tv Newsmakers CSPAN August 23, 2015 6:00pm-6:31pm EDT
on church and state separation. to unionizert football players at northwestern university. >> newsmakers is next. then a town hall event with scott walker. 8:00, are conversation with a college student who has visited the grave's of presidents and vice presidents since the age of nine. >> this is newsmakers.
joining us this week is lily garcia, the president of the national association. guest: i am thrilled to be here. host: also joining us is emily of the next america project at national journal, thank you for both joining us. as we sit here, both the house and the senate have a version of the secondary education act and the school bill, which still has to be decided on, can you give us an update on not only what this act involves but the house and senate versions and what you see as what you like and maybe not like? guest: this is like history in the making for us. we have teachers all over the country on the edge of their little seats wondering what is going to happen to no child left untested or originally called the elementary and secondary education act. we loved it when it had a boring
name. when lyndon johnson sounded in 1965 as part of the war on poverty and part of the civil rights movement, let's give states some extra funding for tutors, libraries, teacher training and technology. and then in 2002, it happened and in great part of bipartisan fanfare, educators all over the country going, do you realize you are signing something that says 100% of human children will hit score that is statistically impossible for many kids and they signed it anyway thinking, we will change it before we get to that fatal year of 2014, which just passed us by where 100% of kids are supposed to be
above average. now, we are all in a panic because technically without some little waivers that have been given so that we are all labeled unfairly failed schools, we are in this horrible limbo because there are some things that congress did 12 years ago, 13 years ago. host: so as far as current versions, what stands? how does it change or is it different from the original? guest: what we needed and what we were more successful in convincing senators with senator lamar alexander and senator patty murray at the lead, we said, you have to do something against this one-size-fits-all label that measures students by standardized test and that is all that matters, but we have to replace that with something that matters. we really do want information. we want better information that
we were getting under this game called "no child left behind." so we said, we want a dashboard of better indicators. we want multiple measures of success, not just the standardized test. something thatr no one thought we would get. we said, by the way, we would love some indicators of equity, some indicators that the school's ability to give all children the opportunity to learn. what is your classic size like? do you have counselors, a school nurse? these are all the kinds of services and supports that we want to see in our school. shouldn't we be measuring how we are doing with that? host: let me let our guest follow-up with questions. stephen, you start. stephen: i will go to the heart of the matter with a really wonky question on the elementary and secondary education act which is called "no child left behind." the name is more familiar to most of the people who are watching. this question has to do with specifically the requirement and
the laws that states identify which schools are not making progress with certain groups of students and doing something about it. the nea lobbied hard for an amendment to leave that up to the states essentially and not have a federally required member number of schools or set of intervention. during the senate process, there was actually an amendment that almost every democrat supported to keep that federal hand in, so why did you opposed that and what does it say about kind of fissures in education
policy that your traditional democratic allies do not agree with you on this? guest: we made, i think, the strongest case possible about what was the problem we were actually trying to solve with "no child left untested," and it was this ranking or labeling of the student or his entire school based on how kids performed on a test score. by the way, there are some students who are very bright. there are other kids who you cannot measure their creativity, their skills and organization, their communication skills. some of these kids are really, really bright and you are missing other opportunities. and that measurement, as important as all measurements are, are one part of the picture and you made it everything, so the problem was that when you make it a standardized test, you can manipulate that number.
a good school can look bad and a paschal can look good. that was not helpful. it was too corruptible. as we went in and we were talking to many of our friends on explaining what this amendment did was it brought act the bad essence of what was ayp, if you want to get wonky, and i was adequate yearly process which sounds so wonderful. except then you look at, did you meet your quote of students meeting their standard on math test? what we were doing was just using a target number that could be manipulated, so i think that good people, the same people, by hearts, the same kind of that passed it in the first
place. they were not educators. they were lawyers, business people, politicians that sit in congress and very few professional educators sit in the halls of congress. we asked them to listen to us, to listen to the people who know what we are talking about, who know the names of our kids and to listen to what sounds really good when someone is trying to sell it to you and really it is hurting kids. and it is limiting what it means to teach and what it means to learn. we were able to convince enough of them that we did not make it back here. that is the good news. >> one of the groups you were not able to convince was some civil rights group and you broke with them on that and they are saying we need this accountability measures to assure that students of color, a growing segment of the student population, are being educated equally. guest: there was no disagreement in terms of we need good information.
