"COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL REFORM:

CURRENT STATUS AND ISSUES"

HEARING

BEFORE THE

COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND

THE WORKFORCE

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS

FIRST SESSION

 

HEARING HELD IN WASHINGTON, DC, JULY 13, 1999

 

Serial No. 106-58

 

Printed for the use of the Committee on Education

and the Workforce


 

Committee on Education and the Workforce

Hearing on "Comprehensive School Reform: Current Status and Issues"

2175 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, July 13, 1999

 

STATEMENT OF DR. REBECCA S. HERMAN, RESEARCH ANALYST, AMERICAN INSTITUTES FOR RESEARCH, WASHINGTON, D.C. *

STATEMENT OF MR. JOHN D. ONG, CHAIRMAN, NEW AMERICAN SCHOOLS, ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA *

STATEMENT OF MS. BERNICE WHELCHEL, PRINCIPAL, CITY SPRINGS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, BALTIMORE, MARYLAND *

STATEMENT OF DR. FREDERIC HILDEBRAND, PRINCIPAL, VIENNA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, VIENNA, MARYLAND *

STATEMENT OF MR. SCOTT JONES, COORDINATOR OF STUDENT LEARNING, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION, MADISON, WISCONSIN *

APPENDIX A -- THE OPENING STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE BILL GOODLING, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA *

APPENDIX B -- THE WRITTEN STATEMENT OF DR. REBECCA S. HERMAN, RESEARCH ANALYST, AMERICAN INSTITUTES FOR RESEARCH, WASHINGTON, DC *

APPENDIX C -- THE WRITTEN STATEMENT OF MR. JOHN D. ONG, CHAIRMAN, NEW AMERICAN SCHOOLS, ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA *

APPENDIX D -- THE WRITTEN STATEMENT OF MS. BERNICE WHELCHEL, PRINCIPAL, CITY SPRINGS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, BALTIMORE, MARYLAND *

APPENDIX E -- THE WRITTEN STATEMENT OF DR. FREDERIC HILDEBRAND, PRINCIPAL, VIENNA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, VIENNA, MARYLAND *

APPENDIX F -- MR. SCOTT JONES, COORDINATOR OF STUDENT LEARNING, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION, STATE OF WISCONSIN, MADISON, WISCONSIN *

 

 

Committee on Education and the Workforce

Hearing on "Comprehensive School Reform: Current Status and Issues"

2175 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, July 13, 1999

The committee met at 1:30 p.m. in Room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building, the Honorable William H. Goodling, chairman of the committee, presiding.

Majority Present: Representatives Petri, Roukema, Barrett, Hoekstra, McKeon, Talent, Norwood, Hillerary, Ehlers, Tancredo, Fletcher, DeMint, and Isakson.

Minority Present: Representatives Clay, Kildee, Owens, Payne, Andrews, Roemer, Scott, Woolsey, Romero-Barcelo, Fattah, McCarthy, Tierney, Kind, Ford, Kucinich and Wu.

Committee Staff Present: Linda Castleman, Office Manager, Pamela Davidson, Legislative Assistant, Cindy Herrle, Professional Staff Member, Vic Klatt, Education Policy Coordinator, Dan Lara, Press Secretary, Michael Reynard, Media Assistant, and Kent Talbert, Professional Staff Member.

Chairman Goodling. The Committee will come to order.

I'll do my opening statement and introduce the witnesses and hopefully by that time, some of my colleagues will have joined us other than Mr. Petri.

Our hearing today is another step forward in the authorization process for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act [ESEA]. This is our fourth hearing on Title I. Back in April, we had a hearing on the National Assessment of Title I; in May, Even Start and family literacy; in June, we focused on some of the key issues in Title I, Part A, and today we will be looking at the Comprehensive School Reform grant program.

While this program has only been in existence for about a year-and-a-half, the concepts underlying it have been around much longer. The Comprehensive School Reform grants were written into the fiscal year 1998 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill, and the first grants were made in July of 1998.

However, the major concepts of Comprehensive School Reform: utilizing reliable research, effective practices, basic academics and parental involvement have been with us for several years. It was only in 1998 that a separate program was set up. In fact, schoolwide projects under Title I have already been incorporating these concepts.

With schoolwides, individual schools with 50 percent or more poverty are able to combine their regular Title I money with other ESEA funds and use those funds to serve all students in the school. The emphasis is on improving the whole school.

Under schoolwides, the principals and administrators must develop a comprehensive plan for reforming the total instructional program of the school, much like the Comprehensive School Reform grant program, so there are several parallels.

As we think ahead on what should go into a Title I bill, we will be considering how schoolwides and the Comprehensive School Reform program are alike and different, whether there is any unnecessary overlap and duplication, and what changes, if any, should be made.

When the Comprehensive School Reform legislation was first passed, the appropriations conference report stressed that schools are not restricted to using only those approaches identified by the Department, but are free to develop their own reform programs based on rigorous research and meeting certain criteria, including using proven methods for teaching and learning and providing high-quality teacher and staff training.

I agree with that view.

Schools should not be required to adopt ``one-size-fits-all'' models of reform. They should be free to adopt the curriculum portions of one model, the governance portions of another, or something developed entirely at the local level, as long as it fits with the criteria.

We have a wonderful plane of witnesses with us today.

We'll hear from the American Institutes for Research about a recent study they did on several Comprehensive School Reform models. We'll also hear from the New American Schools, an umbrella organization under which several reform models have been developed. Then we'll hear from a representative of the Direct Instruction model, the Core Knowledge model, and then a representative from the Wisconsin Department of Education.

In just a few minutes, I will have a detailed introduction of each of our witnesses.

At this time, I would yield to anyone else who has an opening statement.

See Appendix A for the Opening Statement of Chairman Bill Goodling

 

[No response.]

Chairman Goodling. Having no requests for time for opening statements, usually I have to do the opposite and say, to save time, that we'll place your statements in the record. Let me quickly then introduce the panel.

Dr. Rebecca Herman. Dr. Herman is a research analyst with the American Institutes for Research, a private, non-profit corporation that provides various research-related services to governmental and private sector clients. She was the project manager for a study entitled ``An Educator's Guide To School Reform.'' That model evaluated existing research in 24 different Comprehensive School Reform models.

Dr. John D. Ong is Chairman of the Board of the New American Schools Corporation, a private, non-profit corporation based in Arlington, Virginia. The mission of the New American Schools organization is to help teachers and school administrators implement various models of Comprehensive School Reform. NAS has been a catalyst for Comprehensive School Reform over the past few years, and is the umbrella organization under which several school reform models have been developed. Mr. Ong also serves as Chairman Emeritus of the B.F. Goodrich Corporation, and has served as a former chairman of the Business Roundtable of the National Alliance of Business and the Ohio Business Roundtable.

Ms. Bernice Whelchel is the Principal of City Springs Elementary School in Baltimore, Maryland, and has been an educator in the Baltimore City schools for 28 years. City Springs Elementary School utilizes the direct instruction school reform model, a highly-structured reading, language and mathematics program. The primary goal of direct instruction is to improve academic performance so that the fifth grade students are at least a year-and-a-half beyond grade level.

Dr. Fred Hildebrand is the Principal of Vienna Elementary School in Vienna, Maryland, which was honored as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence last year. The Vienna Elementary School utilizes the Core Knowledge School Reform model that focuses on teaching a common core of concepts and skills that characterize and culturally literate and educated individual. The purpose of Core Knowledge is to increase academic performance, as demonstrated on national and state norms and criterion reference tests, to help narrow the gap between low- and high-performing students and to build consensus among teachers, parents, and administrators.

Mr. Scott Jones is coordinator of student learning in the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Madison, Wisconsin.

When Representative Kind arrives, he'll complete that introduction.

Mr. Clay?

Mr. Clay. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm sorry that I was a few minutes late. I will ask unanimous consent to insert my statement in the record.

Chairman Goodling. So ordered.

The Committee did not receive a copy of Representative Bill Clay's Opening Statement

 

Mr. Clay. I just want to say I'm pleased that you've called this hearing. I'm happy to be here and look forward to the testimony from the witnesses today.

Chairman Goodling. Very good, if you'll gather round the table. If they don't have your names on the back, it's Dr. Herman, Mr. Ong, Ms. Whelchel, Dr. Hildebrand, and Mr. Jones.

Mr. Kind, would you like to do that introduction, now? I saved the introduction for you.

Mr. Kind. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm sorry I'm a little bit tardy.

It is with great pride and joy that I get to introduce today, Mr. Scott Jones, an employee of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. He's been there since 1996 and he's the coordinator of the student learning at the Wisconsin Department.

His primary responsibility is the implementation of the Comprehensive School Reform programs that we have taking place across the state, as well as the ESEA programs.

We in Wisconsin, Mr. Chairman, are quite proud of some of the progress that we're seeing in the public education system. There are a lot of creative and innovative reforms that are being implemented right now. We also recognize there's still a lot of work to be done.

I look forward to working with Mr. Jones and Mr. Benson, the superintendent of public schools in the State of Wisconsin, in forming partnerships on how to do that. I certainly look forward to your testimony here today, and I welcome you to the Committee. Thanks for coming.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Chairman Goodling. Thank you, Mr. Kind.

We'll start with Dr. Herman. Your entire text will be included in the record. You can summarize. When you're all finished, we'll get to asking some questions.

Dr. Herman?

 

STATEMENT OF DR. REBECCA S. HERMAN, RESEARCH ANALYST, AMERICAN INSTITUTES FOR RESEARCH, WASHINGTON, D.C.

 

Dr. Herman. Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to speak before you today.

I am Rebecca Herman and I am here to share the findings from an Educator's Guide to Schoolwide Reform, which is a recent report developed by the American Institutes for Research.

The Guide was sponsored by five national education associations. It's an unusual coalition. The American Association of School Administrators, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Association of Secondary School Principals, and National Education Association. The Guide profiles 24 of the most prominent comprehensive school reform models in the country.

