"TITLE I: WHAT’S HAPPENING AT THE SCHOOL DISTRICT AND SCHOOL BUILDING LEVEL"
COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS
HEARING HELD IN WASHINGTON, DC, JULY 27, 1999
Serial No. 106-64
Printed for the use of the Committee on Education
and the Workforce
Committee on Education and the Workforce
Hearing on "Title I: What's Happening At The School District and
School Building Level"
2175 Rayburn House Office Building
Tuesday, July 27, 1999
STATEMENT OF DR. SHIRLEY LORENZO, PRINCIPAL, RAWLINGS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, PINELLAS PARK, FLORIDA *
Committee on Education and the Workforce
STATEMENT OF DR. JANE H. KARPER, SUPERINTENDENT, TROY AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT, TROY, PENNSYLVANIA *
STATEMENT OF MS. VERA GINN, COORDINATOR FOR TITLE I MIGRANT EDUCATION AND SPECIAL PROGRAMS, BROWARD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS, FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA *
STATEMENT OF DR. LOIS HARRISON-JONES, PRESIDENT-ELECT, NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF BLACK SCHOOL EDUCATORS, DALLAS, TEXAS *
STATEMENT OF DR. G. REID LYON, CHIEF, CHILD DEVELOPMENT AND BEHAVIOR BRANCH, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF CHILD HEALTH AND HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH *
APPENDIX A -- THE OPENING STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE BILL GOODLING, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA *
APPENDIX B -- THE WRITTEN STATEMENT OF DR. SHIRLEY LORENZO, PRINCIPAL, RAWLINGS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, PINELLAS PARK, FLORIDA *
APPENDIX C -- THE WRITTEN STATEMENT OF DR. JANE H. KARPER, SUPERINTENDENT, TROY AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT, TROY PENNSYLVANIA *
APPENDIX D -- THE WRITTEN STATEMENT OF MS. VERA GINN, COORDINATOR FOR TITLE I MIGRANT EDUCATION AND SPECIAL PROGRAMS, BROWARD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS, FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA *
APPENDIX E -- THE REPORT, REFORM AND RESULTS: AN ANALYSIS OF TITLE I IN THE BROWARD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS *
APPENDIX F -- THE WRITTEN STATEMENT OF DR. LOIS HARRISON-JONES, PRESIDENT-ELECT, NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF BLACK SCHOOL EDUCATORS, DALLAS, TEXAS *
Hearing on "Title I: What's Happening At The School District and
School Building Level"
2175 Rayburn House Office Building
Tuesday, July 27, 1999
The committee met at 1:32 p.m. in Room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building, the Honorable William H. Goodling, Chairman of the Committee, presiding.
Present: Representatives Goodling, Petri, Barrett, McKeon, Castle, Talent, Norwood, Hilleary, Ehlers, Tancredo, Fletcher, DeMint, Isakson, Clay, Kildee, Martinez, Owens, Payne, Andrews, Roemer, Woolsey, Romero-Barcelo, Fattah, McCarthy, Kind, Sanchez, Kucinich and Holt.
Staff present: Linda Castleman, Education Office Manager, Pamela Davidson, Legislative Assistant, Vic Klatt, Education Policy Coordinator, Sally Lovejoy, Senior Education Policy Advisor, Michael Reynard, Media Assistant, Bob Sweet, Professional Staff Member, Kent Talbert, Professional Staff Member, Kevin Talley, Staff Director, Christine Wolfe, Professional Staff Member, Gail Weiss, Minority Staff Director, Cedric Hendricks, Minority Deputy Counsel, June Harris, Minority Education Coordinator, Cheryl Johnson, Minority Legislative Associate, Alex Nock, Minority Legislative Associate, and Maryellen Ardouny, Minority Legislative Associate.
Chairman Goodling. The Committee will come to order.
Good afternoon. Our hearing today is another step forward in the authorization process for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. This is our fifth Title I hearing.
Today, we will hear from several Title I educators who will help us understand what Title I really looks like at the local level, and what some of the special challenges are that they face. We will hear from a principal of a schoolwide program in an elementary school in Florida. We will also hear from administrators of rural and urban school districts and from a researcher at the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development.
In just a few moments, I will proceed with a more detailed introduction of each of the distinguished witnesses.
As with the bipartisan Teacher Empowerment Act, which passed the House last week, we will continue to focus upon the principles of quality, accountability, and local decision-making, as we move ahead with the authorization of Title I and the remaining programs in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
As most here know, Title I is the largest K through 12 program of the federal government, funded at about $8 billion per year. While money is allocated on the basis of poverty, services are provided to educationally disadvantaged or low achieving students.
Too often, we fail to emphasize that Title I is designed to serve low achieving students, regardless of whether they are in low or high poverty districts. For over 30 years, Title I has been with us in one form or another, and over that time, we have invested about $120 billion in the program. Yet, for all those years, the federal studies and reports that keep coming back tell us that we may not have made very much progress in closing the achievement gap. If that were the private sector, some would say, we'd have been out of business several years ago.
So we will be taking a close look at how to ensure that Title I is actually helping close the achievement gap. There are many other key issues that we will be considering. Those issues are, will states meet the 2000-2001 school year deadline for having their assessments in place? Are Title I teachers aides a wise use of taxpayers' dollars. I'm told that about 20 to 25 percent of the total Title I money spending each year goes to pay for teachers' aides and about equal numbers of teacher aides and teachers are hired with Title I funding.
Should teacher aides be even allowed to instruct students?
Should all Title I programs be school-wide projects where schools can combine federal funds to serve the whole school, or is there still a role for the Target Assistance program?
Are public school officials providing meaningful consultation to private school officials? Should Title I benefits be portable?
Should we move toward more achievement-based accountability, as many states and school districts have already begun to do?
Should we eliminate many of the burdensome compliance-based requirements, as the Inspector General has suggested?
How are the uses of third party contractors working in Title I? Are Title I parents becoming more involved in their children's education?
I look forward to exploring these and other key issues with our witnesses.
At this time, I would call on Mr. Clay.
See Appendix A for the Opening Statement of the Honorable Bill Goodling
Mr. Clay. Mr. Chairman, I'm pleased to join you today at this hearing.
Title I is one of the most important federal education programs aimed at narrowing the achievement gap that affects disadvantaged students.
The recent national assessment of Title I fosters increased educational achievement for all children and states, and have led the charge in implementing high academic standards and aligned assessments. Five out of six states showed improvement in math achievement, and four in reading. Nine out of 13 urban school districts showed substantial increases in either math or reading achievement.
Most importantly, Mr. Chairman, the national assessment indicates that when fully implemented, systemic reform is closing the achievement gap between disadvantaged students and their non-disadvantaged peers.
There are additional improvements that can be made to Title I. We need increased accountability of our federal education programs to ensure quality educational opportunities for all children.
Every child has a right to receive the individualized attention necessary to learn well, supported by highly qualified teachers that know the subject he or she is teaching.
We should maintain the poverty eligibility threshold for schoolwide programs to ensure the neediest students are served first. And we should also maintain the current targeting in the Title I format. This reauthorization provides us a good opportunity to strengthen the quality of our educational system.
Mr. Chairman, I hope and I know that we can work in a bipartisan way to improve this important program.
I yield back the balance of my time.
Chairman Goodling. I'll introduce our witnesses as they come to the table.
Dr. Shirley Lorenzo is the Principal of Rawlings Elementary School in Pinellas Park, Florida. The school utilizes a schoolwide approach under Title I, and has also implemented total quality management principles at the school. Dr. Lorenzo was a teacher for 20 years prior to becoming a principal and has served as a text writer and text reader for the State of Florida. Rawlings Elementary was the first school in the state to receive the Governor's Sterling Award For Quality, and has received several other awards and honors.
We'd like to especially thank Dr. Lorenzo for taking time away from her vacation in Tennessee to be here today.
Dr. Jane Karper is the Superintendent of the Troy Area School District, a rural school district in Troy, Pennsylvania. She also serves as an adjunct professor at Wilkes University in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. Prior to becoming superintendent, she served as a teacher, principal, and supervisor for elementary education.
Ms. Vera Ginn is the Coordinator for Title I Migrant Education and Special Programs for the Broward County Public Schools in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. She has served with the Broward County public schools for 25 years, and has taught at the elementary, middle school, and college levels, and has a background in reading education.
I'm going to call on Mr. Clay to introduce our next panelist.
Mr. Clay. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, Dr. Lois Harrison-Jones is President-elect of the National Alliance of Black School Educators, NABSE, an organization composed of over 6,500 members. NABSE's membership consists of school superintendents, education administrators, principals, teachers, counselors, and other education personnel. It is dedicated to improving the educational accomplishment of all students and especially African-American students. Dr. Harrison-Jones is a veteran educator with work experience in three states at virtually every level of education.
She has been Superintendent of Schools in Boston, Massachusetts and Richmond, as well as Deputy Superintendent in Dallas, Texas. She is widely recognized for her leadership skills and accomplishments. Her administrative assignments have included responsibility for school staff and operations, curriculum and instruction, federal programs, bilingual education and special education.
She's currently an education and management consultant, community activist and advisor to state and local boards. Dr. Harrison-Jones is active in terms of policy advocacy to ensure that equal opportunities are provided in high quality schools for all children in reaching their optimum academic potential.
Chairman Goodling. Vera, I'll try this again. It says G is pronounced as the G in gun. I wasn't supposed to say gun. Put the emphasis on the G, I'm told.
So, Ms. Vera Ginn.
Ms. Ginn: Thank you.
Chairman Goodling. Dr. Reid Lyon is a research psychologist and the chief of the Child Development and Behavioral Branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. He has authored, co-authored and edited numerous journal articles, books, and book chapters addressing learning differences and disabilities in children.
The light system you see before you is to try to hold you as close to five minutes as you summarize, so that the Members have time to ask questions. When the light is green, it's go, and when the light is yellow, it's slow down, and when the light is red, stop, please finish up your statement as soon as you can. Thank you.
We will start with Dr. Lorenzo.
STATEMENT OF DR. SHIRLEY LORENZO, PRINCIPAL, RAWLINGS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, PINELLAS PARK, FLORIDA
Dr. Lorenzo. I would like to thank you, as Honorable Representatives, for inviting me to speak to you about a subject I hold very dear and that is public education and Title I funding.
I am Shirley Lorenzo and I represent Pinellas County, Florida, more specifically, the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Elementary School.
I come to speak to you as a Principal of Rawlings, which is a Urban Title I school with 59 percent of our students on free and reduced lunch in a school that has a 35 percent mobility rate. We have 843 students with 100 of our student body in special education programs, but more importantly, we are a school that is making a difference in the every day lives of children and their families.
Six years ago, when our school was opened, it was clear that boys and girls in the community were coming to school with greater and greater needs. Reading, writing, and math scores indicated that children entering the school had serious deficits in academic achievement, and if left alone on the same path it was predictable that just the newness of the school with all its prettiness probably would not make a big difference to these children.
