EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION THROUGH INNOVATIVE ALTERNATIVES
SUBCOMMITTEE ON EARLY CHILDHOOD,
YOUTH AND FAMILIES
COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS
HEARING HELD IN GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA, AUGUST 12, 1999
Serial No. 106-66
Printed for the use of the Committee on Education
and the Workforce
Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth and Families
Field Hearing on "Excellence in Education through Innovative Alternatives"
Strom Thurmond Criminal Justice Building, Room 120
Greenville Technical College
Greenville, South Carolina
Thursday, August 12, 1999
Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth and Families
STATEMENT OF MR. C. ALEX MARTIN, PRINCIPAL, GREENVILLE HIGH SCHOOL, GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA *
STATEMENT OF MS. MICHELE BRINN, VICE PRESIDENT FOR WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT, GREENVILLE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA *
STATEMENT OF DR. TOM BARTON, PRESIDENT, GREENVILLE TECHNICAL COLLEGE, GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA *
STATEMENT OF JANE SNYDER, CONSULTANT, SCHOOL DISTRICT OF GREENVILLE, GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA *
STATEMENT OF MR. EDWARD C. MARSHALL, PROJECT DIRECTOR, NORTHWEST CRESCENT CENTER, GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA *
APPENDIX A -- THE WRITTEN STATEMENT OF MR. C. ALEX MARTIN, PRINCIPAL, GREENVILLE HIGH SCHOOL, GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA *
APPENDIX B -- THE WRITTEN STATEMENT OF MS. MICHELE BRINN, VICE PRESIDENT FOR WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT, GREENVILLE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA *
APPENDIX C -- THE WRITTEN STATEMENT OF DR. TOM BARTON, PRESIDENT, GREENVILLE TECHNICAL COLLEGE, GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA *
APPENDIX D -- THE WRITTEN STATEMENT OF MS. JANE SNYDER, CONSULTANT, SCHOOL DISTRICT OF GREENVILLE, GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA *
APPENDIX E -- THE WRITTEN STATEMENT OF MR. EDWARD C. MARSHALL, PROJECT DIRECTOR, NORTHWEST CRESCENT CENTER, GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA *
Table of Indexes *
Field Hearing on "Excellence in Education through Innovative Alternatives"
Strom Thurmond Criminal Justice Building, Room 120
Greenville Technical College
Greenville, South Carolina
Thursday, August 12, 1999
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10:45 a.m., in Room 120, Strom Thurmond Criminal Justice Building, Greenville Technical College, Greenville, South Carolina, Hon. Jim DeMint presiding.
Present: Representatives DeMint, Norwood and Scott.
Staff Present: Cindy Herrle, Majority Staff Member and Alex Nock, Minority Staff Member.
Mr. DeMint. Good morning. I really appreciate everyone taking the time to come out this morning, particularly our panel of witnesses. I know school is starting today and it is going to make it that much more difficult to keep you here and keep your attention, but as a representative of South Carolina's Fourth Congressional District, we really appreciate all of you being involved with this important hearing today.
This is a Congressional field hearing of the Education and Workforce Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth and Families. Our theme today is "Excellence in Education through Innovative Alternatives."
I particularly want to commend one of our school board members, Ann Sutherland, who has taken the time to come. Thank you, Ann. Are there any other school board members present? I did not see any others come in, but Ann, we appreciate you coming.
I am pleased to welcome and recognize my fellow members of Congress on the Education and Workforce Committee, Congressman Bobby Scott from the Third District of Virginia, which includes Richmond, Newport News, Hampton and Norfolk. Congressman Scott is now in his fourth term in Congress and he is a member of the Education and Workforce Committee as well as the Judiciary Committee. He has been very involved with education issues as well as many crime issues. He and I are working together on the Conference Committee for the Juvenile Justice bill and I look forward to his support of all of my amendments.
Mr. DeMint. Congressman Charlie Norwood represents the Tenth District in Georgia that includes Augusta, where we will be tomorrow for another hearing, and other parts of eastern Georgia. He is also on the Education and Workforce Committee and on the Commerce Committee. As a dentist, he is very involved with health care issues that are very hot and on top of the list in Washington right now. So he has been very active.
I would like to recognize my staff. So many of them have come in, I am afraid I will miss them, but I want you to know who is here. First I will start with Cindy Herrle, who is a Professional Staff Member of the Education and Workforce Committee. I appreciate her coming down from Washington, D.C. to help us through this hearing today. It is important to know that this is an official hearing of the Education and Workforce Committee. Everything that has been submitted by our witnesses will be part of the official committee record. Our court reporter today is Bill Warren.
I would like to introduce Courtney Weiss, she is my Legislative Staff Member for Education and has played a large part in putting this hearing together. I have Jeff Holt here from my Greenville district office and Kelly Long from our Spartanburg district office. Daniel Hamilton, standing in the back, is our Field Director for the Fourth District; and Jason Elliott in the back is our District Director.
Is there anyone else here from my staff? Thank you.
Mr. DeMint. I do not know who is running the district office today, but they are here and I appreciate them for their hard work and for being here today.
I would also like to welcome our distinguished panel. Thank you again, as I know this was a tough day to be here, particularly for our principal from Greenville High School, who has a new class starting today.
Let me introduce our witnesses before my colleagues and I make an opening statement.
Mr. Alex Martin is the Principal of Greenville High School, Greenville Senior High Academy, as it is now known. Mr. Martin, is a career educator, he has been a teacher, a coach, and a principal. He is on the Governor's Education Oversight Committee, where he has served for years and been involved with many innovations in our schools and in his own school. He has been named Principal of the Year by several associations and is here today because to testify about the creation of the magnet academy at Greenville Senior High School. He also knows the district as well as anyone here does.
Ms. Michele Brinn. I appreciate you being here today. Ms. Brinn and I have had a chance to work together on a number of occasions. She was part of the steering committee on a study that I led for the Greenville County School District that studied the ways to improve the district. When I was on the Chamber Board, she was very involved with education issues there. Currently, she serves as the Vice President of Workforce Development for the Greenville Chamber of Commerce. I would like to thank Mr. David Brown for being here. He is the President of the Greenville Chamber, and Mr. Max Metcalf is also here today and he too is with the Chamber. The Chamber is one of the major catalysts for education improvement in our community and I really appreciate their involvement here today. Ms. Brinn has been very involved with the Malcolm Baldridge management approach to education and will be talking about that some today.
Dr. Tom Barton is President of Greenville Technical College. I would like to particularly thank Dr. Barton for allowing us to use your facility here today. I truly appreciate it. Dr. Barton, while he will not tell you, is a legend in education across the country. He is known really around the world for much work regarding technical education. If you talk to people at BMW and other major industries here is our community, as well as to the state, they will tell you that the technical education system has had much to do with bringing them here. They believe that this school as well as others around the state can help train a workforce to compete in a global economy. Dr. Barton has played a major role in that and has been an education entrepreneur. He has been involved with starting a charter high school that focuses on technical education. He will be discussing that with us today. Dr. Barton, thank you for being here.
Ms. Jane Snyder is a Program Coordinator for the accelerated programs, gifted and talented programs, for the school district. She will talk about the innovative programs that our school district has been involved with for gifted students, for individual instructions and parental involvement, and anything else you would care to discuss here today.
Mr. Ed Marshall. Thank you for being here. He and I have had a chance to work together on developing reading programs for the community when I was working with the United Way and other groups, and he has been very involved. He has worked in the White House, and has been a part of the United Way staff. He is now the Director of the Northwest Crescent Center that he will tell us about today.
So, again, thank you all for being here today.
Before I begin my opening statement, I would again like to remind you of our format. Each of the witnesses is asked to take about five minutes to summarize their testimony. In our field hearings, we can be a little more flexible, so you do not have to stick to that, but if it takes too much longer, Cindy will probably be elbowing me to move it along. We have written statements from each of you that will be included in the official record. I would encourage you not to necessarily read that statement today unless that is what you want to do, but to make other comments or give other examples. However you want to give your statement, and then we will follow with questions.
I will start with just a brief statement, Congressman Scott will also have a statement as well as Congressman Norwood. Then we will go to Mr. Martin to begin the statements from our witnesses.
We are here today as part of a process to get input from parents, teachers, administrators and education experts across the country as we consider how to shape education for the 21st century. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which defines the federal role in education from kindergarten through the 12th grade, is up for reauthorization in Congress. It is what we will be debating when we get back in September.
So as we explore the many facets of education in the United States, it is very clear that we have a significant challenge to meet the diverse needs of a wide variety of students. While it is essential that we ensure our students are learning the basics, our student population is growing more diverse and more challenging to educate.
I am eager to hear the witnesses' testimony today as we look at innovations in education. Charter Schools magnet schools gifted and talented programs, early childhood education as well as the Baldridge approach to education management.
We may have a common goal, which is excellence in education, but students have many different needs and we must allow local school districts the freedom and flexibility to meet these needs in a wide variety of ways.
A few years ago, I was fortunate to lead a study that resulted in a report on how to improve quality in the Greenville County School District. Our major finding came down to the fact that we had this wide diversity of students. Some that learn better by hearing, some learn better by seeing; some learn better by putting their hands on it. They have different abilities, interests and talents, but matching this was more of a one size fits all approach to education. While there has been a very determined effort by educators here and around the country to create more variety, we still have a much more diverse student population than we have an education approach to meet that with. But we have had a lot of successes, as well and that is what all of you have been a part of and that is particularly what we want to hear about today.
The federal government spends or accounts for about six percent of the total money that comes to public education. Yet word is from the state and local level that they require about 50 percent in paperwork. We want states to stop having to fill out paperwork of compliance with federal programs and instead focus their energies on providing excellent academics for students. How we do that I think you are going to give us some input today.
As a businessman, I am particularly interested in competition in education and what encourages our schools to improve. A poll conducted in 1998 by CNN and USA Today as well as Gallop listed education as a top or high priority for 91 percent of Americans. This overwhelming response shows that education surpasses even crime as the number one concern for America. I believe it is impossible for Washington to meet the very needs of school children across America. Decision-making power as well as the resources must be shifted back to local communities, to teachers who know children by name and can work with administrators to design the best programs available.
The best way that we can secure the future for America's school children is to send dollars, decisions and freedom back to local school, school districts, parents and teachers. I look forward to hearing your testimony, the exciting success stories in areas that we can apply in other parts of the country.
Mr. Scott would you like say a few words?
Mr. Scott. Thank you, Jim. First I want to recognize our staff person from the democratic side, Alex Nock, who is a senior member of the Education and Workforce Committee staff. He has been with the Committee for many years and I am delighted to have him with me today.
