tv Education Nation MSNBC October 6, 2013 9:00am-11:01am PDT
join exxonmobil in advancing math and science education at exxonmobil dot com slash let's solve this. for america's teachers, it is a time of sweeping change with new standards across 45 states. and new standardized testing on the way. there have been protests and cut backs -- >> our students are not seats or dollars. they're our future. >> and of course politics. >> i am strongly, strongly against common core. >> but through it all, it's america's teachers who are called on to get the job done. today in our fourth annual teacher town hall, teachers get their chance to speak up on what it takes to create success for our kids and how all of us can
help. ♪ this is education nation, the teacher town hall, live from the new york public library in new york. here is brian williams. [ applause ] >> look at this beautiful place. good day and welcome. welcome to new york city. the government may be shutdown, but here we are open for business and ready for an active two-hour conversation. we couldn't be happier, couldn't be prouder, more pleased to be hosting this again. welcome, teachers, here in the room and watching at home and online. and we want to remind all the teachers who are joining us now, you can join the conversation on twitter and facebook and at
educationnation.com. it is, as i need not remind any of you, a tough time to be a teacher. in a major survey recently, just 39% of you said you are satisfied in your jobs. that's the lowest level of job satisfaction in 25 years. over half of you say one of the biggest challenges you face is meeting the individual needs of your students. but as we did at last year's teacher town hall, we need to point out something that is very important about how americans see you and the jobs you do. when american parents were asked if they have a high opinion of their child's teacher, look at this number. 82% say yes. [ cheers and applause ] just as an aside here, if a politician, say, had an 82%
approval rating, and for comparison, before the government shutdown, our last survey put congress at 10% approval and it's not like they've grown in the esteem of the american people over the past few days. so before we begin, i want to introduce my colleagues who will be gathering your comments here in the room. tamron hall, jenna bush-haeger, a teacher herself, by the way, are here to help us with that. tamron, good morning/afternoon. >> good morning/afternoon. i feel like i'm close to the fire, but that means it's just going to be warm. we won't get burned here. a lot of excitement. i already have some friends lined up to talk with us. you're from new jersey. >> yes. >> what's on your mind? i already know. you tell them. >> my comment is about the common core. i'm all for raising standards, but when you raise the bar, fewer people reach it. i want to give my message to the administrators, to the poli policymakers to give teachers
room to be innovative and not penalize creativity with poor evaluation. >> and we're going to talk about that. i know that a lot of you have that on your minds and you're fired up for that. jenna, over to you. >> great. thank you. i'm with two teachers who came all the way from california. we have richard and lisa. tell me what you're excited about today. >> i'm really excited to be here and talk about the potential for more professional development for us teachers. >> that's something that a lot of you have been talking about. what about you, lisa? >> i'm here to talk about the partnerships between parents and teachers and community and how we can't do it alone. we have to all wok together for success for our kids. >> awesome. thanks, guys. back to you, brian. >> thank you, jenna. by the way, just a point of personal privilege, you're a new mom, jenna, which means you'll be a new customer for the education system. >> yes, i've been reading like crazy to my baby. >> i follow your baby's progress on your dad's instagram account. that's fun. >> oh, yeah. he's new to social media.
>> you have to keep that camera away from him sometimes. it's been great fun. congratulations. we're all following you and your new arrival with such joy. >> thank you so much. >> our theme at this year's gathering is what it takes. for those of you, perhaps high school history teachers, how many of you have assigned the book by richard ben cramer called "what it takes"? wow. you'll all be getting -- no, withwe can't do that. it's a terrific book. he's talking about what it takes to run for president. obviously, today we're talking about what it takes to survive and thrive in the classroom atmosphere and to educate our kids. to make students into successful people, get them through high school, through college, if that's their desire, and beyond. so for the next two hours, we're going to have that conversation with you. the experts, the teachers in this room, whose mission it is and passion it is to lead that charge.
luckily for me, i have a buddy this year up here with me to share in the heavy lifting who happens to be a friend, happens to be a colleague. our chief education correspondent rahema ellis, ladies and gentlemen. [ applause ] and to help us start off the conversation, we have two friends with us here on stage. vico lucas, science teacher in the jefferson county schools in louisville, kentucky. and joanna, a biology teacher at the david w. butler high school in charlotte, north carolina. and we're going to start this off by talking about the changes that are going on for teachers and whether or not you all have the tools. we are speaking of course about the train that is rolling down the tracks in 45 out of 50
states, and that's common core. while this is a gathering of teachers and while mostly on the air we assume we are being watched by teachers, rahema, for the lay folks, for the parents joining us, give us your best definition of common core. >> common core is economic development. that's what i'm hearing common core is. if you want to make certain america is prepared for the future, you have 50 million potential workers who are now in the public schools in this country. the people who adopted common core, the 45 states, said they looked around and said, our future workers are not ready. and we need to get them ready. so how do we do it? it's rolling out kind of in a patchwork quilt format and a lot of people are nervous. i suspect we have a few nervous people in this room here about how it's all going to come together. 75% of teachers with the american federation of teachers said they support common core, brian, but they say they want to
hold off a little bit because it might be moving too fast. we're going to talk about all of that, but the point of why they're concerned that it might be moving too fast, they're worried that the early scores that children are going to get, they've already gotten in some states, on these tests are going to be dismal and their evaluations are going to be linked to those scores. what will that mean about whether those teachers will have jobs? people are concerned about it. so it's sort of a patchwork quilt implementation of it right now. even some states are trying to say, should we rethink this? is this what we really need to be doing? others are saying, full speed ahead. >> to the trenches we go. how do you feel about the arrival of common core and exactly this dynamic we're going to see a dip, if not a dive, when it's first issued? of course, in your occupation, suddenly you're among the most measured professionals in our country. >> absolutely. so thank you. i want to start off with in kentucky we implemented common core in 2010.
we've seen that dip. we've seen the aftermath after it. lucky for us, we just had recently our state commissioner come out with a few statements, and he let us know that retention rates have gone down. our college and career readiness numbers have gone up. students are learning more. our scores are coming up. so far in kentucky, common core has been working. [ applause ] >> do you feel like you've been trained up enough to get ready, to give you the tools you need to make the case to the students? >> i've had a lot of training, but you can never really be trained enough. so that statement is sort of -- yeah. you're going to always need more training. if you've been a teacher long enough, you know learning never stops. it's a lifelong process. [ applause ]
with that said, i'm confident there are tools out there to help each and every teacher. >> joanna, the view from where you work. >> to me the common core is this really exciting, bold opportunity to begin looking at collaboration between different teachers and even outside of the school system, so collaborating with local universities, local business partners, community engagement partners. it's about really interacting with my students themselves and their parents, their entire family, and continuing to grow and not being afraid of what might come. as a scientist, you can't be afraid of the results you're going to get. you have to go forward and be bold and be willing to explore. >> and let's talk about parents and common core. levels of involvement. as you indicate, this has to be a kind of holistic approach.
>> i think it can be difficult based on the school's implementation and the relationship they have with their families. what is your school doing to communicate to parents? one of the things that i've been able to do at my school is actually bring parents in to teacher planning sessions. so i had parents actually come watch a group of 15 teachers plan across content. they said, oh, we had no idea that there was reading going on or how important reading was in a science class or how important math was in a science class. so the teachers were collaborating, but the parents were able to see it and the students were able to see it. it made it much more valuable. >> tamron hall has one of the many teachers who feel this train is coming down the track too rapidly. >> i have a teacher from washington, d.c., where they're not working but she is. the issue for you is that the tools are not readily available. explain more what you mean. >> sure.