absolutely we need good information, and we need to hold all of those politicians on the local and state levels who make the major decisions about education funding about what does quality look like, what does service look like? we want to hold them accountable which is why we were quite we brought ourn idea for a dashboard that would include service support indicators -- which schools have a library? how many books per student are in that library? who has a school breakfast program program, a school nurse, , a school counselor? those were the things that we said, if you're going to be looking at the complete picture and you see an indicator that says children aren't regressing as we want them to, shouldn't we look and see if we are giving them everything they need? we heard from our friends in the
civil rights community that they thought that was a worthy idea and that was meaningful to us, but we saw a lot of efforts but -- put in the testing area and were putting our efforts into we want the supports and we want the equal opportunity to learn, but i do not think that we are a -- a part in what we are trying to achieve. >> but you need some of that testing to get to where this kids are academically? guest: let me give you a good example -- if i go to the doctor and i am there for a checkup, the doctor is going to take my temperature. if i have a fever, he is not going to amputate my leg, or worse, i will be judged on whether i get your fever down -- ok, so i will stick you in ice and i can get your fever down in ways that do not actually make you healthy and might actually hurt you.
do i need to know what the temperature is of the patient? absolutely. if i say it is really cheap to put that thermometer in your mouth, that is very objective, so that is all i am going to do. you will end up hurting the patient. >> the obama administration has said that they want and expect to see some form of accountability measure in the final bill. do you think that one will end up in the final bill? guest: i have been asking people what that word means, you know? this is such an interesting town. i am really going to ask you, when you say accountability, what do you mean? >> i am speaking specifically about the amendment that cory booker introduced. guest: what do you say when you say there will be accountability? >> well, test scores have been
used annually and what do we use if not test scores, what do we use? are there alternatives? guest: i love interviewing you. [laughter] to what service does the test score allow for data? who gets punished if these kids do not do well on a standardized test? when someone says, i will hold you accountable, it usually means that if you do not get whatever it is, you get punished. so what we have seen now for 13 years, teachers who have always felt like they were accountable for doing what a good teacher is supposed to do. i was teacher of the year in utah, and i know why. it had nothing to do a test scores. it was because i went above and beyond to make sure that i had interesting and engaging lessons , that i contacted parents, i kept kids after school to help
tutor them on my own time. i held myself to really high standards and i said, i have to be accountable for giving these kids everything that is in me. and that really, really good word, since "no child left" has come to mean, if you do not have the cut score, you get punished. you get threatened. you are supposed to be afraid because fear or greed maybe get a prize. that is how we motivate teachers. people who think that do not understand teachers. they do not understand educators. they do not understand anyone who wants to work with children, so accountable is a good word when you say, and when we see something that is not working, you are supposed to intervene. you are supposed to analyze that data and say we see something that is not working. what is our plan? how do we analyze that data and say, what do you know? we have a significant number of
kids coming to school hungry. they can't pay attention so , maybe what we need is a school breakfast program or a better outreach to parents who are not coming to school. hold me accountable for intervening when something is not working. we should not just keep doing the same old thing if something is not working. >> i want to jump in, what data are you talking about? guest: the kind of data we use that orchard elementary where i taught. yes, we actually had the stanford achievement test that we used when i was there. whether it was the iowa basic skills test -- most of them were off the shelves. those standardized test were meant to look at long-term trend
so that no child's report card was made off of those. they usually took the test before the end of school and you do not get the results back until the end of school, so we did not use it to guide our instruction. what we looked at was we said, parents are or are not coming back to parent-teacher conferences. we looked at the kinds of teacher developed tests that we would give an assessment. that meant i could look at things like a report, a science fair project -- we would do all kinds of things to allow kids to demonstrate that they got the material. for me, i had a lot of kids with reading disabilities. good, you will give me an oral report. we are going to do a debate and you have to defend this position with a reason and evidence. i had a rubric. i was a trusted professional to say, here are the standards that
the utah state legislator set. now, you develop the lesson plan. you develop the intervention when the child needs to move faster, or not. all of that now is some kind of golden era, because now teachers are given scripts. they say, this is boring. i have to read the script, and not respond tos it, i am held accountable for a really bad reading program that some district professional chose for me. i have no say in the professional decisions in that school. we want someone to be held accountable for the resources we are given to do our job. we want to be held accountable for being responsible to do what our kids need. that was the other part we were looking for in reauthorization.