I'd like to touch today on three areas: what the Guide contributes and why it was necessary; how we collected and analyzed the information on school reform; and the findings. This Guide is important because it provides critical information at just the right time. Public schooling is at an historic juncture.

On the one hand, there's unprecedented support for Comprehensive School Reform, and on the other hand, there's a growing body of research about what works in school reform. Unfortunately, there's so much information of such varying quality from so many different sources, that it's difficult for schools to pull together all of this information in order to make informed decisions about school reform.

Our job with this project was to develop fair criteria for sorting out this information and to report it in a way that makes it useful for the average busy school teacher or administrator.

This critical review also offers a standard for judging the quality of school reform research. While it's not the only possible standard, it opens the discussion of research-based reform to a new level, from does it have potential, to what constitutes strong evidence of effects.

The Guide provides five kinds of information for each of the reform approaches; a description of each reform approach; a rating of the evidence of effects on student achievement; implementation information, cost information, and contact information. Much of this information is summarized in a table in the overview, a two-page table.

The greatest emphasis in this project was on reviewing research on effects. AIR reviewed the available research on student achievement in two stages. First, we critically reviewed each study for methodological rigor. We looked at criteria such as the size and the duration of the study, or whether the study used control groups. After reviewing all of the studies, AIR assigned each reform approach an overall rating of evidence of effects on student achievement.

The rating was based on two factors; on the number of studies that met this minimum criteria of methodological rigor, and on the effects that we found in these studies.

The Guide provides four types of information on implementation; a rating for the support that developers provide schools, and that's in the overview table; a description of the critical steps necessary to implement the approach; a summary of the scope of implementation; and implementation issues and solutions.

The Guide also provides an estimate of the cost of the first year of implementation for each of these approaches. We estimated costs using a common criteria school of 500 students and 25 teachers, and using a standard salary for school staff. The intent is that you could look across programs to see how expensive they would be. I'd like to summarize the findings in these three areas; effects, implementation, and cost.

As I mentioned, one of the most important contributions the Guide makes is to evaluate and to summarize the evidence of effects that these reform approaches have on student achievement. We found that one-third of the programs have enough data to be fairly confident that these programs will work well in most situations. Another third of the programs have just begun to amass these data. Finally, the jury is still out on a third of the programs, most of which are too new to have collected much evidence of effects.

The age of the reform model seems to matter. Some models are new and have little evidence, and older models tend to have more evidence, but this is not universally true.

We found that no single type of reform seemed stronger in inducing achievement than another. For example, some highly- structured prescripted reform approaches did very well, and some philosophy-based reforms did well. Some primary school reforms did well and some secondary school reforms did well.

In terms of implementation, in general, the reform model developers support implementation well. Twenty-two of the 24 approaches have promising or strong support for the schools, and these findings are encouraging because research suggested schools need support in order to fully implement the reforms successfully.

Costs vary widely among the approaches. Depending on the models, schools might expect costs to run from $12,000 to $588,000 for the first year. That includes all expenses the school might incur. In most cases, the expenses to the school will actually be lower as funds are reallocated from existing programs or if the school has access to existing resources.

I'd like to conclude by calling attention to the fact that a growing number of schools are adopting schoolwide reforms. As the number of schools interested in schoolwide reforms continues to grow, it is especially important to provide high quality information about the effects of these programs.

In addition, as the number of schools attempting to implement schoolwide reforms expands, it's important to ensure the developers can continue to provide high quality support for schools. Developers may find ways to expand the number of schools they're working with while they maintain the quality of their support.

Finally, for most of the schoolwide approaches we studied, the first year or two of implementation does require costs beyond the regular school budget. As the number of schools interested in schoolwide reform expands, it's important to ensure that the resources are available to cover these implementation costs.

Thank you.

See Appendix B for the Written Statement of Dr. Rebecca S. Herman

 

Chairman Goodling. I forgot to announce, when I used to go around teaching Sunday school, they said they had a first bell, and the first bell meant slow up, the second bell meant shut up, or the first bell meant slow down, and the second bell meant sit down.

We have a yellow light that tells you to slow up, and a red light that tells you to stop. We don't hold you tightly to that, but stay as close as you can.

I must go across the hall and vote on an international affairs vote that's occurring at this time. Mr. Petri will reside over the chair while I'm gone.

Mr. Petri.

Mr. Ong, you may present your testimony.

 

STATEMENT OF MR. JOHN D. ONG, CHAIRMAN, NEW AMERICAN SCHOOLS, ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA

 

Mr. Ong. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

New American Schools is a private, non-profit, nonpartisan corporation which was formed in 1991, which has helped to fund the creation and start-up of a number of Comprehensive School Reform designs that are being used today in over 1700 schools in 47 states.

The mission of New American Schools is to raise student achievement dramatically. We seek to accomplish this through partnerships with school districts as well as individual public and charter schools, using research-based designs and sustained consulting assistance strategies.

Experience has shown me that the elements of operating a successful company are pretty similar to those of operating a successful school. You set high goals and expectations. You provide high-quality training and resources to your people, and you make sure that the teams of people who are accountable for results also have the economy and resources to take the actions necessary to achieve those results.

This common sense model has transformed American business over the past several decades. The legislation that you passed two years ago, the Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration Program, embodies these same business principles and has the potential, over time, to transform American education in a similar manner. The good news is that your legislation is making a positive difference in the lives of many students throughout the country. About 1200 schools have received awards and an additional one thousand are going to be added soon, I understand, to fund the start-up costs of implementing a research-based school design.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. We know now, from state and school reports, that the process of applying for these awards is, in itself, a significant school improvement activity. In short, there is a ripple effect of CSRDP that is reaching thousands of additional schools. Good things are happening. We are learning a great deal about how to redesign schools at some level of scale and we're continuing to see measurable gains in student achievement.

Our experience at New American Schools certainly indicates that continued and sustained execution of a comprehensive school reform program shows greater and greater improvement in student performance over time, and the longer the program goes forward, the more effective that is indicated. It's also clear, however, that there are a lot of challenges that remain. This is the right direction for our country, it's a sensible strategy to pursue.

One way we at New American Schools are modeling continuous improvement is by drafting rigorous standards for Comprehensive School Reform organizations that are affiliated with us. Initially we worked with eleven school reform designs. We currently work with only seven, although we are in discussion with some others that may join us. We want to work with and support only the best designs as indicated by results.

Based on our experience over the past eight years, New American Schools has three recommendations for you, Mr. Chairman, and your Committee.

First, scale up at a measured pace, the Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration Program. It's a promising approach to moving research into practice for a large number of American schools.

Secondly, make the investments needed to evaluate thoroughly the effects of Comprehensive School Reform models on both the quality of teaching and the level of student learning, and to understand better the most effective strategies for implementing research-based programs at scale.

Third, increase the level of investment in the most promising research-based design teams, building a strong national infrastructure to support continuous improvement in America's schools. And wherever possible, use public/private partnerships to manage this investment strategy.

I know that as you grapple with reauthorization of this legislation, you're probably asking is there a more effective way to move research about learning into practice at the school and in the classroom. Research shows that Comprehensive School Reform models that integrate curricular reform, high-quality professional development, meaningful parent and community involvement, and businesslike management principles can raise student achievement. And, yes, there is a way to move research effectively into practice. We call it design-based assistance. Design-based assistance organizations take the best research on teaching and learning available, turn it into a Comprehensive School Reform model. These models provide individual schools with meaningful choices and the assistance needed to improve their performance. The design-based assistance team develops, tests, and continually refines the Comprehensive School Reform model.

Finally, the design-based assistance team works intensively with real schools and their personnel to implement and adapt the model. A national strategy for Comprehensive School Reform combines the value of a tested model, the expertise of an experienced technical assistance team, and the energy of the local school personnel empowered with responsibility and decision-making authority. Most states are clearly moving in the direction of raising academic standards, asking more of their schools, and demanding greater accountability for staff performance and student achievement. This surely will fuel even greater demand for reforms and for Comprehensive School Reform models.

As you consider reauthorization, you need to ask yourselves, how will the 16,000 Title I schools, using a schoolwide approach, identify what they need, gain access to research-based findings, and change classroom practice for the better? Does every school in American have to create a new reform model? Is that realistic or efficient?

We think not. The New American Schools Comprehensive School Reform approach provides schools with choices, maintains local control, offers a market-based response to local needs, emphasizes research-based practice, and aligns quality professional development with the local school district's curriculum and standards.

We support only those design-based teams that continue to produce real results for children, adding and subtracting designs based on on-going evaluation results. We urge Congress, therefore, to invest in evaluation of Comprehensive School Reform models and implementation assistance. This evaluation should result in an annual consumer report on Comprehensive School Reform assistance providers, enabling schools and communities to base their decisions on the very best information available.

Our experience, which the Rand Corporation has documented at length, clearly points to the fact that a sound educational program is necessary, but not sufficient, to transform schools. As the American Institute of Research report highlights, design teams must also possess the organizational structure and capacity to work with large numbers of schools in a highly effective and replicable way. This point leads me to urge Congress also to invest in building the capacity of existing Comprehensive School Reform organizations that can demonstrate results.

Thank you very much.

See Appendix C for the Written Statement of Mr. Jon D. Ong

 

Mr. Petri: [Presiding]. Thank you, Mr. Ong.

Ms. Whelchel?

 

STATEMENT OF MS. BERNICE WHELCHEL, PRINCIPAL, CITY SPRINGS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, BALTIMORE, MARYLAND

 

Ms. Whelchel. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

At City Springs Elementary School, which is located in one of the poorest public housing sections in Baltimore City, we believe that if the child failed to learn, the teacher failed to teach. Typically students as disadvantaged as ours score below the 20th percentile on standardized reading tests, but last fall, our first graders tested in the 48th percentile in reading.

Since we began using Direct Instruction in 1996, our attendance rate has risen to 97 percent, and the number of disciplinary office referrals dropped from the hundreds to below 30. We believe that if we continue to use Direct Instruction, or DI, we will continue to see students succeed in a school where they are proud of their learning.