so i think common core is a radical shift in how we think about teaching, how we do teaching. and as a nation, we need to take a step back, make sure we're using the right tools, and it's going to take a lot of time to get them out to teachers. >> as you heard, the tools are available. it just may take teachers pushing and digging a bit more to find them. do you agree with that? >> i think there are a lot of tools that say they're common core aligned, which are not the best tools out there. first is getting the time for teachers and helping teachers figure out exactly what the right tools are. >> that whole row, brian, nodded to that comment there. you're from harlem. you were saying to me you're also worried about parents understanding the implementation. >> i love the increase in rigor common core has brought, but i've had comments from parents saying the work is too challenging. i'm wondering how i can create conversations with them to understand common core. >> another head nod. everybody agree with that? are you experiencing the same thing? we're seeing a theme here,
brian. >> rahema, from your experience, you've covered this story for us at "nbc nightly news" in the trenches, in the field. what's your experience taught you? >> parents don't know what common core is. some teachers don't know what common core is. folks are really trying to get their arms wrapped around this thing. 52% of parents in a survey say they've never heard about it. as soon as your child is tested in it and brings home a miserable report, you'll hear about it and so will your teachers. 27% have started rolling out the specifics of common core. 20 states have begun training their teachers on it. we have 45 states doing it, 20 states who are really implementing the training courses for teachers. do the math. that leaves a lot of teachers not yet involved in all of this. in terms of the challenging questions, you talk about sports today, nobody talking about how challenging it is for those guys to be prepared to be on those sports fields. some of the teachers are saying
one of the things we have to do is not be afraid of challenging our kids to be prepared for the work that we're going to ask them to do at some point in the future. >> i want to talk about technology vis-a-vis common core. first, a teacher from chicago. >> i have ty from chicago who teaches elementary. she's a reading teacher. she actually pays for her professional development herself. raise your hand if you do the same. out of pocket. that's a large number of you. ty, tell me what you guys do and how it's working. >> well, i really believe that i'm a learner. in order to model lifelong learning for my students, i need to constantly be learning. so i take sick days and i do a lot of work with facing history on ourselves and looking at social justice in my classroom because if i don't model learning for my students, then the value is sort of lost to them. >> and you also get together with other chicago teachers and put on your own pd. talk about that. >> i really believe that school-based study group and
district-based study groups are really beneficial. they don't cost a lot of money. they don't require a lot of resources because we're each other's resource. there's so much knowledge teachers have, that we need to have opportunities to share that knowledge with one another. >> that's awesome. thank you. i also have stewart and kathy. kathy is from arkansas. she's a teacher of the year. [ applause ] talk to me about how you put on pd to work with the common core. >> well, i think it's important to gather as many teachers as you can and put it on. one of the things i want to speak about is the importance of preparing preschool teachers. if we want these students to achieve the goals of common core, then we need to start providing quality preschool education and training those teachers to reach those goals. >> we all know how important that is to start early. we have to start early. i have stewart, who is probably also a giants fan. >> yes. >> he came from manhattan.
talk to me -- >> actually, i'm from brooklyn, but i work in manhattan. >> wow. that's a huge difference too. talk to me about what you're doing. >> i'm a high school teacher. i could speak for high school teachers. we want our students to succeed. we want them to critically think and be college ready. we believe our students should have standards. the common core could work, but we need adequate resources, meaningful professional development and curriculum that's aligned to the common core and curriculum available to teachers that's aligned to the common core, maybe written by teachers. >> written by teachers. brian? >> so curriculum opens the door to how it gets taught. i'm so anxious to have the conversation about textbooks. they have just been invented when i was in school. we started with thin stone tablets and then we were so excited to get these new books. first of all, your prediction
for how much longer will we be sitting in linear desks in front of an instructor in the front of a room opening a thing and then leafing through it? i'm also curious, show of hands, how many are allowed smart phones in your classrooms to use them? okay. not the school-issued tablets, necessarily, but the smart phone that belongs to the student. is it allowed to be in use? okay. wow. they're approaching the stage. so talk about technology. talk about the state of it, your prediction, how long we're going to be using books. >> prediction, okay. >> well, come on. >> i don't want to put a number on it. i'll tell you this. i don't think we're going to be able to do education the same way we've been doing it recently for much longer. the need for education are changing. what we need to do with kids is changing. we're going to have to change
with it. exactly how long, i don't know. but the education of the days of old needs to be over. we are not educating for the jobs of the past. we are not educating for the economy of the past. we are solving problems that we don't even know yet. so our education needs to change quickly. so how long? hopefully not long. technology, welcome to the 21st century. we now have more resources, more things on the internet, more ways to reach kids and engage kids than ever before. that is growing every single day. so what do we do with that? there are tools available for common core using technology. one of my favorites is something called teaching to. if you haven't been there, go there. it's a website that has all kinds of videos. if you put in your prefaces and what you teach, you'll get an e-mail from a lady named sara brown westing almost every day.
to me, that's like youtube for work. i want those things and get lost in those sessions all the time. i'm always coming up with new ideas, new lesson plans, new ways to engage, new ways to solve problems. they're out there. it's coming. and there's more coming every single day. we just have to get in there. >> repeat the name of the website for the folks at home. >> teaching to -- teacher channel, i'm sorry. thank you, thank you. >> that's why i asked. all right. we've set up the conversation nicely. both tamron and jenna have teachers on either aisle who are pretty much storming the barricades. they're ready to talk. rehema has a reality check. all of it will have to wait as we take our first break from a foggy day in new york city. more from our teachers here at the new york city public library. our fourth annual teacher town hall.
if we want to improve our schools... ... what should we invest in? maybe new buildings? what about updated equipment? they can help, but recent research shows... ... nothing transforms schools like investing in advanced teacher education. let's build a strong foundation. let's invest in our teachers so they can inspire our students. let's solve this.
acso 45 states and then district of columbia have voluntarily decided to raise the bar with consistent educational standards. now, students in those states will have a better chance to succeed in college and careers and to compete in the global economy. which means a better future for our students and our nation. join exxonmobil in supporting the common core state standards. let's solve this.
we are back here in new york city at the new york public library. we're talking about kind of the dual issue of the arrival of common core and the place technology serves in the arrival of common core. before we go to the audience, rehema, a reality check on technology. >> almost every school in this country has technology in its school building. but almost all of them also have very slow connections. you talk about we're in the 21st century, but the connections are like in the dinosaur age. you're laughing because it's frustrating. you're laughing to keep from crying. it's frustrating you. we're also saying we want everybody to do this. we've spent some almost $30 billion plus in putting technology into classrooms, but we're eliminating the people who can repair the machines when they break down. so a lot of teachers go in, they don't have outlets to even plug the things in because the buildings are old and they're not prepared.
also, listen to this in terms of what's happening on the federal level. the enhancing education through technology from the federal government of the 21st century of 2011 was defunded. $700 million was taken out. so as we are rushing into the future with technology, we're doing it penniless. the machines have been bought, but we don't have the kind of money we need to create the infrastructure that children can really be in command of these units to access all the sites you're talking about. >> let's go to tamron. >> brian, you were talking about smart phones. todd is from flint, michigan. he was here last year. you are using robotics for kindergarteners. >> yeah, the first robotics program is great. it's really solving a problem. we're looking at stem education and saying, we need it in our high schools. we need it in our elementary schools. if we want to be focused on being a world leader -- and even more so, like, stem solves a work force problem. what made america great was
steam, the addition of arts and liberal arts into the science, technology, engineering, and math. this is what drives innovation. this is why america is at the lead because we make those things first. >> it's a techie trifecta. both of you are in science/technology. you're concerned as well. >> i work with high schools and middle schools and elementary schools. i did a report called running on empty about not just the lack of technology in our schools but the lack of quality, rigorous technology education. 50% of the jobs in our country since world war ii have been created in the technology industry. yet, less than 3% of our undergraduate majors choose to study computer science and technology. so we need to do more to give them an idea at the high school level what technology is and not make them users of technology in this country but creators of the next generation. >> where are you from again? >> i'm from new york city. >> arianna, you're from new york as well. you're worried relating to the core standards as well as
technology. it's a double header for you, if you will. >> yes, absolutely. i'm a technology teacher in the south bronx. i also help lead a nonprofit in the south bronx that expands the school day and creates community schools. >> because you want a longer school day and you want kids in summer school. >> yes, we want an expanded day. we need partnerships to make this happen. we lack the funding in our schools to be able to make this happen at our level. we need sponsors to come in to help us teach our children about technology to help bring the technology into the buildings and to help make the core standards a reality in summer, in after school, throughout the year. >> real quick, i want to get this teacher in. i think you're going to get a lot of reaction. you're from utah. you were telling me you're in a rural area. pretty much every kid in your school has access to technology. to her, it is unfathomable that any of you have to come out of your pocket to help children learn. >> i'm just so excited. i live in a little tiny town, population 20,000 in our county. our school district is phenomenal.
