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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  March 7, 2018 6:51pm-8:04pm EST

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here's a look at our schedule for tonight. the chair of the white house council of economic advisers kevin hassett was on capitol hill today testifying about the administration's economic policies. we'll bring you that joint economic hearing tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2. the senate intelligence committee held a hearing today looking at the security clearance process for government employees. that's at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. state education officials will talk about priorities and we'll hear about implementation of the every student succeeds act. the council of chief state school officers hosted this conference. good morning.
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it's good to see everybody here this morning. thanks, stephen, we appreciate that. lots to do, lots to talk about and lots of good things to celebrate. that's the purpose of my speech today. it's the state of the states and lots of good news to share. you know, it's been nearly a year since we gathered here and decided to take a lead on making education more equitable for all of our children. we published the leading for equity report, aest is t set of commitments that this organization has taken to heart and to advance equity for children across our nation. they were published in february of '17, but we know that our work was well under way before that, and i want to publicly recognize wisconsin superintendent tony evers -- where's tony? i know he's here because i just left a meeting with him. yeah. so tony evers was the the person
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that started all of this. he was the president of ccso at the time, and he led this organization in creating and signing on to the equity agreements and he brought us together to have the necessary conversations about equity and what it will take to ensure that all children do receive an equitable education. i am very proud to be the president of this organization this year. i say that everywhere i go and i value this organization and the work of this organization so much, and i love the fact that this year we have renewed our commitment toward equity and taken on one of the commitments as the president will do. so the thing i love about the commitments, for us, they're not just that. they're actions. there are places that we can go and think about very logically about what it is that we need to be doing where each of these commitments are concerned. you know, we've made a lot of progress since these commitments were published and states are
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leading, and i think that's an important thing for us to keep in mind. i know some of you may have heard or read differently in recent months. perhaps you've heard that states aren't doing enough. perhaps you heard that we have this new flexibility because we haven't been embracing this or some don't think that our eso plans are strong enough or innovative enough. well, i haven't heard it in my state, and i haven't heard it from my stakeholders and i'm sure you've not heard it from yours, either. we had a lot of people that participated as you did in our listening tours, taking in their information and what did they want to see from us as educators and what did they want to see in our plans and we have gathered that together. we've come together in d.c. to really talk about the work that we are doing. i have no doubt that this organization has the best interest of children at heart. we do every time we meet regardless of what convening that happens to be. we are all working toward the
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same goal and no one, i believe, is more committed than the chiefs of this nation in doing the work that needs to be done on behalf of the concern of which great nation. so i want to take a moment to set the record straight. i want to talk about the progress that we're doing as well as recognize the challenges that remain, but i think it's time we do this and i want to do this commitment by commitment. to look at our commitment to equity and how we're advancing that, esa and the plans we submitted are important, but it's the work behind the plans that will be more important because that's the focus children so let's take a minute. so the first commitment was to prioritize equity, to set and communicate an equity vision and measurable targets. that means that state chiefs had to obviously step back, analyze their data, look to see where their gaps were, look to see which children were progressing versus those that might not have
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been and working with the stakeholders to address those challenges and this is happening in a number of ways. as we saw states renew their commitment to equity in the written plans for the esa act and put paper to pen to see what that was going to look like, some of us looked at also how are we going to address our most vulnerable children. so i want to start at looking with d.c. in my good colleague, hansel king, excuse me, who publishes an annual equity report that shows the demographic information of students, the breakdown of suspension rates and student achievement scores into sub groups and more. these reports are one way that the district is working to increase transparency around how schools are serving traditionally underserved children. in maryland, superintendent karen salmon has taken the lead that the ten leading for equity commitments and asked her directors and managers within the state agency to renew the
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commitments, make a connection to their work and then regularly report on their progress at staff meetings. and our own ussso created this new stra peejic plan and all of it focused on the ten leading for equity commitments and how it will support you as states and state chiefs as we make progress toward that. many of you know that the ccs board of directors is in the process of looking for a new executive director, and while this is a time of transition, i want you to know and assure you it has been seamless. we have strong leadership in the i want rim director with carissa, and she's made sure that our plan and our strategic plan are moving forward. the second commitment is starting from within, focusing on the state education agency. this means that the state education agencies are strategic about how their staff are organized and prepared to advance equity for all children. let's take a look at oregon.
