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How to fix education in the US: A new approach Steve Kirsch This presentation is available on the web at:

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1 How to fix education in the US: A new approach Steve Kirsch This presentation is available on the web at:

2 Agenda Why we need dramatic change Why existing reforms have not worked A new approach How you can help

3 95 TIMSS results 42 countries

4 Education is broken Huge room for improvement - Its not diversity: our kids start out being among the best in the world and slip to last by 12 th grade; we beat South Africa, Cyprus - Even our top schools need major help: our top 10% = Singapores bottom 15% - High urban HS dropout rates: 50% in NYC; 53% in Houston - Serious teacher shortages. >50% of 92,000 principals will retire or quit in the next 5 years. We are not getting any better - Net negative progress on our own National Education Goals - Gephardt: US Government analysis shows virtually all federal education programs were ineffective - Only a few state programs work: Connecticut teacher quality - Local control/competition doesnt work. Charters are no better. - We cant even agree on how to measure success. Very political. Even experts fooled by test results rhetoric; Texas Miracle - We need MAJOR reform, but get piecemeal bills (federal/state)

5 Agenda Why we need dramatic change Why existing reforms have not worked A new approach How you can help

6 Why existing reforms have not worked They enable, but do not ensure success (Goals 2000) They lack guidance for schools on proven ways for how to improve (Goals 2000) and/or suffer from Catch-22 (Rewards for Results) There is no scale. We have limited funds, but no efficiencies with 50+ different standards and over 30,000 local school districts (LSDs). They attack small pieces of the problem - No legislation requires all the key components for success They are not tested and proven on a small scale before being implemented nationally - We create programs we think should work, when we should just be copying what works in other countries, e.g., Cambridge Assessments, national standards, … - We incentivize programs such as SFA despite a complete lack of credible data showing it has impact; we are not rigorous enough - We experiment on our kids! Our intentions are good, but our outcomes are unpredictable, e.g., Texas TAAS v. TASP, CSRD We will never know if we are successful because we have no national standards or assessments

7 Texas had state/local control… imagine what a focus on testing can do for the rest of the country!

8 Agenda Why we need dramatic change Why existing reforms have not worked A new approach How you can help

9 What do we need to do? We have a huge gap to bridge This requires dramatic change: - Understand why we have failed in the past - Avoid those mistakes - Realize that this is a federal problem: the states have had their chance for over 200 years, yet no state stands out of the pack (NAEP). State/local control can make things dramatically worse, e.g., Texas results on TASP. - Understand why other countries have succeeded and adopt best practices of top performing countries. Copying first to get to parity, innovating later. - Have the leadership and courage to do things dramatically differently than we are today - Create a vision and a believable strategy based on what has proven to work

10 The vision All students in the USA receive the best K-12 education in the world TIMSS 4 th grade 12 th grade

11 The big idea In aviation, a pilot uses an extensive proven checklist to ensure a safe flight… Why not offer a substantial on-going cash incentive to enable schools to pass a proven checklist of statistically proven replicable requirements that ensures a quality education?

12 Why dont we run schools like airlines? A. Airlines governed by national safety standards (not set by airlines!) B. All pilots are qualified and certified to fly the plane type (no unqualified substitutes allowed!) C. On-going pilot training D. Pilots who dont perform can be fired E. Planes that dont meet code cant be used F. Pilots free to determine how to fly the plane, but not the destination G. Require pilots to go through a proven safety checklist (that ensures a successful flight) before takeoff

13 Strategy: Obey-Porter on steroids Provide substantial on-going cash incentives to individual schools only if ALL key components are either committed to or in place and working This is essentially an improved Obey-Porter/CSRD: - All schools eligible (not just Title 1 or 3,000 schools) - Big incentive ($1K/pupil minimum; >$2K/pupil for low performing schools) - $ incentive phases for adoption, implementation, gains - Startup and on-going support (not limited to first 3 yrs) - Funding sustained only if high performance sustained - More comprehensive: ensures ALL key pieces - More rigorous: Like FDA, require components to be approved by a non-partisan panel of experts Components must prove a high level of efficacy School test results must be interpreted by experts

