that democrats could live with. that was our goal. for antennam consequences, sure. that is what kept me up and our up every night trying to figure out how to we do this in a way that it does what we want.
that is why we will be very vigilant with oversight with the long with hearings and meetings and conversations and letters and make sure that the department administers the law the way that it was written. there is absolutely room for error. andave really good staff try to do a good job, but we are not flawless. that is where oversight will help us. we also think that we've created an opportunity for states to push back a lot harder than when they felt that they could over the past decade of no child left behind and the waivers. states can say this is not what the law says and this is not what we are going to do. you are absolutely right. can i jump in quickly?
back to the labyrinth of programs i showed you earlier. most of the vast majority of those programs are these small competitive grant programs. states have to apply for each and every one of those programs. they have to monitor federal register notices and report back to the department. those still exist. there are ways beyond just the accountability system in which the federal government keeps its law and i think the labyrinth of the federal grant programs remains a big part of that. >> we have time for one more question from the audience. we will do a lightning response so limit any responses to one minute and only two respondents. >> i'm from george mason
university. relatedtion i have is between time and culture. we have passed laws that back federal government to some degree and that has been challenged. gerard, you mentioned opportunities for entrepreneurs to come forward. you just mentioned that you see a grassroots support, but there is a lot of culture that has to change so the local school boards are open to that. years, david is going to be working on the committee to reauthorize this and maybe it will happen on time and maybe not. in the interim, you will see a lot of starts of the support. how do you think that will influence -- what is a time factor of making all of these changes and dealing with that?
>> great question. one minute for two respondents. i think that is a good question. it depends on the state appetite for flexibility, freedom, and innovation. some states will keep the status quo and keep their waiver because it is easy. at thetates are chomping bit to be innovative. we're hoping to challenge offices to take the opportunity to get away from this system and it with the systems they want. it is ultimately a choice at the state level to figure how to do that. >> gerard, you add a comment on this. : this will change the ability for educators to communicate with families much
quicker than we could 25 years ago. that will strengthen time. people believe that school matters today and we should make it happen. the culture is on our side and technology will speed up. >> >> thank you, gerard. let's go to final remarks from each of our participants. i will give you 20 seconds each. the accountability systems that are in place with the 51% still require state assessments to define how states define accountability will be a big part of the reason why states continue a system of vertical accountability to washington instead of a horizontal accountability to parents and taxpayers. that can only be fostered through state and local levels school choice options. at the end of the day, gerard talked about entrepreneurship
earlier. back, $2 trillion was spent at the federal level since 1965. if the federal government was a private industry and had flat output that tripled its overhead expenditures, we would've called that it massive failure. mainly due to the program and testing requirements that remain , we are not going to see any change moving forward. niel: the fear of the ambiguity that we have seen and the law and it is an comment on a lot of people to watch the regulation process. that is hard for average people to do. whether you are talking about regulations at the federal level , but even the state and local level, it is hard for the average person. that is why the solution to all these problems in school choice. to theucators respond
needs of the people they are supposed to serve and omit those people they're supposed to serve the subject to a incredibly costly difficult legislation and regulation process. obviously, we are not there right now, which means people need to be very vigilant about how the regulations are actually written to put this law into effect. that thisn optimistic law will help expand the idea that education matters and there is a role for the public. while we have gotten rid of some aspects of no child left behind, all of the stakeholders at the table can work for all kids. i'm glad to see a small, federal footprint, but i do think there should be a footprint. david: since we are quoting moving -- movies, i will quote wallace. -- it is up to them to
decide what to do about it and it is up to us to make sure that the department implements the law the way it is written. , iit is not implemented well would say that sometimes we were too much about the 20% that we did not get and do not celebrate the 80% that we did get. tomorrow is going to be a better day and the day after that will be better than that. we have to celebrate the things we were able to achieve in a situation where we had a democratic president and we don't have 60 votes in the senate. this is a significant victory and a change in the right direction. thank you. >> as a final note, there will be launch served on the second centern the conference that these carl staircase.