I am also pleased to join you, Jim, in your district. In a relatively short time in Congress, you have certainly made your mark on the Committee. The fact that you were appointed conferee to the Juvenile Justice Conference is a recognition of that expertise, because generally those appointments are made, particularly on the larger committees, by seniority. For a relatively new member to get appointed to such an important committee is certainly a recognition of your hard work.
I am also delighted to be here with Congressman Norwood who, as a former dentist as you mentioned, Jim, has been one of the leaders in health care. There are many very controversial and contentious issues involving health care, what to do about Medicare, what to do about HMOs, and Congressman Norwood, Charlie, has done an extremely able job in providing leadership based on his expertise as a former dentist. So I am delighted to be here with both my colleagues.
This year, Congress will review and reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and innovative educational alternatives for the magnet schools, charter schools or reform efforts aimed at improving quality education or programs geared toward gifted and talented students are essential components of today's educational landscape. We cannot under-estimate the importance of education. We all know that for students, the more they learn, the more they can earn. Those who are better educated are much less likely to be involved in crime, much less likely to need receipt of public social services, and so education is very important to individuals.
But it is also important to the community. It is not a surprise that on an Education Committee, we have representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, because they know that if they want to attract jobs to a community, if you have poor education, people do not want to bring their employees to places where the schools are poor. We also know that when businesses come in, they are going to be looking for talented employees, and when the school system is poor, they do not expect to find many employees.
We have across the country in technologically oriented jobs massive vacancies, people cannot hire additional employees to do the work. So they cannot grow because they cannot find the employees.
We also know that we are in a global economy, competing with other nations. We cannot compete with other nations on wages, a dollar an hour, sometimes a dollar a day that is paid in wages in other countries, we are not going to compete with that. We do not have a competitive advantage on transportation. You do not have to be near your customers any more, you can get your products overnight from anywhere in the world to anywhere else in the world. So we do not have an advantage on transportation, we do not have an advantage on communications, you do not have to work across the hall from your coworkers, you can work across the street or across the globe as long as you have a modem, as long as you have a fax machine, you can work anywhere you want to work.
There used to be a time where you could not build a factory because you could not get financing. Now with international financing, you can build a plant wherever you want to build it. The only competitive advantage that we have is the fact that we can supply educated and well-trained workers. To the extent that we lose that advantage, we will not have any competition in our global economy. That is why it is so important that we have a focus on education. Unfortunately, we have to have a renewed emphasis on this because we are falling behind. Anybody that has looked at the international comparisons and where our students are in math and science, for example, will be absolutely embarrassed that we are, in many studies, at the bottom of the list. Obviously we have a lot of work to do. That is why it is important that we look at innovative new ideas in terms of how to deal with education.
Today's hearings will be involved with charter schools. Virginia, my home state, passed charter school legislation just last year, so we do not have much experience in it, but South Carolina's charter schools have much more experience and I look forward to the testimony on charter schools. We also look forward to testimony on magnet schools. These were traditionally used as a method to desegregate many urban areas around the country, but the need right now is to make sure that these are being used as best as possible to focus on new ways of educating students. Now we know that we are going to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. We are also going to reauthorize the federal Magnet Schools Assistance Program. So we need to have testimony to know what we can do to improve that program, anything that we can do from a federal level to make sure these magnet schools work.
We are also going to consider today other innovative alternatives which can improve our ability to educate our next generation and so, Jim, I want to thank you for calling this hearing and I look forward to hearing the testimony of our witnesses.
Mr. DeMint. Thank you, Congressman Scott. Congressman Norwood.
Mr. Norwood. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I am Charlie Norwood, just across the river over in Augusta, and I am delighted to be here today. Jim, I really appreciate you putting this hearing together for many reasons, but one of which is that I am always most anxious to hear from the people I believe that will actually solve the educational problems in this country. That is the local people, the school board members, superintendents, principals, teachers and parents. They are what will allow us to straightened out in education and we are all interested in that. It is pretty simple. All of us are interested in that. The democrats are interested in that, and by the way, Bobby, of all the democrats that could have been down here at this hearing, I am glad it is you. Bobby is my favorite democrat.
Mr. DeMint. I did not know he was a democrat, I would not have invited him.
Mr. Norwood. Bobby is a good friend and we appreciate you coming down from Virginia.
Mr. Scott. Well Charlie, if you do not tell my democratic friends…
Mr. DeMint. You are going to ruin his reputation.
Mr. Norwood. We are all here for one reason and I believe the reason is very simple --we all love this country and we want this country to be the greatest country on the planet and continue to be in the 21st century. The secret to that is pretty simple -- we have to educate our children, we have to have a world class educational system in America that works for all of our children. Short of that, I can envision a 21st century that does not suit us very well, where we may not be the leading country in the world. You are the answers.
Now this particular hearing is of great interest because it is about flexibility and it is about alternatives, it is about innovation. You are the ones, I think, that can come up with those innovative ideas of the things that we need to do. I am not as fond of the educational folks in Washington, D.C. because a lot of times they want to do things that are really great for children in Alaska, but I want to be sure that it is really great for the children in Georgia too and the children in South Carolina, and the way we do that is to listen to you.
Mr. Chairman, this is a perfect way for us to improve education, listening to home folks who are on the ground. By the way, we are going to follow this up with another hearing tomorrow over in Georgia, that fits hand-in-glove with alternatives to education. One other thing in my opinion that must be in place if we are going to educate these children and that is safety and discipline in the schools. I do not care how good our educational programs are, if we do not have discipline, we are not going to teach children, at least that was my experience when I was growing up. There are ways and fair ways that we can discipline these children in the classroom and protect our teachers at the same time from frivolous lawsuits and the different things that discourage the people who know what to do into doing the right thing.
So Mr. Chairman, you have only been with us eight months, but folks, you sent a mighty good man from South Carolina to Washington, D.C. and I appreciate your leadership, Jim.
Mr. DeMint. Thank you. It was hard to find two guys who would say those things.
Mr. DeMint. I see two more of my staff members, Deb Blickenstaff in the back, who is one of our most important caseworkers in Greenville; and Cherith Norman, who is our receptionist and does just about everything else. I know the phone is probably not being answered in the district today, but I am glad she is here with us.
Let's now here from our distinguished witnesses. Mr. Martin, we will start with you.
STATEMENT OF MR. C. ALEX MARTIN, PRINCIPAL, GREENVILLE HIGH SCHOOL, GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA
Mr. Martin. Thank you. I am certainly honored to have this opportunity to appear before this Committee and to offer my testimony as it relates to magnet schools. I welcome you, Mr. Norwood and Mr. Scott; and I appreciate you letting me go first, Mr. DeMint.
This should be easy for me, however, because I, at 9:00 faced 400 freshmen in my auditorium and I hope that you will be as good an audience as they were. I asked them to be very serious in taking everything we told them today, so when our Student Council did a skit at the end, they did not even laugh at the Student Council, it was not good. But I told them that was all right and we moved on and I moved over here, and I am happy to have this opportunity this morning to talk about magnet schools in Greenville County in general, as well as particularly the one I am most familiar with, Greenville Senior High School Academy of Academic Excellence.
We hope that we have a program that will offer students the opportunity to reach their greatest potential. We have worked very hard to establish an atmosphere of academic excellence. There are 13 magnet academies in Greenville County, some at the elementary, some at the middle and some at the high; and I will talk a little bit about each of those as I move through my comments.
All of our programs of instruction increase academic rigor at Greenville High School. There are two main paths that we offer special recognition in at graduation. One is the Advanced Academic Program and one is the Career Pathways Program. I'll tell you a little bit about each.
In the Advanced Academic Program, we have raised the rigor or raised the bar as we call it to require five units of advanced placement, four years of a foreign language, more units in science and math and fine arts than the state requires, a heavy dose of computer technology as well as a senior project.
Our first magnet class will not graduate for another two years because we have only been at this for three, and yet we had seniors this past year who took advantage in the Advanced Academic Program and indeed received recognition of academic distinction at graduation. It is very heartening to see those students do their senior project that puts everything they have done in high school together in one piece. Graduating from our high school in academic excellence makes you a strong candidate for admission to almost any university in this country you choose to go to.
Equally important is our Career Pathways Program. We were charged as a magnet school to not only attract students to our site but also to have a quality program for some of our students who are simply assigned because they live in our geo code or attendance area. As a result, we felt uncomfortable not to change our program to reflect the need to improve education for those students. Therefore, we needed two different programs and the Career Pathway serves a lot of our students who come from different expectations than maybe Academic Excellence towards universities.
Our School to Work legislation in South Carolina played in very nicely with the Career Pathway Program. We require more technology courses, two years of a foreign language for these students, increased units in science, math and computer technology, as well as a shadowing experience which should make them marketable in both business and industry when they graduate, or if they choose candidates at quality technical institutions and as is the case with Greenville Tech or an institution like that, it could ultimately lead to them landing in universities which we certainly encourage them to do.
We also have a third path that really does not earn you a distinction, but it serves a lot of our students well, and that is a College Preparatory Program and we have infused a significant amount of computer technology into that program. The more demanding requirements of these programs require students to take more math and science and also more AP classes, advanced technology and cooperative learning opportunities that business and industry likes to have out of any student that leaves our program.
The Apprenticeship Program that spins off of the Career Pathway Program gives students an opportunity to have hands on experience in the workforce before they graduate. We require a minimum of one year, we encourage two years of that in order that they will be very knowledgeable about what they want to do when they graduate from high school or maybe something they just do not want to do. It works both ways, and we find that to be very effective.
Has the magnet program at Greenville High School been successful? We think so. In our three years (this begins our third year) we have attracted more than 230 students that do not live in our attendance area to come to our magnet program. This has caused our enrollment to go up significantly. Our school is a very old school in a very interesting section of town because we attract not only some of the wealthiest families, but also some of the socio-economic disadvantaged families, and to be quite honest with you, as you move into the middle 1980s, Greenville High School, because of shifts in population, was shrinking rather quickly. The private school existence had started to sap some of our population and so having the magnet has really infused our enrollment.
When I say we have 230 students, that also includes 100 of those 400 I spoke to today, which will be our largest magnet contingent to date, and of course we are excited about that. We have increased test scores. We have more honor roll students than we have ever had before and we are just very happy to report how successful we feel like we have been. We were deemed to be a school that could hold 1,200 people several years ago and we hope to be very close to 1,200 this year.
There are other magnet academies, as I told you at the beginning, and I would like to at least mention those so you hear how the program operates. You are certainly not bound to go through the magnet system, but there are opportunities at every level. Blythe Academy of Languages is an elementary school, along with East North Street Academy of Math/Science. Hollis Academy has a year-round education program and Stone Academy has communication arts. Those are all elementary schools.
Beck Academy Middle Years International Studies Program, Greenville Middle School Academy of Traditional Studies, Hughes Academy of Science and Technology, League Academy of Communication Arts, Parker Academy of Fine Arts and Humanities. Those are all middle schools.