Although many programs are now jumping on the bandwagon and claiming to be research-based, Direct Instruction is one of only two elementary school programs that has a solid body of research supporting it. We implemented the DI model of school reform in 1996 because our children were not learning. The Maryland School Performance Assessment indicated in 1994 that fewer than two percent of third and fifth graders were reading at a satisfactory level, fewer than seven percent were writing at satisfactory level, no students were using language or performing mathematics at a satisfactory level.

Further, attendance was low, the students were hostile and disruptive, and there was an atmosphere of hopelessness. The school desperately needed to be turned around. And when the Baltimore Curriculum Project offered to help us implement the research-based curriculum, we accepted.

DI is a powerful tool that helps ensure that students and teachers can make the best use of the learning environment by giving them the practices that do work, and the support to make sure the tools are being properly used. Full implementation of DI requires the cooperation of all members of the school, and help from specially trained DI consultants, who help the school implement DI correctly.

Although City Springs is a comprehensive Title I school, we have received a grant from the Abell Foundation that pays for consultants and books that the City does not cover.

Funding from Title I supports DI by allowing us to hire more teachers and staff, thereby decreasing the size of the instructional groups, especially in the primary grades. Title I funding is also used to support the breakfast and lunch programs in which more than 90 percent of the student population participates.

To implement DI effectively, we group students by ability, which includes both previous knowledge and the speed of mastery of new knowledge, to teach them reading, language, mathematics, and spelling. Since these groupings sometimes involve students from different classes and different grades, the same subjects are taught at the same time in all classrooms.

The lessons are scripted and give teachers a clear guide of how to measure student progress and acquisition of knowledge. Almost all class time is spent in student/teacher interaction and all mistakes are corrected immediately before incorrect learning takes place. Within each lesson, students are tested on their knowledge, and the lesson does not progress unless students demonstrate the appropriate knowledge. Students do not move to the next lesson unless they demonstrate appropriate mastery of each lesson.

Since we have implemented DI and created a rewarding learning environment, our school climate has improved. Students do not become frustrated and act out because their work is based on their reading levels and their levels of learning.

When we implemented DI, we also implemented an effective behavior management plan that stresses positive reinforcement. Students are on- task almost all the time, hallways are free of disruption, disciplinary referrals are down, and attendance is above 97 percent.

Although we were warned that it might take up to five years to see results in test scores, our test scores have begun to show improvement already. More than 40 percent of fifth graders, and more than 20 percent of third graders are performing at or above the satisfactory standard in language on the Maryland School Performance Assessment.

Reading, writing, and mathematics scores have also shown gains. We are proud of the success we have had so far and we are looking forward to seeing more of our students succeed. DI has been shown time and time again to be effective with students of different backgrounds and different IQs, but it cannot work miracles. It cannot eliminate the negative effect mobility has on students' performance. It cannot take students who are reading far below grade level for years, and give them three years of reading instruction in one year. It requires hard work and commitment from teachers, students, and staff. However, with dedication, it can teach all children how to read. It can produce the test scores that prove it.

City Springs is well on its way to becoming another DI success story like Wesley Elementary School in Texas, which serves an impoverished population one percent of whom can pass the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills in reading.

Thank you.

See Appendix D for the Written Statement of Ms. Bernice Whelchel

 

 

Chairman Goodling. Dr. Hildebrand.

 

STATEMENT OF DR. FREDERIC HILDEBRAND, PRINCIPAL, VIENNA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, VIENNA, MARYLAND

 

Dr. Hildebrand. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

As Mr. Goodling pointed out, I'm privileged to be the Principal of a small elementary school in rural Dorchester County on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Since 1994, we have followed the Core Knowledge sequence that comprises about half of what we teach at Vienna Elementary School.

We became interested in Core Knowledge after I heard a speech by Dr. E.D. Hirsch, and after being encouraged by the Maryland State Department of Education to seek a grant to assist in its implementation at our school. My staff, after reading about Core Knowledge and talking to teachers from Core Knowledge schools elsewhere in the country, voted unanimously to pursue the grant which led to our becoming one of the six schools in the State of Maryland to pilot the Core Knowledge sequence.

My teachers are so excited about the Core Knowledge sequence in fact that two of the staff members decided to put off retirement in order to be a part of the Core Knowledge implementation. Using funds from the grant, we purchased materials and obtained substitute teachers so that the staff could meet each month to write lesson plans and coordinate their teaching units.

That first summer, 1994, the teachers met several times to lay out their scope and sequence for the coming school year. They also selected research materials to supplement what we had in our small school library. My charge to the staff was to have their overall plan for the entire year, as well as detailed daily lesson plans for the month of September, by the end of that summer. Throughout the 1994-95 school year, my teachers were given two days each month, using substitute teachers in their classrooms, to firm up lesson plans for each succeeding month.

The Core Knowledge sequence is what I call the backbone of our school's curriculum. Core Knowledge provides a specific plan of content upon which each teacher puts his or her own unique imprint.

There's no question about what is taught at each grade level. The teachers have a lot of latitude, however, as to how the content is taught. On any day, one will see Core Knowledge topics carefully and thoughtfully integrated throughout the school day. Core Knowledge content is used as a vehicle for teaching of the Three ``Rs''.

Since we at Vienna Elementary School met with such success using Core Knowledge sequence, our whole county has implemented Core Knowledge in all of our elementary and middle schools. For this implementation, Title I funds were used to purchase materials for each school and provide training for the teachers.

Over the past four school years, Vienna Elementary School has enjoyed impressive gains in student achievement. In fact, again as Mr. Goodling mentioned, we have been designated a national blue ribbon school by the United States Department of Education for this past school year. In the past two years, we have exceeded state standards on several categories of the state's standardized tests.

I'm sure that our involvement in the Core Knowledge sequence played a significant part in our success. However, it's difficult to determine the extent of this influence. One noticeable factor since our involvement in the Core Knowledge sequence has been teacher, parent, and community enthusiasm involvement and support for our school.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

See Appendix E for the Written Statement of Dr. Frederic Hildebrand

 

Chairman Goodling. Thank you, Dr. Hildebrand.

Mr. Jones?

 

STATEMENT OF MR. SCOTT JONES, COORDINATOR OF STUDENT LEARNING, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION, MADISON, WISCONSIN

 

Mr. Jones. Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, thank you for inviting me to testify today about the Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration program.

Comprehensive School Reform provides incentives for schools to undertake a research-based program to improve the entire school. This program is one of the most exciting initiatives to come to Wisconsin schools recently.

Under the leadership of State Superintendent John Benson, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and local schools have been proactively engaged in Comprehensive School Reform efforts since December 1997. Wisconsin's program has sparked an incredible amount of interest and energy for improving Wisconsin's schools. The legislation aligns well with our school improvement framework. For example, the legislation allows schools the flexibility to identify their needs, goals, and then select a reform design based on research that addresses those needs and goals.

As Wisconsin has been engaged in implementing this program, many of the materials related to the research were developed and compiled by the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, and have been disseminated statewide. Also, the legislation focuses on schools with the greatest needs, such as our Title I schools; encourages a balance between our rural and urban schools, as well as between elementary and secondary school levels; and promotes a focus on Wisconsin's Model Academic Standards.

As we have been working with our first-year funded schools, this flexibility has contributed to the encouraging responses we are receiving from schools and districts.

The needs and goals of the districts and schools vary greatly and so do the designs that they have implemented. For example, in rural northeastern Wisconsin, the Florence County School District had already developed a standards-based, student-centered curriculum but needed to go to the next step to apply that curriculum in the classroom.

According to Superintendent Gerry Gerard, their High Scope design is definitely meeting their needs.

At Lincoln Elementary School in Eau Claire, the staff began looking at ways to improve their school three years ago. The school has used its program funds in conjunction with other federal, state, and local resources to implement their Success for All reform design with a focus on improving academic achievement in the area of reading.

In rural St. Croix Falls, Superintendent Mike Cox had already begun a major initiative to bring more technology to the classroom, but a need existed to build on that strong technology foundation and improve classroom instruction at both the middle and high school levels. Their Co-NECT design was well-suited to meet their needs. Wilson Elementary School in Kenosha was one of the lowest performing schools in the district. Parent involvement was poor, students' test scores were low, and staff were dissatisfied with the school. However, under the leadership of their principal, Mr. Milton Thompson, teachers are embracing their reform design, students have high expectations placed on them, parents are becoming involved, and the professional development for teachers has been restructured so that it's high-quality and ongoing. This year, the school will be incorporating Direct Instruction to address the core academic subjects.

In Madison, Mrs. Sue Ablanalp, principal of Lowell Elementary School, which is one of the most culturally diverse schools in the district, has analyzed ten years of student data to identify what the true needs of her school are. She and her staff have designed a reform program in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin-Madison so that it directly addresses the needs of all of their students, including limited English proficient and special education students.

These reform efforts in Wisconsin are not top-down mandates, but rather have been effectively initiated as a collaborative effort between teachers, administrators, and parents. Milwaukee's Juneau High School started planning their reform efforts three to four years ago, when teachers began talking about how they could improve their teaching and increase student achievement. With support from the district and Dr. Melanie Moore, the principal, the school has been restructuring their school calendar and developing curriculum and courses that will meet the needs of their urban high school population.

This year, we have seen schools re-energized; students have begun to achieve in their core academic subjects; a common vision and purpose developed within schools; a restructuring of professional development for school staff; and parents and communities involved. For example, I have interviewed a number of teachers who are close to retirement but who have decided to stay due to the results that their reform efforts have created. Although there is much more work to do, we are excited and are willing to accept the challenges to improve the academic achievement of Wisconsin students, and our continuing evaluation of the program's implementation and effectiveness.

Thank you.

See Appendix E for the Written Statement of Mr. Scott Jones

 

Chairman Goodling. Thank you very much.

I'll try to get three quick questions in during my time.

First of all, Dr. Herman, I'm assuming that the question marks on your evaluation sheet primarily indicate that you didn't have enough evidence to really determine how well or poorly they may have been doing.

Dr. Herman. Correct. The question marks identify programs for which there are no strong studies. Now, there may be some studies, but they didn't have our methodological criteria, so we couldn't report those out.