our state is leading the way, utah, in prosperity 2020, our sponsorship for local businesses. i'm one to one in my classroom. we have a three-year rollout. my school just got devices. next year it will go down to high school. the next year will go to elementary. >> and your reaction to the fact that teachers here have to come out of their own pockets to provide this for their kids? >> i am in awe just to be here and be surrounded by so many of you incredible educators, but my -- i just cannot believe that your districts or your states are not putting out for teacher development. our state believes that the more proficient a teacher is, the more proficiency rates will go up for our students. so it is embedded into my contract. i get contract days for professional development. >> and you realize how fortunate you are. that this is not the story. >> that's why i wanted to come and say we need to be stepping it up. if my little tiny community can do that, the state of utah can do that, surely as a nation we
can provide that. >> brian, that's that rural/urban argument we often have here. >> that's right. and our guest from utah is about to discover new york city at night. enjoy that experience. we should probably have someone with you at all times. >> i got your back. >> jenna bush is with a name well known to many of the par d participants here at education make it. >> she's like the bono of the education world. we are actually hosting today the common core learning institute, which will be on our website. we're trying to make a difference. i have charlotte danielson here. can't believe it. she's actually written part of the teacher evaluation. talk to me about how the common core and teacher evaluation should go hand in hand. >> right. i mean, everybody in this room has been, i think, hit by sort
of a double whammy. the ink wasn't even dry on the new teacher evaluation legislation and systems before then common core ended up in people's inboxes also. so my experience is that people have seen these as two enormous undertakings and initiatives and separate from each other. it seems to me that the smart way to go and the right thing to do is to merge them and to have a definition of good teaching, which my framework tries to be, in which good practice, excellent teaching also yields learning on the common core. so that's my 2013 version of the framework. i'm involved in a project right now to try to enhance that. we're trying to merge these, both of them extremely important initiatives, into one. >> what are some challenges you see? everybody does really think of you as bono. do you all know her? i see people taking pictures
with their iphones. it's not of me. what do you think are the challenges for teachers? any advice? i mean, you wrote it. >> well -- >> so advice on how they can best -- >> i wrote the framework. it's not used in every state but quite a few. >> well, 26. >> i don't know how many. a lot. but that's not the point. the point is that good teaching is really hard. in the framework i try to reflect the complexity of teaching, and we know that the common core is complex and challenging and demanding. so i think we have to bring these initiatives together. and we can. >> thank you very much. [ applause ] >> thank you. you know, the quote from that conversation, which should be patently obvious to everyone, good teaching is really hard. when we see those polls of difficult jobs in our country,
you know, police officer, firefighter, coal miner, classroom educator is never where it needs to be in terms of how difficult a job it is. and now this. i was saying to someone last night. if you're a pilot, imagine what it would feel like if suddenly there was such a great focus on what you do for a living. imagine if a network started something called aviation nation and suddenly people were really interested in your profession. and suddenly you started getting graded in ways you had never been graded before. and there's someone in the back of the classroom, someone in the front of the classroom, who knows who that is in the middle of the classroom, and they're applying algorithms and economics and all kinds of things. what a change your profession has undergone in these last few years. >> absolutely. >> and that speaks to her point. >> absolutely.
>> and i think that it's for a lot of teachers really empowering. we're really glad people are interested in student learning and our students' learning. it can be really meaningful to have community organizations who come in and say, i want to help you, how can i help? you know, i think we're grading our students, we're assessing our students every day. just like one of the other speakers said, you know, it's lifelong learning. i have to be brave and bold enough to say, i can take feedback. i can get better. i can grow too. >> rehema, it's as if people had finally heard enough of the standards testing that ranked us so low, showed we were so mediocre in terms of the rest of the world. it's as if someone threw a switch. we've had several of the last presidents try to help us do that, but suddenly all the concentration, all the money, all the attention is coming to 9 profession of teaching. >> it really is. speaking about that, there was a
saying that those that can teach, those that -- those that do can -- that probably came up by someone who was never in a classroom. >> absolutely. one of the things i see happening across the country is that businesses are starting to recognize that the people that are looking forward to be the workers in their businesses, they're not there. so what are they going to do? they've either got to shut down, move their business some place else, or import some workers. most businesses don't want to do that. they build up their lives in their communities. they're saying, we have to have some direct input into what's going on here. to your point, we've got a lot of people who are now paying attention and saying, this isn't just about people who have kids in classrooms like i do. this is about america. we've got 50 million kids in schools. one day they're going to be 50
million workers either well educated or under educated. they'll either be well employed or unemployed. that won't just be their problem. that'll be our problem. so we're starting to see it more in the holistic way of this isn't just about teaching school. this is about maintaining prosperity in america. if you're into economic development, which i think all of us are, you better get interested in what's happening in public schools. [ cheers and applause ] >> we don't hand out titles like chief education correspondent around here easily. but now you see the reason why. rehema ellis, thanks. you're sticking around. veeko, joanna, thank you for being with us. we'll take a break. when we come back, we'll turn to something a lot of teachers feel very strongly about, that what happens outside school matters every bit as much as what
happens inside the classroom. we'll talk to teachers that have helped build teams that go well beyond their schools. back with that right after this. evto earn degrees in mathan stand science.ut but more than half leave their programs. so we're missing out on 450,000 math and science graduates annually. but if we can help students prepare for these subjects we'll have a stronger workforce for our fastest-growing industries. let's invest in our future. join exxonmobil in advancing math and science education. let's solve this.
evto earn degrees in mathan stand science.ut but more than half leave their programs. so we're missing out on 450,000 math and science graduates annually. but if we can help students prepare for these subjects we'll have a stronger workforce for our fastest-growing industries. let's invest in our future. join exxonmobil in advancing math and science education. let's solve this.
and welcome back to our teacher town hall here at the beautiful new york public library. reminder, one more time, you can participate online on twitter, facebook, or educationnation.com. for this next half hour, we want to talk about something all teachers agree they need. wi it already came up this morning. teamwork that goes beyond the schoolhouse doors. more and more teachers are leading the charge to form networks with important players outside the school system out of necessity in so many occasions. in families, communities, local governments, despite all the challenges, there is some good news to report this year. for example, the latest numbers of high school graduation rates show that 75% of american high school students are indeed graduating on time.
pause for applause. you deserve it. there is still plenty of room for improvement, of course, but that's the highest on-time graduation rate in 40 years. the prediction is that this year there will be almost 100,000 fewer high school dropouts than there were last year. [ applause ] so rehema and i are joined by two teachers on the front lines in very different places. that will make the conversation interesting. both helping make those numbers happen by building coalitions in their schools and in their communities. glen moorehouse olson teaches in a sprawling rural school district in st. francis, minnesota. and jeff duncan androtti is both a professor of education policy and a working teacher in the oakland schools in california. he just flew in overnight last
night. [ cheers and applause ] rehema, before we get to our guests, set the scene for us on this issue. >> they're going to call me the debbie downer in that event. i got to do the reality check. we're talking about what it takes to succeed. so we need to know what we're up against. the wonderful news is that we are graduating kids at a higher rate than we've done in 40 years. that's fantastic. but here's the other news. we're still on track to lose about 1 million kids who will not graduate in the next school year. if we had 1 million people who were dropping out of jobs, that would be news that brian would never stop talking about. you would demand to hear about it every single day. so that's part of what we're on. and listen to this. as far as math, we're talking about stem being important, science, technology, engineering and math, the latest report card that the federal government does testing all of our kids, and you all know about it, in math, only 35% of our kids were proficient or advanced in math. in reading, 34% of them proficient or advanced.
