Serial No. 106-82


Printed for the use of the Committee on Education

and the Workforce

Table of Contents


















Tuesday, January 25, 2000

House of Representatives

Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

Committee on Education and the Workforce

Washington, D.C.

The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 9:30 a.m., at Red Rocks Community College, Room 0650, 13300 West 6th Avenue, Lakewood, Colorado, Hon. Pete Hoekstra, Chairman of the Subcommittee, presiding.

Present: Representatives Hoekstra, Schaffer, Tancredo, and Kind.

Also Present: Representative Wilson.

Staff Present: Christine Wolfe, Professional Staff Member; Dan Lara, Press Secretary and Cheryl Johnson, Minority Counsel/Education and Oversight.

Mr. Hoekstra. Good morning. A quorum being present, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations for the Education and the Workforce Committee will come to order.

You'll see some of the little things we have to do as protocol, and that means we do have to hit the gavel. So we'll do this pretty much the exact same way that we do it in Washington.

My name is Pete Hoekstra. I'm a Congressman from Michigan. This is my fourth term in Washington, and this is my third term where I have had the opportunity to chair the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.



Over the last four years, we've asked the Committee to investigate a number of issues. One of, perhaps, the most important is to take a look at the Federal role in education, and to take a look at what's working and what is not working in regards to the Federal role of education. Are we facilitating or inhibiting the types of change and reforms that State and local education agencies want to make to improve education for their kids?

As part of that effort, we have taken a look at structure and the funding of the Education Department in Washington, but there has also been a series of field hearings that we have conducted around the country. I believe that this is hearing number 21 that has actually taken place somewhere other than Washington. And then we complement that, obviously, with hearings in Washington. But we've been in a diversity of educational institutions around the country. We have been in the Bronx; we have been in Cleveland; we've been in Milwaukee; we've been in Little Rock, we've been in Muskegon, and in Los Angeles. Yesterday we were in Albuquerque, New Mexico. So we have gone around the country listening to people at the local level telling us what is going on in their local schools.

At each one of these opportunities, we've also had testimony from people directly associated with the state education agency so that they can explain and outline the changes in the reforms that they may be implementing at the state level. And in each forum, we've asked the very simple question; "What works and what's wasted?"

The Education Department manages a total portfolio of about $120 billion. Now, a good portion of that are Federal student loans, which are about $85 billion. And then there's another $35 billion that we, as Congress, appropriate on an annual basis. And the question is, "What works and what's wasted?" Are we getting the dollars to our schools and to our kids in a way that is having the most impact, or are there things that we can do to improve the education of our children by the way that we allocate and spend and send the dollars from Washington back down to the local level? So that puts this hearing in a context of the other things that we are doing in Washington.

We've got a good representation of my colleagues here today. The hearings, by and large, have been bipartisan. Education, by and large, in Washington has been a bipartisan issue. Doesn't mean we agree on everything; but what it does mean is that as we work towards developing solutions, we find ways that we can work together on doing the right things for our kids.

With us today, we have Ron Kind, who is a Congressman from Wisconsin. We have Congressman Bob Schaffer, who is probably familiar to many of you. He's a Congressman from Colorado. And also, we have your Congressman Tom Tancredo. These gentlemen are all part of the Subcommittee. And we also have joining us Heather Wilson, who is a Congresswoman from New Mexico.

And with that, I will turn it over to my colleague from Wisconsin, Mr. Kind.








Mr. Kind. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm delighted to be here. As the Chairman indicated, it really gives us an opportunity to get out of Washington to stretch our legs, so to speak, come to the local areas and see what is being done at the State and local level. And especially, to find out what is the proper role or assistance that the government can provide to local school districts to implement the reforms, to improve the quality of education.

And the way I see it, being from Wisconsin, since neither the Denver Broncos nor the Green Bay Packers are at the Super Bowl today, we're here dealing with what should be a top priority in the Nation, given the challenges that we face and the common goal of trying to improve the quality of education.

It's really going to take a partnership of all levels: The Federal, State and local levels, including the private sector. This is an interest that should be a top concern for the private sector, as well, to improve the quality of education, to have a well-educated and well-trained work force that can meet their growth needs and continue the business and economic prosperity that we have in the country today.

I especially look forward to any testimony in regard to development of standards in the area. This has been something sweeping the country. There's been a lot of emphasis placed on it in the course of policy-making in Washington, and in the development of good state standards and assessments. One of the great challenges that I feel we're going to face today, and over the next decade, because we'll have, roughly, a 2.2 million teacher shortage over the next ten years, is what to do to improve the quality of teachers in the classroom, the teacher training, and professional development areas and, especially, teacher mentoring programs at the local level.

These are some of the things that we've been focusing our attention on in D.C., and looking forward to seeing some input as far as what's helping, and what Federal programs could be implemented. All of those are fair game at the hearing today, and I'm looking forward to the testimony.

I'd like to apologize now because I have to take off early to catch a flight back home. If I get up and leave, I hope I don't offend anyone. It's the business of scheduling. But thank you very much for having us here today.

Mr. Hoekstra. Now, can you hear me better now? We kind of work out glitches as we go, so bear with us. The button on the microphone has to be pushed down, and then it's activated. Mr. Kind needs to go home. I can be here all afternoon. There's a foot of snow in Washington. There's a foot of snow falling back home. I may be here for a week. So I may know a whole lot more about Colorado than what I ever thought I would want to know.

In Washington, just to lay out the process for you, we typically limit opening statements to a Member of the Majority and one of the Minority. And then we go directly to the witnesses, so that you hear less from Congressmen and more from the witnesses who are actually working on the problems and on the issues.

We also go through a process that we have; a green light, a yellow light, and a red light. Our green light is burned out. So the green light tells the Members of Congress when we get to the questioning phase, we've got five minutes. And the green light says, "You're doing fine." The yellow light is a warning sign that says, hey, you're running out time. And the red light means, to the Congress Members and to our witnesses, your time is up. At that point in time, I could take the gavel and gavel you down and say, "Your time is up. We'll accept your written testimony, and let's move on." But since I've got a lot of time, we're here to learn from you and to listen to you. But if the witnesses could try to stick close to the five or seven minute time-frame, that would be very much appreciated.

And then since we are in Mr. Tancredo's district today, as I said, he's a very active participant on the Subcommittee. I've enjoyed having him on the Subcommittee. Not only is he on the Subcommittee, I see a lot of this guy. His office is also right next door to mine. So we've gotten to know each other very, very well, and have spent a lot of time working on education and some other issues together.

And I'd like to yield to Mr. Tancredo for the purposes of making opening comments, and also introducing the panel to you.



Mr. Tancredo. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate that. Ever since I was a teacher in Drake Junior High out here in Jefferson County, some 25 or 26 years ago, I recall sitting in the faculty lounges with other of my colleagues and some of the administrators. Eventually, the discussion would turn to the impact of the Federal Government on our activities and how difficult it was for us to accomplish what we wanted to accomplish in our school because of the many rules and regulations imposed upon us by that huge ogre in Washington.

At the time I was teaching social studies and listening to all of these complaints. And I certainly recognized that many of my colleagues were suffering from an over burden of regulations. But as I progressed, I taught as I say, I became the Regional Director of the U.S. Department of Education. All of these concerns continued to be raised until they were deafening, to some extent. We had a tendency, at a certain point, to almost ignore a lot of the other things that were happening in education and say, "You know, boy, it's the Federal Government's heavy-handed regulatory practices that have made it difficult for us to continue to do what we want to do."

This is in light of the fact, of course, that, as we know, the Federal financial participation in public education in the K-12 level is relatively small. It differs from State to State from 4 to 7 percent of the total amount spent. Yet, of course, there are a lot of burdens.

Now, being in the state legislature and on the Education Committee there, we tried to deal with some of these issues from the state perspective. I remember we passed legislation, at one point in time, to allow school districts to petition the State Board of Education to allow them to escape certain waivers. We actually passed legislation after I was there, I think it was in the early 1990s, to allow school districts to actually contract out for services for every single thing they wanted to do that they were doing; everything from landscaping to the actual provision of teachers in the classroom.

A school district in Colorado could contract out for all of that, giving them great flexibility. Yet, I was concerned after a while, because I would talk to people like Mr. Moloney and his predecessor, and I would ask what was happening after we had given at least that degree of freedom and flexibility. And what we found is few districts, if any, had taken the opportunity to apply for waivers. Few districts had contracted out for services to any great extent. And one wonders why.

One of the things I hope we deal with at this hearing today is that the participants, both from the panel and later on, if we get a chance, from the audience and from those Members who have an interest in this, will help us understand the reluctance on the part of schools and school districts to actually obtain the freedom that may be available for them. Because I assure you, Federal Government is providing some even now.

We have passed something called Ed-Flex, which give States greater flexibility to petition the Secretary of Education. There's something in the works called Straight A's that would even be more positive, from my standpoint, in terms of greater flexibility, getting rid of all of these rules and regulations that we complained about when I was a faculty member.

Now, what I'm wondering is, how much will that matter? Will people take advantage of that freedom if given it? How much will change? Sometimes I think about that as I recall the story I was told about the British attempting to populate the colony of Georgia. It was because it was the buffer colony between them and the Spanish, they actually had to go to the debtor prisons in England and go to the cells and open them up and ask, "Will you?" "I've got land and freedom for you. All you have to do is go to Georgia. We'll give you free land, and you can have your freedom. You have to work five years." Ninety percent of the inmates said, "Um, no thanks. I'm not sure I know what this is all about. It's not great but I know what prison is, and I don't know what that Georgia is all about. I'm not so sure."; sort of a fear of freedom.

And so I wonder if even sometimes that phenomenon is working in our public schools? If we were to move to greater freedom, would they be really and truly accepting of it and sort of blossom under it? That's what I am hoping to hear today from some of the panels; what you think should happen. Are the regulations as burdensome as you have always heard? Should they be taken away? And what would happen if we did take them away?

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Do you want me to start introducing some of the panel? Mr. Schaffer and I are going to share this responsibility, as we have some of the folks here from this district. I'll start with Dr. Moloney.