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the oregon department of education created an office of equity, diversity and inclusion aimed at better supporting students and teachers across the state and through this office, deputy superintendent colt gil and his team work with stakeholders to create plans and strategies that would improve educational outcomes for traditionally underserved students. for example, the state has an african-american black student success plan a lined with the state's strategic plan. so you can see that they've made this very transparent and very up front. in vermont and wisconsin, chiefs rebecca holcomb and tony evers offer implicit bias training to their staffs at the state agency and are taking steps to make sure that they know that their staff know how to have conversations around difficult concepts of race and poverty. in mississippi, we restructured
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our state agency so that we were aligning to our -- aligning our staff to our priorities and we also established a very vigorous recruitment process to ensure that we have the best people who also reflect the racial makeup of our student population. the third commitment is measure what matters, create accountability for equity. this means states should design accountability systems and interventions in low-performing schools that will help it meet the state's goals to achieve equitable educational systems. esss provides states with an opportunity to do this and states have seized this opportunity. today, at least 35 states are now including a measure in their accountability system focussed on making sure that all students are not only college ready, but are completing a career, completing a dual enrollment or earning a recognized certificate. 38 states have revamped their
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accountability systems to include some measure of student or teacher absenteeism. other states have proposed bold, innovative ways to achieve equity through accountability. in ten ten, commissioner candace mcqueen revised her state's accountability system to now base 40% of each school's rating on the results of its low being in, special ed, african-american being hispanic and native-american students. this places an impetus on schools to ensure that they're providing an education that reaches every student in the state of tennessee. in connecticut, commissioner diana wetzel has moved beyond the traditional academic measures of test scores and graduation rates. she's also adding additional measures such as entrance into post-secondary after high school, physical fitness and access to the arts. and we know we cannot stop at
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just accountability that leads me to commitment number four. go local and engage education agencies and provide support. states are also leading in this with the work of their stakeholders on how to intervene in those schools that are not meeting the needs of children. all 50 states and d.c. -- excuse me. across 50 states and d.c., the outside organization called results for america identified 162 promising practices for building and using evidence to improve student outcomes as it reviewed its state plans. we know conversations about promising practices continue today. they didn't end when we submitted our plans. you can point to d.c., illinois, new york, north dakota and many more states in which committees and subcommittees are continuing to meet to talk through implementation and what does that look like? illinois, under the leadership
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of tony smith recognizes the importance of schools and district leadership to turnaround low-performing schools and he is working to put them in the lead through an illinois empower improvement process, beginning with the needs assessment and an equity analysis, schools and districts will work with their communities to create a plan that is based in evidence and data that meets the needs of their local students. in south carolina, our superintendent molly spearman provided a catalog of resources for local schools and districts offering transformation coaches to support schools in the implementation and monitoring of the interventions that work best for them. the fifth commandment, follow the money, allocate resources to achieve fiscal equity. if you've worked in education you know that none of this is possible without funding, and we all recognize that money isn't the only solution, but it definitely helps. money and resources can also
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exacerbate the inequities that we see in our education system today. many of our states are taking a role to ensure that public education funding is also distributed equitably. this isn't easy. i can tell you, we've been in the middle of it in mississippi. revamping a school funding formula is not easy, but we are seeing great progress in several states. i want to recognize california under the leadership of tom torlickson who has put together a funding formula to serve low-income children. it provides $10 billion in extra funds annually to school districts so that they can better serve students from low income families, foster youth and english learners. a recent study in the learning policy institute found that california's local control funding formula not only led to increases in teacher's salaries and instruction alex pend
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itchures, but it also led to increases in high school graduation and academic achievement particularly amongst low income families. in nevada, superintendent steve qanavaro's leadership in the department has allocated $75 million a year to provide intensive supports to school with high populations of english language learners and low-income children. equity 6, the commitment i personally am very passionate about started early, invest in your youngest learners. this is the platform i've chosen for this year and i've been out and about talking about the early childhood across the nation. high quality, early childhood programming is absolutely critical to all children in order to continue to make progress and be successful and this is especially true when you're talking about children that are of low income. we have to make sure that every child shows up to our kinder garden rooms ready to learn. this has been an eye opener in
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the state and i'll talk about that a little bit later. >> we need to know as state leaders how we can prevent gaps before they even start to come to school and every time i talk about this i'm reminded about the community in petal, mississippi. we will see a video about them later on today. they have become a model for our state for what is possible for early childhood education. in petal, a group of teachers at the primary school recognized in the late '90s, actually that too many children were showing up to kindergarten unprepared and some of them literally did not know how to hold a book correctly, but these teachers decided to do something about it. so they gathered together, formed a partnership with their local head start and started a conversation and that's how it gets started is how do we start conversations with people and children that we are serving across the state. that conversation goes on today. because of these teachers, this is an ongoing dialogue. petal is one of our top
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performing districts in the state. parents are moving to petal so that their children can attend school there and succeed. they've also become a model for our early learning collaboratives. this is a program that we opened up across the state with public schools, head start, private providers in order to close the gaps before they even begin. this is what state leadership can do. as state leaders, you have the leverage to start conversations across both private and public providers, and i think that's a key piece that we need to keep in mind. i'm also excited that ccso is launching this past january promoting high-quality pre-k network and it's a group of eight states working together and we're working with national experts to improve funding, access and policies. commitment number seven, engage more deeply and monitor implementation of state standards and assessments.
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while most states aren't directly responsible for running schools and hiring teachers, we do have an important role that districts have the support they need to implement the standards and assessments equitably. >> a significant innovation in recent years has come out of louisiana and that's thanks to the leadership of john white. this state is giving teachers and districts the support that they need to not only understand high academic standards, but to also better understand which textbooks and other curricula materials meet their children's needs. research has shown that low-income children are less likely to have access to high-quality content or textbooks in the classroom than children in higher income communities. this inequity in part accounts for the significant achievement gap between students and their more affluent peers. it is our job as state leaders to make sure that all teachers have access to high-quality materials and that they have the training that they need to support them in this work.