Hence, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was created, using new concepts and new processes to solve growing problems. Rawlings has enjoyed success, and we feel that as a school, it's attributable to four factors. The first has been a systemwide commitment to using the Malcolm Baldridge criteria to improve the school organizational patterns. With this commitment to quality came continual improvement.
Decisions based on data and organizational core values that quickly drive improvement change closely aligned with organizational systems thinking is the second factor which has been a commitment to shared leadership and a school culture which truly values human life and their interactions, child to adult, adult to adult, and child to child. This shared leadership infused in a system invigorates and excites the school as a total learning community. Each person, including children, are viewed as leaders, responsible for their own learning, and each is also responsible to help everyone in the community succeed.
The third factor that has been so important to sustained school improvement has been the stability and flexibility of funding from sources such as Title I moneys, state school improvement moneys, and state and federal technology funds. These funds have allowed innovative change that would not have been possible otherwise. These funds have allowed moneys to support collaborative meetings, training, research, and searches for best practice.
Finally, it is the schoolwide concept that has given the school community real input and power into the decision-making process. This discretionary power enables a school to make school-based decisions rather than relying solely on county, state or federal ideas or directives for school change.
The schoolwide concept allows a unique opportunity for school-based research, data gathering and decision-making about programs and practices that are good for students in their own school. It is very exciting and empowering to work in a system that has a culture and a climate that values school educators, parents and community members working together to make improvements for their school and for their children with unique needs. This is the type of change that creates exciting, sustained growth. It is this discretionary power over important funds that have allowed us to make these wise, school-based decisions.
When Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings began, it embarked on a serious mission to help every child achieve their potential in basic academic areas. Each teacher, support staff member, custodian, administrator, parent, and child recognized the seriousness of this mission. Together, they concentrated on reading, writing, and math, and joined with one mind and purpose to get the job done. The use of Malcolm Baldridge criteria and quality core values, which bring a systems approach to what we do was used by Rawlings from its inception.
For years, businesses have used these criteria effectively to bring about organizational change, and now several states, including Florida, have developed a self-assessment process based on the Malcolm Baldridge criteria.
Schools can apply for what's known as the Sterling award of Florida, but writing a self-examination document, allowing outside examiners to come to the school site for verification, and finally having a juried recognition system, determining if the organization, in this case a school, chose the type of success that is exemplary for that organization.
I'm proud to say our school underwent this self-examination process in 1998, and was awarded a site visit and awarded recognition as the first school in the State of Florida to win the Sterling Award in the field of education. We are proud of the accomplishments that we've made in six years, and for the successes of our children that they have achieved.
Statistically, our disadvantaged children should not be showing the gains they are exhibiting. Let me share some of the data with you that I'm talking about, and I know you have the graphs before you.
The first graph shows a comparison of district, state, and school average scores, and a gap analysis of the school's growth over a six-year period on a criterion reference state exam. Our writing scores exceed both district and state averages. Following along in the next graph, you will note a positive trend, again for math and reading, over a six-year period.
We continue to show positive, sustained growth, even though our economic deprivation factor continues to increase each year and the mobility of our population increases.
As our school is worked with quality systems aligning every process to our mission and goals, we've worked as a full staff in making sure that our Title I dollars are spent effectively. Decisions are made with full staff and community input. Everyone knows why we are spending the money we decided to spend. Everyone feels real ownership and accountability for the use of the funds, and what is not working. For example, we made a schoolwide decision, based on data and research, to put in a massive schoolwide tutoring program for helping children acquire mass skills by utilizing every available person on a specific day of the week to teach math for a year, in addition to a child's regular math instruction.
After a year's work, we had positive results, and after analyzing the data, decided to put in a similar program for reading. After carefully analyzing the data at the end of the year, we realized reading takes greater skill and finesses to teach, more than math skills.
Not just anyone can teach reading. We've adjusted our research and training reading and intensified our approach using skilled classroom teachers with our most struggling students. Research, by Richard Allington and others suggest that often struggling students are left to volunteers for remedial work, or teacher aides or paraprofessionals.
Our research now indicates that with more intensive work by highly trained teachers, children make greater gains, and the use of Title I funds can be more wisely spent.
We now employ two extra teachers to reduce class size and to help intensify our approach to reading. We also employ five paraprofessionals with two years of college skills. They are trained to assist in specific classrooms, giving more teachers a chance to work with small groups, especially in lower grades. All of these schoolwide decisions are made with full staff knowledge and input.
When we have success, we celebrate schoolwide, and when our gains are not what we would like, we analyze and problem-solve schoolwide.
What a contrast to the days of Chapter I, when funds were expended to help only a few specific children. It was rare for a staff to be involved in making decisions that affected their children. Training for Chapter 1 staff was parallel but separate. Services were also parallel to the classroom but separate.
The Chapter 1 program, while well-intentioned, was an isolated pull out program which had wonderful goals and dreams for children, but often ended up labeling and stigmatizing children while trying to service them. Children were pulled away from the continuity of the school day, isolated from the main stream, and remediated. They were problems to fix.
The schoolwide concept, instead, encompasses all children, utilizes and aligns all resources, and empowers the school to make the best decisions for all concerned. In summary, it does isolate, it includes, and so schoolwide decisions, though challenging, are certainly, in my opinion, the best way to go.
See Appendix B for the Written Statement of Dr. Shirley Lorenzo
Chairman Goodling. Dr. Karper?
STATEMENT OF DR. JANE H. KARPER, SUPERINTENDENT, TROY AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT, TROY, PENNSYLVANIA
Dr. Karper. Mr. Chairman and Committee members, my name is Jane Karper and I'm the Superintendent of Schools in Troy, Pennsylvania. Troy is in the center of the State, up in the North on the New York Border.
I will make brief comments based on my written testimony to you, those areas I feel most powerful about.
Troy is small, very rural, and poor. Our industry of lumber and farming is leaving us. Our residents must travel to New York and neighboring districts to find work. Our total school budget is $14 million. We receive $414,000 in Title I basic grant money. We serve 203 children in our program.
Once upon a time, Title I was K through 6 reading and math. But as the cost of administrating the program goes up, our delivery opportunities go down. Until now, we only serve K through 4 in reading alone.
We use some of the best strategies. We have a targeted assistance program. We use small group instruction. We use tutoring of all kinds. We use in-class, co-teaching, and we use pullout programs.
We use a process called the instructional support team that was a Pennsylvania initiative that targeted children at risk. The last program we just initiated is called reading recovery and it targets those little guys and girls in first grade who are struggling with the reading process. We have two of our four reading teachers trained, but we need the other two trained, and the cost of training is extremely expensive. Therefore, at this time, our budget cannot handle it.
We see successes with our Title I children. We see that between their pre-test in the Fall and their post-test in the Spring, significant gains in the area of reading. We also see that our Pennsylvania statewide assessment program our test scores are on the increase there.
We have fewer children being identified for special education. Of the numbers of children in this targeted group, fewer children are being retained every year and the number continues to go down for that. We don't have private schools within our boundaries, and our school district takes in 275 square miles. We do have a few students who attend a parochial school and we serve any Title I children there through an inter-district agreement.
I always have ideas and I would like to share my recommendations with this Committee on ways to fine tune a program that has an ambitious goal.
These are: Early childhood intervention is where I feel Title I should start to focus. Let's get the little guys and gals early and establish a firm basis upon which to build learning instead of remediating. I would extend that further to literacy development. Now we're trying to fix something we could prevent in the beginning.
We should work toward more parental involvement, and finally, as a superintendent, I'm going to talk about funding.
I feel that if funding for math and reading would be increased, in our poorest districts, the students would be helped. In my district alone, our free and reduced lunch percentages go from 37 to 55.
We, as the state gives us increasingly less money to run our district, and I'm talking about the percentage of our total budget, our people, our residents have to carry more of the burden for providing education to our children.
We are a poor area. Work is hard to find. I feel that if Title I funding were increased, we wouldn't have to cut programs in Troy and we would be able to hire more teachers, to have our teacher-student ratio become within the national standards for that.
I feel that Troy cannot afford to have many administrators in charge of programming so my elementary principal coordinates the Title I programs. She also has four elementary buildings, 800 students, and 89 staff members to supervise. We use our intermediate unit, if at all possible, and there's another recommendation. Perhaps the legislation should be rewritten to include the intermediate unit that is the education service agency.
When preparing for reauthorization, there were forums held, and Mr. Goodling, I believe one of those took place in New Oxford, Pennsylvania, and I want to highlight two of the outcomes.
One is, we don't have a national program of Title I, we have 50 Title I programs and each state lends its special blend to that. We also, in the area of targeted assistance programs, which I have in my district, need to have more flexibility in the paperwork.
Finally, as I conclude, I would offer my support for the Rural Small Schools Education Initiative which was recently introduced in the Senate, and will soon be introduced to this Committee with jurisdiction to this Committee.
So, Mr. Chairman, and the members of the Committee, these suggestions for change were conceived with a great deal of input by educational leaders across the nation. I would be happy to answer questions later, and I thank all of you for this opportunity today.
See Appendix C for the Written Statement of Dr. Jane Karper
Chairman Goodling. Ms. Ginn.
STATEMENT OF MS. VERA GINN, COORDINATOR FOR TITLE I MIGRANT EDUCATION AND SPECIAL PROGRAMS, BROWARD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS, FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA
Ms. Ginn. Good afternoon.
My name is Vera Ginn. I'm the coordinator of Title I Migrant and Special Programs in Broward County, Florida. Thank you so much for the opportunity to testify before this Committee today regarding Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to focus my brief remarks this afternoon on discussing the Title I program in our district and the effectiveness of that program since the 1994 Reauthorization. Broward County Public Schools is the fifth largest and one of the fastest growing districts in the nation.
It is comprised of a student body from 164 countries, speaking 54 languages. We enroll approximately 6,000 to 7,000 new students annually. Broward County adds annually more new students than 90 percent of the nation's schools districts individually enroll.
Approximately 230,000 students of which 49,000 were Title I, that's a percentage of about 21 percent, of the 187 elementary, middle and high schools in the district, 76 of those schools were Title I funded, 41 percent.
In addition, we serve 13 non-public schools, seven institutions for neglected and delinquent, I'm sorry, 7 institutions for delinquent and 13 institutions for neglected. I am pleased to report to you today that the Title I program in Broward County is working. Title I funds help improve teaching and learning for almost 50,000 students in 76 Title I schoolwide projects.
The standards based reform implementation has brought about improved student achievement among students in our highest poverty schools and among low performing students. Let me share with you one example.
During the 1994-95 school year, the Florida State Department of Education, using the Stanford Achievement Test, along with other state assessments, classified 25 Title I funded schools as critically low performing schools. The following year, 1995-1996, 12 schools were classified as critically low performing. In the third year, 1996-97, two schools remained on the critically low performing list. In 1997-98, there were no schools listed as low performing.
