Serial No. 105-63


Printed for the use of the Committee on Education

and the Workforce




































































Monday, November 3, 1997





The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 1 p.m., in the cafeteria, East High School, 815 E. 13th Street, Des Moines, Iowa, Hon. Peter Hoekstra [chairman of the subcommittee] presiding.

Present: Representative Hoekstra.

Also Present: Representatives Ganske, Latham, and Upton.

Staff Present: Lisa King, Professional Staff Member; Leigh Stadthaus, Oversight Associate; and, Cheryl Johnson, Legislative Associate.




Chairman Hoekstra. Welcome to the oversight subcommittee on the education process we've been involved in for the past year which we call Education at a Crossroads where we are going around the country and we're hearing from local individuals, we're hearing from parents, teachers, administrators, and Governors about what's working in education at the local level.

One of the other opportunities that we have consistently is to have lunch and meet with students. Today we actually had the opportunity to meet with a great group of students for lunch, and as we were talking to them we recognized that two of them have auditioned for the all-state choir.

And I said, well, maybe we should just have you start off our hearing by singing the national anthem and they said yeah, we'd like to do that.

So for the first time in our hearings this year we're going to stand and start with our national anthem with Carrie and Renee.

[Singing of national anthem.]



Chairman Hoekstra. We're glad to be here at East High school, and I think maybe we hit it at just the right time. I guess this morning it was also announced that East High recently won the state quiz bowl championships, so congratulations to the students and the teachers and the faculty and the administration here at East High.

And also a thank you to Robert Moore, who is a junior here at the school who put together the sound system and got it hooked up very quickly.

My name is Pete Hoekstra. I'm a Congressman from Michigan and I chair this subcommittee, and we began this process in late 1996 and it has continued through 1997, and we basically ask the question, "What's working and what's wasted in education in America today?"

We asked some questions in Washington and in Washington we're going down a track that's taking a look at hundreds of education programs that we have in Washington that are intended to help students at the local level.

We're taking a look at the bureaucracy, the effectiveness of those programs, the efficiency. When you send a dollar to Washington exactly how much of it ever gets back to a teacher or gets back to a student in a classroom. We're asking those kinds of questions.

On a parallel track, as I said, we're going around the country, I think this is the 12th state that we have visited. We have had 16 different hearings, we've gone to 25 different schools and have had over 200 people testify to this subcommittee at the local level rather than taking 200 people to Washington.

So, as frequently is the case, we're here more to listen and to learn about what's working in Iowa. We're here to learn and listen about how the people of Iowa feel about the education programs that we have in place today, and we will take this information back to Washington and we will see whether there is a consensus and perhaps what type of legislative direction we need to take in Washington to really improve the education that our children get.

We all recognize that we need to make improvements on education, we all recognize that the future, whether it's Iowa, whether it's Des Moines, or whether it's the nation, rests with how well we train and prepare our young people for the future.

So it's been an exciting project. As we've gone around the country we've met great kids, we've seen great schools, we've learned a lot, we've seen lots of people trying to improve through a whole range of different activities in the education system in America, and so we're taking that learning and we're going to move forward and hopefully do the right things in Washington.

I'll turn it over to my colleagues for a brief word of opening statement. We have Mr. Ganske; Greg, thank you for hosting us today and inviting us here to Iowa. We have Mr. Latham, who is also a Congressman from Iowa, and we also have a colleague of mine from Michigan, Fred Upton, who is a member of the full education and America workforce committee.

We'll begin with you, Mr. Ganske.




Dr. Ganske. Chairman Hoekstra, thank you very much for bringing the Oversight Subcommittee from the Education Committee to Des Moines.

Everyone thinks that education is very important, and I very much appreciate the hard work that your staff has put into bringing about this meeting, and I want to thank my good friend from Michigan, Fred Upton, who has come in and my good friend from northwest Iowa, Tom Latham, who has come down.

We had several people phone our office and say, gee, we really think that this hearing is important, we wish that you could have had it in the evening; and we all wish that we could have, too, but we're currently in session and all of us will need to be back in Washington tomorrow voting, which is why we needed to hold this in the afternoon today, but I thank everyone for coming.

First, we will have panelists testifying, but then there will be ample time for people to tell us briefly what you think is working and what isn't working in education today.

You know, Mr. Chairman, a lot is demanded of the educational system, and the educational system gets blamed for a lot of things.

I remember in the spring of 1957 Sputnik went up and Life magazine did a five-part series called the crisis in education. And the cover in 1958 showed students, two students, a stern-looking Alexi Kuskov in Moscow and a relaxed, smiling Steven Lupekis in Chicago.

Inside, Mr. Kuskov was conducting complex experiments in physics and chemistry and reading Sister Carrie out loud in English class while Mr. Lupekis was depicted walking hand in hand with his girlfriend and rehearsing for a musical.

One American classroom picture showed Mr. Lupekis retreating from a math problem in the background, laughing along with his classmates, and the caption said Steven amused the class with wisecracks about his ineptitude, quote-unquote.

And so the educational system was blamed for the fact that Russia put up a Sputnik first.

And then along came the Vietnam years and we had a Chicago and we had Kent State and we had a general malaise in the country, and the educational system was blamed again.

And then in the 1980s we had a downturn in the economy and guess what, the educational system wasn't preparing our country to compete on a global basis, so it was the educational system's problem again.

It's interesting to note that in the last seven years, as we have had such a great economic period, that nobody has been giving credit to the educational system for that.

I think a little perspective is important, and I would say this, I would say that for most Americans, probably about three out of four or maybe four of five, they're getting a very good education in this country today, and all you have to do is go back to the beginning of the century and you can see that really only about 3 percent of Americans graduated from high school.

And it was only about 50 percent of Americans who graduated from high school by the time of World War II. And today about 63 percent of high school graduates go on to college.

And if you look at SAT scores you can manipulate that data in certain ways to make it look like scores have come down, but overall, I think for most American students they're doing just fine, and I have three children in school here in Des Moines - one is a senior at Roosevelt High School, two are in parochial school - I tell you what, I think they're getting a great education and they're getting a good education because people like you who are here are interested in education.

They have good teachers, they have good administrators, and I'm very glad that the committee is coming to Iowa because Iowa has had one of the best educational systems in the country, and we recently completed a review on our educational system. But this does not mean that we should be content, because if four out of five students are getting a good education that means one out of five or one out of four is not.

And you can go to just five or six blocks from the United States Capitol, close to where Tom Latham and I have our little apartments there, and the schools there aren't working quite as well as they are working here, which is not to say there aren't some schools in D.C. that are working.

I think we ought to have as a goal that all children in this country get a good college education - a good high school - grade school, high school education. And I applaud the fact that you've had these hearings all around the country and that you've come to Iowa to hear what Iowans think about our educational system.

But I think a little bit of perspective is useful, and before we say that the American education system is in a "crisis" today just like it's been said that it's been in a crisis in the '80s and the '70s and the '50s and in the 1930s, we ought to look at the solid accomplishments that we've also achieved since the beginning of this century and learn from those successes and also learn from the things that you've heard from your other hearings about how we can make the system better.

And I appreciate very much the discussion we're going to have possibly on federal-state relations and the fact that we're going to get, I think, a lot of diversity and opinions today, and so it's not our job I think today to have a debate, by any means, on any of these issues, it's simply to give you a forum to tell us what you think ought to be done to help our students get a good education, and I thank you very much.


[The prepared statement of The Hon. Greg Ganske follows:]




Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you.

Mr. Upton.



Mr. Upton. Well, thank you, Peter. I, too, am delighted to be here. As Peter indicated, I do serve on the Education Committee. I do not serve on this particular subcommittee but I serve on the two subcommittees dealing both with K through 12 as well as higher education. And my staff knows well that my goal back home in Michigan - we all represent about the same number of people, 600,000 - is to visit a school a week, and I do.

And as I think about Iowa, when Greg asked me to come a couple weeks ago the first thing I thought was the Iowa test that I took back when I was a student back in Michigan.

But this is a hearing, we're here to listen. I appreciate the folks that are going to testify today, I've looked over the resumes, seen some of their testimony, too. I'm delighted the Gov. is going to be here, we've heard from our Gov. in Michigan, Gov. Engler, and we certainly welcome Gov. Branstad here to talk about what's worked.

Education is a key issue right now. Not only here in the heartland of America but in Washington as well. And for those reasons it's important that we come to listen, to talk about things, trends, whether they be in testing, whether they be in parochial schools, whether they be charter schools. All of these certainly are topics of major discussion and debate right now back in Washington, and I welcome the thoughts and the input and I look forward to working with this delegation from this state as we work for the betterment of all kids across the country.

Thank you.


Chairman Hoekstra. Mr. Latham.




Mr. Latham. Well, thank you very much, Peter, and I want to thank you for being here and bringing the committee and Fred and Greg here. I hope we don't get into an Iowa-Michigan thing here today with the -


Chairman Hoekstra. I can understand why you would -


Mr. Latham. Yeah, we'll stop talking about football.


Mr. Upton. Just remember the second half.


Mr. Latham. I think the highlight - obviously we're just starting, but I don't know anything that can top the two young ladies who sang for us here this morning or this afternoon. That was tremendous and I think is an indication of the kind of talented and great young people that we have here in Iowa and throughout this country.

Iowa has a tremendous tradition of excellence in education, and we want to continue that, and that's why I think last Friday's Register, when you see the headline that students test scores fall in Iowa, I think all Iowans are very, very concerned about what is happening. Because in this day and age of world markets, world economies, we cannot lose our competitive edge, and the quickest way to do that is to have our young people not be prepared for the future.

Iowa has always had a basis of local control, parental involvement, that has always been the strength of the Iowa school system and education system. We want to continue that.

I think what we need to hear today is what is the role of the Federal Government in education in our local schools.

I come from Alexander, Iowa, which is a town of 168 people about a hundred miles north of here, I actually live in the suburbs, about a mile outside of town, but come from CAL Community School District.

I had three children that went through public school in CAL and if you're not familiar with that we've been nationally recognized in our elementary school, our high school. It is the number one priority of the community, and that's why it has been successful.

I have one son who has graduated from Simpson College, a daughter who is a junior down there now, and another one who is a freshman out at Colorado, took her to a good conservative school. But to be prepared for the future and from that type of school district they have the basis, they have the knowledge to go into any college anywhere and do well.

And I also think of the importance of the teacher in the classroom and I think of my son, who basically you could characterize his high school career maybe with the word frat which is football, girls and track, and when he went to Simpson College he was forced to take a foreign language, in this case German. The instructor made him interested, turned him on, and he feels the most important part of his college education today is the fact that he had a major - double major in German-international management, he's most proud that one of his majors is a foreign language.

So it's the matter of the teacher in the classroom having that contact, working with the student to motivate them.

In the Federal Government, and I'm on the Appropriations Committee, so it's one of the major concerns that I have, we spend about a hundred billion dollars a year on education in 760 different programs and agencies, spread out through 39 different agencies in the Federal Government.

The thing I want to hear today - and I will stop here, but I want to know, are we wasting money? More specifically, where are those dollars best going to be spent in the future to help our kids, not help the bureaucracy?

In many cases you'll find that less than half of that hundred billion dollars actually ever gets to a classroom or to help a kid. It's burned up in the bureaucracy. And to me that is outrageous. We don't mind spending the money, but let's make it work, and that's what it's all about.

So, again, I want to thank the chairman for being here, Fred Upton, and we will not have any Michigan-Iowa jokes here this afternoon. Thank you.


Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you.

Let me introduce the first panel to you. We're going to start with Ms. DeVan, who is a student here at East High. We will then move to Ms. Riley, who is also Miss Iowa, from Clear Lake, Iowa. Then we'll go to Mr. Binnie, who is a parent and a former member of the Des Moines school board, and then - you know, it's great coming to Iowa. I mean, I leave and you've got snow on the ground just like Michigan, you've got trees down just like my backyard and then on the first panel you put a Ms. Vanderploeg.

I mean wow, it's almost like being home in Holland, Michigan. But she will be our fourth panelist.

So we will begin with Ms. DeVan.






Ms. DeVan. Education has always been very important to me. As I move on with high hopes to an institution of higher learning I am forced to assess the education I have received thus far. I've done and learned so much since I've had the privilege of being educated in the Des Moines public schools. East High School, being my most recent memory, has served me well. If there is one thing or one word that I could say about my education at East it is "dependability."

East High has been good to me in so many ways, but with all good things there's always room for improvement. The one change I would make would be the administration and other non-teaching staff.

Many, but not all, the members of administration have a tendency to treat some members of the student body like they are numbers and not real people with personalities and backgrounds. It's a really sad thing, but it does happen.

I don't speak of rumors or stories I've heard in the hallway, I'm speaking from personal experience. Before I got out of my normal rebellious teenage stage I ran into some trouble with attendance and other things that were brought to the attention of the administration. During this time my parents were going through a very painful divorce, which took its toll on me. My teachers and other staff that worked with me, if they would have actually taken the time to investigate what was going on and not pass judgment on me and wrote me off as just another lost student, they would have known what was going on.

If someone would have taken the time to check on me they would have known the situation I was in. And they may have understood what I was going through and would have been a little more understanding.

I can only speak from my own personal experience and not from the point of view of some of my other classmates. I know there are others who have had worse situations at home than I have and would have liked to have their situations taken into consideration as well.

I'm not asking the administration to make special allowances or give favors to anyone. I'm simply saying they should try to be more understanding, not just with students with home problems but everything, including teen pregnancy, drug and alcohol use and racial issues that occur during this critical time of our lives.

As we move from adolescence into the early stages of adulthood, we need people who have already been through what we're going through. Strong role models for every student, not just European-American students, are gravely needed in high school. If there isn't a strong role model that emerges from the home, school may be the only place where many people have to find guidance and purpose in their lives. Teachers should keep that in mind.

My education is something that has been extremely important to me and East High school has fulfilled that need of learning and education that I have had and will continue to do so for the few months I have left here.

If the teachers and other staff try to be a little more understanding to students with problems, East High School will continue to serve the future students just as it has me.

[The prepared statement of Ms. DeVan follows:]





Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you. Ms. DeVan is also somebody who is establishing a role model. She started a tutoring program, was it last year?


Ms. DeVan. Last year.


Chairman Hoekstra. And now one day a week they go - students from here go and tutor 25 students on a weekly basis, so thank you for that effort as well.

Ms. Riley.






Ms. Riley. Can you all hear me? Well, I was fortunate to be blessed to go to a private school. I'm very thankful for that opportunity that my parents gave me. Right now I'm 19 years old and I'm a freshman at Waldorf College, majoring in speech communications. I'm taking a year off now to fulfill my duties of being Miss Iowa.

My parents put me in Christian education for many reasons, one being that they liked the close student to teacher ratio that we had there. Also they wanted me to have high academic standards as well as they wanted my faith to be taught along with my education.

I had teachers who expected the very best out of me. They wouldn't settle for less; they wouldn't settle for average when they knew that I could do more.

Marva Collins says in her book Returning to Excellence in Education, she says a good teacher can always make a poor student good and a good student superior. And that's something that I saw very well portrayed in the teachers that I was fortunate to have.

Many of my friends were not as fortunate to have the parental support that I had. My dad was very active in the school board as well as my mom was in many different activities in our school, and I think that when parents are involved in their child's education in every area that it definitely makes the children more successful.

And if there's anything we can do at a local, state, and federal level to encourage parental involvement I think that definitely needs to be done. That is why I'm a strong supporter of vouchers as well as choice of public or private or home schooling.

As Miss Iowa I developed a program called Empowering Youth to Excellence. I've seen so many of my friends with incredible potential in their education as well as anything that they wanted to do in their life decide to throw that away, and I feel that that's mainly because they are not being taught values and strong moral character in their home, first of all, but secondly, in the school systems.

So when I go into schools I teach values such as hard work, education, leadership, love, integrity, because I feel that education is more than just reading and writing. Education is being taught character and values, and when that happens so many students decide not to drop out of school and they decide that they have a reason to learn and that they have goals and that they can have a future.

I've received numerous letters from students every day on e-mail and through the mail, from children and teenagers. And most of their questions are about why should I make the right choice, why shouldn't I drink, why should I abstain from having sex, all those kind of questions.

And so I would pray that as educators and as government officials and as parents and as students that we would decide to put values back into the curriculum in our school system. Just teaching leadership and right from wrong, the right choices, having absolutes, I think that all those things are what will continue to make our country the greatest in the world.

I've had teachers come up to me after assemblies and after I've met with their classroom and they've just thanked me profusely for sharing these ideas with our young people.

But I don't understand, why isn't it happening every single day in the classroom, why aren't kids learning values and what's right and wrong because then, as my friend said sitting over here, when they're facing these tough issues they'll have a foundation to stand on, and we're in school seven to nine hours every single day so that's why I think that it's vitally important that students are being taught these values every day, and I feel that that is something that our government and educators and parents and students can be doing right now to change the focus in our school systems.

[The prepared statement of Ms. Riley follows:]




Chairman Hoekstra. Great, thank you.

For those of you who have wondered about how our panel is growing up here, we're not adding Congressmen, but we've already been joined by Gov. Branstad.

Good afternoon, thank you for coming early -

Gov. Branstad. You're welcome.


Chairman Hoekstra. - and being here, and also by Mr. Marvin Pomerantz, who is also going to be on the second panel, and you've headed up the Iowa Commission on Educational Excellence in the 21st Century. So those are the people that have joined us up here up front. So thank you for being here.

Mr. Binnie.






Mr. Binnie. I'm having a little trouble with my new glasses, so I may have to stumble a little here.

I was born and raised on the east side of Glasgow, Scotland, a city which in those pre-World War II days enjoyed the reputation of being the slum capital of western Europe. Education was seen as the only way out of the grinding poverty of the Depression and was correspondingly a tough, no-nonsense affair.

Normal school-leaving age was 14, and only the privileged few went on beyond that. There was no time for frills, and self-esteem was something that had to be earned by individual effort.

Reading by the phonics method, arithmetic by rote, were taught from day one. History and geography followed as soon as possible and at the age of 11, a foreign language, followed a year later by another language. Tracking was standard, and promotion was by a combination of class rank and year-end exam. Damage to the psyche was not considered.

The system, like all systems, worked well for some, less well for others. It did have the merit of rewarding those willing to work. There was also daily prayer and Bible reading. As I turned into a confirmed secularist, the current fears in this country of religious indoctrination would seem to have little foundation.

Both my children were born in Toronto, Canada. The laws of the province of Ontario, Canada where Toronto is, allowed you to designate your local taxes either to the public school system or to the parochial schools. Ontario did not become a religious dictatorship because of this.