science, only 32% proficient or advanced. and here's one, u.s. history, only 17%. maybe that's why we don't know what's going on in washington and can't get this thing together. only 17% of them proficient. so we're not where we need to be. not a third of our kids are proficient or advanced in some critical subjects that we need to have them proficient in. so we have to talk about what does it take to get them there. >> all right. jeff, describe the situation where you teach, where you live. >> yeah, i mean, i'm really glad that we got a reality check right there because while nose national numbers are intriguing -- first of all, i've heard about how phenomenal the united states is, but 75% from a teacher's perspective is a "c." so that makes us average nationally, right. that's not what we're about. we're about excellence. so we're not there nationally. where i work in east oakland,
those numbers aren't even close. we're losing 50% of our students out of high school. that's just measuring high school. when you start talking about kids in poverty, you start talking about kids of color, the numbers are much, much lower and the situation should be seen and talked about as a national crisis. but it's not. it's sort of business as usual as we move forward and what's going on in schools and in communities like mine. i live in the 3400 block of east oakland. there's very little conversation -- pause for applause. there's very little conversation about how do we recruit, support, train, coach, develop teachers in a much more profound way to deal with the reality of the block and what that actually means every day for us in the
classroom. [ applause ] >> any year we do this, we could devote this entire gathering to poverty. we did a, i thought, a fascinating and in-depth panel on poverty when we did this conference last year, but especially in urban areas -- but of course it doesn't discriminate. it's such a factor in education and classroom teaching. it's always with us. but it's something that has to be dealt with. glen, we talked about where you work. in the break you said, well, we have a dairy queen and a mcdonald's. but set the scene. geographically and economically where you work and how it differs from east oakland. >> we differ quite a bit, but some of our struggles are the same. we are 45 minutes outside of the twin cities. we're a second-tier suburb but really semi rural. we've had a number of houses in
foreclosure in our area. i have a number of my students on free and reduced lunch. so we are dealing with those issues as well. we bus our students for long periods of the day. so already when they're getting to school -- and my school starts at 7:25 a.m. i'm teaching high school students at 7:25 in the morning. some of them have been on the bus for an hour to get to our school. then the elementary starts at 9:30. a similar thing happens. >> wow. and 7:25 you're at work and they are -- >> i'm on. >> they're expected to be attentive. >> oh, yes. and some of the issues that people might not even think about. i have students -- minnesota gets kind of cold. we snow. i have students who are working several jobs, and some of those are plowing driveways. when the snow comes, they're out until 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning plowing a driveway and they come and sit and have to learn shakespeare from me. >> but that's why you chose the greatest profession in the
world. >> it's exactly why i chose it. >> if it were easy, anyone would do it. >> absolutely. it's a challenge. >> rehema, your reaction to these two different environments. >> one of the things is that it is so real. i also want to hear from you how you're succeeding. when i go across this country, one of the things i find out is people are making it work. you have some lessons that you can share with us today. just maybe one quick one. despite the poverty, despite the violence, despite the lack of involvement there might be from communities in your schools, you have a kid or two that's managing to succeed, don't you? at least one. >> yeah, we have a lot more than one. >> my question isis, you're turning a corner for some kids. tell us, how did you do it? >> well, i think that -- the success i've had is no different than probably the success that most teachers in this room have. at the end of the day, teaching and learning boils down to one thing.
that's relationships. [ applause ] and there's become this kind of myopic focus on the technical practice of teaching, right, and driving us further and further away from the conversations about what does it mean to have the time, the space, the training, the support to develop meaningful relationships with kids, meaningful relationships with families, meaningful relationships with communities. so in our particular work in east oakland, we've had a really high level of uncommon success. people are often asking us, well, you know, what's the kind of magic trick? what's the playbook? there is no playbook. i'm the father of 8-month-old newborn twins. >> congratulations. >> and it's just reaffirmed for me as a father the same things i
understand about teaching. there is no playbook for me as a father, right. so i think we want to believe that there's this playbook that we can just hand out to teachers and just execute. play one, play two, play three, and it'll all work out. at the end of the day, the truth of the matter is there is no playbook. there are a set of core elements that we know that effective teachers use around the country. we should be emphasizing those things, right. but to the degree that we can support teachers, to teach teachers, truth of the matter is, i'm no exception in this room. there are phenomenal teachers all over the country. but what's happening is our practice gets siloed and isolated. at best in buildings, at worst in single classrooms. the conversation we should be having is, how do we develop a teaching excellence network where teach can access teachers with real answers. >> and i know when he says teach teachers, whether it's oakland or minnesota, that rings true
with you. >> absolutely. in my district, i'm really proud that our -- we're kind of the little isd-15 that could. we take this very seriously. we have teacher development in our -- as part of our professional development that we bring in to our school. we have teacher leaders going out, coming back in. they're a course that i need to sign up for every year, a different course, and we're doing this, our teachers throughout our district are getting together. we're collaborating. all of our teaching goals are tied to a goal we've set based on the research, techniques we're using. in the long run, you're right. in the long run, i'm there after school. i do broadcast journalism. i do theater. there's only a few of us out there that do all these things that are crazy enough. i do language arts. i have students in my classroom before i get to school. they're lined up and ready to come in to talk to me. i have them after school. sometimes i don't get home until maybe 6:00, 7:00 at night.
but i'm making those connections with students. those are the things that are making them make the leap to the next level. >> brian, i should say, in schools that i've seen, the principals are encouraging this kind of collaboration between teachers so that they can share their best practices to be most effective in the classroom. >> and by the way, i wonder why jeff was so nice about it when i said, wow, thank you for flying in last night from san francisco. now we learn 8-month-old twins. he wants to get some sleep. >> i wanted sleep. >> he wanted five hours. jenna knows what i'm talking about. all my fellow parents. he wanted five hours of peace and quiet. tamron hall, who do you have? >> i have some intriguing stories is, brian. you are from new jersey. you're a teacher. you're a father as well. what moved me is that your fraternity has reached out to the community to help young men like yourself succeed. >> that is correct. i'm the national guy right chairman for cap alpha
fraternity incorporated along with being a social studies teacher. we're having this conversation. when we talk about underserved communities, we have to begin bringing in community based organizations to assist because as you talk about what is happening in the classroom -- and i'm kbleblessed to be on bo sides. it's that outside aspect of the classroom where you're helping these children, whether it be college prep because the guidance counselors may have so much on their plates or helping with extra homework, extra tutors. we're talking about parents and family that may not be there that we're actually supplementing that as well. >> you're talking about building those relationships, which picks up on what you said. walter, you were named teacher of the year. you also feel it's about -- yes, teacher of the year. that doesn't happen every day. and that's a part of your passion as well. >> i would like to say that, yes, you know, when you teach in a district like mine, i teach south of buffalo, new york, in a
very high needs, high poverty. we have migrant farmers. it's an old, you know, industrial town that's seen its better days. however, we have some amazing kids. some of the partnerships that i've tried to reach out and help build in our school, a local organization, robert h. jackson center, where we work on social justice. also, a national one in washington, d.c., the robert f. kennedy kennedy center. what we've seen is that students sometimes will, with proper instruction and resources, they can take a project and run with it. i had a student a year ago that finished third in a statewide contest. that's the kennedy contest, speak truth to power. that's gone national this year. so we search for resources in a time of diminishing opportunities. >> thank you, both. i hope we can get to these young women. they also want to hit on kids
with special needs, kids with dyslexia and those being left behind in addition to those who deal with poverty. >> tamron, thank you. over to jenna. >> i have a vet from queens who says she's not only a mom outside of the classroom but she's a mom in the classroom. she teaches at a very innovative school for young men. she teached 9:00 to 5:00. the boys take it as a job. talk to me about what you see every day. >> i teach at the eagle academy for young men of southeast queens. it's an all-male public middle and high school. before i can get to any type of rigor, i need to feed them. i need to be their friend. they need someone to talk to. they have many issues that happen outside. by the time they get to my classroom, there's a lot of conversation that needs to happen so we can sit down and read and write and do all those things that need to be done.
we need the support. teachers are out here on the front lines. the children we teach are going through so many things, things you would as parents might not even know about and the teacher hears it. so we need the support of our nation to be behind us, not to vilify us, to help us so that we can educate these people. please. >> and you say that -- i know, she's amazing. i wish i was in your classroom. you say that this is about heart just as much as it's about head. believe me, it's a hard job. it's a job that takes somebody that is as intelligent as you. but talk about the heart part. >> it's for it the love of the game, people. you can have all the education you want. you can go to the top schools. if you don't have a genuine love for the students that walk into your classroom each day, it's for naught.
>> i also have two teachers here who are working to make sure that all teachers get the support they need. you're actually practicing this, right? >> yes, back to what brian had said earlier about what it takes. last year's education nation had to do with community learning schools. i thought that we had such a great moment in last year's education nation where we had all these ideas and brought to the forefront all the things needed to support the community. not teach in spite of the community but teach with the community. it seems the year has gone by. at least speaking from new york city's perspective, it's gone on deaf ears. i'm here with my co-worker. we want to open a community learning school, a public school in harlem where we can meet the needs of our students and their families because we feel that's when real change is going to happen. >> thank you so much. brian? >> thank you, all.
we'll take a break here. we'll come back and have more of our conversation from teacher town hall in new york city, including more thoughts on what it takes to achieve success. every year american students earn degrees in math and science. but only three in ten of them are women. to have enough graduates to fill 21st century jobs... ...we'll have to solve this gender divide. let's inspire more young women to pursue math and science. let's light the way for a new generation. join exxonmobil in advancing math and science education. let's solve this.
acso 45 states and then district of columbia have voluntarily decided to raise the bar with consistent educational standards. now, students in those states will have a better chance to succeed in college and careers and to compete in the global economy. which means a better future for our students and our nation. join exxonmobil in supporting the common core state standards. let's solve this.
