IMPROVING STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT: EXAMINING THE IMPACT OF TEACHER QUALITY AND CLASS SIZE
SUBCOMMITTEE ON POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION,
TRAINING AND LIFE-LONG LEARNING
COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS
HEARING HELD IN WASHINGTON, DC, APRIL 29, 1999
Serial No. 106-30
Printed for the use of the Committee on Education
and the Workforce
TABLE OF CONTENTS *
OPENING STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN HOWARD P. "BUCK" McKEON, SUBCOMMITTEE ON POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION, TRAINING AND LIFE-LONG LEARNING, COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND THE WORKFORCE, U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, WASHINGTON, DC *
OPENING STATEMENT OF RANKING MEMBER MATTHEW MARTINEZ, SUBCOMMITTEE ON POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION, TRAINING AND LIFE-LONG LEARNING, U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, WASHINGTON, DC *
STATEMENT OF MS. SANDRA HORN, UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE, VALUE ADDED RESEARCH AND ASSESSMENT CENTER, KNOXVILLE, TN *
STATEMENT OF MS. CAROLINE HOXBY, MORRIS KAHN ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS, DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMICS, HARVARD UNIVERSITY, CAMBRIDGE, MA *
STATEMENT OF MS. LINDA KOUTOUFAS, TEACHER, WOODSTOCK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, VIRGINIA BEACH, VA *
STATEMENT OF DR. DENISE ROCKWELL, TEACHER, PALMS MIDDLE SCHOOL, LOS ANGELES, CA *
STATEMENT OF DR. PAT FORGIONE, JR., COMMISSIONER, NATIONAL CENTER OF EDUCATION STATISTICS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, WASHINGTON, DC *
STATEMENT OF DR. HELEN PATE-BAIN, CHAIRPERSON, HEALTH AND EDUCATION RESEARCH OPERATIVE SERVICES, INC., LEBANON, TENNESSEE *
APPENDIX A - WRITTEN OPENING STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN HOWARD P. "BUCK" McKEON, SUBCOMMITTEE ON POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION, TRAINING AND LIFE-LONG LEARNING, COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND THE WORKFORCE, U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, WASHINGTON, DC *
APPENDIX B - WRITTEN STATEMENT OF MS. SANDRA HORN, UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE, VALUE-ADDED RESEARCH AND ASSESSMENT CENTER, KNOXVILLE, TN *
APPENDIX C - WRITTEN STATEMENT OF MS. CAROLINE HOXBY, MORRIS KAHN ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS, DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMICS, HARVARD UNIVERSITY, CAMBRIDGE, MA *
IMPROVING STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT:
EXAMINING THE IMPACT OF TEACHER QUALITY AND CLASS SIZE
THURSDAY, APRIL 29, 1999
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION,
TRAINING AND LIFE-LONG LEARNING,
COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND THE WORKFORCE,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 9:30 a.m., in Room 2175, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon [Chairman of the Subcommittee] presiding.
Present: Representatives McKeon, Goodling, Barrett, Deal, Isakson, Martinez, Tierney, Kind, Holt and Roemer.
Staff Present: Robert Borden, Professional Staff Member; Linda Castleman, Office Manager; Mary Clagett, Professional Staff Member; Victor Klatt, Education Policy Coordinator; Sally Lovejoy, Senior Education Policy Advisor; D'Arcy Philps, Professional Staff Member; Shane Wright, Legislative Assistant; Gail Weiss, Minority Staff Director; Mark Zuckerman, Minority General Counsel; June Harris, Minority Education Coordinator; Marshall Grigsby, Minority Senior Legislative Associate/Education; Mary Ellen Ardouny, Legislative Associate/Education; and Roxana Folescu, Minority Staff Assistant/Education.
OPENING STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN HOWARD P. "BUCK" McKEON, SUBCOMMITTEE ON POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION, TRAINING AND LIFE-LONG LEARNING, COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND THE WORKFORCE, U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, WASHINGTON, DC
Chairman McKeon. Good morning. Ladies and Gentlemen, it is a privilege to welcome you this morning to what I believe will be a very important hearing on issues related to teacher quality and smaller class sizes. This is the first of several hearings which this Subcommittee will hold on the broad topic of teachers.
Our focus today, on the issue of class size, is in part a response to the President's request to extend his "100,000 New Teacher" program for an additional 6 years at a cost of $12 billion.
As Members of this Subcommittee consider this request, we must take a close look at the underlying research that has been used to support the merits of this program. Clearly, teaching a class of 15 students is preferable to handling a class of 25 or 30. However, questions have been raised with respect to the cost and benefits associated with such reductions. Some of the witnesses here today will argue that while class size can be important to a certain extent, other factors, most notably the quality of teachers, have a far more profound impact on student achievement.
If teacher quality is indeed such an important factor, the question becomes, how do our Nation's teachers stack up? For some insight into this, we will have an opportunity to get an overview of a recent report on this topic. As we will be discussing the issue of teachers and class size, it is only fitting that we have with us this morning several teachers to share with us their insights into these important topics.
In closing let me say that I look forward to working with Members on both sides of the aisle as we continue to address these important topics, especially the Ranking Member of this Subcommittee, Mr. Martinez. During future hearings, we will have the opportunity to hear more about successful professional development programs and strategies being used at the State and local level to improve teacher quality.
We will also continue to examine Federal programs that support activities related to professional development. Additionally, we will listen to a wide variety of views on how these programs can be improved in order to make sure that the teachers have the support necessary to help all of our students meet the high academic standards that are being set in States and communities across this Nation.
I wish to thank each of our witnesses for taking time to be with us today and I look forward to their testimony. At this time I yield to the Ranking Member, Mr. Martinez, for his statement.
WRITTEN OPENING STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN HOWARD P. "BUCK" McKEON, SUBCOMMITTEE ON POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION, TRAINING AND LIFE-LONG LEARNING, COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND THE WORKFORCE, U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, WASHINGTON, DC – SEE APPENDIX A
OPENING STATEMENT OF RANKING MEMBER MATTHEW MARTINEZ, SUBCOMMITTEE ON POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION, TRAINING AND LIFE-LONG LEARNING, U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, WASHINGTON, DC
Mr. Martinez. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Good morning and welcome. I am pleased that we are here today to discuss an issue of critical importance to our Nation's future. I am not talking about sending ground troops to Kosovo or the national debt, although they are both very important. I am talking about the education of the next generation of Americans. Our ability to provide our young people with quality education will determine whether or not this country remains a world leader militarily, economically, and in every sense.
How do we do this, however, when the challenges facing today's teachers are greater than ever before? Classes are larger and more unmanageable. Classroom space is inadequate and the limited amount that does exist is often in poor and even unsafe condition. Discipline problems, are at an all time high. Moreover, we hear from teacher candidates that do not feel that they have received adequate training and from new teachers that they do not feel they are supported by their school systems and from current teachers that are not provided with meaningful professional development. The situation that I have just described sounds discouraging and overwhelming. However, I come here this morning full of hope and even with a certain excitement. We have before us a wonderful opportunity -- because Chairman McKeon is willing to work in a bipartisan way -- an opportunity to improve teaching and learning in this country. Although decisions regarding teacher recruitment, training and retention and professional development are made at the State and local levels, as they should be, this Subcommittee has an opportunity to provide the guidance and tools to help States and districts get high-quality individuals into the classroom and keep them there.
If any Subcommittee is up to the task, it is this one, under the leadership of my good friend, the Chairman. Through the process of reauthorizing the Older Americans Act, Buck and I have established a good working relationship and a process in which we solicit input from the community for the development of policy.
That is where you, our panel of experts come in. In the case of the older Americans Act, we traveled around the country gathering recommendations from community service providers and seniors alike. We are in the process of drafting legislation based on what we heard. I believe that it is our intent to do the same with the teacher bill. Therefore I look forward to you sharing with us your extensive knowledge on the status of the current teaching force and how it can be improved.
In order to get on with your testimony, I will yield back the balance of my time. I notice that you don't have the timer on. You just decided to give me--
Chairman McKeon. Whatever time you want. We will proceed now with the witnesses. You will notice we do have these lights here; and what we do is, you have 5 minutes. When you are down to 4 minutes, the yellow light comes on. When the 5 minutes is up, the red light comes on. What we would appreciate is if you would hold within the 5 minutes, and your full testimony and anything that you want to add later will be put in the record.
We will begin first with Dr. Sandra Horn from the University of Tennessee, working in Value Added Research and Assessment Center in Knoxville, Tennessee. Dr. Horn.
STATEMENT OF MS. SANDRA HORN, UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE, VALUE ADDED RESEARCH AND ASSESSMENT CENTER, KNOXVILLE, TN
Ms. Horn. First of all, I would like for you to know that this is my 25th year as a full-time classroom teacher as well as what I do at UT. So I am on leave from my job as a full-time teacher to be here. I do that in addition to what I have been doing with Bill Sanders for the last 7 years at the University of Tennessee.
I am very honored to have been invited to speak before this Committee today. I appreciate the opportunity to present findings that can help direct our mutual endeavor to improve educational opportunities for all students. In my mind and the minds of those who work with value-added assessment, meaningful educational improvement is, by definition, that which results in appropriate academic growth for all students. The findings that I bring before you today are essential to this goal because they allow us to see clearly how school systems, schools, and individual teachers affect the academic attainment of their students. I propose to you that it is only when we can examine these effects that we can begin to plan for real meaningful educational improvement.
The term "value-added" refers to gain over time. In the case of the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System, or TVAAS, developed by Dr. William Sanders at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, "value-added" refers to the academic gain of students. TVAAS defines successful education as that which produces normal academic gain, or better, in each student over the course of a year's instruction.
In order to estimate school system, school, and individual teacher effects, TVAAS relies on a massive, longitudinally merged database on more than 5 million records. The records are obtained when students take part in the annual Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program and when they take State end-of-course tests in high school subjects. All test scores are connected to the student and his or her school system, school, and teacher for each subject. In order to obtain the school system and teacher effects, a multi-variant mixed-model methodology is fitted to the data. Conceptually, this is what occurs. An academic growth curve is modeled for each child in Tennessee. Whether this child stays in the same school until he moves up to another school in the same system or instead moves around from town to town every year or so, his schools are linked in the database. Although a perfectly smooth academic growth curve is as unlikely as it is that this child will grow the same amount in height each year, a pattern emerges for each child. Built into this curve is all of the background the child brings to the school with him: his starting point as a student, the influence of his parents, his culture, his socioeconommic setting, and his community. Because of this, each child can serve as his own control, and what that means is that those factors no longer stand between us and determining the effects of the schools and teachers free of influences outside the purview of the classroom.
Educational effects are determined under TVAAS by aggregating the changes in the learning curves of at least 3 years of students. All of these students show trends in their academic growth. If you can envision a classroom of students arriving the first day of school, what you will normally find is that they weren't all together in the same class the previous year. They came from many classrooms to make up the new classroom. At the end of the year, they will once again be split into new classrooms under several or many new teachers. Some will move away and others will arrive, but these students all have a history reflected in their test scores through the years both before and after they leave this class. We may not be able to tell what is going on in this classroom if one or two students do more poorly on the TCAPS than we would have predicted from their past performance. But if, on average, students assigned to this particular teacher over a period of at least 3 years fail to make normal gains, and if these same students in their next grade resume normal progress, an effect may be attributed to this particular teacher in this particular school.
TVAAS methodology is not so simple as this, but conceptually that is how it works, solving thousands of equations simultaneously and refining past estimates as new data become available. Value-added data provides to teachers and to schools a wealth of information on which to base school improvement plans and individual teacher development plans.