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that's exactly what they're doing in louisiana. they have enlisted the help of teachers to review, develop and promote what they call tier 1 curricula. the state promotes the use of tier 1 curricula across the state and all schools and teachers have access to that curricula. i am proud of the fact that mississippi is following louisiana's lead. we have engaged with them so that we can better learn how to help our teachers have access to high quality materials, realizing in mississippi we -- trust me, we realize that those decisions around curricula are always locally made. we honor that, but we've been working with teachers in our state to make sure that they know how to recognize high quality materials and not just take that at face value. across every commitment there is a common thread and that thread stresses the importance of a teacher in the classroom. without effective teachers, we know our children cannot be
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successful and that leads us to commitment number eight, value people focused on teachers and leaders. this can mean a number of things to us, but as state leaders it means that every child, regardless of zip code, regardless of whether they live in poverty, regardless of the color of their skin have access to a quality effective, experienced teacher and it means investing in our current and future workforce to make sure that they are prepared to meet the needs of these concern. cccssos in south dakota led during her tenure. she focused on creating wrays for state chiefs to elevate the voice of teachers and state policy decisions. last year, south dakota piloted a teacher table which was an opportunity for teachers to join policymakers and other stakeholders to study data on its teaching force and to come up with solutions to tackle
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particular recruitment issues that end retention challenges that they had in their state. after a successful pilot, other states such as new york and florida are now exploring similar models. other states have made significant progress in this area. in ohio, the state developed an educator equity plan in 2015 similar to other states. under the leadership of superintendent paula dimario the state is hosting equity labs to support school districts and examining their data and finding ways to increase equitable access for all students. in pennsylvania, secretary pedro rivera has focused strongly on school leadership, he launched the superintendent's academy, a year-long equity focused professional development opportunity that has reached approximately 140 school leaders. i'm excited to share that later this month, ccsso will launch a new network of states focused on systems-level changes that will
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lead to diversifying the education workforce and support future and current educators and effectively teaching children of all cultural backgrounds. over the past year, i have recognized the importance of commitment number nine. number nine says improved conditions for learning, focused on school culture, climate and social emotional development. schools have become much more than where children come to learn math and reading and science and the arts. they are community centers in small, rural towns. they're places of safety and comfort for many children. for too many children they are the place where they get the only meal that they may have that day. this is why we have to recognize that to achieve equity we have to provide safe, supporting environments where children are free to learn. going forward, ccsso will establish a working group of state chiefs to focus on how we
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follow through on our commitment to ensure that every school is a safe, supportive environment for students and teachers. in light of the recent tragedies and parkland, florida, and benton, kentucky, far too many mass shootings have taken place in schools across this country. we've heard a call to action from our state leaders, and we recognize that it is a time to come together as state chiefs to find solutions for our children. if you are one of those state chiefs that would like to get involved in this, i encourage you to reach out to ccsso and please let them know that you would love to be included in this working group. this work is not going to be easy. safety sits at the center of many complicated issues that stephen mentioned earlier today, but ccsso and our state chiefs welcome this difficult conversation that will move us forward. this work is just beginning and we expect to have more information to you in your
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states in the upcoming weeks. it's hard to sit and listen to the things that stephen said earlier today and it not touch your heart. many of us are so thankful that we are not where stephen and pam have had to be, but we want this work to move forward. recognizing school climate and culture, iowa department of education under director ryan weiss' leadership is now administering a conditions for learning survey and using it as a part of the school's accountability system. this is one way that the state is making sure student voice is considered and it is evaluating school climate and culture. in minnesota, this state has taken several innovative steps under the leadership of commissioner brenda cassillas and the department repurposed funding to create a new position is focused on equity and supporting and working with local communities to meet the student's needs. the department has also developed a tool kit to create schools create environments for
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gender non-conforming students are safe, supported and fully included. in oklahoma, superintendent joy hoffmeister and her team decided to use foot as an academic intervention to ensure greater access to federal school, summer and after-school nutrition programming for any school that's identified for school improvement. and last, but not least, we know students should have options regarding how and where they should go to school taking into account the community which brings us to commitment number ten. empower student options and ensure families have access to high-quality educational options that align to community needs. regardless of where they live, all students must have access to advanced course work and educational options that best meet their learning needs. in north, superintendent kristin
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baysler is look working to accomplish this to allow parents to enroll in schools outside their zoned districts if they want and the goal is to ensure that students get access to the right educational resources at the right moment in their education. in florida, the department of education facilitates all public schools, both district and charter, to share best practices so that the sectors can learn from one another and how best to meet all children's needs. in conclusion you can see that through these ten commitments we are making progress. states are taking the lead and we are working to make sure that we improve education around the country for all children and we are not doing it alone. in each of these examples, you can see that state chiefs are working with teachers, parents, legislators, state board members, governors and other stakeholders to ensure that we make the decisions that are in the best interest of all
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children. at the meeting this week we will take time to celebrate the promising practices and learn from each other on equity and implementation, career readiness and financial transparency and so much more. this meeting is an important time for us to dig in and have a conversation about the work ahead. we are not finished. we know that. we are far from it, but we will not be finished until we create an educational system in each of our states where every student has access to the educational resources that they need, and the rigor that they need to continue to grow at the right moment that they need it, and this means across race, gender, ethnicity, language, disability, sexual orientation, family, background or income. this is an important moment for, ccsso and this is an important moment for my country and i am proud to see my colleagues across this nation leading on behalf of children and i am
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proud to represent you across this nation this year. thank you so much and i am going to turn this back over to carissa who is going to introduce our next session. thank you so much. [ applause ] >> good morning, everyone. we're running a little behind. still not on, guys. okay. we are running a little behind time so we're going to just keep moving through our program today. you should be adults and take the time as you need to take a break. so -- carrie, thank you for those opening words and taking the time to highlight the work going on in states and we have so much to be proud of. as you all can see, states are leading to advanced equity and we have examples not only across those ten leading equity