There are several high schools that I will not mention, because we are in competition with them for…no, I will not do that.
Mr. Martin. There is the Carolina High School Academy of Pre-Engineering, there is J.L. Mann High School Academy of Mathematics, Science and Technology and Southside where the IP program is located in our school; all very strong academies, all very much dedicated to giving students a different kind of opportunity as they move through K through 12.
I am proud that the School District of Greenville County has placed an importance on excellence in education through these innovative alternatives of magnet programs. While our children benefit from these programs now, our community, state and nation will ultimately reap the greatest benefits. For as these students succeed in the classrooms, they prepare themselves for success in business, boardrooms and perhaps even the halls of Congress.
I applaud you for taking time away from your schedules to let me share this with you today and now I will answer any questions you may have about Greenville Senior High School in particular or academies in the district in general.
Mr. DeMint. Thank you, Mr. Martin, we are going to reserve our questions until the panel has finished.
Mr. Martin. That means I will need to stay and listen to theirs. My ninth graders will wait, I will do that. Thank you.
Mr. DeMint. Thank you, Mr. Martin.
See Appendix A for the Written Statement of Mr. C. Alex Martin
STATEMENT OF MS. MICHELE BRINN, VICE PRESIDENT FOR WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT, GREENVILLE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA
Ms. Brinn. Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, thank you. Thank you for the opportunity to speak about an exciting reform effort which has proven to be effective in both business and education. Jim, let me say that speaking about Baldridge criteria in education is simple -- doing it in five minutes is extremely difficult. Let me say that the written testimony has more details that you can look to later.
My name is Michele Brinn, I am Vice President of Workforce Development at the Greenville Chamber of Commerce. I hope my comments will offer you insight into the power of this common sense method being used to improve student achievement.
The Chamber has historically been an active supporter and partner with our local school district. In 1998, we launched a project called The Community Vitality Index. This is a collection of more than 60 data sets showing 10-year trend analysis in areas of education, economy, population and crime. The education data illustrated, with few exceptions that test scores for our students remained unchanged or actually declined over the course of those 10 years. The data also showed troubling disparities between achievement levels of white and minority students. Obviously this was unacceptable. It was this new information that prompted the Greenville Chamber Board of Directors to make education its number one priority for 1999 and years to come.
Two major initiatives have come as a result of our research. The first is the corporate partnership for operational excellence, which we call CPOE. At the request of the district, ten task forces of business leaders will work with school administrators to examine areas such as technology, food service, building maintenance, purchasing, et cetera. The goal of this process is to recommend efficiencies and cost savings in order to allow maximum investment in classroom instruction.
The second major initiative, the one I am here to talk to you about, is Baldridge in Education. We have been doing a great deal of research, looking for those school districts that have the greatest sustained improvements in student achievement. In all of our contacts, the same districts keep being mentioned -- Pinellas County, Florida; Brazosport, Texas; Montgomery County, Maryland and the entire state of North Carolina. The common denominator in all of these districts is the application of the Baldridge criteria to align resources and manage performance. The results are impressive and show continuous gains in achievement across all economic and racial groups of students.
You have heard of Baldridge. The Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award was created by Congress in 1987. Just last year, it was with your support in Congress that this national quality award was extended to include education. Thank you for that. Also, just a few weeks ago, David Broder, the national columnist, featured the success of Baldridge in Education in his column.
What is Baldridge, sometimes referred to as an Aligned System of Management, and how does it affect education? First of all, this is not a new program. It is not a new idea, it is not a new tactic. It does represent a change in philosophy. It is an effort to focus on achieving results rather than sustaining programs. Baldridge is a quality management system which aligns all of those involved, from bus drivers to administrators, teachers and community to focus on the goal of continuously improving student achievement. The system requires students to accept responsibility for their learning, the system requires focus, measurement and training.
This is a diagram that we are probably familiar with when we think of education. The arrows represent processes and programs. Each program believes itself to be the one, pointing toward achieving a goal. What we actually have though are disconnected improvements that lead to a program-driven culture in education. With an aligned system of management, we have this. Programs exist because they take students and the system in the right direction towards achieving a goal. The focus is on achieving results, not sustaining programs. Again, the districts we have studied have proven records of success using the system of management. There is continuous progress across economic and racial lines.
What you have here is the education plan for the state of North Carolina, with its four priorities clearly and concisely identified. Imagine an entire state plan on one page of paper. Everyone knows where they are headed, students, business partners, legislation, all efforts can be aligned to achieve the specific goal. North Carolina has been able to eliminate ineffective programs, again, if you think of the scattered arrows, the ineffective ones are gone. Decisions are based on measurement. The state budget has gone from more than 100 to fewer than 10 education line items. This allows individual districts the freedom, accountability and responsibility to choose programs that work for them.
The use of Baldridge is receiving national attention. The National Alliance of Business or NAB, is a strong proponent for expanding the successful North Carolina model to other areas of the country.
You may have read in Monday's Greenville News that our school district is in the process of developing a strategic plan for the district. We will have goals and objectives that can conceivably fit on one page, as North Carolina's does. Strategies for attainment and measurements to assess progress will be included.
Based upon our research, we believe the Baldridge approach offers an ideal implementation tool for this new plan. We strongly encourage Congress to monitor this program and to provide your support to ensure the continued expansion of the Baldridge approach to as many states and school districts as may choose to participate. This aligned system of management, remember the arrows, provides the framework and motivation to focus legislation, resources, training and volunteer efforts in a coordinated, directed manner. This effort has and will improve the academic performance of students which is what all of us want to see.
Allow me to conclude with an analogy. A team of horses, no matter how well trained, will travel in different directions unless led by a common set of reins. Baldridge provides the reins to lead an educational team toward the common goal of improving student achievement. It harnesses all resources to work in unison.
Mr. DeMint. Thank you, Ms. Brinn.
See Appendix B for the Written Statement of Ms. Michele Brinn
STATEMENT OF DR. TOM BARTON, PRESIDENT, GREENVILLE TECHNICAL COLLEGE, GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA
Mr. Barton. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think I am going to move in a little different direction here since we represent post-high school. Basically you are looking at K through 12, but we are going to go beyond that and take a look at what community and technical colleges are doing across the country, especially here in Greenville.
I need to give you a little history here and I am going to try to do it in a hurry. South Carolina is a poor state and it goes back to even the times of the Civil War, when we came out of the Civil War. This state never really recovered from that on up until the middle of the next century. If you look back at the history here, you will see that industry was basically textiles and in the southern part of this state it was agriculture. That is all we had, and that happened right on up until the second World War. Congressmen, you know that right across the border in Georgia, and Virginia. None of us are rich, we are poor and I think what has happened here, quickly stated, there has been a movement here and you can hardly find textiles. Greenville used to be the textile center of the world and basically most of the people either went into the textile industry or into the military and that was it. They did not have that many options, they did not have that much that they could do, they were not skilled, most of them dropped out of school and those are some of the things that I wanted to touch on quickly here. We have recovered to some extent. You say well, what has all this got to do with the charter high school. Well I am going to finish it in just a minute and I am going to try to keep it within five minutes.
But along about the late 1950s, we had a Governor and I am not getting into politics, please excuse me, I am just telling you the history. So do not shoot the messenger.
We had a Governor at that time named Fritz Hollings, and you know Fritz, I am sure you know him. He did something for this state that had a tremendous impact. That was to bring in technical training that you see on this campus. This was the first campus in the state that could meet the needs, and it has been said at this panel level this morning, that could meet the needs of this industry that is coming in here from all over the world. You can go to China, Japan or Germany, Italy, France, Britain, Canada, South America -- you can go to all of them and they are in this upstate area somewhere, somewhere, or connected here. He knew that we could not do this without a skilled workforce and he knew that in order to do it he had to have a base to train that workforce and that is what this has evolved into, a base to train that workforce.
Now we have broadened and diversified considerably since then, we have gone into medical fields, we have gone into college level programs, both freshman and sophomore years are here on this campus, some 3,000 people come through here getting ready to go into four-year colleges and universities. It is sad at that point what I will have to tell you, but when they get out there in those universities, regardless of where they come from, regardless whether it is right out of a high school in this state or right out of one of our technical colleges, 50 percent of them drop out before the end of their sophomore year. That is just the hard fact. Maybe we do not want to hear that, but that is a fact.
Now if we are all about industry and high tech industry and good jobs and providing opportunity for our people -- that is what we are all about -- then it is pretty easy to see that this technology that we talk about every day, we did not have 10 years ago, we did not have the Internet, we did not have all this advanced technology that young kids down to the kindergarten level are exposed to computers, we did not have that necessity because these factories were not driven and their processes were not driven by computers. But today, everything out there is computers. On this campus today, we have over 2,000 computers and centers training people in sophisticated programs up to the level of network engineering that drives all of these processes that makes the rubber tires or the golfballs or the automobiles or whatever, gas turbines or whatever we are making. We are making all of those products and many more in this upstate area. Components for television sets from Hitachi. It is incredible what has happened here. No more textiles, high tech industry begging, gentlemen, just begging for skilled workers. When those skilled workers go out there to perform, if they do not even have a level of basic skills, then we have trouble and that is what we are trying to dodge here, we are trying to keep from having that problem, we are trying to match these people and connect them with those good jobs. It has already been said by all three of you that if you do not provide the education and bring these kids along at an early age, then we are not going to be able to continue competing for that industry and that can hurt this state seriously and this part of the country.
It is all a global marketplace and I am preaching to the choir now, but I think it has been touched on here, but the charter school came into the picture way back years ago when the industry said look, why do you not get something in there that is pretty technical for these kids to be exposed to at an early age. And at that time, it did not work out. We tried it and it did not work. No need to get into all the details as to why, it just did not work.
Than Congress passed the law, the state passed its charter law and we said well, gee, maybe we can go back and try something like that, and we did. Now it is here. Our experience, by the way, Congressmen, is only two days.
So that is 48 hours, we started the classes Tuesday morning of this week for over 200 kids. Now I gave you a printout with just a little background and rationale here for the charter and what it is about and the concept of it.
Now I want to add quickly to the charter that if you get back in your office in Washington, and you would like to know more about the details, what does it do that others are not doing, for instance? Well, if you can look at what is on this campus and on two other campuses of ours in the county, you are going to see a tremendous amount of resources here that these ninth graders are going to be exposed to. Think back to when we were in the ninth grade, being exposed to what they are exposed to on this campus, and that is easy to see. So that was the first thing that got us interested. We can bring these kids and put them right on this campus and we have faculty and we have advisory boards coming right out of the industry. We have mentors coming right out of the industries and hospital systems and medical professions and all of those things serving this college and these kids will be right in the loop with all of this, at the ninth grade level. Now if we cannot take that and make a cake with it, something is wrong, that is all I can tell you something is wrong.