I will sum up by saying as the TVAAS database has grown, it has become a unique resource for educational research. Nowhere else is there a longitudinally merged database of student test scores of this magnitude. We have examined the effects of class size, class heterogeneity, past achievement level of students, building change, and several other factors on the academic growth of students. Although several of the factors studied affect student gain to some degree, in every case the effect of the teacher has been found to be far and away the most important determinant of student academic growth. The effects of ineffective teachers are additive, cumulative, and very large and can be seen years after a student moves on to other teachers. There is no evidence that effective teachers can ever completely rectify the retardation of academic growth that occurs under a previously poor teacher, and there is evidence that teacher assignment patterns may indeed be perpetuating and sustaining the achievement gap between white students and minority students.
There is much to be discovered if we dare to look at the relationship between student outcomes and the effectiveness of educational entities. We can know the answers with new methodologies using value-added assessment.
I appreciate the invitation to speak and I look forward to answering your questions.
[The statement of Ms. Horn follows:]
WRITTEN STATEMENT OF MS. SANDRA HORN, UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE, VALUE-ADDED RESEARCH AND ASSESSMENT CENTER, KNOXVILLE, TN – SEE APPENDIX B
Chairman McKeon. Thank you very much. Next we will hear from Ms. Carolyn Hoxby, Morris Kahn Associate Professor of Economics, the Department of Economics, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Ms. Hoxby.
STATEMENT OF MS. CAROLINE HOXBY, MORRIS KAHN ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS, DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMICS, HARVARD UNIVERSITY, CAMBRIDGE, MA
Ms. Hoxby. Mr. Chairman, Members of the Subcommittee, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for inviting me to speak this morning.
One of the most commonly held beliefs about education is that students in smaller classes learn significantly more. As a result, reducing class size has been, for many years, the policy most widely used in American schools that are attempting to improve student achievement. As a result of the widespread use of class size reduction, the pupil-teacher ratio fell from 27 in 1955 to 17 in 1977 in American public schools. In other words, the pupil-teacher ratio was 55 percent higher in 1955 than it is today.
The common belief in the efficacy of class size reduction is not shared generally by researchers. In fact, class size policies are controversial because there are literally hundreds of studies that show little or no effect of reducing class size. Recently, researchers have become skeptical of many of the older studies because most students do not arbitrarily end up in smaller classes, as they would in a scientific experiment. Instead, we nearly always find small classes in schools that serve affluent students. We sometimes find small classes in rural schools and we sometimes find small classes serving students who are difficult to educate. Therefore, it is hard to disentangle the effects of class size from the effects of growing up in an affluent family or the effects of being a difficult-to-educate student.
Recently, the research community has become increasingly focused on studies that are based on experiments, either policy experiments like Project Star in Tennessee, or natural experiments. The key feature of both policy experiments and natural experiments is that students end up in smaller classes because of arbitrary factors or random factors as in a scientific experiment.
I have recently completed the most comprehensive study that is based on the natural experiment. The study covers every one of the 1,035 elementary schools in the 165 districts in the State of Connecticut. Student achievement is measured by Connecticut statewide tests which are administered to fourth, sixth, and eighth graders. The natural experiment is very simple. In every school attendance area, there is some random variation from year to year in the number of children whose birthdays make them eligible to begin kindergarten. So a family might find that its older daughter is one of 50 children in her grade and find that her younger sister is one of only 36 children in her grade, even if she is only one or two years younger than her older sister. If the elementary school ordinarily has two classrooms per grade, the older daughter ends up in a class that averages about 25 students and the younger sister ends up in classes that average about 18 students.
My study uses exactly this sort of random variation to analyze the effects of class size on student achievement. The study has several advantages. First, it is very comprehensive. Every elementary school in the State is included regardless of whether it is urban, rural, or suburban. Second, the results are not confounded by factors like a student's background because the results depend on students who attend the same school, just one or two years apart, so that the families whose children are attending the school are the same families. Third, I observe variation in class size that covers the entire policy range, and I estimate the effects of reducing classes to sizes as small as 10 students or as large as 30 students.
The results of the study are easy to summarize. There appears to be no effect of class size reductions. This is true even though I would be able to identify statistically very small improvements in student achievement. For instance, if reducing class size from 20 students to 18 students had improved test scores by just two one-hundredths of a standard deviation, I would have been able to find the improvement statistically. I find no effects of reducing class size even if I focus on just grades 1 through 3, even if I focus on schools that serve disadvantaged students, or even if I focus just on reductions in large classes.
How does one reconcile evidence from this natural experiment with evidence from Project Star which suggests that class size reduction generates small but statistically identifiable improvements in student achievement? How does one reconcile the evidence from Project Star with American history of the past 25 years, a period in which class size reductions have been enacted again and again but student achievement has been relatively flat?
I believe that we can not only reconcile the evidence but can learn how to implement better policies in the process of reconciliation. What is it that made Project Star different from typical policies of class size reduction? It was, first, an expert in which the policy was overtly evaluated, and second, an experiment upon which future funding for class size reductions depended. In other words, Project Star contained public evaluation, accountability, and incentives. Project Star was not just money for class size reduction, it was money, plus implicit incentives based on student achievement. Every class size reduction gives teachers an opportunity to improve their students' achievement but it is rare to combine the opportunity with incentives. While Project Star did not give teachers special training for working in smaller classes, teachers and their administratorss were certainly aware of the fact that they were expected to make good use of the opportunities presented by smaller classes.
The natural experiment that I analyzed is more like typical class size policies. Teachers have smaller class but they are not aware of being evaluated, and there is no link between their students' achievement and their future enjoyment of class sizes. It is unfortunately the norm in American educational policy to increase the school's resources without any accountability. This may explain the pattern of recent history, increasing spending on schools with little effect on achievement.
There are a number of ways to give incentives to schools, including centralized evaluation as in Project Star, explicit competition among schools for funding as is used extensively in Israel, local accountability, and incentives that come from parents being able to choose among schools. Developing countries now frequently enact policies that link school resources to accountability or parental choice.
In summary, my view of the evidence is that I would not expect very much from class size reductions that did not include at least some incentives based on student performance. I also do have some comments on the importance of teacher quality, but I will leave those for the question period. Thank you.
[The statement of Ms. Hoxby follows:]
WRITTEN STATEMENT OF MS. CAROLINE HOXBY, MORRIS KAHN ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS, DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMICS, HARVARD UNIVERSITY, CAMBRIDGE, MA – SEE APPENDIX C
Chairman McKeon. Thank you. Next we will hear from Ms. Linda Koutoufas. Is that close?
Ms. Koutoufas. You got it. That is right.
Chairman McKeon. A third grade teacher from Woodstock Elementary School, Virginia Beach, Virginia. Ms. Koutoufas.
STATEMENT OF MS. LINDA KOUTOUFAS, TEACHER, WOODSTOCK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, VIRGINIA BEACH, VA
Ms. Koutoufas. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Martinez and Members of the Committee, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for the opportunity to speak on teacher quality. A discussion on teacher quality falls into two parts: teacher preparation and retaining quality teachers. In Virginia and across the Nation, we are raising the bar for those who wish to enter the profession. We have aligned the standards for teacher preparation and regulations governing the licensure of teachers with our K-12 student objectives. Our beginning teacher specifications reflect the objectives that must be mastered by our own students in grades K-12. We are testing pre-service teachers on what we expect them to do in the classroom.
Our Praxis I cut scores are the highest in the Nation, and we are working with colleges to strengthen their programs rather than lower our standards. We will be reinstituting a teacher induction program which will combine mentoring and intervention. Those who are deemed unfit will be asked to find another profession. We are requiring that an elementary teacher's major be an interdisciplinary one that focuses heavily on core academic subjects and how teachers learn best. We want the Nation's best and brightest. Once in the education field, we, the American public, are desperate that they stay there.
Which brings me to my second point on teacher quality, and that is retaining the best and the brightest. It is getting harder and harder to do so given the conditions in which teachers find themselves today. I teach in a school well past its prime, which floods when it rains. My colleagues have turned closets into classrooms, and several of them teach on a stage where only a curtain separates them from other children having lunch, 300 children having lunch. My school is not unique. I have had as many as 36 first-graders in my class and as few as 22. Believe me, no study is needed to tell you that 22 is better than 36.
I make less money than several students I have taught who have now gone into the private sector for jobs. These are children that I taught in first grade. So why do I stay? I stay because in my first year, a woman who became my dear friend also became my mentor. She advised me, guided me, consoled me, and supported me during my first crucial years. I stayed because I am valued and respected by my principal, my colleagues, parents, superintendent, and school board as a professional whose input is sought and whose voice is listened to. I play a part in decision making. I stay because when my school system said class size matters, they did something about it rather than simply give it lip service. I stay because I am now a mentor to a first-year teacher. I give advice, I console, I guide, and I support. Our children need quality first-year teachers to remain. I stay because my city and State will use lottery money to renovate my school in the year 2000, and, most of all, I stay because I unabashedly love my kids, their parents, my job, and my school.
All of this is what needs to happen to others to keep our finest young people in the classroom. Beginning teachers must have mentors. They, along with veteran teachers, should have adequate facilities. No one should teach or learn on a stage. We must have ways to reward and energize our veteran teachers, such as paid sabbaticals after years of service. We must be made a part of the decision process at all levels so that we buy into and promote reforms, innovations, and evaluations. And we must be paid what we are worth.
I know of no new teacher who does not hold two jobs. Many teachers work two jobs their entire career. I once worked with a colleague who made more money in her first 14 years working as a checker at A&P than she did in her regular teacher job. Veteran teachers find it almost impossible to turn down a job offer from companies such as NASA, where I live, which would include a paid-in-full master's degree and a starting salary of $60,000.
Teacher quality means respect for my profession. It means making education the most sought after, highly regarded career choice. It means having schools of education that turn out those who are among the most resourceful, intelligent, and caring people. I know I speak for teachers everywhere when I say, "remember, those that we wish to recruit are sitting in our classrooms today; and what are they seeing?" Thank you very much.
[The statement of Ms. Koutoufas follows:]
WRITTEN STATEMENT OF MS. LINDA KOUTOUFAS, TEACHER, WOODSTOCK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, VIRGINIA BEACH, VA – SEE APPENDIX D
Chairman McKeon. Thank you. Next we will hear from Dr. Denise Rockwell, a teacher from the Palms Middle School, Los Angeles, California. Welcome.
STATEMENT OF DR. DENISE ROCKWELL, TEACHER, PALMS MIDDLE SCHOOL, LOS ANGELES, CA
Dr. Rockwell. Good morning. It is my pleasure to be here and speak with you this morning about the issues of teacher quality and class size reduction. Honorable Chairman, Ranking Member Martinez, I might take these fleeting moments to say quickly to you that I am very pleased that both Californians are here and I can go back home to Palms Middle School and say, in the vernacular of my kids, I talked to my "homeys" in Washington, D.C., on Capitol Hill, about quality teaching.
I am speaking on behalf of the 2.4 million members who are education employees in America's public schools because the National Education Association represents elementary, secondary, vocational, and post-secondary members of the teaching and education profession. I am a product of the Los Angeles unified district. I got my undergraduate degree at Chapman University, my teaching credential and master's degree at California State University at Los Angeles, and my doctorate at UCLA.
I want you to know that in the area of ensuring qualified teachers in the classroom, it doesn't take much to understand why practicing teachers such as myself and others sitting at this table are concerned about what is going on right now. In California alone, we have 20,000 spaces open for available teachers. That means that school districts are forced at this time to hire unqualified folks to be in front of our most precious resource, our children.