Chairman Goodling. And then if it's a quarter moon, does that mean you did have the evidence, and you didn't think they did very well?

Or you also didn't have very much evidence?

Dr. Herman. It means that there's not a lot of evidence, and what evidence there is mixed.

Chairman Goodling. And if you are lucky enough to get a full moon, you not only have a lot of evidence, but it also showed a lot of achievement?

Dr. Herman. Yes, sir.

Chairman Goodling. Thank you.

My second question is, if you were sitting up here and you were authorizing Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, what would be number one on your wish list?

What is it you think we should do? What should we improve? What should we eliminate?

Everybody has an opportunity to speak up.

Mr. Ong. I'll be happy to respond to that.

Initially, I think that the most important thing is to move as much of the federal funding under the statute as is possible to support design-based, research-based programs and organizations that can assist school districts at the local level.

It's important, I think, that schools be given a lot of choice in terms of what model they use. We've heard about several today, and there are a number of others. But I think it's very important that the strategy of having research-based and monitored programs using these funds is essential.

I think in that way, the good work that was done with your demonstration program legislation a couple of years ago is going to be greatly expanded, and that of course is the name of the game. It's not hard to reform one school, to improve one school. The real challenge is to improve all schools in all the school districts across the country.

Chairman Goodling. Does anybody else want to take a shot at answering that question?

Dr. Hildebrand. I would agree with Mr. Ong.

But also agree with you, Mr. Chairman in that schools should be given choice, not just choice of a select few programs, but even to devise their own programs.

Chairman Goodling. Ms. Whelchel, how long have you been involved in your program? How long has your school been involved?

Ms. Whelchel. Since 1996.

Chairman Goodling. '96?

Ms. Whelchel. Yes.

Chairman Goodling. You may have mentioned attendance improved?

Ms. Whelchel. Yes. Before we started Direct Instruction, our attendance was around 80 percent. Since we have implemented DI, our attendance is around 97 percent.

Chairman Goodling. The enthusiasm of teachers has improved?

Ms. Whelchel. Yes, it has. Everyone is excited, including every child from pre-K all the way up to the fifth grade.

Chairman Goodling. My last question, and I'm assuming that in all your programs, teacher preparation before you begin is paramount, and also assistance, as they go through the program.

Ms. Whelchel. Yes, especially with DI, we have at least two weeks of training before school starts every year. And we emphasize a lot of practice sessions throughout the week in small group settings for all teachers.

Chairman Goodling. Dr. Herman, teacher preparation, if some of these didn't get full moons, and only got quarter moons, or half moons, was that part of the problem that the instructional staff was not properly prepared for the effort?

Dr. Herman. That's a very good question. We didn't analyze whether that influenced the effectiveness of the programs, but we did talk a lot about the teacher preparation in the programs.

That's part of the rating that is the second set of moons under Support Developer provided schools. And we did notice that the developers that provided a lot of preparation at the beginning, as well as guidance in selecting the programs so the teachers were on board from the very beginning, those programs tended to do better.

Chairman Goodling. Mr. Clay?

Mr. Clay. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I would like to yield my time to Mr. Kind.

Mr. Kind. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you. I want to thank Mr. Clay too. I'm not sure how much longer I'm going to be able to stay before running off to the next meeting. But I do have a couple of questions.

First of all, Mr. Ong, I want to compliment you and New American Schools for the role that you've played in being able to spread the message of whole school reform throughout the country, and the role that you played in last year's budget discussions and getting Obey-Porter passed. I think that was one of the better pieces of the entire budget structure that was included in the last minute in the last session of Congress. I know your organization was very involved.

Let me just take a quick moment to embarrass a very good friend of mine who is also associated with you on your staff, seated behind you, Mary Anne Schmidt. She's been a dear friend for a very long time, and a trusted advisor and a tremendous resource for me in working through a lot of these programs, and I just wanted to acknowledge her presence here today.

I'm glad you mentioned Franklin Elementary School up in Eau Claire, a city in my district. I had an opportunity of visiting the school just about a month, month-and-a-half ago, and was extremely impressed with the implementation of Success For All and how that has taken off, not just the enthusiasm that I detected from the staff and the principal, the teachers who all have bought into this concept, and the excitement that I saw in the kids' eyes regarding the program, but the community enthusiasm for the program.

There's a tremendous amount of parental involvement with it as well, and it was just very impressive seeing how that is working firsthand back in Wisconsin, and the success that they've already experienced with that program.

One of the things I'm concerned about, though, and you can address this but I certainly leave this open to the other witnesses as well, was my impression is that we had a very good principal in place up in Franklin Elementary School who did a tremendous amount of self-education and research in regards to a variety of programs that could work well for that elementary school. And my sense is that it's one of the key components to schools applying for and receiving Obey-Porter grant money is how knowledgeable the administrators and the principals in particular are as far as the programs that exist, the research that exists out there already, and how to go after that.

I'm wondering, since we have a professional development bill coming up to the floor next week, I had some language drafted for that bill that would emphasize more not just teacher quality and professional development, but principal and administrative professional development. One aspect of that was educational programs for Comprehensive School Reform.

I was just wondering how important that component of all this is, having the principals and the superintendents educated on these programs?

Mr. Jones. Mr. Chairman and Congressman Kind, with regard to that, two weeks ago, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, along with our north central regional lab, sponsored a leadership academy for our comprehensive reform schools, and it was directly because of this issue of, we have trained teachers, we're training parents, we're changing the way we're teaching, but many of our principals and school administrators are new to this, to the ideas of school reform, and they too need assistance.

And as we have been evaluating our schools in the first year, we saw that as a need. And I have actually talked to them about their needs, and I think they would be very receptive to a special program, a federally-funded program that would assist principals in obtaining more professional development on how to use data, how do you make stronger connections with parents and community, how do you really make changes in the classroom.

Mr. Kind. And I realize that with DPI, back in Wisconsin, you really have had that outreach effort with the principals and administrators throughout the state.

But maybe Ms. Whelchel and Dr. Hildebrand, you could possibly touch upon your own experience in regards to the programs and how you came up to speed on it and your knowledge surrounding them?

Ms. Whelchel. Thank you.

Well, with the knowledge that I got up front before we started DI, I went to the University of Oregon to a conference, and learned the implementation model, and I thought that that was very important for a principal to do. Because in order to monitor a program, you need to have a lot of knowledge about it, and you need to work with the teachers also, and parents need to be involved with the programs too.

Mr. Kind. Dr. Hildebrand?

Dr. Hildebrand. I found that it not only makes myself more aware of various programs, especially the one that we're involved in, the Core Knowledge sequence, but teacher training is very critical.

To that end, we have sent our staff to every one of the Core Knowledge conferences since we've become involved. Many of my teachers have actually made presentations at those national conferences across the country. So, yes, it is very critical to understand the programs before you begin.

Mr. Kind. Thank you.

Dr. Herman, may I quickly with what remaining time we have available, ask you if you've been able to collect any data in regard to the distribution of Obey-Porter grant money from urban versus rural areas. I have a tremendously large, rural congressional district, and I've noticed that there are a lot of rural school districts that could certainly benefit from this type of assistance and programming, but really haven't participated in or taken advantage of it thus far.

Dr. Herman. I'm afraid we didn't do any evaluations of how the money was distributed. I know that there are some evaluations in progress of Obey-Porter, and I believe that that's an element.

In here, we talk about the different programs, and where there was research on whether the program worked well in the urban or rural setting. We reported those findings.

And so where there's evidence in any studies, it's in detailed appendices in the back, but there's not a lot of evidence out there.

Mr. Kind. Thank you.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Chairman Goodling. Mr. Petri?

Mr. Petri. Thank you all for your testimony.

I guess I have a question for Mr. Ong, but others might want to comment on it, and that is I'm trying to figure out exactly the nature of the problem.

You were head of a corporation that operated internationally, and the American school system, at least when you get into the college and university systems, is very competitive in that hundreds of thousands of people come from all over the world here, and we run a huge payroll balance of payments, if you will, to the education account. So American education internationally is extremely competitive. In fact, we chastise ourselves that there are more foreigners than Americans going into it, but that's a credit to the American system.

I know people who work at the Japanese Embassy and so on, send their kids to American public schools and think they are far superior to anything that's available to their own kids in Japan. These are professional Japanese people. So is the American system a disaster or is it just that we should be getting better?

Have you looked at other countries that we should be emulating? Are we flagellating ourselves just in an effort to be even better? Or do we have a systematic problem, or just sort of a problem in certain areas in our educational system?

Mr. Ong. I think I would respond in this way.

The American education system is a marvelous institution which, in my judgment, probably contributed more than any other single institution to the growth and success of this country beginning in its very beginnings in the early part of the 19th century.

So we have a tremendous record of accomplishment. The public education system, to a large degree, made the United States what it is today, allowed it to integrate millions of immigrants from various parts of the world into our society, and make them productive workers and responsible citizens.

So we don't have anything, in a sense, to be ashamed about in our heritage, and I don't think it's possible to characterize the whole system, which is basically a local- and state-controlled system, by a single word, by saying it's a disaster. It's clearly not that.

There's a wide variety of capability among American schools, individual schools, school districts, state school systems, but I think it is by the same token true that the public educational system has not kept up over the last perhaps 30 or 40 years with changes in our society, with the realities of the way people work together, the way children are raised. The whole nature of society has changed dramatically since World War II, and I think we have a system that was very successful, and the more successful an institution, the less amenable it is very often to change.

So I think we've seen that precisely in this system, but there was enough deterioration in results that by ten or 15 years ago, large parts of the leadership community in this country, people here in the Congress, the business leadership in the private sector, many people in state government, many people within the educational system itself, began to realize there was a need for a very dramatic change in many respects, and I think that's what we're seeing today.

This is not a disaster. This is a great set of institutions, if you will, that needs to be brought into the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the next one.

Mr. Petri. Thank you.