welcome back. i want to the -- to show you a very special piece of real estate. this is the map room inside this building that's hosting this gathering, the new york public library. it's one of the architectural gems of new york city in this enormous library. learning center and cultural center in this city. to put it simply, there's a reason why on the front steps there are two stone lions out there. they're not kittens. they're lions. because this is one of the great lions of learning in this country, and it has stayed that way over the years. so a round of applause for our hosts. [ applause ] so in the previous segment, one of the biggest applause lines was that teaching is about relationships because truisms
often get applauded in this crowd. glen, let's talk about relationships between school districts, between teachers in the district, teachers and the union, beyond the basic core job of that student-teacher relationship, which is everything. how do you tow the line in modern day teaching? >> well, i am very proud of our district and what we've done. teach verse taken the lead there. i think one of the problems that's happening in education is that people are telling teachers what they need to do in the classrooms and teacher voice is not heard. over and over and over again i hear that from teachers all over the country. our teachers got together and said, this is what we need to do. we need time to collaborate. we need to make sure that we are spending time together and we're not on an island. and then i've reached out to other organizations, and i bet every teacher out here has professional organizations you've reached out to that bridge beyond. i'm the only one in my school
that teaches what i teach. so it's very difficult for me to have a professional learning community within my school. so i have journalism educators association, and we are working together. i had the privilege of working with viva teachers, which is an organization that works throughout different areas in the country to try and bring teacher voice to policy decisions that are happening. and so these are organizations that are true to my heart. our teachers in my school district, we have a teacher academy. we've worked very hard with our administration and with our superintendent and with our school board. it is everybody's buy-in. everybody believes in it. they know what needs to happen to make students successful. the board, the superintendent, the administration all supported teachers' movement to make this happen. >> jeff, when you hear this, especially from the
suburban/rural environment by comparison, do you feel listened to? >> i do. but i don't think that my experience is the norm. people say i'm an english teacher, ergo i teach english literature. but i don't. i teach children. one of the mistakes we make oftentimes is we silo even the conversations we have as teachers, right. so i'm blessed to be able to work with incredible teachers all over the country. i feel like i have a profound amount of learning that goes on for me as a high school teacher when i'm sitting in a kindergarten classroom. so i think that for us, it's -- but this doesn't happen often enough, particularly in urban schools where there's this constant influx and focus on program instead of on people and
process, right. and everybody thinks we're going to get a program. [ applause ] it's kind of back to that playbook comment. everybody's looking for that program that's going to come in and this is going to make everything okay for teachers and kids and families. it just doesn't work that way, right. at the end of the day, the investment needs to be in people and process. so while the common core, you know, may be all good for conversation and looks good on a white board from 10,000 feet, the reality on the ground is where we actually see change as an engagement and performance and in outcome is when we start talking more seriously about, okay, what does that actually look like on the ground in a tenth grade classroom with kids from east oakland? they say the devil is in the details, right. i'd like to see more structure and investment in teachers
having the opportunity to have conversations with teachers about how to move from the white board, how to move from theory to practice. the big gap in our profession is not the knowing. it's the doing. and that's where we need a greater investment. >> all right. well, this report from the trenches, two very, very different trenches, but think of the commonality. the job at the end of the day, of course, is the same. the challenge is the same. i want to thank our friends glen and jeff. another break here. when we come back, much more from the new york public library, our fourth education name teacher town hall. every year american students earn degrees in math and science.
but only three in ten of them are women. to have enough graduates to fill 21st century jobs... ...we'll have to solve this gender divide. let's inspire more young women to pursue math and science. let's light the way for a new generation. join exxonmobil in advancing math and science education. let's solve this.
evto earn degrees in mathan stand science.ut but more than half leave their programs. so we're missing out on 450,000 math and science graduates annually. but if we can help students prepare for these subjects we'll have a stronger workforce for our fastest-growing industries. let's invest in our future. join exxonmobil in advancing math and science education. let's solve this.
and we are back. welcome back to the fourth annual education nation teacher town hall. it's becoming something of a sunday morning and afternoon tradition once a year here from the new york public library. in this next segment, we want to talk with the teachers here and our special guests on stage about how they can gain a bigger voice in the debate on education in america. news coverage, and we're all guilty, is often filled with the usual voices. politicians, union leaders who we've come to know, reform activists we've come to know, but very often our millions of teachers, the men and women in the trenches, feel they are left out of that conversation. we're joined now by two of those teachers who have worked on
changing that. alexandra fuentes is a tenth grade biology teacher in washington, d.c. jesse is a history teacher at garfield high school in seattle, washington. he did not find the weather today in new york at all damp. jesse is a history teacher. you're not a history teacher. you led a historic boycott of the new standardized test in seattle, a boycott that ultimately caused the test policy to be changed. before we get to the boycott, before we get to our guests, rehema, set the scene on what we're calling as an umbrella term teacher voice. >> well, teachers would like to have a greater voice in what's happening in the classroom and not have that voice be determined by the outcome of tests or their students on standardized test. many think it's an unfair evaluation, too much weight is being given to it, and that
there's need to be a reassessment of how we look at teachers, what they're doing every day in school and maybe standardize test is not the what i -- way to go. >> and you didn't set out to norma ray this. you're a mild-mannered guy. you're into your profession. yet, what about this idea caused you to plant your feet, stand up, and say this is not the way to go? >> well, you know, we tried phone calls and letters and asking nicely about the fact that this measure of academics progress test, the standardized test, was not aligned to our curricul curriculum, so the students were being tested on things that weren't in our standards. we finally decided we had nothing left to do but take a unanimous vote. it was every single teacher, all 90 of our educators, not one no
vote, everybody said it's time that we actually raise our voices, insert our voices into the education conversation and say we've had enough with this test. we were quickly met with a threat of a ten-day suspension without pay. i'll say two things about our story very quickly. number one, the student body government and the pta voted unanimously to support our boycott and thousands -- [ applause ] literally thousands of parents, students, and teachers from around the country flooded our inbox with e-mails, wrote letters and phone calls to the superintendent because they've seen the last decade of no child left behind policy and race to the top push the test and punish model that hospital woasn't wor improve public education. ultimately, they backed off the suspension threat and made the map test voluntary at the high
school level. the second thing that i want to say is perhaps garfield high school doesn't deserve the credit for starting the boycott because i think in a way, you could say that the elite private schools like lakeside where bill gates went to started the boycott. those schools have never used the map test. in fact, they don't inundate their classrooms with standardized testing because they want their children to be developed as leaders. they want time for the arts and critical thinking in the classroom. we want the very same for our students at garfield high school. [ cheers and applause ] >> and now, tell us about your story and tell us about teach plus. >> okay. well, i've had a unique opportunity to be part of several fellowships that allow teachers to have greater voice. i think what those fellowships like teach plus recognize is that when teachers can weigh in
and really be thought partners like vicky phillips was talking about, in decision making, tremendous things can happen. i think we can break those kind of outcomes into three categories. when teachers weigh in, we improve policies for kids. we can change the perception that educators have from the public. we can also empower students. what happens when -- it sort of starts in our classrooms. the thing that really fuels me is whether or not my students are learning. so at my school, when there's things getting in the way of student learning, i really wanted to make some changes and had some conversations with the principal and the school leadership that could develop that trust and that mutual respect that's really essential for change. so the second way that teacher voice can really improve beyond the policies are changing and completely transforming the perception that teachers have. for me, this is really close to home and why i'm so passionate
about speaking up. i didn't set out to be a teacher. i wanted to be a pediatrician. my family said that doing law and medicine was the thing that was a respectable thing to do. so when i was in school, i volunteered in a preschool and fell in love with the students and fell in love with what it took to get them to be really excited about learning, and i wanted to make that happen in high school. so i've been teaching for five years now. i'm just now coming to terms with the term teacher. very proud to be a teacher. it's taken a long time. if the vision is that teachers can replace pundits as the experts on education, then -- [ applause ] -- i think when that happens, and we have a room full of educators willing to speak up and a nation of educators who are tuning in with ideas on how to improve education, when that
happens, then we'll see a dramatic shift in how we are treated as professionals. the last part is thinking about how we can empower students. when we bring the media into our classrooms and bring policymakers into our classrooms to see what's happening, we broadcast loud and clear that what we're doing and what our students are doing is important. we send a message to them that's bigger than saying, i believe in you. so when npr came into my classroom to do a story on race and genetics, instead of staying 30 minutes, they stayed the entire day. my students heard loud and clear that what they say and think matters. so they understand now that they're uniquely equipped top the thought leader and change agents. >> and you mentioned this room full of vibrant educators. tamron standing by with several of them. >> i have a lot of people lined up. you're in michigan. tell me your name and this organization of teachers that
have pretty much become little norma rays as well. >> i'm june tyson. i'm a nationally board sert fiscal cliffed teacher, of whom we have many in the audience today. what's great about my state right now is we pulled together future leaders and call ourselves a network of michigan educators. with the support of our department of education and our state superintendent, we are training our members -- and these are nationally board certified teachers and president aware dees and such. we end up helping them fashion their message and be able to have the skills to contact their legislators. my message is we're not going to test our children to greatness. we're going to teach our children to greatness. >> and you work with special needs students. you've built a community of support as well. >> yes. >> what's your name? >> my name is mary. i'm from queens. so, yeah, what's upsetting was when i found out that 5% of all new york state children pass the ela test.