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commitments and they've made more progress than a year ago and we have examples across the country in every corner and in every state. state leaders, students, and stakeholders are working hard to make an equitable education system a reality for every child. as carrie said, we know this won't be easy and we know this is not the first time we've had this conversation, and we know that we must persist, but we're committed to this work and we realize how important it is. that commitment became real to me a few months ago when we were at our annual policy forum. we polled our state chiefs and sea leaders into a private session to say talk to us about what you've done over the last year. we want to hear those stories. time and time again we heard stories of state chiefs putting these commitments in their strategic plans, in their embedding it in their internal work and the relationships that
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they have forged to help move this work forward that they know they can't do alone. carrie shared many of those examples here today and many in a report that we published in february. she mentioned an anniversary event we did for the states leaning for equity. that companion document is called promising practices to advance equity commitments. i look forward to continuing to add to that report and make that one of the thickest books we ever have. we continue to tell the stories. we continue to do this work and we continue to lean in on it. these are real, meaningful, promising practices making a difference for kids. i encourage you to read these and reach out to the state chiefs here and have the conversations about the examples and have them tell you the stories about how they're making a difference. so in this session we will dig deeper about how states are
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leading, especially with the new every student succeeds act, so i will be joined on stage here by leaders who demonstrated their commitment to this work and to talk more about the challenges that they face in advancing equity and discuss their approach and ensuring we make progress on these critical issues so please help me welcome illinois state superintendent tony smith and florida commissioner of education pam stewart to the stage. [ applause ] good morning to all of you. >> good morning. so i'm going to start out with a question that i want to give you each an opportunity to talk about the landscape of your
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equity work, and it's important for us to point out not only is your geography different, but your contacts are different and work can look different in different places. so pam, we'll give you an opportunity to start first and talk to us about the equity work in your state and what you're working to advance. >> i can take the entire time of this panel discussion? >> yes. >> you have a story to tell, tony. i know that you do. we've taken this on for a number of years. florida began accountability way back in 1999, before it was popular, before we really knew what to do with data, and what we've seen happen in that same period of time, so i think we can say it's causal is florida has moved from one of the lowest performing states on just about
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every measure to being in the top ten on almost any measure you could have in the state of florida and as time has gone on, we have changed that accountability system including into that accountability system, those things that we believe to be important and that we can see will change the needle. we include in our accountability system a component of learning games which does take into account the challenging populations that our stools have within the state of florida, but then we added to that that there's a component of equal weight that looks at moving the performance of our lowest core tile of students and that has made a significant difference and has actually moved us so that our fourth grade readers of low income lead the nation in
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the performance of low-income students and i think that really does get at some of the equity issues. we also are looking at ways we can challenge our highest-performing students and include students that maybe in years past have not been included and so our school grading system also includes acceleration, and in looking at our a.p. performance, we included participation as one component. that finally dropped off and performance is the only inclusion in the state grading system on acceleration and it's not -- not a coincidence that florida is the number one state. yes, d.c. beats us, but the number one state in participation on a.p. exams, and we are fourth in the nation in performance.
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so maryland, massachusetts and connecticut, watch out because we're leading toward you. and i think that's indicative of the participation and the performance, been more inclusive in what students take the a.p. exam and continue to improve in that area, as well. demonstrating that if we hold students to high standards they will, in fact, rise to those high standards. so that's what -- that's one of the things that we have been doing in our accountability system. >> tony? >> i'll jump in. thank you. so i think there's an opportunity to have a conversation about individual children. we're talking about state accountability systems and really thinking deeply about what it is we used to be held to historically which was a binary
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and it was either a good school or bad school and we do not -- i do not as an educator think about children as good or bad, right? i can remember a teacher telling me when i said i'm a horrible writer. she said you are a writer. you are learning how to write, right? how different is that than me already having a notion they couldn't write. i'm picking up from last night, doris goodwin is extraordinary and ryan did an incredible job introducing her. so there is no frigate like a book and she said that emily dickinson quote. a little biobackground for me. i was an english major and wrote my thesis on emily dickinson, and i was fired up about that. very cool. the last cuplet on that is that how frugal is the chariot that bears the human soul and the
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power of stories in knowing kids and being able to engage deeply and one of the transformational pieces of the new accountability opportunities are about growth. so now 50% of the system is based on growth and being able to look deeply at young people and in particular, the children who are most school dependent. so, you may hear that term school dependency, right? so the opportunity for a young person who is going to get their meal and carrie talked about that at school and the social connection and the consistency, the kind of well-being that they experience in very few other places they get at school. so personal, i was a very school-dependent child. i moved a lot, lots of different families, but here's where it gets -- i'm going to change it up a little bit. how many school-dependent folks
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are in the audience? so this is a chance to think about -- remember we're people doing this work and it gets really easy about accountability systems and we are designing for, with and in service of children and families, right? how and in what ways do we create conditions to think deeply about caring for children and families, to create this place of belonging and deservingness in our schools. you have to have a system that reenforces that. we were in a deeply competitive system and now i would argue what essa has allowed us to do and what some people were always craving the ability to care for and work across district and across state and for us, illinois and empower is the context to share stories and to really share practice across districts and in fact, we -- i'll go deeper into this in a minute, but we actually have posted now three story teller
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positions that we will start our accountability system with 852 positive stories that we build from what's working and we all have to get better and every one of us needs a coach to get better. lebron was so consistent and michael jordan was so consistent and i need a personal coach in the off season to get better and they're arguably the best players that have ever played and we all need help to get better, but we all do some stuff pretty well and the ability to interrupt what humans do and confirmation bias. we hear all of the time that something's bad and we go in looking for bad. if we start to hear and see some examples of things that are a little bit different, maybe we'll see some different things, right? so the opportunity to build a system thattor yents us that way is really the opportunity in essa and i look forward to talking more about that.