You need to know that the demographics show that the population of school-age children is increasing and will increase up to the year 2006. And during that same amount of time, you need to also know that many of us are going to retire. Secretary Riley has probably already told Members of Congress as well as us that there will be a need in the next 10 years for 2 million new qualified trained people to replace those of us who are leaving. Right now in my school district alone, we have 9,000 unlicensed professionals in front of children in our State. As I said earlier, there are 20,000.
In the entire teaching profession, you need to know that there are only 64 percent of the people who have 3 years or less experience, who are qualified teachers at this time. Interestingly enough, if you look at who is teaching, the people who have 10 years or more, 99 percent of them have teaching certificates, but they are going to be leaving fairly soon.
What it requires is a strong recruitment effort. How do we begin those efforts? We would suggest to you that they need to start in the high schools. In Columbus, Ohio, there is an excellent program going on as a partnership between the Columbus Education Association, this unified school district in Columbus, and the Ohio State University where, at the high schools, they have teacher academies. What they have promised those students is that if they successfully complete their course of study as high school students, they can go to Ohio State for free and they will be given a job in the city of Columbus as teachers. They are guaranteed a job in the teaching profession if they come out successfully as well. So that is an incentive to start recruiting people while they are young. We cannot wait until the very end to bring people into this profession.
Our members are concerned that we also retain qualified members of the profession. You need to know within the first 5 years that if we can't get people to stay at that time and give them the support they need, such as mentors like Ms. Koutoufas and myself and probably Dr. Horn as well, then we won't be able to keep those people in the profession to serve our kids.
National certification is also important. So the independent, nonpartisan National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is something that we have confidence will be able to help ensure that we get quality people in the classroom.
Class size reduction is important. When you teach students in class size as I do, of 36, when someone comes here and tells you that that doesn't make a difference, I have concern because I am there every day with that number of students.
I look forward to answering your questions in the next few minutes about the impact of quality and class size and what they have on those of us who practice in the classroom. Thank you.
[The statement of Dr. Rockwell follows:]
WRITTEN STATEMENT OF DR. DENISE ROCKWELL, TEACHER, PALMS MIDDLE SCHOOL, LOS ANGELES, CA – SEE APPENDIX E
Chairman McKeon. Thank you. Next we will hear from Dr. Pat Forgione, Commissioner, from the National Center of the Education Statistics in Washington, D.C.
STATEMENT OF DR. PAT FORGIONE, JR., COMMISSIONER, NATIONAL CENTER OF EDUCATION STATISTICS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, WASHINGTON, DC
Dr. Forgione. Good morning, Mr. Chairman, and Committee Members. In January, my agency released the national profile of teacher quality. A report card like this is a necessary tool for tracking our Nation's progress towards improving the quality of classroom teachers. However, providing a national profile of teacher quality is not an easy task. Teacher quality is a complex phenomenon. There is little consensus on what it is or how to measure it. For example, definitions range from those that focus on what should be taught and how knowledge should be imparted, to the kinds of knowledge and training teachers should possess.
My observations agree, and most observers agree, that two broad elements characterize teacher quality: teacher preparation and qualifications, and teaching practices. The first refers to pre-service and continued learning. The second refers to the actual behaviors and practices that teachers exhibit in their classroom. Of course, these elements of teacher quality are not independent. Excellent teacher preparation and qualification should lead to exemplary teaching behavior and practices. This report card on teacher quality is based on current efforts to collect data on the first of these elements: teacher preparation and qualifications.
We used the national sample of full-time public school teachers in grades 1 to 12 in 1998. This national profile of teacher preparation and qualification provides a context to understand why many teachers reported not feeling very well prepared to meet many of the current challenges they face in their classroom.
These findings are revealing. For example, if I could ask you to look at the accompanying posterboard or figure A in my testimony, we have 78 percent of the public schools in America connected to the Internet, yet only 1 in 5, 20 percent of our teachers, felt well prepared to integrate technology into their classroom instruction. In addition, only 20 percent of teachers of English who taught limited-English-speaking and culturally diverse students felt well prepared to meet the needs of those students. It is also important to note that this feeling of preparedness did not differ by years of experience. Veteran teachers as well as beginning teachers did not feel comfortable in these two areas.
Today I will highlight two important issues related to this topic: academic preparation and professional development. Despite the lack of consensus on teacher quality, there is little dispute that in order for teachers to provide high-quality learning experiences for students, they must first understand and be able to communicate their subject matter. For example, a chemistry teacher should have a degree in chemistry rather than science education. Well, what percent of American teachers have a degree in an academic area? Our data show that more public high school teachers have an undergraduate or graduate degree in an academic major, 66 percent. But when you go to elementary, it is 22 percent; middle school, it is only 44 percent.
In addition to training, teachers should be assigned to teach in a field in which they have training; that is, a teacher with a degree in chemistry should be assigned to teach chemistry, not English literature. So what percent of teachers are teaching out of field? First, a few words about the measurement of out-of-field teaching. Investigations of out-of-field teaching are not straightforward. There are a number of different ways of defining and measuring out-of-field teaching and different measures result in different estimates of the problem.
In this report, out-of-field teaching is defined as a full-time teacher who does not have either undergraduate or graduate major or minor in their main teaching assignment, the main assignment, not that fifth period that I sometimes get assigned to. When I was a teacher, I taught U.S. history for fourth period and sometimes would have to teach English. You know, it is your main assignment.
This is a conservative estimate we use here. It doesn't include part-time teachers, secondary assignments, and subjects outside the core five areas. We focused on English, math, science, foreign language, and social studies. It may be an underestimate of the magnitude of the problem.
It is important to note that since the release of the report in January, critics have focused on this issue. The problem is, simply stated, critics are wrong insofar as they imply that one approach is more accurate or valid. In my paper I do discuss this. I would like to say that in the basic overall findings we have of out-of-field teaching, it is 18 percent for math, 14 percent for English, 12 percent for science, and 11 percent for social studies. The problem is more persistent at the seventh and eighth grade level.
Finally, if we could put up the final posterboard, we asked our teachers: Did you have 8 hours or less of staff development or 8 hours or more? This is really dramatic. The teachers who had had 8 hours or more -- and this is a simple cut -- versus a day of just staff development, look at the differences in their feeling that staff development paid off.
If you look at the first one that has to do with new methods of teaching, here we get 39 percent who had more than 8 hours, a threefold increase, over 12 percent felt it made a difference. If you look at the cultural diversity issue in English language learners, it is a fourfold difference. Thirty-eight percent, if they had more than 8 hours of staff development, versus an 8 hour.
Finally, in our report we try to deal with how well qualified people feel to teach, how prepared academically they are, and how well served they are by professional development. Thank you.
[The statement of Dr. Forgione follows:]
WRITTEN STATEMENT OF DR. PAT FORGIONE, JR., COMMISSIONER, NATIONAL CENTER OF EDUCATION STATISTICS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, WASHINGTON, DC – SEE APPENDIX F
Chairman McKeon. Thank you very much. Our last witness, Dr. Helen Pate-Bain, has not arrived yet. We will proceed with our questioning, and when she arrives we will break and have her testimony.
This is interesting. This is a big field when you start talking about teaching teacher development. There are several different things that have come up. We have class-size, and we have teacher preparation. It is hard to decide where to start.
I heard class-size doesn't matter. I heard class size is very important. I heard the most important thing is the teacher. Would anyone differ with that comment, that that is the most important?
Ms. Koutoufas. Is the quality teacher; right.
Chairman McKeon. That the most important thing to learning is the teacher? Maybe we could start with Dr. Horn. What would you say ranked the three most important things for learning?
Ms. Horn. We have studied a lot of different factors, and since we have so much data and we can make our subject so large, our "N" so large in all of our experiments, the most important factor, bar none, is always the teacher. When we studied class size, classroom heterogeneity -- which means there has been a lot of research into tracking where you have only a certain achievement level in each class -- we checked to see if having a small variation in achievement level made a difference, or whether teachers who taught kids from way down here to way up here, whether that made a difference. We also looked at the prior achievement level of the students.
Chairman McKeon. So you are saying that the first, most important would be the teacher?
Ms. Horn. Yes. And the problem is that recent research has shown that the effects of having two very ineffective teachers in a row is permanent. It is additive. It is cumulative. No matter how good your teachers are after that, students never recover to reach the potential they could have initially. As a matter of fact, when we have looked at children in the third, fourth, and fifth grade in math, in two large metropolitan areas in Tennessee, if those students who started out at the same level in the second grade are subjected to three extremely ineffective teachers, the achievement level, percentile performance level of those students after 3 years as compared to students who started out at the same place but had three very effective teachers, is 50 percentile points. That is the difference from our remedial class and an advanced class.
So what we are talking about here is that if teacher quality is not up to par, we are irreparably damaging students from year to year. So I don't think that anything else is comparable to that.
When we studied class size, we studied third, fourth, and fifth grade in two large data sets. Class size was significant, only marginally significant in three of the possible 30 interactions, which is just beyond that of chance. And, yes, I have been in the classroom 25 years. I know for certain that it makes a difference in the teacher's life when you ask that teacher to teach 30 students instead of 15, because you are talking in-class and extra class work. A lot of a teacher's work is done at home. Teachers with 30 students have very little life of their own. But we have found that very effective teachers tend to sacrifice that life and produce excellent gains in their students regardless of class size.
So class size although, yes, it is important, and certainly if you want teachers to stay in the field, which is a point that we really have to make, that would certainly contribute to their happiness and their well-being, nevertheless, a good teacher is what matters.
Chairman McKeon. Ms. Hoxby.
Ms. Hoxby. My first comment about the first most important thing is, of course, parents are the most important thing. That is not a policy that we can influence.
Chairman McKeon. We can't change that.
Ms. Hoxby. We can't change that. Then I would have to agree that individual teachers are the second-most important thing in affecting student achievement. The Tennessee studies that Dr. Horn has completed and a study that includes every student in the Texas public school system, an extraordinarily comprehensive study, also shows very strong teacher effects. An individual teacher can raise students' test scores by about 10 percent in 1 year. That teacher will be able to do that year after year with different groups of students. So individual teachers have a very strong effect. It is not always as easy to think of policies that are going to consistently deliver the best teachers into the school system year after year and will retain the best teachers. We know that we want the best teachers, and it is certainly worthwhile looking for policies that will help us get those people; but the most obvious policies, things like raising teacher's salaries and things like raising teacher standards or credentialing standards do not always work in getting the best people into teaching. I think it depends very much on how a State changes its credentialing standards, on whether the salaries are really going to the teachers who are, in fact, doing the best job, or whether the salaries are just going to people on the basis of seniority and other factors like that.
Finally, I would like to comment a little bit on the interaction between teacher quality and class size. I think the reason why there is so much controversy in the field about whether class size matters is not that reducing class size is not a good opportunity for a good teacher. It is a fantastic opportunity for a good teacher because she will take advantage of it and just spend more time with each student. If she is a good teacher she will do wonderful things with it.
However, there is no indication that all teachers take advantage of those opportunities. I think therein lies the problem. If you do class size reduction without actually guaranteeing that you have high-quality teachers in the schools, it is not very effective.
I think that we have been applying class size reduction without thinking hard about making sure that it is interacted with having incentives for teachers to use the class size reduction well, rewards for teachers who show that they have used the class size reduction well, and rewards for people who go into the teaching profession who are the right people to be teaching.
Chairman McKeon. My time is up. So if you will remember those questions when we do the second round, I will come back around and will continue. Mr. Martinez.
Mr. Martinez. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Maybe because of my own experiences and maybe because I never really put too much stock in what studies seem to indicate -- because I believe that they many times have the bias of the individual that is doing the study, starts with a particular conclusion in his or her mind, and ends up with the evidence pointing to that conclusion. I prefer like is real-life experiences that actually indicate what is working and what is not.