I think what we are seeing here is that with the resources and what is going on here, we did bring the charter school to this campus, and the reason for that is because they have access to the computer systems and the Internet system and our library and they can get into research, they can get into interfacing with industry, work-based type projects that will be going on where they will be out there applying what they are learning in those academic areas right into those technical areas. I want to say this to you, I think it is important, the German/European model of K through 12 was very good up until about five or eight years ago. When this technology moved in, what it has done, is driving the academic aspects of education and the technical aspects of it all closer to the middle and the training to go either direction is basically now the same. Now you really need to hear that statement right there. In other words, if we are training thousands of young people, you do not track them out any more that this bunch is going to the universities and this bunch is going out to industry, because the demands coming from industry are just as great as the demands are for them going out into the universities. Their preparation and their background and their math and their ability to lead and to speak and to community, all of those things have to be at that same level. Otherwise, they are going to be pulling those industries down and that is not good. So we have got to get away from this business of tracking these kids at that level, at the ninth grade level. So that is the reason I am not that strong any more for the European model because they do track them out at the ninth grade and they are having some reservations about that. I have talked to some of them recently, so I know where they are coming from. But I think you needed to hear that.
I do not know about my time here, but I think the future looks rather bright for us. I like what Congressman DeMint said in his remarks, I liked all three of your remarks, but I think the thing that he said that impresses me is that education lacks two things folks and I may as well say it. You do not have enough competition, you just do not have enough competition, and you do not have enough accountability. Once you get those two things in place across this great country of ours, then you are going to put it into the same ballgame that has made this country great. I believe that sincerely.
I believe in choice, I believe in people being able to get out there and build something that will attract these kids and some of the things that Alex talked about and I believe all those things strongly and I want to close on that by saying that as far as our charter schools are concerned, yes, it is open. It is very impressive, if you could see 225 of these young kids coming in here and being exposed to an adult type campus like this and how excited they are about it and their parents. The parents were extremely excited about it. I spoke to all of them this past Sunday afternoon and we are excited about the project and we will share with you anything that we are doing there as you go back to your duties in Washington. All you have got to do is just get my name and I will get it to you, anything that you see here that might help.
We hope now that we can replicate a lot of these things and convert this into an R&D type effort to where we can export a lot of this across our own state maybe, if it is that good, and we hope it is that good. We are going to try to make it that good. We do continue to work under the school district in this county. We are not divorced from that, we are part of them and we are making an effort to work very closely with them because they control the money, number one, and you know, I think it is a partnership that is essential. This school, this campus and all that we are doing, all of our resources, belongs to the people out there and we ought to maximize the use of everything we have got to get these kids better educated.
See Appendix C for the Written Statement of Dr. Tom Barton
Mr. DeMint. Thank you, Dr. Barton.
Mr. Norwood. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to speak out of order for 30 seconds.
Mr. DeMint. Without objection.
Mr. Norwood. Dr. Barton, I want to apologize for the telephone call, and to all of you.
Mr. Barton. That is fine. This is not that formal.
Mr. Norwood. Like the rest of them, I have got about 30 calls out there. There are just not enough hours in the day and I apologize to you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DeMint. We do not have any problem with the call, it is just the ringer.
Mr. Norwood. That ringer keeps me going, buddy.
Mr. Barton. Just send us some federal money and we will excuse you for that. How about that?
Mr. Norwood. You know, that is an unusual request.
Mr. DeMint. Ms. Snyder, please get us back on track.
STATEMENT OF JANE SNYDER, CONSULTANT, SCHOOL DISTRICT OF GREENVILLE, GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA
Ms. Snyder. No doubt, I can do that. I appreciate the opportunity to speak to you today about some areas of education that I am extremely passionate, and those are Gifted and Talented Program and the Accelerated Programs that we have implemented here in the School District of Greenville County.
In our district, we begin serving students in an academically gifted and talented program at the third grade. Because this program operates with state funds, we adhere to the South Carolina law that outlines clearly the criteria for identifying the students that we can serve.
Teachers of these gifted students have been especially trained to implement strategies that have proven to increase student achievement and productivity. Curriculum for the gifted students incorporate models of creative and critical thinking, problem-solving and decision-making so that they will develop strategies to apply in the context of significant content. Our identified students learn to apply cognitive processes of application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation.
Since these strategies have worked so well with our gifted students, we took a look at whether or not we wanted to employ these with our students who were not identified as gifted and talented in the academic arena. So it is our belief, and research has shown, that students do not necessarily have to master basic skills before they can employ higher order of thinking skills.
So we have designed an Acceleration Component that exists in our Title I elementary schools, of which there are 13, and in each of these schools in Greenville County, we employ a half-time teacher who works with students using the same strategies that have historically been reserved for gifted and talented students. In other words, instead of listening to a story and then drawing a picture, these non-identified students might be led into a discussion which causes them to analyze characters or categorize elements within that story, thus prompting them to develop higher order of thinking skills.
The content level, of course, is appropriate for these students just as the level of gifted students is somewhat higher than their current grade level and appropriate for them. We believe that this component is improving both teaching and learning in these particular schools. Why? Because classroom teachers participate in the lessons presented by the teacher of the gifted and talented students and the teacher also models lessons with students and plans additional lessons for classroom teachers to use.
This year, the Acceleration Component will focus on reading. In addition to classroom reading instruction, students will be taught reading in small groups utilizing the Soar for Success program. This will be a continuance of the program students began in our Summer Acceleration Program just recently completed. Our purpose here is to accelerate the reading levels of students to those of their peers before they leave elementary school. We believe that increased reading achievement will assist students in all subject areas. Acceleration teachers will also use enrichment literature units with classes throughout the school. We look forward to increased gains in the area of reading as a result of this targeted assistance.
Four Greenville schools participate in the national Accelerated Schools Project. This project started in 1986 as a result of the beliefs of Hank Levin, who was then a professor of economics at Stanford University. His purpose was to develop comprehensive school change designed to improve schooling for children in at-risk situations. This project is now in more than 1000 schools in 40 states.
Because this program is one of school reform, faculties proceed through systematic steps as they take stock of their school, forge a shared vision for their school, identify priority areas and create plans for achieving that vision. The three basic principles of Accelerated Schools Project are unity of purpose, empowerment coupled with responsibility, and building on strengths. In other words, all members of the school community share a dream for the school and work together on common goals that will benefit all students. Each member of the school community is empowered to participate in a shared decision-making process, is responsible for implementing these decisions and is held accountable for the outcomes of these decisions. As they create their dream school, accelerated school communities recognize and utilize the knowledge, talents and resources of every member of the school community. Since 1986, national results have shown that Accelerated Schools increase student achievement and attendance, raise parental participation and reduce student turnover.
The Powerful Learning component of Accelerated Schools shares strategies usually associated with gifted and talented students with all of the students in each school. Members of the learning community work together to transform every classroom into a powerful learning environment where students and teachers are encouraged to think creatively and explore their interests, and where they are given the capacity and encouragement to achieve at high levels.
The bottom line with the Accelerated Schools Project is that the schools we want for our own children should be the schools we want for all children. If we continue to do the same things that we have always done, we will continue to get the same results that we have always gotten.
Mr. DeMint. Thank you, Ms. Snyder.
See Appendix D for the Written Statement of Ms. Jane Snyder
STATEMENT OF MR. EDWARD C. MARSHALL, PROJECT DIRECTOR, NORTHWEST CRESCENT CENTER, GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA
Mr. Marshall. Congressman, I want to draw attention to the two words in the name of this Subcommittee, Early Childhood. I want to translate what early childhood means in education for you.
In Greenville County, we have translated the two words ``early childhood'' to mean school readiness and we have begun a process in this community of beginning to address the underlying issues in specific targeted communities that will address school readiness.
I want to talk to you a little bit about the kind of people Dr. Barton mentioned in terms of the textile mill communities and the history of the State of South Carolina. Specifically, these are people who exist in your district, Congressman Norwood, and in yours as well.
I really do want to thank you also for the opportunity to address the Subcommittee and to tell you about the Northwest Crescent Center, which is, I think, the hallmark of our early childhood initiative in the School District of Greenville County.
The Northwest Crescent Center is located in the mill crescent northwest of the City of Greenville. A growing population of Latino immigrants and families with young children living at or below the poverty level reside there. This area reflects a history rich with mill communities, each with its own unique character. The remnants of the textile mill era have left the communities of this crescent-shaped area on the western edge of the City of Greenville with many strengths and bonds and those are the bonds that continue to bind those communities together.
Unfortunately, there are also scars of a class system and an economy that seems to have let them down. Families living in the mill crescent have historically been under-valued educationally. To work in a textile mill, all one really needed was a strong body. In their heyday, these were tight-knit communities where generations of people grew up knowing where they would work, live and grow old.
When the mills closed or were consolidated, fabric of life in these communities disintegrated. Jobs disappeared and with them went all certainty and surety in life. Immigrants and poor people began to move into the neighborhoods.
The legacy of the mill crescent can be summed up in two ways: chronic poor health and low education. To get a good manufacturing job in Greenville today, as Dr. Barton alluded to, a worker must be able to read at a very minimum at a 10th grade reading level. In the old days, work in a textile mill required less than a fourth grade education.
With this setting, in response to the depressingly high percentages of first graders coming to elementary school not ready, our school district began in 1995 to look at new strategies to increase school readiness. We instituted parenting and family literacy programs, models of which I am sure you have heard on the Subcommittee. We have instituted full-day, five-year-old kindergarten programs, but they were not enough. The plan that ultimately emerged was to leverage additional resources from non-traditional sources, target specific elementary school service attendance areas with the highest percentages of first graders testing not ready and to create a new multi-service center in an old neighborhood school. The taxpayer has already paid for these institutions. As they grow older, it makes sense to retain them.
At the invitation of the Duke Endowment out of Charlotte, North Carolina and Furman University, four community partners came together in December of 1997. We developed a joint-use, multi-service center for young children and families living in this mill crescent. The partners included Furman University, the School District of Greenville County, the Greenville Hospital System and United Way of Greenville County's Success by 6 initiative, which is focused on early childhood education and school readiness.
Our common goal was to target child development through public school kindergarten programs and the delivery of basic health services in that community. Corresponding to the low school readiness test scores, nearly one-third or more of the total number of emergency room visits at Memorial Hospital downtown in their clinics were generated from the same exact area. We estimate that over 50 percent of the parents using these clinic services downtown at the hospital have not completed a high school education. Further, the number of working poor as well as those who are unemployable remains high.
Keep in mind that this is in the context of what I would call a fairly high strong economy. We have about a 2.5 percent unemployment rate. I think Michele could underscore that from the Chamber's perspective.
