Michigan Department of Education Special Meeting for March 18, 2015 – Markavitch Interview


>>– RECONVENE OUR SPECIAL MEETING FOR THE SUPERINTENDENT SEARCH PROCESS. AND WE’RE GATHERING VICKIE MARKAVITCH. I APPRECIATE THE BOARD MEMBERS’ QUESTIONS. I THOUGHT THAT, AS YOU KNOW, YOU SHOULD BE, WE SHOULD ALL BE FOCUSING ON QUESTIONS THAT ARE MOST IMPORTANT AND SPECIFIC TO EXPLORE WITH EACH OF THE CANDIDATES WE HAVE. AND I TRUST THAT YOU’LL PUT THOSE QUESTIONS IN THE FOREFRONT OF YOUR MIND. WHERE’S KATHY? WANDERING OFF? OH, HERE WE GO.>>THEY BOTH –>>HI, VICKIE. WE’RE HAPPY, AGAIN, TO WELCOME VICKIE MARKAVITCH, THE OAKLAND ISD SUPERINTENDENT. THANK YOU VERY MUCH, VICKIE, FOR JOINING US AGAIN, AND THANK YOU FOR NOT ONLY YOUR RECORD AND EXPERIENCE IN EDUCATION, BUT FOR YOUR WILLINGNESS TO OFFER YOURSELF AS A CANDIDATE AND PUT YOURSELF THROUGH A VERY APPROPRIATE BUT PUBLIC DISCUSSION PROCESS OF YOUR ABILITIES, STRENGTHS, INTERESTS, AND OUR OWN DESIRE TO LEARN MORE AND UNDERSTAND BETTER. SO JUST SO YOU KNOW, I DON’T KNOW IF YOU SAW THE FIRST ROUND, BUT WHAT WE’RE GOING TO DO IN THIS INTERVIEW, IN ADDITION TO THANKING YOU, YOU KNOW, WE’VE ALL BEEN LEARNING A LOT, HEARING A LOT FROM STAKEHOLDERS IN EDUCATION WHO CARE ABOUT EDUCATION, FOLKS WHO HAVE PERSPECTIVE ON YOUR WORK, AND WE’RE GOING TO BE ASKING YOU ABOUT ANY ISSUES OR CONCERNS THAT HAVE ARISEN. WE’RE ALSO GOING TO CONTINUE TO EXPLORE WITH YOU YOUR OWN PERSPECTIVE ON HOW TO HELP US LEAD ON IMPROVING EDUCATION AND SPECIFIC EDUCATION POLICY TOPICS THAT WE WANT TO EXPLORE FURTHER, AND YOUR OWN MANAGEMENT, LEADERSHIP ABILITIES AND ABILITIES TO HELP US WORK WITH THE COLLECTIVE STAKEHOLDERS IN MICHIGAN. SO WE’RE GOING TO GO AROUND THE TABLE ASKING QUESTIONS, AND MAKE SURE THAT YOU HAVE A CHANCE AT THE END TO SHARE ANYTHING ABOUT YOUR OWN POINTS YOU’D LIKE US TO CONSIDER ABOUT HOW YOU’RE BEST EQUIPPED TO HELP US, AND TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS THAT YOU HAVE FOR US ABOUT WHETHER YOU STILL WANT THE JOB. [ LAUGHTER ] WE’LL MAKE SURE THERE’S SOME TIME AT THE END. SO THANK YOU, VICKIE. I’M GOING TO HAVE THE FIRST QUESTION. VICKIE, AS YOU ARE AWARE, YOU ARE SEEN BY MANY OR SOME AS A POLARIZING FIGURE, SOMEONE WHO, FOR WHATEVER REASONS, STAKEHOLDERS IN EDUCATION, PARTICULARLY THE REPUBLICAN AND THE LEGISLATURE AND OTHER AREAS, VIEW AS SOMEONE THEY CAN’T WORK WITH AND IS ANTI-REFORM, A PROTECTOR OF EDUCATION STATUS QUO. HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN OR RESPOND TO THESE PERCEPTIONS AND THIS CRITIQUE?>>WELL, I THINK THERE’S PERCEPTIONS, AND THEN THERE’S ACTUAL EXPERIENCE. SO LET ME RESPOND BY JUST GIVING YOU SOME ACTUAL EXPERIENCE. I HAVE HANDED OUT SOME THINGS, AND I KNOW, EILEEN, YOU SET THEM ASIDE, BUT I’M GOING TO BE REFERENCING THEM. SO I BROUGHT SOME EXAMPLES. ONE EXAMPLE YOU HEARD ME TALK A LOT ABOUT IS A DASHBOARD. AND IT’S NO SECRET THAT, IN MY OPINION, IF WE DID AN ACCOUNTABILITY DASHBOARD INSTEAD OF A COLOR OR A GRADE, PARENTS WOULD END UP GETTING MORE INFORMATION. PERHAPS A LOT OF PEOPLE DON’T KNOW THAT THIS CONCEPT OF A DASHBOARD WAS BORN IN COLLABORATIVE WORK WITH TOM McMILLIN, A VERY STRONG REPUBLICAN FROM OAKLAND COUNTY. HE CAME TO WORK WITH MY SUPERINTENDENTS AND WITH ME. WE HAD A COUPLE OF LUNCHES. THE IDEA OF A DASHBOARD WAS BORN, AND HE TOOK IT FORWARD LEGISLATIVELY, AND I’M GLAD TO SEE THAT IN MOST RECENT LEGISLATIVE CONVERSATIONS, THE IDEA IS STILL ALIVE. I’LL GIVE YOU ANOTHER EXAMPLE, AND THAT’S THE PONTIAC CONSENT AGREEMENT. I GAVE YOU A HANDOUT HERE THAT KIND OF SHOWS WHAT’S BEEN ACCOMPLISHED. YOU CANNOT REDUCE A $54 MILLION DEFICIT BY 24% IN THE FIRST YEAR WITHOUT COLLABORATIVE EFFORTS. YOU CAN’T REDUCE THAT DEFICIT BY 24%, STABILIZE ENROLLMENT, REDUCE CLASS SIZES, IMPROVE ACHIEVEMENT, AND IMPLEMENT BETTER PRACTICES IN BUSINESS HR AND TECHNOLOGY IF YOU’RE POLARIZING THE CONVERSATION AT THE TABLE. I HAVE WORKED WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY, WITH MDE, WITH PEOPLE FROM THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE, INCLUDING RICHARD GARRETT — I USE HIS ADVICE AND COUNSEL FREQUENTLY — PONTIAC SCHOOL DISTRICT AS WELL AS OAKLAND SCHOOLS. AND WE ACCOMPLISH