Dr. Moloney is the Commissioner of Education for the Colorado Department of Education, and Secretary of the Colorado State Board of Education, as well as a member of the Reform Minded Education Leaders Council. He's a member of the National Assessment Governing Board. Dr. Moloney has given valuable testimony to this Committee over the past few years on the State's efforts on how to improve education. And I can tell you, from a personal standpoint, we have had a great relationship since he's been here. We've had many conversations. Perhaps I should be more circumspect about the fact that we have had these conversations. I don't want you to get into any trouble because of that, Dr. Moloney; that you and I have talked.

The fact is, he is perhaps one of the finest educational leaders that I have come across, certainly that we have had in the State of Colorado for a long time, because he's willing to push the envelope. He is willing to challenge the establishment, and that is something that is a tendency, a characteristic, a trait that I find extremely admirable.

Dr. Moloney, we hope to hear from you. How far do you want to push the envelope today? Why don't you go ahead.

Mr. Hoekstra. Why don't we introduce the whole panel?

Mr. Tancredo. I'll go next to Dr. Jandris. He's the Director of Constituent Services,

Education Commission of the States. ECS is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that helps governments and other State leaders develop and improve education.

When I was in the legislature, I was happy to be a participant in many of the activities of ECS here in Colorado. Dr. Jandris was the Chief Executive Officer of Fox River Learning in Batavia, Illinois, before coming to ECS. Prior to joining Fox River, Dr. Jandris was Director of Secondary Education in Illinois. Dr. Jandris holds several degrees and licenses, including a B.S. in educational psychology and a doctorate in education and administration. He is a licensed and practicing psychologist, by the way I want to talk to you afterwards about that, and holds teaching certificates.

Next, I'll introduce Dr. Terri Rayburn, Senior Policy Analyst in the office of Governor Bill Owens. Prior to that, Ms. Rayburn was on the local school board here in Jefferson County. I look at her in many ways, as I explained with Dr. Moloney, as a champion for progress and innovation and someone who would not shirk responsibility for confronting the educational establishment when it had to be confronted and explaining its policies when they needed explaining clearly and articulately. I cannot think of a better choice for the position of Senior Policy Analyst with the Office of the Governor.

Don Lee represents the 28th District in Colorado, House of Representatives. He is on the Education Committee. I understand that Mr. Doiron, who is a Legislative Aide, is here and will be able to address the issues that Mr. Lee was going to address.

Then finally, the last one I'm going to introduce is Teri Spray. Ms. Spray is the founder of Christian Cottage Schools, where she currently serves as the Administrator. An experienced teacher and educational diagnostician, she is a noted conference speaker to the home education community. Ms. Spray has acted as the lead author for four volumes of Christian Cottage Unit Studies. This four-year program covers history, science, literature and Bible studies from the week of creation through space travel.

Ms. Spray works and resides in rural Sedalia with her husband of 25 years. She has two children and one grandchild. In her spare time, Ms. Spray volunteers at her home church, as well as with the Civil Air Patrol, where she serves as the Colorado Wing Public Affairs Officer, and is also CAP-appointed Moral Leadership Officer.

I had an opportunity of meeting her, actually, in several different capacities as well as the capacity of Civil Air Patrol. Also, in her capacity with the Christian Cottage Schools, there is a program that she may be aware of, that actually prompted our request to be here today. I don't know of anything else around the Nation like it for the category of the special-needs child, who is so often identified as being unable to be served in any other setting, except for a traditional public school setting, with all of the attendant costs and infrastructure costs. We find that, perhaps, there is another way to do it, and we're looking forward to hearing about that today.

Mr. Schaffer. The first guest that I would like to introduce is Randy Everett, M.D., a Urologist. Dr. Everett, in addition to being accomplished in the medical profession, is also very notable in the northern Colorado part of the State; in fact, throughout the rest of the State, as well.

Dr. Everett has been one of the strongest proponents of school choice in the area and a driving force behind a number of education alternatives in the Poudre School District in Fort Collins, starting with creating an alternative school using the Core Knowledge Sequence. Another school within the District is a charter school, and both exist and are doing very well and thriving in the northern Colorado area.

His emphasis is on fairness and education and, also consistency of curriculum, and how that promotes equity, fairness, and education of economic justice, as well. We're glad to have you here.

Sitting to Dr. Everett's right is Joey Lopez, a senior at Ft. Collins High School. Joey got my attention with this letter to the editor. Among all of the publications I read as a Member of Congress, I try to stay on top of the school newspapers. I read a letter to the editor in the Fort Collins Spilled Ink newspaper that Joey had written, so I cut it out. The hearing was coming together, and I said, "We'll see if we can get him to come on down and talk to us about his experiences in school as a student, and a current customer of the public education system."

Joey, as I think he'll reflect later in his remarks has been accepted at Notre Dame. That's where he's intending to be next year. Joey is one who not only has opinions, but is willing to share them with others. He astutely pointed out a number of issues that this Committee has pointed out over the years.

Mr. Hoekstra. Thank you. We'll begin with you, Dr. Moloney.





Mr. Moloney. Mr. Tancredo said that I'm willing to push the envelope with the education establishment. That's probably because I have been a member of it for so long.

Thirty-five years ago, in the summer of 1965, I was present at the creation of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. As a member of the staff of former

Congressman Thomas B. O'Neill, I remember well the great hope and the dreams that attended this landmark in education.

Later I would have, from an academic perspective, occasion to study the policy implications of size and bureaucracy as it affected public education while doing doctoral work at Harvard University. Finally, as a member of the seat of bureaucracy in Massachusetts at the time of Michael Dukakis, we were implementers of that act ten years after its passage.

I say this, because throughout my entire career as teacher, principal, superintendent, and all of that, I've been deeply involved in looking to see how this could work. And I think that's what will be a useful preface to my remarks, which I will keep very brief, and the questions that you might have.

The impact of Federal policy on State and local efforts to reform education has been almost wholly deleterious. Let us look to the past and see how this happened. In 1946, when the newly formed United Nations was setting up the educational arm, they conducted a thorough examination of the education systems of the industrial nations of the world. Their conclusion: "As regards this mission, the effectiveness of its teaching force, its service to democratic principles, and the proportion of the national population being effectively reached, the education system of the United States of America was, by a wide margin, the finest in the world and the most worthy of emulation."

Those who follow education reform today recognize that, sadly, our ratings in all of those categories would be far different, i.e., lower. There are many causes for this relative U.S. decline, but let us focus on the one that is the subject of this hearing: bureaucratization and its consequences.

In 1930, the U.S. had 215,000 school districts, the average size of which was 240 students. Over one million Americans served on local school boards and, on average, they oversaw systems that were made up of 12 teachers, including one teaching principal.

The system was fundamental, patriotic, value-laden, and prepared young people for any direction that their lives might take them. The work ethic and discipline were good because accountability rested on the real-world consequences. Today, we only have 15,000 districts. They are, on average, much larger and, essentially, operated by a heretofore-nonexistent class we call administrators. Far fewer Americans serve on local school boards today. And by virtue of the size of the districts, the complexity of things today commonly is beyond them, hence the need for administrators.

In addition to these changes speaking to mandates imposed by the Federal Government on local and State government, in addition to these things brought about by consolidation, local and State effectiveness began, also, to suffer negative consequences from the intrusion of external sources of governance, notably, at the Federal level. The latter trend began to accelerate dramatically with the passage of ESEA of 1965. Though intentions were good, a fundamental premise underlying this external intrusion was that local people were not bright enough or trustworthy enough. It was felt that folks on the banks of the Potomac could do better.

The size and scope of the Federal bureaucracy: As individuals, the staffs of the Federal bureaucracy are nice people, but in terms of function as a collective they leave much to be desired. Size, distance, and institutional lethargy make the Federal bureaucracy much more likely to be a part of the problem than part of the solution.

Special education policy: Long ago in a distant galaxy, 1976 Massachusetts, I served in the education bureaucracy of Governor Mike Dukakis. We created something called Chapter 766, which became the model for 94-142, the foundation legislation for special education, signed into law, to everyone's surprise, by Gerald Ford in December of that year. Aside from being a classic study of unintended consequences, this law made promises to local people that have not been remotely kept. It is not just the financial default. The most tragic result is that the suffocating blanket of regulation actively worked against the learning prospects of our handicapped children.

Reauthorization of ESEA: In medieval times, people were sometimes pressed to death by having heavy stones piled upon their bodies until all breath and life was squeezed from them. The current U.S. Congress made a valiant attempt to lift some of those stones from the body of State and local folks. Certain very worthwhile successes were achieved, but all too many stones remain. We still await the day when ESEA can truly be redesigned to fulfill the dreams we had for it in 1965.

Education compared to the economy: Today, our economy is booming, and it is the wonder of the world. The fact is that it has much to do with the vitality, flexibility, and creativity of the freest people on Earth. None of these characteristics, however, are to be found in bureaucratized systems of education.

Your Subcommittee, in its commendable explorations, found that successful schools were not the product of Federal funding in programs, but instead, were characterized by the following:

One: parents involved in the education of their children. As I was reminded while visiting a Hispanic community school in Denver recently, this principle is talked about in bureaucratized schools, but was actually done in community-based school. Two: local control. External control murders local accountability. Three: emphasis on basic academics. Colorado's demanding new tests have shown clearly, see the attached charts, that success is found in places characterized by clear focus, high intensity, and the energy that comes from local control, particularly in the smaller units. Dysfunction comes from more bureaucratic, less motivated entities. Four: spend dollars in the classroom, not on the bureaucracy and ineffective programs. Per the attached chart, it shows the inverse relationship between size and success. These little districts are telling us something. They are teaching us a lesson from our past that can be a key to our future, if we have the wit and the courage to pay attention.

I would briefly draw your attention to the charts in question. And these come from the presentation before the Colorado State Board of Education, a member of which is with us today, Dr. Randy Everett. There was a request from your colleagues to know anything that touches on standards that we have learned. If you will look at the achievement growth on this very demanding criterion reference, there is a striking, even stunning relationship between size and effectiveness. The largest point is in the school districts in Colorado where 75 percent of the youngsters have improved by 9 percent.

Now, if you move steadily, like a flight of stairs, moving towards the smallest district, achievement goes from 11.7 percent, the next to 13.8, 18.6, 22.6, 22.3 percent and, finally, 31.1 percent in our smallest districts.