Certainly I agree with what has been said here, that if you reduce the class size and have a bad teacher, those kids are not going to see an improvement just because you reduce the size. But if you have a good teacher and you reduce the class-size, you are going to see plenty of improvement. The idea of gaining and holding quality teachers, I think, is an important factor because I can remember -- this goes back quite a ways, because I started school in the early thirties -- good teachers and bad teachers. I went to the sixth grade before I ever learned math. It was a teacher who took time out, and said, hey, you are not doing the work and you need to concentrate and I need to help you, and she did. I will never forget her, Mrs. Cassons. She was a little woman, and to get my attention she had to slap the devil out of me. That was good though, because she got my attention and I never had a problem with math after the sixth grade. So what did the teachers before that do? Nothing.
I was in a history class here recently where the teacher was trying to teach kids not history, but American government -- how many representatives are in the House. I know because I am here. But as I stood in the back of the class and I watched him trying to get the interest of the young people, he wasn't getting their attention. Then he asked me a question and he allowed students to ask me questions about government. I answered those questions, but in a way that I think caught their interest. And I personally, with no teaching credentials, think I could teach that class better than he did because the main thing is getting the interest of the students.
Furthermore, I taught one day in a class, a third grade class, and I made the mistake of saying afterwards how I couldn't handle it and that it was only a third grade class. The teacher got mad, "what do you mean, only a third grade class?" Teaching is pretty much the same at any grade level. The responsibilities of the teachers are the same and it is just as difficult at a higher grade as it is in a lower. I imagine it might be harder.
But the fact is that the teacher has to work with each one of the students and each one of those students is different. It is like any parent that has ever raised more than one child. With four or five he finds out pretty soon, even though nobody taught him, that he can't treat each one the same because they are all different. Every kid in a class is different. So you need teachers that reach a variety of children. To me it is a no-brainer to say, first, you need a good teacher, and second, you can't overburden that teacher because if you overburden that teacher, that teacher is not going to be able to teach, even as good as he or she is.
I come from the simple perspective that when you get more attention from a teacher as a student, you are going to do better. I like the idea of accountability of the teachers as well as the testing of the kids. However, I would only test the kids to find out where they are and what they need in the way of remedial training. Because if a student fails, it really isn't the student that fails. It is the teacher and the school system that failed the student. So I think that what I have heard here is that a lot of factors go into making up good education. You may reduce class size, but you have got to have a quality teacher. And you have to have a willing student, and you have to have a teacher that can capture the student’s imagination and encourage him or her to work.
I have really used most of my time in making my statement and not asking a question, but I would like to ask if the Federal Government -- because the Federal Government is limited in what we can do and we don't interfere in curriculum of local school districts. That is their prerogative. What can the Federal Government really do in regards to helping set a national trend for the improvement of the quality of schools and teachers?
Dr. Forgione. Could I offer a perspective? We just brought data to America called the third international math and science study. Forty countries around the world participated. It is often good to look at yourself in a mirror of your peers around the world. There are some factors that haven't been brought up today that deal with teaching practice. We have a video study of Japan, Germany, and the United States. I would ask you to watch a 12-minute Japanese geometry lesson versus the U.S. Here are three findings we found in this very powerful study. We are not introducing mathematics in middle school. What our eighth grade students are getting in math, seventh graders are getting in the rest of the world. That is rigor. We can make a difference. It doesn't cost anything to demand that children get mathematics, not more arithmetic.
Secondly, at the end of the lesson would an observer be able to understand that concept just presented? In 8 out of 10 times, the American teaching lesson did not develop, it only stated the concept. Yet in Germany and Japan, it was developed enough that you could begin to understand that. That is a pedagogical strategy that can again be taught.
The final thing is how many topics are we asking our children to learn? We at eighth grade ask 35 algebra topics on average. Japan only asks 18. They have 220 days to teach 18. We have 180 to teach 35. We are below the international mean. It might say that we want to look at this issue of curriculum, of teaching, of instruction, because those are factors that are part of staff development that can make us better and more effective beyond the quality of the teacher coming into the classroom.
Mr. Martinez. I agree with you. But my question is what can we do at the Federal level to help those schools improve the quality of the teachers and actually improve the school system? We can't mandate curriculum to the local schools.
Dr. Forgione. We had a tool kit where you can take the Singapore, the Japanese, the German, the Netherlands curriculum and look at it. If you are in a part of California or Connecticut or Delaware, just look at what you are expecting versus others. If they are high-performing, our kids can do it. We just need the self-reflection. It always is the locals who should determine what is appropriate, but often you need a lens to see. Am I expecting enough? Am I expecting too little? We are the only country in the world that doesn't introduce mathematics sequentially through middle school. The rest of the world stops arithmetic and teaches mathematics. We keep arithmetic going. I think our teachers need to look at this and decide what is appropriate. These data are only a sense of reflection to improve your practice, but it should always be a local decision.
Mr. Martinez. But your suggestion essentially is that we make this information available?
Dr. Forgione. Right. And preservice would be another area.
Chairman McKeon. I would like to get a copy of that video, please. Mr. Deal.
Mr. Deal. Thank you, Mr. Chairman; and thanks to the panel for being here today.
I realize that the topic of your presentations are limited to the relationship in teacher quality and class size as the primary focus. As the husband of a middle school teacher, I am constantly reminded that one of the major disincentives for people staying in the teaching profession is the constant problem of discipline and being able to maintain and focus the attention of students on what the teacher is in the classroom for. I sometimes have the feeling that many of our better teachers leave the classroom for that very reason. I realize that is not the focus of the testimony today, so I won't really ask you to comment on that.
I would like to ask you a question that has been a concern of mine for a number of years and a concern that we have focused on in previous hearings in this Committee, and that is the relationship between the colleges of education that are training our teachers and their actual experience once they reach the classroom. I have had the feeling that for a very, very long time there has been a total disconnect between what teachers were being taught in the colleges of education and that rather frightening experience once they entered their student teaching phase and, in particular, once they reached their actual classroom experience.
I think that we have come a long way perhaps in a very short period of time to eliminate that disconnect, but I would appreciate hearing your responses to that situation. Are we preparing teachers at the college level for what they really are going to encounter in the classroom? And, if not, can we do a better job?
I realize there has been a great deal of emphasis on teacher preparation from the funding levels once they are in the school system itself and continuing further education and training, but how do we relate on the front end of the initial preparation for preparing them?
Dr. Rockwell. Mr. Congressman, I would say that many of the partners are coming together and talking about the teacher quality issues, one of them is the National Accreditation, known as NCATE, that actually goes around to colleges and universities and works on what kinds of things ought to be there. I think that we have seen a marked difference, at least in the last 5 to 8 years, on what young people and people who are coming into the profession are learning. I think that we have a lot more work to do.
I truly believe that if NCATE is supported and some of those other groups that are coming out and saying that we need to align what is going on in the real world of classroom delivery with what is going on in teacher colleges across this Nation, we will do better service to our kids.
I would like to say that I went to California State University of Los Angeles many, many years ago. I would like to say that my training did prepare me for what I was going to need in the classroom.
The problem that we have now is that there are so many people and that aren't going through any training at all that are in front of young people that they have no sense of pedagogy, of what it takes to even deliver instruction or to plan a lesson. That is our problem right now, getting qualified folks into the classroom or people to help them to become ready to deliver instruction. I see that right now as the thing that we need to focus on, and that is getting those folks that we have to put in front of kids.
Because we have to staff classrooms. Because the public is not going to let us continue to just put substitutes and people in, getting those people up to speed, at the same time making sure that our colleges and universities that are presenting instruction stay on the right track. With NCATE and other groups, I think that can happen.
Ms. Koutoufas. I would agree with that, also.
In Virginia, we have really revised all of our standards for our children. We made sure that, once we did that, what we are asking teachers who are teacher candidates to do is also take all of their testing centers around their standards.
But the best new teachers that we get after they have come out of college have been those that have spent numerous, numerous amounts of hours in a classroom under some teacher while they were in an education school. They had that time to connect theory and practice and to see how it really worked. In fact, some colleges in some States are requiring that their student teachers teach an entire year. So it is very meaningful, and they have that whole year of experience with a classroom that becomes theirs. Because it is very different when it is your classroom than when you are really student teaching.
The other thing is we really beefed up the amount of time and courses that the elementary teachers have to take in reading and math. Because, as we heard down here, we can't be teaching arithmetic. It has to be mathematics.
Also, mentorship programs are so crucial to beginning teachers. We lose so many teachers in their first 3 years because they feel like they are disconnected. Maybe teachers are teaching in isolation, but they are not getting that support. But with mentorship programs they will stay, and we need them to stay.
Mr. Deal. Thank you.
Chairman McKeon. Mr. Kind.
Mr. Kind. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I, too, want to thank the panel for coming; and the testimony offered has been fascinating.
First of all, for Ms. Koutoufas and Dr. Rockwell: Happy National Teacher's Day a little bit early. That day is just around the corner.
And congratulations to Ms. Koutoufas in particular for being recognized as Teacher of the Year in Virginia. That is quite an accomplishment.
I think we are hearing something today that, hopefully, a lot of people will find patently obvious. If you look at certain programs or policies in isolation, they may not amount to a heck of a lot. I think that impression is where we should start our discussions about education programs. Any program has to be a part of a bigger package and a comprehensive approach; not only class-size reduction but teacher quality, infrastructure, technology needs, and parental involvement. All of these concepts fit into the puzzle that has to be created before we are going to see any significant quality improvement in the overall education system around the country.
It reminds me of the controversy that the DARE program came under recently when people were looking at that program in isolation in regard to drug prevention in school systems. If you look at any program in isolation, you can find things to criticize and nitpick about. But viewing it as a piece of a larger effort, then it starts to make sense.
I would hope that that is the type of attitude and outlook that this Committee takes when we approach these education issues.
The State of Wisconsin offers a classic example. The area that I represent has many of the schools participating in the State’s SAGE program for class-size reduction. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee just released a very important study reviewing this 5-year program and tracking its results. The conclusions have been very encouraging.
In fact, all of the classes and teachers participating in SAGE in my congressional district, I have had a chance to go in and talk to. They love it for obvious reasons; teachers have time to give more individual attention to the students, kids are better engaged and more disciplined within the classroom, and a very dynamic learning atmosphere exists school-wide. But they also say that you just can't look at class-size reduction alone as the panacea or silver bullet for positive change. They also need professional development.
Dr. Forgione's study makes the points perfectly clear. For instance, the infrastructure problems we have in Wisconsin are a challenge nationwide, and require a commitment to get resources back to the local level so that things can get done.
I am hearing from school administrators, superintendents and principals that teacher shortages being encountered and there are retention problems. One of the ramifications of this program that this Committee has been reviewing, and I know that a lot of other States have been reviewing also, are alternative certification programs. I would be interested in getting some points of view from the panel here today in regards to some of these programs that are being proposed.
Ms. Hoxby. I do, and I am sure our teachers do as well.
In particular, the alternative teacher certification programs are often generated by certain types of class-size reduction policies that are not very well thought out. So, for instance, when California enacted its class-size reduction Statewide in 1996, there was immediately a big shortage of teachers and, as a result, California was pushed to certify or allow a lot of teachers into the classroom who would not otherwise have been allowed into classrooms.
My understanding of the evidence is that many teachers who are qualified to teach under alternative certification programs, if they are pushed through these programs merely because they need bodies in the classroom, tend to be much less qualified, much less experienced teachers, and they are less successful with students, as we would expect.