In only three years, Broward County was able to reduce the number of schools on the state's critically low-performing list from 25 to 0. I am also pleased to report that interventions are working in Broward County. External support is provided to 14 schools by developers from Co-NECT, Modern Red Schoolhouse, and Roots and Wings.
However, the most successful reform model today is the one that is attributed to getting those 25 schools off the critically low list. It is a homegrown model developed in Broward County known as the Alliance of Quality Schools Program. The program targets reading, writing, mathematics, and social behavior, and aims to help teachers improve education through in-class coaching.
Mr. Chairman, I would like to introduce into the record, at this time, this Title I report which provides additional data on the results of Title I in Broward County. It is important to note that Broward County was at the forefront of standards-based reform. The district was first in the state to develop an accountability policy that was adopted by the school board in March of 1995.
The State of Florida has since developed a rigorous accountability system that holds all schools, including Title I schools, accountable for making continuous and substantial gains in student performance. Given the challenges facing an urban school district the size of Broward County, more and more of our students are meeting or exceeding our expectations.
Despite the progress that our district has made, substantial gaps remain between students and high poverty schools and their peers and low poverty schools. Although great strides have been made since Congress enacted the Improving Americas Schools Act of 1994, our work is still in progress.
Title I is greatly needed to help close that achievement gap between high and low poverty schools, and between minority and non-minority students.
Our most fragile population, our poorest, the most disadvantaged children is at great risk of educational failure. Therefore, I submit to this Committee these recommendations for your consideration, as you approach the Reauthorization of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
First, maintain the focus on raising academic standards for all children. Retain the current Title I requirements that states and local school districts establish content standards, students performance standards, and assessments aligned to high academic standards by the time line 2000-2001.
Secondly, strengthen local accountability, require districts to disaggregate data by subgroups, ethnicity, gender, race, English proficiency standards, migrant status, economic status, and students with disabilities. Disseminate that information to the public. Also, establish appropriate interventions to improve the achievement of identified underperforming subgroups. Allow district support teams, rather than state-selected support teams to identify and provide assistance to low performing schools that have not improved over a two-year period.
Thirdly, increase emphasis on highly-qualified instructional staff. Allow Title I funds to be used to upgrade certification and subject matter for teachers paid with Title I funds. Require that paraprofessionals paid through Title I funds, except for those with second language skills, be on a teaching career ladder before assuming instructional responsibilities.
Four, continue schoolwide efforts to improve education in high poverty schools. Retain that 50 percent current threshold for Title I. This provision gives high poverty schools the flexibility to use funds to improve the instructional program of the entire school. Encourage parent/family involvement.
I urge members of this Committee to consider that while performance by Title I students has improved, and progress has been steady, the focus for the upcoming reauthorization should be on seeking ways to accelerate this progress, rather than pursuing a different course of action.
I support the work of this Committee and I am grateful for the opportunity you have given me to share my views with you this afternoon. I would be pleased to answer your questions.
See Appendix D for the Written Statement of Ms. Vera Ginn
See Appendix E for the Report, Reform and Results: An Analysis of Title I in
the Broward County Public Schools
Chairman Goodling. Thank you.
Dr. Harrison Jones.
STATEMENT OF DR. LOIS HARRISON-JONES, PRESIDENT-ELECT, NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF BLACK SCHOOL EDUCATORS, DALLAS, TEXAS
Dr. Harrison-Jones. Mr. Chairman and other members of the Education and Work Force Committee, I thank you for the opportunity to address you this afternoon.
I'm Lois Harrison-Jones, product of the Pennsylvania and Virginia Schools, a retired superintendent from two school districts. I'm here today, however, in the capacity of the in-coming presidency of the National Alliance of Black School Educators. As was stated by Mr. Clay, a 6,500 approximate membership spanning the entire United States and abroad.
We have a singular purpose in NABSE and that is to advocate for those programs and services, those conditions, those palaces that impact the quality of education for all students, but especially students of African dissent.
NABSE was very focal on its position during the 1994 Reauthorization of Title I, and we appreciate the attention that you gave to our concerns and recommendations at that time. So we are encouraged to come again, and to share with you our thoughts.
It's been only 35 years, which is rather brief for some of us, that the Congress and the Administration had the wisdom to make substantial new investments in the education of disadvantaged children, with the expectation that more effective strategies could be developed over time.
Now although Head Start and Title I are [and as they were] technically racially and ethnically neutral, many educators and policymakers at the time undoubtedly recognized that these programs would be of disproportionate value to African-American, Hispanic, and Native American children and youth, because higher percentages of these youngsters are growing up in poverty.
Ladies and gentlemen, that remains true today. In fact, states with the highest percentages of African-Americans in schools is where we tend to find the highest levels of poverty. At the core of NABSE's recommendations for the Reauthorization of Title I, is the notion that parity and equity in student achievement and excellence in educational attainment for all citizens is first, dependent on the equitable targeting of federal dollars based on need.
Secondly, a substantial investment in other education-related relevant resources. The reality is that a significant number of children of African dissent are truly resigned to our inner cities, but not exclusively. Of the current 300 or so African-American superintendents in the country, two-thirds had either poor rural or newly resegregated what we called suburban rings. The references to places such as Charles City, Virginia, Chelsea, Massachusetts, Wilma Hutchins, Texas, and et cetera. So we're speaking of where poverty exists.
I'd like to read verbatim just a portion of what was stated in the 1965 Title I Act.
In recognition of the special educational needs of low-income families and the impact that concentrations of low-income families have on the ability of local educational agencies to support adequate educational programs, the Congress hereby declares it to be the policy of the United States to provide financial assistance to local educational agencies serving areas with concentrations of children from low-income families to expand and improve their educational programs by various means [including preschool programs] which contribute particularly to meeting the special educational needs of educationally deprived children.
In essence, it purports that Title I was designed to compensate for, or to overcome the disadvantages caused by poverty. NABSE recommends the inclusion of the 1965 legislative language as it was, one that we believe truly exemplifies what Title I was and should continue to be about.
We applaud the efforts of Congress and the Administration to look at research as a lever for policy and legislation, but we would request that you review it all in a bipartisan way and look at the widespread research and reports that cut across all policies and philosophical perspectives. We believe that the elimination of the educational achievement gaps between America's poor children and its other children is as significant as some of our other priorities, whether they are smart bombs, stealth fighters, worldwide military bases, et cetera.
I'd like to, in a very abbreviated form, share with you five specific recommendations from NABSE for your consideration.
First, we recommend the targeting of Title I funds to the poorest children in the poorest schools in the poorest school districts.
Secondly, we believe that the current 50 percent poverty population threshold for Title I funding does not adequately guarantee that all poor children will be sufficiently impacted in a school or a school district. We strongly recommend that legislation move the threshold for schoolwide programs to schools with children with at least 60 percent poverty rate by the year 2000, and to 75 percent in subsequent years, reauthorization years.
Third, NABSE membership does support high standards for all students. The membership also supports a commitment to standards-based reform and a federal role in its implementation.
Fourth, Title I has been treated as a funding stream, but we believe it's much more than that. There must be language that is not punitive but resolves not to fund classrooms where failing teachers continue to reside. In order for America's poor children to meet high standards, it's going to be important that they have the quality of instructional staff to make it happen.
Finally, we need no other studies to inform us that family and parent input are critical educational-relevant resources. Sufficient studies exist to give us that information.
So it's more than just talking about that. We're suggesting that in order to facilitate that whole process, that family training centers be established that would be designed to assist parents who are truly concerned, or whether they represent a concern or not, but to show them the extent to which and the value added to their involvement in their children's education.
In the interest of time, I will close now, and thank you again for your attention. I'll be happy to respond to your questions.
Appendix F for the Written Statement of Dr. Lois Harrison-Jones
Chairman Goodling. Dr. Lyon.
STATEMENT OF DR. G. REID LYON, CHIEF, CHILD DEVELOPMENT AND BEHAVIOR BRANCH, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF CHILD HEALTH AND HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
Dr. Lyon. Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, my name is Reid Lyon, and I'm with the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. I am honored to appear before you today on a matter of critical educational and public health importance, that being the ability of our children to learn to read.
Mr. Chairman, there is no doubt that children most at risk for reading failure are those who enter school with limited exposure to language and literacy interactions from birth to their entry into school.
Kids raised in poverty, youngsters with limited language proficiency in the English language, are clearly predisposed to reading failure. Unfortunately, there is literally an epidemic of reading difficulties among economically and socially disadvantaged children in this country.
It is typically these disadvantaged children who are eligible for and receive instructional assistance from programs possible through Title I. However, despite the existence of these programs, the proliferation of reading failure among disadvantaged children remains, in the main, unabated.
Why does this unfortunate trend continue, particularly when many reading programs used with children eligible for Title I services are described as employing research-based instructional approaches? More specifically, given that the term research- based implies that the reading programs have been objectively evaluated to determine for which children the programs are most beneficial, why do so many disadvantaged children continue to founder in reading?
One major reason is that the term ``research-based'' currently means many things to many people, with significant variations in the scientific quality of the research described by the use of that term. For example, some instructional reading programs touted as research-based, are frankly based upon mediocre or substantially flawed studies, while other programs are based on studies that meet rigorous scientific criteria. The problem is that many in the field of education unfortunately do not recognize this difference.
To date, adherence to scientific quality has not been a strong guiding force in selecting and implementing instructional reading programs and approaches for children receiving Title services. What does research-based mean?
One example of an appropriate use of the term can be derived from several common sense questions a parent may ask, when attempting to determine if a particular reading approach is beneficial for their children. A first question might be. Has this approach or program been used successfully before with children who are similar to mine in language development, in reading development, in socioeconomic status, and in classrooms and with teachers similar to those my children have. Likewise, who are the children that did not benefit from these programs and why?
Another question might be, what do we mean by success? Did reading achievement scores improve? Were children's interest and motivation for reading heightened? Were teachers enthusiastic about the reading approach?
Another question might be do the measures or observations of these different aspects of success provide reliable findings across observers in settings? Or how many times has this approach or program been evaluated or studied with similar groups of children with similar findings obtained?
An additional question might be, were the research studies upon which our instructional approaches that are used in Title I programs reviewed and published in strong, quality-based scientific outlets?
Ultimately, high scientific quality research on instructional reading and math programs must combine research strategies that are experimentally responsible, that test specific, well-defined ideas that yield data that are reliable, and that are described sufficiently in clear terms to permit replication with research methods that provide a qualitative albeit review of the complexity and the process involved as teachers impart knowledge to children.
Mr. Chairman, as you well know, two large-scale NICHD studies of early reading intervention with disadvantaged children are of particular importance to this hearing. These studies are currently being conducted in Houston, Texas and, with your help, in Washington, D.C.
Currently, there are a total of 1,553 grade one and grade two children participating in these studies, and the D.C. Early Initiative Project, 12 schools are participating, and within these schools, youngsters from 80 kindergarten, first and second grade Title I classrooms are participating in the project. Approximately 98 percent of these children are African-American; over 75 percent are eligible for free and reduced lunch.