Both my children got most of their education in the Des Moines school system and apparently suffered no lasting damage. Both graduated from college, I have to say, eventually.

My wife was active in the PTA, I served one term on the Des Moines School Board and failed to be elected to a second term. My defeat, I believe, was largely due to my maintaining the sacrilegious position that the school's problem was not too little money but too much. This encouraged them to neglect the basics in favor of various forms of social engineering, which had the advantage of having no measurable standards.

I do not hold up the Scottish or Canadian school systems as shining examples. The one thing I know about the good old days is that they weren't all that good. But I submit that they were as successful as our American system, demonstrating there is more than one way to educate children.

However, my varied experiences have led me to some conclusions. The first is that the Federal Government has no place in the education system, which should be left to the states, who in turn would be well advised to leave it to local government.

The second is that public education is fundamentally flawed and beyond repair of the usual proposed band-aid variety. Public education should simply be the education of the public at public expense. Instead what we have is a state monopoly, except for the rich.

In fact American public education is fundamentally un-American. With the demise of the Soviet Union, American public education is the world's largest remaining socialist system.

America's prosperity is based on two premises - freedom of choice and competition. Both lacking in public education except, once again, for the rich. They must be injected, which means a 100 percent voucher system allowing all parents to send their children to the schools of their choice, which will have to compete for their business just like any other American enterprise. Anything less, in my opinion, is doomed to failure and is a waste of time.

Thank you.

[The prepared statement of Mr. Binnie follows:]




Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you.

Ms. Vanderploeg.






Ms. Vanderploeg. Thank you for allowing me to express my concerns about public education today. Although my background is in education, I am speaking to you today in my most important role as a parent.

My children, ages 15 and 11, have always attended public school and I have been a public school advocate. However, my husband and I gradually have lost a great deal of confidence in the public education system. We're presently considering the possibility of private education for our children.

It is my opinion that in public education we are often too quick to embrace educational trends. These trends have not been proven effective. In our efforts to be innovative we've replaced proven methods with new, yet-to-be proven methods.

I believe the national trend in teaching reading by the whole language method has now proven to be ineffective, yet we continue to embrace it. Unfortunately my children were learning to read as the whole language trend found its way into the district curriculum and teaching philosophy. By the time my son was in fourth grade I was concerned about his reading ability. On his Iowa Test of Basic Skills he scored a national percentile rate of only 38 in reading comprehension. As the narrative on this test profile states, a student's ability to read is related to success in many areas of schoolwork. I was alarmed with the score of 38.

I decided to become his tutor by teaching him in the summer at home. I used a phonics book, entitled Alpha Phonics, which cost only $29.95. We worked three times a week for 15 minutes each time. By the end of summer he could read any article in the newspaper.

He went on to fifth grade, and the moment of truth came when we received his Iowa Basic Skills Test. His fifth grade reading comprehension percentile rank was 92. He improved from 38 to 92. Other scores improved dramatically, too, and there's more details in my written statement that I've provided you with about those details.

I believe my son simply needed an intensive, systematic phonics approach to reading. Incidentally, my daughter also had phonics instruction at Sylvan Learning Center, but that was with a price tag of over $500.

Phonics instruction has been documented as effective. It's simple to teach, and it's cost-effective. The U.S. Department of Education reports that the average per pupil cost of a phonics program is $30.34 and a non-phonics program costs $214.53.

The reading issue is one of many problems with our present educational system resulting from educational trends. Another example of an ineffective educational trend is comprehensive sex education. In Iowa the trend prompted the Human Growth and Development Act, which was passed by the Iowa State legislature in 1988. Comprehensive sex education in our public schools has proven to be ineffective.

In Iowa from 1982 to 1987, before the Human Growth and Development Act, the number of teen out of wedlock births increased by only .5 percent. From 1988 to 1995, after the Human Growth and Development Act, teen out of wedlock births increased an alarming 35 percent. This increase happened as Iowa's population was declining. Sexually transmitted diseases among teens have increased dramatically all over the nation. In fact, 3 million teenagers contract sexually transmitted diseases annually.

On a personal level, my daughter spent 40 minutes every school day for six weeks in junior high seventh grade being instructed in what I call sex education. When she began the course she and most of her classmates were appropriately innocent and felt embarrassed discussing sex in mixed company. By the end of the six-week course she voiced a concern that nothing could shock her. Some of her classmates developed a callous attitude toward premarital sex and some students began experimenting with and talking about their sexual experiences.

I question if our community would have had a comprehensive sex education course if there had not been a government mandate. If we would have researched this trend before implementing it we would have known that in 1986 a poll conducted by Planned Parenthood reported that teens who have had a sex education course have a 50 percent higher sexual activity rate than those who have had no course or one omitting contraceptives.

In summary, I would like to see less Federal Government involvement with the educational system. The Federal Government's funding also comes in a package with many regulations.

I'm going to skip to the end of my report, because I'm about out of time.

Students go through our educational system only once. We cannot afford to sacrifice their futures to mandates and trends created by those who have never witnessed the unique needs of each local educational system. We need to give control of the educational systems back to the parents and local school boards who genuinely care most and witness firsthand the needs of their students.

[The prepared statement of Ms.Vanderploeg follows:]




Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you.

Some of you may have noticed these little lights up here; there's a green one, a yellow one, and a red one, and only for a day this is how Iowa will operate.

The green light says whether you're testifying or whether you're asking questions, you got plenty of time. The yellow light means you're kind of running out of time, and the red light means you're done. And we move on to the next person.

The process is after we have the witnesses testify, the members of the panel up here get to ask some questions, and we're going to start with Mr. Ganske.


Dr. Ganske. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Well, we started out on the first panel here with some references to whole language learning for reading and phonics. Mr. Binnie, you mentioned it and so did you, Mrs. Vanderploeg.

I want to ask the students. Do you remember how you learned how to read? Ms. DeVan.


Ms. DeVan. Well, I remember the first time that my mom brought a book, I think it was The Runaway Bunny or something like that, and I remember her reading it to me over and over and over again and I just got so sick of that book and I knew it by heart by the time I was like seven years old.

And then finally one day she asked me, well, why don't you read to me. I couldn't figure out what she talking about, I had no idea what she was saying. So finally, because of all those times she's read it to me and I kind of repeated it and repeated it, I learned to read through her, and ever since then my nose has always been in a book. You can rarely catch me without one.


Dr. Ganske. So did you learn to read by recognizing words?


Ms. DeVan. Well, it was that and just the fact that my mom was kind of like I had to in my house before I went to school.


Dr. Ganske. How did your teachers teach you to read?


Ms. DeVan. Well, in class it was usually the teacher would call on you and you had to read no matter what. You couldn't easily refuse. If you refused she'd ask you, well, why don't you want to do it, is something wrong? And it kind of embarrassed some students in the class.

Some of us already knew how to read and knew how things went, but for the others it was like I don't want to read, because I'm not that good at it, you know. And it was kind of an embarrassing thing for them to go through and, I mean, I didn't really like that part of it.


Dr. Ganske. Did your teachers teach you the 44 different sounds? And teach you how to - if you came to a long word how to divide the word into pieces?


Ms. DeVan. Oh, yeah, we got the clapping thing where you learn like different syllables and stuff like that, but I never really learned the 44 sound thing that you're talking about.

I learned to take a piece of paper and kind of divide the word up if it - and the one word I had a problem with was "because," I don't know why I had a problem with that word but they kind of took a piece of paper and kind of made me divide that word up and finally, after months, I got it.


Dr. Ganske. Ms. Riley, do you remember how you learned how to read?


Ms. Riley. Yes, I learned with phonics, and recently I've just read the book by Marva Collins, Returning to Excellence in Education, and she talks a lot about phonics. She's a schoolteacher and she has taught kids who do not have two parents at home and are living in poverty, and all of them have graduated from her high school, and I believe strongly in phonics.


Dr. Ganske. Mr. Chairman, I think there is a - in just the November issue 1997 of Atlantic Monthly there is an article called The Reading Wars, and it's got a picture of an elephant and a donkey in it.

I think this is - it's very interesting if you'll - if I may have a unanimous consent for a minute or two, to look at the history of whole language reading versus phonics. It goes back really almost to Noah Webster.

Noah Webster was a guy who believed in phonics, he believed you broke the word up, and Horace Mann, who was influential in education, believed in whole language.

And in the 1920s we had "progressive education," in which whole language was emphasized, and because of that you had the Dick and Jane readers and you had Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat type of learning how to read, and then we had in 1955 a bestseller by Rudolph Flesch called Why Johnny Can't Read, which excoriated the whole language method, swung the pendulum back to phonics, and then we had a swing back to whole language in the 1980s, and Mr. Chairman, I think I'd be interested in just your reflections on the California hearings that you've had on this issue because California jumped very heavily into whole language and found that their test scores, I think, went - in reading went significantly down.

So this may be something that later on we'll hear from the audience on. I will tell you this. My two oldest children, my two daughters, got some phonics in school but basically had no problems with learning to read.

My youngest son hasn't been quite as swift, and so I got a phonics program for him and we've been sitting down the last three months, and the progress that he has made has been unbelievable. In his reading skills. So I think my time is up.


Chairman Hoekstra. Thanks, Greg.

As Greg indicated, we have had this issue come up a number of times. It has come up - it came up extensively when we were in California. California did go - like California does on a lot of things, got really involved and committed to whole language and after about 10, 12 years found out that their students were getting the lowest reading scores in the country. And now has moved back - trying to move back quickly to a phonics approach. It's been a painful experience for the people in California.

Mr. Latham.


Mr. Latham. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. We talk an awful lot about parental involvement with education and I guess I would like to ask Ms. Vanderploeg and Mr. Binnie what role or what involvement should the parent have in the school itself and what is prohibiting parents from doing it today?

I mean, do you feel shut out as a parent or are there policies in place, Mr. Binnie may have a better idea on that, that is stopping parents being involved.


Mr. Binnie. No - no, well, I'm here under false pretenses, I'm kind of a past parent, and my three grandchildren attend parochial school in Alexandria, Virginia so, see, I'm here under false pretenses to a certain extent.

But the whole thrust of my feeling is the ultimate parent involvement, namely, voucher system, so the parent can send their children to the kind of schools that they want rather than what we collectively think should be the right thing.

I think the schools work very hard to get parental involvement. I'm the number one critic, I believe, of the Des Moines school system, but I have to give credit where credit is due, they work very hard to get it; but it isn't easy, especially where both parents are working or where there are only single parents. The schools stand in loco parentis, but they can't stand all that much in loco parentis.

If the parents don't take control of their kids' life, which includes education, the schools are not going to be able to make up for that. And once again, I do not fault the parents.

I was very fortunate in that I had a job where my wife could stay home, and my son and my daughter are in the same position, but parents that have to go out and work all the time come home tired, and it's asking rather a lot for them to do it.

I don't have an answer to that question, but I would say that parental involvement is available but I don't think that parental involvement can go so far as to - it can set general standards in what they want but they shouldn't interfere in teaching at the classroom level.


Ms. Vanderploeg. My husband and I have both served on a parent advisory board for our school district and we've also been involved in the strategic planning, a three-year process of our district. We were given those opportunities for parent involvement.

However, our experience has been that there are government mandates that limit what we really can and cannot do. For example, my husband has come home and said from his meetings that he's frustrated because we had an evaluation and through the course of that evaluation we were criticized for not being a diverse board.

And my husband is Dutch, and if we would go through and ask everybody how diverse - we are a melting pot, we have all kinds of different nationalities in our board represented, and so this was the focus of what they needed to do, and he said they didn't ask about how well are the students learning, those kind of issues. So we get caught up in, again, these educational trends.

The other thing I think we do - and now I'm going to speak as an educator, because I'm an educator, too, and I think I do this, too, and I would like to see this change.

We take these trends and we use this terminology and it's very intimidating to parents. We have all these things like whole language, which is very complicated to teach. I took courses on whole language and I still probably couldn't do an adequate job.

This book, anybody could pick up and do it. It's very simple to teach phonics, anyone can do this. And so we kind of get intimidated.

We also use a lot of terminology in the trend such as right now we're using the terminology "benchmarks," new dimensions of learning. "What is that?," we say. You know, I don't know if I want to go into the classroom when I don't even know what the words they're using mean.

So I think we're sometimes a little intimidating. And I also think that our hands are tied. But I do not think the local teachers on the local level have any objections to parental involvement. And I would like to see that happen.


Mr. Latham. I see my time's up.


Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you.

Mr. Upton.


Mr. Upton. Thank you, Peter, I know we are running a little behind so I'll try not to take my whole five minutes, but I appreciated the testimony of all the panelists here.

Ms. DeVan, I was delighted to hear that you're a tutor. Tell me how you got into that and - are you tutoring reading, are you tutoring math?


Ms. DeVan. It's kind of a whole array of things - can everybody hear me? Oh, it's my fault. It's kind of a variety of things, they usually come in with - most of the time it's math a lot of times. Other times it can be helping - they have an Earn to Learn program that goes on at Wallace Elementary School and what they do, I think some of the people from the Rotary Club come and pay the kids for how many ever books they read.

I think one year - I think last year somebody got paid like $81 and I was like whoa, maybe I can do this thing.


Mr. Upton. Why didn't they have that when you were -


Ms. DeVan. Right, why wasn't I at this elementary school when they had that? So a lot of times we help them get more points with their reading. A lot of times it's extra practice with flash cards and things like that.


Mr. Upton. On the reading are you teaching the phonics?


Ms. DeVan. Well, a lot of times the kids, they come in and don't know certain words. A lot of them just can flow like you or I but a lot of times they kind of get stuck on certain words that are bigger, and what we usually do is give them a piece of paper like I was taught and just have them break up the word and kind of take it from there.


Mr. Upton. One of the common things that we've heard really from all four is the involvement of parents. I'm the dad of two little kids, I have a fourth grader and a kindergartner now, and it's been exciting for me every night looking over my fourth grader's homework or beginning to do some of the reading through phonics as well with my kindergartner.

And my fourth grader, we're actually not able to get her to turn off the light at night, it's sort of like forced duration as it was last night because once she gets into a book she won't stop even if it's after 10:00, which makes it a little more difficult to get her up at 7:00 to go to school.

But the phonics does work and I can see a real positive change with my kids and their easiness to read, but one of the things - I wanted to go back to you, the one problem or the one change you found in the public schools was that you didn't think that the guidance teachers maybe at this particular school were as good watching your progress. Why do you suppose that is?


Ms. DeVan. Not so much progress, I would say more - well, me getting ready to go on to college and everything, I don't see that much encouragement for me to do so. A lot of counselors and/or administrations, they want to encourage you to maybe go on to a two-year junior college instead of going on to a larger institution or a university or something like that where you would be very capable of succeeding at. That's more of what I see.


Mr. Upton. Are we in the right time zone? Five minutes, is it already over?


Chairman Hoekstra. They're a little shorter as you get -


Mr. Upton. Well, thank you very much.


Chairman Hoekstra. I think you moved him a little shorter, didn't you? Those of you who don't believe we're staff-driven have just witnessed the staff driving our light bulbs here so - I just had - Ms. Vanderploeg, have you also been involved with home schoolers?


Ms. Vanderploeg. Yes, I have.


Chairman Hoekstra. And the experience with home schoolers, why are people home schooling?


Ms. Vanderploeg. Parents are home schooling for a variety of reasons. Number one would probably be the lack of confidence in the public education to teach their kids the basics.

Number two, I'm finding that many of them are concerned about the - they want to teach values to their children as Ms. Riley said earlier. They want absolute rights and wrongs and you cannot teach things like sex education without values. And so they would like to put their values into their children.


Chairman Hoekstra. What percentage of students here in Iowa might be home schooled, do you have an idea or not?


Ms. Vanderploeg. No, I don't have an idea. I can tell you in our district we have maybe 25, 30 students that are being home schooled. I know that it's a growing number and I'd be happy to get that for you if you'd like that information. We could send that to you.


Chairman Hoekstra. All right, thank you. Those are all the questions that I have, also.

I'd like to thank this first panel for your testimony and thank you for being here with us today. Thank you.

We'll begin with our second panel. We have Gov. Branstad. Welcome, good to have you here, and I think the last time I saw you was when you were in Grand Rapids with the Governor’s' Conference. Good to visit you here.

Gov. Branstad. Thank you, that was one year ago and I took over as chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association at that conference and we're getting ready to have our annual meeting and this time we're going to have it in Florida, so we won't have to have the kind of weather you have in Grand Rapids and what we have in Des Moines this time of year.


Chairman Hoekstra. I'm glad you're going to Florida, because I've got an invitation to join you.

Gov. Branstad. We hope you will.


Chairman Hoekstra. I think I'll be there, and I'd also like to express my personal appreciation. Your Gov. has committed to work with us on a project that's actually taking a look at the paperwork that the Federal Government imposes on the states, the mandates that the Federal Government imposes on the states, and taking a look at exactly what this paperwork costs to the states, and basically we want to take a look at the cost of the benefit.

What costs are we putting on the state, what benefit is Washington or anybody getting from this paperwork. We're going to ask the simple question all the paperwork - there's six Governors that are working on this with us. We're going to ask the question who in Washington actually reads this. And if nobody reads it why are we asking anybody to do it, because this is money that could go directly into a classroom.



Chairman Hoekstra. So thank you for helping us do that. We're waiting for the day when he collects all of the paperwork that is developed here in Iowa and to figure out whether it's going to take him, you know, a small little, I don't know, a Yugo to drive it to Washington or whether he can take it there in a pickup truck or whether he's got to come with a fleet of semis.

So we're looking for you to do that, and thank you very much for working on that project with us, and we also have Mr. Marvin Pomerantz, who is the chairman of the Iowa Commission on Educational Excellence in the 21st Century. Thank you for being here.

Gov., we'll begin with you.





Gov. Branstad. Congressman Hoekstra, Congressman Ganske, Congressman Latham, Congressman Upton, we appreciate all of you coming here, and I want to welcome you to our capital city of Des Moines.

We're pleased that you chose this site for one of your regional hearings, and as I think you've already noticed from this first panel, Iowans care deeply about education. Iowans love their children and they want the very best for their children and we're blessed to live in a state where the early leaders of our state also had quite a vision of education because even before Iowa became a state back when we were a territory seven years before statehood, that would be 157 years ago, the territorial legislature set aside land in every township so that no kid would have more than a two-mile walk to a one-room country school.

Now, the result of that foresight was that we built all these one-room country schools all the way across the state of Iowa, and by 1900 this young state led America in literacy, and we've been a leader in education ever since.

It also involved the parents and the people in the townships and the small communities of our state in education, and people in this state have continued to stay involved in education up until this day.