More encouraging still, if you go to the final page, I apologize for the error of copying here, what we have seen are two things that are most hopeful. First, the growth on these achievement tests is greater in our Hispanic and black populations than among our white population. A large gap still remains, but the program that Colorado has launched over these last seven years is closing that gap.

Unfortunately, this is repeated on the second level. However, we will send corrections. What we also see is the achievement role for our handicapped population is greater than our non-handicapped population, and this might not have happened. We had a legislative attempt to, in effect exempt the handicapped from this accountability system, again, for very well intentioned reasons. Had that happened, the achievement that these youngsters are showing would not have been seen.

Hopefully, this leads to your question. Thank you very much for being allowed to speak.





Mr. Hoekstra. Thank you. Ms. Rayburn.





Ms. Rayburn. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Committee Members. I'm here today, not only as Governor Owens' Senior Policy Analyst on Education, I am also here as a former school board member of one of the largest school districts in the country who saw, firsthand, how red tape can get in the way of many things that call for progress. But most importantly, I'm here as a mother of four children, two of whom are still in our public education system.

After being elected governor in 1998, Governor Owens listed, as his top priority, reforming public education to see that every child in Colorado receives the quality education that they deserve. Governor Owens believes that the best way to do this is by keeping authority and responsibility at the local level. It is the local parents, local teachers, local school board members, and local elected officials that know what is best and what is going on in their local schools.

Therefore, power at the local level is essential, not only to ensure that focus is on what is best for the students, but also to discourage excuses for failure and to encourage accountability. One way he is doing this is by requiring Performance Report Cards for every public school in the State, just as a student receives a grade A, B, C, D, or F, or should, in Colorado's public schools. Academic performance and school safety are among the areas that will be measured.

As a parent, seeing that a child's school has a failing grade would certainly serve as a wake-up call. It would motivate to get them more involved in the child's school. And since no community wants to be the home of a failing school, the local community would quickly become involved in improving those failing schools.

However, it isn't just that schools should be held accountable. Just as federally funded education systems must have a proven track record of success in order to continually receive funding, Governor Owens believes that the State should be able to set measurable goals and hold schools accountable for reaching those goals. How each individual school goes about achieving these goals is up to each school. After all, what works in a school in downtown Denver may not work in a school in a rural area of the State.

The Federal Government does need to play a role in school accountability, a limited role. In return for Federal funding, with the flexibility given to State governments to use those funds as they see fit, the States must be held accountable for improving the academic achievement of students who benefit from Federal assistance. And the States must promise to fund only what works in education, only those programs and ideas that have proven success.

The problem that so many State governments have run into, however, is the bureaucratic red tape at the Federal level. One perfect example of this is the charter school system. Charter schools, as you know, are public schools created by local parents, educators, school districts, businesses, or foundations, and are open to children who meet the admission requirements. More importantly, they are free from most State and local Federal regulations with which traditional public schools must comply.

In the past couple of years, however, the Federal Government has systematically imposed itself on the charter school system, forcing State governments, again, to jump through unnecessary hoops. And I can address that, if you would like to talk about that further. They say, "If something isn't broken, don't fix it." The charter school system is working. Involvement in the Federal Government is unnecessary and, frankly, unwelcome.

The Federal Government currently funds more than 700 different education programs. Obviously, so many programs will result in a lot of paperwork. In fact, the Federal Government employs 25,000 full-time employees solely to address the paperwork the programs necessitate. In some States, an estimated 50 percent of paperwork done by local schools is spent administering Federal education programs, even though Federal funds account for only seven percent of the total spending. A study done in 1998 by the U.S. Department of Education showed that 85 cents out of every Federal education dollar actually reaches the school district. Even less reaches the classroom.

I brought with me today a copy of the grant of the State of Colorado submitted to the Department of Education in Washington, D.C. Colorado has taken a lead in improving literacy and, last year, applied for a Federal funding grant. As you can see, this is the paperwork required by the Federal Government.

Mr. Hoekstra. Is that submitted for the record? Is that for us?

Ms. Rayburn. Yes, you can take it back with you.

Mr. Hoekstra. This is an application for one program?

Ms. Rayburn. This is one program, and this was a literacy program. And as I say here, it took 20 people about 100 hours to put it together. And it is what we're doing in Colorado about literacy.

And I must say, I did submit to Congressman Schaffer the analysis of our grant, which I found to be most disturbing, having worked on this grant, because basically it said, "Write us a grant on literacy." We did. We sent it to the government. And they said, "You know what, we in Washington know better what to do with literacy than you do here in Colorado." And we find that to be most disturbing. We would rather have the freedom to be able to say, "Here is what we want to do. Hold us accountable for the results, and we'll perform."

Mr. Hoekstra. Did you get any money?

Ms. Rayburn. No, we did not. We were denied the grant, because unfortunately, it was too narrow. They didn't like our philosophical approach. We're a strong, locally controlled State, and they wanted more systemic reading programs than what we wanted to do. So, basically, we were denied.

It was a well-written grant. There was nothing wrong with how it was presented. We wrote up all of these great things. We jumped through all of the hoops. Basically, philosophically, we're not in line with Washington. And that's what happens a lot of times. I have kind of deviated.

Mr. Hoekstra. Sorry.

Ms. Rayburn. That's all right. I know when I served on the school board visuals were good. And sometimes when you are making decisions at a policy level, you need to see what actually happens, what's really generated. And this is one of many.

I could go on about the many grants we have to write that are constantly renewed. But every three years, we have to go through this process from safety and drug-free schools to our Perkins Grant, all of this. This is just one of many, and some of them are required. This is one we chose to do. Can I go on?

Mr. Hoekstra. That's fine.

Ms. Rayburn. The United States is the only developed nation in which the majority of people employed in education are not teachers. Perhaps most disturbing, another report from 1998 done by the U.S. Subcommittee on Education reported that it had been years since many Federal education programs have been evaluated, and often those reviews are more concerned with process accounting for numbers of participants and educators, not whether the children are better off.

All of these suggestions are made with one common goal, giving our children the education they need and deserve. We can't be afraid to make changes. As Governor Owens said in his State-of-the-State address, we can no longer be satisfied with the status quo. Too much is at stake. After all, there is one thing that we can all agree on, it is that education is first, last, and always about the children. Thank you.






Mr. Hoekstra. Thank you very much. Mr. Doiron.






Mr. Doiron. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to read the statement of Representative Don Lee.


Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee, thank you for inviting me to share with you my thoughts concerning the issue of the impact of Federal policies on State and local efforts to reform education. I believe that we need to reassess the role of the Federal Government and education. The answer lies in our historical intent as to the role of the Federal Government and education.

First of all, the Constitution is silent on the subject of education, which means the Tenth Amendment kicks in, which, of course, reserves the right of educational decisions to the States, or to the people. However, Congress does make a statement regarding education in 1787 as they ordained the Ordinance for the Government of the Territory of the United States Northwest of the Ohio River, or commonly referred to as the Northwest Ordinance. In Title III of this insightful document, it reads, "Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged."


I do not believe that the word "encouraged" was to mean a multi billion dollar agency taking our money and filtering back through hoops of centralized Federal control. I believe parents should have the choice that is rightly theirs concerning their child's education. Parents understand their child's needs better than any government study or bureaucratic committee in Washington or Denver.

I believe we are better off with the creation of charter schools and allowing school choice. We can do more as a community concerned with our children's education when we protect the rights of parents. A parent should have a choice where their children go to school, how they are taught basic truths and values, and how their children are educated. Parents have always done a fine job determining the standards that fit their child's needs. Washington, and Goals 2000, cannot compare to the work that parents do every day.

I guess to answer your question on the impact of Federal policies on State and local efforts to reform education, I would say to you that the impact is negative. I know it is difficult to leave an issue like education to the States. However, if your intention is genuine to improve education, you will forgo the political temptation of addressing and controlling it at a Federal level, and let us take care of that issue here at home.

Washington does not know my local school, the teachers of our schools, or the school board members of our school district. Washington does not know what is best for our children. Let the parents of the community, who have a direct interest in the success of the schools, make the decisions regarding education of their children. Let's eliminate the influence of an issue-driven Washington from holding us hostage with our own hard-earned tax dollars.

I would like to take you back to the reference I made to the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. You may recall that the three keys to good government and happiness of mankind are religion, morality, and knowledge. I'm afraid that religion has been banned from our government, morality is on life support, and knowledge has become relative to the desired outcome of the issues that are being promoted. Let's focus on reviving these three foundations of our country, and by doing so you will do more for education than any amount of tax dollars you could provide. Thank you for your time.





Mr. Hoekstra. Thank you very much. Mr. Lopez.





Mr. Lopez. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Members of the Board. I'd like to give you just a little background on myself.

First, I'm a senior at Ft. Collins High School. As mentioned, I'm one of 29 valedictorians. I have a 4.0 average. I've been accepted to the University of Notre Dame, where I intend to go next year. I've spent all three years of my schooling in Poudre School District in Ft. Collins, and they have all impacted me greatly. And I have to say that I love all of my teachers and all of my peers in public education.

I'd like to address my letter a little bit. I wrote that letter because it's been my tradition, for a while, to write a letter to the editor that stirs up controversy. And just this year, that actually became an official part of our school newspaper with something called "The Devil's Advocate." But I wasn't satisfied with our devil's advocate, so I decided to play one myself. I am glad that I did it, because it actually instituted a series of events that will, hopefully, come to make it so there are not 29 valedictorians in future years.

In my view, 29 valedictorians are too many. Being valedictorian is an honor that should be reserved for the top two or three students, if that, in the class. I have to say that I am almost ashamed to call myself a valedictorian, because I can't even say I'm in the top 1 percent of my class. I can safely say I'm in the top 8 percent of my class, but I don't know how much that means anymore. So hopefully, my letter will help to influence something and get the ball rolling somewhere to fix this practice.

I'd like to speak a little bit as to why I think I've been so successful, because I suppose I have. There's been a tremendous amount of influences on me. My family has been a tremendous support group for me. They have always encouraged me to do what I want to. I was never pressured by them to maintain a 4.0 or to go to a high-powered college. I've only felt that I need to do my best, and that is all that counts. And so I think that's been a tremendous influence in my life.