nation primary which has a long and rich history. we begin to test the candidates and their message. we reached out to south carolina in the first seven primaries and then into the caucuses for nevada and republicans. more than likely, we will see a number of candidates probably job out of the race in the field will narrow. then, we moved into early march. tuesday, the start of winner take all primaries which means that the delegate count will be critical. as we watch the delegate count continue, we will get a better sense of whose message is resonating and who was on the path to the nomination. >> just across the street from andu.s. capitol, justice tony and scaly is -- the death scalia died ate the age of 79. we hear recently from the
johnnt chief justice roberts and talk about the innerworkings of the supreme court. this conversation took place before the death of justice sc alia. [applause] >> welcome, ladies and gentlemen and i were honored guest, chief justice john g roberts is honored tonight. it is a privilege to have chief justice roberts as our honored
guest tonight. his career as a lawyer and judge is detailed in our program and a more formal introduction and appreciation will take place after this conversation. i know that our students and faculty have been thrilled to meet with chief justice roberts over the past two days and all of us are looking forward to this chance to hear his views on a variety of issues. before we begin the conversation , on behalf of our entire community, i thank you, mr. chief justice, for being so generous with your time visiting new england law boston. [applause] >> i have read some surveys that have caught my attention.
one from the annenberg center at the university of pennsylvania, shortly after you were confirmed. it pointed out that 15% of those polled could identify you as chief justice. [laughter] >> 66% could identify at least one judge from american idol. [laughter] >> more recently, a survey by the american council of trustees our year educated college americans found a significant number identified judge judy as a member of the u.s. supreme court. [laughter] >> so, how is she doing? [laughter] >> seriously, what do you make of this lack of knowledge of the
court? does it concern you? chief justice roberts: it frankly doesn't bother me very much that people cannot identify who the particular members of the court are. one reason we wear black robes, because we should be anonymous and articulate what the law is and not occupy any role in which our personality is pertinent. what does concern me and a lot of the other members of the court is that don't have a very good understanding of what the does. in particular, they don't have an understanding of how we are different from the political branches of government. people, when we issue a decision, it is usually discussed as, "you are in favor of this or that," when in fact whoever does get inside this or
that, it is about whether it is not constitutional or if it is consistent with law. we often have no policy views on the matter at all. that is an important distinction about how we function. it is one that people often lose sight of. >> during your confirmation hearing, it seems you are more than candid in discussing your views as to the proper role of the judge. others have described the confirmation process as less than edifying. why is that? chief justice roberts: i'm not sure that the senate particularly cares what i think. i do think the process is not functioning very well. you look at two of my colleagues, justice scalia and justice ginsburg.
i think they were confirmed with maybe two or three dissenting votes. now, you look at more recent colleagues, all extremely well-qualified for the court, and the votes were strictly on party lines for the last three. that does not make any sense. that's just to me that the process is being used for something other than ensuring qualifications. it is a process now where the members of the committee frequently asked questions they know would be inappropriate for us to answer. thankfully, we don't answer those questions. this is a forum where, i think they have a different agenda. when they participate in the hearings, it is not something that is easy for us to change.
it is up to them to conduct the hearings as they seem fit, but it does nothing to be very productive these days and there , is a problem with the way it comes out. this sort of relates to my first answer, when you have a sharply political, divisive hearing process, it increases the danger that whoever comes out of it will be viewed in those terms. it the democrats and republicans have been fighting so fiercely about whether you are going to be confirmed, it is natural for some members of the public to think you must be identified any a particular way as a result of that process. we do not work as democrats or republicans. i think it is a very unfortunate perception that the public might get from the confirmation process. >> whether it is confirmation or occasionally campaigning,
sometimes the process seems more like speechmaking, and sometimes criticism of the nominees and the court itself. as the leader of the court, does that trouble you? attempted to reply or respond to some of these criticisms? chief justice roberts: criticism of the court doesn't bother me. i think that is important because it is a big part of our to not care about what people think in terms of the merits of our decisions. people may object to have the court is being run or something like that. that is something else. i certainly have no trouble with people doing that. it is often based on a misunderstanding or calculated perception about what we are up to.