Today education in Iowa is much different than those one-room country schools but one thing remains the same. Iowans are deeply committed to quality education for their children and they want to do all they can to prepare their kids to meet the challenges of the future.

Iowa is also a local control state and I think that's one of the reasons for the success we've had. Not only do we not think that all knowledge resides in Washington, D.C., folks in Iowa don't think all knowledge resides here in Des Moines, either. They frankly trust more the people at the local level, the parents and the teachers and the leaders that they elect at the local level, than they do the people at the national and the state level.

I'd like to briefly share with you some of the things we've done as we've tried to change and improve and be more competitive.

We've invested in technology, because we see that's important to the future. We are the first state to build a statewide fiber optics telecommunications system designed to connect all of our schools, and by next year we will literally have put fiber in the ground and connected all 377 districts in the state of Iowa not only with each other, but with the colleges and universities and also with the Internet and really the information superhighway. We're very proud of that fact.

Our state is also investing over the next five years $150 million in technology and school improvement, and that investment was designed to give school districts more flexibility and more resources to invest in technology, but we did it in such a way that local schools put their own technology plan together and could make those decisions. The state is providing this money to augment whatever other resources they were already putting in technology.

As we look to the future we recognize there are some challenges, you heard some of the concerns about whole language, and in fact Iowa which has been a leader in our basic skills has seen a drop recently in our test scores in reading.

And I have to admit that I was one of those kids that went through kindergarten, first grade, at the time that they were not focusing on phonics and I believe that's why I'm to this day not a very good speller.

I did learn to read but - and I'm not a very fast reader. I would say, though, I comprehend real well and I usually don't forget what I read, but I believe very much that there is a need to return to basics and focus on things that are going to make a difference and so that kids get those basics.

One of the things that we are doing and I know as I visited one of the schools in Des Moines that's involved with a program called Reading Recovery, which is a very intensive program focusing on kids that are not progressing as well as they need to in first grade as a way to help them get up to speed and that's a program that seems to be making a difference for a number of kids here.

As Gov. I appointed a task force on educational excellence for the 21st century; you will hear from Mr. Pomerantz about the recommendations of that task force.

I guess I'm looking to the future in saying that Iowa has been a leader in the 20th century in education because earlier leaders had the foresight to set aside land in every township and really help build an educational infrastructure that made it possible for Iowa kids to get education in their early days.

I think it's our responsibility to build the infrastructure, the telecommunications infrastructure, that's going to give us the educational opportunities for the 21st century, but we also know that the involvement of parents in the communities is critical to the success of education. America's Governors recognize that education is primarily a state and local responsibility and across the country Governors and state legislators have championed innovative improvements in education.

There is a great debate raging in the Congress over the role that the Federal Government should play in education. I believe that there is a role for the Federal Government but that it should be strictly limited and not prescriptive. Parents, teachers, and communities need the flexibility to develop a strategy that will achieve the best results for the students in their community.

In the areas of early childhood education, helping at-risk children and supporting research, the Federal Government, I think, does have an appropriate place and we are very appreciative of the financial support that we're going to get for health care for young children.

We would like to also tie that in with helping as the research shows with the early childhood brain development. We see some critical things where the parents can be involved in preparing their kids so that they will succeed in school.

The role of the Federal Government today is, in my opinion, too far-reaching, too burdensome, too complicated, and too process-oriented, and frankly, it's too compliance-driven. It goes with that paperwork you're talking about where we seem to be too focused on the paper as opposed to the results.

The federal education programs need to be significantly restructured with the goal of making them more results-oriented, more simple and easier to understand for the people that have to work with them.

Programs and funding streams need to be consolidated, more cross-agency collaboration must be initiated, uniform reporting standards should be put in place to reduce bureaucracy and funding should be channeled through the classrooms where the children learn, rather than paying for expensive national bureaucracy and administrative process in Washington.

I think most Americans share the common goal of improving education so that our children are learning at higher levels and the states need to continue on such things as increasing accountability.

The task force that Mr. Pomerantz will talk about in more detail, the number one focus of that, their first item was increasing accountability. Improving teacher and administrator preparation. Renewing the emphasis on learning at early ages and teaching the basics so that kids get the basics of reading and math at an early age.

Increasing the use of technology in the classroom because technology can enhance the learning process, not replace the teachers but actually enhance the learning process and make it easier for kids to learn more on their own and kind of at their own pace so it gives them a more visualized learning environment.

We need to make our schools more family-friendly so parents feel empowered to be actively involved, and I would say the schools in Iowa do try to be accessible to the parents but I think some families feel intimidated maybe because of the language or maybe because they didn't do well in school and are a little concerned about coming to school. But I think our schools in Iowa really try to involve the parents and the community. And we need to have a greater voice in the decisions and choices affecting our children's education.

I think a lot of parents are frustrated and I think that's one of the reasons for the movement in home schools and people choosing not to send their children to public schools is because they don't feel they have maybe enough voice and they're concerned about such things as their children learning the values, the values that Ms. Riley talked about.

There is more to having a parental and community involvement in schools than just rolling out a family-friendly welcome mat for the parent-teacher conferences. It's the responsibility of parents and community members to be actively involved in their schools and commit themselves to quality education.

Our state efforts to eradicate violence in the schools, reduce alcohol and drug abuse by students, tobacco use and to make schools safer so that we can have an orderly learning environment is something that I think must continue to be an important priority.

These are things that are best accomplished at the state and local level. Simplification and consolidation of federal programs must take place with a goal of further empowering the state departments of education and local school districts.

At the state and at the local school board level we need to make sure that we don't replace federal bureaucracy and federal paperwork with more at the state level. So I guess I feel an obligation on our part not to replace the federal bureaucracy with the state bureaucracy.

We're trying more and more for a state department of education to be able to facilitate and assist school districts rather than mandate districts and kind of go in a counting pencils kind of mode which doesn't really say how good an education kids are getting.

It's a tragedy to see some schools in this country that have one administrative staffer for every teacher. That's a trend that needs to be reversed. Maximizing quality instruction is imperative to reaching our common goal of a better education system.

Our country has learned the hard way that federal solutions to local problems don't work. Look at the trillions of dollars that we spent on massive, centralized federal welfare programs during the last three decades which was a total failure and now state after state - and most recently I would commend the Congress for the work you did last year on giving states more flexibility and passing a major welfare reform.

And I know you took a lot of abuse from those that said it won't work and you're really going to be jeopardizing the children. The truth of the matter is it's working great, it is in fact - it is in fact empowering more families to get a higher standard of living and to really be part of the American dream instead of being held in a system that kept them at a subsistence level.

As we look to the future I urge this committee and the United States Congress to support quality education not by increasing the federal role nor by eliminating it but by streamlining, simplifying, block granting, and making programmatic changes designed to increase the focus on student achievement and the involvement of parents in the community. I believe that makes a lot more sense than trying to do it through mandates from Washington.

Thank you very much.

[The prepared statement of the Hon. Terry E. Branstad follows:]



Chairman Hoekstra. Mr. Pomerantz.






Mr. Pomerantz. Chairman Hoekstra and Congressmen Upton, Ganske and Congressman Latham.

I would tell you it took the power of the United States Congress after 67 years to get me to enter East High School. So for that I thank you. The last time I touched anything that had to do with East High School was on the gridiron when we were in high school. I might say we came out quite victorious.

So it's good to be with you today in a much more serious vein to let you know about the exciting work of the Iowa Commission on Educational Excellence for the 21st Century.

First a little background information. The Gov. charged the 14-member commission with creating a vision and a road map for pre-K through 12 education for the state, and although we all recognize that Iowa has one of the finest school systems in the country, the Gov. believes strongly that we cannot be complacent and that we must be aggressive in ensuring that Iowa's educational system provide the best quality education in the world, where every child grows up to be a productive, self-reliant citizen.

The Gov. appointed the commission in February of 1997 and we completed our work and presented our recommendations to the Gov. on September 17.

The commission, its working groups of 40 additional citizens, our consultants and focus groups discussed three principal themes. Educational leadership, student achievement and parent and community involvement.

First let me address educational leadership. It's my strong belief that our greatest challenge in order to have Iowa's educational system emerge as the finest in the world is that we must have the very best educational leaders, teachers and administrators. This means that we must professionalize the profession.

Our schools of education must fundamentally transform the manner in which teachers and administrators are trained, not only at the early developmental stages of their careers but over the course of their lives as professional educators and leaders. We must demand higher standards and greater accountability for both teacher and administrator preparation. This equates to the possible development of teaching and administrative internships and a minimum five-year program with special emphasis in developing more diversity on the teacher and administrative work force.

We must do better at establishing more cooperation between all of the functional segments of the teaching profession. All those that serve as resources to our teachers and administrators.

This includes the Iowa State Educational Association, other professional organizations, area educational agencies, regent universities, private colleges and universities, the Iowa Department of Education and all others who in any way touch upon teacher education, preparation and licensing.

We need to look seriously at a significantly higher salary level in order to attract some of the best and brightest people so that the economics of the profession are competitive.

We must look very seriously at new staffing patterns in our schools to enable teachers to focus on the learning process and lifelong professional development.

In order to do this we have to look at creating new roles for professionals and paraprofessionals who provide focused activity in such areas as technology, parent-community involvement and at-risk students.

It's recognized that all of these changes have economic implications. It's possible that in order to implement the world's best education system there could be some additional cost.

Second, let's address student achievement. For years we've all fixed on the student who arrives at the classroom door with little focus on outcomes or student needs for the 21st century.

Over the years our curriculum has been altered and added to without looking at it from a holistic or systemic perspective, and most unfortunately, without the focus of measuring student outcomes or what the student has learned.

It's now time for all of us to begin a thoughtful and systematic effort to develop key performance indicators to inform parents and the community about student progress and to enable continuous program improvement.

Our tradition here in Iowa is grass roots, and it's not our intention whatsoever of changing that critical element of the state's culture. Therefore, it's essential that our local districts continue to set standards at the community level.

However, now is the time for us to consider requiring each school district to report on the same state-determined set of core indicators in such areas as teacher and administrator quality, student graduation rates, longitudinal student success after graduation, basic skill performance, reading, writing, arithmetic, and respect.

As we have high expectations for our students we must develop a curriculum that encompasses high expectations. For example, emphasis over problem solving, problem solving over mastery, skills for citizenship, including knowledge of foreign languages, basic literacy skills, including the ability to read, write, listen, and speak, literacy in mathematics, a range of interpersonal skills, including the ability to work with others as a team, to respect others' points of view, and to resolve conflict.

Technological literacy, the ability to use a range of media for gathering, organizing and communicating information and workforce literacy, the ability to develop plans, to read and prepare technical reports, to make presentations, to apply knowledge to problems, to take risks and to ferret out answers to tough questions.

We must become more rigorous in insisting that each school, in partnership with the community and district develop, implement and monitor annual plans that focus on student learning, performance measures and continuous improvement. This may require changes in the current school accreditation process.

However, given our commitment for local autonomy we must be forever mindful to develop a state rule to ensure that local schools in their districts are doing everything they can to establish a continuous improving system that makes a difference to the student learner.

Let's address our third recurring theme, parent and community involvement. I need not tell you that the demography and the socio-economic of our state and nation have changed over the last 20 years. In some parts of Iowa the changes have been extraordinary.

For example, we have a growing number of at-risk students. The number of special needs students has grown exponentially, the number of single-parent families is increasing at a rapid rate, the number of limited English-speaking students has exploded in some communities and our eight urban school districts enroll 95 percent of Iowa's K through 12 students of color.

Obviously as our population changes at even a greater pace, schools, in collaboration with community agencies, must change.

To that end we must begin to view schools in the context of a community center. Schools need to become more of a community resource. For example, family resource centers, centers for older members of the community, centers of lifelong learning.

This implies creating school schedules that are more flexible and are focused on student, parent and members of the community at large.

Cities, counties, for-profit organizations, nonprofit community agencies need to assess ways in which facilities, technologies, and libraries, just to name a few, can be shared. This ensures the actualization of the school as a community resource and ensures a more efficient and effective use of limited financial resources.

The role of early childhood education is critical. We must begin to develop a community network that can provide child care. This means that we must be very strategic and clever about how we reach out to those who are part of the public and private sectors of education, child care providers, employers, and state leaders to ensure that early childhood education, child care and parental support in education are available to families and to young children.

Our existing school buildings should be transformed into learning centers that are open 12 months a year. Extended school year programs through a variety of calendar options should be encouraged. All-day every day kindergarten should be the rule for all schools.

Opportunity for at-risk students could be maximized and other enrichment programs can be explored by extending the calendar and creating access to schools as lifelong learning centers.

We need a better understanding of mutual expectations, what parents expect of schools and what schools expect of parents. We need clearly to establish a system of two-way communication between schools and families.

Student transition from school to career should be supported by school-business partnerships that provide student coop and intern experiences.

Given the potential of technology to improve instruction and student learning, the commission recommended three things. All students grades four and above should have access to a laptop computer to enhance opportunities for learning. The private sector should have the primary responsibility for providing resources to support this goal.

The state should maintain its commitment to the ICN for educational purposes.

The state should also continue to provide instructional technology funding beyond the five-year commitment for the school improvement/technology fund.

So in summary, as you can see, we've embarked on some bold and different thinking, and we're asking ourselves some tough questions.

There is an excitement in Iowa today about the opportunity we have to significantly change and improve education. It's an opportunity that requires cooperation from all sectors, Republicans, Democrats, teachers, administrators, staff, students and parents.

In short, it requires all of our best efforts so that our children of the next millennium can be as good as they can be.

Thank you.

[The prepared statement of Mr. Pomerantz follows:]




Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you. I read the report, I found that pretty interesting, the education in excellence report, and - where you talk about what's a school going to be like for students, what's it going to be like for the curriculum, for the teachers, for the parents, and I think for the - I don't know if you got to the community or not but the administrators.

About the rapidly changing and the lifelong learning, the type of things that kids have to learn, the types of kids that are learning right here - the types of things kids are learning right here at East High. And I'm glad it's an exciting time for Iowa.

Actually it's quite an exciting time wherever we go. A lot of states are working on this and everybody has taken a slightly different tack in how they're addressing the education issue in the future.

But Gov. - we were in Ohio awhile back and Gov. Voinovich has said - how much money does Iowa get from the Federal Government for your K through 12 education? Do you know what percentage that is, roughly, of your budget?

Gov. Branstad. It's not a large percentage.


Chairman Hoekstra. I think the national average is around 5 or 6 percent.

Gov. Branstad. It's about - I would say we're constantly - we're concerned - for instance, we're concerned about being penalized for doing a good job in Title I and I think - and I want to thank you, because I think you basically put a hold harmless in there last year and I'm hopeful that will happen in this Congress, too, otherwise we would lose - I think we would lose 5 or $6 million in Title I, which is specifically focused on reading. And that's the last thing that we want to see cut back.


Chairman Hoekstra. But I mean, one of the things just for everybody here is that when we're talking about the federal role in education, for most school districts we're talking about at a local level they get about 5 or 8 percent -


Gov. Branstad. It's a very small part.


Chairman Hoekstra. A small part. Have you figured out yet or as you're going through the paperwork project have you figured out perhaps how much of your paperwork or how much of your overhead cost is a result of Washington or not?

Gov. Branstad. I don't know that we have that, but what we find is there is a significant amount of paperwork that is mandated by the federal government, which is maybe one of the reasons why the number of administrators is going up in schools around the country. So it drives up a lot of the administrative costs, that's money that's not being spent in the classroom.


Chairman Hoekstra. We're embarking on a couple of potential different directions in Washington. I'd like your reaction to them. One says that there are a number of identified needs at the state and the local level, a need for testing, perhaps developing national tests, a need for technology improvement, a need for school construction, a need for further literacy development.

Assuming that we're getting closer to a surplus budget, and I think all four of us, being rather fiscally conservative, are saying would you like to see your taxes raised on the people in Iowa so that Washington could take the lead on solving these problems at the school level - at the local level, or would you prefer just to leave the money here?


Gov. Branstad. We'd rather not send it to Washington in the first place. I can tell you a couple other areas, too, where we'd just as soon -


Chairman Hoekstra. Go ahead.


Gov. Branstad. It's not in the area - to give you an example of something we're real interested in, the IRS is somewhat in disrepute with the American people. The IRS collects what's called the FUTA tax on employers and then that's supposed to come back for the administration of our Job Service or workforce development department.

We only get half of it back. We'd be willing to collect that tax and send what Washington deserves to have and -


Chairman Hoekstra. Keep the rest?


Gov. Branstad. Yes, just let the taxpayers keep the rest. In fact we'll talk to you in Florida about that.


Chairman Hoekstra. All right. So I mean, those are four new initiatives that we're taking a look at in Washington, saying Washington needs to get involved in these specific programs.

Another direction is a piece of legislation that passed the Senate; I don't think it's going to survive in a Congress committee, but it's the legislation that was initiated by Slade Gorton out of Washington. Are you familiar with that? The block grant proposal.

I think it took about $13 billion of education programs and basically put it into a single block grant back to the states for you to use as you would like to see fit.


Gov. Branstad. That's the direction we think you ought to go.


Chairman Hoekstra. I read the report and I was a little surprised, and I want you to interpret this for me. Because we're in Washington, we want to get rid of our bureaucracy and get dollars into the classroom. I heard you say the same thing.

Maybe, Mr. Pomerantz, you can tell me how you guys came up with this - I think we got this off your Web page so I don't know exactly what page it is but - I would read this as mandates. As a condition of accreditation all school districts shall be required to offer all-day every day kindergarten, local schools and school districts shall develop powerful core curriculum, the comprehensive school improvement plan shall include a component designed to involve parents on the instructional program of their children.

How do we - how do I not read those as mandates on local schools?


Mr. Pomerantz. Well, you could read them as strong suggestions.


Chairman Hoekstra. I think in Washington we read "shall" as not a strong suggestion.


Mr. Pomerantz. That could be a difference between Washington and Iowa, but -


Chairman Hoekstra. I don't know how Webster would define it, but go on.


Mr. Pomerantz. The three areas that you picked -


Chairman Hoekstra. I was quite surprised. I think later on - like quite often it does say "shall" and then it says "should." I was surprised with the number of "shalls" in there.


Mr. Pomerantz. The "shalls" are intended to be very strong recommendations dealing with quality of education, fundamentally. We have a very strong ethic for education here to start with, we're very high in the competitive rankings, although of late we're beginning to see some movement, some slippage.

What we're trying to do, and the Gov. is extremely wise in getting it up front before we show dramatic deterioration in terms of our testing, is to get a focus - what we'd like you to get from this report, the underpinnings of it, is the concept that professionalizing the profession, of having great teachers as a precursor, as the beginning, as the only way really you could get great schools. So we have an emphasis on that, and then we have an emphasis on accountability.