On the other hand, there are some people who are very talented professionals in other types of jobs who just do not have education degrees and, therefore, find it hard to get certification in certain States. If you have a certification program that is really designed to allow those people to make the transition to being teachers, those tend to be more successful. But those are not the sort of programs that we usually get when we pass a big policy where a lot of people need to be in the teaching profession very quickly.
If I could actually extend my answer just to a small degree. One thing that we need to think about whenever we do class-size reduction or encouraging people to go into teaching is think about how slowly we need to actually implement these programs. If you try and implement them very fast, it is difficult. You end up moving students into portable classrooms and letting in uncertified teachers and having the best school districts in the State often raid the school districts that serve the more disadvantaged students. And those schools with the most disadvantaged students often are the ones that end up with the least qualified teachers as a result of attempting to do massive changes in short periods of time.
So it is important to phase these programs in, because people don't become teachers overnight.
Mr. Kind. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. McKeon. Mr. Isakson.
Mr. Isakson. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, I apologize publicly that I was late in arriving; and I want to particularly thank the two teachers, Ms. Koutoufas and Dr. Rockwell. I call them all doctors. Mr. Chairman, I really have a question. I am sitting here reading quickly, so I am not about to be unprepared and ask something I didn't hear, but I would like to ask the teachers both to respond to something. And I don't want to put you on the spot, but do you think as a teacher in Virginia -- and I am sorry Dr. Rockwell, your State is?
Dr. Rockwell. California.
Mr. Isakson. California. Great State. Do you feel like as a teacher in your States -- and whether the answer is yes or no, I am not going to consider this a criticism or compliment -- do you think teachers in America have enough authority to remove disruptive students from a classroom or do you feel they don't?
Ms. Koutoufas. That almost varies from building to building. In my building, absolutely. I have the support of my principal. But I teach elementary school, and I don't take children to the office. I mean, I haven't taken a child to the office in 10 years because, if I do that, there goes my authority.
But I think up in the upper grades and upper levels, yes, I know that happens more often. I am expected to work more with that child in my classroom to turn that child's behavior around, but that child has been given a chance by the time he gets to high school. I find that I have a great deal of support, but I think that is something maybe, instead of a blanket authority, it depends on your principal and your support staff in your school system more than it does in the State of Virginia.
Dr. Rockwell. I teach middle school, and I think Ms. Koutoufas' answer applies to me as well. I have a wonderfully supportive administrative staff. I have a supportive faculty. So we don't have those difficulties at our school.
However, I must say in the Los Angeles Unified School District, where we have over 800 sites and serve 650,000 children, that is not necessarily true. And it goes to a school board where they support what the school site says in the end, where we say we have a child here who we need to place somewhere else to get a better education. Will they support us in the long run?
So those questions have to go the authorities beyond us, because the final authority comes from the school board and whether they listen to what we say about what we have observed about a young person.
Ms. Horn. May I speak on that as well?
I am a high school teacher, and the problems that have been expressed to me and in our faculty meetings, most of those that the teachers are worried about have to do with the IDEA. We have a large percentage of our kids in special education, and some of them are very severely emotionally disturbed, and we find that we are extremely limited as to what we can do to take them outside of the regular school program. And I know that there was a letter-writing campaign from my school to our State representatives, and I think it is very difficult.
I don't want in any way to say that we don't believe that we should educate our special education kids with all of the considerations that we have for our regular education students. It is just that it presents us with some very different problems when it comes to discipline when we are dealing with a child that has been designated special education.
Mr. Isakson. I understand precisely what you are saying, and I didn't ask the question for that response. In fact, I want to commend both Mrs. Koutoufas and Dr. Rockwell, because your answer was exactly what my opinion is, and I value your answer more than I value my opinion, which is why I wanted to know. But I understand fully under IDEA, too, and mainstreaming how there is some real issues there that we are all going to have to deal with.
But I wanted to make this point, Mr. Chairman. Both these teachers' answers were precisely what our experience has been. And when we talk about teacher training and certification, I don't think we can forget about the importance of administrative training and leadership in the schools.
My personal experience is that our teachers oftentimes get blamed for things where a lack of leadership at the site is the biggest difference of all. Pupil-teacher ratio is important in the learning environment, but it is secondary to the quality of the environment. And sometimes the ability to deal with disruptive students or disruptive issues in the classroom and failure to have administrative backup at the school level puts the teacher in the position, notwithstanding how many kids are or aren't in the class, of having an almost intolerable situation in which to teach and the students to learn.
So, I think your answers are more and more what I have found every time I have been in schools, that the level of leadership, that the principal and administrative level, can maybe make the largest contribution to the quality of learning environment in the classroom of anything that we do.
So I appreciate the time, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. McKeon. Thank you. It is good to hear California called a great State.
Mr. Isakson. I am new. I don't want to make anybody mad, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. McKeon. We just don't hear that too often. Mr. Holt.
Mr. Holt. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I am very pleased to listen to the panel this morning. It is very enlightening, and you bring a lot of experience, data, and life experience to this. And you raise so many questions. This whole subject does.
We want to recruit and prepare 100,000 new teachers, but that is on top of having to recruit and prepare 2 million replacement teachers, and it leads to all sorts of questions about recruitment and retention. And, of course, for the retention obviously it raises questions of how we show respect for the teachers through --well, as Mrs. Koutoufas has mentioned -- including teachers in decision-making and providing sabbaticals, and several mentioned adequate pay.
But what I would like to turn to is the teacher training, and I think that is part of the way we show respect for teachers, but it is also important I think in retaining teachers so that they continue to feel effective.
And, in particular, I would like to look at the Eisenhower funds and whether you feel that they are now providing professional development to those teachers who need it most, and I would like to hear from any of the witnesses on that.
Ms. Koutoufas. I have been a recipient of Eisenhower funds, and I have used that for teacher training, particularly in the field of gender equity and getting girls into math and science. I have been able to do this and work with some other people who have gotten them also, and I think that you can see over the years that that has really had an effect out there. The number of girls particularly who are into your higher level math and science courses that weren't there if you go back to the late 1980s and early 1990s that there are there today. The area where you still see the gap is in the technology. But I think we have made great progress, and I think the Eisenhower funds were a part of that.
I know that across my State we have had teachers doing that and using the funds, and it is basically for teacher training, and it was something very new for them, but we have used the Eisenhower funds in my school system to buy supplies to totally change our math program. It is manipulative based, problem-solving based instead of arithmetic; and I think our children are doing much better not with just their memorization of it but the grasp of those concepts.
Dr. Rockwell. It may be a boon to us in order to have people trained in math and science, particularly very well trained in elementary and the middle school in the LAUSD, the Los Angeles Unified School District. Those funds are flexible. The ability for us to define what kind of programs we are going to develop around math and science and deliver that instruction to our teachers has been marvelous. So those funds, you want to boost them, we would love you to do that.
Mr. Holt. If there are no further comments on that now, I would like to ask, getting to the question of class size, particularly in the elementary and middle school areas and several of you have some experience in that, how do you see -- and perhaps you have data on this -- do you see an effect of class size in science -- in the teaching and learning of science in particular?
Dr. Pate-Bain. Mr. Chairman, I will answer, although I am a latecomer.
Mr. Holt. We look forward to your testimony, Dr. Pate-Bain.
Dr. Pate-Bain. I only wish I had 30 minutes instead of 5. But you have a copy – yes? We find that the children in small classes in project STAR, their grades were better in math and science in the upper grades and that they took more advanced math, honors English and the science courses. It did make a difference.
Ms. Hoxby. If I could also address that question, in my study of Connecticut schools, I did not find any particular effect in math or science of smaller class sizes. So, from that point of view, it is somewhat troubling, even with very small classes, as small as 10 or 12 students sometimes.
Mr. Holt. Well, I see my time has expired. I will look forward to exploring several of these questions more.
Chairman McKeon. Mr. Tierney?
Mr. Tierney. Thank you. I didn't want Dr. Pate-Bain to jump out of her chair, so I thought I would give her an opportunity to respond to that.
Dr. Pate-Bain. Well, this has been my life for some time.
May I have my 5 minutes now, Mr. Chairman?
Mr. Tierney. You may have my 5 minutes to make whatever comments you wanted to make to Mr. Holt.
Dr. Pate-Bain. Mr. Chairman, how shall I proceed?
Chairman McKeon. Let me introduce Dr. Helen Pate-Bain, who is the Chairperson of Health and Education Research Operative Services in Lebanon, Tennessee.
We are happy to have you here, and we will turn the time now to you.
STATEMENT OF DR. HELEN PATE-BAIN, CHAIRPERSON, HEALTH AND EDUCATION RESEARCH OPERATIVE SERVICES, INC., LEBANON, TENNESSEE
Dr. Pate-Bain. Thank you.
Project STAR really took place in Tennessee. I now live in Alabama down on the beach, so I thought I was going to retire, but this is too important.
I want to talk as fast as I can about this, and I would like to clear up one problem and that is there is a difference between pupil-teacher ratio and class size.
Now, with class size, you walk in and count the number of children sitting in my class, and if there are 15, that is a good size. But if you add the guidance counselor and the assistant principal and the principal and the librarian and all the others, and then divide it by however many teachers I have, that is not class size, that is the ratio of educators to children in that school. You have to count them. You have to know how many children are in my class that I am responsible for every single day. And that, I think, is important, because some people are using the terms interchangeably, not knowing the difference between the two.
Our study was a large-scale, randomized assignment of teachers and students. We closely checked the randomization so that the teachers and the children were randomly assigned. We monitored all the testing that was done because we knew there were going to be people some day that would say that is not really the way it was.
We started with 6,300 children in kindergarten, but there are some things we could not control. By the time they finished the 12th grade last year, some 10 percent of them that we found taking the ACT and SAT lived in some State other than Tennessee. So that by the time we finished the 4-year study, there had been some people in for 1 year, some for 2, some for 3 and some for 4. But we followed a cohort of the ones who were there all 4 years, and then we looked at some that were there 3 years.
We gave every school system in the State an opportunity to participate. Forty-two chose to. One of the requirements was we had a within-school design. That meant that any school that participated had to have enough children for a 1 to 15 in kindergarten, 22 to 23 in a regular, and 22 to 25 in a regular with a full-time aide.
We had some legislators who thought that it would be cheaper to hire an aide than to reduce the class size, so that was the reason for the third treatment in that study.
But the children were followed. Now, sometimes we were increasing the number of children in the school. The new teacher would be assigned to the small class, and so we never knew; the experienced teachers did not get all of the small classes.
We found that in K, 1, 2, and 3, the small classes were ahead of the regular and regular with aide, both educationally and statistically significantly ahead. The research is there. It is on the web site if you would like to see.
We also did this. You have this material and the statistics are there, but we found that in the top 10 percent of classes in kindergarten, that 18 of those 33 classes were small. By the time they got to the third grade, out of 34 classes we had 25 of them were small, so you found that gradually moving up.
But more than that, we kept asking, what else did we see? And we found that the children in the inner-city schools made the greatest gains and the children in the rural schools -- now these are the small classes -- made the highest scores. A little place called Hohenwald, Tennessee, had some third graders that were at 6th grade average when they left the third grade.
But we also looked at teachers -- the top 10 percent of the teachers to see -- and we judged whether they were in the top 10 percent as to -- we took their class average in the fall. They were tested again in the spring. We subtracted the fall from the spring, and we said this is the teacher's average class gain, and then we prioritized them, and we looked at the top.