Families in the northwest crescent with less than $25,000 a year annual income numbered 13,248 individuals in 1996. This is for a family of four. The Department of Social Services in Greenville reports that a high number of families here receive some governmental assistance, although the number of working poor is much higher.
On March 31, 1998, our partners conducted an inventory of available community assets in conjunction with the Berea Lions Club. This is the only civic club on the entire west side of the city. Key community leaders were recruited from the northwest crescent to assist in planning services at the center. Through these community meetings, the plan incorporated local input as to which types of services and programs should be placed there. The result is unique and I want to underscore that. I have been recently to a conference in Connecticut based on the School of the 21st Century out of Yale University. We had hoped to learn something from them, and found that we are doing almost exactly what they are offering, and it is a 10-year-old initiative out of Yale.
Let me tell you briefly about the partners and the programs that we have put into this old elementary school, it is the School District of Greenville County. We are offering four-year-old kindergarten, we have 200 four-year-olds in our center; parent education through the national model called Parents as Teachers. I am sure you are aware of that program; family literacy; GED; and we offer free infant/toddler care to individuals, primarily women, who are engaged in learning, either taking a GED class or working on English as a second language.
Furman University is our major funding partner for parts of the initiative. They provide pre-service and in-service training for 4K teachers. Furman is using our 4K classrooms as teaching classrooms for the students in the education program. They are also offering student volunteers and teaching internships, child development, family literacy, GED and ESL programs. Furman is involved in the ongoing analysis and evaluation of our various programs. We have actually got a professor from Furman on staff in this old elementary school, looking at how all the programs are joined or marry, and we hope to be able to go back to School of the 21st Century and show them just how an evaluation model works on one of these early childhood centers.
We also have the help and assistance of the Greenville Hospital System, who delivery primary and preventive care for children and families. The Greenville County Health Department is involved. They provide WIC, you may have heard of; immunizations; and well-child health checks.
The Greenville Literacy Association is a United Way agency, they have been granted space on a contract basis and they provide adult education and literacy programs.
Senior Action has recently begun a program that will offer congregate meals, which is hot lunch, five days a week, recreation and exercise programs for seniors. On the face of it, you may ask why put senior citizens in an early childhood development center. Logically, we are placing people who have time and experience and wisdom to share as mentors and tutors in the adult programs and in the classrooms. They can read a book, they can be visible to children where there probably are not very many older individuals.
Last is a federal program, Head Start. In addition to our 200 four-year-olds, Head Start is going to offer a class this year for three-year-olds, hopefully between 20 and 25 three-year-olds will also be located there.
Programs are operated on a contract basis. The School District has donated and maintained the building. Each agency is responsible for funding and oversight of their program. Major funding for the center flows from several sources and I think this is key because you cannot sustain a good viable program without strong funding. They include federal WIC, Head Start, Preschool Special Education and school breakfast/lunch program funds; state and local education funds for early childhood, parenting and adult education; community health funds; private foundation and endowment grants; and United Way funds. In addition, extensive in-kind donations from each collaborating partner have enabled significant cost reductions. These include donated space and manpower from the school district, medical and office fixtures and equipment from the Greenville Hospital System; office and classroom fixtures from Furman University; and United Way gifts-in-kind material contributions.
The community response in the first year since September 1998 confirmed and even exceeded our expectations, and included, I want to highlight this for you: 719 Parent As Teacher home visits. We have three teachers on staff who do not work in a classroom, they do home visits with families with children 0 through 3, that is 719 home visits. 198 four-year-olds last year attended four-year-old kindergarten. 18 monthly parent meetings were held through our Parents as Teachers program at the center. 22 workshops and center parent meetings were also held. An example is one called Survival Skills for Women. We hope to offer that again this year.
We have a drop in and play room. That is for families who do not generally have clean, usable toys at home. We have a room that we have got some good toys in. We offer 26 drop in and play sessions. Perhaps one of our most popular rooms. 11 adults received the GED in our first year out of 11 who took the GED test. That is a phenomenal success rate.
Six four-year-old kindergarten parent meetings were held. In addition to the Parents as Teachers program, we offer four-year-old kindergarten four days a week. On the fifth day, each Friday, the teacher and aide in our 4K classes do home visits in the homes of the children in their particular class.
We have five Greenville Hospital pediatric medical health days. A van that is actually located here on campus, the pediatric medical van, staffed by the Greenville Hospital System and Greenville Tech jointly came and did five full health days at the center.
We also had the Health Department offering seven of those days with families. We had one community health fair with over 200 people attending and a Father's Day literacy event, which I am going to tell you about in a moment.
At the end of the first school year, nearly 230 4K families and their children celebrated the end of the school year, not at a cookout but at a parent meeting cookout with a speaker. One hundred thirteen fathers, grandfathers and children came to our Father's Day breakfast at which each child was given a book and the county library came and signed up 30 individuals for new library cards. We have opened our doors to community groups, hosting Furman University meetings and forums, the Child Watch Committee locally, United Way's Success by 6 Board, the local Welfare Reform Committee, and other groups including the Berea Women's Club.
Since February, the Greenville Hospital system and our Health Department, scheduling their own appointments, have each seen an average of six to ten children per visit for well-child checks, immunizations, WIC enrollments and health screenings. Five community health providers, two of whom I have mentioned, GHS and the Health Department, have been joined by St. Francis Health Systems, the Greenville Free Medical Clinic and our Community Health Center is actively planning the development of a doctor's office on this site.
In conclusion, I just want to tell you that the Northwest Crescent Center is still in its infancy, but we do have a strong base of community support and I hope to be able to come back and tell the Committee at a later date that this is the school of the 21st century.
See Appendix E for the Written Statement of Mr. Edward C. Marshall
Mr. DeMint. Thank you, Mr. Marshall.
I will have a few questions for the panel and then my colleagues will have an opportunity as well. Mr. Martin, let me begin with you. It has been exciting to hear of all these different things that are going on, but in some ways it does not fit the pattern that we thought of, at least as I understand it, over the last several decades of public schools. It seems that we thought that education, in order to be equal for everyone, had to be the same for everyone. My question, Mr. Martin, is can we create, just based on what you've seen with magnets and other things in the school district, a wide variety of choices without creating inequality in the system? Where some have the advantage of a magnet and some do not. Where some might go to a charter and some do not. Are we creating problems or are we creating opportunities?
Mr. Martin. With the variety of magnets that we offer in our district as well as other programs within those schools. Again I have to use Greenville High School because I am most familiar with it. Dr. Barton talked a little bit about worrying about tracking students too early as well as the diversity of directions they may go when they leave high school. We have been extremely sensitive to that in setting up our pathways. There is flexibility to move between pathways and there is exposure in each pathway to a higher level of academics than were normally thought of. Because we do it that way, and I think the other magnets in the county would mirror that, we are taking into account not leaving anyone out.
Every magnet in our county is charged with not only educating those that come to the magnet from outside the attendance area, but those that we are charged with educating because they live in our attendance area. We would be foolish to leave those people behind. They really get interested and fired up at different age levels and if you have not put the rigor in front of them at every step of the way, you may lose them before they get to be juniors and seniors and move into whatever direction they want to go in.
I do not think we are leaving anyone out, I think the opportunities are there. I think the enrollment in our magnet schools shows that.
Mr. DeMint. Do you see that the magnets may be widening the gap between socio-economic groups or minority groups? Is it working for everyone in some way or do we see anything creating problems there?
Mr. Martin. In high schools almost everywhere there are different levels of courses offered, magnet or non-magnet, because of different abilities or different rates at which students have mastered material. That is always going to be around, that is somewhat of the competitive nature of education. As far as the magnet separating out people at our place, I do not see that because it is basically an interest level issue. And also a lot of our kids that you would not expect to be in the academic excellence if you were looking at it as a wealth issue, you would be real surprised to see them viewing education as an opportunity. I mean it is a free public education. We have attracted a lot of private school parents and students back to our community because we provide a quality free education. Now on pre-registration days early this week, some people are concerned that they might have to pay $100-$110 in science fees and those kinds of things, although there is a way to handle that if they cannot. But very few of our private school parents complained about paying $110.
Mr. Martin. They thought that was quite a deal. So we feel like the wealth issue is not really a separator in the magnet system.
Mr. DeMint. Ms. Brinn, you mentioned lines, reins, in order to meet a common goal there need to be reins. The debate in Washington sometimes is do we need to do that from Washington or can you be trusted or can our schools be trusted to do that back home. So can we let go from Washington and allow this all to go on or do we need to provide more reins from Washington? The question really comes back to this, is it enough to send the money back and just require results or does there need to be some programming from Washington?
Ms. Brinn. The model that I have to refer to is my experience with North Carolina. I say North Carolina because it is beyond district but it is statewide in what they have been doing, and statewide voluntarily. In those districts that volunteer to be a part of the pilot or a part of this program they volunteer, it is not state-driven.
But what you have there is you have a state plan with goals and objectives and systems of measurement in place. Each district that is part of the state develops their own plan with their own goals and their own systems of measurement that align with the state's goals and objectives. They are not identical, they fit the personality of the district, but there is still an alignment with the state. From that, you have each school within a district doing their own plans and objectives and goals. The charter school objectives might be different than the magnet school here, but they still are in alignment with what the district wants, which is then in alignment with the state.
As far as totally letting go? No. Even Baldridge very strongly requires systems of measurement and a true accountability. Not accountability like are you doing program XYZ and how many students are participating in programs XYZ, but true measurements of accountability in that are those students achieving, is there progress in student achievement, rather than progress in sustaining the program.
So do you totally let go? I am a control power freak and my son can tell you that. No, you do not let go, but you build in systems of measurement and accountability along the way. But those that are true measures of accountability to what you want to achieve.
Mr. DeMint. Thank you, Ms. Brinn.
Dr. Barton, a lot of the controversy I think related to charter schools and allowing children to get on pathways early is a question of is it truly a pathway or is it a rut? Are we identifying students and putting them on a track that they cannot get off of or are we assuming they are low potential and we want them to go this way while others go a higher road? As you look at this charter school, is this a pathway or is this a rut?
Mr. Barton. Well, I have to emphatically say it is not a rut, no. I think it is a new innovation, I think the jury is still out. I will be honest about that, but I think from where I sit and what I have seen and heard from industry leaders and people all across this part of the country and across this state, if we all work in partnership to put this thing where we want it, then it will be put there. No, it is not a rut, it is a whole new creation and it is one that will be doing things that is totally different from what has been going on in the past.
I think we have reached the point in this country to where tradition is passe, I think we have reached a rut as a matter of fact. I think what we have got to do is start thinking out of the box. We have too many kids that we are dropping out of our schools. You talk about a nation that drops out more kids than approaching a third of them. That is just absolutely not acceptable. I think we can do better than that. I do not know that the charter is going to solve all those problems, but I think it is going to help get started in that direction, yes.