where is the authority? what we want is to have the professionals who know the names of the children, who have the authority to make instructional decisions. host: let me step in to say you are watching newsmakers. >> more explicitly, a political question. the national education association is the largest labor union in america. your sister teachers union, the of teacherseration has already endorsed hillary clinton. they did not endorse early in 2008. when can we expect an
endorsement? and if so, when? will it be clinton? is bernie sanders giving her a run for the money? lily: both of the organizations have very different processes to reach decisions. a long time ago when jimmy carter was running, that was the first time that the national education association decided to make a recommendation to our members of who would make the best president. we have made a recommendation and every presidential race since then. i feel very confident that we will make one in this race. the question is one of timing. we are making those decisions now. our political action committee is made up of educators who lead state affiliates all over the country. they will come together and make
a recommendation. they will debate this and make a recommendation when they believe it is the right time to our board of directors. we have a board of directors like no other board of directors. almost 200 practitioners who are elected in their state to come and debate what it means to teach. what it means to learn. what we need from congress. we know how important the president is in setting the agenda. it was president bush with senator kennedy that brought us no child left. it will be a continuation of that debate now. one of the things that i love is that the candidates are talking about things like affordable college. they are talking about things like preschool available for every child. these are things that we have
been asking for for years and years. now we are seeing presidential candidates talking about the needs of children. we know that we have done our work. they will not talk about those things just to please us. they will talk about those things because they are convinced the public cares about those things. that means we have a chance. we have a chance to bring those issues into the arena, and a chance to have politicians go on record in front of the world -- this is what you can expect from me. reporter: coming to the republican side of the aisle, trump is pulling ahead right now. we don't know a ton about his education policies besides he is not a fan of common core. he would roll back the role of federal government. how do expect him to drive the conversation on the republican side? what would education look like under a trump presidency?
lily: i wonder if anyone you would interview would second-guess where donald trump will go the next time he opens his mouth. it won't be me. i would give up on that. what i will tell you is that on the republican side, you hear them say it in different ways, but i believe they all mean the same thing. they keep talking about something that sounds common sense like local control -- push the decision-making from the federal government down to the school building or state legislator. by the way, we heard a lot of those things as we were talking to house and senate republicans as we were talking about reauthorizing. the same rhetoric. what it comes down to alarms us, actually. something that sounds like local control -- where i just said,
shouldn't the people who know the names of the kids. can't get more local than i know the names of the kids. we understand that the code says this is special ed funding. let's not say it has to be spent for special ed students. let's give it to the governor and let the governor decide where it goes. depending on what governor you have, they may not spend on special ed students. they might spend it on private vouchers that allow you to take that funding and give it to someone else. title i funding is a nice long -- wonky word for saying this is money that helps students in poverty and disadvantaged students, reaching tutors, family support so they feel
, welcome into the school. well, the reason that came about is because it was so clear during the civil rights movement that states weren't doing what they needed to do for poor children. poor children unfortunately are still communities of color. so it was part of the civil rights movement. no, we don't believe it is a good idea to go back to 1960 and say, your state legislator, they will do the right thing. they didn't. that is why we have special ad and title i. so we don't agree with those candidates who say the answer to education is on the national -- is to forget it on the national level. trust those governors. they will take care of the children. they didn't.