Now, this is what we found those top teachers doing: They were teaching creative writing; they had hands-on experiences; they used learning centers, manipulatives; those teachers were good listeners; they had immediate feedback to the children; they were well organized; they knew what they were doing and right on schedule; and they used assertive discipline. You need to draw a line so the child knows where to go. High expectations. If you don't believe I can do it, then I probably won't do it. But they believed that their children could. They used peer tutoring. Sometimes a child can teach something better than the teacher. They used effective communication with parents, and they loved children, and if you don't love children, you shouldn't be in a classroom. They were enthusiastic about their work. They were flexible, patient, and they had a sense of humor. You have got to be able to laugh at yourself, and they could do that.
The key thing to me, and I will have to get to the end of this, is they knew how to make home visits. I made home visits. I taught in junior high. Seventh graders are the greatest kids going, and I made home visits, and that is key to making the tie with the home and helping parents know how to teach their children.
Now, we went on and we found that at the end of the eighth grade, the children that had been in the small class for 4 years were 1 year and 1 month ahead of their peers at that point; and when we compared the impact of the ACT and SAT, we found that 43.7 of the small class went on and took the SAT and ACT, 40 percent of the regular, and 39.9 percent of the regular with an aide took the ACT or SAT.
But we found that the number of children in the minority group who took that closed the gap between white and black children who were taking the SAT and ACT by more than half, 54 percent. We found that there were fewer dropouts, and anybody can take and determine that into dollars in your own State. And the fewer retainees cost 46-something to put a child in school 1 year in Tennessee. And we had about 5 percent dropout. So you can look at that and then you can say, well, yeah, but it costs more to reduce the class size.
We are going to follow these children on. We have an agreement with the State that we can look at how many of them in 4 years are on welfare, how many finished college, how many of them are politically involved. That is what we need, is people who are a part of the government in this country.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Kind. Doctor, we want this to be a positive study. You may want to be careful about how far you track them.
[The statement of Dr. Pate-Bain follows:]
WRITTEN STATEMENT OF DR. HELEN PATE-BAIN, CHAIRPERSON, HEALTH AND EDUCATION RESEARCH OPERATIVE SERVICES, INC., LEBANON, TN – SEE APPENDIX G
Chairman McKeon. Mr. Martinez needs to leave, but he would like to ask a question before he has to leave.
Mr. Martinez. This is for you, Dr. Rockwell. Are you familiar with a program -- it was either initiated by the county board of education or the district attorney's office -- that is called ACT, and is intended to curb the truancy?
What brings it to mind is what Mr. Isakson was talking about, the authority to handle troublesome children in schools. Because I agree with the intention to curb truancy, but I don't agree with the procedures that they are using in that it is almost as if you have aggressive district attorneys working with overzealous teachers or principals to report truancies that, in fact, are not truancies.
Dr. Rockwell. I remember hearing there was a great deal of controversy over that program itself, but it has not impacted my school at all so I am not familiar with it. It is not something that we used at Palms Middle School. I think it was the DA's office.
Mr. Martinez. They are actually to the point of harassing parents. They are acting under a screwy situation and I that this program needs to be looked into because I believe it violates the civil rights of parents. They are acting under the auspices of the Juvenile Delinquency Justice and Prevention Act which says that contributing to the delinquency of a minor is a crime. They are claiming that the parents are contributing to the delinquency of the child when the child is not in school. But in many cases the child is in school. It is the principal of the school, or a clerk, has done a lousy job of keeping track of attendance.
And then to carry it over to a 5-year-old. How does a 5-year-old girl get to be a juvenile delinquent, that they would prosecute the parents over the child's truancy when it wasn't truancy, it was an excused illness, and the parents had a note from the doctor?
Dr. Rockwell. I can't comment. I think you posed those questions kind of rhetorically; right?
Mr. Martinez. Yes. Okay. Thank you. I am glad to know that it is not throughout L.A. County. Right now I think it is mainly being used in the San Gabriel Valley.
Chairman McKeon. Okay. I will go back to the question I asked, Mrs. Koutoufas, if you could list in order of preference, one, two, and three, the most important factor for learning.
Ms. Koutoufas. Without a doubt, it would be teacher quality first. You can reduce class size all you want, but if you have an ineffective teacher, it doesn't work. Staff development is huge, but, remember, as long as we are given time, many of our principals are now using staff development funds, hiring substitutes or that kind of thing to enable teachers during the class day or take the last quarter of the class day to have some staff development that is ongoing and meaningful.
Because I will tell you that even without taking courses, we are at our schools -- and I am not alone in this -- until 8 o'clock at night. We come in at 7:00 in the morning. Many of us bring our children to our schools. We get permission to do that because we stay too long. And on any given weekend, walk into my school and there are teachers there on Saturday or on Sunday.
Salaries are also important, because nobody goes into teaching for the salary. It is something that is in your soul. But when you are staring college for your kids in the face and you have a job offer from somewhere else that will give you $10,000 to $20,000 more a year, you have to make some tough decisions, and sometimes it is not to stay in teaching.
Another thing we had mentioned briefly was about parents and the experience of their role. Sometimes you look at parents, and it is not that they don't care to work with their children, it is sometimes that they don't know how. Maybe they didn't have the right kind of experiences.
We have had START programs, but some of us wonder, isn't that awfully late? Because so much of intelligence seemed to be developed by the age 1 or age 3. There are some places in some cities in the Norfolk and Portsmouth area where they are doing pilot programs on training what they consider at-risk mothers through social services every week on how to be a parent, just how to read to a child, how to turn the pages in a book. And I would like to see some of those studies and see what comes of that.
Chairman McKeon. Thank you very much. Dr. Rockwell?
Dr. Rockwell. Teacher quality is first, of course; and Mrs. Koutoufas said that quite well. And under that I consider professional development a piece of that. Class size is important.
Let me tell you, as a teacher in a classroom, I don't want to ignore research and denigrate anybody's research, but let me share with you that when I have 18 students in my computer classroom and I can get to each one of them each day, even though it is five periods a day, and I can touch that child's life in terms of not only what they are doing at the computer but recognize there are some issues facing them, because it is a smaller class size I have time to go around and talk to them and introduce them to instruction.
We saw what happened in Littleton. We saw how somebody was disengaged from those kids. For some reason, no adult on that campus had a sense of what was happening with those young people.
Smaller class sizes allow me the opportunity as an educator not only to talk about those things that introduce kids to the life of the mind and world of ideas, but it also gives me a chance to sit next to them and say, hey, what is going on? And it gives me a chance then to recognize, if there is something wrong in their life, I can direct them to a guidance counselor or call the parent and say, John is not doing very well today. These things are impacting their life. We need to come in and talk about it. Class size is important if we are talking about educating the whole child.
Okay, let me calm down. Just give me a second.
Now, I certainly agree with Mrs. Koutoufas in terms of salary. It is like anything else. If the folks that you have instructing your kids cannot have a living wage in order to pay for their families and send their young people to college, they are going to choose other options.
Young people now, because of the work of the Congress and Senate in opening up access to all kinds of people to all kinds of job opportunities, et cetera, are choosing, when they come out of college, to look for those places that will not only remunerate them in a fashion so that they can live and work in America, but also, in fact, will allow them to expand whatever it is they wish to do.
So I think it is important you understand that they are comparing what is being offered at these job fairs and taking those jobs to let them live the kind of lives they want to live as well.
Chairman McKeon. I am running out of time.
Doctor, the three most important contributors?
Dr. Pate-Bain. The most important piece of equipment in any classroom is the teacher, and the most expensive piece of equipment. If we talk about a teacher having to stay late to grade papers, I saw teachers with 15 in their class, and they were able to do some immediate feedback. I had one teacher say, you know, if I could have 15, I wouldn't retire. She had 15 for 1 year.
The teacher is important, but some of the qualities that I read out, they have to care about children, they have to be willing to work with the parents. So there are some qualities that a teacher has to have, and it is loving people and wanting to help children to be better. That is to me, but they can do it better. It is sort of like we are building a foundation, and that ground floor is 15 in a class.
Chairman McKeon. Sounds like everybody is agreeing that the number one important factor is the teacher, and I guess a lot of things then go into that. What makes the teacher? Training? Background? Personality? Caring? I mean, there are so many things that go into it that the teacher is number one.
Anyway, my time is up again. Mr. Kind.
Mr. Kind. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Just to follow up on what we are hearing here today in regard to teacher compensation and salary. I am finding this issue to be very important to educators back home, yet we are very limited here in Washington in what we can actually do about it. We may be able to provide some tax incentives for professional development or training programs in order to alleviate the financial burden that a lot of teachers face, specifically tax incentives in regard to the tools and equipment teachers need in order to properly prepare and teach their kids. Such incentives would allow teachers to have a computer at home so that they are more comfortable in applications they use in the classroom.
Back in Wisconsin, we have something called the Qualified Economic Offer, which puts a cap on teacher compensation and salaries. I don't think there is anything that could be more demoralizing for the teaching profession back in Wisconsin than that one thing.
It is discouraging students from going in to teaching and it is encouraging good, qualified teachers to leave the profession and go into the private sector. This is resulting in a tremendous drain from our school systems. It is frustrating because it is obviously a State and local issue and outside the jurisdiction of this Committee.
While we have you here, Secretary Riley testified here a little while ago in regard to new ESEA teacher quality requirements that the administration is proposing as part of this year's ESEA reauthorization. I would be interested in getting any opinions that you might have at this point to the administration’s is, if you have had a chance to look at it.
Dr. Pate-Bain. I have not. Where could we get a copy?
Mr. Kind. We could certainly provide that for you.
Dr. Pate-Bain. Then I will sure respond.
Mr. Kind. Dr. Horn?
Ms. Horn. I would like to speak to the issue of teacher quality.
Right now, there is a huge movement Nationwide to revise the standards for teacher licensure and performance standards, and it is necessary.
When I first became a teacher 25 years ago and I got into library science, I learned Dewey and all that kind of stuff and collection management and how to deal with students and help them research. But now I run, and as a matter of fact I designed, the computer network for my school which currently has over 200 computers on-line via ISDN lines. I am the system administrator. I teach everybody how to use the computers. It is an entirely different job.
Yet the standards for library media specialist in Tennessee until this fall will be the same as they were when I came into business. I chaired the Committee that set those new standards, but what we are talking about here is a couple of different things. If you want quality teachers and you are facing a teacher shortage, what do you do about that? And, secondly, when you set new standards, how are you going to decide whether they are making any difference or not? I think the crucial thing that is being left out of all of this is connecting teacher performance to students outcomes.
Because if we are talking about the educational impact on students, that is what we have to look at. We have to find a way to really decide on the basis of fact whether the programs, the strategies, and the standards that we are setting now are having any effect on whether students are learning more in the classroom. And until that is done, I think we are doing what we have been doing in education for the longest time, which is following our guts and our feelings. And if it looks good and if somebody convinces us it is a good idea, it is the best way to teach reading, perhaps. And whole States go down that line and then find out 5 or 6 years later that their kids can't read half as well as they did before they put that program in.
Then I think education is in trouble in America. We have to link what we are doing to whether it actually affects educational change, and educational improvement for students.
Chairman McKeon. Thank you.
Ms. Hoxby. Could I also address the same issue?
I am very much in agreement that education is a State and local prerogative, and that makes it difficult for the Federal Government to be very influential, but the Federal Government spending in education is certainly enough to give very big incentives to teachers to do a good job, to do evaluation of programs that States and local governments are interested in.
Some other governments around the world are actually doing this on the national level quite a bit. Israel has a program whereby schools actually submit proposals to the Federal Government about how they are going to improve teaching, and then if they actually demonstrate that they improved teaching, those teachers in those schools get a salary bonus, and they have competitions among the different schools to see which ones are doing the most.
Now, that is something where the amount of money that the Federal Government has to spend on this is huge relative to any individual school district that wants to be in this competition and wants to prove that its particular policy works well. So I do think that there is a lot that can be done.