14 Five key components necessary for improvement A proven whole school design Teaching effectiveness Principal/teacher pay based on performance, ability to easily assign/fire teachers/staff, differential pay in certain geographic/subject areas, on-going professional development Learning environment Ready to learn, Class size Pre-K program Single national standard and assessment; Choice of curricula and materials (all aligned) Stable funding

15 What happens if the key components are in place? AreaImprovement Plainfield, NJ63% Rochester, NY105% Duval County, FL69% Pass rate improvement on state exams measured by CPRE NCEE Americas Choice in public schools only 12 months into implementation (of 60)

16 National Standards Copy first to get to parity. Innovate later. George H.W. Bush called for National Standards in 91! As has Sen. Bingaman since the early 90s. Its time to heed the call. We have national standards for food/drugs, airline/auto safety, environment, but not education!?! We are the only country in the world with >1 standard We have over 50 education standards in the USA; Nebraska alone has 6 different standards! Why? Who is leading this? Result is smaller states get the poorest materials! We have a mobile economy. People move all the time throughout the US. Kids shouldnt have their education disrupted. We are wasting time. Agree on one existing standard and one assessment now. Focus on optimizing curricula and materials. Two excellent stds/assessment options: NCEEs (done in collaboration w/22 states) or Singapores. Any better choices?

17 Top state experts want you to take action This is a good idea that should be very seriously considered. – Reed Hastings President, California State Board of Education This approach makes total sense. You have my support. – Delaine Eastin California State Superintendent of Public Instruction This is a comprehensive approach that has a high probability of success. – Ted Lempert Former chair, Joint Committee on Master Plan for Education in California

18 Additional benefits of proposed legislation Decrease bureaucracy and cost Increase speed of implementation Increase choice Increase local control Increase standards Increase accountability Increase predictability Better performance/outcomes

19 Financing the plan Stats: 40M kids; 105,000 schools; 30,000 LSDs; Obey-Porter participation is 2% after 4 yrs Assuming $1.2K/pupil (average) 2% participation: under $1B/yr - Worst case (100% participation): $40B/year Sources of funds - Bush has said that education is the #1 priority for America - $1.3 trillion tax cut came from the surplus from money left over after we funded our priorities.

20 Agenda Why we need dramatic change Why existing reforms have not worked A new approach How you can help

21 Summary All our schools need major help - A national disaster relative to what is possible. We cant even make positive progress against our own goals! Federal problem - States have had >200 years to solve the problem, but things are getting worse. No country has achieved international parity without national standards. Incentivize only what has proven to work consistently - Its time to copy what other countries have done and we have already proven works in schools throughout the US An improved Obey-Porter bill can ensure success - NCEEs Americas Choice hints at what is possible if all key components are in place We will work w/you to draft legislation/mobilize support

22 Your advice? Objections/ideas/feedback/suggestions? What do we need to do to get your support? Would you potentially co-sponsor a bill like this? Are you/others ready to take a stand? - Change will not happen without federal leadership. Example: NEA membership is split on key issues (national standards), so you must make the call. If you are happy with the status quo, vote to maintain it. Is there a better, more credible plan to get to international parity? How should we approach national standards? Pass a toothless standard or incorporate into this bill?

23 Backup slides

24 Education is seriously broken TIMSS shows America ranks in virtually last place on an international scale - Our diversity isnt the cause because 4 th graders do just fine Schools/states with more homogeneous populations do no better than schools/states with diverse populations - It isnt limited to math and science; the reasons we are behind are independent of the subject Zero to negative progress on our own National Education goals Charters/choice isnt the answer: Charters have mixed results and in Texas, they are uniformly worse

25 The solution is both simple and obvious If you want to get to international parity, study the successful countries and COPY WHAT WORKS (adopting to the US if required) For example, this is precisely the approach NCEE took (11 years)

26 Legislative approach: Obey-Porter on steroids If you pass the checklist each year, you get $2K per year per student Year 1 Choose 2 … Choose 1... … …. Choose 3 … Year 2 Choose 2 … Choose 1... … …. Choose 3 … Year 3 Choose 2 … Choose 1... … …. Choose 3 … All schools eligible Components must be proven to be effective AND scalable (certify by OERI) All components must be present

27 A checklist to ENSURE success: Sample items Align standards, curriculum, assessments - Adopting national standards is the simplest and a superior way to achieve alignment - Adopt best practices for standards, curriculum, assessments Whole school design including professional development, e.g., NCEEs Americas Choice We must run education like a business; you cant hold people accountable if you dont give them the responsibility and authority - Principals must be able to fire teachers - Teacher pay should be based on job performance

28 Desired outcome To inform - To share with you a new comprehensive approach to revolutionize education in the US - To create awareness of our plans to make it happen To convince - We must take dramatic action now at the federal level - That if we take action now, we can be #1 in 10 years To listen - Your advice? - What do we need to do to get your support? - Who is interested in getting more involved today?