Now, it's pretty difficult to wordsmith the words in a way that is going to be totally understood. If you can say we're going to leave it to the local districts to create their own program because we believe in local autonomy in the state of Iowa, that's the underpinning of everything, and then say they're going to have some kind of minimum level that they must attain, but that's what we're doing.

We're saying that it isn't satisfactory to have a district even though they're on their own and they can set their own standards not meet some kind of a minimum level. So it's time to put enough water under the entire boat to raise the entire level of education in Iowa and that's really what we're trying to get at. You can say shall or may or whatever, but the idea is it's going to be better.


Gov. Branstad. Let me respond to that, too, by saying the state has a statewide funding formula for education; it started back in 1971, we've perfected in '89, and it's going to be sunset in the year 2001 so the legislature is going to have to look at that again and we're, I think, among the top five in the country in terms of equalization between rich and poor districts.

We've really tried to do that so that as you know some states - I know your state under Gov. Engler's leadership made dramatic progress in reducing the disparity and reducing the dependency on property tax for education.

We started, frankly, in Iowa much earlier on that and have done that more gradually, over a longer period of time. But we provide funding for every kid and what we found is the information about kids that get all-day every day kindergarten is they do so much better that we really believe that schools ought to require - and 70 percent of the schools in Iowa are already providing it.

So we're providing the funding, we're saying it's not unreasonable to ask them, and this is a recommendation from the report, we're not going to say that's next year but that's a goal.

In fact 10 years ago maybe only 25 percent of the school districts in Iowa had all-day every day kindergarten.

And to show you how strong my mother felt about it, I went to grade school in Leland, Iowa, the high school kids went to Forest City, my mother and one other mother put us as kindergarten kids on the bus with the high school kids because we didn't have kindergarten and they had one in Forest City. After one week of going to school with kids in Forest City they put one in Leland. They kind of shamed them into doing it.


Mr. Pomerantz. Just one more caveat, you should know that all-day every day kindergarten is already paid for in the formula, it's already being paid for. All we're asking these local districts to do is what they agreed to do. They're taking the money for all-day every day kindergarten, now we think they ought to provide it. That's fair even in Washington, isn't it?


Chairman Hoekstra. Well, I don't know what's fair. I'd just kind of keep Iowa standards in Iowa and don't look to Washington for your standards, you'll be much better off.

Gov. Branstad. You need to know - and this is one of the things we get criticized for. We do not have state standards. We have local standards. And so one of the things - this report does for the first time say, however, there will be uniform reporting on these - on this certain core curriculum and graduation rates and things like that.

Marvin, I think, spelled that out in the report but we are a local control state, every time AFT and some of these groups put out a rating they say, well, Iowa has no standards.

We do have standards, every school district has standards, but we do not have state standards, and we certainly are opposed to the Federal Government trying to impose it on us.


Chairman Hoekstra. We were going to stay away from Michigan-Iowa standards or comparisons today, but you're right, you were ahead on the equalization. Michigan is catching up.

We can compare ourselves to Ohio, though, who because they haven't taken the lead the courts are now taking over the funding of their system because of the disparity in rich and poor, and so congratulations for being one of the first and leading on that.

Mr. Ganske.


Dr. Ganske. Thanks, Mr. Chairman, and Gov. and Mr. Pomerantz, thank you for being here.

You know, I'm going to move away in my brief time from the specifics of the recommendations, because I want to find out from two of the leading thinkers about education in our state what you think the purpose of education is. Because I think this is the most fundamental question.

You know, Aristotle thought the purpose of education was the good life, but he recognized that the good life had different definitions.

For the longest time, though, in our country's history the purpose of education was to provide for a well-educated citizenry and well-rounded adults. But I would say that we've seen a different purpose in the last 40, 50 years come into the educational realm for purposes. And that is to provide for well-trained people for business and to - and that education's purpose should be so that when you finish your education you can get a job.

Those are two different purposes for education, and the way you answer that in terms of which you think is most important determines to a great extent how you set up the school system and how you judge the results. So I'd just like to hear your brief thoughts on that fundamental question.


Gov. Branstad. Well, I'll try first, and then I'll -


Mr. Pomerantz. You're the Gov..

Gov. Branstad. I think the Congressman has asked a very profound question and I think the answer is, first of all, this is America, this is a country that has believed in educational opportunities for all and it's quite different than, say, Germany, Japan, and many of the other industrial powerhouses that we deal with.

And we also believe in freedom of choice. We do not say to a kid at a real early age you are going into this line of education because you're going into this job, and that's true in a lot of places in the world. And I think it would be a tragic mistake if we lost - and I would say education is also the great equalizer.

Marvin Pomerantz, he played, I think, for North High School -


Mr. Pomerantz. Roosevelt.


Gov. Branstad. On the football -


Mr. Pomerantz. Teddy Roosevelt.


Gov. Branstad. That was a little before my time, but I understand he got a school named after him.

I think it's critically important that education continue to be the great equalizer that gives young people the opportunity to have the knowledge and the skills to choose whatever kind of occupation they want to go into, and I also think it's important that we get back to teaching values, honesty, hard work, treating other people with respect and dignity, respecting your teachers and your parents; all of these kinds of things I think are important and an important part of education.

I don't think the main mission of education is just to train people for the workforce, but I do think that a quality education will give people the skills that will make it possible for them to go out there and do whatever they want to with their life, and it should also make it possible for them to enjoy reading and the arts and the other things that make life enjoyable.


Mr. Pomerantz. That is not a simple question, that is a profound question. I happen to be one of nine children, the eighth out of nine, born to immigrant parents who came to America seeking opportunity and fulfillment in a sense that they could be free of fear and able to pursue the lifestyle that they wished to pursue.

Education is the core, the central value of that. The distinguishing characteristic of America aside from its natural resources is the level of education that we've pursued for over 200 years and the fact is that the rest of the world has discovered our secret and they're about to come after us in a competitive sense in education.

So it isn't a matter of just educating the workforce or education for the sake of education. It's all of those things.

I would say that one of the net results is that you educate people so that they can be fulfilled and they can be as - reach the maximum of their capabilities. And through enhancing the individual through an educational process you enable that individual to achieve their ultimate potential.

Education in that sense is a means, not the end. And that's what it is really, it's an adjunct, it's a part of a structure that helps people develop to their ultimate capacity.

It helps the nation develop to its ultimate capacity and sets apart nations. So it's at the core of what's vital to us in America.

It's not something we can be frivolous about, it's not something that we can have a subcommittee hearing on and then 10 years from now have another one. We need to have continuous improvement in our educational process, because the rest of the world has discovered our secret, they're after us, and we need to be sure to keep up the values of America by enhancing its education program to where it can be the best in the world.

It isn't good enough anymore to be the best in the United States, we must recognize the competition from Japan and from western Europe and from other parts of Asia - Singapore, for example.

All over this world education has been discovered and we need to make sure that we keep this country strong and we support its values through a much enhanced education system.


Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you.

Mr. Latham.


Mr. Latham. I thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank you, the Gov., for the excellent testimony, and Marv, I tell you, you need to come to Washington. Anyone who can start a commission in February and have results done in September, by Washington standards that's a blink of an eye. I mean that is absolutely incredible, and the findings that you have in your report are very, very helpful, I think.

Just for you folks here I want to publicly thank Marv Pomerantz for everything he's done for the state. Marv is not an elected official, he doesn't have to do these things. But with all his work on the board of regents and commitment to education, commitment to this state has just been unbelievable, and for someone who doesn't have to do these things you've done an incredible job and the state of Iowa owes you a debt of gratitude, I can assure you.



Mr. Pomerantz. Thank you very much.


Mr. Latham. There are some major issues before Congress right now and one of them is holding up an appropriations bill, and that is on the national testing, which many people believe will lead to a national curriculum.

I think the Iowa delegation is pretty much unified against that even - we're not always in agreement with the Iowa state education association, but they also oppose national testing because they think that Iowa could do a much better job than having a national curriculum. I would assume that you would concur with that conclusion and if you had any statement on that.


Gov. Branstad. First of all, I just want to thank you for what you said about Mr. Pomerantz. I chose him to chair this task force in educational excellence for the 21st century because if you want to get something significant done in a short period of time you want somebody that is focused and intense and cares deeply about the subject, and Marv is all of those, and he did a great job, and now the ball is in our court to move this forward.

We oppose the idea of establishing national testing, because it's a waste of money. We already have - people referred here to the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. Iowa Tests of Basic Skills are voluntary, not governmentally mandated, and 99 1/2 percent of the schools in Iowa, public and non-public, use the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. And we don't need to spend millions of dollars to put together some kind of national test.

Our concern is that the national test wouldn't be nearly as stringent or as good as the ones we already have and that in fact it would be counterproductive. And we would just much rather instead of wasting that money on tests - and there's the NAPE test and many other tests that are already in existence, just put that money to the classroom to help kids, to improve schools as opposed to more testing. And a lot of kids will tell you they take plenty of tests.

What we need to do is focus on what's getting us results. I heard a teacher here say that after they made a change to phonics with their kids they saw the test results go up significantly, and I think that's the kind of thing that's worthwhile, is to have that kind of solid information.


Mr. Latham. And I think the concern all of us have is if you have national testing, coming from a state like Iowa, you are going to lower the bar rather than raise the bar of excellence and on that, I think, there is uniform agreement.

Another item and maybe you can give us some insight, there's a lot of concern about infrastructure in the schools, a lot of the facilities are in disrepair and need to be improved.

There have been proposals, one from the administration talking about $5 billion going to be spread out amongst all the school districts which really gets down to about $10,000 per school.

There's a concern that I have with that in that you are tying several federal labor laws with it such as Davis-Bacon, which would increase the cost of any kind of repairs more than 15 to 25 percent. I just wonder if you have any -


Gov. Branstad. There again, by the time that you add all the federal regulations and requirements that go with it it's going to cost the school district more than if they did it on their own, and it's a drop in the ocean compared to all the situations.

Some school districts in this state have their infrastructure in good shape. Other districts have significant problems. But I really believe it's a local issue. I think there's some things that we need to do at the state level to give more flexibility to schools and more options on how to deal with it. I don't think that the Federal Government ought to be getting involved in this whatsoever.

And I would rather, again, that you block grant that money directly to the school districts or to the states to distribute to the school districts in a way that can meet their individual needs as opposed to deciding in Washington - I guess the other thing, it's either 10,000 per school district-


Mr. Latham. Per school.


Gov. Branstad. Per school, 10,000 per school or it's a situation where you're picking winners and losers and you've got one district that wins the lottery and gets it and everybody else doesn't. I don't think that's right, either.


Mr. Latham. You had a concern earlier - not a concern but a statement about Title I. This year the appropriations - which I follow quite closely on that committee, but Title I is funded at $8.2 billion, that's $405 million more than last year and actually $127 million more than what the president requested this year.


Gov. Branstad. Do you have the hold harmless in there, that's what we care about. Because - we appreciate that. I had heard that was in the bill and as it goes through conference that's something that's important to us.

Thanks to the hold harmless clause last year we didn't lose. Even though there is an increase I don't think any of that increase comes to Iowa, but if we don't have the hold harmless we'll actually lose.


Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you.

I'd like to thank the Gov., thank you for being here and helping us today, and we look forward to seeing you next week - or is it two weeks. Two weeks, I guess.

Mr. Pomerantz, thank you for being with us and sharing with us.


Mr. Pomerantz. Thank you. Thanks for having us.


Chairman Hoekstra. We're going to have a time which we call an open mike time and if there's anybody in the audience that has a question or a comment that they would like to make they can go to the microphone wherever it is. Where is it? Oh, it's right there in the middle of the room.

There are a couple of us that have planes going back to the East part of the country sometime later this afternoon. What we would encourage you to do is to keep your comments or questions brief.

For those of you that don't get to express your opinion or ask your question, we will have forms out so that you can write out your comments. They will be submitted for the record. If you have questions you can submit the questions and we will respond to them, that's assuming we don't get to you in the next 30 to 35 minutes.

We will start - it looks like there's two lines. If you could kind of form one line and if you would just announce your name when you get to the mike, that would be good so that our court recorder can get it for the record. Sir.


Mr. Krumrey. My name is George Krumrey, I live in Des Moines, Iowa, I'm a past president of the Iowa PTA, and our present president of the Iowa PTA lives in Clinton and is not able to be here today and she asked me to represent -


Chairman Hoekstra. Excuse me, could we just kind of keep it down so that everybody can listen to the speakers. Thank you.


Mr. Krumrey. The present president of the Iowa PTA could not be here today and asked me to represent the PTA and I'm going to read from a position statement of the Iowa PTA regarding funding of public and non-public schools.

Public education is the foundation of a strong democratic society. It was established on the premises that not only - that only a well-educated citizenry could best determine the course of its government.

It does not close its doors to any child based on color, race, religious belief, socioeconomic background, special needs, ability, or disability. Public education accepts all children and offers a delivery of a free, equitable program to them.

Since it is an inclusive system it is also an expensive system. However, the cost of educating our children thereby giving them the tools to become productive citizens is much less than the cost of housing prisoners who have not become productive citizens.

Public education is also accountable to the various citizens whose tax dollars help to support it. Schools boards are elected, budgets are approved, parents are involved and outcomes are publicized.

The same could not be said of non-public schools. Many non-public schools are parochial, about 90 percent, and the rest are private. Their entrance and exit criteria are discriminatory. They are not accountable to the public, their budgets are not open to the public scrutiny. Parents need not be involved and their educational outcomes need not be accessible nor assessed by the public.

And we'd like to emphasize the fact that private schools by their very nature can be selective in their student body, the public schools have to take anybody who comes and cannot be selective in that way. Thank you.


Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you; if you would like that complete statement submitted for the record we will do that.


Ms. Hasley. My name is Angela Hasley and I'm a Drake student, I'm four weeks away from getting my diploma.


Chairman Hoekstra. Congratulations.


Ms. Hasley. I'm also a student with a double degree. I, too, Congressman Latham, am an avid French student, I'm so excited to get my diploma in that, too, as well as my degree in education.

I am currently a student teacher and I should be at school right now, but I have substitute sitting in for me. But I teach at Moulton Elementary, a first grade classroom here in Des Moines, and a lot of you might know the school. It's an at-risk school, and the students are amazing. But they come to school with so many needs every day, and reading is a need.

Unlike you, they don't have parents that read to them. You are very enthusiastic and it is written all over your face. Some students come to school holding a book upside down; what does that look like, I don't know. And it's important for teachers to be patient and understand that.

What I wanted to talk to you about is about a main concern I have. You asked about education and phonetics. I am a student K-6 phonetically educated, 7-12 phonetically educated French. Went to France for a semester, studied abroad. Did a research on the elementary education system in France.

And I learned that phonetics can work for some people. I'm sorry, I'm just going to make this real brief. But they can't for others. Seven years of high school phonetics French I learned "Bonjour, je m'appelle Angelique."

Six years of phonetics in grade school for me, maybe not for your child, I learned to hate reading. Today my biggest passion is reading. And you ask me how. It's not phonetics. It's because I love to read and because I was around teachers that were enthusiastic about reading.

My point to you is if I can explain to you one thing that I learned through my four years of Drake education, my viewing of the French education system abroad, my experience with phonetics in high school level, my experience with whole language level, there is no easy answer.

Whole language can work for some teachers, phonetics can work for other teachers, some students it works perfectly, some it does not. For me it may not have, and maybe the teacher just didn't know how to teach phonics.

And you know what, I don't really know what phonics means, anyway. And you know what else, I don't know what whole language means and I could tell you, I researched and researched and researched. The only answer is eclectic approaches to education.

Teach students to love to read, don't be like me, don't hate it. You can go buy as many phonetic books as you want, as your little heart desires, but the only thing I can do for my little Moulton students is to show them books that they may enjoy to read and teach them to read.

Gov. Branstad mentioned about Reading Recovery. Wonderful program, it gets to the heart of where that person is in their learning process and you are wonderful and an enthusiastic parent and I think it's wonderful that you buy these books for them, but if we put all our money into phonetics and whole language - there is no answer, it's not going to work.

Don't put your money there. Where some teacher is going to be like that's going to be my doorstop for the rest of the year, because I don't know how to use phonics, I don't know how to use whole language.

It needs to come from the heart of the teacher and trust that the teacher is creative. Give them money for technology. I use technology every day, my first graders can turn on a computer and whip out any Microsoft program that you want. I love it. But I don't love that you force strategies down teachers' throats, let's spend all our billions of dollars on phonics, because that's not it for me and I won't use it the way you want me to because I want my children to love to read.



Mr. Lazarus. Good afternoon, Steven Lazarus, from Public Interest Institute, a public policy research organization in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. I and a fellow research analyst, Amy Franz, would like to commend to you and also to our state legislators especially the following strategy for education reform in Iowa:

First, tax credits in the short term for those attending non-governmental schools with the end of providing - with the end goal of providing full school choice for all Americans by means of a comprehensive voucher system. In support of this proposal I'd like to just mention two points.

First, why tax credits. Tax credits prevent an unjust double taxation of parents who determine that non-governmental schools best serve their child's education needs.

We must recall, of course, first of all that it is the original right and responsibility of parents to see that their children are appropriately schooled. Parents today choose from a range of legitimate educational options all of which operate in the public interest. If they educate competently.

It violates justice for government to discriminate against parents or schools because of their choice of educational philosophy or educational means.

Government's specific task is to enable and require parents and schools to fulfill their task of educating children so they can assume their responsibilities as adults in society.

And according to our tradition of equality under the law the state is not to privilege parents who chose government-run schools over those run by other institutions in society such as church-run schools, charter schools or home schools, the source of a lot of innovation right now.

Now, on to vouchers. Whether the state finances education it is constitutionally obligated to treat all citizens and institutions evenhandedly whatever their religious orientation.

To fulfill this obligation the Public Interest Institute recommends the use of educational vouchers to establish full school choice for all Americans.

Why vouchers. A state-level administered voucher system allows government to support all competent schooling without discrimination while preserving the authority of parents and the autonomy of schools.

School choice would end government's current policy of privileging the schools it runs over other schools. Vouchers also distribute funds more equitably sending money with the child to the school of the parents' choice.

They empower poor families to choose the schooling they regard best for their children. Without this reform many children will remain trapped in substandard and dangerous environments.

Vouchers, for example those proposed for Washington, D.C., will allow inner city families to choose better, safer schools and which is one critical step towards breaking the cycle of poverty.

It also provides equal opportunity, as Mr. Binnie was suggesting, for those who otherwise would not be able to afford better schools.