THESE THINGS BECAUSE WE KNOW HOW TO WORK WELL TOGETHER. ARE SOME OF THE CONVERSATIONS INTENSE? OF COURSE. DO I BRING IDEAS TO THE TABLE THAT I HAVE BUILT UP OVER THE YEARS AND MY KNOWLEDGE BASE? OF COURSE. WHY WOULDN’T YOU WANT AN EXPERIENCED EDUCATOR TO BRING THEIR OPINIONS TO THE TABLE? BUT I DOUBT THAT ANYONE WHO’S SAT AT THIS TABLE WOULD EVER CALL ME POLARIZED. AND I TALKED — YOU KNOW, YOUR JOB DESCRIPTION I READ VERY CAREFULLY BEFORE I APPLIED. AND I NOTICED THE VERY FIRST THING YOU WERE LOOKING FOR WAS SOMEBODY WHO HAS RAISED STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT. AND I TALKED TO YOU BEFORE ABOUT PENN HARRIS MADISON AND THE INDIANA STORY. SO I BROUGHT YOU — BECAUSE I’M A TEACHER, I BROUGHT YOU LOTS OF THINGS TO READ. [ LAUGHTER ] BUT I ALSO BROUGHT YOU PICTURES TO LOOK AT. I’M NOT GOING TO GO THROUGH ALL THESE CHARTS AND GRAPHS. I’M NOT GOING TO GO THROUGH ALL THESE CHARTS AND GRAPHS, AND I KNOW YOU LIKE THAT, BUT THIS IS THREE YEARS OF RAPID TURNAROUND OF SCHOOLS WITH HIGH MEASURES OF POVERTY WITH A BOARD THAT WAS SPLIT WHEN I GOT THERE — A 3-2 BOARD, SPLIT. TWO MORE MEMBERS WERE ADDED TO THE BOARD, STILL A SPLIT. WORKING TOGETHER TO UN-POLARIZE THAT GROUP SO THAT WE COULD COME TO THE TABLE WITH THE COMMUNITY, WITH THESE POPULATIONS, AND GET THESE KINDS OF RESULTS. RIGHT START AND KINDERGARTEN, BECAUSE OUR GOAL WAS GETTING ALL YOUNG STUDENTS TO READ ON LEVEL BY 3RD GRADE, MEASURING OUR PROGRESS ALL THE WAY THROUGH THAT, CLOSING THE GAP, ON THESE INSIDE CHARTS, BETWEEN SPECIAL ED YOUNGSTERS AND NOT, CLOSING THE GAP BETWEEN OUR ESL YOUNGSTERS AND NOT — WE HAD A SIGNIFICANT HISPANIC POPULATION THERE. RAISING HIGH SCHOOL SCORES AS WELL AS ELEMENTARY IN THREE YEARS, AND ALSO MAKING SURE THAT THE TOP QUARTILE — THE SECOND CHART IS A LITTLE HARD TO UNDERSTAND — BUT WE MADE SURE THAT THOSE YOUNGSTERS AT THE VERY TOP QUARTILE IN ACHIEVEMENT WERE GOING UP IN READING AND MATH AS WELL AS THE YOUNGSTERS IN THE BOTTOM QUARTILE OF ACHIEVEMENT.>>LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT THE — I’M SURE YOU’LL HAVE A CHANCE TO EXPAND UPON THE ACHIEVEMENT GAINS, BUT A FOLLOW-UP I WANT TO ASK, THOUGH, JUST ON ANOTHER QUESTION. IF YOU’RE SELECTED, HOW WOULD YOU WORK TO OVERCOME THESE PERCEPTIONS AND EVEN THESE INCANTATIONS SOME PEOPLE IMMEDIATELY SPRING TO, LIKE THE CHARTER ADVOCATES, THAT THIS IS SOMEONE THAT WE CAN’T WORK WITH? HOW WOULD YOU WORK TO OVERCOME — HOW COULD YOU — TO THESE DYNAMICS?>>I THINK, BY GETTING TO THE TABLE, I’M HAVING A CONVERSATION. YOU KNOW, ONE OF — IN THE EARLY DAYS, BEFORE THE GOVERNOR WAS THE GOVERNOR, HE ESTABLISHED THESE ROUND TABLES TO TALK ABOUT WHAT KIND OF THINGS EDUCATION NEEDS TO ATTEND TO. DAN DeGROW RAN A ROUND TABLE ON FINANCE. DAVE CAMPBELL RAN A ROUND TABLE ON EDUCATION. I WAS INVITED TO SIT AT BOTH ROUND TABLES. AND I SAT AT ONE WITH DAN QUISENBERRY. DAN QUISENBERRY AND I HAVE HAD LOTS OF WONDERFUL CONVERSATIONS ABOUT WHAT WE NEED IN EDUCATION IN MICHIGAN. I THINK DAN QUISENBERRY AND I AGREE ON MORE THAN WE DISAGREE. OF COURSE, WHEN YOU’RE UNCAPPING CHARTERS, DAN WAS NOT GOING TO BE AS ENTHUSIASTIC AS I WAS ABOUT PUTTING IN SOME PREREQUISITES FOR QUALITY OR PUTTING IN SOME REQUIREMENTS FOR TRANSPARENCY. BUT I KNOW THAT BOTH DAN AND I AGREED THAT ANY KIND OF CHARTER RULING WE HAVE HAD TO BRING THE BEST CHARTERS TO MICHIGAN FOR OUR CHILDREN. NOW, HE THOUGHT THE MARKET WOULD DO IT. I THOUGHT WE NEEDED SOME PREREQUISITES FOR QUALITY, BUT THAT DIDN’T MEAN WE DIDN’T SPEAK TO EACH OTHER. I KNEW WITH ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY THAT IF I GET THIS POSITION, EVEN THOUGH DAN’S NOT IN A POSITION RIGHT NOW TO SUPPORT MY CANDIDACY, AND I UNDERSTAND THAT, POLITICALLY, BUT I KNOW VERY WELL THAT IF I GET THIS POSITION, DAN AND I WILL ONCE AGAIN HAVE VERY POSITIVE, PRODUCTIVE CONVERSATIONS ABOUT WHAT BOTH CHARTER EDUCATION NEEDS AND WHAT LOCALLY GOVERNED EDUCATION NEEDS.>>THANK YOU, VICKIE. CASANDRA.