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>> well, it's always -- am i on? it's always difficult to follow great colleagues like pam and tony. let me just say that i hope what you heard in both pam's comments and tony's comments is that the equity commitments have allowed us to deeply root our work in students. that said, it's pretty tough to think about equity without thinking about funding, and so let me set the table quickly in wyoming. our education system is wholly dependent on state funding from commodities, particularly from the energy industry. so we actually have a prohibition on local school districts from raising funds to augment their education and anything they raise locally goes to the state level as captured and redistributed so we truly have equitable funding and it's a whole lot less about quantity and a whole lot more about quality of funding and that's where we start digging into the
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equity commitments in wyoming. so we have tribal learners in wyoming, and i have to give a shoutout to my colleague joy from oklahoma who really got me thinking about how to engage tribal learners in this essa process. for so long, eaven though we're all thinking about equity, there's no way to move the need will with the tribal learners. it's too much. it's too big, and boy, my eyes have been opened through the essa process and through our commitments through equity with our tribal learners. so through a grant from ccsso we were able to engage our tribal teachers more deeply than we did our other stake holder groups which to us brought forth a few -- a few a-ha moments, but in addition to that, essa has a requirement that we engage in formal government to government
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relations, and i have to say that's something about essa that really kept me up at night. how do we move beyond formal government to government consultation and move into a conversation that we haven't had before. there have been the nice tees with the tribal learners that going to the res advisiervation having them come to my office and say we need more resources and we need do things differently and we haven't been beyond the nice tees and with the help of the ccsso grant and with the deep thought around what is consultation to conversation look like? we've really been able to make in eyeroads wi inroads with the tribal learners and i am very proud of that going forward and that's found its way in multiple equity commitments of the ten. so number one is professional development. what we hear over and over again from our tribal, and i don't -- i don't say that tribal learners
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are any different from any other group, any other student group that we identify in our state and that we might not be identifying yet, but number one, stop punishing us, stop telling us what's wrong with our schools and let's work together on putting resources and people toward solving some of those issues. number two, continue to talk to us and recognize that we're unique and not just the lowest 5% of the schools, but truly unique in that we're the lowest 5%, we're persistently low and maybe what you're doing for other schools or maybe the way that you're thinking about school improvement isn't going to work for us. so how do we work together to change the conversation? number three, we want to think about and in particular our tribal learners, we want to think about excellence and we want to think about that in terms of standards and assessment. so again, bridging multiple
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equity commitments and thinking just much more carefully about our tribal learners and all learners and the quality of funding, not just the quantity of funding. >> thank you, jillian. i'm going to move back and forth and ask specific questions. tony, you had this consultation to conversation going on in illinois, too, and i want you to talk about that journey for you and the stake holder engagement. >> i thought it was very important and everybody across the country to engage deeply in the conversation with people in schools and communities. we ended up writing three different drafts of the plan and that was engaging 100-plus meetings up and down the state and come back to the state board and each of the groups and we talked about it as creating and strengthening relationships and the opportunity to continue to work together and this is a pretty consistent theme across
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the country and said that one of the things that if we could do this in really design a plan that met the needs of illinoisans and what would it look like? starting from a vision and working backwards in the practice and that really created that first emotional release and all of the things that everyone hated about what was happening, that whole first round was a lot of emotional release and what are some of the opportunities and then that work of everything under the son, the back and forth and change moves at the speed of trust and you're able to move back and forth and what people saw the process, things that didn't make it into the final plan, but heard the rationale, that's yet iteration and that's why the multiple drafts were so important and then the things that were not resolved we said these are working group issues and even in the plan we submitted said these are some items that we need more work on, a p-2 indicators, for
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example, the definition of leaving middle school ready for high school. leaving high school, college career and ready for the world and what does that look like and those are working groups that continue the technical advisory committee and the waiting of all of our plans and there was a way in which we said here's our plan and we expect to work on for this year getting it finalized so that by august, the entire state is ready to launch together and so we have right now 31 pilot districts that are using a rubrick that we're going to use across all districts around structure and governance, safe and healthy climate in teaching and learning and it's against that rubrick that every district will do that deep equity analysis. so again, lowest performing 5%, sure, but the entire structure is about capacity building because every single district, every single school can do something better or different for children, and so that sensibility emerged in the dialogue with stakeholders
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across the state. . i appreciate what you said about the speed of trust. it's an important concept for all of us and we're in a big hurry to get things move, but the speed of trust is a pretty important thing for us to think about. pam, talk to us about your stake holder engagement and the flexibility that was provided and how did that matter when you guys went into this work? >> well, we obviously went about this by engaging specific groups of stakeholders and the ones that truly would have an investment in what our plan would result in and that was a great opportunity for us to be able to gather information. we, in a very formal way pulled together superintendents that represented the diversity of nor da whi florida which we felt was
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something very important and the diverging viewpoints on this particular issue and that proved to be very helpful. it proved helpful in coming to some decisions of the practitioners, but also in being able to have some community voices that could continue to carry the message forward for us and within florida, i would say that because we have been about this work for more than a decade, this was a matter of finding those things within the flexibility that would be important to florida in moving this needle, particularly when we think about closing the gap. >> i appreciate that. you went from nclb to essa and not the stopgap waivers and the measure and talk us to about the