29 About me Founder of 4 high tech companies - Propel, Infoseek, Frame, Mouse. High profile investors. - Red Herring: Top 10 Entrepreneurs of San Jose Magazine: The Power 100 of Silicon Valley Motivation: enlightened self-interest, 2 kids - $50M Kirsch Foundation: environment, world safety, medicine - Worth: 100 Most Generous Americans - NSFRE: Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year - Tech Museum: Inspiration Award - Junior Achievement: Hall of Fame - City of Sunnyvale: Heart of Silicon Valley Award - Aspen Institute: Crown Fellow

30 What makes you an expert on education? I dont think I am an expert in education. I am one of the top rated entrepreneurs in the country so I can tell you about how to improve and how to innovate. Im unbiased. I dont have a vested interested in any education approach. Ive attended numerous educational conferences and listened for stories of what works. I know how to interpret data: Im one of the few people in the world who can explain the conflict in the RAND papers. You dont have to believe me. Is there a better approach that is more likely than my approach to achieve international parity? My interest is in the best solution for America, not pushing my own agenda!

31 Interesting facts Schools avg 42 yrs old. $127B needed to bring schools into code compliance. There are more librarians working in prison libraries than in public school libraries In many schools, janitors are paid more than the teachers (and the school principal cant tell the janitor what to do or fire them) Local control has gone wild with little to show for it: - In California, there are 988 independent school districts (but only 58 counties). 58% have 2,500 or fewer students. Only 300 have a web site. - There are 18 school districts in San Jose, but only 1 in Los Angeles State control is filled with politics - Number of times in two years that CA Gov Davis has met with the state Superintendent of Public Instruction: 1

32 Interesting facts California Governor Gray Davis says education is his top priority. Yet neither he nor his Secretary of Education were aware of NCEEs 11 years of research on what works in other countries. He has never visited any of the 20 NCEE schools in California. We have no one tracking how well our states are doing relative to each other on educational improvement. - The RAND analysis [Klein, Oct 2000, Tables 1 and 2] has not been extended to other states even though it is a trivial calculation (simple subtraction)!

33 Existing reforms Texas TAAS, Testing, accountability, local control, high standards, … enable, but do not ensure success. Scores on all other exams (including NAEP) were flat to down. A disaster. Goals 2000, Proved local control doesnt ensure success Obey-Porter (CSRD), Provides funds to help pay for the costs of adopting proven, comprehensive school reform designs - Read this: No child left behind, May get same negative effects as in TX, GA, SC, NY. We are experimenting on our kids. Its irresponsible!

34 Is Bush an expert on education? Is his track record real? Texas is one of 2 states with greatest progress on education - Fact: In Feb 2001, NEGP recognized 20 states for significant progress and high achievement and Texas didnt even make the top 20! Texas minority Students Rank Highest in Math - Fact: Its been that way for over a decade! Bush narrowed the achievement gap - Fact: It got wider for Hispanics and Blacks on both NAEP reading and math (RAND/NAEP) # passing TAAS increased by 51% - Fact: TAAS is crap; Every other score (SAT, ACT, TASP, and NAEP) were all flat to way down in Texas.