Could I introduce the principal of our charter school, Dr. David Church back here? If you would like to ask him a question, he is a little bit more capable of answering anything about the charter. If you would like to ask him any specific question about the charter.
Mr. DeMint. We will make him available to my colleagues if they have anything they would like to ask.
Mr. Barton. Thank you.
Mr. DeMint. Ms. Snyder, identifying gifted and talented students. I guess I am of the opinion that there is probably a lot more ways to identify gifts, talents and abilities than the standard way we do it. My concern is that there may be very gifted and talented students who do not test that way with our standard measurements. I am not sure that SATs are the only way to identify intelligence. I guess my question is are we actually widening the gap between our standard students and those that may be identified with some abilities with these programs for gifted and talented? Are we latching onto some and giving them an opportunity while we are leaving others behind?
Ms. Snyder. No.
Mr. DeMint. Thank you.
Ms. Snyder. You wanted to keep this brief, right?
No, in fact, that is one reason that we are using those same teachers who work with the identified gifted and talented students to work with all students within some of our lower achieving or lower socio-economic schools. Last May, South Carolina passed some new legislation that updated our old way of identifying students. That part of the law will not be in effect until the 2000-2001 school year for a new way of identifying. But it has changed the criteria to not be totally dependent upon test scores, which I strongly support.
Mr. DeMint. Mr. Marshall, I have some questions for you, but I think since we need to move along, I am going to turn it over to Congressman Scott for his questions. I will say the local partnership that has come together to make this a reality is an incredible thing and something we probably would not have thought about in Washington.
Congressman Scott, I will turn the questioning over to you.
Mr. Scott. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Martin, I have a lot of questions, I am not sure where to start. What is the difference between your college prep and your advanced academic program?
Mr. Martin. Course selection and a senior project are the two major pieces that are different. Certainly the college preparatory program will allow you to achieve test scores and build an academic resume that will get you into a lot of places past high school. We have found that some universities are really concerned about achievement tests and advanced placement courses. You have your Dukes and Virginias and North Carolina. Some of our students were not taking enough rigor to qualify themselves for those schools. With this prescribed curriculum, we have solved that problem.
Mr. Scott. One of the things that I was happy to hear you say is that if you have taken the Career Pathways and than decide all of a sudden that you would like a college education, that you could switch back and forth. If you decided to switch in the 11th grade, how far behind would you be? How hard would it be to catch up?
Mr. Martin. The curriculum in the ninth and tenth grade for all pathways is very similar, very similar. To make the switch in the 11th grade would cause you to take additional science and additional math and continue with a foreign language. Now we have just moved last year, this will be our second year, into the block schedule so we are providing 32 opportunities to take 24 units. Our Pathway programs require students to take somewhere between 28 and 30 but there is still space in there. Students may have to double up in math, they may have to double up in science. It is very common and we have seen a real influx of it this year in the tenth grade, for students to do just that, so that they have prepared themselves to take AP courses that are not even in our curriculum yet. We will not offer AP French this year, but we will offer it next year and they are getting ready for that.
Mr. Scott. The Career Pathways people work in business during the school year. Are those paid or unpaid positions?
Mr. Martin. You mean do they work for pay?
Mr. Scott. Right.
Mr. Martin. With our economy, they do. You heard other panelists allude to the unemployment rate here in the Greenville-Spartanburg area. Our biggest problem right now is providing enough apprenticeship/intern/co-op people. We throw their names around fairly loosely to students for the requests we have for those students. Now the employer must agree to enter into an agreement with our school. We have a Career Pathway school-to-work apprentice coordinator and there is paperwork involved because there are competencies that we want to be assured are being met here as well as number of hours on the job. The hours issue has not really come up because to reach the number of hours is very easy because a lot of these kids will work on the weekends, work some night activities. We discourage employment that cuts into academic time, we encourage our students being available for the hours that oftentimes high school students are not available. We have some kids who go to work in the morning and then come to school in the afternoon and that works out quite well.
But yes, they get paid. The employer is happy, the students are happy. The only component I would really like to put in, but we have been afraid to, is that a certain percentage of that salary would go to the principal for putting the idea out there, or at least to support the program.
Mr. Scott. Ms. Brinn, I was at an educational program a couple of years ago and they had a little formula of how you achieve results in education. You start off with a student, you add your resources and you end up with your results. What has happened is the better students get more resources and therefore, you have better results when it really ought to be the opposite when you come with fully trained, fully prepared students. They really need more resources.
Is there anything in your assessment of policy or need that would look at how we allocate our resources to those most in need of those resources?
Ms. Brinn. I have to say I do not know.
Mr. Scott. You mentioned flexibility, I do not know if this is a question or not. Part of the problem with, excuse me, accountability, we are trying to provide more flexibility and those are actually mutually exclusive ideas, the more flexibility you give, the less accountability you can have. How can we manage to have more accountability and at the same time give the local school systems more flexibility?
Ms. Brinn. I guess if you refer to the North Carolina picture, there are four goals or strategic priorities. If you are measuring high student performance as one, safe and orderly schools, quality teachers, effective and efficient operations, those are the four priorities. With those priorities, and the goals are very specific measurement tools put in place to monitor achievement of those goals. So excuse me for saying school-to-work because that is a program that the Chamber has traditionally always been in support of and I am not saying I am not, but just to pick a program. As it is now, there are federal funds and state funds coming down for a program. That might be school-to-work, and the reporting process that goes back is are you implementing and spending the school-to-work money. So you fill out how many reports on talking about spending that money and utilizing that money. In those reports, I doubt if there is very much that talks about achieving the goal of student performance.
So the measuring can still be to this and you offer freedom and flexibility within your district by the accountability towards the goals that either the district has put in place or the school has put in place or the state has, because they will all be in alignment, as well as hopefully the federal government with their measurements.
As far as back to your question on resources being put where it is needed, that is where hopefully not only the freedom but the responsibility is put on the school and the district. Again, those measurement tools are there -- decisions are based upon measurement.
I sit on the charter school board and I know that with the charter school, there is freedom from many programs that other state schools might have to file reports, but the accountability for student success is there and the measurements will be there and the accountability will be there. If Dr. Church does not deliver, as far as student achievement, the questions will come where are the resources though and why are you not achieving, where is the gap?
Mr. Scott. Well, of course, one of the problems is that if they are not accomplishing their goal and we learn that two or three years later, then what do you do?
Ms. Brinn. All I can say is unfortunately in education, we have that even now. So I do not know.
Mr. Barton. Do not promote them.
Mr. Scott. Or I have seen some principals get promoted to get them out of the school in order to put somebody more qualified in their place.
Ms. Brinn. Not here.
Mr. Barton. Somebody is failing other than the principal at that point.
Mr. Scott. In the principal position that can do the job, which is sometimes easier than trying to fire somebody, just promote them into management.
Mr. Barton. Maybe we ought to start facing if they cannot run the race, they have got to come out of the race.
Mr. Scott. How would you measure that, I mean if you have a principal whose school is not performing?
Mr. Barton. Well, you just have to establish the goals and objectives and the standards that are based around what you want to accomplish there with the achievement of these young people. If they do not make it, then they do not make it.
Mr. Scott. One of the things that I have seen frequently is…
Mr. Barton. That was my point earlier here, I think we have got to have some accountability in there.
Mr. Scott. One of the things I have seen and heard frequently is if you have a school that has done poorly and totally changes around and starts doing well, you almost always have had a new principal put in that position that created the turnaround. What do you suggest to principals who are in charge of schools that are not doing well. Do you suggest that they be removed?
Mr. Barton. Without question. It is the same principle in industry or businesses. That is the whole point we made earlier: you cannot continue to operate this way in the future, there is just no way unless you are going to live with the social problems that bubble out of all that is taking place with a 30 percent, 33 percent dropout rate and our prisons being completely overcrowded. They are spending more money on prisoners now than they are on education. They are building prisons. There is something wrong with that system.
I am of the school that believes that every kid out there can learn and learn well if they are put in the right environment and surrounded with the right technology and the technology is there. All you have got to have there to make the mix is the leadership and it can happen. I think we have got to get on that instead of trying to wiggle around and not make change from the past. I think we are going into a whole new world here. The technology is driving all of it.
Mr. Scott. Well, Dr. Barton, you suggested that building ways for people not to be educated and then locking them up after all may not be the best way of spending the taxpayers' money. I live in Virginia where about three years ago we passed legislation abolishing parole that the budget showed would cost approximately $100 million per congressional district, after the prisons were built, to run the prisons. It showed that there would not be a statistically significant difference in the crime rate after you spent all that money. Are you suggesting you could do more with that $100 million than the prison system could have done?
Mr. Barton. Yes, I am and I am saying I would not plug them in after they are already criminals. I would go back to the foundation of this whole issue that we are talking about and build into those kids from the time they start crawling around on the floor what this is all about, and get them educated early on, not after they have already committed the crimes. That is too late, the cows are out of the barn at that point. I am saying go back and build a foundation under this whole country in education that we will not have that kind of failures in this country, that we are going to build a system that is not promoting social promotions. That is hurting this country.
Mr. Scott. How early do you have to start?
Mr. Barton. As far back as we can get them from the day they are born, if we can get them that early.
Mr. Scott. Actually you could go back further than that, you can go back to prenatal care and teen pregnancy prevention.
Mr. Barton. Sure. That is some of the things that Mr. Marshall was talking about.
Mr. Scott. But what kind of services would you focus on. I heard somebody mention home visits, I assume that is part of that. If you spent the kind of money that we are willing to spend on prisons, could you make a significant difference in the education and future of our children?
Mr. Barton. The operating budget alone in South Carolina's prison system just in one state is approaching $300 million. Now that ought to answer that question. Yes, is the answer. Locking them up and warehousing all these people is not the answer. We are failing and education is the answer.
Mr. Scott. I have some additional questions.
Mr. DeMint. We will be back for more questioning. Congressman Norwood.
Mr. Norwood. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Dr. Barton, you and I obviously think a lot alike and have some age similarity. I can remember back to Fritz Hollings too and I want to just simply say that I am not being political either, but part of closing that circle is what Carroll Campbell did in South Carolina. I am only saying that because I am so jealous. If you train them, you had better bring the industry.
Mr. Barton. You have got to have both, yes.
Mr. Norwood. He did a great job with that. In fact, we tried to get some of that.
Mr. Barton. Yes, you have got to have both. This state has made a major effort to bring this industry in. I know you know that, obviously.
