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Fourth Annual High School Policy Conference

Event:


This year Congress has the opportunity to improve high schools as it takes up the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The question is whether Congress has the will. The time is ripe to ensure those deliberations adequately address the needs of high schools.

On October 4-5, the Alliance for Excellent Education convened local, state, and national education leaders to discuss federal strategies for improving the achievement of our nation’s struggling middle and high school students. Last year’s conference examined the consensus that has been building around a federal agenda for high school reform. Leveraging that momentum, this year’s conference focused on explicit policies that should be included in NCLB to improve high schools.

This conference provided policymakers, educators, and other stakeholders with concrete information about and recommendations for what Congress should do to improve the country’s high schools. Federal policymakers will be making decisions impacting American high schools; this conference supports their efforts to make sure those decisions are wise and effective.

U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) and U.S Congressman Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX), along with Democratic and Republican staff from the Senate and House education committees, were emphatic that the needs of the nation’s secondary schools and their students would be addressed in the revision of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) that is currently being negotiated by Congress. They were among the speakers at the October 4-5 national high school policy conference hosted by the Alliance for Excellent Education, which brought together local, state, and national education leaders to discuss federal strategies for improving the achievement and attainment levels of the nation’s struggling middle and high school students.

Conference Agenda

Conference Materials

– Welcome from Alliance for Excellent President Bob Wise
– From No Child Left Behind to Every Child a Graduate handout
– Information on Student Voices videos
– “Key Pieces of Secondary School Legislation Pending Before Congress” handout
– In Need of Improvement: NCLB and High Schools Policy Brief
– High School Dropouts in America Fact Sheet

Conference PowerPoint

 

 

Thursday, October 4, 2007

I. Welcome
Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia, notes that the conference occurred on the 50th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik, the world’s first artificial satellite, and only a few days after the 50th anniversary of the forced integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, when President Dwight Eisenhower ordered federal troops to escort nine African American students into the school building.

Wise describes both events as watershed moments for the nation’s education system. Sputnik provided tangible evidence that the U.S. was no longer the world leader in space exploration and galvanized the public and the government to usher in new reforms in education, particularly in the fields of science and math. And Wise calls the integration by the “Little Rock Nine” of Central High one of the first times that the federal government stated affirmatively that every child should get a quality education. While recognizing that the country has made a lot of gains since 1957, Wise says it had much more work to do.

Gov. Bob WiseBob Wise, President, Alliance for Excellent Education

videoVideo (Windows Media)

 

 

 

 

II. In Need of Improvement: NCLB and High Schools audioAudio*
Bethany Little, vice president for policy and federal advocacy at the Alliance for Excellent Education, lays out the concerns of many educators and advocates regarding the current limitations of NCLB related to secondary schools. She notes that the law provides few of the supports that are critical to significantly improving low-performing secondary schools and that it provides little help for students in danger of dropping out.

A panel of congressional staff from the majority and minority staffs of the House Education and Labor Committee and the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee—the two committees responsible for reauthorizing NCLB—discuss how the reauthorization could improve the nation’s secondary schools.

Acknowledging that high schools were largely left out of the NCLB when it was debated in 2001, the panel emphasizes that emerging research now provided them with the data necessary to make high school reform a significant part of NCLB reauthorization. They now know where dropouts go to school, which students are most at risk of dropping out when they enter ninth grade, and which interventions will work to improve student performance.

With this data, panelists say they were able to include several high school initiatives in the draft plan to reauthorize NCLB, including a Graduation Promise Fund to turn around high schools with low graduation rates, a Striving Readers program to help older students who struggle to read and write at grade level, and a greater emphasis on graduation rate accountability. They also discuss incentives for states to raise standards and improve accountability and ways to reduce the teacher distribution gap between low- and high-poverty schools.

Student Voices: What if Kids Ran for Congress? videoVideo (Windows Media)

Bethany LittleIntroductory Remarks
Bethany Little, Vice President for Policy and Federal Advocacy, Alliance for Excellent Education

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Bethany Little’s PowerPoint Slides

Panel Response

Jill MorningstarJill Morningstar, House Education and Labor Committee – Majority Staff

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Roberto RodriguezRoberto Rodriguez, U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee – Majority Staff

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Lindsay HunsickerLindsay Hunsicker, U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee – Minority Staff

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Michael YudinMichael Yudin, Legislative Assistant, Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Kirsten DuncanKirsten Duncan, U.S. house of Representatives Education and Labor Committee – Minority Staff

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Panel 1 Question & Answer SessionQuestion & Answer Session – Panel 1

videoVideo (Windows Media)

III. Internationally Benchmarking 21st Century Standards
Andreas Schleicher describes the gaps between high school performance and college trends in the United States and other countries. His comprehensive presentation uses detailed graphs and data from the OECD’s Education at a Glance.