I've also been influenced by many of my extracurricular activities. I'm a trumpet player in four different bands at Ft. Collins High School. I am lead in all of them. I am a drum major in our marching band and pep band. I participate in Science Bowl and National Ocean Science teams, which all go to our national competitions every year. And so those have also helped me learn to organize my time. They have helped me learn to teach myself subjects. And they have helped me learn how to deal with other people and how to deal with the competition that the real world actually offers.

But I have to say that I don't view myself at all that much different from the 1,800 other students at Fort Collins High School. We have all been given basically the same opportunities. At Fort Collins, the students are all from very similar backgrounds. There are very few minorities in our school. The majority are white, middle-class young teenagers. So I think, rather than our educational system being what makes a difference, as we've all had the same opportunities, even though we may have been to different high schools or different elementary schools, there's been a difference in the students themselves.

Myself, I've always felt a drive to succeed. And I don't know whether you can call that talented or perfectionism. People who know me well know I'm not, or if it's I don't know, I was just born with it, I guess. I always felt that I should be the best at whatever it was that I was doing. And when I can't be the best, I have to satisfy myself with doing my best, and that's always worked for me.

So I think that rather than the fact of our teachers being faulty; I have never run into a faulty teacher in my 13 years of education, or parents not being supportive enough, or the Federal Government and bureaucracy regulating too heavily. I feel it is rather something on the part of students that they have felt a need to succeed or they have felt an acceptance of mediocrity, which I don't think is appropriate. So I really think that our educational system itself is not the problem. I feel it's a lack of desire in our student bodies and in the students themselves.

Thank you very much for your time.





Mr. Hoekstra. Thank you. We've gone around the country, and everywhere we've gone, we've seen great kids, which just reinforces that we need to put in place the best systems and support structure to enable them to succeed. Too often bureaucracy, or we as adults, gets in the way of what our kids really achieve. Thank you.

I was thinking about the letter. That would be a great letter for publication in the Reader's Digest. For those of you who have not seen the letter, I think it's out on one of the tables. It's a letter to the editor.

Dr. Everett.




Dr. Everett. It's a pleasure to speak with you today. I don't know Joey, but I know his parents. And I find them delightful, gentle people of actually considerable influence in their sphere. And I appreciate my association, with his father, in particular.

I married one of the valedictorians, a former valedictorian of Fort Collins High School, who was also the homecoming queen and also student body president. I have to disagree a little about Joey's final comments. Students and their desire play a great role, a determinant role, actually, in education in most other countries, but not in the United States of America.

In the United States of America, if we look at the Brookings Institution, the most influential factor of student achievement in the United States of America is not effort, but IQ. That is not the case in other countries, however. And there is a reason for that.

The second most influential factor has to do with the organization of schools. Bureaucracies and the organization of schools do play a role in how effective schools are in educating children. The reason they matter is because of ideas.

The third most influential factor in determining American student achievement is families. And families play a role principally in the act of passing knowledge, background knowledge if you will, on to their children about how our culture works and how the world works around us.

Now, it was that last finding, discovered in a different way, that led to what was unfortunately for us a discovery, rather than already a practice, in the United States of America; that’s the principal key to eliminating the unfairness in American education. And we have the unfairest educational system in the world.

It has been documented in 14 major studies that American minority students in urban settings start off behind their white suburban peers and get farther and farther behind as time goes on.

Now, it's that very fact that has led the Federal government to spend millions of dollars on education, toward the goal of course in the end that everyone agrees with. But the means have not been effective, as others have cogently explained.

There is something that all schools can do, however; all schools. They could choose to teach a solid foundation of background knowledge that is provided in some families. It allows those students to excel, to achieve much better, something that Joey has actually benefited greatly from. The schools could actually choose to teach such a solid foundation of background knowledge. When they do choose that, we find that the disparity between the academic haves and have-nots, rather than expanding, contracts dramatically.

Fortunately, there is an ever-growing number of schools across the country that have chosen such an approach, most of them under the leadership of the Core Knowledge Foundation which was founded by E. Hirsch. I would like to quote from him in just a moment. Before I proceed though that brings up a fundamental idea, namely that ideas matter, educational philosophies matter. One of the ways in which the Federal Government has held communities hostage is by stipulating a particular underlying educational philosophy, and then supporting financially only those programs that support such ideology or dogma. When one starts to look at which educational programs are the most successful, most of them lie outside the ideologies or dogmas professed by the dollars attached to Federal programs. And that creates a problem.

Now, I'm not a common man in this group. We could call Joey a man too, but I'm not the policy wonk here, I am the reader of the policy wonks. I'm the citizen who wanted to take advantage of the freedoms offered to establish a school, actually in this case, several schools that were based on ideas that would be more successful.

We just recently, a month and a half ago, got back the scores that were reported to you by Dr. Moloney. I would like to refer to the success of the school that I am involved with. I actually was not just involved with the foundation of the two schools in my community, but was asked by a number of groups and citizens around the State who heard about what I was doing, to help them organize schools. Of the 11 schools that my friends and I were asked to help start, eight of those were in the top 20 schools. Not in the district, but in the top 20 schools in all of the testing recently reported from the State of Colorado for the 4th through 7th grades. The charter school in Ft. Collins that I represent, was third, fourth, and seventh in the appropriate tests.

Now, we happen to believe that there is a reason that we were successful; and that was because we found the ideas that actually work. Now, my time is drawing to a close.

Mr. Tancredo. Don't worry.

Dr. Everett. I'd like to touch on standards and teachers, as well. Let me hit first, on Federal policies.

We, as a school, received 73 percent of what the other neighborhoods received on a per-pupil basis. That is considerably less. By the second year, it was 78 percent. Now, the reason it was 78 percent is because we did receive Federal grant money extended to charter schools to help them with start-up costs. That was very valuable money to us, because we had no other source of start-up funds. And this is my disclaimer. I represent a public charter school that has now received $240,000 worth of Federal funds in total.

Now, those funds have been very helpful, and they have helped shrink that discrepancy between what our public school receives and other neighborhood schools receive. However, after the fact, we received word from Washington that there was a few regulations that had been worked out by the Department of Education that now apply to us that were not in effect at the time we applied for the grant. But since we have taken the money, we are now obliged to fulfill.

Mr. Hoekstra. Actually, you didn't read the fine print.

Dr. Everett. That said that anything that came down the pipe would apply? We actually had a hint of that.

At any rate, those regulations dealt with a number of issues. For example, our mode of selection for students that was worked out and debated and negotiated with our local school district as to how that process would occur and what students, if any, would be. Those who were at risk were given a priority status.

Well, now we find that if we follow the Federal mandate, we are in trouble with the State and local authority. But we've already taken the money. So if we go ahead and follow the Federal mandate, we hope that our district and the State don't come after us. This creates a problem for us.

There are a couple of other such issues to pile on top of that. We have the Department of Justice EOC readily pursuing racist policies against all black schools in Georgia, for example. But in one case, a school has 51 percent blacks when there are only 30 percent blacks in the community, therefore, there are too many blacks in that school. They should be denied the opportunity to get in. So we have various entities of government pursuing various policies that interfere with what was locally worked out as the appropriate solution for our school.

We have found that our standards are much higher than our own State standards. They are well articulated, and one of the great reasons for our success is because we have such a cogent approach to teacher development. It is a wonderful thing to see teachers thrive when they know what's expected of them, when they are given the opportunities not only for regular improvement during the year, something we call "grand rounds" which happens every Tuesday afternoon, but also opportunities to send them to conventions that specifically prepare them to address our standards.

I guess I don't have time, really, to quote from Hirsch.

This issue of fairness is a big deal to us at Liberty Common School. If we are going to address such issues, all of those failed unintended consequences referred to by Dr. Moloney need to be evaluated. I know that you, as a House, have already passed the Straight A’s bill. I would put in a plug in favor of it. That is exactly the kind of relief that is needed. There are other relief’s that are also needed, but that goes another step towards taking money from the citizens and giving it back to them where they can manage it most effectively.

We know that organizations matter. For the most effective use of capital and labor, you have got to have options to respond to your needs. Thank you very much.

Mr. Hoekstra. Thank you. Are you still having a problem with the Department of Education regarding your $240,000?

Dr. Everett. No, no, we've got the money, and we're spending it. The issue is the fact we have this problem of disparate parts of government.

Mr. Hoekstra. So this is an unresolved?

Dr. Everett. It's an unresolved conflict, yes. We have developed something that the Colorado Department of Education believes would be appropriate.

Mr. Hoekstra. We already know we do bad work, because they send these grants to Washington and don't get any money. Okay. I think Congressman Schaffer and Congressman Tancredo were working through this Elementary Secondary Education Act reauthorization. And, you know, we'll work on that. You've probably written some letters to the Department of Education already. We have an amendment to that.

Mr. Schaffer. We have an amendment to fix that problem.

Mr. Hoekstra. As a little sideline, and you probably know it, but the Department of Education requires that kind of reporting from a charter school or that kind of an application from the State of Colorado. Also, right now, there is a department that the three of us are doing oversight hearings on, because they have $120 billion of our money, and they can't audit their books. So think about the standards that they are holding your charter schools accountable against, and they can't even tell us where our money goes; just a little aside.

Dr. Everett. I was going to comment on that, too, actually. After looking at the tape of those proceedings, I am very concerned as a citizen.

Mr. Hoekstra. You're concerned about what?

Dr. Everett. Just as the little guy, I'm concerned about the several billion dollars that they aren't accountable for.

Mr. Hoekstra. If it weren't $120 billion, you couldn't quite believe it. You know, when we did the hearing, the question was asked of the Department to explain a $6 billion adjustment that they had made. This is $6 billion. I don't know how big your education budget is in the State of Colorado, but it's not that big. This is just a $6 billion adjustment that they had made to balance their books. The question was, "Can you please explain to us why and how this adjustment was made and the rationale?" And the answer was, "No." Okay. Next question.

Which leads us to our next witness, Dr. Jandris.





Mr. Jandris. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Members of Congress and Committee colleagues. I'm pleased to be here, and I appreciate the invitation.

I think one of the reasons I'm here is because I'm the director of a major study that the Education Commission of the States has been engaged in over the last two years, which is a nationwide study in all 50 States and all four territories called the Governing of America's Schools. A lot of the comments that have already been made, of course, relate to the effective governance of America's schools. And I hope I can add to that dialogue in my brief remarks today.