>>WELL, AS YOU ARE AWARE, THE GOVERNOR SIGNED AN EXECUTIVE ORDER TAKING THE SCHOOL TURNAROUND FUNCTIONS OUT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND TRANSFERRING THEM TO THE DEPARTMENT OF TECHNOLOGY, MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET. AND JUST YESTERDAY, THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION APPROVED A RESOLUTION QUESTIONING THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THIS MEASURE. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THE STATE BOARD AND OTHER STAKEHOLDERS ON HOW BEST WE NAVIGATE THE SITUATION TOWARDS BETTER REALIZING ALL OF OUR GOALS, WHICH IS IMPROVING EDUCATION FOR CHILDREN IN STRUGGLING SCHOOLS?>>SO I CAN’T GIVE YOU CONSTITUTIONAL LAW ADVICE. I’M SURE THERE’S OTHER PEOPLE WITH EXPERTISE IN THAT AREA THAT GOES BEYOND MINE. I DO KNOW HOW TO GET EVERY STUDENT READING AT GRADE LEVEL BY 3RD GRADE AS AN OLD READING TEACHER, BUT CONSTITUTIONAL LAW I HAVE TO LEAVE UP TO OTHER PEOPLE. BUT I DO THINK, REGARDLESS — AND I UNDERSTAND THAT THIS EXECUTIVE ORDER IS GOING TO SIT IN THE LEGISLATURE, NOW, FOR 60 DAYS, AND IT’S GOING TO BE CONSIDERED. I CERTAINLY HOPE THE CONSIDERATION IS OPEN AND HONEST AND PUBLIC, BUT I ALSO THINK THAT THIS BOARD AND THE GOVERNOR HAVE TO GET TOGETHER AND TALK ABOUT IT. I THINK THAT WHOEVER YOU HIRE TODAY, BY TOMORROW, AT LEAST THREE OF YOU FROM THIS BOARD AND THAT PERSON OUGHT TO SET UP A SCHEDULE TO MEET WITH THE GOVERNOR AND FIND OUT WHAT IT IS THAT HE’S CONCERNED ABOUT. I’VE READ THAT HE THINKS WE AREN’T MOVING FAST ENOUGH. I’VE READ THAT HE THINKS THAT PERHAPS MORE THINGS NEED TO BE DONE IN DETROIT. I’VE NOT TALKED TO HIM, ACTUALLY, I’VE ONLY GOTTEN TO HEAR WHAT OTHER PEOPLE ARE REPORTING HE’S SAID. I THINK THE STATE BOARD HAS A RESPONSIBILITY TO OVERSEE THE SCHOOLS IN MICHIGAN, AND I THINK THAT’S A RESPONSIBILITY THAT SHOULD BE HELD BY THE STATE BOARD. I THINK YOU GOVERN AN ENTITY OF A STATE DEPARTMENT THAT HAS EXPERTISE IN EDUCATION, AND IT MAKES SENSE TO ME AS AN EDUCATOR THAT THIS IS WHERE WE WOULD LEAD EDUCATIONAL INITIATIVES, WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, NOT THE DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET. BUT I HAVE NOT HEARD THE GOVERNOR’S CONCERNS, AND I WOULD WANT TO HEAR WHAT THEY ARE. AND I WOULD HOPE THAT IN THAT CONVERSATION, AND MAYBE IT WOULD TAKE TWO OR THREE, THAT IN THE END, WE WOULD COME UP WITH AN ACTUAL PLAN WHERE WE WOULD SAY, “OKAY, GOVERNOR, YOU WERE WORRIED ABOUT MOVING FAST? HERE’S WHAT WE THINK WE CAN DO ABOUT MOVING FAST. YOU WERE WORRIED ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT WE WERE GOING DEEP ENOUGH IN DETROIT? HERE’S OUR THOUGHTS ABOUT DETROIT AND WHAT WE THINK WE CAN DO ABOUT THAT. AND, BY THE WAY, GOVERNOR, HERE ARE SOME CONCERNS WE HAVE ABOUT HOW WE CAN GET THAT JOB BEST DONE. AND WE’D LIKE TO BE ABLE TO HAVE YOUR EAR ON THOSE THINGS AS WELL.” IT’S GOT TO START WITH A CONVERSATION, AND I DON’T KNOW IF THREE OF YOU AND YOUR SUPERINTENDENT HAVE EVER MET WITH THE GOVERNOR, HIS ADVISOR, AND THE PEOPLE HIS ADVISOR WORK WITH, BUT THOSE ARE THE TWO GROUPS THAT HAVE TO COME TOGETHER. THE PUBLIC, THE FIELD, THE LEGISLATURE, THE KIDS — THEY NEED US WORKING TOGETHER, NOT APART.>>WE HAVE IN THE PAST — JUST FOR THE RECORD, IT’S SOMETHING I JUST ASKED FOR RECENTLY, TO RE INSTITUTE THOSE TYPES OF MEETINGS.>>GOOD. THEN I GUESS I BROUGHT YOU A GOOD IDEA.>>MICHELLE.>>WELL, ONE OF THE ISSUES THAT I’VE GOTTEN — I DON’T WANT TO SAY EVERYONE HAS GOTTEN, BUT I’VE CERTAINLY GOTTEN A LOT OF FEEDBACK AROUND SPECIAL EDUCATION. AND ALL OF THE FINALISTS HAVE GOTTEN SOME VERY CRITICAL LETTERS FROM SPECIAL EDUCATION ADVOCATES. SO I’M GOING TO ASK YOU A QUESTION I ASKED MR. WHISTON, BUT I WANTED TO ADD SOMETHING ELSE. THE CONCERNS ARE AROUND YOUR COMMITMENT, MANAGEMENT, AND DELIVERY OF SPECIAL ED SERVICES. HOW WOULD YOU RESPOND TO THE CRITICISM? I CAN TELL YOU, THERE HAS BEEN SOME SPECIFIC CRITICISMS WITH REGARD TO YOUR DIRECTOR OF SPECIAL EDUCATION, WHO SEEMS TO HAVE HAD SOME REORGANIZATION THAT’S GOING ON. AND I DON’T KNOW ALL OF THE SPECIFICS OF IT, BUT I WOULD LIKE YOU TO BE ABLE TO RESPOND TO THOSE CRITICISMS. SO — AND THE CRITICISMS ALSO TOUCH ON BEING RESPONSIVE TO PARENTS AND THEIR COMPLAINTS AND GETTING THEIR COMPLAINTS ADDRESSED AROUND SPECIAL ED.