You're basically recommending, as I understand it in your testimony, in this program that we've set up, that we focus on having adequate funding and having quality research teams and avoiding garbage-in/garbage-out, having good evaluations so that competent school officials at the state and district level can select from that information and apply it?

Mr. Ong. Very much the case.

We think, as the Chairman had said, and several of my fellow panelists, that schools should be given a choice and that they should be able perhaps even to take a piece from various programs.

But we do feel there should be a quality control, if you will, on the choices that are available. It's not really necessary, for example, in the context of the schoolwide school, 16,000 odd of them in this country, for each of those schools to design its own wheel.

There ought to be a couple of wheel design kits out there that they can choose from, and it is in that way that we are sure that there will be a guaranteed level of effectiveness in the dollars that you invest in various parts of the system.

Obviously, I agree very much with Dr. Herman. There needs to be continued and continual, I will say, monitoring of the expenditure of these funds, of the execution of these school reform programs to make certain that they are modified, from time to time, as new research reveals better approaches, and that they are in fact achieving an improvement in student learning and in teacher effectiveness.

Mr. Petri. Thank you.

I guess my time is about expired.

The Chairman asked me to call given order of arrival. I guess Ms. McCarthy is next.

Ms. McCarthy. Thank you all for coming. It's been very interesting.

One of the things that I've been looking at, no one has actually been able to say how much improvement there has been. I think we are all looking to see what's the best thing for our young people, and as we go forward, what do you think is the most important thing that we hear who are going to be writing the laws and doing what we have to do to get this going.

What is the most important thing that we have to do to make sure that this is going forward?

Anybody?

Mr. Ong. I think there are several things.

First of all, I think it's your responsibility to see that federal funds are really a pump-priming thing for the system because, in the end, the bulk of the funding is going to have to come from the state and local level. But I think it's very critical, it has been very critical. Your demonstration program legislation in the last year-and-a- half has begun to prove that.

You prime the pump and I think the corollary responsibility on Congress' part is to see that those dollars are invested in effective programs, and that means that they should be programs which are research-based and have some track record. And since many of these programs are new, as Dr. Herman has pointed out in her study, she wasn't really able to evaluate them completely because they don't have a sufficient track record.

That's just a circumstance that we're faced with at this point in the effort. But I think you also need to provide funding to make sure that that kind of continuing evaluation is available.

There are not many funds available for that purpose now. I think the AIR report was probably a very good report, but it was a one-time thing. And we need to have continual monitoring and evaluation of these programs to see which ones will earn a full moon in another five or ten years.

I think it's very significant that, if I recall correctly, there were only three programs in your study that you felt had significant research-based evidence of effectiveness.

I'm happy to say one of those was an affiliate of the New American Schools, but it's also I think important that all three of those, I believe, had at least 12 years of running experience. They were some of the older programs that are around, and I think it's not accidental. I think that we will see many of these other programs, not all of them but many, demonstrate their effectiveness, but it's going to take continued evaluation to make sure that that happens.

Ms. McCarthy. Just one other question.

Do you think because we're trying something new, when you talk about the teachers being enthused about it and the students being enthused about it, one of the most important things, in my opinion, is trying to get parents involved again with schools.

Going back many years ago, parents were always involved in the school, and that's something that we're seeing, it's extremely hard to get parents involved in our schools. So do you think it's mainly because you're coming in with a new package and you're putting a shot of enthusiasm back into the teachers, back into the students?

I happen to think our students are so bright that they get bored too fast most of the time.

Ms. Whelchel. I think with DI, and looking at what we did before we jumped into the program with the research, to find out whether it fit for City Springs Elementary School, we included our parents in giving them the information about the program, and what it could do for their children.

As far as the teachers are concerned, or were concerned at that time, before we implemented the program, we went to various schools, one in Trenton, New Jersey, that was doing DI, and also Wesley Elementary School in Texas. And by giving them the opportunity to look at the research, to feel good about it, it gave all stakeholders a buy-in for the program. That's very important for a program to succeed.

Ms. McCarthy. Let me just follow up with that.

How involved were your parents before you implemented the program?

Ms. Whelchel. We had at least 25 percent of our parents, back when I became Principal of City Springs, involved with City Springs.

But because DI is so concentrated, and because we want to get the good news out on how well the children are succeeding, we have monthly meetings with our parents and our parental involvement is now around 45 percent.

Ms. McCarthy. Thank you.

Dr. Hildebrand. If I can kind of P.S. on what Ms. Whelchel has said?

There's no question that the student and teacher enthusiasm for the program has not influenced the parents. Our parent involvement and community involvement has increased substantially since we began the Core Knowledge sequence.

Ms. McCarthy. Thank you very much.

Chairman Goodling. Mr. DeMint?

Mr. DeMint. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Just a couple of questions.

Dr. Herman, just briefly, did any of your sponsoring organizations have any editorial oversight of this report, or is this purely independent on your part?

Dr. Herman. They had editorial oversight in terms of the language because we were gearing this toward a practitioner audience and in some cases they wanted us to tone down the research language, but not in terms of the content. The content was entirely independent, and we were selected through a competitive process, so it was an independent contract.

Mr. DeMint. Just a clarification to the whole panel here. As you know, often our debates here are about whether we should prescribe a program to local schools and attach our dollars to that program, or to just give dollars back to local schools and demand specific results.

I think what I've heard you say is, you're not suggesting that we select any of these particular programs and require local schools to follow it, but you are suggesting that we make available to local schools, all of this research plus any others we can find, and expect results. But as you said, Mr. Ong, to use this more as a catalyst, our money as a catalyst to drive the start of these, than to require a particular program.

Is that a fair assessment?

Mr. Ong. I think that's fair, yes.

Certainly the Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration Program legislation provides a very good model, in our judgment.

We would like to see that expanded in some way. There are various ways that can be done, but we're certainly not suggesting that the Congress mandate specific programs any more than we would suggest that you mandate particular standards. But we do suggest that there is a body of research-based approach to school reform out there, and that you should encourage local school districts to pursue one or the other of those programs as they may choose and find most effective.

Certainly in our experience of New American Schools, many of the large districts we work with have not chosen one of our affiliate's approach, they've chosen several, and they're using one approach in some schools, and another in other schools.

We think that choice at the district level, and even below the district level is good. We're simply saying that the programs that you support to the maximum degree possible ought to be programs that are in fact research-based, and that speak knowledgeably to reform of the curriculum, teacher development, which is very, very important, and to school governance.

Mr. Jones. Congressman, from the state perspective, we would agree with what you said, that we would not want to see the Congress mandate certain programs. There are a couple of reasons why.

One, if you look at the needs and the goals of our schools, they vary. The urban schools have such different needs than our rural schools, for example.

In addition, and it's more of a logistical question that I would have for the Committee, if you did mandate three, four, or five programs nationally, I would be concerned about their ability to scale up and to provide services nationally than if there were only three or four programs, and the schools were only supposed to select from these three or four.

So it would be a logistical question if the Congress did mandate certain programs.

Mr. DeMint. Thank you.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back.

Mr. Petri [Presiding]. Mr. Scott?

Mr. Scott. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Ms. Whelchel, how many students do you have in your school?

Ms. Whelchel. I presently have 357 students.

Mr. Scott. How many of those students do you know their names?

Ms. Whelchel. About two-thirds, and I say that because I'm in the classrooms all the time. I'm a hands-on principal.

Mr. Scott. Should most principals know the names of the majority of their students?

Ms. Whelchel. I feel that they should, and that's the way that you can make certain that your children are reaching their maximum potential.

Mr. Scott. Do most principals in fact know the majority of their students' names?

Ms. Whelchel. I can't speak for most principals, I can only speak for myself.

Mr. Scott. The Direct Instruction is that a copyrighted program that has to be purchased individually for each student?

Ms. Whelchel. It's put out by Sig Engelman from the University of Oregon. We purchase books through SRA.

Mr. Scott. It's a copyrighted, commercial program?

Ms. Whelchel. Yes.

Mr. Scott. I'll ask this to anybody.

It seems to me that there's some core elements in any successful plan that works. Has the research figured out what those core elements are?

The principal that knows the students' name, smaller class sizes? Are there core elements of programs that actually work that you see in all the successful programs, some common element?

Dr. Hildebrand. I think staff development is one of the very critical elements you'll find in all the successful programs.

Ms. Whelchel. I also believe that strict monitoring of the program, looking at the progress that the children are making, and also the progress that the teachers are making with the program are very important factors.

Mr. Jones. I'd also have to say that just having effective leaders, and they don't always have to be the school principal, they could be teachers or other individuals within the school, are also a key component of this.

Dr. Herman. There are a number of individual elements that are known to work with small children, such as small class sizes. There are a lot of disparate pieces, but one of the things that the Comprehensive School Room Demonstration program is that they should fit together into one, non-conflicting idea.

That the curriculum should be consistent, that the ideas in the curriculum for math should be consistent, for reading should be consistent across grades. And I think that's the unique thing about the comprehensive school reform demonstration program has to offer.

Mr. Scott. Dr. Herman, you mentioned some programs that are $12,000 reforms and some that are $588,000 reforms. What do you get for $12,000 and what do you get for $588,000?

Dr. Herman. The more expensive programs tend to have materials, they tend to have a lot more technical assistance, a lot more guidance.

For example, the $588,000 program is one that's very computer-intensive. And that's based on the assumption that schools will need to outfit the schools with hardware and software. Not all schools will need to do that, so those costs may be a little high, but they require materials and they require curriculum, and they provide these, along with technical assistance.

Mr. Scott. Do you get better results?

Dr. Herman. No, not necessarily, but spending more money does not necessarily get you better results, but giving more guidance, according to this and other research, does tend to get you better results.

Mr. Scott. Can you get much better results if in fact you spend more money? I mean, there may not be a direct correlation, but if someone's trying to spend $300,000 to $500,000 on a school, and somebody else is trying to do a job with $20,000 or $30,000, is it easier to do if you have more resources?

Dr. Herman. For exactly the same program, if you're spending more money and if you're spending it wisely, I would say yes.

Mr. Scott. Mr. Jones, how do you improve parental involvement?