it was very disheartening because we work so hard. special education teachers in general are not getting any guidance. my leadership role -- i've learned leadership skills from the aft leadership program that the aft puts out. they've taught me how to write press releases, how to communicate with policymakers, and that's actually helped me get the word out a little more. i have a message for everyone out there. i challenge you to come to my classroom and see what my life is like, every teacher's life is like every day and how i would love to help new teachers more and how it's so difficult to help when you're so busy. >> i want to make a run, dash, move the qualm a back a little bit. you, i know, you lived in two worlds here. policy and the classroom. how do you balance what you're hearing here, mr. robinson, with the realities? >> yeah, i was a teacher for many years then had the
opportunity to go to washington, d.c. on a fellowship. i started working for the junior senator from illinois who's now the president of the united states. i was a teacher who was working in the white house in an amazing role. and an amazing opportunity. now i'm back in the classroom. i decided that's where my passion is. i just want to second everyone's comments. it's really hard. one of the things that's amazing is how little credibility many teachers have in the washington, d.c. policy world. >> why is that? >> i think it goes back to the those who can do, those who can't teach, that attitude. i think it's terrific that there are organizations like teach plus and the national board that are having a larger policy voice. they really need to be listened to in terms of bringing that teaching experience and the teachers' experience into policy. >> when you hear the teachers say too many pundits and not enough teachers are being represented, you were there. how do you make that change? >> there aren't many teachers who are involved in policy. i had the opportunity to both work in the senate and the
administration. you know, i think the administration is making a terrific effort to try to listen to the teacher voice more, and teachers are rising and organizing and i think making their voice better heard. i think that's going to be very valuable as we move forward. >> and in class, brian, they tell you not to pass a note. but a teacher just passed me this note. center for american progress, a nonprofit that gives resources to teachers who are looking for that community and help in leadership. steve robinson, thank you so much. >> tamron, thank you. i feel terrible. i'm not terribly bright. i was trying to do the math on the senator from illinois. i thought for a minute you worked for lincoln. i figured it out now. he worked for obama apparently. tamron, that phrase you used, and i'm glad you injected it into this conversation, it is the most highly -- what profession would we talk that way about? it's the most highly insulting
phrase. rehema, sorry. when we see the other countries, everyone talks about all the countries in europe, it's because the experience, the profession of teaching is venerated. it's considered one of the great things you can do in your society. so talk about that aspect of this. >> it's amazing the urgency around education other countries have that we don't seem to have. i went to finland. the teachers, they almost bow down to them. in south korea, the teachers are called nation builders. just imagine if we looked a t eu and called you nation builders. they say that it's important that we get the best of the best people in the room like we have in this room today. we have 3 million teachers in this country. the question is, are they respected? are they lifted up? finland, what they do is they say they're only taking the top 10% of people from the graduating class and putting
them in the classroom. that's all they're going to do because it is so important. it's taken them a long time. one of the things they said was, we're going to have to do more in finland that what we're doing. they said, who else speaks spanish? nobody. if somebody in funlainland is g to get out of here, they have to start that. just a quick story. i walked in a classroom and asked a teacher, how many of your children drop out? she spoke perfect english. she said, what are you talking about, dropout? i said, leave school, don't graduate. she said none, we don't do that here. if we find a child in trouble, we create an academic triage. we surround that child. they have two to three teachers in a classroom making certain those children get on with the business that they're about. so other countries are taking a different approach to teachers
that we're not taking. the teaching profession is highly respected in other places around the world that it's just not got the same kind of respect here. >> rehema ellis. over to jenna bush. >> i have a teacher and librarian from here in new york. do you feel like teachers are culturally appreciated? >> i think we are some of the most culturally diverse and underappreciated individuals in america. >> and how can we change that? >> i think one of the first things we can do is, i'm fortune, i have an administration who's allowed teachers and librarians to take leadership roles in the school. i'm beginning to help my teachers see that librarians amplify the voices of the teachers. when our voices are amplified, not only do we amplify the voices of our kids, but we help them see what's inside of themselves, that we model for them what they can do and be. >> awesome. yeah, they don't just say "shh,"
do they? thank you. now we have -- i grew up with a librarian. i'm allowed to say that. we have todd here, who's from flint, michigan. talk to me about what you're doing in your school district. >> well, going along with teacher voice, to establish my teacher voice in my school district in my city, it started with what we've been talking about this whole time, the relationships. i build those relationships by educating the parents, empowering them, educating the community, and then it goes on to the next step. the next step is all about elevating the profession of teaching. 85% of people are proven teachers. we have to make that known by being the professionals we are and being out there in the community. lastly, it was said before we need to educate these legislators about spending wisely, about what's going on in our classroom. i'm going to my state legislature and showing them what works with the evaluation systems and what works with student engagement and all this stuff. they want to hear from us. >> awesome. i also have rebecca from new
jersey. she's a nationally board certified teacher. but you have an idea to use social media to elevate the idea of teaching. >> i do. i think it's really important for us to all know that we have a voice that extends beyond our classroom. while some of us may be afraid to embrace social media, there are a lot of people out there on twitter. even just on facebook. what we put out there through our messages can be very powerful. we can really take it to the next level and not only learn from one another but to strengthen the profession and become nationally board certified teachers and demonstrate accomplished teaching and get that respect back for our profession. >> thank you so much. finally, i have to get to two more. two christies. give me the time. you're from arizona. >> i am. >> you were the teacher of the year. >> yes. >> i love being with a tlot of teachers of the year. talk to me about how we can elevate the idea of teaching and
how we can change the fact you guys don't feel appreciate pd. >> absolutely. i think one of the challenges we have is we know the money is not there to pay us all the time what we deserve. if you look at statistics of what keeps teachers in the profession, it's having that voice and having the opportunity to impact change. i think often in our nation we give a lot of lip service to including teacher voice, but it's time to start taking some of those actions. if you're a group that speaks about education, i challenge you to not have that conversation unless you have an equal number of practicing educators at the table as you have other people. >> one more christie. quickly, christie is also a teacher of the year in connecticut. talk to me about what we can do. >> my name is kristen and i teach physics. i belong to the national network of state teachers of the year. we very strongly advocate for teacher voice. one of the things that's important with our organization and with a lot of state teachers of the year is having policymakers, when they have
questions about teaching and learning, they need to think first, when i want to talk to an expert, i need to talk to a classroom teacher. as a classroom teacher, i've taken a lot of time to build relationships with my local legislators. i've been to washington, d.c. i've talked with my senators, my congressional representatives about national, federal education policy. i want them to think of me as the expert when they're passing laws. >> awesome. you are an expert, kristen. sorry about that. >> thank you very much. time for a short break here. we're going to continue this conversation, appropriately called teacher voice, when we continue from new york right after this. acso 45 states and then district of columbia
have voluntarily decided to raise the bar with consistent educational standards. now, students in those states will have a better chance to succeed in college and careers and to compete in the global economy. which means a better future for our students and our nation. join exxonmobil in supporting the common core state standards. let's solve this. extra curricular activities help provide a sense of identity and a path to success. joining the soccer team. getting help with math. going to prom. i want to learn to swim. it's hard to feel normal, when you can't do the normal things. to help, sleep train is collecting donations for the extra activities that, for most kids, are a normal part of growing up. not everyone can be a foster parent... but anyone can help a foster child.
have voluntarily decided to raise the bar with consistent educational standards. now, students in those states will have a better chance to succeed in college and careers and to compete in the global economy. which means a better future for our students and our nation. join exxonmobil in supporting the common core state standards. let's solve this. there's our lions. there's the lions that are not kittens outside for good reason. protecting over learning and good books and knowledge here in new york city. as we welcome you back to the new york public library and our conversation continues. we want to come back to our guests on the stage. i'm always just out of muscle memory so tempted to put a mr.