Finally, vouchers will benefit not only the poor but all Americans when comprehensive school choice is an option for all. By enabling parents to choose the best schools for their children whether those are government-run, church-run, charter schools, home schools, vouchers will break the government monopoly on education and encourage competition and innovation.

This will benefit all schools creating distinctive, pedagogically effective, parent-friendly and administratively trim educational communities. So tax credits on route to full school choice. The Public Interest Institute encourages you to adopt this vision of educational justice for Iowa and America. Thank you.


Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you. Some of you may have noted, I've got a weak gavel, which means I don't use it very often. There's a long line. The light is set for two minutes. All right? Can we try to keep it to two? Or you will hear.

I hate using that thing and I can't turn off your mike, so if we can try to keep it to two we can get through a longer line.

We'll start with you to see how well you can do.


Ms. Eckles. Thank you, my name is Edie Eckles, and I am a school administrator, but for the past nine years I worked at the Iowa Department of Education administering a $42 million state funded program designed to promote school improvement for increased student achievement, and that program is known as Phase III.

And after nine years of administering that program, visiting schools, working with teachers and administrators and parents to help bring their Phase III plan into compliance with Iowa legislation and still meet local school reform needs, I came to the conclusion that the only place school reform is going to occur is in schools.

It will not occur at the school district, it will not occur at the state department and with all due respect it will not result from federal legislation.

Consider Iowa. Iowa is the only state in the nation that does not have state student achievement standards, state graduation requirements, or state student achievement exams. Yet Iowa students' scores on nationally recognized tests of student achievement usually lead the rest of the nation.

Why? I believe it is Iowa's strong history of local control with minimal state oversight.

The 19th century novelist Victor Hugo said that nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come. This subcommittee is looking for what works and what's wasted, and I would suggest that the idea whose time has come is the idea of local control.

The Title I legislation that you spoke to earlier is requiring local school districts to report information to the state and Federal Government that we've never reported before and that information has nothing to do with the quality of teaching and learning that's going on in my school's classroom today.


Mr. Chairman, the greatest legacy this subcommittee could leave, the idea whose time has come, is the elimination of federal intrusion from an arena that rightly belongs to parents and local school boards. Thank you.



Mr. Davidson. My name is Wesley Davidson. I've been in education since 1981 both private and public education and in higher education, both teaching and in administration.

I applaud your endeavors to take a look at what can the Federal Government do to make education effective for kids and I think the best place to look is at places where it is working.

Let me tell you about a place where anywhere from 81 to 100 percent of its graduating seniors have gone on to the higher educational setting of their choice over the past six years.

This place has scored in the 99th percentile on Iowa tests of educational development last year and 90 percent plus over the last four years. Its students also scored in the 97th percentile nationwide of all the high schools where they had 30 students or more taking the ACT test and had 11 percent of its graduating seniors receiving a national merit scholarship award.

The setting has produced a state champion jazz band, a conference champion volleyball team, the number four basketball team in the state.

This school has become larger than 50 percent of the public school districts in Iowa in spite of the fact that the parents and their children who attend the school will never benefit from the tax burden taken out of the parents' checks.

The amazing thing is that these parents will go over and above to purchase equipment and new buildings by giving their money to produce this setting for our future students.

I would submit that the answer to the questions you are looking for are both profoundly simple and profoundly complex and I would submit that you're finding these eight characteristics in both private and public schools that you are seeing:

Safe and orderly environment, high expectations academically and for behavior, clear and focused missions, instructional leadership that empowers teachers to teach and students to learn, an environment that gives opportunity to learn and time on task, frequent monitoring of students and feedback and good home-school relations, and lastly, these places acknowledge the effective growth of the entire person physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. And I just have three points I want to leave you with. It will take 30 seconds.


Chairman Hoekstra. We'll take the entire statement for the record, all right? Thank you.



Ms. Claypool. Hello, my name is Alicia Claypool, and I'm executive director of the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa.

The Interfaith Alliance of Iowa recognizes our national commitment to public education as the means by which we pass on our democratic and patriotic values to the next generation. This commitment extends back to the 1780s. The alliance recognizes as well the need to continually evaluate and reform public education.

We are concerned, however, that there are people who are seeking to impose a narrow set of religious values on the public schools. Altering public school education through school vouchers, tuition tax credits, tax deductions, educational IRAs for elementary and secondary education and direct appropriations will ultimately increase the fragmentation of American society.

We believe proposals such as those discussed here today will not only severely cripple but could possibly destroy public education, which we depend upon to educate and prepare all youth for responsible adulthood.

School choice already exists in Iowa through open enrollment, special education and magnet schools and alternative high schools. School choice is just a code word dreamed up by public relations specialists to make tuition tax credits and vouchers more acceptable to the public.

It's a cruel hoax, we believe, to promote vouchers and tuition tax credits as a means to help children of poor families afford private and religious schools. Such schemes only cover part of the tuition costs that remain out of reach for low-income families.

The net effect will be to increase the price of private education, thereby helping non-public schools without measurably assisting the poor. It makes more sense to put that additional money towards strengthening schools in inner cities and rural areas hit hard by poverty and other signs of family and community stress.

We are concerned about the myth that private schools offer an education superior to that offered by public schools. Their homogeneity and limited accountability to the public also limit the quality of what they have to offer a democratic society.

Any school that does not have to deal with at-risk children, low income children or children from troubled homes will find its success rates artificially enhanced. And finally we applaud the Pomerantz report commissioned by Gov. Branstad, which does not support vouchers or tuition tax credits. We support their efforts to improve the public schools as outlined in many of the proposals that they presented today.

And finally, we have concerns about this hearing as an objective process for identifying ways to reform public education. Our anxiety includes the scheduling of this event at a time when working families and most public school employees cannot attend, no publicity to inform the public about this hearing and framing the invitation as if public education is a failure.

Our greatest anxiety is that the virtue, values and accomplishments of public education are being devalued for the sake of political ends.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak.

[The prepared statement of Ms. Claypool follows:]




Ms. Hoffman. Welcome to East High. I graduated from East High 51 years ago; my name is Gloria Hoffman. I have served for 12 years on the Des Moines school board and I currently serve on the board for the Heartland Area Education Agency.

I don't have a prepared statement, I have been taking notes and I want to - that's a habit of mine. I just want to call attention to a few things that have surfaced for everyone's benefit.

First of all, the key is that we have high expectations for all of our students. Not just the high achievers, not just the at-risk students, all students.

Secondly, we need high expectations of school districts and of school boards. The buck stops with the school board, and it's important to remember that.

Parental involvement is important, and school boards listen to parents.

Redirection of federal funds needs to flow directly to school districts. If it simply goes to other government agencies we're not going to gain but actually the mandates at the state and federal level are really handicaps for us and many times limit what we can do with the dollars that come to us.

Citizenship and values are being taught directly or indirectly in all of our schools. We need to be systematic, we need to incorporate that into all we do, we teach by example.

Iowa school districts, large and small, have infrastructure problems and I don't believe that federal funding is going to make one iota of difference for most of our school districts. We do need to have some method of setting aside some of our formula money so that we can address those needs.

And finally, one size does not fit all in public education. We have unique needs within this district, we have unique needs within the state. For example, in Des Moines, a success program has been developed which includes the help of human service agencies, United Way, business, state and Polk County funding.

Those are efforts that school districts can best do on their own and it's important to do everything you can to encourage that kind of effort.

And finally, public education has been the basis of all good that has happened in this country. We simply must direct our dollars to public education and do everything we possibly can to improve it. Thanks.



Mr. Young. My name is Alan Young, and I'm a teacher at McCombs Middle School here in Des Moines. I'm also an adjunct faculty member at Simpson College. First of all - and I don't have a prepared statement, either.

One of the things that I was sort of concerned about was the lack of representation of diverse ideas with regards to educational improvement and educational reform.

It's conspicuous in the absence of having leading educators and thinkers when we have so many in this state that we don't have different professors from the different universities and colleges that prepare teachers and are really professionals in their own field. It would sort of be like a patient trying to do medical reform. And I think that sometimes we would do well to listen to our experts and to include them in our processes.

Next, in terms of the federal role that we have for government with regards to education, I think a lot of people get confused about support and control. We certainly need the Federal Government for support and that means there are certain places especially with regards to issues of equity where certain states - certain places within states that are not going to get the kind of education that other places can because they just don't have the same amount of resources. And the Federal Government is one of the only ways that can oversee that with regards to state equity.

Also we need the Federal Government with regards to ideas. When more and more things go down to the state and local level with regards to innovations, if we don't have someplace where we can find out about these different innovations so that we're not just redesigning the wheel over and over again so things like ERIC and the clearing house and the support of grants and so forth, those are extremely important to us in order to be able to find out where places that are successful are going on and so certainly the Federal Government has a role.

The only other things I'd really like to talk about were just some assumptions that I think that bear looking into and that has to do with the Department of Education being overly bureaucratic, achievement as a narrow test score on an unauthentic paper-pencil test as a valid way to see if our children are learning, that public schools waste money and private schools don't. I think there are a lot of different kinds of assumptions that we need to take a look at before we just assume that they're true.


Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you. Just - it's kind of interesting, we go around the country and we have the open mikes. The point always comes up, you know, you didn't include everybody.

That's why we've done 15 hearings, and we have a different mix of people at every hearing, and we can't include every group that might input, but as we go around the country with the 15 hearings we've had here, the six at least that we've had in Washington and the other ones that Fred sits on, we've had lots of hearings and we do have another panel coming up today that has a lot of experts on teaching. In Washington we had a hearing that focused exclusively on the preparation of teachers for the teaching profession.

So by the time we're done I think we're going to have provided everybody an opportunity to give input.

The other thing - I don't think I'm defensive, but I apologize for having the hearing in the afternoon but I don't apologize, we've gone to 15 different - or 12 or 13 states around the country so that we can get 200 people in Iowa, 200 people in California, 200 people in Michigan, I think we've had two hearings in Ohio, 400 people in Ohio, to actually have an opportunity to input, which they would never have had if they were doing these hearings in Washington.


Mr. Young. You would have to admit, though, that the panel is designed and the posing of the problems and solutions that we have heard are pretty homogenous.


Chairman Hoekstra. We're going to have one more panel yet today.


Mr. Young. But that's not representative.


Chairman Hoekstra. We'll see when we get on this third panel, but I think if you look at the 15 hearings we've had around the country we've had pretty diverse panels and we've had pretty diverse places where we've visited. Yes.


Ms. Rinehart. My name is Carol Rinehart, I'm a reading teacher in West Des Moines at Valley High School.

Before I make my comments, just a very quick aside; whole language is not without phonic instruction, it means the whole language. Whatever way for whatever student you're working with.

I want to tell you very quickly three brief stories of students that I've worked with that have bearing on I think issues of national testing.

The first one was a young man named Steve. Steve was almost inarticulate, and reading and writing were things that he hated, but you put a piece of wood and a knife or a piece of clay in Steve's hands and what he produced was incomparable.

I did some tutoring in his home and when I walked into his living room it looked like I was walking into a museum filled with thoughtful, provocative pieces. Now, if you put Steve in front of the paper and pencil test and asked him to show you what he had learned it wouldn't look like much, but he had much to give us as a society.

The next student is Scott. Scott was in what was called business education. He was going to be going into some kind of work after high school, he was president of DECA, distributive education process, and he was worried about passing government.

We worked diligently for that first government test. I quizzed him, we went back and forth, and he got a D minus. I quickly went and got the test, he and I sat down, and I read him the questions and after hearing the questions he answered all but two correctly. He was an auditory learner.

And then there's Ian. Ian wanted to drop out after his sophomore year and someone in the artist side of our school over there showed him what the world looked like through the lens of a camera and by the time Ian was a senior he was winning national awards, not only with his photography but with the writing that he did about that photography.

A reading and writing test for any of these three students would not successfully evaluate the assets that they will be to our society.

I am very concerned. I honestly believe that if we used national testing to try to improve education it's a little bit like taking a patient's temperature to improve his or her health. Thank you.



Ms. Tuske. My name is Carrie Tuske, and I'm a student here at East High, and I'll admit that I'm not an expert in any of the mandates or the government regulations on education, so if I make any mistakes in what I'm saying I apologize.

But just from a student's point of view I'd like to say I really don't believe that national testing would do much for anyone, because we already take enough tests, and of course I'm going to say that because I don't like to take tests anyway, but the more time we spend taking tests the less time we spend learning.

And I guess we're already short on our classroom time, we're already doing so much outside of our classrooms trying to learn the things that they're teaching us in the classrooms that the time in our classrooms is precious, and the more tests and the more regulations put on it, I just believe the less we're going to learn.

Also I'd like to say something about preparing us for the future. It's impossible to prepare every student in a high school for anything - for everything that they're going to come up against in the world. Or for every interest they have.

But I think if you prepare everyone to go on in higher education - I realize everyone can't do that, but if you prepare them for that, to be able to go on to higher education, to be able to learn something from that, then they can go on and pursue an education in what they're interested in, but getting the basics in school so that we can do those things in college and further on in our life is what we really need. Thank you.


Ms. Stamper. Hi, my name is Rebecca Stamper, I'm a senior here at East High School, and you've heard a couple of my classmates talk and about five or six years ago I began looking at where I wanted to go to high school.

I live in the East High district but I began looking at my future for college and how colleges would look on what kind of high school I went to.

And as I began searching I started looking at like Southeast Polk and Des Moines Christian and we came - my parents and I came to the conclusion that East High School offered more than just its core curriculum.

It offered in its education how to actually live in this society, the diversity and how to take things applied in the classroom out into the real world. And I know East High School gets a bad rep a lot of the times, the newspapers and TV stations, they always - East High this, East High that, but it really is a good school and we need to look at education more as just book smarts and also how to take it into the real word and apply it. Sorry, thanks.



Ms. English. Hi, I'm Nancy English, and this is my son Jake. He is a student in the Des Moines schools in fifth grade and I'm a single parent from Des Moines and I'm not an expert on anything but maybe being a single parent, but we happened to be in the right place in the right time and we got to take advantage of a great program called Reading Recovery, and I want to thank the Gov. for being supportive of that and for mentioning it today.

We're here today because Jake's teacher for Reading Recovery, Linda Young, called us and asked us to come talk to you about our standpoint from being there and doing it, and she's going to talk more about the program in the next panel so I'll let her talk about all that.

I also want to thank Congressman Ganske, he was a great help to us as a physician and a surgeon and helped us with some insurance snafus that we got into, and I hope that we have your support and the others in Washington to keep programs like Reading Recovery alive and well in the school systems.

We happened to be in the right place at the right time because of our neighborhood school and our social status, but Reading Recovery is great.

My son could not understand the printed word. He had been verbal at an early age and he could understand everything that you told him, everything that he saw in pictures, he could retain things but he couldn't read. And he needed someone who could work with him one on one and learn with him the way his brain worked with it. And it's been wonderful.

He's now in the top of his class in reading, so it's been wonderful. Thank you.


Ms. Yentis. Hello, my name is Mona Yentis. I'm a parent of three children in school and I'm also the legislative liaison for the Iowa Association of Christian Schools and I will give you prepared remarks later, but I wanted to comment on some notes I've taken.

The first is a question. Do any of you on the panel know my children's names or what school they attend or what grades they're in? As you are in Washington making public education policy for how my children are educated, remember that you don't even know their names.

I do, and when we think about who cares most about how children learn think about parents because we have the most invested in them.

The other is in regards to a Hoekstra amendment that we heard about recently sending 12 billion in block grants back to the state and my question is how much is it going to cost us to get 12 billion?

According to some numbers I heard from Congressman Latham, about 50 percent of the money that goes there is going to be burned up in the bureaucracy, so just simple math would tell us that it's going to cost Iowa about 24 billion to get 12 billion back, and I would suggest that if we left that 24 billion in Iowa we could spend $12 billion on our education system and it wouldn't - obviously it wouldn't - it would be a smaller amount proportionally but in the state, but the extra money it could seem could better stay in the pockets of parents for the extras like school clothes or piano lessons or maybe for some people putting groceries on the table.

And the last thing I wanted to give you is a very strong support of tuition tax credits, not as favoring one school over the other but as allowing parents to have access to the education of their choice.

In Iowa dollars we spend about $4,000 to $5,000 per student on education. Non-public school parents pay all the same taxes that public school parents pay and then we turn around and spend $2,000 to $3,000 to send our children to non-public schools and we would like to keep some of that money in our own pockets to make that choice. Thank you.



Chairman Hoekstra. We just passed through the House last week by a bipartisan margin, like 300 to 95, what we call Dollars to the Classroom, which was a resolution that said Congress ought to strive to get 90 cents of every dollar to the classroom, and one of the parts of that resolution were also to accurately identify exactly how much of every dollar that currently goes to Washington actually comes back.

There have been a number of different studies and it varies, anywhere from 45 to 70 cents of every dollar that goes to Washington, that's how much actually gets back. So it's widely disputed as to how much gets eaten up in the bureaucracy; we really don't know at this point.


Mr. Thelen. My name is David Thelen, I have three kids, eight, seven and three, I'm a baby boomer and I'm a little concerned when you hear about the retirement crisis of the baby boomers, and I realize that the only thing that can save us is if us baby boomers can hurry up and pay off our mortgages and save money and then it wouldn't matter if there's social security there or not.

One of the ways we can save money, if we educate our kids as young as possible so that they can have the skills that they need so that at least in a high school level - I've been studying some other countries in which they start out in junior high and high school for them to acquire the skills that they need early on so then that way they can be self-sufficient, maybe pay their own way through college, pay for their own room and board at an earlier age.

The earlier age that that will happen, the better abilities that baby boomer parents would be able to save for the retirement crisis.

Now, one of the things I wanted to mention about our kids, my two sons, older sons, eight and seven, for one thing I've been studying that back in the '50s the number of days spent in school in the United States was 180 days but it was the most in any developed country.

Today we have one of the least. The other developed countries have increased the number of days. I would like to see that the United States do the same thing that like in Germany - for example they spend 210 days each year in school.

If we could increase the number of days from 180 by 2/12 to 210 but decrease the number of years it's required to graduate by 2/12 from 12 years to 10 years, all the other developed countries spend 10 years on an average in school, what will happen is you will have the kids in school with shorter summers, they will retain everything better, you keep the schools efficient and utilized and then you would have - another thing, with the two years less you will utilize a 2/12 more space in the schools.

Of course it's not that bad in Iowa, but in Florida or Texas or something that can really come in handy.

But on the teachers rotation you can still hire teachers on a 180-day basis but have them on a rotation basis, so therefore you can utilize the schools better.

Now, for the students to graduate earlier it would mean that you could - another thing you could make more efficient is the curriculum. A lot of the curriculum my kids are spending are kind of wasteful. We could look at it, we could get the kids specific skills, let's say if they're in health care, they could learn Health Care Specialist I at age 16.