>>SURE. WELL, SINCE I’VE BEEN AT OAKLAND SCHOOLS, WE’VE HAD TWO SPECIAL ED DIRECTORS, THE FIRST, KATHLEEN — KATHY KALINSKI, THE SECOND, KATHLEEN BARKER. THEY HAVE TWO DIFFERENT LEADERSHIP STYLES, BUT THEY’RE BOTH QUITE COMPETENT PEOPLE. WE HAVE A LARGE SPECIAL ED DEPARTMENT, AS WOULD ANY ISD OUR SIZE. WE HAVE A VERY GOOD PUBLIC ACT 18 SPECIAL ED MILLAGE THAT SUPPORTS THE PROGRAMS AND SERVICES, BUT I WOULD BE FOOLISH TO THINK THAT EVERY DECISION MADE IN THAT DEPARTMENT OR EVERY DECISION THAT FLOATS UP TO MY OFFICE, AND THERE AREN’T TOO MANY, ACTUALLY GET RESOLVED IN A WAY THAT MAKES EVERYONE HAPPY. WHEN YOU HAVE A CHILD WITH SPECIAL NEEDS, THE WHOLE WORLD IS A DIFFICULT ROAD, AND AS AN ADVOCATE FOR YOUR CHILD, YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST TRAVEL THAT ROAD AS STRONG AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN TO GET EVERYTHING YOUR CHILD NEEDS FOR YOUR CHILD. SOMETIMES, ON THAT PATH, THERE ARE THINGS THAT THE SCHOOL COMMUNITY WILL BELIEVE THEY CANNOT DO. WE HAD ONE CONTROVERSY THAT I CAN RECALL, SEVERAL YEARS AGO, OVER ASSISTIVE DEVICES BEING GIVEN TO SPECIAL EDUCATION YOUNGSTERS IN PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS IN OUR COUNTY. AND THERE WAS A DECISION MADE AT THE SPECIAL ED DIRECTOR’S OFFICE THAT I LATER REVERSED WHEN THE ISSUE GOT TO MY OFFICE, AND THOSE ASSISTIVE DEVICES WERE DISTRIBUTED ACROSS ALL SCHOOLS IN OUR COUNTY. WE MADE THOSE ASSISTIVE DEVICES A PRIORITY BECAUSE THEY WERE THE TOOLS FOR LEARNING FOR THOSE CHILDREN. AND WE, IN FACT, INCREASED THE BUDGET DURING ALL THOSE OTHER CUTBACKS THAT WE WERE DOING, IN ORDER TO MAKE SURE THAT THAT ASSISTIVE DEVICE WOULD BE AVAILABLE TO YOUNGSTERS IN OUR COUNTY. NOW, THAT DOESN’T MEAN THAT THE SPECIAL ED DIRECTOR MADE A WRONG DECISION AND I MADE A RIGHT DECISION, IT JUST MEANS THAT I AM THE KIND OF PERSON WHO REVIEWS DECISIONS AND WILL LISTEN TO BOTH SIDES. AND IF I FEEL THAT THERE’S A BETTER WAY TO HAVE EQUITY AND OPPORTUNITY FOR KIDS, THEN I WILL ALWAYS RULE ON THE SIDE OF THE STUDENTS, RATHER THAN THE BUREAUCRACY. I AM NOT AWARE OF — THE ONLY OTHER THING I CAN THINK OF THAT’S GOING ON IS OUR COUNTY SPECIAL ED DIRECTORS FROM ALL 28 DISTRICTS HAVE BEEN WORKING TOGETHER WITH A FACILITATOR AS WELL AS MY DEPARTMENT, BECAUSE WE DON’T HAVE ADEQUATE PLACEMENTS FOR SEVERELY MULTIPLY HANDICAPPED YOUNGSTERS. OUR PLACEMENTS FOR YOUNGSTERS WHO NEED THAT ALL DAY-LONG SEGREGATED KIND OF PROTECTED FACILITY AND INTERVENTION — WE’RE JUST — WE HAVE TO REWORK HOW WE DO IT BECAUSE IT’S NOT BEEN SERVING THE NEEDS OF STUDENTS. DISTRICTS HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO GET STUDENTS INSIDE. SO THOSE FOLKS HAVE WORKED TOGETHER TO COME UP WITH A PLAN THAT THEY THINK WILL BETTER SERVE THE STUDENTS IN THEIR DISTRICTS. I HAVE NOT BEEN PART OF THE PLAN. I’VE BEEN RECEIVING THE PLAN AS IT’S DEVELOPED. WE’VE BEEN TAKING THE PLAN TO OUR 28 SUPERINTENDENTS. WE’VE BEEN TAKING THE PLAN TO OUR PARENT ADVISORY COUNCIL FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION. WE ALSO HAVE A SUPERINTENDENT SUBCOMMITTEE THAT REVIEWS ALL THE THINGS WE DO IN SPECIAL EDUCATION. AND THEY ARE SUPPORTING THE PLAN THAT’S GOING FORWARD. I THINK YOU KNOW, FROM MY STORY IN MY PRIOR INTERVIEW, THE LENGTHS I’LL GO TO TO MEET THE NEEDS OF AN INDIVIDUAL SPECIAL ED YOUNGSTER, SO I WON’T REPEAT THAT.>>RICHARD?>>I APPRECIATE YOUR ARTICULATION OF THE CHALLENGE AND IMPORTANCE OF BRINGING THE PUBLIC, THE FIELD AND LEGISLATURE AND PARENTS TOGETHER. THAT DOES SEEM, TO ME, TO BE AN EXTREMELY ESSENTIAL ROLE FOR OUR SUPERINTENDENT. I WOULD ASK ABOUT YOUR APPROACH TO THE ISSUE OF LIMITS. IT SEEMS TO ME THAT IF YOU TALK TO SOME PEOPLE, THEY THINK THAT, YOU KNOW, ANY KID CAN BE A BRAIN SURGEON IF THAT’S HIS DREAM, AND TRADITIONALLY, WE’VE EXPECTED THE BRAIN SURGEON TO BE SOMEWHERE IN THE 90TH PERCENTILE. OTHERS LIKE CHARLES MURRAY HAVE ARGUED THAT COLLEGE WAS ORIGINALLY INTENDED FOR ONLY THE TOP 20% OF THE POPULATION, AND IF YOU START INCLUDING MORE, THEN YOU’VE BROUGHT THE COLLEGE STANDARDS DOWN. AND, OF COURSE, WE DO COMPLAIN ABOUT ACADEMIC STANDARDS GOING DOWN IN MANY CORNERS. IT SEEMS TO ME THAT THERE ARE CERTAIN LIMITS AS TO HOW FAR WE CAN CLOSE GAPS BETWEEN STUDENTS, AND IT ALSO SEEMS TO ME THAT OUR FUNDING IS, TO SOME POINT, LIMITED. SO HOW DO WE DECIDE WHICH — HOW DO WE COME TO TERMS, I GUESS, WITH THESE LIMITS, BOTH IN TERMS OF HUMAN POTENTIAL ON THE ONE HAND AND MAKE UP THE DIFFERENCE WITH FUNDING? IT’S EASY TO SAY THAT EQUITABLE FUNDING IS, YOU KNOW, GIVING THE POOR PERFORMING STUDENT WHAT HE NEEDS TO PERFORM AT A LEVEL WITH THE AVERAGE STUDENT, BUT IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE IN ALL CASES? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON JUST THE LIMITS ON BOTH FUNDING AND OVERCOMING HUMAN DIFFERENCES?>>SO, LET ME START WITH GAPS, BECAUSE THIS IS AN AREA WHERE I HAVE TO LOOK AT MIKE, AND WHERE I HAVE A HISTORY OF BEING PRETTY OUTSPOKEN ON THIS ISSUE OF GAPS BETWEEN STUDENTS, ESPECIALLY OUR FORMULA IN THE STATE, WHERE WE’RE TAKING THE TOP 30% AND TRYING TO CLOSE THE GAP BETWEEN THE TOP 30 AND THE BOTTOM 30. I BELIEVE VERY CLEARLY, WE HAVE TO CLOSE THE GAP FOR STUDENTS TO REACH A PROFICIENCY LEVEL. AND WE NEED TO BE THE KIND OF SCHOOL SYSTEM WHERE ALL STUDENTS REACH THAT PROFICIENCY LEVEL. AND IT SHOULD BE A LEVEL OF RIGOR. IT SHOULD BE A LEVEL THAT ALLOWS THEM TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN BOTH COLLEGE AND CAREERS. AND THAT’S THE END GOAL. THAT’S WHERE WE HAVE TO TRY TO GET EVERY STUDENT. BUT MY DAUGHTER — ONE OF MY DAUGHTERS IS A CLASSICAL PIANIST, AND THE OTHER DAUGHTER IS A JUDGE IN INDIANA. THEY HAVE BOTH VERY DIFFERENT — MY DAUGHTER THE JUDGE COULD NEVER PLAY THE PIANO LIKE MY DAUGHTER THE PIANIST, AND MY DAUGHTER THE PIANIST COULD NEVER MAKE RULINGS LIKE MY DAUGHTER THE JUDGE. THEY WERE BOTH VERY PROFICIENT. THEY BOTH WERE ABLE TO HANDLE LIFE AND A CAREER AND COLLEGE AND THEIR FAMILY, BUT THEIR TALENTS TOOK THEM TO OTHER PLACES. SO NO, NOT EVERY PERSON WHO STUDIES MUSIC IS GOING TO BE A CLASSICAL PIANIST, AND CERTAINLY, MY DAUGHTER CHOSE NOT TO GO OUT AND COMPETE ON THE NATIONAL — ON THE CONCERT PIANIST — I’M LOOKING AT YOU BECAUSE I THINK THAT’S YOUR AREA, RIGHT? AND THAT’S VERY STRESSFUL. AND SHE WANTED TO BE A MOM. BUT YOU SEE, EVERY CHILD HAS THEIR OWN UNIQUE TALENTS THAT ARE GOING TO TAKE THEM SOMEWHERE BEYOND THE BAR FOR PROFICIENCY. SO WE WANT AN EDUCATION SYSTEM THAT GETS EVERYBODY TO THE RIGOROUS BAR OF PROFICIENCY, AND THEN WE WANT AN EDUCATION SYSTEM THAT SUPPORTS THEM IN GOING FURTHER TO FOLLOW THEIR TALENTS AND THEIR DREAMS.>>A FOLLOW-UP. OUR PRESENT STANDARDS IN MICHIGAN — DO WE HAVE AN ADEQUATE BAR OF PROFICIENCY?>>I DON’T KNOW, BECAUSE THEY’RE NEW, AND HERE’S MY EXPERIENCE IN EDUCATION: WHENEVER YOU IMPLEMENT SOMETHING NEW, YOU FIND OUT, AFTER SIX MONTHS TO A YEAR OR SO, THAT IT WASN’T EXACTLY RIGHT, THAT YOU NEED TO ADJUST THE SYSTEM, THAT YOU NEED TO TWEAK THE SYSTEM. RARELY DO YOU GET ANYTHING EXACTLY RIGHT THE FIRST TIME YOU PUT IT OUT THERE. SO I THINK WE’RE GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. I THINK WE’VE ADDED RIGOR, WE’VE ADDED CRITICAL THINKING, WE’VE ADDED MORE PROBLEM-SOLVING, WE’VE ADDED MORE WRITING, WHICH IS NEAR AND DEAR TO MY HEART, AS YOU KNOW FROM THE FIRST CONVERSATION. SO I THINK WE’RE GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION, BUT I’M PRETTY SURE WE’RE GOING TO FIND OUT IN ABOUT A YEAR OR TWO, ESPECIALLY AFTER WE ASSESS A COUPLE OF TIMES, THAT WE’RE GOING TO NEED SOME ADJUSTMENT. AND THAT’S WHY THE STATE NEEDS ITS OWN INDEPENDENCE IN DECIDING WHAT THOSE ADJUSTMENTS NEED TO BE. YOU ALSO MENTIONED LIMITS ON FUNDING. SO THIS CHART THAT I GAVE YOU THAT HAD ALL OF THESE ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN IT, THIS WAS DONE WHILE THE BUDGET WAS CUT 16% IN THIS SCHOOL DISTRICT. 16% IN ONE YEAR. THAT’S A BIG CUT FOR A BUDGET TO TAKE. WE HAD TO CLOSE BUILDINGS WHILE WE WERE JUST BUILDING BUILDINGS. CAN YOU IMAGINE THAT? IN INDIANA, OUR ENROLLMENT WAS GROWING, AND THEN WE HAD TO START A STUDY ON — THERE WAS A HUGE STUDY ON WHETHER WE WERE GOING TO HAVE TWO HIGH SCHOOLS OR ONE. THERE WAS JUST ALL SORTS OF THINGS GOING ON. WE HAD TO CUT BACK THE BUDGET, CUT BACK ON WHAT WE WERE DOING, FREEZE SALARIES, ET CETERA, ET CETERA, ET CETERA. AT THE SAME TIME, WE HAD RAPID TURNAROUND, IN THREE YEARS, MOVE TO THE BAR LIKE SIGNIFICANTLY AND KEPT IT GOING ALL ALONG. WHY? BECAUSE WE LOOKED VERY CAREFULLY AT HOW WE WERE USING THE MONEY. WE REROUTED BUSES. WE READJUSTED BELL SCHEDULES. WE — I WAS IN INDIANA, AND I EVEN LOOKED AT HOW MANY COACHES WE HAD DOING BASKETBALL. YOU KNOW, THERE ARE –>>AND YOU KEPT YOUR JOB.