and ms. or mrs. in front of the title because, afterall, they're teachers. when we talk about your kind of civil insurrection in seattle, we also want to make it clear, and i know this was important to you, you're not against testing. we need a standard of measurement. also need common sense along the way. >> well, teachers invented testing. so i'm not against testing. i'm not against assessment. what i am against is the inundation of our classrooms with standardized testing. it's gotten completely out of hand. one parent in chicago when i went to speak there told me their kindergartener takes 14 standardized tests a year. this allows for no time for teaching. i'm glad you raised finland. if finland, one of the highest ranked school systems in the world, they have one
standardized test. let me just say that i think we need to reframe what the purpose of education is. because i think it's not just about career ready and college ready. it's also about solving real life problems we have in our world. we have endless wars, economic stagnation, and we have mass incarceration and climate change is threatening the future of humanity. none of those problems can be solved by bubbling a, b, c, or d. i think we need to teach critical thinking and collaboration. i think we need to teach imagination and civic courage in our classrooms. and these tests are too small, too puny to measure all the skills my kids have. i would suggest that we move to a system like finland where we do performance-based assessments like when you get your ph.d. they don't have you fill in bubbles at the ph.d. level because they want you to be able to think. you have to defend your evidence in front of a panel of experts.
i say let's develop that in every grade level, in every subject where you have to do research over time, defend a thesis, and actually explain yourself, right. a much better form of assessment, in my opinion. >> here's a provocative question. should the barrier to entry be higher for american teachers? should it be tougher to become a teacher than it already is? >> well, i think that's just the starting point. to get in top taleatalent. but we have proof points of top talent in the classroom. the problem is we're losing those teachers. there's a study in dcps, d.c. public schools, that showed that d.c. loses about 12% of their best, most effective teachers every year. on the surface, that looks like a small number. if you look at it from the students' perspective, by the time they graduate school, they
lose 30% of their best teachers. i think one of the most powerful answers is teacher voice. in organizations like teach plus policy teaching fellows and the science teaching foundation, educators for excellence that started in new york, they've figured out how to bring the kind of training and support teachers need to amplify our voices and become agents of change within our profession. so it starts with raising the standard for how to get in, but then the real challenge is having teachers set the standard for how to remain in the profession and how to fix the problems we find. >> to our guests here on stage, our thanks. we're going to mix it up in it the room after this break. we're back right after this. if we want to improve our schools... ... what should we invest in?
maybe new buildings? what about updated equipment? they can help, but recent research shows... ... nothing transforms schools like investing in advanced teacher education. let's build a strong foundation. let's invest in our teachers so they can inspire our students. let's solve this. all right. we're going to be completely honest here. veterans, viewers know that at the end of this broadcast, and we have just under a half hour left, we call it the lightning round. we're going to divide it into two segments. the quicker you make your point, you teachers who are coming to the microphones here with us, the more we get to talk about. anyone that gives a speech delays it for all.
rehema, first question for you. the crisis that i believe is a crisis of the lack of men in the classroom these days. >> 70% of the teachers in our classrooms in america are women. my son has no female teachers whatsoever. he would not see a male in his classroom at all were it not for his principal and the janitors. it is real crisis. one of the things is that the profession is not attracting men who are looking for higher paid jobs who are looking for the kind of jobs that have greater stability in the sense of many of our teachers go into places that are highly challenged and not only in terms of the environment outside of the school but the environment inside a school. women across this country are taking on the leadership role in educating our children. it is a real crisis. >> tamron hall, you get to start us off. >> christine is from new jersey.
what's on your mind? >> hi. i'm from union city high school. i was also the former hudson county teacher of the year, so i'm now serving as a county teacher of the year and also representing njctc why the department of ed. well, we're talking about empowering voices and being pioneers. as county teachers, we are the powers. we are the people who are being the pioneers. turnkey information and facilitation. we had great forums for njea for the standards and revaluation. it's important we support one another. as we're packing the backpacks of our students, we're also packing our own backpacks for success. this is what's needed. we're almost losing it when we're in the middle of this evaluation where teachers are feeling this pressure president support is needed not for our kids but ourselves as well. >> you were teacher of the year in 2012.
>> teachers really understand a very complex, noncognitive teaching. >> i'm amy from florida. teachers ask most, how can we teach in ways we've never been taught? our district has embraced the professional development, thinking mathematics, union based but teacher led so the teachers have the voice to really see what's happening. we've opened our doors. we've allowed teachers, policymakers, school board members to come in and see, what does common core look like in action. we're utilizing the fabulous websites available so that we can share our voice together and learn scale your impact is what it's all about. >> do you feel more powerful than ever? >> absolutely. >> and come on over. >> i'm kristen smith. i teach math here in new york. >> you look too young to be a teacher. i had to say it. >> i'm actually 28. thank you. just to talk about teacher professional development, i'm part of a program math for america here in new york.
one of the things that math for america does is they support teachers by investing in them and giving them professional development opportunities and professional learning teams which has been so valuable as we've transitioned to common core. the more i talk to teachers in other subjects, they wish they also had a program like math for america. i think the more that we can offer those opportunities and those professional learning communities, the better off teaches will be. >> that's a solution that works. real quick, you had a funny saying. those who can teach -- what was it? >> well, we've heard wonderful things today, but it should be those who can, teach. those who can't, pass laws about teaching. >> brian? i love it. >> that's great. i'm going to have that embroidered on next year's tote bag. jenna? >> i have joy here.
she teaches in harlem. do you think policymakers know what's going on in your classroom? >> it's important for teachers to be culturally competent to meet the needs of our students. now we need to talk about our policymakers being cultural competent and do they know the structures we need in order to meet the needs of our students. i urge policymakers to make sure teachers are at the table so we can explain. i'm not thinking only about the data. i'm thinking about michael that sits in the third row. >> awesome. thank you. i've got tammy from ohio. you've been teaching for 30 years. >> yes, i've been teaching. i'm a national board certified teacher. i've been teaching for 30 years in rural ohio. when we look at the history of all 30 years that i've gone through, we've had many, many changes in education and many that have, you know, come and gone. really, the steady is the classroom teacher. wee need to keep a positive attitude and present our career
as the best thing we could ever be doing in life. because i'm blessed to be here and to be a teacher and we need to portray that to our students to increase our profession. >> awesome. thank you so much. i've got margaret from memphis. talk to me about what you're seeing. >> i was very blessed to participate in revamping our teacher evaluation system a few years ago. i really believe that it is to improve teachers' practice and also raise our students' achievement level. now we found that the legislators and the policymakers are twisting our evaluation instrument into all kinds of negative, punitive ways against teachers. i would like to see us get back to what the original goal was of improving education. >> awesome. thank you. i've got olivia and sasha. they teach in new york city, both at charter schools. >> i just wanted to say that we could wait for policy, but as teachers, we need to get into each other's classrooms and
support one another because we are each other's greatest resource. i challenge teachers who have been in the classroom for many years to get into the classrooms of newer teachers, to show faith, to show support and vice versa. let's make each other what we want to be by stealing from one another and increasing the profession so that we are each other's greatest resource. >> it's the one time stealing isn't so bad. sasha, talk to me. >> i teach kindergarten. i never thought i would teach kind kindergarten. i'm just here to represent my 30 students who are waiting at the door at 7:00 a.m. and are sometimes at school until 5:30 p.m. if they can do it, we can do it. we can fix a national problem. >> did you ever feel like your principals -- like you feel like you can't say what you want to say because of administrators? >> i love my principal. >> good answer because she could be watching. brian, maybe i should go back to you before i get anybody in
trouble. >> i understand. we should just go ahead and say to all the principals watching, every teacher here was just saying to us how great you are and how great it is to work there and how free they feel to talk about how great you are. our lightning round continues after one more break. please stay with us. every year 750,000 american students set out to earn degrees in math and science. but more than half leave their programs. so we're missing out on 450,000 math and science graduates annually. but if we can help students prepare for these subjects we'll have a stronger workforce for our fastest-growing industries. let's invest in our future.