Mr. Jones. We have a number of different schools that are doing a variety of different things in the State of Wisconsin. For example, in Eau Claire, they actually have a weekly parent school meeting in which parents come in if there are issues they are trying to deal with. It's a direct way to link with parents, and sometimes it's not just a problem. There are positive things going on with students.

Mr. Scott. I'm sure you have some schools where there's good parental involvement, and other schools there's not parental involvement.

Can you identify the difference?

Mr. Jones. I think in the rural schools we're seeing probably a much stronger parent involvement because the school is the community center.

And I think that some of the urban schools that we work with, that is one of the issues that they are dealing with right now, is how to strengthen the parent involvement, especially because they have parents whose language isn't English, and so they're working with parents who have different languages.

You have obviously much greater, larger audiences, so they're having to deal with that also.

Interesting, though, that you bring this up because next year many of our schools will have, as one of their primary focuses, how to include parents. They've just finished their first year of implementation of their whole school reform effort, and they're only going into their second year.

Mr. Scott. Do you want to comment on that, Ms. Whelchel?

Ms. Whelchel. Yes, I did.

At City Springs, we have various programs for all parents, such as GED programs. We found that with DI, our children were reading a little bit better than our parents, and our parents wanted to catch up with their kids.

So we have GED programs. We also have a Maryland food bank where our parents come into the building and for volunteer efforts, they get bags of groceries. In addition to that, with the school health readiness fund, we have a wellness center in our building that services children from birth through age 12, and with this program, our parents come in and they learn nurturing skills, they learn how to discipline their children positively, they learn how to keep their children healthy.

So these are some of the things that we included at City Springs to help our parents.

Mr. Scott. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Petri. Mr. Isakson?

Mr. Isakson. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I had one question of Ms. Whelchel that I wanted to ask.

In your grouping in Direct Instruction of your students, once they are initially grouped, once you implement Direct Instruction, do the kids move out of that group more frequently than on an annual basis?

Do they move as they move beyond the group they were originally grouped with?

Ms. Whelchel. Yes, they do.

Several reasons. One, because their abilities soar higher than the group after ten lessons or so, or sometimes after remediation, their groups might get even smaller.

Mr. Isakson. Do you use a technique known as continuous progress? Is that basically what it is, where they move to a group they've progressed to regardless of their age or regardless of what class they're in?

Ms. Whelchel. That is correct. We us cross-grade teaching. Sometimes we might have a second grader going to a third grade class, or maybe a third grader going to sometimes a class that might have second graders. We have a second grader going to a fourth grade class.

Mr. Isakson. In our experience, and going back to the question that Mr. Scott asked a minute ago, because kids begin to actually not only improve beyond where they were, but improve beyond where their parents are in the housing projects, particularly with regard to literacy, that in and of itself has a tendency to draw those parents into that school.

We've had amazing success with the very same thing on the literacy component. Once the kids were out-performing the parent at obviously a very young age, not a question but an observation, and Dr. Hildebrand and Ms. Whelchel can comment on it, but if you read the testimony closely, it's interesting that E.D. Hirsch's Core Knowledge could not work in Mrs. Whelchel's school, and Mrs. Whelchel's school could not work with continuous progress in that continuous progress works so well because it's a building block, it's a sequencing and structured content to learning, whereas each teacher, when they get the student the next year, they have confidence in what that student already has been exposed to and should have mastered, and it's a great program.

Yet, in Mrs. Whelchel's program, she may have fifth graders and first graders in the same class. My point being that the Ed-Flex approach we've done with the Title I programs to give flexibility, because each of you referred to Title I or other programs would allow local systems to determine what is best for them to operate in.

But the second thing that the two programs have absolutely in common is the teacher development and staff development, because in Direct Instruction, the teachers are scripted, was your word, very much like they do me in my Sunday school class to make sure when I go in and teach, I know what I'm supposed to say.

And of course, staff development is critical to Hirsch in terms of the teachers working together and planning on those building blocks. So the two things, one that we've done in Ed-Flex this year to give more flexibility within those grants.

Then second, the Teacher Enhancement Act, where you're going to be able to determine what's best, whether it's more teachers or whether it's more staff development, will allow both those programs to work, whereas if we didn't have that structure, neither could really be allowed to work.

So you're testimony, I think, is good testimony to what this Committee's done, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate very much the Chairman having them here today.

That's all I have.

Mr. Petri. Thank you.

Mr. Kildee?

Mr. Kildee. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I'll address my question to Mr. Jones first; others might respond also.

Since 1994, schools with 50 percent poverty can use Title I dollars for schoolwide programs. And under Ed-Flex, they can go even less than that. They can use it at 35 percent.

Do you have Comprehensive School Reform in both schoolwide Title I schools and non-schoolwide Title I schools?

Mr. Jones. Actually, we do.

We do have some schools, for example, in Beloit, which are not receiving the Comprehensive School Reform moneys, but are implementing a Comprehensive School Reform program.

As for the different models in Wisconsin, until 1997, the models were not that well-known in Wisconsin, so we actually overall have very few. This is a new concept that we have in Wisconsin, but since 1997, the interest has increased.

Mr. Kildee. Would you apply one of these programs differently in a school that has a schoolwide Title I program than those that do not have?

How would you make, as we say in Latin, mutatis mutandi. How would you make the changes for the schools that are schoolwide Title I programs, and those that are not schoolwide Title I programs?

Mr. Jones. With my knowledge of the Title I schoolwide legislation, it would be probably easier for an elementary school, for example, that had a 50 or more percent poverty, because then they could use those funds more flexibly throughout to help fund the program, which is what we have done in Wisconsin.

We have encouraged our schools to look at not only the Comprehensive School Reform funds that they've received, but also to look at federal funds, such as Title I, their local resources, and also state resources to help coordinate those. So that if we do have a program that costs $580,000, that they can use these additional resources and pool their resources together to help do that. That's one of the benefits of being a schoolwide is that you have that flexibility to use those funds.

Mr. Kildee. Does anyone else care to answer how you might apply the Comprehensive School Reform to a schoolwide Title I school and one that's not schoolwide?

It would seem to me, having been a school teacher myself for ten years, the faculty would have to spend the beginning of the year preparing for their lesson plans for the whole year, and somebody mentioned for September, very precisely.

They'd have to prepare differently when they have a special obligation, say, to those students in a non-schoolwide program to make sure they're getting the services

Mr. Ong. Well, I think the affiliates of New American Schools are operating in all of the above, all kinds of schools, including those that are in the Title I schoolwide program, and those that aren't. Ones that have CSRDP grants, and we believe fundamentally that these design-based programs are applicable in any type of school.

But by the same token, there may be, because of different circumstances in various schools, elements of the program that would have to be modified or amplified, teacher development for one example. It might be that in a certain school, teacher development needs are greater than they are in another, and that element of the program has to be emphasized and expanded to some degree.

But a good research-based model should be applicable any place regardless of circumstances but, again, subject to modification, depending upon local circumstances.

Mr. Kildee. Let me ask Mr. Jones again, does Comprehensive School Reform help you to improve, say, a Title I program in other schools?

Are you learning anything from those schools that have Comprehensive School Reform that can be applicable to your other schools, particularly those schools that are Title I schools?

Mr. Jones. I think so.

What we have seen so far with our schoolwide programs, our Comprehensive School Reform programs, excuse me, that would be applicable to the schoolwide, is that it's a concrete focus, that teachers are using the same language, that principals and parents and the community all have a common vision and a common mission, and it's across the entire school, which is the general purpose of a schoolwide the way that I understand it.

It's also got a well-focused professional development. No longer are schools having professional development that is segmented or segregated into different parts of the school.

We also have teachers who are truly looking at what they are teaching. Are they connected to high academic standards? Are we truly trying to improve the academic achievement of all kids? And again, I think those are the general premises behind the schoolwide.

So there are these concrete examples that we're starting to see on how that's becoming reality.

Mr. Kildee. The reason I'm asking these questions, I've had a concern. I wrote the language that allowed a schoolwide program for those schools at 50 percent of poverty.

But nevertheless, I have worried, especially with Ed-Flex, and now Super Ed-Flex coming down the road, I really worry about losing sight of those students who are the ones that we set up the Title I program for in the first place, losing sight of their special needs.

I just worry, as we keep defusing that, that we're going to lose sight of the purpose of Title I. If you'd like to comment on that.

Mr. Jones. If you don't mind.

In the State of Wisconsin, our state superintendent is very concerned about that, so one thing that we have done in our evaluation, and we're looking at those populations that our Title I schools serve, to make sure that within the Comprehensive School Reform programs that they're actually receiving services and that they too are improving.

That's why, for example, we're disaggregating the data. We have a baseline on every one of our schools.

Mr. Kildee. You hit the right word. Really important because the disaggregation of data is extremely important, and I worry about anything that chips away at that.

So I'm very happy that Wisconsin is disaggregating the data. Texas is doing a very good job of doing that also.

But unless we do that, we can really lose sight and maybe lose services to those students for which Title I was written.

I'm very pleased that you used the code word that I used to check the states on that. If you're disaggregating data for those kids, that's very encouraging to me.

Mr. Ong. Mr. Kildee, my colleague has reminded me of New American Schools' experience in the Memphis school district, which is a large, inner city school district, which has quite a number of schoolwide programs, schools that qualify for that program.

And actually there, it's one of our more successful district-wide efforts to date. We have actually found that the research-based programs have worked better in those schoolwide schools than they have in some others within that same district.

So there's some evidence that your concern is, I'm happy to say, perhaps not well- founded.

Mr. Kildee. I hope so.

But I do think that the way to measure that is the disaggregating of data. I think that's very important. And any legislation, Mr. Chairman, that we pass here on Title I, or any school reform, that we continue that mandated disaggregation of data.

Thank you very much.

Mr. Petri. Thank you.

Mrs. Roukema?

Mrs. Roukema. Well, I thought I knew the question that I was going to ask, but now we have to put it in terms of disaggregation of data evidently.