Data describing the effects of these different reading intervention studies on Title I children in both Houston and D.C. are in various stages of publication. I would like to enter into the record, the first review of the Houston data which is now in published form, if I could do that, please, sir.
See Appendix G for "The Role of Instruction in Learning to Read: Preventing Reading Failure in At-Risk Children, September 16, 1997."
A preliminary analysis of the Stanford 9 Test Data in the Washington, D.C. project has now been completed and has been presented to the NICHD for review and the staff of your Committee.
The trends in the preliminary D.C. data converge strongly with the published data obtained at the Houston site, and indicate an average gain of 26 percentile points in reading over a one-year period. Clearly, the research indicates that early instructional intervention makes a difference for the development and outcomes of reading skills.
However, the results also show that not all instructional approaches have the same impact. Specifically, children who received direct and systematic instruction in phoneme awareness, the alphabetic principle in phonics within the context of a comprehensive reading program improved in their word reading skills and comprehension skills faster by far than children not involved in such systematic, intensive and direct efforts.
You had asked me to come to this Committee and provide recommendations based upon this research. We, at the NIH, feel, as do many others, that an important use of research evidence is to inform educators, parents, scientists, and policymakers so that the decisions that they make will ultimately lead to improvements in student achievement.
Several recommendations stem from this research. Our longitudinal studies tell us that for scientifically-based reading programs to have any lasting effect, they must be initiated before the third grade, and preferably in kindergarten children at risk for reading failure in the beginning stages of kindergarten, or if not before. Beyond the age of 9, the chances that a student with reading difficulties will catch up is indeed minimal. We must also raise the quality and rigor of all education-based research. It will be important to ensure that all federally supported research adhere to high standards of research quality, and we must encourage privately-funded agencies to do the same.
The federal support for the Interagency Education Research Initiative is a substantial step in this direction. Likewise, the Reading Excellence Act, legislated by Congress, represents a major step forward in specifying the types of quality of educational research that must be in place in order to make appropriate decisions when selecting reading programs and approaches for Title I use.
We must increase the scale of rigorous educational research. We must continually synthesize the results of that research. And very importantly, we must continue to strive to improve the quality and relevance of training teachers at the pre-service and in-service levels. No matter how powerful our research findings might ultimately be, the impact of those research investments will be minimal if teachers, professors, in particular, and policymakers do not speak the same language about what constitutes trustworthy, quality research, and how that information can be implemented in the complex world of classrooms.
See Appendix H for the Written Statement of Dr. Reid Lyon
Chairman Goodling. I'd like to thank all of the panel members. The panel before is like the panel up here. We all have different solutions to the problems, but I think both down there and up here our hope is that we will help all children improve academically so no child is left behind.
I have a couple of quick questions for the panel.
Dr. Harrison-Jones, you basically said quality education for all students, and I put that with Ms. Ginn who also was striving to do the same.
What I would ask, Ms. Ginn, is how did you get from 25 to 0 in three years? You must have done miracles, with the teachers, first of all, and the parents, I would assume. Otherwise, I wouldn't know how you would accomplish that in such a short amount of time.
Ms. Ginn. Mr. Chairman, you are absolutely correct. We did it through an intervention based upon the district level going into those schools, providing intensive assistance and support.
We asked for parental involvement. We asked for all of the experts who had knowledge about reading, math, to go in and we worked relentlessly until those schools had made the gains that were necessary. We did all of that from within.
Chairman Goodling. We need to send that model all over the country.
Dr. Lorenzo, you indicated 35 percent mobility rate. Are they mobility within the district, or most of them outside moving from district to district?
Dr. Lorenzo. It's really both.
Chairman Goodling. I guess you're a county system?
Dr. Lorenzo. Yes, we're a county system. So many people come from all over to live in Florida. So you have some of that.
You also have, because of low income housing, people getting work, and then moving to a better neighborhood, and then losing that job. That's very common in Florida. A lot of trades people will come and they will find work, and they're doing fine, and then they go out of that job, and then they move to lower rent housing. So they move around a lot, from school to school, and from Florida.
Chairman Goodling. I wanted to also say to Ms. Ginn that I've always had great sympathy for the superintendent of Dade County Schools, but I guess maybe I should have equal sympathy for Broward County because I always wondered how a superintendent, waking up in the morning to find out they had 100, or 200, or 300 new students this morning, what in the world do you do with them. So I'll also say my prayers for the superintendent in Broward County also.
Dr. Karper, you indicated, if I did my math correctly, you get about $1100 per student for your Title I students. What is your per-pupil expenditure overall for students in your district?
Dr. Karper. It is approximately $7,500 per student in the regular education program.
Chairman Goodling. $7,500?
Dr. Karper. Yes.
Chairman Goodling. What is your percent for the general distribution of state funds?
Dr. Karper. That is for the state funds, for our general budget it is $7,500 per student. State funds this year, we got $255,000 so it's slightly higher.
Chairman Goodling. Dr. Lyon when will the, particularly the D.C. study be far enough along to give us some answers on how we can help create what the former Speaker used to say every time he'd see me, he'd say, I want D.C. schools to be the model for the country. When will you give us all the information that will help us do that?
Dr. Lyon. We're entering the third year of a five-year longitudinal instructional study in D.C. that has identified the number of children I indicated at-risk in Kindergarten. Those children are then assigned to different teaching conditions to better understand which instructional approaches are most beneficial for which kids at which stages of reading development. The data that are in now, that were presented to you by Dr. Moats, show clear convergence with the Houston study now in its sixth year.
So the data are reliable, the data are replicable, the data are compelling. What it says to us is that whatever reading program that is used, it must address a number of reading components, and it must do it in a particular kind of way.
So I think you have the information now to begin to make instructional decisions at fairly large scale.
Chairman Goodling. I wanted to say to Dr. Harrison-Jones, we try to target the House side, we have a little difficulty when it gets to the Senate side. Something happens to the targeting that we do on the House side, so I can give you someone's name over there that you might want to speak to when we get over there. The last time we targeted pretty well on the House side, but it didn't happen on the other side.
Mr. Clay is saying, well, you're trying to eliminate the targeting, so we'll turn the microphone over to him.
Mr. Clay. Yes. I'm a little confused about what we targeted recently.
Chairman Goodling. In the last reauthorization, we heavily targeted, and when it went to conference, one gentleman seemed to think that we shouldn't be targeting, we should be…
Mr. Clay. In the last few weeks, Mr. Chairman, we've eliminated targeting for all kinds of educational programs.
Chairman Goodling. As I said, down there we have different ideas than we have up here.
Mr. Clay. Ms. Ginn, do you have an opinion of legislation recently adopted by the State of Florida that would provide private school tuition vouchers to pupils attending poor-performing public schools?
Ms. Ginn. Mr. Clay, my opinion on that is that any funds we divert from the public school system would take away from the needs of the public schools.
Mr. Clay. Dr. Lorenzo. Would you like to comment?
Dr. Lorenzo. I agree with her. The thing that I would add is, in Florida at least, the private sector is not held to the same scrutiny as public, and before any funds should be diverted in any way, I think that should happen.
Mr. Clay. Dr. Karper, do you have an opinion?
Dr. Karper. I'm not sure that this has been tested in the courts yet, whether this is even a question we should be addressing. I don't believe the Constitution really gives us the right to give moneys to private education at this time. I think we need to address that situation. But if that would happen, then I would agree with Ms. Ginn. We are taking money that's targeted for our students at the lower socioeconomic level and making that amount an even smaller amount of money by targeting it elsewhere. I truly would ask, do we think that this is going to help our lower performing students? Won't the private schools just raise the bar?
I think it's just a real rich area that I enjoy talking about.
Mr. Clay. Thank you.
Dr. Harrison-Jones, do you have an opinion?
Dr. Harrison-Jones. Yes, I do personally, and it is reflective of the opinion of NABSE. Some of you have received our legislative agenda that we shared with you when we held our policy institute earlier this year, and which one we've taken on the legislative agenda that we have. I'll read verbatim.
Opposition to any choice or voucher programs that uses public taxpayers for private and parochial school education, even when it is targeted to a select number of poor children.
So we take the position that there's not sufficient funds right now in the coffers of Title I to be able to share it and still concentrate your moneys, as I said earlier, for the poorest children in the poorest schools in the poorest school districts.
Mr. Clay. Dr. Lyon, I know you're in research, but do you have an opinion?
Dr. Lyon. We don't study that particular question, but we do study the issues or the conditions that need to be in place for young children to learn.
Irrespective of vouchers or public education, if we were to place our money in the best bets, that is, if we were to be extremely accountable for purchasing those kinds of approaches and programs that have been vetted scientifically, some of these questions I think would not even be in place.
That is, in many ways, we continue to respond to student failure, and student failure is a function of not making clear to those kids what the critical concepts are they need to learn. Arguments about where that takes place might step aside if all of our children are learning.
Mr. Clay. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Goodling. If I understood the Florida program, they can go to another public school. The program is designed if they're in a low-performing school, they can choose to go to another public school, if they wish.
Mr. Barrett. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Dr. Karper, I was particularly interested in your background, a superintendent in a rural district in Troy, Pennsylvania, is it?
Dr. Karper. That is correct.
Mr. Barrett. So your district might be a bit like mine, a rural district, perhaps many of my school districts would be smaller than yours, but I'm particularly interested in the rural perspective that you bring to the panel.
I've heard so often from my administrators, in particular that the money that is made available to our districts is certainly not enough to go around, not enough to make any real impact in terms of their agendas at least. Do you have any particular specific comments or thoughts on the formula for Title I with regard to rural districts?
Dr. Karper. I have not specifically thought of the formula, no. But I'm part of the PARSS suit. I don't know if you understand what that is? It's the Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools that is looking specifically at the way states fund education, and Pennsylvania in particular. But I think the formula needs to target, as was stated by Dr. Harrison-Jones, that we need to look at the poorest districts with the poorest number of students, and that should drive the formula for our children.
Mr. Bartlett. Just as a general observation, would you think that formula is working in a way, working for small school districts, or?
Dr. Karper. It's working against us at the present time.
Mr. Barrett. Thank you.
I've heard a lot of criticism about over-administration with regard to too many superintendents, too many assistant superintendents, too many principals, too many other administrative staff. Is this a problem in rural America?
Dr. Karper. No. Not when you consider I have an elementary principal with four elementary buildings, 800 students, 89 staff members, there is 55 miles between schools, is it any wonder that I'm looking for a second elementary principal in a year.
So we are not over-staffed, and each of our principals, building-level principals must take on some federal program, so hers is Title I because the program is concentrated in the K-4 program.
Mr. Bartlett. Well, then the obvious question, do you consider this to be a problem in urban America, your opinion?
Dr. Karper. Well, I wouldn't be able to speak too much to that because I've never really been in one.
Mr. Bartlett. Thank you.