Nearly two decades of intensive reform and innovation have dramatically altered the landscape of American public education. We've got standards in place in most States. In fact, in 47 States we have standards in place that provide the basis for new ways of measuring and attaching consequences to the performance of schools, students, and teachers. We have a variety of promising new national and State initiatives focused on improving teacher quality under way, one in our own organization by the Wallace Foundation that we're excited about.

Charter schools, comprehensive school reform models, and other innovations have changed the look and feel of public education dramatically since I started in the business in 1969. We're providing parents and students with a greater range of options and opportunities. But none of these seem to have made a systemic scalable difference that has impacted our students in particularly remarkable ways.

We are concerned about that, because the approach to American education reform has been what one of my colleagues calls a "Christmas tree approach," which is that we continue to add ornaments that may add a little beauty to the tree, but in fact do not provide a systemic, realizable and cogent whole of education reform that will advantage the many hundreds of thousands of kids in our country who still can't read. We're very concerned about that.

The Nation's aspirations for public education have changed too, of course, over the last several decades. Added to the goals of broader access to schools, especially at the beginning of the industry, increased attendance, again at the beginning of the industry, is the belief now that all students can and should achieve at high levels. While there are numerous school districts in which many students are achieving satisfactory levels, few people believe that schools are as good as they can and ought to be, particularly in urban districts.

I head up the State's coalition. One of our concerns is 82 percent of the schools are concentrated in 18 centers in America, and it's in the 18 school centers that we have the worst of the worst of the American schools. It's estimated that 60 percent of K-12 students cannot read at grade level. It's a deplorable and very problematic issue for our country.

With the move to a standards-based system, the focus of policymakers and the public has shifted from which children fail to which schools and districts are failing children. And we think this is a healthy shift, and we would like our Federal Government and State government and State departments to continue that trend.

Why are they failing? What should be done in response is a big question. At the same time, there is unprecedented interest in the lessons to be learned from the experiences and accomplishments in districts and schools that are doing a good job. We know, in fact, that there are at least six things that are important and even critical to the success and educational experience for each child. Dr. Moloney described most of them. I'm going to repeat them, because they are worth repeating.

One is that we know that a school or school district or school program, even if it's a home school, in order to be successful must have a clear, unfaltering, unwavering focus on academic learning in a climate of very high expectations. Children will achieve to the level of expectations set for them. And without those expectations, they will not. The research is very clear about that. Second, children deserve and need to have a safe environment in which to engage in public education. Third, high standards for teachers, coupled with ambitious and ongoing professional development activities are essential. And those professional development activities need to be linked to the measurable outcomes of student achievement, not where someone comes in and gives a special talk and leaves town after the speech is over. We need professional development programs that are linked specifically to the measured results of student achievement, if those development programs are going to be effective. Fourth, collegial decision-making and a supportive staff organized around a common mission is critical. Without a common mission, the institution will be fragmented and bifurcated. Fifth, partnership with parents and others in the community in support of students' high achievement is needed. Schools cannot do it themselves. Parents and other entities, especially the private sector, must really be around the schools in order to improve academic performance. And then finally there must be, not only accountability for school performance, but also accountability for teacher performance. And we believe that paper performance is one way in which we could really improve teacher accountability across the country.

As our commission looks at some of the things that are necessary, it identifies two potentials for incorporating these six principles into the government structure of American public education from the Federal level all the way down to the local district level. And we would like to say a couple of things about that.

The first is that we believe that essentially American public education must be those government structures that do two things. One is that those government structures must enable and support a high degree of accountability with effective standards linked to local initiatives. High accountability, effective standards linked to local initiatives. We believe that local control and, in fact, decision-making that can be driven down to the school level is the thing that singly most importantly affects American education positively.

Second, we believe that the degree to which we can establish local control and drive the decision-making down to the local level, the better off we are. The decision- making must include the decision-making around the allocation of resources. I'm sure there is on-site or site-based management and local control, but in fact, when you ask them about the degree to which they have autonomy over the fully loaded expenses driven down to the school level, they will say that they do not. It is important that local citizens, the teachers of the local school, and the principals of the local school have an opportunity to have autonomy over the way in which they allocate all of their fully loaded resources, if they are to be held accountable to the standards that need to be set in order to drive this complex notion of decentralizing American public education back down to local education so that it's going to be successful.

It is very important, then, and it is our notion that we must engage in a governance model that shares significant common ground with the kind of decentralized approach that we're talking about. And we believe that it is essential for effective education to take place that we just strengthen and not discard the public system of education.

We are not about dismantling public education. We are supporting the establishment of public education, but in a different way. We must support public education that allows fully loaded money to follow the child to the school he or she attends even if it's a private or parochial school. We believe that will provide effective governance and effective education across the country.

Third, we must grant each individual school control over their personnel and their budgets.

Fourth, we must give parents more choice about where their children attend school. We know the choice will create the conditions in which systemic education reform can flourish in this country.

We must also provide good information on student, teacher, and school performance for parents and community in language they can understand. The dissemination and distribution of effective performance information to parents and communities is essential if the choice movement is ever going to be meaningful across the country. Parents cannot make these decisions in a vacuum, absent data and they must have data meaningful to them.

We must also redefine and develop labor and management relations. The division around this country at the expense of kids must be stopped, and we must redefine management and labor relationships and re-identify self-interest in labor relationships.

And finally, we must do everything we can to strengthen the role of local school boards in the management of their public schools. Therefore, it is an essential task for policymakers and educators and citizens to create governance systems that are capable of governing and maintaining successful schools for every child, handicapped, white, black, Hispanic, so that each child can achieve high standards of excellence and academic achievement.

We must improve governance arrangements that allow States and communities to balance core values underlying education, allowing American political communities, large and small, to be responsive to students and parents and local citizens first, not last.

Thank you for the opportunity to talk with you.






Mr. Hoekstra. Ms. Spray.





Ms. Spray. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. It is a great honor to be with you today. I come to this field hearing as one who has been working in the trenches of special education and having success. Though we use no Federal dollars or tax monies, our students, through Christian Cottage Schools, consistently progress, even after previous government programs have failed for these children.

Fifteen years ago, I began teaching a class of children in my home. We used a concise, consecutive individualized curriculum as we taught fundamental skills. Then we balanced that fundamental program with a program of unit studies for science and history, including literature, creative writing, special trips into the Denver community, and many different, rich experiences. Home educators saw what we were doing, and then they asked if they could kind of, quote, "reproduce" our methods in their own home education programs. Thus, Christian Cottage Schools was born.

Over the last 15 years, we now service approximately 5,000 children and their families with one-on-one diagnostic assessments, individualized curriculum programs, a weekly lesson plan, teacher training and accountability.

The Christian Cottage School System includes some one-room classrooms, as well as many home education programs. Over 150 of our students have now received diplomas and have been accepted into colleges, universities, and even medical schools. Our school is recognized nationally because we have written and published our four volumes of unit studies which are currently used by schools and home educators from coast to coast. We service a variety of families, which include minorities of various socioeconomic levels, and even a variety of families with a variety of religious beliefs.

The only certified instructors that Christian Cottage Schools use are those who do the testing and assessment and do the curriculum design program. Our teachers in home classrooms are not required to have degrees or teaching certificates, yet our system consistently outperforms other educational programs. At Christian Cottage Schools we are free to select curricula from over 60 different publishers, as we carefully match the materials to the needs of each student.

It's interesting to note here, we are talking about electives. I appreciate his comment about the electives that were involved in the valedictorian curriculum, because I do transfer in a lot of curriculums from other schools and need to transfer credits. I'm sitting there sometimes puzzling through a transcript asking, "What is it that they are asking you to do in this class? Where does this fit into the core requirements that we have here? Is it science? Is it social studies? Is this even math?" Many of the courses are becoming increasingly vague, increasingly difficult to understand, as our education system seems to be getting just more and more fuzzy in exactly what's going on for the students.

I also wanted to mention about accreditation if I could, for a moment. When we began Christian Cottage Schools about 13 years ago as a defined school program, we were actually a State-approved private school. Interestingly, we looked into State accreditation. We thought this would be a good thing. I was a certified teacher. Why not?

Well, the interesting thing that happened, when I got that paperwork, even from our own State, let alone from the Federal Government, was that I looked through these 50 pages of requirements and things that were being asked for accreditation purposes, and I couldn't find anything that had anything to do with the quality of education for the children. I looked through this, and it talked about buses, it talked about board meetings, it talked about where the communication was going between administrators and teachers, and things such as that; but I could find nothing that related to the academic performance of the children. And I couldn't see any reason why we would hire extra help in order to qualify and jump through all of these hoops when it wasn't going to help our kids.

Approximately 75 percent of our student body of Christian Cottage Schools has special academic needs. Now, I'm sure you're all aware that we are at least five to six times higher in the special-needs category at this point. Many of our students struggle with attention deficit disorder, reading disabilities, math disabilities, visual/auditory perception problems, and emotional and even developmental disorders, as well.

Each year, hundreds of parents seek us out because we support and empower them as they exercise what is their God-given right to control and direct their own children's education. By the way, when you talked about fairness in education, we have a definition at Christian Cottage Schools that we believe that fairness is not that every child gets the same, but fairness is that every child gets what he or she needs. That's a paramount picture in our curriculum design.

The greatest asset of the Christian Cottage Schools program is the continual progress of the children, despite their own individual academic weaknesses. Students who have often made less than six months' progress in other programs show gains of one to two years in the same time frame in our program. This remarkable progress is not because of special programs or special funding. The parents pay for this program out of their own pockets. We don't pay our teachers. Our teachers pay us. We don't accept Federal funds, nor would we even if they were offered to us, for exactly the reasons that Dr. Everett explained to us today. We don't want the control and the connections that might be involved in that.

Rather, our success is really due to three simple factors, many of them you mentioned, Mr. Jandris. One: a quality assessment to understand where the child is strong and where the child is struggling. Two: a concise and consecutive individualized curriculum program suited to the student's learning needs, and then balanced with enrichment through projects, literature, creative writing. Three: a daily structure and accountability for both students and teachers. Everyone completes a weekly schedule, and grades are recorded daily for each student. A reassessment and new curriculum program is designed for each child each year.