Because one of the questions I was going to ask was, how you made reference to the research-based reforms. Forgive me, Dr. Herman, if you went into some detail before I arrived today, but I haven't heard, with any specificity, what you mean by these research-based reforms.

Is there an application to standardized testing, for example? What does it mean now in terms of what we've just said about disaggregation of data?

How do you evaluate really, without getting back to are we talking about the three R's, or maybe we should be talking about the three R's, but there's been a lot of general discussion.

I want to know with a little more specificity how you measure the improvement, and what are the standards of achievement that you have here.

Dr. Herman? Mr. Ong? Anyone else?

Yes?

Dr. Herman. In the Obey-Porter legislation, there are several definitions of research-based reforms. One is that the reform, itself, is developed based on research of specific components. We chose a different definition.

Mrs. Roukema. Wait a minute, I heard that. But does that relate to any standardized testing measurements, or is it completely subjective and arbitrary?

Who sets up those research-based standards?

Dr. Herman. We really focused on research on effects, because we didn't find a standard for the first. We really focused on evidence of effects, and there are some accepted standards that you would have significant effects in the test scores, or other measurable outcomes, other quantitative measurable outcomes.

Mrs. Roukema. But they're standardized test scores. I see. Thank you.

Dr. Herman. That's one outcome that's the easiest to measure so that's the one that's most frequently used.

Mrs. Roukema. Yes.

Mr. Ong. I think there's no question that the states have now almost all, I think the number is 47 or 48 out of 50 have passed one kind or another of achievement test standards at various grade levels throughout the K through 12 spectrum.

An important way to measure, and certainly one way that we measure the effectiveness of our affiliates, is by looking at those test results at various levels after they've been at work. For example, I mentioned Memphis a moment ago, which has been a particularly successful district-wide effort, which we began in 1995. So we have at least about four years of experience and it's very interesting.

Tennessee, about that same time, adopted what they call ``The Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program,'' and they had achievement tests at various grade levels.

We have followed that very carefully, and we have found almost universally in the schools in Memphis that are using research-based Comprehensive School Reform designs, there has been an improvement in testing results.

And the longer the particular school has been in that design-based program, the more the improvement is. In other words, the schools that started this effort in '95 are ahead of those that started it in '96, '97, or '98.

Also, I hate people who wave books at me and say, this is the answer to your question. But I would suggest New American Schools and the Rand Corporation.

Mrs. Roukema. I'll wave back, and I will look at it.

Mr. Ong. There's a lot of detail in there that goes to respond to your question.

Mrs. Roukema. Thank you.

Does anyone else want to comment on that aspect?

Dr. Hildebrand?

Dr. Hildebrand. Ms. Whelchel will corroborate what I have to say. The State of Maryland gives performance test-based exams each spring to the third, fifth, and eighth graders throughout the state. Her students take the same tests as my students do. We also give the comprehensive test of basic skills to the second, fourth, and sixth graders in each county. So they are standardized tests.

We are accountable to the state for that. And the data is disaggregated.

Mrs. Roukema. I did hear you, and I think I saw everybody's heads nod. But I want to be sure of this because this has been an issue in the Congress and in this Committee, and that is the teacher/pupil ratio.

One way or another, whether we're Republicans or Democrats, we understand the need for more teachers and more staff development. But I would understand from all of your reactions that you believe that the teacher/pupil ratio, along with the staff development purposes, are absolutely essential, no matter?

Right?

Shall we put additionalů No?

Shall we put additional emphasis on that and stress, as a Congress, in terms of school reform?

Dr. Hildebrand. I think the classroom reaches a critical mass beyond which it becomes much more difficult for a teacher to deal with the students up to a certain point. I don't know what that point is, whether it's 25 or 20 students per class, but once you get beyond a certain core group, it becomes geometrically more difficult to deal with.

Mrs. Roukema. You're saying that is an essential component of any school reform and improvement?

Mr. Jones. Mrs. Roukema, in Wisconsin, many of our elementary schools are actually restructuring their staff so that they do have lower class sizes, and they're using alternative ways of bringing teachers in to teach, especially in areas of reading, so that students have a stronger reading instruction, more one-on-one, et cetera, smaller class sizes.

We're also very fortunate with the Class Size Reduction Program that the federal government has passed. Some of those funds are actually going into some of our Comprehensive School Reform schools. So those funds will also be used as they're coordinating, again, because it's so key that schools not look at this Comprehensive School Reform program in isolation; that is, a program over here, but that this should all work together again.

So these federal class size reduction moneys, in addition to the state moneys that we have to do with similar things, should be coordinated.

Mrs. Roukema. You've put it well. That was what I was trying to get at, the integration of these.

Mr. Ong, do you want to make a final comment?

Mr. Ong. Only this. While it's probably the case that having a smaller student/teacher ratio can be very helpful in terms of the interaction between student and instructor, I wouldn't say that that's the paramount thing.

In other words, if you have very small class size and you're teaching the wrong curriculum, you're not really getting any place. I think it's more important, in the scale of things, that we look at what's being taught and how effectively it's being taught. Then, on a secondary level, what is the class size.

That's my only point.

Mrs. Roukema. Thank you very much.

My time has elapsed.

Thank you, it's been very helpful.

Mr. Petri. Let me ask the other members of the Committee on both sides.

Mr. Payne, you'd be next when we come back from our vote.

Do you think some of the other members have questions to ask, or shall we come back?

We'll come back at 3:15. Shall we come back at 3:15?

We'll recess until 3:15, then we'll continue with questioning.

[Recess.]

Mr. Petri [Presiding]. One thing I was kind of interested in, and I think probably Dr. Herman and Mr. Ong, in particular, might talk about some.

My impression is that there is not a shortage of studies in the education area. There are hundreds and thousands of graduate students and grants and state and federal and foundation and so on.

The problem isn't a shortage of studies. The problem is the shortage of quality evaluation and of organizing the material so that it's practically useful for people who have to spend their time operating educational institutions.

Would you care to comment on that?

And the second area I would be interested in is if -- you emphasize as critically and responsive as you can what seems to work with some rigorous evaluation. Are there some things that just don't plain work that we should avoid?

I know we're not supposed to emphasize the negative, but we can avoid some mistakes by staying away from things that we're pretty sure might be fads, or would not work.

Dr. Herman. Well, in response to your first question, there are thousands and thousands of studies on educational research and how it works in schools.

There are not so many studies on comprehensive school reform, and specifically on comprehensive school reform models.

That's a relatively recent animal. When you consider that most of the research shows that it takes about three years to fully implement one of these reforms, at least three years, and then it takes perhaps two years or more to do a decent study, then you have a lag time of at least five years before you see decent research out of any of these models, and many of these models came about in response to some of the legislation that was supporting schoolwide reforms in the last ten years or so.

So there is a lot of research but it's definitely a field that's just growing into its maturity. Much of the research is individual case studies, which don't give a sense of how widespread the effects of the approach are. We are just beginning to see the larger scale studies which are coming about because there are a lot of schools using these programs.

In response to your second question, are there any things that specifically do not work?

We focused on programs that showed some promise to begin with, so I can say from those that we looked at, we couldn't say that any of these are absolute failures.

There certainly have been experiments that have not been widespread, that have been failures, but we wanted to see something that was useful to schools that wanted to launch their own reforms, so we really focused on those that were promising to begin with.

Mr. Ong. I think with regard to your first question, Dr. Herman has answered it very well, and I would concur in that response regarding research. It underscores what I said in answer to an earlier question. A lot of these designs really need more exposure and more time before they can be appropriately evaluated.

In terms of the second question, what absolutely doesn't work, we went through a competitive process. We received over 600 proposals for new school designs back in the early 90s, and tried to winnow those down, and eventually did, to only eleven.

We are now working with seven, so we obviously have eliminated four of the original ones. That's not to say that we will not, in fact, I think it's likely we will add some.

I think the principal thing that doesn't work sort of generically is that there are some designs that have been put forward which work very well within the context of one school, or maybe a few schools, but have not demonstrated the ability to be replicated broadly.

That of course is something that we, at New American Schools, feel is absolutely essential. We want a model that's research-based, that speaks to student achievement, staff development and preparation, good governance, but it also has to be a model that can be spread, because this is not a problem of reforming a school, it's a problem of reforming a whole system.

Mr. Petri. Mr. Payne?

Mr. Payne. Thank you very much.

Let me say that I appreciated the testimony from the witnesses. I was in and out because of a Committee across the way, and only got bits and pieces. But I just basically have a question regarding this approach.

I am one who's struggling to try to see what methods can be used to improve education in general.

Having taught in an urban area, I realize there are many, many factors that mitigate against a thorough and efficient education for students. I was wondering about the timetable for producing results.

I don't know, Ms. Herman, you seem like the expert on all of these programs. Is there a different timetable, for example? I heard someone mention that some people might stress training of teachers. Some may want staff development. Some may talk about the involvement of the community. And there certainly would be, in my opinion, very different experiences with very different types of local school districts.

So I guess my question is, how are you able to thoroughly evaluate an urban area where, for example, you may even have a number of substitute teachers, rather than even having fully certified teachers, which is even another problem when you start to deal with teacher development.

If you have substandard or uncertified teachers in the first place, where do you go from there? Do you try to get the substitute teachers certified?

I guess my question is, have you seen the differences in different kinds of school districts, and how do you go about trying to determine what's a successful program?

Dr. Herman. Part of the research we did for this project was we talked to schools that are actually using these programs and asked them whether their experiences mirrored what the developments have described.

Some of these schools did indeed say that it took longer than they had expected to do the program because they were starting behind the curve, as you said, because they needed extra professional development. What some of the developers recommend is that all of the teachers are on board for the program to begin with. That helps speed up the program and assures that there's no conflict. It doesn't become undermined in the process. It doesn't become mired in implementation.

In the case that you referred to, where you don't have a stable population of teachers, you have a lot of substitutes, it seems to me that you would need to resolve that problem before you tried to bring reform in, because if you are constantly training people every month or so, you don't have the basic support to be able to implement.