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flexibility you experienced and the way you looked at it. >> so, we are one of seven states that did not -- that did not get a waiver under no child left behind. so historically, we have looked at federal accountability as even more of a black spot in our state than many other states have looked at. in fact, so much so that in 2012 we stood up an accountability system at the statewide level and have told stakeholders for no child left behind existence to ignore ayp and only focus on our statewide accountability which, in theory, sounds like a really nice transition when we go from no child left behind to essa because we have been asking them to focus on our state accountability system, but now all of a sudden enter essa that has some opportunities and enter the equity commitments that also
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presents opportunities for us to refine and strengthen our statewide system and not because we're being told that we have to, but because it's the right thing to do for students. so it's definitely been a challenge because we have seen two very distinct accountability systems -- accountability systems in wyoming and one has been don't touch it. don't each pay attention to it and the other has been the golden child so to merge those has again presented some opportunities for us to look at our essa plan as sort of a blueprint or executive summary of our statewide accountability system and our statewide accountability system as something that we want to merge with essa. stake holder engagement has been so key in this process, talking
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to folks how essa provides a backdrop and an opportunity for us to think more carefully about career, college and military ready to think more carefully about stake holder input. we have an unprecedented standards review process in wyoming that is completely transparent and we get hundreds, literally hundreds of comments through town hall meetings and through opportunities to give input online about our standards, before, during and after promulgation and so that may seem separate, but it all feeds into our accountability system in the sense that we're trying to build the rigor and we're trying to utilize or leverage essa to make our state work much more robust. >> i think that's an important
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point that essa for so many states or for most states is a component of the way in which you look at education in your state. so let me just open it up for the three of you. so you may have heard lately that there's been some concerns with your essa plans and there's been citations that they lacked long-term ambition and there was no innovation and you neglected a sub group and talk to us about some of those criticisms and some of those comments and how you are thinking about that in your state. >> people looking in this direction. i'm happy to take that on. we believe that what we've done has been very successful and we also think that we've got what i would term as a commissioner's grassroots approach to the closing the gap topic and over a
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year ago i began work on first making the data that many of you know and we have a great deal of data in florida and making that available, in a very user friendly kind of way so anyone can go look at what does the gap look like at the state level? what does it look like in my district? how does my district compare to the state and to other districts that i may want to look at and really putting that information out there to begin the conversation, we also started the commissioner's convenings and i invited all superintendents as well as the college presidents. our system in florida includes the college system and so we invited them together for a conversation. initially, it was to look at the data. look at the data in the service area so districts were working
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together with their local college, and just taking a look at where do we stand and where are the gaps and where do we need to focus our energies, and then also after november when ccsso put out the ten commandments as carrie has dubbed them today. i like that, and we actually -- i went back immediately and we took that list, and i brought props. we actually have the ten strategies for closing the achievement and attainment gap, making it applicable to both our k-12 and our college system and we took each of those ten areas and prioritized those to fit within our k-12 system and the college system and we went beyond and talked about what do we need to do to change this? and robert bellfant's vote is
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what we focused on and we've gotten a commitment in our districts that they are committed to in a meaningful way rather than it being something that was dictated through our accountability system and also seeing the value that it was going to be for as tony pointed out, the value it would be for students and how they really, truly were going to be able to move the needle in this way. and for fear not getting the opportunity to say this again and one reading that i think it's important that we all do is called the impact of implicit bias, racial anxiety and stereotype threat on student outcomes. it can really change individual's outlooks and actions in this very arena. it is so important that all of us take the time to look at that and really change what we can do and it does get at some of those things that robert bellfant
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talks about that are so important in this arena. >> pam, you raise a really important point that all of what you just talked about, not all of it is in your essa plan. it is the work of your state and people will not be able to pick up that plan and point out all of the things that you just talked about. so i -- >> i'll pick up there. the opportunity to look deeply at implicit bias and tremendous amount of respect for the state agencies that are doing that work and their agencies, even the reference now that pam's making, that in our plan in illinois, we are talking about the situatedness of districts and where schools are located and they've located in contexts and for a long time the language of at-risk students, the distance that that puts the kids away from our shared responsibility as adults, children that we've put at risk by community decisions that have structurally excluded groups of
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families from the circle of concern, and the whole narrative about the deservingness of each one of those children and families and what, in fact, wooe going to do and the extra support those kids need, how about this? the very best, most kick-ass community school i've ever been in is a well-resourced high income community school where there are lots of adults and social workers and all kinds of things that kids are going through. it's not extra needs that those kids have. it's what they don't have in other places because those opportunities have been stripped. so how and what ways we understand the context of schools and where they're situated allows for us to have targeted universalism. so we have very high common goals for every child, right? and every family. we must target resources in different ways to ensure that all of our children are doing well. equity is a superior growth strategy for this country.