Schleicher explains that while the United States still possesses the world’s most educated workforce, much of America’s competitive edge was due to history and to the actions that the United States took after World War II; the GI Bill, for example, provided for college or vocational education for returning World War II veterans. Since the 1960s, other countries have caught up with and surpassed the United States in the percentage of individuals with high school diplomas and college degrees.

Schleicher also discusses the three common elements present in the education systems of the highest-performing countries: high, ambitious, universal standards; intelligent accountability and intervention; and personalized learning. And, noting that “the quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers,” Schleicher says that the highest-performing countries also possessed highly selective teacher programs and, in addition to attracting the best candidates into the profession, also had good programs such as career pathways in place to retain teachers in the profession and to advance them in their careers.

Andreas SchleicherAndreas Schleicher, Head of the Indicators and Analysis Division (Directorate for Education), OECD

audioAudiovideoVideo (Windows Media)

Andreas Schleicher’s PowerPoint Presentation

videoVideo with PowerPoint Presentation
View Andreas Schleicher video and PowerPoint presentation simultaneosly! You control advancing and reviewing PowerPoint presentation while viewing video by clicking “Next” or “Previous” underneath the PowerPoint that opens in Windows Media Player. (Your browser may ask you to give permission to open webpage within video: Click “Yes” in order to view video and presentation).

IV. College and Work Readiness: Raising Standards and Improving Assessments audioAudio*
Picking up on the theme of state standards, this panel debates whether the federal government should mandate a common national test as a way to raise state standards. During discussion, the panel raises several options, with some favoring a national standard and others preferring that states work together to develop a common test, perhaps with incentives from the federal government for doing so.

Student Voices: College and Work Readiness videoVideo (Windows Media)

Panel II

Michael J. Petrilli

Introduction
Mike Petrilli,
 Vice President for National Programs & Policy, Thomas B. Fordham Foundation (moderator)

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Mike Petrill’s PowerPoint Slides

Goodwin Liu

Goodwin Liu, Professor, School of Law, University of California-Berkeley

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Gene Wilhoit

Gene Wilhoit, Executive Director, Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Ronald Williams

Ronald Williams, Vice President, The College Board

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Jason Snipes

Jason Snipes, Council of the Great City Schools

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Discussion - Panel IIDiscussion

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Question & ANswer - Panel 2Question & Answer Session – Panel 2

videoVideo (Windows Media)

V. Accountability for What Matters: Measuring High Schools audioAudio*
Even if states were to raise their standards, NCLB as currently written does a poor job measuring high school performance and identifying and prioritizing low-performing schools. That was the point made by the panel on high school accountability. Panelists also discuss how the reauthorization of NCLB could bring about greater accountability for high schools. In particular, panelists agree that a revised NCLB had to do a better job of holding high schools accountable for graduation rates.

Michael Wotorson

Introduction
Michael Wotorson, Director of Community Partnerships, Alliance for Excellent Education

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Christopher Swanson

Christopher Swanson, Director, Education Week Research Center (moderator)

videoVideo (Windows Media)

 

Mitchell Chester

Mitchell Chester, Senior Associate Superintendent for the Office of Policy and Accountability, Ohio Department of Education

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Mitchell Chester’s PowerPoint Slides

Scott Palmer

Scott Palmer, Partner & Co-Leader, Education Policy Team, Holland & Knight

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Delia Pompa

Delia Pompa, Vice President, Education, National Council of La Raza (NCLR)

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Christopher Swanson

Christopher Swanson, Director, Education Week Research Center

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Kirsten Vital

Kirsten Vital, Chief of Community Accountability, Oakland Unified School District

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Kirsten Vital‘s PowerPoint Slides

Discussion - Panel 3Discussion

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Question & Answer - Panel 3Question & Answer Session – Panel 3

videoVideo (Windows Media)

VI. Ensuring Systemic Improvement: Turning Around Low-Performing High Schools audioAudio*
The question of how to turn around low-performing high schools once they were identified provokes a lively discussion on the panel, with JoEllen Lynch of the New York City Department of Education and Michael Durr the principal at John Hope High School, Chicago, IL, sharing strategies that were successful in their work. The panel also discusses successful strategies for turning around low-performing schools, including the importance of data, greater parental involvement, and smaller learning communities.

U.S. Representative Rubén Hinojosa makes a surprise appearance at the conference to talk about the Graduation Promise Act (GPA), of which he is the chief sponsor in the House of Representatives, and his efforts as the Chairman of the House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Higher Education, Life Long Learning and Competitiveness.