Mr. Norwood. Let me follow up with you where Mr. Scott was going. How do you measure how well a principal does? Well, there is only one measurement, I hope you will agree with me, and that is how well does the student do, how well does the child do, and can we measure that once they are out of high school. My conclusion is that if the students out of the school are not doing well, meeting the one goal that we must have, to educate and train that child, obviously you fire the principal. That is the real world, that is the world most of us come from. If you do not produce, you will be gone. I cannot fathom why there would even be a discussion about that.
Mr. Barton. Tradition.
Mr. Norwood. Well it is, but tradition also has us where we have one-third of our children dropping out of school.
Mr. Barton. Amen.
Mr. Norwood. Now I am not sure about this, and help me here. Even the two-thirds that graduate from public schools, can we actually say all two-thirds are educated and trained? Have we achieved the goal because they got the diploma?
Mr. Barton. Congressman, you cannot say that, no. You cannot say that because we see too many of them that have a serious deficiency in basic skills after they are carrying a high school diploma.
Mr. Norwood. All right. My understanding is there is another third. So basically what we are doing in public education is that we are preparing one-third of our next generation to be educated and trained to carry on.
Now my question to you is how and can you turn that around, because you have got two-thirds of the whole that are not making it. I hear so many times in Washington, in our Committee, over and over and over again, we must educate and train every child.
Mr. Barton. Right.
Mr. Norwood. Is that do-able?
Mr. Barton. I think it is do-able, and I think they can all learn, but I think the system is going to have to be completely modified to what you see today.
Ms. Brinn. Mr. Norwood, one of the communities that we have looked at the numbers on and seen success is Brazosport, Texas. In Brazosport, Texas, the demographics are not the ideal. If you look at the demographics of the community, it is one where you would imagine less than ideal success in education and student achievement. There is a high number of minorities, a tremendously high number of free and reduced lunches. Again, it is not a demographic picture where you would expect student achievement success.
Since the implementation of Baldridge, the success has been tremendous. There is a continuous high rate of student achievement. One of the things too, when we think of Baldridge and companies, industries that have used it, Milliken being a wonderful example in South Carolina, one of the things that it brings to the structure is a shared responsibility at every single level. The bus driver already knows…
Mr. Norwood. What is the high rate? You said they had a high rate of student achievement, what does that mean?
Ms. Brinn. What does that mean? To be honest, I do not have those papers in front of me, but what we have seen or one of the number, it is not even a number, but it is a trend I see, is they have an accountability plan similar to ours with a report card in Texas where you rate schools. They do not go A, B, C, D, but it is exemplary and above-average or whatever terms they use. But they started six, eight years ago with a majority of their schools in the C, D, E range on the state report card.
Mr. Norwood. Ms. Brinn, we are awfully rude in Washington and I…
Ms. Brinn. I am rude for taking so…
Mr. Norwood. I have got a lot of questions for a lot of people. But the point is, they are doing better. My point is can you get that two-thirds to the point where we say we educate every child?
Dr. Barton, you made a very strong statement with which I happen to agree, but I would like to ask you to expound on it a little bit…not enough competition. What do you mean by that?
Mr. Barton. I mean that you have a system that has been locked into place there 100 years and there is no competition. I mean, just look at the school system, period. That cuts across the whole country now. We are not talking about just Greenville County now, we are talking about the whole nation. I am not focusing in on Greenville County, we are talking on a national level.
Mr. Norwood. Well, if you have competition, what if everybody in Greenville County wants to go to your school, what then happens to the schools that people want to leave?
Ms. Brinn. They had better turn around.
Mr. Norwood. But what if they do not?
Ms. Brinn. Then they close.
Mr. Barton. Those schools have to close. It is like any business.
Mr. Norwood. You cannot close the facility.
Ms. Brinn. Why not?
Mr. Norwood. Because the taxpayers would have to pay for it. If you close that facility then you are going to…
Mr. Barton. What you are going to do there, Congressman, is you are going to take that philosophy and that kind of leadership and that one is going out of business as far as the administrators and you are going to backfill that one with the same philosophy that is successful.
Mr. Norwood. It is not the brick and mortar that has anything to do with anything.
Mr. Barton. No, no.
Mr. Norwood. You have to change the people running the schools.
Mr. Barton. It is right back to leadership.
Mr. Norwood. Mr. Marshall, let me just real quickly ask how long has the Northwest Crescent Center been in operation?
Mr. Marshall. It has been under discussion and planning since December of 1997. We have actually been in existence for one year.
Mr. Norwood. You are saying that next year you start a Head Start program for three-year-olds?
Mr. Marshall. We are contracted with Head Start. They will locate a classroom in our center that will look just like, to the parent coming in…
Mr. Norwood. How much of your funding is federal funding?
Mr. Marshall. None.
Mr. Norwood. Not a penny comes from the federal government?
Mr. Marshall. I do not receive anything.
Mr. Norwood. Who pays for Head Start and WIC?
Mr. Marshall. Well, let me put it to you in a different way. The WIC funds are going through the Health Department who have located the service in our center. All we have done as a local school district is offered them a place to offer that program.
Mr. Norwood. I got you.
Mr. Marshall. So no money actually comes to the school district.
Mr. Norwood. So they come to your facility to run those programs.
Mr. Marshall. We get the parents and children who come for early childhood education, but by putting these other services in the school setting, they actually are the agent for the revenue coming through from the federal government, state government, local government.
Mr. Norwood. At another hearing, that ought to be discussed, about accountability right there too.
Mr. Marshall. It is quite interesting.
Mr. Norwood. Mr. Martin, one final question. Why do magnets work? Explain it to me as a layman. I understand the different pathways you offer your students. What is making this work?
Mr. Martin. Of course I would love to stand before you or sit before you and tell you it is outstanding leadership.
Mr. Norwood. I am sure it is. In addition to that…
Mr. Martin. But what it really is, is a renewed interest of the community. We are very much a community school at Greenville High School and our community, parents and volunteers have really invested in it. I think when you pick a star to shoot for or a goal like academic excellence and you have programs that support that, they want that for their children. Then when other people come from outside, they want that for their children.
Mr. Norwood. Is that just because you have raised the bar, you offer more subjects, you have four years of foreign language is that what they are interested in?
Mr. Martin. Certainly that is part of it. It is very much a feeding frenzy that develops, it is hard to identify which component is most important. You know, with more volunteers and more interest and better students, then you get more students. Just as a school can cyclically disintegrate because people leave, urban flight or whatever, that same thing can occur in reverse. The magnet concept has certainly done that for us.
Mr. Martin. Do you view yourself in competition with public schools and private schools?
Mr. Martin. Well, I am a public school.
Mr. Norwood. Yes, but are you in competition with other public schools?
Mr. Martin. With other public schools, but I am also very much interested in attracting all the private students back that I possibly can. I do not know what the numbers are on the group that I met with today from the standpoint of private. We do not get to count the private school students that live in our area as magnet students. They may be in one of our magnet programs, but because they are already in our geo code, they do not count in that 225. But last year, we had 17 freshmen who had been private school students in the eighth grade, who had the opportunity to stay in private school for their ninth grade year, who came to us. I think it is a little greater than that this year.
Mr. Norwood. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. DeMint. Let me ask one question and then I want to yield to my colleagues who have come further questions.
I think one of the main criticisms of what we are talking about today, and I frankly am very excited about what I am hearing, but when a student comes from one high school to Greenville High, resources move with that student. When a student comes to your charter school, Dr. Barton, money actually comes out of other public schools and follows that student to Greenville High.
Mr. Barton. It is the same thing as another high school.
Mr. DeMint. Right.
Mr. Barton. It comes from the state.
Mr. DeMint. Exactly. But the criticism has been that if we create more of these magnets and charters schools like yours, Mr. Marshall, and if we funnel resources into gifted and talented programs, that we are pulling resources out of the traditional education system and that students will suffer because of what we are doing.
Mr. Barton. You say you are pulling them out when you really are not.
Mr. DeMint. Well, I think I have heard some school board members in other districts say that they do not like charter schools because all of the students will lose that money.
Mr. Barton. Well, let us put it this way, wherever those kids are it is going to cost the same thing to educate them.
Mr. DeMint. Right.
Mr. Barton. So it balances out.
Mr. DeMint. But that money, instead of going to Mauldin High for those students, is coming to your charter school.
Mr. Barton. That is right.
Mr. DeMint. The criticism is that okay, we are fragmenting or we are disbursing funding to more areas when we were not doing a good job where we were in the first place.
I frankly disagree with that. I think the best way to go is to create more choices and varieties so students can choose anything they want. But how do we answer that criticism that those new students, Mr. Martin, that are coming to your school are not at the expense of another school where the resources leave and go with the student to your school?
Mr. Martin. In a perfect world where there was a way to put absolute accountability on individual schools, the movement probably would not be necessary. But we have had a hard time, this is back to what you were talking about, Mr. Scott, I think, about we cannot really get a good handle on accountability because to be quite honest with you, as a life long educator, accountability in education is a little bit more difficult than it is at Milliken because it is kind of hard to pin down the dollar value of the product you produce and so even being on this Education Oversight Committee of the Accountability Act, I struggle with the report card. I know Virginia has just gone through their testing process up there and the great fear on our committee is that when the test results come back in South Carolina that we may be faced with the issues that Virginia has been faced with when it showed that things needed to come a long way, but then you were not sure about the instrument.
So the dilemma we run into here is how to assess the product so we do not seem to be able to put in perfect accountability. So at the threat of sounding like we should all stand and sing the Star Spangled Banner, the American competition model of trying to compete to be better certainly plugs in when you start talking about magnet schools or charter schools or special programs. People want to compete to be in the best setting, and so if X place loses people and Y place gains them, then, and Michele said this to me during Mr. Norwood's question, if you have to close a school over here because this school is getting very successful, then ultimately this successful school can just open a branch over there in the empty building.
Mr. Martin. That competition model is very real. I mean I know there are flaws to it, I know there is concern that you lose a neighborhood school or that this school did not get to compete on a level playing field. I know those are problems. It is a complex problem, the solutions are not as simple as we would like for them to be but I think when you apply simple solutions, then you find out where next to apply another simple solution.
Mr. Barton. It will not be a revolution but it will be an evolution, and somewhere you have got to start, and that is what he just covered right there.
Ms. Brinn. Magnets were also opened here in Greenville in a somewhat strategic move as well, to help save resources. We had inner city schools that were empty or had empty seats and we had other suburban schools that were busting at the seams, so it was a way to bring students from one to another and help fill those facilities.
Mr. Martin. It was not done randomly.
Ms. Brinn. It was not just competition, it was strategic as well.
Mr. DeMint. I will yield to Congressman Scott and he can decide whether to yield to you.
Mr. Norwood. Let me follow right on this. There are problems as you describe in accountability opening a branch school. Is there any larger problem that you can think of than a third of our kids dropping out and a third graduating who cannot read their diploma? Is there any possible problem larger than that?