Anyhow, those are a couple of things I wanted to mention within the time frame but I think we should look at the curriculum, the amount of time spent, and maybe specialize the kids early on and maybe they can become more productive and then parents could save for their retirement. So that's my point.


Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you.


Mr. Patch. Jim Patch, I teach auto collision repair at Central Campus.

I must comment on the Germany situation. In Germany they go home at noon and stay there. In this country we spend significantly more hours per year in the classroom. I happened to find that in a French magazine.

My concern is this local control and local finance thing. I've got a story, a lot of people here have already heard it; I see no reason for you to escape having to listen to it, too.

When I first started teaching 37 years ago at Martinsdale Community School our per pupil costs were something under $400. A year, that is. Meanwhile the people who lived next to the Alcoa plant over north of Bettendorf were spending something under $1,200 a year on their students.

Now, that just plain wasn't fair, and it isn't fair to take resources that are so inordinate to support local schools. Somehow or another we need to smooth that out a little bit.

Usually people who are most interested in local control and raising local funds are living next door to an Alcoa plant or something like that, they're not living out in the boondocks where they have no funds and it's not fair to their children.

The other thing I'd comment on, Mr. Binnie said that - he kind of thought that too much money rather than too little money was the problem with schools, but then he turned around and said that they should have vouchers for non-public schools.

Now, what the heck is he trying to do, ruin those schools, too, with all that money?



Mr. Patch. His mother - he wasn't a crack baby or something like that. We got a lot of problems here in this country, but seldom have Mr. Binnie and I agreed on things. I think either his mother or my mother must have been on something.

One thing I would comment on, I mention I teach at Central Campus. Up through the year 2000 the predictions are that 60 or more percent of the jobs are not going to require a college education, so for God's sake don't take any more money away from vocational education.

And then - well, you know how advertising goes, you hear one bad story and you have to have, I don't know, 20 or 30 good stories to offset it, so don't listen too much to the stories about bad teachers, because there's an awful lot of good ones out there. Thank you.



Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you. We'll give you the two minutes, but if you could make it a little shorter we'd love it for the last five people in line, because then we'll be able to get everybody in and nobody will have to write anything on paper and you won't have to wait for anything from Washington. Deal?


Audience Member. Fine.


Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you. You had to think about that for a minute, didn't you?


Audience Member. I was waiting for you. I have a one-sentence answer for Mr. Ganske's question of the Gov. and Mr. Pomerantz.

A philosopher said that education is the system by which we prepare young people to live in the culture, and the culture we have now, and this is my addition, it's a global culture.

I want to remind the Congressman that the reason the Federal Government became involved in education, not very long ago, really in terms of the history of the country, was the failure of many states and communities to educate their citizenry.

In Iowa we did not fail to do that, we emphasized it. Public school system is the glue that has held this country together. We do not have - except for the problems that occurred in the South, we have had the experience of diverse immigrants who have come to this country living in peace together because of the public school system. Do not destroy it slowly with a voucher system.



Ms. Hesseltine. Okay, my name is Renee Hesseltine, and I'm a senior here at East High School.

I don't know much about the voucher system but by what - just by common knowledge by what I see is that people tend to stay with people who they're alike.

If there are people that like to sing they might stay together and if there are people that like - if there are guys that like football they're going to stay together, and what I see with the voucher system is that a certain group is going to - they're going to go towards this and other groups are going to go towards this and then we won't be intermixed anymore.

And I know one of the strongest things that has played a part in my education is the cultural diversity here at East High School, and that might not be a class that I've taken but I have learned so much and I have learned how to deal with other people, minorities, and I think that's a lifelong learning thing and people in home schools don't get that because, you know, they're not - they don't have that experience.

And I'd just also like to say that I've had an excellent education in the public school system and I want to thank my administrators and all my teachers and especially my mom who is here today because she's played a big part in my education, and I think that's a really strong thing that the parents do need to be involved and we should encourage our parents to be more involved in our kids' education.

And I don't know if any of that makes sense but I thank you for playing a part in trying to better the education system and as you make your decisions, please don't forget the students who you're going to affect. Thanks.



Ms. Seiversen. My name is Mary Seiversen, and I'm on the board for the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators in the state of Iowa, and what I wanted to say today, you had some questions about the number of home-educated students in Iowa.

No one really knows, because you're not required to report if your child is under 6 or over 16, but in 1992 the department thought there were about 3,000 students being home educated.

Home education works, it's one-on-one tutorial with the most caring person in a child's life, their parent. It works here in Iowa, and if there's anything I want you to take back with you to Washington it is that when you take money out of the hands of families you're going to ultimately impact education.

If you allow families to use their hard-earned money to teach their children to take care of their families then education will also benefit. Thank you.



Ms. Hooper. Thank you, my name is Melissa Hooper. I'd just like to thank you for my token two minutes. I find it ironic that our Gov. spoke for 15 minutes while we get two.

I hate to be a critic here, but I would have to agree that this panel has been proportionately pro-phonics and anti-whole language.

I would like to clear up two misconceptions. One is that whole language - one is whole language does use phonics to create a stronger reader, with other methods besides whole language. One method is not the only answer.

The second thing I would like to tell you is that I attended a Catholic grade school and I attended public high school, and my parents wanted to send me to a Catholic high school. The cost of tuition there was $2,800 a semester.

I don't think a voucher would have taken care of this, and I also would like to say that the only people who are going to benefit from voucher systems are people who already have the money to send their students to a private school. Thank you.



Dr. Ganske. If Jan would just wait for a minute. I'd like to read a paragraph from this article because - this article called Reading Wars which I mentioned before in the Atlantic, because I think it is really true and we've seen this today in the comments made. Here's a brief quote:

"Quite often in public disputes one finds that the controversy is on the surface and secretly the opposing parties mostly agree. Medicare is a good example. The dispute over reading instruction is just the opposite. In California everybody now claims allegiance to a `balanced approach' incorporating whole language and phonics. But the truth is that the two sides have one of the purest and angriest disagreements I've ever encountered."

That's from this article, and I think that the emotion that some of the people have demonstrated on this is probably indicative of this issue and my feeling on this is this: I don't think the government, the Federal Government, should be involved.



Dr. Ganske. My feeling is that whether the state of Iowa or the local school districts decide on phonics or whole language is something that's best decided by you, and that's part of my thrust for moving that decision-making process back down to the local level.


Audience Member. It was in your invitation.


Ms. Metcalf. I'm State Representative Janet Metcalf. I'm a member of the house of representatives here in Iowa and a member of the education committee. Thank you for coming to Iowa, and I have just a few unofficial remarks.

It is important that you are identifying the delivery of education and I appreciate Congress' interests, but beware that the solutions you may create may create new problems.

The weakening of our public education system and solutions such as vouchers have obvious appeal, but I fear that these solutions will dilute the dollars going to public education, to public schools and dilute public financial support for public schools.

As a fellow Republican I urge you to remember why public education was created. It was to be free and open to all. It is an opportunity for all young people, it is a great equalizer. Don't weaken our democracy's commitment for public education. Thank you.



Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you. We're going to take a five-minute break and we're going to start with our third panel at 4:00.



Chairman Hoekstra. The subcommittee will come back to order, and let me introduce the third panel.

We're going to begin with Mr. Steve McDermott, who is the principal of Bridgewater Elementary and Fontanelle Junior High in - oh, boy -


Mr. McDermott. Fontanelle. You're doing well.


Chairman Hoekstra. - Fontanelle, Iowa. He's going to be leaving shortly after his testimony. He has a new student that was just born within the last few days and he has to take a wife and a new baby boy home. So we're glad that you found some time to visit us today.



Chairman Hoekstra. Then we have Mr. Harold Sandahl, who is a member of the Des Moines Public School Board.

We have Mr. Gubbels, who is a superintendent of the Des Moines Diocesan Schools.

Then we have Ms. Young, and you're on here somewhere, Ms. Linda Young, who is a teacher with King Elementary School. Welcome to you.

Then we have Mr. Richardson, who is a technology consultant with the Loess Hill Education Agency #13 in Council Bluffs.

We have Mr. Hawkins, who is a coordinator of cooperative education for Norwalk, Iowa.

We have Mr. Burn, who is a teacher with the Des Moines Christian School and we have Ms. Gaines, who is - Ruth Ann Gaines, who is the Iowa Teacher of the Year. Congratulations.



Chairman Hoekstra. And we'll start there and we'll go right around here like that.






Mr. McDermott. Okay, I'd like to say hello to everyone. Thank you for this opportunity, I really appreciate it.


Chairman Hoekstra. Maybe just pull the mike up a little closer.


Mr. McDermott. I would like to tell you just to start out that I'm more comfortable listening than I am speaking, and my approach to events such as this is one my dad taught me, that there's a good reason you have two ears and one mouth and so I'll try to speak quickly and succinctly.

I believe I'm here to represent rural Iowa schools, but I'll tell you that in my work on the Gov.'s education commission I was amazed at the commonality of rural and urban challenges and needs. There aren't as many differences and there are commonalities.

I'm going to go about this today and simply try to answer the questions that you asked of me in the information you sent - what is working and what is not working in education in our country and what should the Federal Government's role be in education.

Well, I'll start by saying the historian Charles Sainte-Beuve once said when it is dark enough, you can see the stars. Iowans have been looking and reaching for the stars in education before times become too dark or difficult.

The subcommittee staff sent me the list of questions and I will start down through them with my answers.

Number one, what curricula have produced the best results. Here's a list, here's a laundry list and I'll try to explain as I go. We found these things to be very effective.

Applied mathematics, which means applying math concepts to life. You might call these souped-up story problems. They worked.

Hands-on science and applied chemistry, the same idea, applying science to life.

Flexible block scheduling, which is flexing schedules and letting students learn in larger lumps of time rather than the traditional military boom, boom, boom, 45-minute periods. So you can mix the cookies, bake the cookies and eat the cookies in the same class period.

School to Work programs as well are very important, you develop skills and communication teamwork and worth ethic basics as well as understanding what it takes to be gainfully employed.

Service learning - I'm explaining these terms because I know we're guilty of giving terms and confusing people. Service learning to me is working with people for people and we're teaching that more today.

Multiple assessment strategies. It's been talked about before today also. More than just paper and pencil tests.

Non-traditional school calendars, middle school concepts which talk about different scheduling. Adults representing students, age appropriate things for students.

If you read today's Register there's an article about age appropriate things for kids 10 to 15 years old.

Brain-based learning. We understand more now about the brain than we did a year ago and we need to apply that to how we teach and how we approach individual students' learning styles.

Increased team teaching and student to student culture exchanges. Our school did a cultural exchange with Moulton Elementary here in Des Moines, and the exchange went beyond putting kids on display for each other. Students got to study things with new friends, look at different lifestyles and really reach some understandings rather than parading each other by each other. This was a very effective program.

One addition I'll make here is that the power of strong early childhood education programs is extremely important and I'd like to add that there.

Okay, number two question, what is it about parental and community involvement that works and how is it being encouraged through the country.

In rural schools in Iowa one thing that's coming on board that's very important in our area is all-school strategic planning. We had over 50 community members in our community in three towns, one school, three towns, come together and develop goals and beliefs.

These include basic academic goals, they include responsibility, respect, hard work, the teaching of those things. Also the teaching of our heritage. I think those - that is a very important process that Iowa is looking at to adopt across the state. And traditional events such as parent-teacher conferences, open houses, student programmed athletic events, grandparents days, visiting nursing homes.

We do those things and we don't want to do away with those things. They're working, let's keep them, let's make them part of our future as well.

Community service projects are on the rise, a recent program in our area was the sharing of the cost of the motivational program. Community members paid to have a motivational speaker come in and people from across the community came in and listened. Not just kids sitting in an assembly. It was all kinds of different ages of folks and the mix was very neat.

What role do Americans believe the Federal Government should have in education. Here's my answer. The Federal Government should continue to strongly support education while trusting local professionals across the country to make critical decisions concerning teaching and learning in each unique and individual setting.

We must all strive to use common sense. Common sense to make funding truly equally available while maintaining accountability. Grants as a primary method for the allocation of educational funding continue to be extremely frustrating, however.

Our most important and effective programs must be identified, given high priority and funded with less red tape. Focus is critical and surely the key to failure is trying to please everyone. Issues often become complicated as we all know and what students are learning must always guide our thoughts and decisions.

Iowans respect the purpose and necessity for strong federal and state governments but in the true spirit of democracy we absolutely must reserve as much local control of our schools as possible.

Question four, what studies give insight into the successes and shortcomings of our current educational system.

I believe Marvin Pomerantz and the Gov. talked about a state commission on education that I was involved with and did that eloquently and I'll not rehash that point at this time.

I would say our local schools, when you talk federal programs talk about basic principles in education - in special education and title programs. These programs work, we are getting bogged down with special education at this time. With certain staffing and paperwork issues. But the basic principles have worked.

Title programs have been very effective, especially at a lower level, grades K through 3.

A general statement I will finish with here. From the perspective of rural schools and communities in our state challenges at this time include a high and growing per pupil transportation cost, a lack of local industry and company tax generation, an overdependence on the agriculture industry and on ag land to be the primary supplier of educational funding in financially depressed times, major infrastructure needs, a growing shortage of administrators due to generational turnover and the imbalance between demands and incentives in this line of work, a growing number of special needs students and a marked increase in the demands and documentation and staffing, an increasing need for English as a second language program in districts of varying sizes and problems with student-school readiness in learning due to the decreasing number of strong functional families and the poverty levels on the rise.

From the same perspective I'll share these positives. We maintain in rural schools a low student-teacher ratio, a high level of personalization of instruction, high graduation rates, strong community ownership and involvement, local area education agencies that provide ed. services, support and guidance, the ease of change simply due to smaller staffs. It's easier to change if you have a smaller staff. And fitting decisions made because of at least some existing level of the local autonomy we have fought to maintain in Iowa.

Another strength is while our state funding formula needs modification at this point this system continues to be an effective way to provide equal funding to schools of varying sizes across the state.

A voucher system as proposed by some would severely undermine our public school system rather than strengthen it and would prove to be a disaster for Iowa students in the long run.

Most rural communities in Iowa continue to be good places to raise children and most rural schools do a fine job. However, today's demands on our students to be globally competitive citizens force us to educate those students accordingly.

Students born and raised and educated in Iowa's rural areas will continue to make substantial contributions to society and their unique heritage, culture and perspective in the world must not be lost.

In Iowa we are following Gov. Terry Branstad's lead to be proactive in the educational arena and to embrace continuous improvement and fear complacency. We hold a healthy respect for passing initiatives and efforts made in education and view them as a foundation to build upon.

Iowans prize young people and their vast individual potentials. We're working to find and replicate their most effective research based practices already succeeding in education today.

Even in the most challenging settings special individuals can still teach, model, duplicate and create success. However, success does not happen without the thought and drive of well-trained, skilled educators. We must as an industry work harder than ever before to attract, recruit and train top-notch people.

I'll finish with this statement. We in education must do our best to be visionary, creative and to dream. One metaphor likens our recent education commission efforts to the sewing of new seed. Our yields have always been tops but our neighbor's yields are catching up. While cultivating our new crop of educational recommendations we hope federal, state, and local government officials will leave a considerable amount of our new crop standing to grow. Thank you.

[The prepared statement of Mr. McDermott follows:]



Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you. I hope you don't have to run any red lights to get to your wife on time.



Mr. McDermott. I wouldn't do that.


Chairman Hoekstra. Mr. Sandahl.






Mr. Sandahl. Thank you. Please understand that today I'm here as a parent who happens to sit on the board of directors of Des Moines public schools. Some of my views may not be agreed with by my peers.

Anyway, the school district in Des Moines, Iowa is facing the same opportunities as many other urban districts throughout the nation. As an urban district in a predominantly rural state, the district has the challenges of both.

During the past two years I've been involved with many discussions pertaining to what works, what doesn't, what should and what needs to be done.

The state of Iowa requires that each school district file a district improvement plan with the state department of education. The plan recently approved in Des Moines set goals for achievement in reading, math, science, social science, language arts, foreign language and vocational subjects.

Our third goal was for School to Work by the year 1999, a comprehensive communitywide pre-K through 12 School to Work system will be designed and implemented.

A study and a discussion of goal three brings a wide variety of views. Most agreed that graduates of a school district should at least be employable and that each student should have the skills needed in order to make a choice of more education or to begin their working life.

There is, however, a great deal of concern over the purpose of School to Work and the programming of students from such a young age.

Perhaps the most unsettling concern from the School to Work movement is the introduction of the concept of mastery with the diploma being eliminated and the CIM or Certificate in Mastery coming into vogue. Issues involved with the CIM include discussion of the CIM only qualifying the holder to perform one specific job.

For example, the student who would earn a CIM in bricklaying would be licensed worldwide to be a bricklayer and yet would only be allowed to work as a bricklayer. The holder would not be allowed or be considered trainable in any other field.

As the School to Work initiative gained speed, concern has been raised that the student will be attracted to career paths at a very early age with little or no chance of achieving to his or her highest potential and eliminating the opportunity of the student or graduate to choose careers.

Past improvement plans filed by the Des Moines Independent Community School District have had positive effects. One of the most remarkable has been the reduction of the withdrawal rate to 2.5 percent or less.

Des Moines also has a successful English as a second language program, or ESL. With approximately 32,000 students enrolled in our district, the population speaks at least 25 different languages.

In 1996 and '97 school year the ESL bilingual programs received $1,021,410 from the state of Iowa. However, our total expenditures for ESL were $2,528,516. In April of 1997 the ESL program was serving 1,854 students.

The Des Moines School District is not without its problems. In the last few years it's been struggling with updating and replacing the existing infrastructure.

The district undertook a study to illustrate the maintenance funding level of infrastructure in districts across the country. The study concluded that most districts of like size were setting aside approximately 10 percent of their budgets for maintenance.

It was also found that a vast majority of districts studied were also facing severely decaying infrastructure and that few districts have done an adequate job in maintaining the public's infrastructure.

In a paper titled Iowa Infrastructure '95 it was estimated in 1995 that one-third of Iowa schools were 18 years old. The next one-third were on the average 45 years old, and the final one-third averaged 68 years old.

The study also set a target for the year 2005 for one-third of the schools to be six years old, the middle one-third to be 20 years old and the bottom one-third to be around 50 years old. To achieve this target the state of Iowa would have to invest over $3.5 billion in schools by the year 2005.

Technology is another issue which is impacting not only school districts across the country but businesses as well. A study presented to the Des Moines School Board in September of 1997 estimated that the cost of a network computer is between $8,000 and $12,000 over the estimated five-year life of the computer.