Dr. Lyon, we hear so much about the problems directed at education at the federal level. You've done a considerable amount of research, obviously, from your testimony today. What do you think, and what have you found to be the most important single factor in raising a child's achievement level?
Dr. Lyon. The most important single factor comes from well over 300 studies in 42 different sites with over 34,000 children, and that is the knowledge that that teacher carries with her, as she begins to interact with kids in tough-to-teach complex areas like reading and math.
We have trained our teachers in the past to be, in a sense, method-driven. You'll remember I'm a whole language teacher, I'm a phonics teacher, I'm a reading-recovery teacher, I'm this kind of teacher. Our teachers that can ask themselves not what method do I use, but what does it take to learn how to read? What are the skills, the abilities, the instructional interactions that kids have to have in order to master these kinds of complex tasks?
When they can answer, it takes a, b, c, d and e, then they can go to a wide range of interventions or teaching approaches or materials and pull that together for individual kids. There is no magic bullet. There simply isn't. Kids vary too much among the critical components necessary to learn how to read.
Because of this Committee's dedication to the D.C. project, our ability to provide teacher preparation based upon NICHD and OERI and NSF research has moved a lot of youngsters along in the worst schools in this city where 40 percent of children in some schools and 80 percent of children in other schools were below the tenth percentile, in some schools, all but five percent are now up to the national average.
Mr. Barrett. Can achievement levels be determined by standardized tests? Is this what you use, or do you use other methods?
Dr. Lyon. There are many methods that converge on the student's achievement but the D.C. data, we're recording the Stanford 9 Scores at this time. Much more precise data are under analysis at this time, and that will be forthcoming.
Mr. Barrett. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Goodling. Governor.
Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to congratulate you for holding this hearing, that's closely related to Title I and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. As we know, the last of this program have received a lot of criticism at times since its enactment in 1965.
We know that literally millions of school children from impoverished backgrounds have benefited and are benefiting from Title I. School districts in area poverty, both urban and rural, are desperate for assistance. The funds that come from Title I give them the opportunity to try and provide the type of services and resources which schools in the wealthier parts of our country can provide their students.
The Title I program is extremely important to the people I represent. We have one local education agency for all of Puerto Rico. All of our 1,500 schools qualify for and accept Title I funds. These schools have managed to make some important changes and reforms to improve their quality of education in recent years.
One example of these reforms is a community school, a concept that is very common at home. It's kind of a variation from the charter school which gives parents more input into the decisions the schools make and more control over the programs that affect their children.
Title I funding is partly responsible for making this reform possible. The schools in Puerto Rico have done the most they possibly could with the Title I funds they received, and this includes basic grants to local education agencies, which is the most important source of federal funding for the island schools.
However, there is a provision in the current law that makes Puerto Rico the only state or territory that receives less than the national-per-pupil minimum in Title I funding.
There has never been an official reason given as to why this deficiency is written into the law that determines ESEA funding to the states. But I can assure you that our students have the same needs as students in the other states and territories and the cost of meeting their needs is just as high.
The Department of Education has agreed that the current laws poses an artificial barrier on Puerto Rico's children, and is supporting a provision to remove this constraint in basic grants to LEAs, as well as aid to migrant and neglected and delinquent children. This change we'll be phased in over the five years, starting with fiscal year 2001.
I've been working with the members of this Committee to see that a provision will be included in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the bill that this Committee reports to the House, that will change Puerto Rico's Title I status so that we may be treated the same as the other states.
I wanted to inform the witnesses and the others attending this hearing about this deficiency in the law, and let them know about our efforts to change this. I wanted to point out that I'm sure if we were to ask all the children in all of your schools whether they feel that this is fair and just for the children, the U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico, should be treated differently, I'm sure they would say, no. But somehow or other, we haven't been able to change this policy.
Anyway, I just wanted to let you know so that you can support us in this endeavor.
I wanted to ask a question, I'd like to have your opinion on the bloc grant proposals which would eliminate the requirements for Title I funds to be targeted on disadvantaged students in high poverty schools.
What's your opinion about this proposal, and I would like to start with Dr. Lorenzo.
Dr. Lorenzo. If I'm understanding the question, my position is the 50 percent level has been excellent. Once a school goes over that 50 percent mark, the complexity of that school really changes. You begin to interact with many agencies, whether it be truancy officers, whether it be all kinds of family services, the whole complexity of the school changes. So that 50 percent mark I think is very, very important.
Mr. Romero-Barcelo. It goes beyond that, I think. The proposals have been made, they have proposed that we should have bloc grants and eliminate all requirements in Title I. What is your opinion?
Dr. Lorenzo. No, I would not do that.
Mr. Romero-Barcelo. The next one there, Ms. Karper?
Dr. Karper. I agree with that.
Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Ms. Ginn?
Ms. Ginn. Yes. My opinion is that the most important priority should be with those students in greatest need, the migrant students, the economically and educationally deprived students.
Mr. Romero- Barcelo. So you would oppose those bloc grants that would eliminate all those priorities?
Ms. Ginn. Absolutely.
Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Dr. Harrison-Jones?
Dr. Harrison-Jones. I would as well in that we do not want Title I to become general aid, where it is diluted to the point where you have no ability to determine the extent to which it has made an impact.
As I said originally, Title I, as I understand it, was designed to serve school districts or schools with high concentrations of poverty. The bloc grant provision would not ensure that that would happen.
Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Dr. Lyon?
Dr. Lyon. I worked for another branch of this government and I get into trouble when I answer questions like that.
Mr. Romero-Barcelo. All right, we'll let you go on that.
Thank you very much.
Chairman Goodling. Are you finished, Governor?
Mr. Romero-Barcelo. Yes, I am.
Chairman Goodling. Mr. Isakson.
Mr. Isakson. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Dr. Karper, I wanted to ask you a question. I did a little math during your testimony, which I'm better at reading than I am in math, so I want to make sure I'm right. You had stated that 203 students were served by your Title I program, if I'm not mistaken, and that your share of Title I funds I guess in the last year were $414,000?
Dr. Karper. That's correct.
Mr. Isakson. That's $2,039 per student?
Dr. Karper. I don't think that agrees with Mr. Goodling's math. I think maybe the two of you need to talk about that for a minute.
Mr. Isakson. In light of him being the Chairman, I'll defer to his math. But nonetheless the question is still relevant. You then talked about introducing reading recovery and the fact that you had limited your Title I funds to reading. Was there any correlation with the reduced available funds for Title I per student because of the cost of reading recovery?
Was that a part of the reason that you really couldn't focus on math?
Dr. Karper. What happened was that math was eliminated several years before reading recovery came into the picture.
I've enjoyed Dr. Lyon's comments down here, and would just dearly love to talk him about this a little bit more. I know that we took on reading recovery because we felt that that was something that would benefit our children.
I'm not sure that its research base is as good as what I would like to see it. But, no, doing away with math, that was done before we went to reading recovery. We were trying to target the most needy students and give them the best basis. But if you would give me just a little more time, I'd like to comment on something Dr. Lyon said.
I do think we have some idea of how children should come to school upon which we can base our instruction. We know through brain research that children are born ready to learn, but if they're not given the kind of stimulation in their young years, the windows of learning opportunities in a child's brain, especially the logic brain, the math brain, starts to close at the age of 4.
Now that is a blanket statement. Some children close before that, some close afterwards. We know that children who come to school who've had a good, rich, verbal background, talking to adults in complete sentences, verbal interaction, are better able to start reading. We know that.
We know children who spend time with an adult setting the dinner table have gotten the most basic mouth instruction they can have which is one-to-one correspondence.
So we know that working with the young child gives us a very firm basis upon which to begin whatever reading instruction or math instruction. Because we all know that when a child gets to school, the biggest determiner of a child's success in school is the classroom teacher.
Mr. Isakson. Well, I agree with that answer that Dr. Lyon said, and I agree totally with what you said on the brain research, and not in defense of educators at all, but far too little is written in the press of the fact that from zero to the 48th month, many of the thinking components of the brain, when not stimulated, are not regenerated, and that's why the teacher's knowledge is the most important component. So I concur.
I want to bridge, though, just to commend Dr. Lyon on the statement you started making about research-based teaching, and the paragraph you gave about the use of phonics and the comparison to whole language and reading recovery and everything else.
I want to make sure I heard right what I think you were saying, which was, if you give the teacher the various resources from which to choose, and let them decide what's best for the child, you have far better results than if you try and take one program and make it work for all children. Is that not what you said?
Dr. Lyon. Yes, sir. There is no one program that's equally beneficial for each individual child. The caveat with that is that again the teacher must be prepared to ask themselves the question, every time they see a youngster struggling. What does it take to learn how to read?
As I've testified before your Committee before, we have nice converging evidence on it takes all of these interactions early on, no doubt, because those give rise to the development of the phoneme awareness stuff, phonics, fluency in speed and reading, reading comprehension and so on. If a teacher knows that base knowledge, then they can select a wide variety of examples for kids.
Mr. Isakson. My comment, Mr. Chairman, is that testimony of these two professionals really certifies that in the Teacher Enhancement Act, we did the right thing by focusing on staff development and professional development of teachers, who are often times taught one method at a college and university that's supposed to apply to all, when in fact, and particularly in reading, the more diverse the background and methodology, the better the results they have.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I apologize for my math.
Chairman Goodling. I'm afraid that too many times, they aren't taught any method.
The gentleman from Georgia's math is correct as I divided 203 into 4414, I put down a 2, but when I multiplied 2 x 203, unfortunately when I got 2 3's are six, I carried one, and I'm not sure why I did that.
Dr. Karper. I think you now qualify for Title I math.
Chairman Goodling. Therefore 416 would not fit under 414 so I had to go up and eliminate the two and put a one there which gave me a 9 on the next number.
Mr. Fattah. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to revisit this issue of dollars in Troy, Pennsylvania, because I think we are all clear that the federal government is just putting a few pennies into every dollar that gets spent on education in this country. What you said earlier is that you, your school district is one of the 200 rural small school districts in Pennsylvania that filed suit, questioning the way the state is handing out the bulk of the education dollars, right?
This suit has been going on for more than a decade now. In fact, there were children that started out in your school district in first grade who are close to finishing now, and it's not been resolved.
Seventy-five-hundred per pupil is the expenditure in Troy and there are school districts in our state where the expenditure is twice as much. So you could have a first grader in one school district where you're spending $14,000 on their first grade education, and in your district, $7,500.
Now it doesn't matter what the Chairman's math is, there's no way that the federal contribution is going to make up for the disparity that exists and accumulates over the 12 years of a K through 12 education. Then when these children get finished, some of them at least want to go on to the state university system, they'll want to take the SATs, they want to go forward, and there's a wonder why, there was a big story in the Philadelphia Enquirer about rural education, about the fact that there were well-deserving students who are not being as prepared as they could be for higher education.
So I guess my point is that one of the things that I'm interested in the Reauthorization process is how we could encourage states, like Pennsylvania, to more fairly respond to their constitutional mandate, which is to provide an equitable public education for all children. You know, we have 501 school districts. In Florida, they have 67. As you heard, in Puerto Rico, they have one, and in Hawaii they have one.