35 Conflicting RAND reports Is it raining outside? Yes and No are both correct…it depends on whether you are talking about immediately outside or somewhere in the world. The RAND report conflict is similar. Both reports were right, but they said the same thing if you read the fine print. The press never asked the RAND authors to explain/resolve the conflict. But I did! RAND (Grissmer): Texas was a top performer from 1990 to 1996… but if you throw out the th grade math score, Texas is average. All NAEP scores are flat since Bush took office. The 1996 one-time gain was due to the introduction of high-stakes testing (before Bush took office). RAND (Klein): Texas showed no gains relative to other states on NAEP from 1992 to Achievement gap widened on NAEP. TAAS is a useless metric. Bennett/Finn who criticized Kleins report have never replied with any data or error that disproved Kleins report

36 Lessons from RAND We allow politics to get in the way of interpreting test results; we need an non- partisan group to define/measure success If you attack a peer reviewed paper, attack it with facts. There has never been a peer reviewed challenge to either RAND paper. We have got to de-politicize testing and the interpretation of test results! Note: Also need to de-politicize dropout rates, per pupil spending and define these in a standard way

37 Students in Texas are terrific at taking the TAAS test This is useless since THE ONLY SCORES THAT IMPROVED were the TAAS scores. If you have true learning, it shows up everywhere! The focus on testing and accountability had an unfortunate side effect: learning and subject matter was seriously compromised Note: TAAS was instituted before Bush took office so even if you believe it is successful, he cant take credit for it Bushs single education accomplishment

38 Is the education bill the answer? Unlikely. There is no test case or basis for that belief. LDH (Stanford) believes its a negative. May achieve the same effect as in TX, GA, SC, NY, i.e., it may make matters MUCH worse! Silent on 3 of the 8 national education goals The Bush principles of accountability, local control, high standards, … do not ensure success. They ensure nothing. Like Goals Dont we ever learn? Insanity=repeating and expecting diff results. Can anyone tell me the expected average gain in NAEP scores as a result of this legislation? If we dont know, how do we KNOW it will be positive? We are experimenting on our kids. This is irresponsible!

39 8 National Education Goals Official Dec 99 assessment Ready to Learn: No way to measure HS Completion >90%: No improvement Student Achievement: Some improvement Teacher Education: Worse. 1 st in world in Math & Science: Last place. Adult Literacy & Lifelong Learning: Worse. % in adult ed has dropped. Achievement gap widened for college degree. Safe schools: Got worse. Parental participation: Hard to measure. No change. Source:

40 The single best measure: the dropout rate Dropout rate is the single best measure of how we are doing as a society in educating our students is, as Leonard P. Ayres wrote in 1909: - No standard which may be applied to a school system as a measure of accomplishment is more significant than that which tells us what proportion of the pupils who enter the first grade succeed in reaching the final grade. We made ZERO progress in increasing this in the 1990s 50% HS dropout rate in New York City; 43% in LA Bush chose Paige, who has almost the worst dropout rate in the country (53%), for Secty Education… No child left behind?!?!

41 How? Copy what works! If we adopt world-wide best practices, we can achieve international parity! Weve had 200 years to make our educational system the best in the world. Its the worst. Why? We dont measure! Without national standards, we cant tell you if how many schools in the US are performing at or above international levels. We keep making the same mistakes over and over again.

42 Five key components A comprehensive design/entire-school reform model - Aligned standards, curriculum, assessments - Parental involvement - Ability to customize; support and training Teacher/principal quality - Superior pay to attract the best talent. Ability to fire non- performers. - Trained, qualified, and certified to perform their jobs - On-going professional development Environment conducive to learning - Small class sizes - Safe. Sanitary. Well maintained. - Available learning materials: books, library, … National standards, curriculum, assessments Stable funding

43 Can this work today? Yes! School Design - NCEEs Americas Choice (AC) works. AC can set a high standard for what constitutes a Qualifying Program. Teacher/Principal training/pay - AC teacher training - Connecticuts teacher development program - Raising pay should be straightforward Environment - Should be straightforward National standards, curriculums, assessments - Optional, but highly recommended. Other countries have done this. We have national standards! We could adopt ACs curriculum, assessments nationally.