host: we have just of a few minutes left. reporter: what of the things we but that at next america is the changing demographics of the country. the number of students of color is growing. teachers are not as diverse. what do you think can be done to increase teacher diversity? studies show that kids do best when they can relate to their teacher or share background with their teacher. lily: not just the students, but the families. that connection with the families is so vital. my mother is from panama and did not teach a spanish. we are so angry at her for that. we have horrible kitchen table spanish. i know that even in utah, where people think that diversity means you found a presbyterian, we had this growing group of latino families coming in, and if i could speak to them -- it
[speaking spanish] -- it was a way that they went home and told their moms and dads, the teacher can speak spanish. they felt more comfortable coming to me and asking a question. you are right. research shows that connection is vital. one of the things that the national education association has really focused on is the importance of having a diverse teacher corps and support staff in that school that will relate to the communities they are serving. you can just luck into that. luck is a lousy business plan. what we have asked for is what about loan forgiveness programs. what about going on a college campus where students are spending a lot of money -- that is another question -- but a lot of these college students who might have been convinced to be teachers are going, i will never
be able to pay off my money as a teacher, when i could make double going into almost any other profession. we are looking at what the local, state, and national government can do in loan forgiveness programs. what if you were to say to someone who could be anything they wanted, be a teacher, we are looking for teachers who can connect with communities, teachers who are bilingual. we, the people who want to be educators -- that includes the custodian, the teacher, the principle. there is like a certain bond. even the support staff could work anywhere they want. they want to work in a public school. they feel a connection with kids. they feel a connection with the community.
if you were to design something that said, we are trying to get the most talented, diverse workforce in this school community, you would make it affordable for them to get their degrees, their certification, to work there. you would give them incredible creative authority to do what they need to do for those students and really personalize it. you would get out of their way and let them do their job. they would be rushing to work there. host: our guest this week is the head of the nea, lily eskelsen garcia. thank you for your time. >> thank you. >> we will be right back. now that we have had a chance to talk, let's start with you. as far as the specifics with no child, what did the guest bring to the table? did she say anything about the debate happening in the house and senate? reporter: i do not think she said anything new. she circled around our question about accountability. i so think it is a huge question
for civil rights groups and she walked around that. no, i don't think there was anything new here. reporter: to be fair, we don't know how the house and senate will caucus to quite disparate bills on the accountability issue. i think one thing that came off clearly in this interview was that the national education association is supportive of the idea of returning power to states when it comes to accountability. let the states make their own decisions. we also heard lily eskelsen garcia talk about states have , so it's notr duty an outright contradiction. the union does think something needs to go back to the states, but vouchers and choices those , make the union very nervous. i think it is important to understand that there is some odd political alliances being
drawn here when you have a very democratically leaning teachers union working with republicans on federal issues and not necessarily falling in line with what their civil rights allies believe on accountability or even the way democratic lawmakers think. reporter: i agree with that. white houseg with accountability -- they have broken with civil rights groups. they threaten democrats and say, if you vote for that accountability amendment, we are paying attention. democrats did vote for it. with the exception of host: has one. always been this dual thought of we want accountability, but we don't necessarily what a test to judge what accountability means? or ultimately what it means for a school system? reporter: i think that is a very issue, and it has been since 2002.
one of the questions we asked is if not test scores, what of can -- what else can you use? are not great measures even though people are trying to come up with other ones. you heard lily mention other ones. i think the other question i have, and i suppose in some ways is a philosophical and we did one, not ask her about this, but the nea has not had a great relationship with the obama administration. in fact, at its convention in 2014, delegates wanted to remove the u.s. secretary of education arne duncan. when you have that level of political fire, what have you got left if the election goes republican. importantat is an