Different states make all of these decisions very differently. But no matter how it's get done, it seems as though poor children are always on the bottom end of the funding formulas at the state level, they drop 97 cent or so out of every dollar that gets spent on education in our country, and then we want to figure out how much we're going to target these federal dollars, which again, no matter how well we do it, I don't believe that it can make up for a classroom differential close to three quarters of a million dollars over the 12 years of the kid's education.
So I really would like to hear you speak about what you think about because a lot of people here think that the state can do no wrong, and that if the federal government would just get out of the way, education would be fine.
We hear that a lot around here, that there shouldn't be a federal welfare education, and that what we need to do, if we want to spend any money, just put it in a bloc grant and give it to the state because they would do the right thing with these dollars.
Since you're suing the state, arguing that they're not doing the right thing, at least by your children, I'd like to hear you put on the record here something that could be useful as we go forward.
Dr. Karper. One of the biggest stumbling blocks, in Jane Karper's opinion, to equitable funding, is that there's too many political avenues involved in that. I know the suit was thrown out at the first level because they said it was not justiciable, but we have reintroduced it and it is now at the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania level.
PARS has come up with a perfectly reasonable way and suggestion of course, we all like it anyway, on how to found education more consistently and fairly, and it's based on a fund that starts everyone at the same level.
Each child gets so much, and then from there, there's another level that kicks in a little bit more, and finally the fourth level is where the local district kicks in to bring forth more of the program that they want for their children. I don't know of anything else to explain to you about that.
Mr. Fattah. No, I think that's very helpful. The State of Pennsylvania's not alone in this?
Dr. Karper. No.
Mr. Fattah. There's some 37 other states in which these lawsuits are taking place, particularly by rural and urban school districts who seem to be the ones bringing forth these cases. You're right, it takes forever because unfortunately the state court systems move pretty slowly.
Dr. Karper. If I could say, I know I'm interrupting you and I'm sorry…
Mr. Fattah. Go ahead.
Dr. Karper. My yellow light's going to turn red any second now. If you would give the money in bloc grants to the state, if you have someone at the head of your state who is interested in other avenues other than public education, you can destroy the public school system in that state.
Mr. Fattah. Thank you very much.
Let me thank the entire panel for its contribution. Thank you.
Mr. Talent: [Presiding]. I thank the gentleman.
The Chairman has asked me to keep the hearing running during the vote, so what I'm going to do is recognize Mr. Ehlers who is next, and Members may wish to go vote, and I hope they'll be able to come back.
Mr. Ehlers. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Dr. Lyon, my questions are all for you so everyone else can relax and take a little break and enjoy the session.
First, just a question to clarify something. On the very first page of your written testimony, you comment that learning to read is a formidable challenge for approximately 60 percent of our nation's children. For at least 20 to 30 percent of these children, reading is one of the most difficult tasks they will have to master.
I assume that's 20 to 30 percent of the 60 percent?
Dr. Lyon. Yes, that is correct.
Mr. Ehlers. I just wanted to clarify and make sure I had that statistic right.
Also, then on page 9, you talk about some of the bases of reading difficulties, and it looks from your written testimony as if you're basically saying that the lack of phonological awareness skills is the basic problem that you have to start with?
Dr. Lyon. That's correct.
Mr. Ehlers. Is that generally true? You don't encounter reading problems where that's not a factor?
Dr. Lyon. It's very rare to. Because we study children at every level of reading development, that is, we study youngsters who are at the 99th percentile in reading, we study youngsters who are below the first. We study them from before they enter school. We follow them, in some cases, into their early adult years.
The best predictor of the ability to pull the print off the page quickly and accurately is the ability to understand that the words we hear are composed of sounds, that's that jargony term ``phonological awareness.''
The best predictor of reading comprehension, which is why we teach kids to read, to get to the meaning, is the speed and accuracy by which they do pull those words off the page.
The most robust predictor is phonological awareness but we can add to the predictive power if we look at the kid's ability to rapidly name things that they see and to understand their print awareness, what they understand about the job of reading, whether they hold the book the right way when they come into school, all of the kinds of things that they learn from birth to entry into school.
You know, a lot of people have believed in the past that reading is a natural process. In no way is it a natural process because parents, in many cases, are teaching kids very strongly from birth to entry into school, but unfortunately a lot of kids don't have that in front of them.
Mr. Ehlers. All right. But if phonological awareness is such a key factor, you really ought to be looking at children starting at about age 2 or 3 to identify the ones with the problem, and attempting to correct the problems.
Is that a correct statement?
Dr. Lyon. Absolutely. The tough thing is it's hard to get 2- and 3-year-olds to hang out with you long enough to measure it.
Mr. Ehlers. I understand. You talked a moment ago about predictors.
Dr. Lyon. Yes.
Mr. Ehlers. Are genetic factors part of it?
Dr. Lyon. Yes, sir, for a small percentage of the population. Of those 30 percent of our nation's kids reading poorly, probably five percent of that 20 to 30 percent are showing a strong molecular linkage to the genes that govern the development of this phonological awareness.
Mr. Ehlers. All right, so that would help you…
Dr. Lyon. It does.
Mr. Ehlers: …very much as an early predictor?
Dr. Lyon. Yes, sir. The imaging studies are as well. We're imaging quite a few children at five years of age now, and that's giving us some more information on our neurologic predictors.
Mr. Ehlers. I'm wondering ways to develop the skills. I assume you're aware of Dr. Tuloths, I'm not sure if I pronounced it correctly, her work.
Dr. Lyon. Yes. Right.
Mr. Ehlers. Was that funded by your organization?
Dr. Lyon. No, that's not funded by us. Her work isn't, but the trials that are testing that along with other approaches are funded by us. But those are independent trials.
Mr. Ehlers. Well, I'm very fascinated by that work, and I think this may be something that would show a lot of promise. Are there are similar ways of developing these phonological skills that show as much promise as her work?
Dr. Lyon. Well, we're looking closely at the effects of the Tallal work on reading. That work has been carried out with oral language, but not necessarily reading. The press has advanced that particular idea.
The best productive thing that we can do for kids phonological awareness is to have parents read to them, sing to them, do nursery rhymes before they come into school.
When they don't do that, the kids typically don't have the phonemic skills and then it is the job of the teacher to understand quite frankly that those have to be taught very directly and systematically, a particular teaching procedure that philosophically is at odds with what many of our teachers have been taught.
Mr. Ehlers. But please know I have a daughter who is a librarian and spends a great deal of time trying to persuade parents to do that before the kids reach school.
Last question. On page 18 and you don't have to look it up, but I notice you have phrases here. "We must raise the quality and rigor of all education-related research." "We need to increase the scale of rigorous educational research," and you also comment about the need to synthesize.
I strongly support your effort to make this research more rigorous. I'm not in this field at all, but I happen to be a research scientist, and I'm dismayed at some of the research I've come across on this area. It's just, it doesn't deserve the name ``research.''
Dr. Lyon. That's correct.
Mr. Ehlers. Blessings to you in your efforts to improve that. It's absolutely essential if we're going to learn how to do this right.
Thank you very much.
Dr. Lyon. Thank you.
Mr. Talent. I thank Mr. Ehlers.
We have five minutes remaining in this vote, and since there are no other Committee members here wanting to ask questions, and this is the vote on Most-Favored Nations Status for China, I think I'm going to recess the hearing, which means that we will come back.
So if we could ask the witnesses to indulge the Committee and remain, we'll reconvene.
Oh, Ms. Sanchez, are you prepared to ask questions?
I'm going to have to go vote anyway. So you haven't voted yet, either?
Okay, so we're going to have to recess the hearing, and then we'll come back and resume.
Chairman Goodling. The Committee will continue.
Oh, the Committee will continue if the witnesses are here.
Chairman Goodling. Mr. Andrews, you can start with those Members that are here, and by that time the rest get back, why_
Mr. Andrews. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Now that the two most important Members of the Committee are present, at least in my judgment with the exception of Mr. Clay.
Chairman Goodling. The gentleman from New Jersey is recognized.
Mr. Andrews. First of all, let me thank the witnesses for their attendance today, and apologize for not being present personally during the testimony. I've read the testimony. It is very instructive and very helpful, and all of us on the Committee appreciate it.
I wanted to ask the educators on the panel who are responsible for either running a school or running a program within a school district, or that have experience in doing that, the following question.
If we were able to increase the federal funding that your district or schools get by 50 percent, a substantial increase in the amount of federal money flowing in, and we were to give you complete discretion as to how to spend the money, if we were to make this completely within your good judgment as it would best serve the children that you teach, what would you do?
I would ask each of the panelists to answer that question.
Dr. Harrison-Jones. I'm no longer a current superintendent, I'm retired.
Mr. Andrews. But based on your experience.
Dr. Harrison-Jones. All right. If you were going to give it to the school district, is that what I'm hearing you say, not through the state?
Mr. Andrews. Yes.
Dr. Harrison-Jones. Directly to the school district, 50 percent above the current level of funding with discretion. I would say I would think I'd died and gone to Heaven. But in so doing, I would say to you, now that I'm looking at it from another vantage point, that I would want some restrictions.
I would want, for instance, some outcome-based results to be the basis for my continuing funding stream, for example, and that that outcome would be student performance. That I think you would have to be fiscally accountable to the taxpayers to say that we cannot just give money.
Some of the things that I said earlier, I would want to make sure that a condition of receipt of those funds would be that you would ensure that we had properly-trained teachers who are sensitive to the type of child that they're working with, understand the methodologies that work best for them, that there would be the conditions of parental involvement, knowing that that's a significant factor in the quality of children's learning. That the conditions that undergird optimal teaching conditions are in place.
In other words, I'm not sure that I would simply say, do what you want to do, because you have varying degrees of capability on the part of governance and administration from district to district. But it would be a far cry from where are now.
Mr. Andrews. Assuming those conditions were in place though that you were required to be accountable and required to measure outcomes and required to report on them, within the basis of your experience and the districts you've run, what would you spend the money on?
Dr. Harrison-Jones. I would spend it on primarily, well, if you want to be specific, I would look at the number of children any single teacher would work with. I'd look at class size. I would look at professional development. To what extent are teachers prepared. I'd look at certification, whether or not people are truly certified to teach what they are being asked to teach.
I would look at the conditions under which I can facilitate parent involvement. I would look at a totality of situations that would provide for the optimal conditions for instruction to take place.
Mr. Andrews. Thank you. Is it Dr. or Ms.?
Ms. Ginn. Mrs. Yes. Because I'm not at the level of administration or superintendency, I will just speak from the point of view from where I stand, being close to the schools.
I would say to you that that money would be spent for direct instruction to classrooms. Because Title I is only one-third funded, to have another 50 percent would enable us to meet the needs of far more students when we determined that in Broward County, we have a high immigrant population, a high turnover rate, 6,000 to 7,000 new students every year, it would allow us to meet the needs of far more students.