While I have the floor, I would like to respond to something that Dr. Pate-Bain said and confirm it, and that is that class size and pupil-teacher ratio are very different in the United States at this point. In 1955, the pupil teacher ratio and class size were about the same, about 28, 27 students. But the pupil-teacher ratio has fallen much faster than class size in the United States, so now that pupil-teacher ratio is 17 and median class size in the United States is 23. And we really have to know about where those extra people with instructional credentials are going.
It is important, if you want to write a class-size policy, that class size be included in the policy, not just more instructional staff, because they will not necessarily show up in the classrooms.
Dr. Pate-Bain. That is right.
Chairman McKeon. Talking about teacher bonuses; when I was on the school board there was a State program that came down to have mentor teachers, and the mentor teacher was going to receive $2,000 more than the other teachers in the school, and each school was to have two mentor teacher. And the union really fought that, and we had a tough time getting that through. It is not my time, but I would like you to think about differentiating in teacher salaries, one teacher in a classroom making more or less than the teacher in the next classroom. How that would work and how that could be achieved? Mr. Isakson?
Mr. Isakson. Mr. Chairman, in light of your comment and what Dr. Horn said, I want to chime in on two things from our experience.
One is the great equalizer in pay for performance is that it be outcome based and school based, meaning that all the faculty participates and that it is actually measurable. That is how we got over in Georgia one teacher making more than the other, because the school had to apply for pay for performance, had to establish achievement levels academically higher than before, and had to achieve 80 percent of the goal in order to qualify; and then the school got the performance bonus and each teacher shared equally. That got out of both the teacher jealousy of one teacher over another and the administrative determination of who got what.
And both of these ladies are precisely correct from my experience, that if you tie improvement to actual measurable assessment of students and if you have incentives to those teachers to achieve those that are economic or financial, you can make measurable and sustainable improvements. You weren't asking me, but I can just tell you that is how you get over the jealousy of the two teachers making $2,000 more.
I wanted to ask Dr. Horn and Mrs. Koutoufas, I read about the PALS program and the assessment that Virginia has put on kindergarten students. I was delighted to hear the comment of Dr. Horn about reading, and I think those two probably go hand in hand, because I am sure the kindergarten assessment relates to the early childhood development and the ability to begin reading, among many other things.
Do you think we do enough in this country to insist or assure on the level of reading training by the time a child reaches the third grade? Or do you think we need to have a national focus in education on reading achievement of students by the time they are at the end of the third grade?
And the reason I ask the question is when we ask about teacher quality -- and I know we have high school and middle school teachers here -- a child unable to read competently once they leave the third grade appears to me to dramatically decline because their catching-up period falls away because the amount of content they are exposed to grows; and by the time they are in middle school self-esteem goes down and everything else. I am not sure that we in this country focus enough on specifically the reading skill of our students by the time they got to the third grade. Do you think we should do more or am I wrong?
Ms. Horn. I think we should do a lot more, but I am going to let Mrs. Koutoufas speak to that since she is an elementary school teacher, and I am sure she can speak quite fluently to that.
Ms. Koutoufas. I think we need to do a lot more, and I think we need to start with parent training also. Because some parents honestly want to help their children, and they don't know how. There have been studies about how when parents are trained how to read to their children, and that just the fact of reading each night to their children, that it is important, and that those children have much more success. So I think you have to start there. If that is the case, that parents can't do it or don't know what to do, then you have to step in and provide something that takes care of that.
When you talk about reading, reading is a real factor in success in school, and success in school usually determines often if you have success later on in your life. And in Virginia, we found we weren't doing enough, so we did start the PALS program. It was funded by our General Assembly.
What happens here is that all of the kindergarten children as they enter kindergarten are tested with a diagnostic test to determine their weaknesses, and we take those children that are the most needy, and we work with those, and it is basically one-on-one with a teacher. Sometimes it might be small groups but often one-on-one, and they will do this for however long those children need to be caught up to where they need to be just to enter kindergarten.
In Virginia, we have 1,809 kindergarten children and some first grade children being served by PALS. Now it is pretty new, but it was renewed last year by our General Assembly. I believe they have been able to show that we are making progress. But I know that our kindergarten teachers and our first grade teachers all over our city think it is working, and we are seeing very, very few kindergarten children this year being retained in kindergarten.
And retention is something that you don't want to have happen. Because as much as we hear about it today, the studies often show that it does more harm than good. So what we are finding is this early intervention, especially in reading, is really making a big difference.
Mr. Isakson. Thank you.
Chairman McKeon. Mr. Holt?
Mr. Holt. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to pursue a little bit the question of science education. And when it comes to -- and in this I also include computers and technology. How in the world are we going to solve the recruitment problem there? It is bad enough I think to recruit the 2 million teachers that we will need for replacements, but it seems that demands from competing industries as well as the kind of training that is necessary makes it particularly difficult to recruit and retain teachers of science. And, later, if there is time, I would like to talk about how this applies in the elementary years. But just in general, I would appreciate any wisdom that you have to share on that subject.
Dr. Rockwell. I think we are going to have to be a little more creative in terms of recruiting. I think you are going to have to do a lot of retraining. In fact, you are going to have to put professional development dollars probably, or possibly to send people who care about teaching and love teaching and who have an academic background that they haven't really used in teaching yet to retrain them.
For example, I would say that we need to have partnerships with businesses and entities that offer actual training programs in technology and use those. Maybe you could give tax incentives to businesses who are willing to do intensive training to those of us who are in technology and background to expand our experience, is one way that we might be able to do it.
As far as in the other sciences, I would suggest to you that the same thing is going to have to occur. We are going to have to say to some of those people who are involved in the science programs and math programs who don't have an academic background, to say we are going to pay for professional development to send you back to the college and university, and give you the grounding that you need. We know you know how to deliver instruction, but the question is, can we get you the academic basis to do that? And we are going to have to do that. Because you are not going to get a kid coming out of MIT or Cal Tech to come into teaching when they can go somewhere else and make more money unless you are able to also offer them a monetary incentive in salary as well as the ability to grow in that position as they get there.
Mr. Holt. Dr. Forgione.
Dr. Forgione. If I could offer a data perspective that will not be comfortable. In the Third International Math and Science Study we tested at fourth grade, eighth grade, and the end of secondary, twelfth grade. Physics was our poorest performance. Relatively, compared to the world, our students who take physics are in the most disadvantaged position internationally.
But it is not surprising if you knew that 55 percent of the students taking physics in America's high schools were taking it from a teacher who had neither a major nor a minor in physics. So how can you teach students this kind of competence if you are just a chapter ahead?
So it does reinforce the issue that we have a continuing education issue, but also a supply issue and a recruitment issue.
Ms. Horn. I don't know whether it is true of Dr. Rockwell, but I would be willing to ask. When I got my doctorate the first thing that started to happen was the teachers in my school, as well as everyone else, started asking, well, what are you going to do now?
And the fact that I do my research at UT in addition to my day job is because I am very dedicated to what I am doing at UT. But, first of all, I am dedicated to what is happening in the schools. There is not one of us sitting here who is here for the money, and I don't think there is anybody at this table that couldn't be making more money doing something else.
But the fact is that it does come down to that, can you make a living at it? And I don't know whether you can or not. I have been working two jobs for the last 10 years. So certainly for someone in my field to have to work two jobs, I can't even imagine why a physicist would prefer to work in the Knox County Schools rather than at ORNL that is 20 miles away.
Ms. Koutoufas. And I have had that same experience, that people have been asking me why am I still in the classroom, when am I going into administration. There has got to be a respect for what I do in the classroom as being a very good classroom teacher, that if you have your master's degree that does not mean that you are on your way out of the classroom, much less your doctorate.
In the sciences, it may be that here is where some of the initiatives for bringing people in from other fields could come into the classroom. People sometimes in the other scientific fields might like their job but figure there is just something missing and teaching might be what it is. And I would be, as we already said, very careful and train very well before bringing those people in. But that might be an idea. You want people to come in who don't teach their subject or the curriculum but teach their kids. There is a difference.
Ms. Hoxby. Just another quick data perspective on science teachers, and that is that they are the most likely people to leave teaching in the first few years, and I think it is because they get the best outside money offers. I think it would be very difficult to recruit people into teaching who are science majors in college if total salary equity amongst all types of teachers is retained. It is just very difficult. These people are being offered higher and higher salaries every year in the rest of the economy, and many of them -- you would have to be extraordinarily dedicated to stay as a physics teacher in high school at this point.
Mr. Holt. Well, it is apparent that we have some dedicated teachers here today -- Dr. Horn, Ms. Koutoufas Dr. Rockwell and Dr. Pate-Bain. It shows through your testimony that you are good teachers.
Chairman McKeon. Thank you. Mr. Barrett?
Mr. Barrett. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I apologize for being late. As is usually the case, we have too many hearings and too many meetings to attend in this atmosphere.
I come from basically a rural area, and my staff informs me that most of the questions that I had to ask have already been covered. But let me speak to the matter of the 100,000 new teachers and the flexibility that might be provided or the lack of flexibility that might be provided in that regard.
Where I come from in my rural schools we have a lot of flexibility. Sometimes we don't even understand a rule or abide by a rule, we do what we think common sense dictates. Now, when we have 100,000 new teachers coming into urban schools I am concerned about the flexibility, particularly as it relates to teacher training or some of the professional development availabilities.
And I see a hand go up right now. Doctor, will you share with me?
Dr. Pate-Bain. Let me say that I found that the most effective teacher training was when I would put five teachers from this elementary school in a car and send them over to spend 2 or 3 days with a person that I knew was an effective teacher. You learn by watching that teacher doing the thing she is doing and being able to ask questions and all.
We had a lot of rural schools in our study, and I found some very effective teachers, but you have to send more than one in that car because if one goes back to tell what they saw, it won't spread. But if you have five going or four and they go back and say, wow, you know what they are doing over there? Let's try it. But you have to be sure you are sending them to a school where you have those effective teachers, the ones that love the kids, the ones who know how to go into the homes, and the ones who listen to them and believe in the children.
Mr. Barrett. I like the idea of going back, as you suggest. Yet I have had a sense that sometimes a teacher is offered a seminar, goes to a seminar one time, comes back and is a good or better teacher. Should there be more choices offered to our teachers with regard to professional development, whether urban or rural? Anyone?
Dr. Pate-Bain. I spent 30 years in the classroom, some in service; and then I went on, so that you will know I am not totally biased, and spent 15 years in higher education. But sometimes our teachers are sent to conferences that are not their choice. Maybe the principal or the superintendent came home and said, man, at AASA I saw so-and-so, and we want to send some people, and we want to try that.
I think the teachers have got to have input into what they need and then be able to look for the place. That is why teacher -- maybe we are talking about peer tutoring. Well, peer learning for teachers is there. So teachers have got to have a say in what their lack is. Man, I wish I knew so-and-so, and then we find--
Ms. Horn. I was chair of the State Teachers Study Council in Tennessee for 2 years, and every year we did a survey of the teachers in Tennessee to ask their primary concerns. One of theirs in professional development was, why can't the State of Tennessee offer us a cut in tuition when we want to go back and take content area courses since content area courses are related to better student achievement?
That is something that professional development dollars could really go to, and that is if teachers were allowed to go back, refresh their content area, and most teachers who are asking for that have already been in the classroom for several years. It is not their pedagogy that they are trying to improve, it is their knowledge.
As time goes on, so much new content comes in to be taught, and we are stuck in the classrooms. That is the kind of monetary support that could be very, very helpful to improve teacher quality in America, I think.
Mr. Barrett. Thank you. I appreciate that.