The cost for this program to the parents is minimal. Enrolling a student in the Christian Cottage classroom where another teacher is actually doing the instruction may cost up to $3,750 per year. This would include all assessments and textbooks. The individualized program is a teacher who has a special education degree doing the instruction. To enroll a single child in the Christian Cottage home education program, the total cost is only up to $975 per year, which includes their textbooks. However, a family with two or more children pays less than $675 per year, because the tuition is based on a family basis, rather than an individual child.

The time commitment for this program is real, but not overwhelming for most families. Both home schools and cottage schools schedule only about 20 hours of instruction per week. That's only for a standard 35-week school year. Some high school students, however, may need to invest about 25 hours per week, but many graduate in only three years instead of four. Many of our students graduate at the age of 16 or 17. This allows families to be able to spend precious time together enjoying social and non-school activities, as well.

So in conclusion, at Christian Cottage Schools, what we have found over the last 15 years is that we have discovered education is not dependent upon special funds, special programs, teacher certifications or teacher licenses, nor is it dependent upon having IEPs, of which I see many, or even expensive textbooks. Rather, successful education depends primarily upon a safe, nurturing, parent-directed environment for the child, a streamlined program tailored to his or her needs with a consistent pattern of instruction and accountability.

Thank you very much for your time.






Mr. Hoekstra. Thank you. The process that we go through now is that we're going to give the Members of Congress an opportunity to have a dialogue and question the members of the panel. And I believe when we complete that, we will also have an a time for an open mike. If any of you would have questions for the panel or questions of us, we would welcome you to come to the mike a little later on.

So we'll begin with Mr. Schaffer.

Mr. Schaffer. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My first question is for Ms. Rayburn.

I was looking through the response from the Department of Education rejecting your grant application. And it just kind of occurs to me, I would guess, after a while there's a little bit of pressure on people like you and others in the Department of Education, simply to just conform with the Federal philosophy. Your taxpayers, our mutual constituents, send a lot of money to Washington, and in this case it went somewhere else.

I think most taxpayers have a reasonable expectation that we do everything we can to bring the dollars back home. And I think this occurs to most people who are applying for grants that go directly back to the district or to the State. You know, they get pay raises and they win the award for bringing home the grant money.

And so I'd just like you to comment on how much pressure you think there is for you and your colleagues in other States to simply go through some of the deficiencies that are mentioned in here, fix them in the next grant application, and tell them what they want to hear, so to speak, so that you can get the money.

Ms. Rayburn. I think there are really two answers. One is, I think there's a lot of money. You talk about wasting money. We have to look at that. And I am certainly responsible to our Governor here who says he wants less bureaucracy and more dollars to give to kids. And if, in fact, we write a grant that doesn't send us in the right direction, then we're doing a disservice to our taxpayers. Not only are we redirecting Federal funds in what we're doing, but also we're using local funds to direct us away from where we're going.

So I think it's a choice that we make on a policy level whether we want to go that way or not. I think we're unique in Colorado because we are such a locally controlled State. I think everybody around the table thinks that's where we're headed. Certainly, in the Nation, that's where we're headed, but Washington doesn't seem to understand that's where we're headed. My frustration is we have looked at a lot of grants and said, "No, we're not going after it. We will just let the money go."

We did get a grant. It was $11 million. You were talking about $6 billion. I sat here shocked, because I think this grant is about $6 million. You know, it's a drop in the bucket compared to what you guys are doing. And yet, there are so many strings attached. And we're going, "Just send us the dollars." Those are our constituent and taxpayer policies. That's something I think Washington needs to understand. That money was collected, but it comes back to the States, and it should come back to us.

So we're not going to be looking at another grant and saying, "How are we going to conform?" I don't believe that's the direction we want to go.

Mr. Schaffer. Along the same lines, Dr. Everett, I'd like you to expound a little bit on the provision of the enrollment. You know, one of the criticisms we faced when I was in the State legislature here in Colorado, which we succeeded in getting the charter bill through, is these schools are going to succeed because they are going to take the cream of the crop. And we need to make sure that the population of the school represents the population of the community. And I think we pretty well spelled that out in the State law.

Could you talk further about how difficult that is now with the new Federal rules on enrollment?

Dr. Everett. The initial agreement that we negotiated with our school district established a set-aside, for at-risk students, using the Federal definition of economically at risk.

The school district did not believe that we would attract those students, and they stipulated a floor different than our own floor that we had established. And they were actually quite shocked when they said, "Well, you have five years to get to 13 percent." And in our first year, we had 16 percent of our population, which matches the rest of the district.

Then came along two different problems. The first was that we were told that we had to randomize or establish a lottery for our waiting list. The second issue just came home to us recently. We had a shift. Just between last year and this year, we had two families move out of our school, which resulted in a drop and reduced enrollment from 16 percent to 12 percent.

Well, our contract stipulates that we make efforts to correct those fluctuations. We established a policy whereby we would give preference to students on our waiting list. Now we're in trouble with our lottery policy. And a month after we voted in that policy and began actually giving preference to at-risk children, as was deemed appropriate by our community, one of our members went to a legal conference sponsored by the Colorado Department of Education where one of the lawyers expressed the opinion that what we were doing was illegal, and that we couldn't actually do what our contract required us to do, namely, set aside a certain number of individuals.

And, in fact, you know, we have a thousand people trying to get their kindergartner into our school every year. And that creates problems for us, because some of those people really want their kids in our school, and they are upset about anything that comes between them and the top of the list, including someone that might be given preferential treatment, in this case, on the basis of economics.

So we're just in a tight spot. You know, we don't really know to trust the lawyer's opinion. We don't know if somebody is going to come after us now, but we feel like we're pretty much in jeopardy. One of those entities could come after us. And since they all stated a different case we feel at risk.

Mr. Schaffer. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Hoekstra. I believe, Dr. Moloney and Ms. Rayburn, you're leaving relatively soon. I just want to follow up on a point that Mr. Jandris made about Federal dollars following the student. Is that a concept that the State has looked at, or do you individually have a point of view on that, whether we ought to try to revise the Federal program so that the dollars follow the actual students that they were intended to help?

Mr. Moloney. I think it's a very good concept, but it is one that is viewed as utterly alien to bureaucracy because it suggests a loss of control at the center. And, again, as I indicated in my remarks, the problems of bureaucratization do not exclusively reside in Washington. As to some of the comments by Dr. Everett, they are to be found at the State level. Things go better, the more flexibility you have and the closer the expenditure is to the child.

You're familiar with this circumstance in Washington, and you've been able to make some limited progress, say, in the recent agreement on Title I monies for dysfunctional schools, but there is a tremendous bureaucratic resistance to that. And it goes back to the notion that that degree of freedom is given; and local people, by definition, you know, are not bright enough and not trustworthy enough. They might do bizarre things, so it is safer not to allow them to do that.

Ms. Rayburn. I think from a State level, and from what our Governor is proposing, we do want to get the money to follow the child as closely as possible. And if we applied some of those around Title I, certainly, there would be more flexibility. And let us give the dollars to the schools and to the needs of those kids that it follows.

I certainly believe that the charter school is a good example of parents getting involved and those dollars following. Whether it is 95 percent of those dollars, at least they are accountable. If the schools can be accountable, parents certainly can. I think the government needs to get out of the way and hold them accountable for results, and let the schools spend the money how they see fit in the areas that they see fit.

Mr. Hoekstra. I think you're well aware, it's not only a problem with bureaucracy, but also it's also a problem politically.

Ms. Rayburn. Correct.

Mr. Hoekstra. You know, in Washington, we have passed and actually signed into law the Ed-Flex Bill. And what is Ed-Flexibility? It's a concept that has evolved. States have the flexibility to waive some of the paperwork required for their school districts. We're now, as a result of our Education at a Crossroads hearings that we have conducted over the last few years, working on a process which Congressman Tancredo alluded to which is called Straight A's. What that would do is allow the States a greater degree of flexibility in moving the dollars that they get from the Federal Government.

They can apply to the Federal Government and say "We get this money from the literacy program, and this other program, and this other program. And what we would like to do is combine that money and focus on achieving these kinds of results for our kids." And so that is the next step that we're working on.

I'll yield to Mr. Tancredo.

Mr. Tancredo. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just sitting here, in a way, I'm stunned by the statements, especially of Dr. Jandris, and the one to which you just referred about money following the child.

In 1979, I introduced a voucher concept into the State legislature. I was Chairman of the Education Committee. I was unable to get it out of my own Committee at the time, which goes to tell you something either about my ability as the Chairman of the Education Committee, or I'd like to think it was an idea far ahead of its time. But I also remember, so distinctly, many meetings sponsored by ECS in which this whole concept was enacted.

And to hear this, I just can't tell you how encouraged I am, not because of my efforts, but because it is an idea far bigger than any of us. It is an idea so powerful that it will, I'm positive, be the way in which children are educated, that is to say, by choice.

Actually a couple of questions, if I could have some latitude here, Mr. Chairman, since it might take a little longer than my five minutes to get both questions and answers from Dr. Moloney, because I understand he has to leave here soon.

Dr. Moloney, in the Ed-Flex pilot program that we passed some years ago, and that Congress passed a few years ago, Colorado was one of the States that did participate. If I remember correctly and please correct me if I'm wrong, but there were only four districts that actually applied for a waiver under that program. They were all rural districts, and this is just my recollection, they were all districts that were asking for a change in the percentage requirement before they could go to a total school Title I program.

Although I certainly agree that is an important thing, and I don't want to disparage it in any way, the fact is only four districts have relatively little impact on the total picture, educationally speaking. I go back to my opening comments about what's wrong here. How come more districts don't apply for whatever flexibility we provide? I hate saying that because it sounds so condescending, "We provide flexibility," I hate that, the flexibility that's provided, let's put it that way. What would cause us to believe that if we do more, there would in turn be all that much more enthusiasm for this new-found freedom?

Mr. Moloney. Well, what you refer to is a much remarked-upon and studied syndrome where very often, the prisoners of regulation are always calling for freedom. When some of it comes their way, they either don't know what to do with it or frankly, they hear it for their own institutional and bureaucratic reasons. This happens even in Washington. They will pass a law with a certain purpose. Yet, all along the pipeline, it separates you from that classroom and our people in institutions, who, by their nature, have a fundamental discomfort with loss of control.