Mr. Andrews. When you say direct to the classrooms, what does that mean?
Ms. Ginn. That means we would target the money to the classrooms based upon the information that I've already given you in my testimony, to keep the standards high, to make sure we have highly-qualified teachers teaching our students, all of those things in place, as you just mentioned. That money would go to serve those students in greatest need.
Mr. Andrews. Dr. Karper, what would you do in Troy besides improve the climate so it's not winter all the time? I've been to the area.
Dr. Karper. Well, I would emphasize the smaller number of children per teacher, the more effort the teacher can put into improving the children's learning.
So I would say, after all those other things are in place, more professional development, that we have more teachers so that the class sizes are smaller.
I would like to look at the extended day and the extended year concept. I would like to look at starting a program for four-year-olds that would work in cooperation and conjunction with Head Start. But not have it mandated to the parents who want to keep their youngsters at home.
Mr. Andrews. As a father of a four-year-old, I hardly second your motion.
Oh, me she meant? Well, Roemer, at least I'd pass the admissions test.
Mr. Andrews. Dr. Lorenzo, what would your suggestion be?
Dr. Lorenzo. I think first of all, school leadership is critical, so I would hold administrators, as well as teachers, accountable.
The second thing is, if you looked at Rawlings' testimony, I would show you there that we have every Tuesday, our children go home for half a day, because we teach longer on other days, and we have teacher training every single week. It's made a decided difference.
So first of all, I think the school climate and whole student body has to be on one mission and accountable, know what they are there for. Then you train and you train and you train and you train.
I'm right along with the professor that talked about the reading research. I don't care what program it is, if that school climate isn't right, and if those teachers don't know what to do, nothing will happen.
Mr. Andrews. I very much appreciate those clear and comprehensive answers.
I know my time is up, I would just ask if the people would supplement the record in writing, if they could. I'm interested in everyone's thoughts on the optimal size of reading groups for children in the primary grades. Not now because my time is up, but I'd be curious to hear what you think about that.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Goodling. In transition, the three who are presently involved, do you all have Even Start programs in your district?
Obviously, you don't. Terrible. We'll talk about that afterward.
Mr. Tancredo. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I was looking quickly through Mr. Lyon's testimony here because I had identified some things in there that really kind of jumped off the page. I think they've been referred to by others.
I can't help, however commenting on the discussion which of course we've heard so many times. I've been around this particular issue of education, quality of education finance for almost 30 years, and we keep hearing something like this all the time.
If you just give us more money, everything will be okay, and I know that I read once, when Christopher Columbus returned, there were still a lot of people who believed that the earth was flat, even though he had somehow, at least to his own satisfaction and that of others, proved that that was not the case.
It took many, many trips before he got at least the majority of the people in Europe to actually believe that the world was round.
I don't know how long it's going to take for us to come to a different conclusion about what actually makes quality education occur, but it is certainly not more money. As we have now attempted in I don't know how many different venues to prove the value of that statement, to prove the truth of that statement.
Kansas City of course jumps to mind, what we did there. But not just that. Every single year, the Department of Education puts out a wall map that shows every state, how they rank against each other in both inputs and outputs. You are never able to draw the conclusion that inputs create outputs in terms of educational attainment.
Dr. Lyon talks about what in fact does make that work, and I saw everybody on the panel agree with him. Everybody shook their heads. I therefore go back then and try to rationalize in my own mind what has to happen in order to get where you are, what you suggest would happen.
In Dr. Karper's district, $7,500 per student, approximately, I'm assuming that does not include the O&M money or the Capital Construction money that's just direct construction money?
What's the average class size in your district?
Dr. Karper. The average class size in our primary grades is between 20 and 23.
Mr. Tancredo. Twenty and 23, what's that $150,000 per class room and approximately a little more at the 23 level. What's the average teacher's salary in your district?
Dr. Karper. Starting teachers' salaries are…
Mr. Tancredo. No, no. Average?
Dr. Karper. It is $44,000.
Mr. Tancredo. Forty-four thousand leaves about $110,000 going to something other than the instruction in that classroom, not including, now remember, we said not including the capital construction costs, going other places.
Do you think that if you agree, as you appear to agree with Dr. Lyon's analysis, that you have at least, well, at an average cost of $40,000, let me back up and say, average cost of $40,000 per teacher, how many of those teachers do you believe to be incompetent?
Dr. Karper. I would not be able to give a percentage on teachers I feel are incompetent.
Mr. Tancredo. Below ten percent?
Dr. Karper. I would say below ten percent.
Mr. Tancredo. Below five percent probably?
Dr. Karper. I would say yes.
Mr. Tancredo. So 95 percent of the teachers there are competent, even being paid an average salary of $40,000 a year, and are capable therefore of doing what needs to be done to meet Dr. Lyon's criteria for improving the quality of education.
So then why aren't they?
Dr. Karper. In our school system, our teachers make on the average of $44,000 plus their benefits, and you can add another $10,000 to that for benefits.
We have total inclusion which means special education children are included totally within the regular education program, and we have a number of severely disabled children within the classrooms, and when you have a class size of 23 students, and of those three are special needs students, you have a lot of individual time of the classroom going to the special needs students.
You have 23 very individual learning styles, and it can be very complicated for a classroom teacher. But we also have our educational institutions that need to be working to give us better products.
Mr. Tancredo. Well, certainly we can agree, I think all of us, and we keep talking about that in this Committee, about what it is that the educational establishment can do to change.
But everything I've heard you say, everything that I've heard everybody say, as a matter of fact, in terms of what can make a real difference here, leads me to believe in fact there are things you can do every single day in your building in whatever role you play in the process, to bring about the kind of change that Dr. Lyon suggests.
It isn't a factor of money, you know. So therefore we have to look and try to wonder what else is happening here. What is preventing us from getting to that point?
If we pretty much understand what it is we need to do, and we suggest that we have the people on staff who are capable of doing it, you said 95 percent of your staff are competent people, I'm assuming that means they could actually incorporate the learning styles and teaching styles that Dr. Lyon suggested.
Then it seems to me something else is a problem here, and it's more systemic than it is fiscal.
My time is up, I guess.
Chairman Goodling. Congressman Kind.
Mr. Kind. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for the hearing. I want to thank the panelists as well. It's been very interesting and I appreciate your patience. Usually when you're about this far down on the Committee platform, you have to wait around a while to ask some questions.
I want to take a different tack of questioning here. There's been a lot of focus, lot of talk about just general teaching methods as it applies to the classroom as a whole, but now there's a lot of data, lot of studies coming back in regards the gender specific teaching challenges that we face.
I don't know how many of you have had the opportunity. I've just finished reading Dr. Pollock's book, Real Boys, recently. I don't know how many of you are acquainted with it or have read through it, but his general theses in the book is that given the current state of American culture and our expectations, that we are failing our boys in particular, doing a very bad job of training, of teaching them, of raising them, and it's because of different expectations and different needs and wants that they have.
That's not to exclude the challenges that young girls have as well. I think, was it Dr. Pfeiffer or Piper in Reviving Aphelia, touched upon that a few years back. So I don't want to exclude that aspect of it. But perhaps I do have a little bit of a bias with a couple little boys myself.
Question I have for you all is, is the information that we're getting back right now in regards to the different needs or the different challenges that boys have compared to girls starting to get integrated in the professional development programs or within teaching programs?
Are the teachers in the classroom more sensitive to these studies that are coming out right now, or hasn't that really affected professional development at all thus far?
Dr. Lyon. Well, I can take a crack at what we know about the different features and gender issues in learning because we certainly study that a lot, not only from a cognitive perspective, but socially and so forth.
We do know, in a counterintuitive way, given everything we've heard over the years, that little boys and little girls are equally at risk for reading failure. What boys bring with difficulties learning to read is a package that's sometimes a bit more active then their female counterparts.
Whenever you couple up difficulties learning an academic skill along with an activity level that may be such that the young fellow is not available to learn, you exacerbate the learning problem.
Many more boys are referred for special education, even though as many females again present with reading difficulties. The reason is, is these referrals, typically to special education where labeling takes place, are on the basis of behavior, not necessarily the academic skills.
Once involved in a track, it is clear to us that that can be demoralizing to young fellows, and unless they begin to learn. Now everything is mitigated by success in learning. So that special education can be effective if in fact the youngster learns what the other children know, and then that child fits in and so forth. But typically that's not the case.
Mr. Kind. Well, Dr. Lyon, that's one of the points that Dr. Pollock made in his book is that there are a lot of, he feels a lot of false diagnoses as far as boys getting in special education with learning disabilities, and it's really just not recognizing some particular sensitivities that that child might have that aren't being addressed within the classroom.
Yet, statistics right now are appalling. I mean the boys are sinking like rocks in regards to academic achievement compared to girls.
Dr. Lyon. But you've got to remember now, when kids enter special education in the biggest category, which is the LD category, they're already 8 to 9 years of age because the criteria necessary to move into that area of special education doesn't really obtain until the kids get older. You take any human being who is failing at anything and place them in an environment where they are visibly different from everybody else, and they're normally sensitive kids, you're going to see other baggage accrue. That certainly is a factor in this.
You know, the thing I think we've been talking about on this panel is, in a sense, a lot of special education has been a sociological sponge that wipes up the spills of general education. If we could get the kids early on, which we demonstrate time and time and time again, learning takes place, self-concept and self-esteem move along side.
If learning doesn't take place early on, we tend to lose the kids. No human being likes to sit around in a situation where they are bereft of the skills that other kids have and succeed with.
Mr. Kind. I'm not claiming that this is just the responsibility of the teaching profession. Certainly there's a lot of education that we parents need to do in this regard as well.
Dr. Harrison-Jones, did you have something to add?
Dr. Harrison-Jones. Yes. Not to disagree with what Dr. Lyon's saying, but to add to it. Just look at this panel. We're a female-dominated institution unfortunately, and we do need to do something that will make the profession more attractive and where we can increase our holding power of our male teachers.
There are incentives in place that rob the classroom of our male teachers. It's administration within the system, it is private enterprise.
So the struggle really is to attract to the teaching profession more males, more fathers involved in the education of their children, just more general male concern and action and activity, as it relates to education.
I would say that we've also been accused of saying that actually we ignore the girls. That because of the demands that many times boys make upon the teacher for attention, there's research that shows that the boys are most likely to be called upon, that boys are most likely to be rewarded for positive behavior or rewarded for academic achievement than girls.
So you have peaks, if you look at it, there are grade levels where boys do exceed; at the middle school level and particular content areas where you find your mathematics interest, and again aptitudes seem to converge, and you'll find a spurt out ahead of the girls.
So it is something that we do need to look at, but I want to say that we need to look at it in terms of with whom people identify. You tend to identify with people like yourself, and until our boys see more men in our classrooms, particularly our elementary classrooms.
There have been incentives by school districts. Many years ago, Kansas City had an incentive that whereby they provided graduate school education at their expense for any men who were willing to major in reading instruction.