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equity is the superior growth strategy for this country. angela glover blackwell talks about that. a policy of extraction and just getting the best you can from a few kids will tank all of our states. we must figure out how to care for and educate every one of our kids, right? the tremendous waste of human capital that plays out across our systems unless we think holistically, so that's when we try to position in illinois and empower about a set of beliefs and values. we've been talking about this in this country for a very, very -- a hundred years or 50 years and names, structural exclusion as the primary issue. so until we take that seriously and begin to dig deep. so part of our story telling theme is about sharing practice, but it's also about beginning to interrupt implicit bias. you start to have other language and other ways to talk about
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people and see them as more complex and whole humans rather than just what they're not. and so i think what's interesting to me about some of the critiques and our states have gotten is it's still from that punishment frame. it's still from what's not in your plan. it's wanot what have they done their leadership to pivot and create more opportunities for children across this country which my colleagues in this room have been extraordinary in your leadership to create a better set of opportunities. opportunity infrastructures in our states and the people who are setting those critiques out, i don't think have or bear the responsibility for actually creating opportunities for kids. >> thanks, tony. >> i'll just add a tiny bit more to that, and say that no child left behind had all of us on defense for years and years and years. we were constantly having to say why our kids weren't proficient
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on the test and why our kids weren't read py for college and why all of our kids didn't fit inside of a bock as we were trying to grap weple with how t have that conversation with constant defending ourselves. essa gives us a wonderful opportunity to be on the offense and to have these conversations like tony and pam just laid out inside of the context of law and legislation, and that's a really, really pivotal point for us to be as education leaders and for our states to be as we begin to take the lead. so when we had critical feedback and i'll just say about our long-term goals, i took that as an opportunity to, a really important opportunity to say thank goodness our goals are where they are because they're real goals. this is where we are as a state and we have an opportunity to think about realistic goals and
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lofty, ambitious, but achievable, real goals. so we're not going to pretend that every kid can be successful on a test or that every kid needs to go to college, but we are going to are going to accept where we are as a state. where our students are as students and we're going to set growth goals and focus on the growing of our students from year to year. and at the end of the day recognize that they can all be participants in the prosperity of our state and the prosperity of our nation by taking different and varied paths. and i think that that is -- that is the strength, but also the pitfall of essa, because our efault is constantly, we've got to have all kids look the same. so it's so important to have these discussions inside of the context of a law and think about boldness, not in numbers and not in 100% and not in every kid looking the same, but in the context of we get to think about education in a really bold way that we haven't maybe ever.
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>> thank you. i'm going to open it up to the audience for a few questions. we have about five or six minutes left in this session. if there is anyone who would like to ask any of our panelists a question we have mike runners all across the room here. while we're waiting for some brave soul to stand up -- oh, we have somebody. >> thanks. so my name is heady cheng. i'm the director of attendance. tony, it is so fabulous to see you up there. part of what i have seen and you've seen this -- tony and i have known each other for a long time. he was my first superintendant who took on the issue of chronic absence with me to help a school district take a look at this metric and see what it meant for community responsibility. and what i know is key is that i was thinking about this as you were talking about how do you --
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chronic absence affects the kids most school dependent and they're not getting to school to have the support. it's an early warning sign, but we have a system that places blame around truancy. what i see is the blame game goes everywhere in the system. we blame kids for not showing up. we blame communities. we blame our teachers. and what you're talking about in a growth mindset is how do you take essa and create an opportunity to move away from blame to growth in a tailored way that builds upon the strengths of everyone in that system? but we've never done that before, and i see systems so entrenched in a blame game, not a strength-based approach to growth, and my question is, both what is it that you as superintendents can do to help move that, but also, what it is that you need from those of us who are outside systems to support you in creating a different kind of dialogue.