>>I EVEN KEPT MY JOB. AND WE REORGANIZED HOW WE WERE DOING THE WORK AND WHO WAS DOING WHAT WORK, AND WE RE PRIORITIZED HOW WE WERE USING THE MONEY WE HAD, BECAUSE WE DIDN’T HAVE ANY MORE. THERE WAS NO FOUNDATION GIVING US ANY MONEY, AND NO INCREASE IN A MILLAGE RATE THAT WE COULD GO FOR IN INDIANA. OUR MILLAGE WAS LOCKED INTO THE SAME MILLAGE RATE IT HAS ALWAYS HAD. SO ONE THING WE NEED TO DO IS LOOK AT HOW WE’RE USING OUR CURRENT FUNDING AND WHETHER OR NOT WE NEED TO USE IT MORE EFFECTIVELY THAN WE ARE. AND THE OTHER THING WE HAVE, AND I PROMISED I WOULD BRING IT TO YOU, SO I BROUGHT ONE COPY, BECAUSE IT’S BIG, BUT IT’S ELECTRONIC — THIS IS THE ADEQUACY STUDY THAT WAS DONE IN ONTARIO. THIS ADEQUACY STUDY TRULY DROVE PUBLIC POLICY TO WHAT ONTARIO HAS NOW THAT’S DRIVING ACHIEVEMENT UP. AND IT’S NOT NECESSARILY MORE MONEY, BUT IT WAS BETTER USE OF THE MONEY THEY HAVE. NOW, AFTER WE DO OUR ADEQUACY STUDY, I’M NOT GOING TO KNOW, NOR DO WE KNOW RIGHT NOW, WHETHER OR NOT MORE MONEY IS NEEDED OR NOT. BUT I’M PRETTY SURE THAT WE’RE GOING TO FIND OUT THAT THE MONEY WE HAVE NEEDS TO BE ALLOCATED DIFFERENTLY.>>THANK YOU. EILEEN? OR, KAREN, WOULD YOU LIKE TO –>>JUST A — YEAH. I’VE BEEN KIND OF — I’M NOT CHOOSING TO ASK QUESTIONS AT THIS POINT OUT OF RESPECT FOR THE TIME AND THE FACT THAT I KNOW BOARD MEMBERS HAVE LOTS OF QUESTIONS IN FRONT OF THEM THEY’D LIKE TO GET TO, SO THAT’S THE ONLY REASON I’M NOT ASKING ANY QUESTIONS. I WANTED TO MAKE SURE YOU KNEW THAT.>>OKAY.>>THANK YOU.>>SO I JUST WANTED TO POINT OUT, DR. MARKAVITCH ADMONISHED ME A TINY BIT FOR PUTTING THIS DOCUMENT UNDERNEATH THE TABLE, AND FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO WATCH ME AT THE BOARD TABLE, I’M SURE YOU RECOGNIZE THAT’S MY ONLY STRATEGY FOR NOT DELVING DEEPLY INTO NEW, INTERESTING DOCUMENTS THAT APPEAR IN FRONT OF ME. SO BECAUSE I DID NOT WANT TO RISK IGNORING YOU WHILE I READ THIS, AND WE SHOULD ALL BE READING THIS, I DIDN’T APPEAR TO BE RUDE, DIDN’T WANT TO APPEAR TO BE RUDE TO YOU.>>OH, AND I DIDN’T MEAN TO APPEAR LIKE I WAS GOING TO ADMONISH YOU. I WAS JUST GOING TO START REFERENCING THEM, AND I –>>I KNOW. THIS IS CANDY.>>OH, I KNOW. THIS IS — THIS IS WHERE ONTARIO’S GOING NEXT.>>YES. AND THANK YOU FOR BRINGING IT. DR MARKAVITCH, I WANT TO ALSO THANK YOU FOR RECENTLY SUPPORTING THE EFFORTS THAT THE DEPARTMENT DID TO REVISE ITS SPECIAL EDUCATION RULES PROCESS. IT WASN’T SUCCESSFUL. THE TEAM WENT ABOVE AND BEYOND WHAT WAS REQUIRED, BUT THE FIELD RESPONDED DIFFERENTLY TO IT AFTER IT WAS FINISHED THAN THE HOPE HAD BEEN AT THE BEGINNING. SO LARA DIDN’T APPROVE IT FOR THE NEXT STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT, SO IN THE DEPARTMENT, WE’LL BE STARTING THE PROCESS OVER AGAIN AFTER A NEW SUPERINTENDENT IS CHOSEN, OR STARTING IT NOW AND FINISHING IT LATER. IF YOU WERE STATE SUPERINTENDENT, WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY THIS TIME?>>BOY. YOU KNOW, I THINK THE DEPARTMENT OF ED INVOLVED THE FIELD QUITE A BIT. I GUESS I WOULD — I WASN’T — I KNOW THAT WE HAD PEOPLE COMING TO THE MDE TO BE PART OF THE PROCESS, AND USUALLY, FOR OAKLAND SCHOOLS, WHETHER IT’S THE ESEA WAIVER, WHETHER IT’S TESTING AND MEASUREMENT, WHETHER IT’S CAREER-FOCUSED ED OR SPECIAL ED OR EARLY CHILDHOOD, WE TYPICALLY HAVE PEOPLE WHO ARE WORKING WITH YOUR FOLKS ON INITIATIVES LIKE THIS — IS THERE NEED OF APPROVAL OF CHANGES OR NOT — BUT I — WE’RE NOT THE ONES WHO SET UP THE PROCESS. SO THE FIRST THING I’D DO WHEN I GOT HERE IS I WOULD REVIEW WITH YOUR FOLKS EXACTLY WHAT WAS THE PROCESS. HOW SOON DID YOU GO OUT TO THE FIELD? DID YOU LEAVE AMPLE TIME FOR THE FIELD TO COME AND GIVE YOU THE RESPONSE? SOMETIMES, I THINK, HERE, LIKE IN OTHER PLACES, THE WORKLOAD IS SO HEAVY AND THE RESOURCES ARE SO SCARCE THAT WE RUSH THINGS. WE DON’T GIVE IT ADEQUATE FIELD TIME OR ADEQUATE REVIEW TIME. SO TIME WOULD BE SOMETHING I’D LOOK AT TO MAKE SURE THAT IT WASN’T