So they spread those few males over their elementary classrooms, and they taught only reading. Many of us disagreed with departmentalization at that early age, but the results were very, very impressive. Just the fact that the boys saw that real men did read, because they had not seen that before. All of their teachers had been females.
Mr. Kind. I'm just concerned that there really has been a vacuum in regards to research-based teaching methodology in regards to general application as opposed to gender-based or gender-specific type of application.
Hopefully, I mean, you're out there in the field and in the trenches and you're seeing this and encountering it, so hopefully we can get some feedback from you on how we can restructure some of these professional development programs.
Dr. Harrison-Jones. In addition, we're looking very closely at instructional materials and the extent to which textbooks and other materials have the kinds of content that would be appealing and that would be of interest to boys, as opposed to girls. And we're getting a lot better in that regard, but there's a lot more work to be done.
Chairman Goodling. I've been trying to recruit the professional athletes to help us along that line because they have a golden opportunity to do it. In fact, they could finance the preparation.
Chairman Goodling. Mr. Kildee.
Mr. Kildee. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Perhaps the Troops to Teachers program would help some here too on this, that this Committee's been discussing.
My question really was asked initially by my colleague, Governor Romero-Barcelo, but I'd like to expatiate upon that a bit.
Under the Title I statute, a school needs 50 percent poverty in the school to have a schoolwide program. Under Ed-Flex, theoretically, you could have one student and have a schoolwide project.
In my State of Michigan, under Ed-Flex, and they've been under it a number of years, has chosen the figure 35 percent, and you have to have that before you can have a schoolwide program.
Do you have any idea what percentage below which we should not drop to have a schoolwide program, where you could have at least an efficient program.
I don't mean a specific number, but if you could just discuss that with me because I ask it because, when we did Ed-Flex, I initially had an amendment in that bill saying that bill would sunset when we reauthorized ESEA because I thought we might want to revisit several things including this percentage of when you could have a schoolwide program.
Any comment on how far we should go down diluting that before we might run into some danger? I don't need a specific, but I just want to discuss it in some general terms.
I'll start with you, Dr. Lorenzo.
Dr. Lorenzo. Again, I would say the 50 percent is an excellent level at which to stop. At that level, it's been my experience, in two different schools, being a principal, that things change. That when you get over 50 percent of the families at that line, that factor, that things begin to change in that school.
The resources needed by that school begin to change. The amount of work that has to be done with individual children coming in is different.
Mr. Kildee. Okay, why don't we just go down the line there, and if you have any comments.
Dr. Karper. I really don't have much experience with a schoolwide program, just the targeted assistance programs, so I will pass.
Mr. Kildee. Okay.
Yes, Ms. Ginn?
Ms. Ginn: I would agree with Dr. Lorenzo because we have the population of students who are in the schoolwide schools and those non-targeted groups of students are also there. So it's questionable in my mind if we want to dilute it further by going below the 50th percentile.
Mr. Kildee. Yes?
Dr. Harrison-Jones. My organization takes a very strong position that we not go below the 50th. In fact, we are recommending that you increase it to 60 percent by year 2000. That you look seriously at moving it up in subsequent reauthorization years.
Mr. Kildee. Dr. Lyon, do you want to comment on that?
Dr. Lyon. No.
Mr. Kildee. Well, in other words, most of you would concur that the Committee is moving in the wrong direction, then under Ed-Flex, where we're saying you can drop below the 50 percent.
Dr. Harrison-Jones. We are taking the position that Title I is needed in targeted areas of poverty, and that that percentage represents the degree of poverty. Therefore, moving it down would just dilute the ability to determine the extent to which you were doing anything significant for the children who are in the greatest of need.
Mr. Kildee. We put a great deal of emphasis upon standards assessment now, and one of the things we put in standards assessment I think, when I was chairman of the subcommittee was that we had to have what we call a very fancy term, disaggregated data.
I strongly believe that we need to make it clear that the results of Title I assessments should be disaggregated as to race, ethnic background, limited English proficiency, disability, economic status.
Do you have any comments on disaggregated data and the importance of it?
Dr. Lorenzo. I feel really strongly about it. So strongly in fact, as an individual school, we have in process data three times a year, and we disaggregate for every area. We want to know, when children come in to us, very quickly how they're doing, because that's the only way that you can change that instruction.
If you wait until May to tweak that instruction based on standardized tests, nothing's going to happen, it's too late. So I would accept it at the national level, the state level, the local level, and the classroom level.
Mr. Kildee. Very good.
Dr. Karper. I agree as well because only by disaggregating the data can you determine which students are not making progress.
Ms. Ginn: I support that. We need to know where the greatest impact is being made so that we'll know what kind of changes, and if changes should be made in what we're doing.
Mr. Kildee. Dr. Lyon.
Dr. Lyon. That is the ultimate question. Which instructional approaches or combinations therein are most beneficial for which children at which stages of reading development.
Mr. Kildee. I thank the panel very much, and I want to thank you, Mr. Chairman, for assembling such a good panel. This is a very good hearing. Thank you very much.
Chairman Goodling. Congressman Scott.
Mr. Scott. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I'd like to welcome Dr. Harrison- Jones who is, as her statement shows, a retired superintendent in Richmond public schools. I apologize for not being here to hear your statement, but we're having a markup in Judiciary Committee and it's somewhat contentious, and we're voting about every five minutes, so I haven't been able to be here.
But I would like you to just make a statement, Dr. Harrison-Jones. We have, as Mr. Kildee has indicated, we may be going in the wrong direction by going towards bloc grants rather than targeting the money where it's actually needed.
Now, I take the view that if we trusted the local school divisions to spend money on poor students, we would need Title I to begin with. Why is it important to target money to low- income students, and does the targeting of money make any difference?
Dr. Harrison-Jones. The answer to why are we doing it is because there isn't sufficient funds. There are not sufficient funds without it. I won't say we distrust district/state officials but my experience has been that the money doesn't always get to where it's needed; that's to the school district, to the school, and actually to the classroom.
Mr. Scott. Well, does it make a difference, once you've spent the money?
Dr. Harrison-Jones. Everything that's been said today, the research that Dr. Lyon has shared with us, the experience that these three, the persons representing school districts shared, all of these things cost money.
We can say that money does not make a difference but you cannot have staff development, you cannot reduce class size, you cannot have the support personnel.
Now we might say there are teachers. Teachers are very important, but teachers can't function in isolation. There are other instructional supports that must be in place to make sure that the optimum learning conditions take place. So money somehow has to be a factor in all that we say that we want to do to make a difference for children. Those children who come to school with the greatest needs are those children who demand the greatest resources. We compare with the then and now.
Even at the advent of Title I in 1965, most of us know that at that time, that predated the period of deinstitutionalization. Many of those children that we serve now were types of children who were institutions at that time.
So the schools have assumed the responsibility of that heretofore hospitals and other institutions had assumed. So the cost has continued to increase, and we make no attempt to ignore that fact, nor do we make apologies for the fact that in trying to meet the needs of students, that you will have increased costs of funding those needs.
Mr. Scott. Now you've been superintendent in Richmond and in Boston, both of which have some very high-income areas, and some very low-income areas.
What kinds of things can you do in the low-income areas that you couldn't do without Title I money?
Dr. Harrison-Jones. Well, we could not deal with the size of the class. We could not provide for the special kinds of staff development that's needed. As you know, in Richmond, we would have not been able to bring in the parents of the children to work in capacities, such as teacher aides.
We know again that the research suggests that when parents are involved with their children's education, whether it's coming to school, working with the teacher, or whether it's pouring juice, that that has a positive impact upon the quality of education of that particular parent's child.
So improving the socioeconomic status of parents, that was not the original intent, but it was a sidebar effect. Paying for that, those were the things that we could do differently.
Prior to that time, those conditions didn't exist. You had 30 children or more in a classroom. We were able to target children younger and younger. We were able to make sure that those children did have the instructional materials, the out-of-school experiences and all of those activities that children of more, of higher socioeconomic means had automatically.
Mr. Scott. Thank you.
Dr. Lyon, in about a minute-and-a-half that I have left, can you tell me what we need to do to make sure that children can read by the third grade?
Dr. Lyon. There are several levels involved.
The first thing we have to think honestly about is the degree of preparation our teachers are receiving in their training programs. It is not the teachers' fault that they come into the classroom, presented with a wide range of capabilities among their kids, and not have the flexibility that's based upon being trained well to address those individual differences. That's a long-term solution.
What we have to be able to do now is bolster the training programs in schools in service-wise, so that our teachers are not just by lip service receiving training, which frankly most of them do. They receive training, but a lot of it is not informed by the research, a lot of it is too short in tenure, a lot of it is not relevant to exactly what they are faced with.
We have a tremendous demand issue here for teachers on the line but the supply side is extraordinarily weak. How we get by that is for, I think, the administrators and the leaders at school levels themselves to clearly understand what the research says.
That has to be quality research. It can no longer be philosophically driven because we're
wasting so much time bringing certain ideas and philosophies to training environments in
schools that simply are not robust, are not valid, and could do more harm than good.
So we've got to be selective on the types of information our teachers are learning. That's got to be vetted scientifically.
At the same time, we've got to somehow have the courage to begin to change colleges of education so they do their training not only at the university but in the schools in which the teachers are expected to carry out the complexity of their task.
Mr. Scott. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Goodling. I too want to thank the panel. It's very helpful as we go through this process.
You heard a lot about bloc granting Title I. They must have some special program they're going to spring on me, because I haven't heard anything about bloc granting Title I. But I'll be anxious to look at it whenever they offer it.
Mr. Kildee. Don't hold your breath, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Goodling. I mentioned Even Start, and I want to encourage you, I don't know in the rural districts how easy that would be to bring about, but certainly in your growing and larger districts, all the research would indicate that it has been very, very effective where it is run properly.
The difference between Even Start and Head Start to begin with was that Even Start concentrated on quality, and Head Start concentrated on quantity. Of course, Even Start concentrated on family literacy, whereas Head Start did not.
Now they do because it's all, the model has grown right, but there are grants available, and I certainly, it's three- and four-year-olds, and it's not easy because you have to involve the parent improving their literacy skills and their parenting skills, and that's the tough part. It's also one of the most important.
So I would just encourage you to see whether you can't get some grants because they are available, and hopefully we're going to get more money for the program this year, it's my farewell hurrah song so they've got to come forth with money.
Chairman Goodling. So I would encourage you to really look into that. I think it'll be very helpful to get those.
For 20 years I sat here and kept saying, if we don't get children reading ready, and if we don't help their parents become the child's first and most important teacher, we're not going to make the grade.
But it's been slow in evolving, but we're getting there. I would just encourage Ms. Ginn to be very careful of the gentleman sitting behind you.
Chairman Goodling. Again, thank you very much. Appreciate you taking the time to come and share your knowledge with us. Thank you.
[Whereupon, at 3:42 p.m., the Committee was adjourned.]