With our district implementing plans which will install over 400 computers in the next four years the resulting budgetary impact of over $800,000 per year based on $10,000 per machine over five years will result in more programs being cut. And yet no one can quantify the impact of technology on academic achievement.

With the current condition of school buildings, the unknown impact on the use of technology in the classroom as well as other curriculum issues, one must wonder if it's possible to improve the education delivery system that we have today.

Alternatives abound, from staying with the status quo to changes ranging from home schooling, to charter schools, to vouchers and to free market competition. In the Des Moines district we currently have one school which closely resembles a charter school and an ever-growing home school population.

The public is forever discussing the merits of tax credits and the voucher system. In each it is believed that parents will be offered more choices for their education dollar, competition will appear, delivery systems will improve and achievement will follow.

Both sides point to successes and failures of each system. While less federal involvement is desirable schools of the future must have school boards to aid in the decision and representation process.

Des Moines also recently began a study of the district's current desegregation plan. This is a communitywide study being done by a committee of over 200 citizens. The desegregation plan of years past caused one to tear down the inner city schools and to move towards a very complex transportation system. This may have resulted in the decline and devaluing of inner city neighborhoods.

One must only look at the effective school consolidation and merger on rural America to understand the results of closing schools in neighborhoods. Discussion of this plan is expected to center on academic achievement. The study is due to return to the board in 1998.

The district in Des Moines is facing the same opportunities as many other urban districts throughout the nation. Opportunities for change and improvement are boundless. No matter what the discussion it always moves away from student achievement and into funding.

In a no additional taxes environment school districts, communities, state and Federal Governments must be certain that competing resources are being allocated in the most efficient and equitable way. To be certain that each level of bureaucracy is needed. To realize that local school boards and communities must have control of their schools so that they may respond to the needs of the community, and throughout the discussion we must continually ask ourselves how does this affect the children we are trying to teach and how will this affect our nation in the future.

Thank you for the honor of being here today.

[The prepared statement of Mr. Sandahl follows:]




Chairman Hoekstra. Dr. Gubbels.






Mr. Gubbels. Thank you. Thanks for the opportunity to address this hearing on this very important topic.

Let me be clear about my intentions for this afternoon. I'm here to speak to you about some of those things that have worked for our Catholic schools.

First of all, we have kept our emphasis on the whole purpose of education, that is, the student. We must stick with our mission, our purpose, and that is simply to provide quality education for the students who elect to come to our schools.

In fact we are so serious about this we have accepted wholeheartedly the intention and the purpose of being accredited by the state of Iowa. All the schools in the diocese of Des Moines, in fact all Catholic schools in the state of Iowa are accredited by Iowa.

Secondly, there has been much discussion today about parental involvement in the education of their children. We believe very strongly in the role and purpose of parental involvement.

We also believe that this involvement has kept us in the center to stress the basics and yet to be open to those new methodologies and technologies that can benefit our students.

Thirdly, we believe that local control and management of school affairs is very paramount for our schools. We believe the local boards of education and our dedicated administrators are best equipped to solve local issues and be most answerable to the parents.

Fourth, I am confident most if not all in this hearing this afternoon know and believe that the commitment and dedication and sacrifice of the school staff members is vital to the success of any school program. We are blessed to have such faculty, staff and administrators and we constantly work at this quality issue.

Fifth, there are a number of political and social experts who indicate that our schools are successful because we have strong social capital. The term "social capital" means a variety of things, but included in that term is the part that good role modeling plays in effective education. We stress to all of our staff members that what we do is more important than what we say.

Sixth, a big reason for our success has been the support of many in our community beyond the parents of our students. The African proverb it takes an entire village to educate a child may have become a political football within the last year but the fact is it does take all of us.

Seven, we believe it takes the cooperation of all, public and non-public schools, the state and its department of education, the local area education agencies, which by my not so humble estimation having served in three different states Iowa is the best at it, the cooperation with all of these entities with all schools public and non-public serves the state best.

This does not mean that there should not be competition in the healthy sense of the word. Life simply seems a bit different when I must invite and recruit students to become involved in the mission of my non-public school.

When my school through its programs and activities must invite students to enroll and to participate it simply makes my approach a bit different than if I did not have to do such.

We as Americans believe in competition for almost every other human endeavor. Why can't we as a nation support competition in education. Oh, yes, we all have the right but can I exercise that right if I don't have the financial means to do so. There are several bills in Congress and a number of pilots around the country that can support parental choice.

I hope I have briefly highlighted some of those things that have worked for those of us who are involved in Catholic education in the diocese of Des Moines and throughout the state of Iowa. I hope that some of these things are helpful to you gentlemen as you return to Washington. Thank you very much.

[The prepared statement of Mr. Gubbels follows:]



Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you.


Ms. Young.






Ms. Young. My name is Linda Sibley Young. I've been teaching in Des Moines for 22 years. I teach in at-risk schools, King Perkins being the one that I've had all 22 years, and recently I've also added Moulton school to my career.

I do want to tell everyone that I am not speaking for Reading Recovery, for the Des Moines public schools or for any one particular group of people. I am speaking as a teacher, as a parent, as a member of the community and also as a product of the Des Moines public schools.

I was one of the students in the '50s who was instructed to the best of my teachers' ability but did not learn to read. Ten to 20 percent of our children today are at risk of not learning to read unless there are special interventions.

At the time I was in school there were no remedial reading programs. There was no Title I, there was no Reading Recovery. It was discovered in second grade that I had a hearing loss, a very severe one, I had corrective surgery and by third grade I was beginning to read. By fifth grade I did indeed catch up to my classmates.

This was done, however, not in the sense of public schools helping me. They again did the best they could but I was one of 28 students in the elementary grades. My parents spent a lot of time, a lot of money outside of school and we were one of the fortunate families who could afford to do that.

Today thanks to the funding that we have in federal programs, state and local monies, we can provide these kinds of services to more students.

My wish today is to let you know what does work. Reading Recovery works. It's a program for first graders, it's an early intervention. We have the luxury of working with children one on one. We work with them for 30 minutes in reading and writing every day in addition to their regular classroom instruction. So they in effect get double service.

These students average 12 to 20 weeks with our program so you could certainly see that any one student would probably spend one-half year with us.

I have in my report tables that talk about the cost effectiveness of the program. Title I is an extremely effective program. We need Title I. It does help students when they are farther along in the grades catch up to their classmates, but the earlier the intervention, the more intense one-on-one treatment that we can have with the children I think will provide less need for Title I services later on.

We talk about the costs of special education, they're exorbitant. The cost of retention in grade schools, any grade, is again exorbitant. It's thousands of dollars every year to teach a student. If you have to do that twice in third grade you've doubled that cost.

The cost of our high school dropouts is incalculable. We have many, many statements that say prison costs range from I've heard 8,000 a year to 13,000, I don't know the exact costs. We know that if a child has a high school diploma they are going to be able to support themselves and their families. Hopefully they will go on to further education from there.

The services in Reading Recovery and in Title I are free to the students most at risk during school time and on site. What I'd like to see again is more of those services at an earlier age. They are extremely successful.

Some states such as Illinois, Nebraska, South Dakota, Ohio and Indiana have actually implemented Reading Recovery statewide. In Des Moines, because it is federally funded, it is restricted to the schools with the highest incidence of low and free and reduced lunches.

That doesn't mean that every student in Des Moines is eligible for Reading Recovery, nor is every student in Des Moines in need of reading help eligible for Title I. They just aren't in every school.

I would love to be able to see state and local monies supplemented with federal funding to make this service available to all.

Our students, over 80 percent of them who graduate from this program and that does entail reading and writing to the average of their class, stay on grade level. I have charts in this that talk about the fact that over 80 percent of our kids retain Cs or better in their grades.

We've now had this in Des Moines since 1991. We follow our students such as Jake, every year we find out how they're doing, we talk with their classroom teachers, we check ITBS scores. Our students, well more than half, are achieving at least 40th percentile in the ITBS. Forty to 60 range is grade level, 50th percentile does mean that half of the students in the nation are doing more poorly, half are doing better. Our students are doing very well with that.

I'm kind of going off the top, I will catch up.

Reading Recovery does work in any setting, it's not really a program that can be packaged and delivered through any set of courses or any set of strategies, it is entailed and individualized to every single student. We've heard a lot today about phonics, a lot today about whole language.

The strength of a Reading Recovery program is that we have the luxury of working one to one with students. We can find out what makes them tick. What can help them unlock the keys to written language. For one student it may be a totally different thing than another.

It gives us the time and the luxury to be able to find that out with students and to tailor their strategies, their materials, all of the things on what they know. This whole program was based on what good readers do, we know that, we have the research for what good readers and writers do.

Then it's our job to assess these first graders, find out what they do know and build on those strengths. Instead of filling holes, which seems to be a remediation way of going about teaching reading, find out what he knows and fill the holes, we really base this whole program on what he knows to begin with and helping him link what he knows to an unknown.

It's a program that I've seen more success than any that worked. And I know that there is no one program that works for all students, but this one has worked for us. We have statistics that just prove that over and over again.

We do test in Des Moines the lowest 30 to 40 percent of the first graders and begin with the lowest of those students. That doesn't allow in Des Moines our lowest 10 to 20 percent of the first graders to progress in reading and writing to the average of their class in that short period of time. Again, it's cost-effective.

The federal funding is necessary, it's appreciated, we want obviously as much of it as we can.

I also will echo what most of the other people in the room have been saying in that local decision making and just ways of incorporating these monies are terribly important. What works for Des Moines might not be the best thing for a rural community. Those things we need to know.

We do know the answers and we do need the money and thank you for your time. I wish we had four days instead of four hours.

[The prepared statement of Ms. Young follows:]




Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you.

Ms. Gaines.






Ms. Gaines. Thank you. Congressmen, school board members, school personnel, teachers, students and other interested parties in the room, I welcome this opportunity to share with you some of my ideas on what I think needs to be involved in school improvement.

My first encounter with the public school system came almost 30 years ago, back in 1969, when I did my practice teaching at Dubuque Senior High School. Before that time I had been personally involved in a parochial school all the way from preschool through college.

But what fascinated me about the public school system was, number one, the fact that all students were involved and accepted. Number two, there was a lot of diversity that prepared students for involvement in the real world, and I was also keenly impressed with the support given to special needs students and students at risk in the public schools.

So I was won over and for the last 27 years I have been a drama teacher here at East High School. Throughout these 27 years and especially now since I have received some public recognition as Teacher of the Year people always pull me over to the side and they say, "I bet you've seen a lot of change in 27 years. What's it like now teaching as compared to then."

And, you know, I have seen some significant changes in line with student motivation, some in student achievement and student-teacher rapport, but I have been blessed with 27 years of good teaching, successful teaching, and I think it is because of my understanding and my relationship with students.

Students are honest with me, students talk to me and they have given me an overview of what I feel a good teacher should be. So it shouldn't surprise you that I feel the number one component in school improvement is changing the role of the teacher.

The role of the teacher in the 21st century needs to be more of one of facilitation. We need to stop looking at the teacher as the sole source of information in the classroom. The teacher needs to be more of a guide on the side allowing students to work collaboratively together in groups, to learn from each other, to share information, to excel and move along at their own pace and to actually learn more about each other.

Studies have proven that students learn and achieve more when they have input into what they feel is meaningful in the classroom and they are encouraged to take ownership of their own behavior and their own involvement.

During the last few years - you know, a few years for me is probably ten years where to some people it's two to three, but during the last few years I have become more intensely concerned about our need for diversity in the classroom. Our teacher workforce needs to be more diverse.

And when I talk about diversity I'm not just talking about gender, I'm talking about racial groups, I'm talking about ethnic groups and I'm talking about persons with disabilities.

I believe that the children of Iowa deserve an opportunity to work with, to deal with, to learn from people who they'll - like people who they'll be working with in the real world.

I have had the opportunity as a diversity trainer to work in many, many companies and corporations throughout Iowa and it has enhanced my understanding of the need that schools need to realize that we have to teach children how to relate to each other.

I think often we look at that as a given but it's not a given. Students need to be taught how to talk to each other, how to respect each other, how to treat each other because it's a meaningful part of the work environment, and I am called upon daily to help solve conflicts and settle disputes because children have not learned that.

I do believe that the Federal Government can assist us in attracting a more diverse population to the workforce, teaching workforce that is. We need to encourage teachers to choose to teach in an arena where there is more need for a critical diverse staff and some sections of Iowa have that need.

And we also need to provide intense diversity training and field experiences to our teacher workforce. And I'm hoping that that kind of training can be a part of the new teacher internships that have been proposed in the Pomerantz report.

Secondly, and we've talked a lot about this already today, but I am keenly interested in parental involvement. Some of the changes I have seen in the classroom has been due to more societal problems, like teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, homelessness and the list goes on and on and on. And that sometimes encumbers our parents from feeling secure and comfortable in coming to schools.

We've talked about making the classroom and the school more parent-friendly but we haven't talked about alternatives to working with parents in the schools.

Many local schools when they find that they can't encourage parents to participate have adopted what is called mentorship programs. Merrill Middle School here in Des Moines has a good model for a mentorship program. Many community groups especially college sororities and fraternities are serving as mentors for students in our schools who do not have access to parents or an extended family to come for parent conferences, to come for extracurricular activities and to just be a parent for kids.

I think we need to not only find better ways of encouraging our parents to come to school but also to support alternative programs that will ensure that all of our children are represented from a parental point of view.

I personally believe that many of the changes that have been proposed today, we talk about lengthening the school day, teacher preparedness, we've talked about so many, educational reform items that I think are crucial, but the two most crucial things to me are, number one, encouraging teachers to view students holistically and to realize that the student is as important as the curriculum, and secondly, to ensure that all students have some kind of community or home representation in the schools.

Thank you.

[The prepared statement of Ms. Gaines follows:]

[The prepared statement of Ms. Gaines follows:]



Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you.

Mr. Burn.






Mr. Burn. I'd like to thank you for inviting me. I told my wife that I was a little nervous about following the Teacher of the Year, since I'm 50 years old and only taught a year and a half. So she said her speech teacher told her the only thing that you had to worry about was make darn sure your zipper was up before you go anywhere.

So I was sitting in the back and looked down and it wasn't up, so now that that crisis is over I'll continue.

I became a teacher real late in life. I was a plumber for - a licensed plumber, still am, for approximately 21 years. Went through the plumber and steamfitters local union apprentice program and I was told at the start of that that the things that they were going to teach us in the classroom - and it was very rigid, we went to school 8 to 4:30 every Saturday, we worked on the job Monday through Friday. And that was for five years.

And they told us that the things that they would teach us in the classroom were going to be very difficult to understand but don't give up because when you get out there with the ornery old journeymen they're going to show you what all that means.

It was probably in my second or third year that I worked on a large project called the veterinary hospital in Ames, Iowa at Iowa State University.

The plumber in charge took me out to a field that was approximately three acres and said, "I'm going to show you how to run that new laser transit to shoot the ditches in, I'm going to work with you for one week and then you're going to finish the entire underground of this building."

So I listened, I watched. All of a sudden the things that I had been taught that were way over my head, watching him, having him show me, came to light. And from that point on plumbing wasn't a problem with me any longer.

It didn't matter if I was doing a single-story building or a 15-story building. I didn't experience the fear that I had prior to that.

So when I went into teaching my first jobs were substituting in the Des Moines school system and I was sent places that - well, I was sent as an English as a second language, Vietnamese kids. I can't speak Vietnamese and I found it interesting that there was that much of a lack of teachers that somebody who didn't have those type of qualifications would be sent to perform those types of jobs.

So as I went through that I got sent to behavior disorder groups, things of that nature, and I guess the biggest thing that I saw was that there was such a lack of discipline and a lack of respect for the teachers. I was kind of awed at that.

As a 49-year-old man I was shocked at the way the students would talk to and treat the teachers. I couldn't believe it. If we ever tried that in the plumbers union with those old journeymen it would have been brutal.

So I had the opportunity to go to apply for a job at Des Moines Christian and that all worked out, I did start there as a fourth grade teacher, I was 49 years old and I was kind of upset about something, and what I was upset about was the requirement for me to teach there was that my children had to go to school there.

I'm not afraid to admit to you that I had the myth that maybe a Christian school wasn't quite up to par as maybe the public schools were. So I walked in with that type of atmosphere and I asked that - because my son was in a very creative-type school here in Des Moines and I went in with the concern that I needed to have the door left open, that I wanted the right to pull my child out of there if I didn't think that was going to work academically.

And so I spent the first six months watching closely the curriculum. This school is K through 12, so I was really watching the seniors and the juniors and what kind of test scores they were getting.

I was shocked at the scores. Ninety-seven percentiles, 99 percentiles, that really inspired me to even dig a little further and see what was the big difference.

I think the biggest thing that I noticed was the basics were being taught. It doesn't matter - you know, the majority of the students at Grand View College go on to college, but those that don't, every one of them have the basics to take some form of job and be successful in it.

Now, I heard Mr. Pomerantz say that the world knows our secret. I think part of the problem is we forgot our secret. And our secret is that everybody that I've seen successful, you gentlemen, Bill Gates, all of the CEOs, presidents of the United States, they all had basics.

And I had trouble with basics. I have my reading endorsement, I love reading, I could not read at the third or fourth grade level when I was in public schools. I didn't like phonics, I didn't get along with phonics. But I also think that it has a lot to do with the way that phonics are presented.

So I'm not against - I'm not for any certain curriculum other than the fact that I see basic academics working. I see basic skills working. And what I see most is when the students respect the teachers, the teachers respect the administration and everybody has accountability.

In the public systems we've tried to please everybody so much that it's like taking this glass of water and filling it up and we keep dumping water in it and it just spills on the table.

The public schools can't take care of everything in society and I think that we've switched from teaching them academics to trying to socially take care of the kids. And I don't know that that's the job of the teacher in the room, I don't know that the teacher can do that.

I saw stressed-out teachers, I saw teachers that were in committee meetings that were trying to implement program after program after program. At what cost? They had to sacrifice some of their lesson plans, or at least I felt they did. In the private sector I don't see that, they don't have as many programs.

Standardized testing, I watched kids in the elementary when I was observing take a standardized test. You know, if you have trouble with it and it's not going to reflect on your report card, guess. So how accurate are they.

There's a big controversy in the world of education, at least when I graduated in '95, and that was that standardized testing is strategy taking. What am I trying to get to instead of what do you really know. Are they knowledge-based or strategy-based. I struggle with standardized testing, I think it's more money spent.

I guess that I would ask where does all the money go to. I'm not a businessman but all of the money that I read about being spent and then what I know filters down to the public schools or the private schools, if any, is unbelievable to me. It's beyond my comprehension. Where does it go?