RUSHED AND PEOPLE WERE GIVEN ADEQUATE TIME TO STUDY WHAT WAS BEING PROPOSED AS WELL AS ADEQUATE TIME TO INPUT WHAT WAS BEING PROPOSED. AND THEN, I THINK, ONCE YOU PULL TOGETHER A REPUTATION, IT’S GOT TO BE CONSIDERED VERY DRAFT, WHICH MEANS THAT ONCE YOU PULL IT TOGETHER, YOU THEN HAVE TO GO BACK TO THE FIELD AND GO BACK TO NOT JUST THE PEOPLE THAT SAT ON THE COMMITTEE, BUT TO THE PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING TO BE THE RECIPIENTS, BOTH PARENTS AS WELL AS TEACHERS AS WELL AS SPECIAL EDUCATION ADMINISTRATORS, AND HAVE THEM REVIEW IT AGAIN AND SEE IF THERE WAS ANYTHING THAT WAS MISSED. WHEN MY ISD WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN DEVELOPING THE CURRICULUM TO SUPPORT THE NEW STANDARDS IN MATH AND READING — AND I KNOW SOMETIMES YOU CAN’T TAKE THIS LONG, BUT I THINK IT WAS IMPORTANT — WE DEVELOPED A K-12 CURRICULUM THAT IS NOW BEING USED ACROSS THE STATE, AND WE USED THE STATE TO HELP US DEVELOP THAT, FORTUNATELY, IN A COLLABORATIVE EFFORT THROUGH MAISA. BUT THAT WAS BRINGING IN TEACHERS FROM ALL OVER THE STATE, EXPERT IN THEIR FIELD, TO INITIALLY WRITE THE UNITS. THEN, IT WAS SENDING THOSE UNITS OUT TO BE FIELD TESTED. THEN, IT WAS TAKING THE INFORMATION BACK FROM THE FIELD TEST IN ORDER TO REVISE. THEN, IT WAS SENDING IT BACK OUT AGAIN TO BE PILOTED, AND THEN, IT WAS BRINGING BACK RESPONSES FROM THE PILOT TO SEE IF THERE WAS ANYTHING ELSE TO BE FIXED. AND THEN, FINALLY, IT WAS PUT OUT INTO THE FIELD. AND I HAVE STILL SAID TO MY PEOPLE AND TO MAISA, “WATCH IT, BECAUSE IN A YEAR OR TWO, OR AS WE GO ALONG, WE’RE GOING TO FIND OUT THAT WE MISSED SOMETHING, OR SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE TWEAKED.” AND SURE ENOUGH, SEVERAL MONTHS AGO, A GROUP OF TEACHERS IN PONTIAC FOUND SOMETHING IN ONE OF OUR UNITS — RIGHT NOW, I CAN’T EVEN REMEMBER WHAT IT WAS — IT WAS A BOOK OF SOME SORT — THAT REALLY WAS NOT AN APPROPRIATE SOURCE FOR THE TOPIC BEING TAUGHT. AND WE PULLED IT AND SUBSTITUTED ANOTHER. SO THAT’S WHAT I WOULD BRING TO ANY PROCESS THAT CAME TO MDE, REGARDLESS OF WHAT DEPARTMENT IT CAME TO.>>KATHY?>>OH, I HAD SEVERAL DIFFERENT QUESTIONS ON DIFFERENT ISSUES. I HOPE I GET TO THEM ALL. WE TALKED ABOUT STANDARDS AND HOW WE SHOULD MAKE OUR OWN DECISIONS. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE FACT THAT THE STATE BOARD ADOPTED THE COMMON CORE A NUMBER OF YEARS AGO?>>WELL, IT’S PRETTY MUCH WHAT I SAID BEFORE. I THINK THAT WE HAVE — EVERY STATE HAS BEEN DEVELOPING ITS OWN STANDARDS FOR YEARS, AND, AS I SAID IN MY FIRST INTERVIEW, MY EXPERIENCE IN THREE DIFFERENT STATES AND MY EXPERIENCE IN SEEING WHAT OTHER STATES DO ON EITHER COAST IS, IF YOU RECALL, I SAID, WRITING A GOOD PARAGRAPH IN 3RD GRADE IS A GOOD PARAGRAPH IN 3RD GRADE, WHETHER YOU’RE IN MICHIGAN, INDIANA, ILLINOIS, CALIFORNIA OR NEW YORK. SO THE — WHAT THE IMPORTANT STANDARDS ARE FOR KIDS TO KNOW, UNDERSTAND AND BE ABLE TO DO ARE PRETTY COMMON, AND THEY HAVE TO BE COMMON IF WE WANT TO BE GLOBALLY COMPETITIVE. I THINK WHEN THE 40-SOME STATES CAME TOGETHER TO DEVELOP THE COMMON CORE, IT WAS WITH GOOD INTENTIONS. THE INTENTIONS WERE, “IF WE’RE ALL GOING TO BE DOING THIS ANYWAY, WHY NOT DO IT TOGETHER? WHY NOT COMBINE OUR THINKING AND TAKE THAT THINKING FORWARD? WE MAY END UP WITH A BETTER PRODUCT. WE CERTAINLY WILL END UP WITH A PRODUCT THAT DIDN’T COST AS MUCH AS 40 OF US DEVELOPING OUR OWN.” I THINK THAT WAS WELL-INTENTIONED. I DON’T THINK THERE WAS ANYTHING WRONG WITH THE BOARD ADOPTING THAT. WHAT WE FOUND OUT LATER WAS THAT THERE WERE SOME PEOPLE WHO DIDN’T WANT THAT COMMON EFFORT, OR THEY SUSPECTED WHAT WAS BEHIND THAT COMMON EFFORT. AND JUST AS YOU HAVE PEOPLE THAT SUSPECT I WOULD POLARIZE CONVERSATIONS, YOU HAVE PEOPLE WHO SUSPECTED THAT THE COMMON CORE WAS SOMEHOW CONCEIVED IN WASHINGTON. AND I THINK WASHINGTON MADE ITS OWN ERRORS IN PUTTING THAT FALSE IMPRESSION FORWARD THAT WE NOW HAVE TO LIVE WITH. I THINK THE CONTENT OF THE COMMON CORE, AS MICHIGAN GOES FORWARD AND TRIES TO CUSTOMIZE WHAT THE STANDARDS ARE THEY WANT FOR MICHIGAN, MY GUESS IS 80 TO 90% OF IT WILL BE VERY SIMILAR TO WHAT WE NOW HAVE AS THE COMMON CORE. BECAUSE WHAT KIDS HAVE TO BE ABLE TO KNOW, UNDERSTAND AND BE ABLE TO DO IS PRETTY CONSTANT ACROSS THE GLOBE.