let's invest in our teachers so they can inspire our students. let's solve this. we are back on the center stage, the main stage at the new york public library for our fourth annual education nation teacher town hall. rehema ellis, my buddy here with me. we just heard terrible talk about stealing. in-classroom, open, brazen theft. you were saying to me during the break there's a really sweet corporate kind of sounding name for this thing. >> they call it sharing best practices. >> sounds much better. >> they did it at a school in massachusetts, a high school where they used to walk around saying we have a right to fail, and they did. the teachers realized that could not stand. the teachers got together, convinced the principal they
needed to share their best practices. it's now one of the best high schools in the state and country. >> and led by an incredibly dynamic principal. tamron hall, your turn again. >> i'm with mike from massachusetts. 2008 teacher of the year. mike, what's on your mind? >> so -- thank you. so i'm also an elected member of the school board in my hometown, which is another great way for teachers to exercise their voice in leadership. i've been on it for eight years. every year i've been on we've cut funding for the budget. so what's on my mind is the lack of funding for public education, that investment. so i challenge lawmakers from around the country to look at how we're funding public education and work to fix it. >> erin, you're from new york. >> yes, i'm from oceanside, new york. i'm a national board certified teacher. i'd like to say that national board certification is the best professional development available for teachers. it increases student learning and gives teachers a leadership opportunity. >> thank you for everything you do. and you're from camden, new
jersey. >> camden, new jersey, public school system. >> you're concerned particularly about diversity and boys of color. >> diversity and boys of cloolo is key because i represent only 2% of the teaching population, the black male. camden is a tough city. they need to see themselves in the classroom. many of our young males drop out because they don't think cool is school. so therefore, they turn it around and they become too cool for school. this leads to academic disidentification. they don't feel academic achievement is essential to their self-esteem. therefore, they can fail and still feel fine. what i want to do is begin to mentor these young males, create spaces so they can begin to see the black male rising and they will start to see that school is cool. >> amen. come on up, sir. you've done a lot of work in science, technology with your students. >> i teach computer science to underrepresented students here in the city. they asked me to come here and second that comment about
diversity. of the 3100 students that took the ap computer science exam in 2011, only 29 of them were african-american and 21% of them were female. we need to increase diversity and nurture the talent in those communities. that's what i came here to say. thank you. >> come on up. your comment almost brought me to tears today. tell them what you told me in line. >> i'm kristen. i'm from new jersey. i'm a kipder garten teacher. i'm being told what to teach and how to teach, but i have 30 kids and three hours of face time with them a day. i do not have the time to teach all of them. i either need less kids or in-class support. >> but you're not giving up. >> no, not at all. if i only get ten minutes with a kid a week, then i give each kid ten minutes a week. >> thank you so much. brian? >> thank you, tamron. to the teacher from camden, i've spent a lot of time there. it needs a lot of help. it needs everybody to come together. there's a great city still there in camden across the river from philly. jenna? >> i have jeffrey here, who's part of this large group. jeffrey, talk to me about how
you were mentored into being a teacher and now an administrator. >> at 14 years old, i did not want to become a teacher. i was sucked into it by a wonderful supporting mentorship system that was created by my community. 15 years later i'm not only a teacher but a leader in my school. for me, in order for us to really support our teachers, we have to make sure that we're doing this long term, systematic, and identifying community supports, professional supports, and aligning everything together so we're all doing this towards that same goal. >> today's students, tomorrow's teachers. all of you, thank you very much. we got a lot of them. >> wow. >> i know. they all wanted to come up. i've got kevin from seattle. talk to me. >> thank you. kindergarten teacher. the community are now funding what the government is supposed to be funding. thank you to the community for stepping forward. >> thank you. >> i've got leann here. where do you teach? >> new york city. >> okay. talk to me. >> i want to say that the
conversation around s.t.e.m. has been important. one of the things is lacking. we keep talking about finding talent in our students. one of the things that all the teachers in this room know is we don't find talent, we grow it. from the students who come in kru underprepared, we make the best prepared outcomes. >> what is your name and where do you teach? >> my name is rochelle. we've bridged the gap by increasing the enrollment of availability of a.p. classes. and i hope at the continue the funding for those classes. >> sadly, brian, we're coming back to you. i know these teachers have a lot to say. >> and i also want to tell people while we are heading in to our last break, on the other side of that break, it's something every at home, everyone in this room is going to want to see. i remember the press conference after the tragedy in newtown. the coroner was standing there and a member of the press corps
asked him what the little kirds were wearing when they were examined and he said they were wearing little kid stuff and it a in me position of first graders and what they're like, also the tragedies teachers have tried to witness and tried to prevent this past year and thinking of teachers that way appropriately as heros. so we're going to take a break here and when we come back on the other side, we've prepared something very special by way of thanking all the teachers in this room, by thanking all the teachers watching at home and on the web for participating in this great okccupationoccupatio. but also a reminder of what can happen, as well. every year american students earn degrees in math and science. but only three in ten of them are women. to have enough graduates to fill 21st century jobs...
...we'll have to solve this gender divide. let's inspire more young women to pursue math and science. let's light the way for a new generation. join exxonmobil in advancing math and science education. let's solve this. evto earn degrees in mathan stand science.ut but more than half leave their programs. so we're missing out on 450,000 math
minutes we have left, we want to take a moment to recognize teachers whose stories have teched tech test touched us all. we talk about teachers being heros and it's appropriate to mention them that way. what they do day in and day out deserves that recognition. but this past year, two sets of teachers became heros in a very literal way when their teachers were suddenly confronted with a physical threat. both of these stories happened in places we were called to respond to. in moore, oklahoma, a tornado took aim at two schools full of young children. and in newtown, connecticut, as we all know, a disturbed young man showed up at a school with a gun. and in both places, teachers did what teachers do. they took care of their kids. >> good evening from newtown, connecticut. the subdivision of sandy hook which just might be the saddest
place on earth tonight. >> among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who goated thegoat devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams. >> we look at them as educators and yet in this situation teachers in this school turned out to be protectors. there were >> a lot of children are alive today because of the actions teachers took. >> vicky soto loved to teach and her sister says she adored her first grade students at sandy hook. >> she loved those students more than anything. and she didn't call them her students, she called them her kids. she was so close to those kids and she loved them so much. >> loved them so much family members say they were told by police the 27-year-old died hiding and shielding her students from the gunmen. while six children died, seven were saved. >> how she was found protecting
her kids, doing instinctively what she knew to do. >> when gun shots rang out, janet huddled her students in to a back room. she saved the lives of her entire class and escaped unharmed. >> she locked the doors, pulled the blinds down, the curtains, put paper over the window on the door. and then sat the kids in a cubby and read to them. >> what you do as a kindergarten teacher is divert the attention away from what's happening. so i said i'm not sure about those noises because they said what is that. i said maybe someone's up on the roof getting a soccer ball. you know, because it was that kind of noise that maybe i could have just said that to them and so i read them a story. >> i gathered my class over to my coat closet area, which is what we practice in our lock done oig. and had them sit on the floor. i immediately locked the classroom door. as i was doing that, i was reassuring them it's okay,
everything's fine, we'll be okay. >> were they very upset? >> they did continue to cry, but they were able to hold it together. they were amazing. they were quiet when i needed them to be and they held each other. and they were perfect. they were perfect. >> good morning, devastation in oklahoma. >> we had on pull a car out of front hallway off a teacher and i don't know what that lady's name is, but she had three little kids underneath her. >> she protected even more lives. >> i was on top of six kids. >> on top of section children? >> i was lying on top of them. >> and they were okay? >> all mine are okay. >> she was in a bathroom stall crouched over four children and she did what teachers do. >> and i remember the little boy
saying i love you, please don't let me die with you you. >> i'm like we're not dying. we are not dying today. quit saying that. and i did the teacher thing that we're probably not supposed to do, i prayed. and i prayed out loud. >> what did you say? >> i said god please don't take these kids today. >> i'm never going to have anything, any words to, you know, to repay her for what she did. she threw herself on my daughter to protect her. but to me, the number one heros here are the teachers that put their lives at risk to protect all these kids. >> before we came on this morning, you were saying you were looking around and saying i wish i could see my kids, i want to see the students. and i do have a student here who wants to say thank you to you. >> i told you we'd be okay. [ applause ]
>> it is indeed powerful stuff. what a powerful job. it makes it easier to toss around the word heros when we talk about teacher. we salute you all obviously the people here in the room, the nice folks watching at home and on the web. we thank you for what you do, for who you are. to our kids and to our country. and we want to thank you here at nbc for participating in this event that we try to pull off every year especially this conversation which we have come to love, our sunday gathering, our teacher town hall about education in america. i could not have done this today without my friends and everyone who you can't see just behind this very busy bustling portion of wall and studio stage.
so thank you on behalf of all of us. thank you for being here with us. breaking news this sunday. terror crackdown. forces strike in somalia. we'll have the latest. plus capital it dysfunction. the government shuts down. hundreds of thousands of workers stay home, national parks close, but the washington spin war moves on full speed ahead. >> this isn't some damn game. >> the american people are not pawns in some political game. >> and we hope that our democratic colleagues will stop with the games. >> let the house stop the irresponsible reckless games. >> with no breakthrough in sight, another crisis looms on the horizon.