I recall a discussion among the State chiefs of the 12 States involved with the regional Ed-Flex pilot. The general consensus was, it's really not happening because no one seems ready to go the whole 9 yards on that. So you have an institutional

bureaucratic problem that goes up and down the line. We've all been around loss of control.

We often say at the State level, "Gosh, we wish you in Washington would stop leaning on us," and so forth. But freedom is scary. If you push that at us, that means we're going to have to be more accountable. We desperately need you, if only for someone to blame. And if you give us large amounts of authority, we recognize, on the other side of that coin, accountability. It takes a certain kind of mindset.

And, please, here in Colorado, we've had an alignment of the planets; Governor, legislature, our elected State Board of Education ready to go out on that limb. And I understand the frustration you in Washington must feel, which has the perverse notion of sometimes validating special interests, that can say, "They really don't want it. They don't really need it. It's better the old way."

It's not better the old way. So persist.

Mr. Tancredo. I oftentimes have given so many speeches about school choice and vouchers and tuition, I will often see parents, especially, nodding their heads "yes." But I get the feeling that in their heart, they are shaking their heads "no," because "yes" is an intellectual response anyone would give to the idea of I'm going to give you the ability to make this choice, I'm going to give you your tax dollars. You will have your tax dollars available to you to be able to economically make the choice necessary to educate your children. But I sometimes feel that that same phenomenon goes on in the minds of parents who say, you know, if I had that I would then have all of the responsibility that goes along with it. And right now, I can just send my child to the school down the street, and claim any problem that results from that. I mean, any problem that child is having is not mine. It's that darn school that I have to send them to; it's the darn school over which I have no control.

Mr. Moloney. If I might validate what you said, do not discount outright sabotage. The charter school movement across the Nation is an excellent example of that. We have so many States that have passed charter school legislation, yet they have not yet had even one application, because the bureaucracy has hedged it so much with regulations and implications of dire consequences that people say, "I don't know whether I want to go there."

Mr. Tancredo. Yes. Frankly, the regulations that the U.S. Department of Education has promulgated about charter schools, governing charter schools, subsequent to the actual act of giving you the grant, that's an example of an attempt to sabotage the charter school movement. Because if anything will kill charter schools, it's forcing them into having a lottery system, as opposed to first-come, first-served. Because as we all know, and certainly as Dr. Everett can attest, starting a charter school is brain damage at the highest level for anybody who wants to do it. I mean, enormous amounts of your personal reserves have to be brought to bear in order to get it done. All of the parents have to come together and agree on a curriculum. How many parents do you think are going to do that if they don't think their kids are going to be able to be put in the school or put in a lottery? I believe it's sabotage.

Dr. Everett. It's intentional. It's obvious.

Mr. Tancredo. Absolutely.

Mr. Hoekstra. We'll have some time for some more questions. We'll go to Mrs. Wilson.

Mrs. Wilson. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I was particularly interested in Dr. Everett's presentation. I formerly was a cabinet member of the State of New Mexico for child welfare, and I saw some of the folks from the core knowledge charter school coming there to convince our legislature that we needed a real charter school law.

In New Mexico, we found the same thing. We were able to pass a charter school law. It's not perfect, but it's okay. And now no charter school in the State of New Mexico qualifies for Federal funds, and all of our charter schools have been denied. We came late to the party, so we didn't take the money before they wrote the rules; but the charter school movement is actually back looking to change State law so they can qualify for funds. I think we need to change the Federal law.

I'm particularly interested in charter schools. Where did you get your capital funding for your facility?

Dr. Everett. Now, that's a story.

Our school district did not want to cooperate with us on granting us a charter. And their means for denying us a charter, after we appealed the first time and won from the State Board, was to come back and renegotiate. They denied us the opportunity to use any of the 4,000 excess spaces in the district to do any consolidation that would give us space. And that was their way of denying us an opportunity to open.

In addition to that, our local school board sued us, as individuals, in the district court of law, the State Board of Education, and caused a political fiasco that resulted in our initially opening.

On our second time around, they felt quite confident, having evaluated the real estate opportunities in Fort Collins, that this time they could act friendlier towards us and still defeat us. Fortunately for us, we had several very generous citizens who pooled their own money, $600,000, and put at risk an additional $4 million of their own money to help us buy a mouthwash factory that rather to everybody's unimaginable belief, converted into a complete school in 78 days. Everybody said it couldn't be done. We got the building. They said it couldn't be turned into a school in less than 18 months, and we opened our doors a day late only.

So that was the whole issue for us whether or not we were going to be a school. We had all kinds of people supporting us in the community. We had all kinds of people wanting to get in. We opened a very large school, a much larger school than most. We had 450 students when we first opened. They also tried to play with us in that way, giving us a floor. We had to have so many students, but we couldn't have so many. And by doing that, they hoped to tip the scale against us by getting a facility to use over the long-term transfer. Fortunately for us also, Colorado made a minor change to a law called Higher Education Facilities Authority. And by that minor adjustment, we actually, after our first year, became the first school of the Nation to be able to access tax-free bonds. We bought our building from those initial investors who were so generous, and now we own our own facility.

Mrs. Wilson. That tax-free bond provision, what was the cost of the money, and how did that affect the interest rate?

Dr. Everett. Well, the pass-through interest rate from the owners to us as lease payment, the commercial rate was 11-1/2 percent, and that dropped to 5-1/4 percent. That made a difference of $120,000 a year. It was enormous for us.

Mrs. Wilson. And on that tax-free bond, did you have to pay any points down, or is there any prepayment penalty, any of those things?

Dr. Everett. No. And that's all pretty technical, but actually it's very structured for us. The school district didn't want to cooperate and ultimately agreed to because we had a five-year contract and the bond for 22 years. So we had to prove ourselves stable. Our waiting list mattered, the experience of our governing board mattered, and other legalities had to occur between the district and us. They eventually consented to do that. That gave us a good enough rating and it was funded.

Mrs. Wilson. You said that you have a lot of children on your waiting list to get into the school. Has there been any move to create another charter school on this model, either by the same group or a group of parents who are in the lottery? Has the public school system responded and said, "They have got something here. Let's turn this elementary school over, you know, the next neighborhood, into a core knowledge school"?

Dr. Everett. They have made overtures only. For example, they started one kindergarten in one school as a core knowledge track, that they grow only one year at a time, only one classroom at a time, and convert over the entire school, or make a serious effort to become such.

There is an alternative school, the first school we started, that's in the district that we all left to start a charter school, because the district was not happy with our success and simply cancelled their agreement with the parents that started it and took over, which is why there happened to be two. And they consider that their; I can't think of the word to describe it.

That school continues to be successful. It also has a waiting list of a thousand students. It's something that works; it's something that people know works.

Mrs. Wilson. Have any other parents started to band together to plan another charter school? At some point, people have to wake up.

Dr. Everett. That's right, they do. And unfortunately, those of us who started these first two schools, we're so worn out. We can't sacrifice our families again to do it. And as of yet, none amongst those who are on the waiting list have come forward to say, you know, "We want this so bad, tell us how to do it, and we'll do it."

It will happen though, because we and one other school are the first two core knowledge schools in the State. Back in 1993, at that time, ours was the majority, but since that time, now there are 28 core knowledge charter schools. This is an idea that parents know works. They like it. They like the fairness-in-education aspect about it. One group of parents split off Parker from the one down in Castle Rock. Next thing you know, it was in Littleton. And then there was a second Littleton school. We helped Greeley get started and helped a group in Longmont start. And just last year, we helped them start their school in Windsor, which is 10 miles away.

In our community, that's not the case; statewide, it certainly is.

Mrs. Wilson. Fascinating. Thank you very much.

Mr. Hoekstra. In Colorado, do you get the same amount per student as the traditional public school would get?

Dr. Everett. No, we don't. School finances are always a complicated issue. The State gives out something called Equalized Per Pupil Revenue. We only get a fraction; actually, we get a big fraction of that. We get 86 percent. A subset of that amount is called Per Pupil Operating Revenue. We get 100 percent of that in our district.

But our district has chosen to exclude us from all but one tiny fraction of the local. It's called overwrite taxation that is separate and apart, if you will, from supplemental State monies. And then the district also gets a large block of Federal dollars, about $8 million, that we don't get any of. And that is why we, as a charter school, currently are receiving 78 percent or less of the comparative per pupil operating revenue per district.

Mr. Hoekstra. And that includes what the other school district would get for instruction?

Dr. Everett. That actually does factor in the bond monies.

Mr. Hoekstra. You get the same amount, whether you're educating a child in first grade or whether you are doing high school?

Dr. Everett. Not all districts do, or they are not obliged to so calculate. In our district, that's the case. We have kindergarten through ninth grade, and although the district spends a little bit differently on those two student populations, we just get one common amount, regardless of what kind of school it is.

Mr. Hoekstra. If you went through 12th grade, you might get more for a 10th, 11th, or 12th grader?

Dr. Everett. Well, the local high schools do, because that's how our district decided to apportion money. But in the State of Colorado, all of the districts apportion that money in different ratios. That's a district-wide kind of decision. Ours is done altogether separately from how our district does it.

Mr. Hoekstra. And how many students are in the total district?

Dr. Everett. There are 21,000 students.

Mr. Hoekstra. And you have 400?

Dr. Everett. We have 550, essentially. Now, the other core knowledge school has another 500.

Mr. Hoekstra. So, actually, 4 percent of the students are going to the charter schools?

Dr. Everett. Yes. The other issue associated with that is we're real moneymakers for the district. They always put on a public face of all of the money they lose, you know, because we put aside this money up front. But, for example, they bring in an additional 11 percent from the State that we don't have access to, even though we're educating those kids. We share equally in our particular arrangement with the special education costs.

In other words, we pay $220,000 a year. A huge chunk of our budget goes to paying for special education students in the rest of the school district.

Mr. Hoekstra. Mr. Tancredo?

Mr. Tancredo. Actually, I had a question for Mr. Jandris, who had to leave, so I have nothing further.

Mrs. Wilson. I think I could talk to Dr. Everett all day.

Mr. Hoekstra. Okay. We'll open it up. It's an out-of-the-ordinary procedure, at least in Washington. We don't dare open up the mike in Washington.

Mr. Tancredo. We may not want to here either.