if we uphold particular political decisions, that remains the decision of the political branches, and the fact that it may lead to criticism of us is often a mistake. we do have to be above or part from criticism, because, we of course, make unpopular decisions. very unpopular decisions. a case like the westboro baptist case, which involved a group that engaged in very vile speech at military funerals. the sort of thing that i think most people would agree was just awful. yet, you know, the court by a comfortable margin, maybe 8-1, said that type of activity on a public sidewalk, was protected by the first amendment.
that is something that the court can expect to be criticized about a lot. that is the reason we have life tenure, so that we are not susceptible to being swayed by that sort of criticism. the criticism does not bother me, because the framers established a court in a way that we could be -- could not care about the criticism. sometimes it is faced with a misperception of what our job is as opposed to the job of the political branches. >> just a little bit following up on that misperception. justice scalia told amusing story here about the time when the court found that flagburning was protected speech.
as much as it horrified him personally, he agreed with the vast majority of the court, that this was in fact protected. for the life of him, it was important he did not -- he could not stand the thought of flagburning. he hopes that no one else would be thinking along those lines. the reason it is amusing, is because he said that after he tortured himself with this, his wife came down to breakfast, or humming "it's a grand old flag"" [laughter] >> does it concern you, the that people are applying the
constitution to a set of facts, not understanding that this is sometimes not your own views. chief justice roberts: of course, i have issued a lot of opinions where if i were in the legislature, i would not have voted for the program that was under review. i don't necessarily agree with the substance of every piece of legislation, simply because i'm determined that it is in the constitution for congress to enact it. i don't think that everybody, you say that people don't recognize who the members of the court are. it is a problem that many people don't appreciate how our job differs from the job of people in the executive or legislative ranches. >> following your confirmation, how difficult was it for you to pick up the reins of leadership
in relationship to those other independent people? chief justice roberts: i did learn that when you are holding the reins of leadership, you to tug oncareful not them too much because you will find out that it is not connected to anything. [laughter] chief justice roberts: i had already been arguing in front of the court for 25 years and literally looking up to them. they have been together as a group for 11 years without any change. i was coming as the youngest member of the court for the least amount of judicial experience. naturally, i was not sure how it was going to work out. all of them at the time were
extremely supportive. i don't think it had much to do with me personally, but rather, an understanding that somebody has to fill this role, whether it is moderating the discussion or anything else. they were very supportive from the beginning. >> it is a tough position in terms of leadership. chief justice roberts: i am pretty sure none of them regarding as their boss. [laughter] chief justice roberts: it is kind of hard, you know, you can't fire them. or doc their pay. any notion of leadership has to be a little more subtle and done through persuasion. the other members of the court are leaders as well. justice scalia has been there for such a long time. he is a leader by virtue of his experience.
others carry out a lot of that role as well. it is very much a group where we are all equals when it comes to discharging the constitutional responsibilities and any leadership that i'm able to exercise is with only the other members of the court. >> your talked about the valley of consensus in the court's decisions. again with the strong-willed independent people, many people thought getting consensus was the impossible dream. can you talk about the value of consensus and whether that remains one of your goals? chief justice roberts: i think the lawyers appreciate that if you have a decision that is 9-0
or 8-1, it carries more weight and force than a decision that is 5-4. or worse. 4 to affirm a plurality. i think it is natural for a member of public where, "if you can't get an answer, why are we supposed to have such great confidence that you have it right?" for lawyers and practicing attorneys and judges, it is hard for them, sometimes, to figure out what the court is up to. i do think it is worth trying to get broader agreement. i think it is worth talking about some issues more than others to get people to see everybody's point of view. maybe that causes people to come around. this is not something you can compromise.