Dr. Forgione. As part of my testimony in Figure D, one factor you may want to consider that teachers across America just told us in the survey is the length of the professional development. For those teachers who were in an activity greater than 8 hours, more than 1 day, they -- four and five and six times as many --said that had an impact on my teaching versus the ones 8 hours or less, that very few of them felt it had an impact. So you should invest in an intensive experience that helps a teacher really internalize and apply this. The data are in Figure D.
Mr. Barrett. Thank you, sir. I will look at the exhibit. Thank you.
And thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman McKeon. Thank you. Mr. Tierney.
Mr. Tierney. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to thank the Chairman and Mr. Martinez for putting together a panel that has really been instructive and helpful. I want to thank all of you for your testimony this morning. It has been terrific.
Let me ask Ms. Koutoufas and Dr. Rockwell and Dr. Pate-Bain, do you suspect that some of the reason that teachers are paid less in salary has something to do with the fact that, traditionally, more women have been teaching, particularly in the elementary and secondary grades?
Ms. Koutoufas. Yes. And you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out.
Mr. Tierney. I would think not. I don't know if I should give you any time. You didn't want it earlier.
Dr. Pate-Bain. Horace Mann said, hey, let's let those women teach because they will teach for less than the men. That is how it started.
Mr. Tierney. He was otherwise a good guy, though.
Dr. Pate-Bain. But also, it used to be, in the South, we could count African American teachers because there were not too many opportunities open to them. They don't have to stay in teaching today. We are losing our good, qualified African American teachers because they can make more money doing something else. Who is to blame them for going and doing that?
We don't always stand up for ourselves. I am looking up there and trying to count the women, but they all seem to be in the back row there. And so we need to get a little more voice maybe somewhere up there in that front row.
Mr. Goodling. You can be sure that we have some on this Committee that have a lot of voice.
Mr. Tierney. So a good gender equity program wouldn't hurt and maybe some comparable pay.
Let me also ask if you have an opinion, in Massachusetts, we are having a great deal of controversy these days over teacher testing. I would like to get some general reactions from you as to whether or not you feel that teacher testing, a test that determines on a one-shot basis whether or not people are qualified to teach or not, is the most effective or the best way or a good way to determine who should be teaching and who should not be teaching.
Ms. Horn. If I could speak to that from a publication called Thinking Case 16, Good Teaching Matters. It is put out by the Education Trust. It asks, what are some of the qualities that make for an effective teacher? Ronald F. Ferguson from Harvard's Research, he found a significant positive relationship between teacher test scores on TCAT and student scores on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. He also looked at the impact of teacher and classroom qualities on student achievement scores in Alabama.
As in the Texas studies, he found a strong positive relationship between teacher test scores, in this case ACT scores, and student achievement results. At least there is research that I know of that supports that.
Mr. Tierney. I am not sure that there is research on both sides.
Ms. Horn. It all depends upon the validity of the tests. It depends upon whether those tests actually measure what is important to know, what a good teacher needs to know, and what they have been trained to do.
Mr. Tierney. Thank you. Ms. Koutoufas, would you want to have one test to determine whether or not you would stay a teacher?
Ms. Koutoufas. I am going to have to take a test on technology. Within in the next 3 years in Virginia, I have to pass, for instance, a computer test. For me that makes sense, because I have to use that piece of technology in my classroom.
What my State is doing, however, is giving all of the funding that we need for me to attend classes and give me a chance to take it again and again to get it right. So there is a great deal of assistance along with test, too.
Mr. Tierney. Thank you. Doctor.
Dr. Rockwell. My concern would be what the test is actually testing.
I think Dr. Horn said it right. The outcry was that perfectly capable and competent folks in the classrooms doing a wonderful job and with proven success rates in classrooms and yet they failed the test. Then we throw them away, and they are wondering why we have a teacher shortage.
I think that people who come up with the idea, that say the test is going to solve everything, really need to understand what testing is, what it is about, et cetera. All you do is demoralize your folks; and all they do is say, well, I can go somewhere else and do something else.
Mr. Tierney. I think Ms. Koutoufas has a good idea of the approach on that issue. We should be testing not to throw them out the door but testing to find out where you have to make them better and working with them on that and getting some input.
Thank you very much, all of you.
Chairman McKeon. I am glad the women are in teaching because of the money. I thought it was because they were doing a better job.
We have the Chairman of the full Committee here with us, and he has -- whether members of the panel know or not -- he has a little experience in education, having been a principal, superintendent, and his wife has been a teacher all of her life. So they have a few years together in teaching. Mr. Goodling.
Mr. Goodling. And I started at $2,400 and the women started at $2,400 also.
Mr. Tierney. They are still pretty close to that.
Mr. Goodling. And the women here make the same money that I do, even though I have the Chairmanship responsibility. That doesn't pay any extra.
I was told by the staff that Ms. Koutoufas praised Family Literacy and Even Start, even though she didn't mention those two words. I just thought that I would make sure that I mentioned those four words. I thought that I would mention those four words since I happen to believe it took us a long time to get smart enough to realize that if you don't improve literacy skills of the family, nothing good is going to happen in the long run.
I didn't hear Dr. Horn's testimony, but I see that you echoed something that I have been saying here for 20 years and quite a bit in the last 2 years. Your research would indicate that the effect of the teacher to be far and away the most important determinant of student academic growth.
I have said in this Committee many times, it doesn't matter whether there are 17 in the class or 37 in the class, if there isn't a good teacher, a quality teacher, the only saving grace for the student, if there are only 17, means that the poor teacher is not hurting 37, only 17. So I will have to read more about your research.
In this Committee, everything that we do, we are trying to make sure that quality is the name of the game.
I sat here 20 years in the Minority, and the only thing that was important were numbers, how many more we could cover? Every time, I would ask, with what are you covering them? And if it is mediocrity, you are not helping them.
We are now looking at quality, and I think that we have done a lot in the last two reauthorizations of Head Start to bring quality into that. We are trying to do the same in everything that we do.
Of course, our number one initiative at the present time, or at least the Subcommittee Chairman's number one initiative, is to make sure that every teacher training institution out there is training quality teachers for the 21st century. Now, in order to make that happen, we are going to have to find some way to get education departments and college and university campuses not to be stepbrothers or stepsisters but the most important part of that college or university.
I am not quite sure how we do that. I guess you don't bring enough money into the college or the university or something. I am not sure. But, to me, that has to be changed or we are not going to get the kind of quality teachers that we have.
Then we are also trying to make sure that we get the quality teachers where they are most needed. Generally, that is rural America or center-city America. So we are trying to find a sentiment. In fact, in the last reauthorization of higher ed., we hit the idea of reducing your debt if, as a matter of fact, you will commit to taking quality teachers into the areas of various need.
We have discovered from Los Angeles that their effort toward pupil-teacher ratio reduction has ended up doing just the opposite in the relationship to where the teachers, the most quality teachers, are most needed. Because, as they reduce the class size, they had to find somebody somewhere to fill the job as the classroom teacher; and, unfortunately, it would appear that it has reversed what they were hoping they were going to do, which is to provide better teachers for smaller classes in those particular areas.
So we are working on all of those issues, and we appreciate the effort that you are putting forth. My hat is off to the Teacher of the Year, I believe, if I read carefully. I never made that grade because, before I got teaching too long, I was a guidance counselor, then I was a principal, and then I was a superintendent. I guess that I have to go back and start all over again and see whether I can make Teacher of the Year.
Mr. Kind. If you are nice, we will make you Chairman of the Year, Mr. Goodling. You have something to strive for.
Mr. Goodling. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman McKeon. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Roemer.
Mr. Roemer. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I appreciate the opportunity to ask some questions, and I apologize for being late. I just came from a meeting over on the Senate side on school safety issues, which are of deep concern to us, especially given what has recently happened in Littleton, Colorado.
I would like to address a couple of questions to the panel, if I could.
Certainly, I am all for reducing the ratio of teachers to students in our classrooms and trying to come up with some innovative ways to address the quality of the teachers that are helping us get into these classrooms and teach to our children. I guess my questions would, first of all, be directly targeted to alternative route certification.
We included language in the higher education bill last year on alternative route certification. I am wondering how well prepared -- if we had done some studies, how well prepared these teachers are that come through alternative route certification areas in comparison to teachers who come through traditional routes of certification. Do we have anything like that or do you have experience with some of the teachers that are going through alternative route certification areas?
Ms. Hoxby. There is some evidence on the difference between teachers who come through normal education school programs or get normal teacher certification versus those who come through alternative programs. The legislation that you are talking about specifically is for people who wish to make the transition to teaching who otherwise have BAs or would otherwise be in a professional career, perhaps. Those teachers actually tend to be very effective teachers once they get past the first few years. Most teachers aren't very effective in the first couple of years.
Mr. Roemer. That is across the board. I am a former teacher, so I take that criticism.
Ms. Hoxby. Every teacher, including me, knows that is true.
But, in addition, many States have certification programs that essentially allow teachers to escape many of the normal certification rules. We may have a teacher shortage situation and those teachers tend to be significantly worse in terms of their effect on student achievement. It is important that these alternative teacher certification programs are administered correctly.
Mr. Roemer. Do you have any experience with the Troops to Teachers Program?
Ms. Hoxby. No.
Mr. Roemer. Does anybody on the panel have experience with the Troops to Teachers Program, which has been funded through the Defense Department which targets people in the military career who are transitioning from military careers into the private sector? Oftentimes, those individuals have been members of minority groups and have gone into inner city schools to teach in inner city schools. Some of the preliminary studies that we have seen for the Troops to Teachers successes have been phenomenal success rates, not only in lower attrition but in connecting with kids and teaching effectively as well, too.
But we don't have anybody that has experience with that in the panel?
Dr. Rockwell. The experience that I have had is not with Troops to Teachers, but about 4 years ago in Los Angeles, due to the shortage of science and math teachers, a number of people were being laid off in aerospace. We asked them to come into our high schools.
I can specifically talk about Venice High School at that time. They hired about four people who had been laid off and brought them in to teach the physics and science and math classes. They are not there today. They didn't make it through; you have to hold them for a few years in order to keep them in the profession. They didn't make it today--
Mr. Roemer. Did they not make it because they weren't passing the standards or did they not make it because they weren't happy in the job? What was the reason that they didn't make it?
Dr. Rockwell. They weren't comfortable with what it requires to be a classroom teacher in terms of preparation.
Mr. Roemer. They weren't fired? They just personally decided to get out of the job?
Dr. Rockwell. That they needed to seek meaningful work elsewhere.
Mr. Roemer. Doctor.
Dr. Forgione. A recent report that we did indicates that in 1998 about 4 percent of the teachers hired were from an alternative route. This was double what it was 4 years ago, about 2 percent. We don't have any data about any of the outcomes or effectiveness of these, but we can just tell you the incidence of it. It is on page 14 of our report.
Mr. Roemer. So it is increasing, but we haven't studied it yet to assess how successful it has been and what quality of teaching they are doing in the classroom. Okay. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman McKeon. I want to thank you for being here today, members of the panel, for your testimony. I think it has been a learning experience.
We were talking here that many times these congressional hearings, what happens is one side picks their witnesses and then the other side picks their witnesses and then we have a battle between the witnesses. It is very easy to tell that, rather than a learning experience, it is a chance to put forth an agenda.
Frankly, I don't know which witnesses were selected by which side for this particular hearing. I learned from all of you, and I appreciate the time that you have put in.
We will be moving forward with a teacher training bill, and I hope that you will follow our progress. As you see things that you think we should put in it that we are not doing, if you will be part of the process as we go through this, if you think of things that you wanted to say as you leave here that you haven't, if you will get that to us, we will get it in the record.
Again, thank you very much, and we appreciate your participation.
[Whereupon, at 11:49 a.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]