Mr. Hoekstra. We may not want to here. We've already made that call. I don't know if there's anybody in the audience that would like to make a statement or have a question for the record. You just need to state your name, make your statement or state your question. If you've got a question, feel free to get in line, and that would be fine.

Mr. Duhoff. Randy Duhoff. I was elected to the Colorado State Board of Education last year representing six congressional districts. I just wanted to make a brief comment on the grant application that Ms. Rayburn was referring to. I wanted to ask her which one it was.

When the State board got these initial applications, it was 400 pages long. The most astounding thing to the people that put it together was, a couple of us on the board actually read through all 400-some pages of it, and said, "No way." It had to do with adult education and family literacy. It was under Title II of the work force. We said, "That's not the way we do adult education and family literacy in Colorado. Go back and do it again." Over the next several months, through diligent efforts of the deputy commissioner, they pared it down to 100 pages.

There were still some real problems with the law. We have basically said on the board, "We're going to do it the way we want to do it. We have programs that work in Colorado. We'll write the grant. We'll write everything that we’re asked for. But this is how we're going to do adult education in Colorado."

And I had concerns that, even if we did that, that there were still enough hooks in the law that it would force us to come a different direction. I voted against that grant, and there were one or two board members that did.

We sent it on anyway. And apparently, our concerns were valid, because the department said, "No, that's not the direction we think adult education should go. You don't know what you're doing in Colorado, so you don't get the money." And in the case of Colorado, that is the only money that's available for adult education. The State does not fund, so it's a very clear case of Washington thinking they know how to do it better than we have been doing it very successfully for years.

Mr. Nicodemus. James Nicodemus with Evergreen Publishing. I just have a quick question. Our paper is primarily involved with the Evergreen district. In light of the information related to the inefficiencies in the smaller schools, and the smaller you go, the quality of education goes, what would you suggest, given the fact that there's been a lot of questions raised about quartering the size of the school district or halving it?

Do you, Mr. Tancredo, have specific opinions about what you think would be the optimum size of the school district, and how can U.S. Representatives have an impact on what happens at that State level?

Mr. Tancredo. Yes, I have several opinions about it.

How the Federal Government can really impact it, I'm not sure, number one, that it can. Number two, do we actually want to, for all of the reasons that have been laid out here.

Actually, the question that I was going to pose to Dr. Jandris, when he started talking about the importance of smaller schools, we also had that, of course, as part of this, smaller schools, smaller school districts. It seemed to me that we have a clear case to be made, frankly, for the elimination of school boards as we know them now, school boards that actually control a large number of individual schools, and maybe should start thinking about the creation of school boards for schools. School boards for individual schools, i.e., the charter school concept; that's exactly what it is. That's what we've created in charter schools.

And if all of this information is accurate, if this is correct about the benefit of smaller being better, then it seems to me that perhaps the goal we ought to set for ourselves is moving more in that direction of a school board for every school, rather than necessarily a school board for a lot of them.

I have no idea if there's grants you can apply for to move in that direction. I don't know, frankly, and I certainly can't think of any sort of legislative track that we didn't follow in order to do that.

It would just be my suggestion to those people who are interested in true local control. What does that really mean, local control? It means a group of people getting together governing a school. The ability for the people of the State of Colorado or Jefferson County, 80,000, 80-some-thousand students, the ability for the five members of that board to actually know and be able to provide the kind of educational experience that would be best for every single child in the district is, well, it's nil. They can't do it. It's impossible.

And so although I am positive each member of that board, very altruistically, is inclined to do it all for the right reasons, it's simply too large, too bureaucratic, too cumbersome. If that's the case, why don't we look at the possibility of moving it down to a truly manageable level, one board, and one school?

Mr. Hoekstra. Actually, one of the things that I think the Education Department in Washington needs to do is become more of a clearinghouse as to education reform around the country so that States and local communities can get a better understanding of what works and what does not. They could then tailor that to their specific needs.

But I can tell you, one of the most frustrating things from Washington is to take a look at what's going on in Washington.

Did he say 80 percent?

Dr. Everett. Eighty-two percent.

Mr. Hoekstra. Eighty-two percent in 18 urban areas, and we visited a number of those. And, you know, we're not seeing the kind of results we want to get.

Let's be honest, we're seeing devastating results. We figured out it's not an issue of money. The one school district that we have some responsibility for is the school district in Washington, D.C. I don't know what the per-pupil funding is here in Colorado. It's between $6,000 and $7,000. In Washington, we spend over $10,000. We spend between $10,000 and $11,000 per student. Wow!

The real "wow" comes when you recognize that those kids get, I would guess, some of the lowest test scores, if not the lowest test scores of anybody in the country. And we see it in school district after school district, in Chicago, Detroit, New York. One large school district after another each wrestling with how to fundamentally change the nature of education so that we don't have different values, okay? What we all want is for every child to succeed. What we have is different approaches to try to make that happen.

Mr. Hilgenberg. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, distinguished Members of Congress, panel members. My name is Mel Hilgenberg, H-I-L-G-E-N-B-E-R-G. I am a former president of the Student National Education Association, and I was an organizer with the National Education Association for almost 20 years. I am currently the founder and chief executive officer of the National Excellence and Education Association.

My question really is related to the comment that Dr. Moloney made about all of these stones that are being put on the corporate body suffocating the corporate body. And I noticed two groups in the educational bureaucracy that are notable by their absence today. One is the National Education Association, Colorado Education Association and/or one of their local affiliate members. The other is a representative of higher education. These, in my estimation, are two of the most significant and heavy stones that are in the way of getting meaningful educational reform.

I also was appreciative of Mr. Jandris' comments about establishing collegiality. My question for Members of Congress and/or panel members here today is, what is or can be done at the Federal level to establish perhaps a basis for a relationship within a school district other than the traditional confrontational union model; in other words, movement toward a more "win-win" basis for collective action and contract development?

Mr. Hoekstra. Yesterday, when we were in Albuquerque some of the witnesses dealt with the whole issue of future training and those types of things, and we have had some specific hearings in Washington on that. So they are part of the formula. Every time we have a hearing, we always find we can't include everybody. But after we've gone through the 21 field hearings and the hearings that we've done in Washington, by and large, we've covered everyone, and received a lot of good input. But at any one hearing, it's difficult to cover everybody.

The second thing is, from my perspective, a good question. I don't know how, from a Washington standpoint, we can set a tone and a tenor for local negotiations or local relationships on education. We have some major differences philosophically on how we believe we move to educate every child. What we do try to do in Washington is try to maintain a collegial relationship, as we go through that process, and not set a precedent or a model that says in Washington, we talk about education and it's a bitter partisan debate. And we try to keep it as civil as is possible, and try to set a tone or a tenor and recognize that we have differences. But just to reinforce what was said earlier, we share the same values. This is not about who cares about our kids the most. It's that we all care about our kids, and we've just got different views as how best to resolve it.

I think what will happen in education, and what I hope happens is we take a look at some of these other reforms that we're now talking about in order to come up with an answer very much like we did on welfare reform. Welfare reform was not an administration or congressional solution, it was not a Republican or Democratic solution. Both sides ended up conceding some of their points, and the end result is, we moved significantly forward. I think six or seven million individuals have been taken off welfare; two million families.

You know, that kind of bipartisanship recognizes that it's more important that we do something, rather than stay mired exactly where we are today, as the kind of direction that we're going to take.

Ms. Spray. Mr. Chairman, if I might address that, because I worked in various school districts around the Nation, at one time in California during a strike. One of the things I feel as a teacher that I found would help minimize the union administration stress would be for the principle to be able to hire and fire his own teachers with his own budget. He could give raises according to the teachers who were doing a good job in his own school, and basically the principal would employ that teacher.

Mr. Hoekstra. Which is exactly one of the reforms that they have implemented in Chicago, one of the first places that we went three and a half years ago. Thank you.

Mr. Schaffer. I have a comment on your last point. You're too modest about your leadership of the Committee. I just want to take this opportunity to point out that this hearing is one of many that constitutes the total record for this Committee's work. And we hold an awful lot of hearings in Washington. In fact, sometimes a couple of times a week. There are a lot of Oversight and Investigations Committees that deal with different subjects. But with respect to education, this Chairman has been more aggressive than most about getting around the country and using the opportunity to make sure that the picture we paint is not just a Washington, D.C.- based picture of education.

So the groups that you mentioned, I assure you, we see them a lot in the context of the total record. That National Education Association and Higher Education Association, they love it in Washington. You can't turn a corner without bumping into one of those folks, and so we hear from them frequently. I think that what I really appreciate about being a Member of this Committee and about the Chairman's leadership is he makes an extra effort to travel around the country and spends a lot of his time, Committee time, and expense associated with it, to give everyone equal time. I think that's what the total record represents.

I think, in the long run, to get to the final point you made about how to promote and foster the collegiality of Washington that ought to exist where our children are concerned, I think the greatest way to promote that is respect. When you have differences of opinion, I think it helps us to be more forceful and more accurate and more articulate spokesmen for the country when we can hold up the report and say, you know, we have actually been to that school. We have been to that part of the country. We've actually traveled the country and taken in a lot of perspectives. That causes more honest debate in Washington, which I think we need more of, and this Committee is leading the way.

The Chairman can't brag about himself like I can.

Mr. Tancredo. He does, it's just not public.

Mr. Hoekstra. I think the first statement we say is the hearing doesn't take place unless there's a quorum present. This means we can only have a hearing if my colleagues make the agreement that they are going to be there, as well, whether it's in New York or whether it's in California or New Mexico. We've got a couple of great colleagues here from Colorado who work with me in Washington, and hopefully we'll move forward in getting the right things done.

I want to thank Dr. Eric Reno, who is the President of Red Rocks Community College, for the support in allowing us to be here. And also Kathy O'Connell, who is with the College and helped coordinate the event today.

We always worry about the little things, and I think that they were here to make sure that you could all hear the proceedings today. Thank you very much for being here.

Heather, thank you for being here.

Mr. Tancredo, Thank you for inviting us.

Mr. Tancredo. It was a pleasure.

Mr. Hoekstra. Thank you for inviting us to Colorado. It may be a weeks’ stay, and we'll enjoy your hospitality for the next few days.

Congressman Schaffer, thank you for those nice words, and thank you for being here. And with that, the Committee will be adjourned.

Whereupon, at 12 noon, the Subcommittee was adjourned.