Mr. Norwood. Of course not. That is why we must change.
Mr. Barton. Exactly.
Mr. Marshall. Let me tell you, Congressman Norwood, about early childhood. You talk about a third of the population, that third of the population is functionally illiterate. They started out before they ever reached school without the building blocks in place. Let me tell you what the building blocks are. They did not know their alphabet, they could not count to 10, let alone 100, could not identify shapes such as squares and circles and triangles, did not know their colors. They did not learn or not learn those things in a school, they did not have them before they got to a school. If you really want to reach the third of those individuals in our population who are functionally illiterate, build language in them in the home before they ever come to the public school system or end up having to choose between a charter school and a public school.
Mr. Norwood. Mr. Marshall, we are open for suggestions. Have you got one?
Mr. Marshall. Come take a look at my school and I will show you. It is the building blocks. You do not have to spend a whole lot more money on a little child, they only need two hours and 45 minutes a day in a half day program. It is a lot less expensive. We are doing it with a combination of sources of revenue that is not entirely dependent upon the public school system but is enhanced by other resources in our community and from the state and from the federal government. I think it is a model that makes sense but it does address that one third of the population and affects them early in their lives and works with their parents who are their first teachers.
Mr. Norwood. Let me just encourage you to measure the results of your work.
Mr. Marshall. We are, that is very important.
Ms. Brinn. Mr. Norwood, when I mentioned before that the Chamber had done a study of education trends in the last 10 years, and I said with few exceptions the trends had been flatter, the one exception that stands out are those children entering ready for first grade. Greenville has made wonderful strides in that area. I have worked with Ed Marshall and Rhonda Corley for a number of years and the strides that they are making and the efforts that they are putting in are making a noticeable effect.
Mr. Norwood. Mr. Chairman, I am sorry.
Mr. DeMint. Go ahead.
Mr. Norwood. This is a good group.
Mr. DeMint. Well, I think we probably need to cut this off in about ten minutes.
Mr. Norwood. Just one last point and then I will hush up.
Can you measure it after the first grade? That is important because people are measuring all the way into the third and fourth grade and say we did a great job getting to the first grade and we lost ground between second, third and fourth grade. It is very critical that we understand that.
Ms. Corley. We measured 808 of our four-year-olds this year and 51 percent started out in the bottom quartile and at the end of the year in that four-year-old program, eight percent were in the bottom quartile. Then we started a tracking system and we are going to follow them from year to year and hopefully watching to make sure that those gains are sustained. We have that system in place now.
Mr. DeMint. Introduce yourself.
Ms. Corley. I am Rhonda Corley, I am Director of Early Childhood.
Mr. Norwood. I would have thought.
Mr. DeMint. All right. Now to Congressman Scott.
Mr. Scott. Well, did I understand you to say that you have been able through Success by 6 and other programs to make a measurable impact on the school readiness?
Mr. Marshall. Correct. In the state of South Carolina since about 1994-1995 testing, using the cognitive skills assessment battery. It is a tool, statewide, offered by the State Department of Education, we have gone from about 28 and some change percent testing not ready for first grade -- shapes, colors, alphabet -- to 19.1 percent in the last three or four school years. That is a 10 percent leap forward in the number of kids testing not ready.
Let me tell you in terms of not statistics…
Mr. Scott. Wait a minute, that is a decrease?
Mr. Marshall. A decrease. Conversely increasing the number who are ready for first grade.
In Greenville County in 1995, it was about 1400 children testing not ready, we are now below 998, below 1000, that is 400 more kids each year in the school district with about 5000 entering a first grade class. That is a big, big leap forward.
Mr. Scott. Did I understand you to suggest that a half-day kindergarten was as or more cost effective than a full day?
Mr. Marshall. At age four? Looking at just the resources available to any school system, in this state particularly, we are doing it with half day, targeting at-risk population. Not poor people, but people at risk.
Mr. Scott. Is that to say that it is better to do twice as many students in half day than full day?
Mr. Marshall. I would say that is true.
Mr. Scott. Or that after a half-day you have gotten about all you are going to get in terms of educational achievement.
Mr. Marshall. We are talking about four-year-old children. If you put them in a full day setting, I do not think they could logically take that amount of time.
Mr. Scott. One of the criticisms is the difference in half day and full day is recess, lunch and a couple of other add-ons, not significant educational instruction in the full day. Is that part of the problem with full day?
Mr. Marshall. Big difference between a four-year-old and a five-year-old developmentally. At five, they can take the full day; at four, we are seeing with the half-day program, two hours, 45 minutes, the parents bring them, the parents generally pick them up and they are learning just the basics through play, and those basics include alphabet, language, numbers, counting.
Mr. Scott. Do you have a waiting list for your program?
Mr. Marshall. We do district-wide. In our center, since we are new, I think we are going to be at capacity this year, even before the registration period is over, we are nearing the 200 mark right now.
Mr. Scott. Are you aware of longitudinal studies, following up on what Dr. Norwood said, do you have longitudinal studies that will show that what you are doing will make a difference?
Mr. Marshall. Nationally there is very little in place for this early childhood population. We are now in the process of evaluating our own program and in the School District of Greenville County, we are ahead of the whole state, we are leading the charge in evaluation and I would like to say that we can provide that information too.
Mr. Scott. There are certain intermediate markers in terms of longitudinal studies like being able to read at the third grade level and once you can change that number, all the studies show that a little further on, you have made quite a difference. Have you been looking at the intermediate steps to see whether or not you are going in the right direction?
Mr. Marshall. Rhonda Corley has said that we have got that in place. We have not been, in terms of our program, in place long enough to take these kids on up to the third grade within our own school district.
Mr. Scott. Say that again?
Mr. Marshall. Rhonda.
Ms. Corley. That particular theory is fairly new, but we do have a tracking system in place now that will follow the child. We will be able to evaluate the data for those who have been in the 4K program, even those who participated in the parents program when they started the home visit program we have, we will be looking to see what those children are doing, how they are doing as well.
Mr. Marshall. We just have not taken those children up through the point in time when they are in the third grade.
Mr. Scott. But an evaluation is part of that process.
Mr. Marshall. Correct.
Mr. Scott. Ms. Snyder, you had a fairly unique suggestion and that is that you assume that all children can learn.
Ms. Snyder. Oh, definitely.
Mr. Scott. That if at-risk students were exposed to the same kind of educational experience that gifted children were exposed to, that they could significantly benefit. Do you have experience in your accelerated Title I program, is that what you call it?
Ms. Snyder. Acceleration Component of Title I.
Mr. Scott. Do you have any experience to show that at-risk students could significantly benefit from the same kind of experience as the gifted and talented students were exposed to?
Ms. Snyder. We are working on our data to show that and to prove that what we are doing is beneficial. We do not have it all in place yet.
Mr. Scott. One other question.
Mr. DeMint. Sure, go ahead.
Mr. Scott. Dr. Barton talked about the charter schools program, but did not talk about the technical college where we are now.
Mr. Barton. I will be glad to take the rest of your day.
Mr. Scott. Let me just tell you, one of the things that we are learning is that if students have the basic educational background, the technological part can be taught later on. But if you do not have the basics, you are not going to be able to use, you know, if you can use a computer and you cannot spell and you cannot communicate, the technical background is not going to do you any good.
Mr. Barton. Right, you are exactly right.
Mr. Scott. If you have students with the fundamental, basic high school background and you have got them for a year, what kind of jobs can they expect to get?
Mr. Barton. Oh, gee, you can cut across about any field. They can get into the medical profession, they can get into the business world, they can get into the industrial world, they can get into the…
Mr. Scott. How long are the students here?
Mr. Barton. Well, one or two years.
Mr. Scott. What kind of…
Mr. Barton. Some of them three years if they go to night school, some of them may even extend it out to four years, it just depends on the person. If they are going through our distance learning system, they may take even longer. So it depends on the person.
Mr. Scott. Now do you use the Chamber of Commerce to make sure that what you are training them for are jobs that actually exist?
Mr. Barton. No, we do something, in due respect to our Chamber, and I am on the Board at the Chamber, but we go a little bit beyond that, Congressman. We have on this campus with some 70 to 80 programs, departments is a better way to put that, we have a board of directors for each program on this campus, coming from that field, whether it be industry, hospitals, criminal justice, business, whatever those fields are. Those are volunteers and there are 700 of those people operating on a volunteer basis, guiding and directing our curriculum, our programs, our equipment, our buildings, our staffing, every aspect of this institution.
Mr. Scott. So that when they leave, Ms. Brinn will know what to do with them?
Mr. Barton. She will know exactly what to do with them. I will tell you what, the industries know what to do with them. We will not need her too much at that point.
Ms. Brinn. We at the Chamber have a labor market analyst on staff and the labor market analyst speaks quite frequently with many of Dr. Barton's staff as far as new training programs, existing training programs, the filling of, et cetera.
Mr. Scott. In coming industries and what they may need, do you coordinate that so that when the industry finally finishes the plant, they are putting your well-trained people to work?
Ms. Brinn. Our labor market analyst…
Mr. Scott. That is one of the ways you help recruit industry, because you can provide that service?
Ms. Brinn. Of course.
Mr. Barton. Let me add one thing here that we have not said to all three of the Congressmen. You are operating in an environment here to where these big industries are hiring the people we train. Now the biggest problem that we are faced with is the retraining of those people as the technology changes. Last year alone, to give you one example, in this city, in this operation here this morning, we worked with over 50,000 different people out in those plants, in those hospitals all over this community to upgrade them to keep with the changes in technology. That is the biggest thing going here. This fall we will have around 10,000 students on campus in curriculum programs but we will have another 50,000-plus out there where we keep a staff of people out there all the time establishing training forums after they get into the plants and start working, so they can upgrade their technology. It has got to go on, it is a big, big area.
While I am on my feet, I will stop. There is an interesting project here that you may want to hear about. It is in higher education, not K through 12. We brought seven state universities and colleges into Greenville, visualize that, seven, including our major universities, our medical university and others across the state, seven of them. It has grown so fast that we have had to buy a mall recently to house them in, 600,000 square feet. It is extremely inexpensive for the state to run a program compared to what they do on building and opening up new campuses across the state. So you may just file that away somewhere and you may want to take a look at it. Just let me know.
Mr. Marshall. What he is doing at the high end, we are doing at the low end, pooling resources.
Mr. DeMint. I hate to cut this off. This has been really one of the most interesting panels I have had a chance to listen to since I was elected, and I really appreciate it again.
I want to remind my colleagues that if you would like to submit some additional remarks for the record, we will certainly make sure they are received. Also to the panelists, if you have some additional thoughts that come to mind that you would like us to include in our record, I would love to hear from you sometime within the next week.
Again, thank you for your testimony today. This hearing stands adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 12:47 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]