You know, the best way I can put it is in plumbing terms. It's like a garbage disposal. It goes down the hole and it disappears and I don't know where it goes. I have been in public school classes here in Des Moines, Iowa that didn't have enough textbooks. I was stunned at that.

You might think that in some area in the Bronx of New York or something or some inner city or something like that. I see it all over Des Moines and that really stunned me. I had no idea those kind of things were going on. I lived in this little world that all of that was being taken care of by Mr. Somebody. And it's not.

So the answer - I've also believed in a strong central government, I guess I still do, but there's certain areas maybe they could use some help.

I think we need the Federal Government, I don't think anybody here can deny that the Federal Government is the best person to raise money in the world. I know you've gotten a lot of mine.



Mr. Burn. Certainly you've got a great - you've got a great skill with that, so I would say stay aboard with that. Collect the money. Find one person to distribute it and send it equally to every school district in the United States. Take a shortcut. And watch what happens to the money.

Because the people in the classroom and the administrators who usually were in a classroom at one time, they know what to do with the money and they know where it needs to go. The kids really need our help.

So I think finally the last thing I'd like to say, maybe the last two things I'd like to say - okay, maybe three or four.


Chairman Hoekstra. Two sounded about right.


Mr. Burn. That little light is making me really nervous. Does that thing ever burn out?


Chairman Hoekstra. We hope not.


Mr. Burn. I have seen one thing that I studied in college and I know on the international scene we did a study at my school that we have dropped from number one in the world to 15 or 16 now on our ratings, and that really saddens me because everybody does copy us. Worldwide everybody copies us. And maybe what they're copying is what we used to do ourselves.

And so I think the important key is the lower elementary. If you get to the kids early, if you excite them about school, if you have the materials to do that you have success.

Because if you keep a child excited and happy - and I'm old enough to forget most things but I can remember a lot of things that turned me off in school and a lot of things that excited me, and if you keep the kids excited and have the stuff to do that, they're going to go on themselves.

I mean we need to trust our kids a little bit. If we give them some basic tools to work with and the excitement to work with and we don't have frustrated teachers that are being told to teach self-esteem classes and teach this and teach that, all of that will come.

There was nothing better when I was an apprentice when I knew the best journeyman on that job would walk up to me and say, "You really did a nice job with that, kid." That's all I needed, and the rest I did myself. So we didn't need to go into these big programs to do all that.

And so I would encourage you to find a way. I pray for you because the decisions you make will affect our children and that will affect the world because when you and I are ready to get into a wheelchair it's our kids that's going to make the decisions about how nice that wheelchair is going to be. And personally I'd like kind of a streamlined model myself.

So I want you to know that I really respect you for taking the time to fly around this country and sit in these really lousy lunchroom table chairs here. I haven't seen one that's level yet. You guys lucked out.

But I appreciate you taking the time to do this. And I really thank you for it. And afterwards if you want to know where the best Italian food is in Des Moines, I'm your guy, I can let you know.

[The prepared statement of Mr. Burn follows:]




Chairman Hoekstra. Mr. Hawkins.






Mr. Hawkins. Watching the audience leave, I know you'd like to hear me say pass. I will try to beat the clock. It's on yellow already.


Chairman Hoekstra. I think it's stuck.


Mr. Hawkins. I'm a veteran coordinator, and so they wrote a letter to me to the veteran coordinator. But I don't coordinate veterans. Veteran means I'm old as dirt. I've been doing this for a long time.

What I am is a cooperative education coordinator. I have worked quite a bit with vocational funding both on a state level and on a national level. I'm also the director for a Carl Perkins consortium, we've worked with Career Pathways. Carl Perkins is School to Work funds.

In response to many of the questions that are asked here and as Mr. McDermott did I have endeavored to answer the four questions that were in your letter that you sent.

I will say this, that in my initial interview with Lee I said basically the Federal Government needs to learn the KISS formula, Keep It Simple, Sweetheart. And so that hasn't been happening.

We spend a lot of time filling out the forms and I'm going to address some of those things a little bit more but why not make it simple.

The Career Pathways forms that were used by the state of Iowa were very nice because they sent the money up front, we didn't have to go into deficit spending to get the money. And that's very helpful to many school districts.

I work for one of the school districts that doesn't have a lot of money, and so we have to spend money before we get our money and why not send us our money if it's allocated anyway, let us have the money up front instead of running in the red and then getting the money.

As I've listened to a number of people here I have to wonder why are people approaching this as an either-or. It has to either be public or private. I don't understand that.

Why not put children first and say what's best for children is what we want to do. Find out what each individual child needs and then do what's best for that child.

I don't know that either-or is the answer. We've become very territorial and there's more than one way to do practically everything. And I think we need to allow educational diversity in that manner.

What kind of curricula produce the best results? I would say the real life curriculums - and the students will produce the best if it looks like real life, if it's concerned with employment and future prosperity.

Research indicates that 80 to 85 percent of us learn best contextually. In context Mr. Burn verified that when he had to go out and do the project, he learned something. Eighty, 85 percent of us learn exactly that way. That's why I'm involved with vocational education.

I haven't always been a vocational educator, I did start out as an industrial arts teacher, then I was an administrator, then I was in private business for four years, and at the end of that four-year period of time I knew that something needed to happen on the educational level that was meaningful to the students so they could understand what happens in the real world. That's what it's all about and that's what I do.

Cooperative education places students in a real life employment situation. Competition demands that businesses stay current. Our students then can go out and work with businesses that have to stay current and that particular part of their education is shouldered by the businesses as opposed to schools who generally have gone about it this way:

Technology. Schools are moving forward but they're moving behind faster than they're catching up, and that's the way it's been in many, many areas. Businesses have to stay current or they go out of business. Schools need to stay current or go out of business.

Number two, what is it about parental and community involvement that works and how is it being encouraged through the country?

Iowa schools are now encouraged - now encouraging curriculum review committees especially in the controversial areas that affect social change.

Now, the vocational programs have used advisory boards for years, ever since I've been in it which has been 23 years, and the reason why we did it, because the state said we needed to, and they have been very effective. Advisory boards keep the programs, the instructors, the curriculum, fine-tuned for student, business and societal needs.

The third question, what role do Americans believe the Federal Government should have in education? In September of 1997 the AAE published the results of their survey which said that 75 percent of these people that belong to the AAE, which is a very diverse group, 75 percent of them want to eliminate the department of education, 80 percent of them support block grants. There's some research for you, take a look at it.

In 1992 the Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills published the SCANS report and folks, that report did more to affect change in education than anything the department of education ever did.

Matter of fact, Carl Perkins and the School to Work initiatives in secondary and post secondary schools are using the SCANS information from the department of labor and I don't know that they're using any information from the department of education.

Iowa enjoys a heritage of a high national ranking and doesn't need or want mandates. Local control, competition, this is what makes Iowa schools great. Coupled with a strong worth ethic that Iowa is noted for.

Federal identification and encouragement of workplace competencies are needed in virtually all employment situations and the Federal Government has been a stimulus and they should be a catalyst for these things and there is a role for the Federal Government in that area.

The final question, and I see the light burned out on me, too, what studies exist that can give us insight into the successes and shortcomings of our current education system.

In 1984 we had a Nation at Risk report that came out. When that report came out we decided to emphasize academics and what happened was with the increase in academics we saw a decline in the vocational programs. We were throwing students into academic subjects that was not relevant for them because those students learn contextually.

We also saw an increase in academic snobbery and a decrease in the number of programs and these programs have not survived yet.

Right now in the state of Iowa you might find 400 history teachers to one vocational and education instructor and that's a real problem if we're going to prepare our students for school. That's probably not an accurate statistic but not too far off either.

The School-to-Work initiatives are creating much needed cooperative programs. I think they're good from this aspect but take away the paperwork.

My final statement, the federal programs are becoming bogged down with politically correct and special interest group paperwork. The more bureaucratic accountability built into the programs, the less efficiency of investment will be given to the students.

The solution is very simple. Programs that are truly relevant must be constructed and available to all students. Old programs that are unattractive in the educational venue must be eliminated or refurbished rather than protected.

We must concentrate on a responsibility to keep our schools relevant. The government on a national and state level must not confuse activity with accomplishment nor process with productivity.

Thank you very much.

[The prepared statement of Mr. Hawkins follows:]




Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you.

Mr. Richardson.






Mr. Richardson. Thank you. The subcommittee is interested in gathering information about what works in education. The answer in Iowa is very simple, and that answer is education works. It works because public schools have strong local support from parents and community. Our teachers are dedicated and highly skilled and we have strong support from the state and Federal Government.

Education in Iowa should continue to work thanks to the vision set forth by Gov. Branstad's Commission on Educational Excellence for the 21st Century. The commission chaired by Marvin Pomerantz is an outstanding example of what can happen in a state when education is a priority.

Education in Iowa works but it only works because of the partnership that exists between local, state and Federal Government. The students who are now entering the schoolhouse doors have different needs than the students of a generation ago. The public is demanding that schools provide services to students that were not even considered a decade ago. Public schools now provide service well beyond the traditional school day.

In 19 years in the classroom I have seen the benefits that students receive from the partnerships that exist with the state and Federal Governments. Students who came to school hungry many mornings can now receive a hot, nutritious meal. For many of my students the two meals they received at school were the only nutritious meals they had.

Students whose reading and math skills were significantly lower than their ability received help through Title I programs. Students who had severe handicaps could now attend school, receive a quality education and become contributing members of society. A generation ago these students would not have been found in a regular classroom.

However, because of federal insistence and funding these students now receive quality instruction and a wide range of special services.

Students are able to receive special instruction for speech and language deficiencies and teachers are now able to receive a greater number of high quality staff development opportunities.

Schools in Iowa and across the country are facing tremendous challenges every day. Even in Iowa the effects of poverty have created enormous problems with which the public schools must deal.

Many public schools are meeting these challenges and providing high quality education for students. However, they cannot do it alone. The Federal Government must provide the financial help that these schools need.

Technology will play an important role in the education students receive as we enter the 21st century. Every district in Iowa will have access to a fiber optics network owned by the state which provides a two-way video communication and Internet connectivity.

Even with the state providing the backbone for the system many public schools would not be able to afford the equipment to operate it without some assistance from the Federal Government.

Star schools grants have provided valuable financial assistance to Iowa's schools. Many elementary schools in Iowa do not have the level of access to technology that secondary schools already have.

The Federal Government's Universal Service Fund will now provide discounted telecommunications services so that districts can guarantee that all students receive equal access to modern technology.

Now the possibility exists that all students whether they are in Des Moines or in rural southern Iowa can have access to the latest telecommunications services.

If federal funding were decreased for public schools many students would be denied access to high quality educational programs, many high cost, labor intensive programs which traditionally serve disadvantaged students would be eliminated, class sizes would be increased which would have a negative effect on students - or a negative impact on student achievement. Students with special needs would find school frustrating and difficult and drop out.

Quality public schools are a fundamental right to all citizens in the United States. All students regardless of their race, socioeconomic status, language proficiency or special education needs have this right.

The public nature of our schools builds upon the very foundation of democracy in this country. For many students this is the first place where they are exposed to a diverse mix of students. The tolerance for others which develops in these public settings is the basis for creating good citizens for our future.

The dialogue we are having is critical to the continued improvement of public education in this country. The Federal Government plays a crucial role in financing and regulating our schools. In my experience the vast majority of federal programs play an important role in the success of children in the schools.

In the cases where federal programs come up short it is not because of bureaucratic bungling or poor teaching but rather because the programs were not sufficiently funded to do the job correctly.

All Americans have a stake in public schools. This is the place where 90 percent of our children are educated, it is where the leaders of tomorrow get their start. If our schools fail tomorrow's leaders will be tomorrow's unemployed. Our schools will succeed only if we combine the efforts of federal and state governments with the work of legislators, parents, teachers, administrators, students.

[The prepared statement of Mr. Richardson follows:]




Chairman Hoekstra. I think if the last one ends right at the red light it means everybody did a good job of getting done on time. We'll assume that.

Mr. Ganske.


Dr. Ganske. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for having this hearing, and we thank our panel guests, the last panel, for staying so late. I wish that some of the guests who had complained about not having educational experts here at this hearing had the courtesy to stay and listen to your expert testimony.

I know that Chairman Hoekstra and Congressman Latham have to get to the airport fairly soon so I'll keep my questions short.

I really want to get into the issue of whether the Federal Government should have a role on maintaining infrastructure. And Mr. Sandahl, I had a conversation not too long ago with a Des Moines school board member who had been on the school board for a long time, is not currently on the school board, and that school board member told me, you know, Congressman, we've known for 20 - we on the school board have known for 20 years that we were not sufficiently funding the infrastructure and the repairs for the Des Moines schools, you know, things like roofs and heating systems and repairing the plumbing and things like that. For 20 years we have known that and we just ignored it.

And I guess, you know, the question that I have in terms of a federal role on this is that if the Federal Government gets involved in fixing up the schools and the districts, aren't we going to be giving every other school district in the country the same incentive to ignore maintaining their own schools?


Mr. Sandahl. I don't think the districts in the past - or the boards in the past purposely tried to ignore the infrastructure or the maintenance of the buildings. What it came down to, Congressman, was competing resources. They only had "x" number of dollars and they needed to set aside what they could.

I think boards in the past appropriately made decisions to fund educational programs and move away from the maintenance. Knowing where you live, I know you live in an older home much like I do because you live around the corner from me, as you live in a house it's very easy to ignore the maintenance because you can't see it, and then one day you wake up and all of a sudden you need a new roof or maybe your furnace is shot even though there's been telltale signs over the years.

You take a look at your family budget and you say, well, maybe next year I'll fix the roof. You skip a year and suddenly have a big rainstorm and you lose a ceiling or some walls.

I think that's what's happened in a lot of school districts around the country. They've taken the money, they've made a decision to save the money or to allocate the resources into education and move away from taking care of their buildings because they thought they were trying to buy more time and as a result now it's catch-up time. Across the country -


Dr. Ganske. Mr. Sandahl, you know, I don't think too many taxpayers would want federal taxpayer dollars to go to repair my home or your home.


Mr. Sandahl. That's true, that's true, and I do understand that as a member of the school board we are stewards of the public money and also stewards of the public buildings.

As a result of this just this year the Des Moines School Board did pass a long-range plan to ensure the maintenance of our structures in the future. We have set a funding level - and I can't recall the number, set aside a funding level to maintain our infrastructure and also things that we will do routinely to make sure our buildings are kept up to par.


Dr. Ganske. Part of the fear that I have is not just that it would promote irresponsibility at the local level but as I think probably everyone who has remained in this room would tell you there is no such thing as free federal dollars.


Mr. Sandahl. I understand that.


Dr. Ganske. They all come with strings. They come with a lot of strings. And -


Mr. Sandahl. I do understand that if we ask the Federal Government to step in and to help with the infrastructure in the state of Iowa that means that people in the state of Iowa are going to have to pay more federal tax to pay for that.

One of the things I'd like to see us do is take a look at the future and have cities and school districts around the country take a look and see if they can determine just how many schools they actually want to support and see where the locations could be, take a look at different educational delivery systems.

Perhaps it would be a time to move away from the ownership of property, move into leasing or something like that where in the future if the population shifts you can shift because you're leasing a building instead of owning a building, you can move to a different location just by moving desks and computers and textbooks and you're not actually abandoning the building because somebody else owns the building.

Maybe that's something we could consider. To me there's options open for that. I guess I'll stop there.


Dr. Ganske. And Mr. Chairman, I'll just finish with this thought. At the beginning I said, you know, that I think there's room for improvement but we shouldn't think that because there is room for improvement that this is a significant change from the way it has always been in our country.

In 1943 the New York Times with the help of the history department of Columbia University investigated students' knowledge of American history and geography and it found the results appalling.

A large majority of students showed that they had virtually no knowledge of elementary aspects of American history, this is from 1943. They could not identify, Mr. Chairman, names such as Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, or Theodore Roosevelt.

Most of our students do not have the faintest notion of what this country looks like. Hundreds of students listed Walt Whitman as being an orchestra leader, quote-unquote.

You know, Mr. Chairman, the real interesting thing about that survey that was done was that that was done on college freshman in 1943.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


Chairman Hoekstra. I thought you were going to tell me it was done in Congress. Mr. Latham.


Mr. Latham. I am one of those who has to get on the airplane, and I will be extraordinarily brief here in closing.

I just want to thank you very much. I have a couple observations on this great last panel.

Ms. Young said she'd been teaching for 22 years, Miss Gaines said 27 years. It must have been at a period of time when they allowed teachers to start when they were seven years old. Anyway - that's amazing. It is.

And also Mr. Chairman, I notice Mr. Richardson and you, if you still had your beard, you could very easily pass for brothers, I just noticed that.

I would just - you could. I just want to thank you very much for coming here and for allowing me to be a part of this and I think the key point that I heard here right at the end was the idea of people not being defensive to worry about protecting your own turf or worry about changes. The whole emphasis has to be on what is best for the child and not the bureaucracy.

Not for this school district or that school district or this concept or idea, let's think about the kid first and I think kids are different and we've got to be wide open when we're talking about education. It is the most important thing we could do. Thank you.


Chairman Hoekstra. Thank you. I'd also like to thank this panel as well as the first two panels.

There is a lot going on in education and there is no reason that we can't work this all out and create a very bright and positive future and I think what everybody on this panel was talking about was the appropriate partnership and role for the Federal Government, the state government, and the local government.

We've now had this hearing in Iowa and there's been some passion expressed here today. We have looked at a tuition voucher program, scholarship program that they have had in Cleveland and they're doing something else in Milwaukee and they're doing something else in Minnesota and they're doing some other kinds of things in California and New York and something else in Georgia, and Michigan is experimenting with some things.

Everybody is recognizing that we have to improve our results, that there are a number of different ways to approach it, that nobody has got the silver bullet or the couple of silver bullets that if you do these two types of things you'll get all of the right answers.

We have learned that there are - whether it's Reading Recovery here in Iowa or a Teacher of the Year, we are seeing those types of success stories all around the country, that there are quality people here who are committed to education whether it's in the teaching profession, whether it's the administration of education or whether it's people in policy, you all have a passion about education and a commitment to make it work.

So I appreciate your testimony today. We will put that in the mix with everything else that we have learned and the stuff that we're going to continue learning and see if I think we can't do more to empower you at the local level because the more time we spend going around the country - I think somebody on this panel said the change and the improvement will happen in the classroom and will happen in the local level. What we need to do is just give you the resources and the opportunity to make that happen, so thank you very much for all you do and for how you helped us today. Thank you.

The subcommittee will be adjourned.

[Whereupon, at 5:19 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]