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because this is a pretty tough environment to shift from blame to growth mindset, because blame is far more pervasive at this moment. >> whoever wants to start. >> i can jump in. hi, haddy. so i think last night doris kearns goodwin talked about aspirational. there was a brilliant question about talking about the vision of the country, right? so i still think as allies in systems, like, our ability to be pushed as leaders but also expected to have places of belonging and inclusion -- right now there is deep concern about pushing those kids out, like, the punishment framework, even for those kids we expel, how and what ways are we taking care of them? so the kids that don't show up, like, what are we doing? i will say real quick, evidence-based funding in illinois, huge years of work,
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we've now moved to an enrollment based system for funding districts rather than attendance based. largely because we advocated that we need resources for those kids and families that are most distressed to actually be able to help get them in. so funding and even thinking about what are we going to do to get resources to go help rather than it's a -- they're not attending so we've got to do everything we can to get them in to get the dollars. it's actually so we have resources to figure out what's happening and wrap support around them. but i would say as allies outside of our systems that you have to help us change the narrative. that we need larger -- we need bigger voices to change this narrative about punishment. we need to talk about inclusion, support, growth, i mean, growth mindset, like we might all get that in here, but this idea that it's not fixed, that's different work. and we still need more national conversation about that. >> i would just add that i think going back to robert balfanz
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work. there are other warning signs. one of them is teacher absenteeism. when you look at his work and look at teacher absenteeism, is that just indicative of the entire issue which speaks to school culture? and what we can do in the entire picture, perhaps mentorships or making that connection. we've talked about the social and emotional in many arenas as we talk about school safety, et cetera. and i think if we can address that we're going to think differently about how we address the absenteeism issue and really make meaningful changes in that area. >> and i will just quickly add that, you know, that was an incredibly high-level question,
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but kind of the nuts and bolts of that is thinking about how we spend our federal funding. we know social, emotional is going to be a bigger part of the instructional conversation. so i think the earlier we can recognize that and the better that we can lead the braiding of funds, whether that's title ii or from somewhere else, to ensure that the professional development, the support and the funding is disbursed in a way that we can get the biggest bang for our bucks, whether those are state, local or federal dollars. >> we have time for one more question. >> thank you. i've been inspired by your states and the experience of
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ess essa of addressing issues of disparity of voice and equity through the process of essa, and, you know, think we all had a lot of learning experiences from hearing from people we never heard from and where that took us on a policy perspective. we know that implementing policy involves hard work and people and rolling your sleeves up. i wondered what your thoughts are an continuing momentum of that really careful thought process making sure people are in the rooms for the decisions when decisions are not grand plans that get national review, they're daily discipline practices, they're everyday issues in all of our districts and schools. so i'm wondering what your thoughts are to keep that momentum of lessons learned. >> i'll just -- i'll start and say that i think that a great first step is the states leading campaign. and here's why. you know, i think we need to be thoughtful about the states leading campaign, not just being
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sort of a -- attaching those story to the equity commitments and how we are applying or implementing the equity commitments in our state, and i think that good begets good, right? so states leading campaign is a great way to start, and, yes, it's a campaign which could be seen as sort of a gloss-over, but i think it will lead to us thinking more deliberately about sort of those soft pieces that are going to get the national review. >> to pick up on that, so the intentionality of structures and supports so that it's not welcoming people in to have a conversation in a place that's uncomfortable, uncertain, that how and in what ways do you have to create different conditions and learn how to listen to one another? so i think last night we were charged -- sorry for this buzz.
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so the -- last night we were charged to lead. like we're uniquely positioned. so i think our ability to connect and help listen to each other, listening is a teleprompteri transformative act. i really fundamentally believe that. not a lot of space where we're just supported to listen. so this local enstanciation of the local government, deep engagement, creating more comfort and structures for people to be participants in that conversation and learning how to support each other to listen is really critical. that's technical work. that's not just get people in a room, listen, and this has been said by many of my colleagues, but the best public policy is done in partnership. you've got to create the conditions for partnership. and then implementation, you know, the intent of the policy's
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great, implementation, but the impact, so keeping those feedback loops in process and doing it over time. but that requires new relationships and deep listening and creating new conditions to be in relationship across difference that we haven't done very well in this country. >> and i'll -- the only thing i'll add is that in my 308 days remaining in this role, i feel a sense of urgency to get this done or at least so imbedded that it just becomes a way of life. and there is never a time when i speak publicly or even one-on-one that i don't talk about this issue and closing the gap and have sort of that elevator speech, and we also have an info graph that talks about how well we're doing, where we have left to go, what we think are the most important issues in getting this done, and this is an easy thing for us to
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hand out and start the conversation. if you talk to any of the superintendents in florida and ask them, what is the goal in florida? they will tell you it is to close the achievement gap. and so keeping that conversation fresh in everyone's mind always is what's important for us. >> so i just want to close us out today and thank my fellow panelists, but go back to the question about what you as partners can do to help states moving this forward. when we think back to what tony said about the speed of trust, it's the speed of trust with our stakeholders in our state, which states have done an incredible job of, but it's also our partners who said in this room, our partners who help us get this work right, that there is a level of trust that needs to be had so you can have the conversations to get to the
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growth mindset that we want to see happen. and we invite you into that conversation. we invite you to talk to any of our state chiefs about their plans, about things that are wide and beyond their plans about what -- the way in which they want to improve education. so please join me in thanking our panelists. [ applause ] c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies. and today we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house the suspect and public policy events in washington, d.c. and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. next on c-span3, president trump's nominee to be the u.s.
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