Student Voices: Turning Around Low-Performing High Schools videoVideo (Windows Media)

Panel

Monica Martinez

Monica Martinez, Vice President for Education Strategy, KnowledgeWorks Foundation (moderator)

videoVideo (Windows Media)

U.S. Representative Rubén HinojosaU.S. Representative Rubén Hinojosa

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Bob Balfanz

Bob Balfanz, Associate Research Scientist, Center for Social Organization of Schools, Johns Hopkins University

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Michael Durr

Michael Durr, Principal, John Hope College Preparatory High School, Chicago, IL

videoVideo (Windows Media)

JoEllen Lynch

JoEllen Lynch, CEO, Partnership Support Organization & Office of Multiple Pathways, New York City Department of Education

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Dane Linn

Dane Linn, Education Division Director, National Governors Association Center for Best Practices

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Discussion - Panel 4Discussion

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Question & ANswer - Panel IVQuestion & Answer Session – Panel 4

videoVideo (Windows Media)

VII. Reception
At a reception co-hosted by Jobs for the Future and the Alliance for Excellent Education, Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, declares that “a good quality education is back on the national agenda.” Kennedy talks about several pieces of legislation moving through Congress to improve high school graduation rates, including the Graduation Promise Act and the reauthorization of NCLB. He also references the America Competes Act, which is designed to strengthen educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and was signed into law by President Bush earlier this summer.

The reception also honors Dr. Bob Balfanz, a research scientist at Johns Hopkins University, who received the “Every Child a Graduate Award” from the Alliance for Excellent Education for his outstanding commitment to improving America’s secondary schools and for his leadership in the promotion of effective policies and practices that will help all students to graduate from high school prepared for college, work, and success in life.

Arthur White

Introduction
Arthur White
, Chairman of the Board, Jobs for the Future

videoVideo (Windows Media)

U.S. Senator Edward KennedyU.S. Senator Edward Kennedy

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Bob Balfanz, Bob WiseGov. Wise’s award presentation to Bob Balfanz

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Friday, October 5, 2007

Bob WiseWelcome
Bob Wise
, President, Alliance for Excellent Education

audioAudiovideoVideo (Windows Media)

I. Improving Teacher Effectiveness in Low-Performing High Schools audioAudio*
The first panel on day two of the conference discusses the very important role that teachers play in helping to turn around the lowest-performing schools and students. Panelists talk about how the federal government can evaluate teachers and teacher effectiveness. While panelists discuss teacher performance pay, bonuses, and other incentives to attract teachers to hard-to-staff schools, they also agree that teacher supports (such as mentoring, comprehensive induction programs, and common planning time) played a very important role.

Student Voices: Teacher Quality videoVideo (Windows Media)

Panel

Craig Jerald

Craig Jerald, Director of Policy, Strong American Schools (moderator)

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Mike Gass

Mike Gass, Executive Director of Secondary Education, Eagle County Schools, Eagle, CO

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Lauren WilsonLauren Wilson, Biology & “Master” Teacher, Battle Mountain High School, Eagle County School District, CO

videoVideo (Windows Media)

M. René Islas

M.Rene Islas, Lead, Education Services Team, B&D Consulting

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Wesley Williams

Wesley Williams, Director, Office of Educator Equity, Ohio Department of Education

videoVideo (Windows Media)

M. René Islas

M.Rene Islas, Lead, Education Services Team, B&D Consulting

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Discussion - Panel 5Discussion

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Question & Answer - Panel 5Question & Answer – Panel 5

videoVideo (Windows Media)

II. The High School of the 21st Century: Innovating for Equity and Excellence audioAudio*
The last panel of the conference discusses the features that a high school for the twenty-first century should possess to ensure that students graduate prepared for college or work. Some popular suggestions include rigorous curriculum, high expectations for students, extended learning time, and the opportunity for students to engage in coursework that was relevant to the real world. Along these lines, panelists express a desire to move away from the factory model of schooling where students moved from class to class and knowledge was “attached” to them, to a medical model where students perform analysis and exercise their skills in actual work, whether through internships or early college opportunities.

Student Voices: High Schools for the 21st Century videoVideo (Windows Media)

Thomas Toch

Introduction
Tom Toch
, Co-Founder & Co-Director, Education Sector (moderator)

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Panel

Adria SteinbergAdria Steinberg, Associate Vice President, Jobs for the Future

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Ref RodriguezRef Rodriguez, co-CEO of Partnerships to Uplift Communities (PUC Schools),, Burbank, CA

videoVideo (Windows Media)

John Jackson

John Jackson, President and CEO, Schott Foundation for Public Education

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Charity SmithCharity Smith, Assistant Commissioner, Arkansas Department of Education

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Discussion - Panel 6Discussion

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Question & Answer - Panel 6Question & Answer – Panel 6

videoVideo (Windows Media)

III. LUNCH with Keynote Remarks audioAudio*
Debra Schum, the Chief Academic Officer of the New Orleans Recovery School District talks about efforts underway in New Orleans around school reform and the vision that Paul Vallas, the new superintendent of the New Orleans Recovery School District, has for high school redesign in the city.

Bob WiseIntroduction
Bob Wise, President, Alliance for Excellent Education

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Debra SchumDebra Schum, Chief Academic Officer, New Orleans Recovery School District

videoVideo (Windows Media)

Categories: Uncategorized
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