if justice a thinks something violates the amendment and justice be doesn't, you can't meet halfway. either it does or it doesn't. i'm not suggesting that judges should compromise their conclusion about what the law requires after consideration. i think consideration might lead to a broader agreement, and how you shape a decision might have the same effect. disagreement might emerge only when you get to a particular level of decision. if you can decide a case on a statutory ground or a constitutional ground, it always makes sense to decide on the basis of the statute. perhaps, that is an area where you can get broader agreement. there aree a decision people can sign on to a narrower
resolution. if you decide to issue a decision more broadly, that is were people start to say i'm not prepared to go that far. i think it is a good idea on whether it makes sense to decide on a narrower ground if he can get it more even. >> certainly it seems to me that there is a lot more consensus that some in the media might have you believe. the 5-4 decisions are certainly here and there. in focusing on just those 5-4 decisions, do you think there is a misperception as to just how much consensus there really is on the court? chief justice roberts: i do, more decisions are 9-0 than anything else. the number varies. we agree entirely more often. so in the 8-1 and 7-2, and there is a big chunk where we agree across the board.
obviously, you can look at what like and you will realize that we are not always going to agree on all the issues that are before us. and yes. the ones we disagree tend to be the ones that are the hot button issues that some people can to focus on. they must think we are at each other's throats and nearly divided throughout the year and that is not the case. >> i am just wondering, whether you see yourself as having a leadership style. i think you said to our students the last few days that you learned a great deal from him. do you see yourself having a certain style and if so, does this differ in your view from some of your predecessors?
chief justice roberts: i did some reading about charles evans hughes, and some of the reading i've seen says, "he looks like i spoke like god." i'm pretty sure no one's ever said that about me. [laughter] chief justice roberts: i'm quite sure none of my colleagues of ever said that. chief justice rehnquist, first of all, he was beloved by members of the court. they all admired him. for his leadership ability. justice ginsburg says he is the best boss she ever had. she has said that a little frequently. [laughter] chief justice roberts: several times lately. he generally led with a pretty soft touch. you have to appreciate which
things are appropriate and in many ways, it is unwritten, what is appropriate for a chief justice to do on his own and what needs to be submitted to the conference as a whole. for a vote. you know, you try to be careful in that respect. you have to appreciate, as i mentioned earlier, you are not the boss in the usual sense. chief justice rehnquist had a good sense of when he should assert his authority as chief and when he shouldn't. that is something you try to be careful about. >> one thing that i think the faculty is talking about is something that we all learned at lunch when you have lunch with the faculty today. that is, your role at the smithsonian. would you mind telling us a
little bit about that? chief justice roberts: it might come as a surprise to many people, but the chief justice, by virtue of his office, is also , "chancellor of the smithsonian." that's an even better title than chief justice. [laughter] chief justice roberts: there are some historical reasons why that is so. part of the reason is we have a board of regents and the federal appropriations, and they serve, for a limited time, and they wanted somebody there who had continuity and could tell the new regents. it is certainly not because i have any expertise or experience curatoralrch and
science. the idea that they would turn it over to me is kind of a surprise. [laughter] chief justice roberts: i do preside at the meetings, but i try to stay out of the purely policy areas and that the people who know what they are talking about discuss it. it takes more work than i had expected, but it is a nice distraction from the legal work. >> let's talk about collegiality. you listen to the media and you would think that the members of the court are constantly at one another's throat. yet, we have been fortunate enough to have six justices from the court, in recent years here, and every single one of them
talked about the great respect and affection they have had for one another. is that one that you try and foster yourself? my experience and something i was happy to discover when i came onto the court. we have strong views on very important issues, and we have to discuss those and reach some type of a resolution. and obviously, on a lot these cases, we are not all in agreement. say, ine all like to the conference room where we nine a long table with chairs, we have very serious discussions. we sometimes have pointed