It's a difficult process. When I say it takes about three years to implement the reform, you're assuming that you have some teachers, so you have some stability of teachers, so you have teachers that are learning, over the course of three years, how to implement the reforms. So it would probably take longer otherwise. Other things that can make it take longer is the characteristics of the programs.

Programs are highly structured. They hand you a curriculum, they hand you an approach to teaching. They're easier to implement from the beginning. But they may bring up a lot of conflict among teachers if they don't buy into that particular idea. So those are easier and they're faster to implement.

The programs that provide a philosophy and ask for the school to build the program, that can take longer than the three years that I had suggested as an average figure.

Mr. Ong. I'll answer that question.

I agree pretty much with what Dr. Herman has said. But I have a little different view on this than I would have had five or six years ago, based upon the experience that New American Schools and its affiliates have had.

There's no question that school districts differ greatly in terms of the resources they have, the level of education and training of their faculty and so on.

On the other hand, we have found that some of our most successful district efforts have been in widely varying districts. I mentioned Memphis city schools a couple of times, San Antonio city schools, a somewhat similar kind of system demographically and in terms of economics. We also have a district that's doing a very good job in a comprehensive form in a very affluent suburban area of Seattle, and they're all marching now at the same pace.

I think what we found, and what was a revelation to many of us is that more important than the nature of the community or the economic resources of the district, or even, to some degree, the qualifications of the staff, are having a strong leader, a superintendent who is behind this idea who wants to see it work, and teacher buy-in.

To some, I won't say almost regardless of how well-qualified the teachers are. That would be an exaggeration. But it is so important that the teachers believe that this is the right thing to do and it's going to help them and it's going to help the students in terms of the performance, their own performance and the kids' performance.

It's so important that there be strong, committed leadership by the superintendent and of course obviously at the principal level as well. I would cite those things as maybe being more important than the fundamental nature of the school district itself.

Mr. Payne. Thank you.

I just have a quick question talking about the cross-teaching, and it was mentioned I think in Ms. Whelchel's, that you have the accelerated situation in cross-teaching.

Do you find that in cross-teaching, you can also have an impact, and I don't know if your school retains students or not, but with cross-teaching, could the slowest student also you mentioned the accelerated student could go into second grade maybe or the third grade.

Do you have a third grader that may be in the first grade or the second grade, in the opposite direction?

Ms. Whelchel. We don't let older children go any further down than maybe the second grade. When we have older children that are coming into a program, that need a lot of remediation, we have a special teacher, not a special educator but a teacher that does a decoding program for them, because we would not want to lower their self-esteem.

Mr. Payne. I think my time's expired, but one last concern I have. There's been a lot of touting about, you know, Ed-Flex, and I know that superintendents and principals all want to do their own thing, the less red tape, the better.

And I guess they say the government which governs least is best. That's if the government's going to do the right thing.

I just have a concern about Title I being just sort of kind of watered down where the number of Title I funds can almost be used with more flexibility, and I'm getting concerned about the intent of Title I, was to target those students that were being left behind.

And with this new Ed-Flex philosophy, I think we're going to find, once again, we're back to a complete 360 where we were, where Title I students may not get the targeting that Title I initially was intended to do.

I don't think we have time for an answer. I just wanted to make that statement.

Thank you very much.

Mr. Petri. Thank you.

Mr. Fattah?

Mr. Fattah. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Let me thank our panelists for today. I think they've been very enlightening in their information that they shared with the Committee.

Let me ask Dr. Herman, first of all, since you're educated close to Philadelphia, I welcome you here. As almost a resident of Philadelphia, you say, in your report, that the federal government and the private sector, they have an unprecedented commitment to research-based, comprehensive school reform.

It's interesting since neither the federal government nor the private sector are major players in public education, states are, that they were left out of that sentence.

Now I note that there's some mention that California and Pennsylvania and a few other places, there are isolated examples of state participation, but I want to ask you directly whether or not more needs to be done to get state governments, which are the major movers in terms of public education in this country, invested in this idea that we should do what we know works to have children achieve.

Dr. Herman. Many states, as I'm sure you're aware, are doing wonderful things in educational reform. Many states are instituting standards, they're trying to align their curriculum so that there's some consistency.

So I did not mean to imply that the states are not doing a good deal. But I think we're seeing a new generation on the national level of programs and support for programs, and I think it's important to say that something is happening on the national level because much of the work that New American Schools is doing, as Mr. Ong has said several times, schools do not need to be reinventing the wheel, and states also do not need to be reinventing the wheel.

Mr. Fattah. I guess there's an important distinction that I think is inherent in the discussion we're having, which is that there's a difference between reform and research-based reform, right?

There's a difference between doing what we know will have an impact on student achievement, and hoping that something that we do might have an impact on student achievement.

What I'm trying to understand is, based on your work, whether you believe that more needs to be done to encourage states to further emphasize, not isolated examples, like we have two great principals here, on what's possible, but to see this more as scale, would seemingly require those who are the major engines for public education to put this more at the forefront.

Dr. Herman. I think that would be a wonderful thing to provide that to encourage states to emphasize using research. I think some states have stepped to the forefront, not all states have done so, using research in their education programs and in their reform efforts.

Mr. Fattah. Thank you very much.

Let me ask Mr. Jones from Wisconsin, if you could comment, from a statewide perspective, on the level of implementation of research-based school reform.

I know you made some comments earlier, but if you gather from my question to Dr. Herman, if you could enlighten us as to what your state is doing, that would be helpful.

Mr. Jones. As Dr. Herman alluded to, Wisconsin's actually been very proactive in a number of positive reform efforts. We've now created, using the educators in Wisconsin, our Wisconsin Model Academic Standards, which are extremely high standards.

We now have a standardized test in our state that is based on those standards, so that as teachers are teaching, we now have a way of testing what kids actually know and are able to do. In the State of Wisconsin, our state superintendent has funded throughout the state a number of centers that assist schools in teaching to high standards.

Mr. Fattah. Regional centers?

Mr. Jones. Yes, teaching to high standards, and also how do you use that to drive the decisions that you're making in the schools.

So from a state perspective, we've been very proactive.

Currently, one of the benefits of the Wisconsin school reform effort is it's actually changing how we do business in the state. We no longer see ourselves as the big brother who makes sure that schools are dotting every i and crossing every t.

We're actually watching what we do as a state education agency in developing resources to assist schools to improve the achievement of all students.

Lastly, we're actually currently involved in a very interesting initiative in which we're creating a school improvement guide that will be disseminated statewide and it's very similar to those elements in a Comprehensive School Reform effort because, again, it's just good research.

Mr. Fattah. Thank you.

Ms. Whelchel, your elementary school in Baltimore City is one of a number of elementary schools there. How many are involved, if you have knowledge, in DI?

Ms. Whelchel. We now have 18 schools that are involved with Direct Instruction.

Mr. Fattah. Can you give the Committee some understanding of what that means quantitatively? Eighteen out of what?

Ms. Whelchel. Eighteen out of 180 schools.

Mr. Fattah. What are the other schools doing?

Ms. Whelchel. Some have voted to do Success For All. Some have also elected to use a curriculum from Harcourt Brace.

Mr. Fattah. I gather from your response then, that all 180 are involved in some type of research-based comprehensive school-based reform?

Ms. Whelchel. Only the schools that are using Direct Instruction and Success For All are the schools that are using research-based reform.

Mr. Fattah. I know from your comment that you suggested they are the only two that are research-based. Given the definition that Dr. Herman is using, they might encompass a few others.

What number of the 180, I guess, are, in their own minds, involved in Comprehensive School Reform?

Ms. Whelchel. I would include all of them then. But again, looking at how much research is used, is derived from Success For All and DI, those are the only two comprehensive research-based curricula.

Mr. Fattah. Can I ask you one last question?

What is the per-pupil expenditure in Baltimore? Do you know offhand?

Ms. Whelchel. I don't know.

Mr. Fattah. What about Vienna City?

Dr. Hildebrand. Vienna City has a population of about 200. In our county, we have seven elementary schools. Three of the elementary schools are participating in the Success For All program.

Every one of them, including those three, are implementing the Core Knowledge sequence, and even into the three middle schools in our county.

Mr. Fattah. Do you know what your per-pupil expenditure is?

Dr. Hildebrand. I don't know offhand.

Mr. Fattah. Thank you.

Mr. Petri. Thank you. Thank you all.

I think Mr. Scott alluded, in his line of questioning, and certainly Ms. Whelchel embodies it, and Mr. Ong talked about it.

Years ago, when I first got on this Committee, which is not too many years ago, we had some hearings because there was an anomaly people thought at the time. Schools in the inner city in Chicago were doing better than the suburbs. People couldn't figure out why. The kids were just doing great.

They went in and studied to find that it was the quality of the leadership of the principal who made everyone feel it was an important, exciting enterprise, and who knew the names of the kids, and who didn't blame the school board or the bureaucracy if something went wrong, but went out and raised resources in the community to help meet the problem and convince the kids and the teachers that they were engaged in a very important enterprise.

So I suppose whether you're running a tire factory or a McDonald's or a school, if you don't have a good leader, everything else becomes that much harder.

I don't know if you'd care to comment on that but that seems to be the one common thread that runs through all of this.

I don't know, I guess you're trying to focus on some system that will bring out and make average leaders great leaders somehow, which McDonald's has done and other people do. It's harder, I suppose, making leaders rather than making inquiring minds.

Mr. Ong. Leadership is always important in any enterprise obviously. As I said a few moments ago, we found that one of the most important things in making research- based designs effective in implementation is having a strong leader at the district, normally the superintendent of schools, and having commitment and buy-in and ownership, if you will, by the faculty, or at least a substantial majority of the same.

But we do also feel that there needs to be other elements. Something has to be led towards certain goals, and we feel that it's very important to have these design-based programs as the structure around which goals are set in a particular district.

Then it's the quality of leadership that allows successful attainment of those goals over some period of years.

Mr. Petri. All right. Thank you all very much for coming, and for your comments. They were very helpful.

This hearing is adjourned.

[Whereupon, at 3:40 p.m., Tuesday, July 13, 1999, the hearing was adjourned.]