44 National Center on Education and the Economy Non-profit. Carnegie funded. Sen. Clinton has served on Board of Directors Spent 11 years and over $50M of charitable donations to study best practices in education in the top performing countries. - If you align the standards, curriculum, assessments, teachers, parents, … and you adopt best practices for each component, you achieve remarkable results - National standards/curriculum/assessments is how the top performing countries achieve this alignment. This is the simplest way, but not the only way. Created Americas Choice (AC) for use w/CSRD - Adapted best practices to US market - Allows for customization: Each AC school is unique

45 What is NCEEs Americas Choice? Unique goal: ensure all students ready for college without remediation 200 public schools in US use it, doubling every year Entire-school design (K-12) - standards, curriculum, assessments - student learning (Planning for Results System) - teacher training (professional development program) - community supports - parent-public involvement - a strong technical assistance program - a design structure for the school staff to implement the design; schools must hire a Design Coach - provides all materials; no technology required More info:

46 AC results The worst result - A 63% improvement in 12 months on a 20% implemented program Now imagine whats possible - 100% implementation; 13 years of cumulative effect.

47 Legislation components A national problem: states failed, so solve at the national level We cant mandate this, but we can incentivize it Provide sufficient funding to incentivize and enable a school to: - Adopt a Qualifying Program for school design - Adopt the national standards and assessments, and choose one of the approved national curricula (OK to add state/local requirements on top) - Pay teachers and principals what they are worth and ensure that they are trained/qualified and there is on-going professional development - Provide an environment suitable for learning including small class size - A substantial majority of faculty must be committed to the program - Demonstrate achievement of implementation milestones, performance gains, and sustained high performance (assessments, dropout rate) - Negotiate a stable funding source from the state You only get the incentive if all the pieces are in place/working Phased roll out ensures it works w/o unintended consequences

48 Other components Principals must be able to fire teachers (a generous severance should compensate for the school year cycle of employment) Mandatory Kindergarten Incorporate components from RAND study: - Low teacher/pupil ratio; high per pupil expenditures; adequate resources for teaching; Pre-K; low teacher turnover stats

49 Objections Experts will not agree. Education is like advertising: everyone has an opinion States have too much invested in their bureaucracy, standards, and systems. Its politically impossible and expensive for them to change. One size doesnt fit all; national standards and curriculum can work in a small country, but it cant work in the US because were too diverse State law changes may be necessary to allow schools to opt in to this program Current bill tells states: make up your own tests. This bill would encourage states to use national tests. Thats confusing leadership.

50 Overcoming the objections The proposed legislation is essentially a stronger version of Obey-Porter. It complements existing legislation. May 2001: Georgia state Board of Education adopted NCEEs AC for 223 low-performing schools Public schools all over the US have adopted AC even without incentives because it can be tailored to the school and because it works National standards can work in the US. For example, NCEE standards work just fine in all states. NAEP is a de facto national assessment that is widely accepted. States and local districts can supplement national standards. Is there a better plan? What are we waiting for?

51 Suggestions/Issues Too hard to get people to agree/use national standards. Instead, leverage current focus on testing and push national assessments (i.e., NAEP) instead. That will drive national curriculum and standards. Its backwards, but may be much more politically feasible. Allocate 35% of incentive to increasing pay? Allow the schools to decide $$ allocation? Maybe the key is agreeing on how to objectively measure success. If everyone agreed on the right yardstick, models like NCEE would spread on their own. Need to take into account reduced standards for Special Needs students

52 Is this a good idea? Everyone has an opinion. Education is a soft science to many: 12 experts can give you 12 different points of view on this issue. No single expert has all the facts or all the answers. In some cases, they have the facts wrong. Two ways to get to determine the proper approach to fixing education: - Traditional approach: Listen to all the data and try to put it all together yourself (works for simple issues only) - Business approach#1: Appoint, using a non-political process, a small commission of complementary experts to evaluate this proposal. Listen to their point(s) of view and decide. - Business approach #2: Look at all proposed solutions and pick one w/the greatest chance of meeting the goal

53 Process Draft a strawman summary of the bill Get input from leading educators Use a non-partisan technique to assemble a small panel of experts to critique, refine, and endorse the bill Obtain support from 50 major organizations of all types Find Democratic and Republican co-sponsors Focus on coordinated PR Only a few hundred schools will opt for the incentive; but as there performance skyrockets, public will pressure remaining schools to join in

54 How I can help Hired former Washington insider - Kathleen Moazed, Chief of Staff, International Relations Committee Singular focus Outside perspective Financial resources Coordinating resources and support - Engage leading educators and legislators in drafting legislation Fund PR efforts

55 How you can help Educate your peers Support early, consistently Visit an Americas Choice school


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