>>OKAY, THANK YOU.>>LUPE.>>BIENVENIDA. WELCOME. IS THERE ANYTHING IN YOUR WORK OR YOUR CAREER THAT COULD SURFACE AND COULD REFLECT POORLY ON YOUR PROFESSIONAL JUDGMENT OR REFLECT POORLY ON THE DEPARTMENT?>>NO, I DON’T THINK THERE IS. I WAS VERY HONEST IN MY APPLICATION WITH YOUR CONSULTANTS. THERE WAS ONE SUPERINTENDENCY I HAD WHERE, AFTER A BOARD ELECTION AND SOME TURNAROUND ON THE BOARD, I WAS NOT THE BEST MATCH FOR THAT BOARD, AND WE RESOLVED THAT ISSUE BY MY LEAVING THAT JOB AND GOING TO ANOTHER. I SAID HERE, IN THE FIRST INTERVIEW, THIS IS THE ELECTED BOARD. THE ELECTED BOARD HIRES THE SUPERINTENDENT, AND THE SUPERINTENDENT CAN ONLY BE EFFECTIVE WHEN THAT SUPERINTENDENT IS EFFECTIVE WORKING WITH THE ELECTED BOARD. DURING THAT TIME, HOWEVER, THERE WAS — THE ONLY PUBLIC THING THAT I CAN REMEMBER IS THAT THERE WERE SOME BOARD MEMBERS WHO REALLY WANTED TO BRING A PUBLIC DISCREDIT TO MY WORK, AND SO THERE WAS A BOARD MEMBER WHO ASKED THE SUN TIMES TO FOIA UP ALL MY EXPENSE ACCOUNTS OVER ABOUT A THREE AND A HALF YEAR PERIOD OF TIME. QUITE A STACK OF PAPER. AND THE SUN TIMES — I THINK IT WAS THE SUN TIMES OR THE TRIBUNE — THEY FOIA-ED IT, AND THEY CALLED ME SEVERAL WEEKS LATER, AND THE REPORTER KIND OF LAUGHED AND SAID, “YOU’RE THE CHEAPEST DATE I’VE EVER SEEN. DID YOU REALLY TAKE PEOPLE TO THE CHINESE RESTAURANT FOR LUNCH AND STAY AT A RED ROOF INN?” AND I SAID, “YES, I REALLY DID DO THAT.” I’M PRETTY CAREFUL WITH MONEY. THERE WAS — WHEN I DECIDED TO LEAVE THE DISTRICT, BECAUSE YOU CAN’T BE EFFECTIVE IF YOU AND THE BOARD CANNOT GEL, SO — AND MY JOB IS TO GO SOMEWHERE AND BE EFFECTIVE. THERE’S NO SENSE IN SPINNING YOUR WHEELS. SO WHEN I DID LEAVE, I WAS OF AN AGE WHERE I COULD EARLY RETIRE FROM ILLINOIS, AND I HAD NO REASON TO WANT TO STAY IN ILLINOIS — MY HOME WAS STILL IN MICHIGAN, AND I WANTED TO STAY CLOSE TO THAT HOME — SO I DECIDED TO EARLY RETIRE FROM THE STATE AND APPLY ELSEWHERE. I BECAME A FINALIST IN PENN HARRIS MADISON, WHICH I TALKED TO YOU ABOUT, AND I WAS ALSO A FINALIST AT THAT TIME IN EAST LANSING. AND — BUT AS PART OF THE EARLY RETIREMENT, AND I DID HAVE A THREE-YEAR CONTRACT WITH THE BOARD WHEN I LEFT, BUT I DID NOT WANT TO BUY OUT. I DID NOT ASK FOR A BUYOUT. WHAT THE BOARD SUGGESTED I DO WAS TAKE THE SAME EARLY RETIREMENT PACKAGE THAT TEACHERS WERE GETTING IN THAT DISTRICT, AND I DID. AND THERE WAS A NEWSPAPER ARTICLE QUESTIONING ON WHETHER OR NOT I SHOULD HAVE TAKEN THE SAME EARLY RETIREMENT PACKAGE AS THE TEACHERS. THOSE ARE THE ONLY — I MEAN, YOU COULD GOOGLE ME AND FIND OUT IF THERE’S ANYTHING MORE, BUT THOSE ARE THE TWO MOST CONTROVERSIAL THINGS I CAN THINK OF.>>THANK YOU.>>PAM?>>AS — TALKING AND GETTING FEEDBACK AROUND THE STATE, HEARING REALLY GREAT THINGS ABOUT YOU, AND WELCOME, AND HAPPY THAT YOU’RE ABLE TO MAKE IT TO THIS SPOT. ONE OF THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL THINGS HAS BEEN YOUR OPPOSITION TO THE EAA AND HOW YOU’VE BEEN VERY VOCAL ABOUT THAT. OTHER QUESTIONS THAT I HAVE: WITH YOUR OPPOSITION TO THE EAA, YOU KNOW, VERY VOCAL ON WHAT THE ISSUES WERE TO THAT, BUT WHAT ARE SOME OF THE FRESH, INNOVATIVE IDEAS THAT YOU WOULD BRING AS SUPERINTENDENT TO KEEP SCHOOLS OUT OF THE PRIORITY RATING AND OUT OF THE — MOVING TO THE TOP OF THAT TOP TO BOTTOM LIST?>>WELL, I’M SO GLAD THAT YOU BROUGHT THAT UP, BECAUSE, AS YOU SAID, SOMETIMES WHAT YOU HEAR WAS NOT WHAT WAS EVER SAID. I ACTUALLY HAVE NEVER OPPOSED THE EAA ITSELF. I WAS VERY OUTSPOKEN, I THINK IT WAS DURING 2011 OR 2012, WHEN THE BILL WAS PUT FORWARD TO EXPAND THE EAA. AND MY COMMENTS AT THAT TIME WERE NOT ABOUT THE EAA. IT WAS TOO EARLY TO EVEN KNOW IF THE EAA WAS WORKING OR NOT. IN FACT, MY COMMENTS HAVE, PRETTY GENERALLY, BEEN YOU HAVE TO LET SOMETHING BE FOR A COUPLE YEARS BEFORE YOU KNOW WHETHER OR NOT IT’S WORKING, AND AT THAT TIME, THE EAA WAS TOO YOUNG TO EVEN KNOW HOW WELL IT WAS GOING TO DO. SO I NEVER CRITICIZED THE EAA OR WHAT IT WAS ACCOMPLISHING, BECAUSE IT WAS TOO SOON TO KNOW. THE BILL, HOWEVER, IS — I OPPOSED SOME COMPONENTS OF EXPANDING THE EAA BILL, SPECIFICALLY, THAT BILL WAS TIED IN LANGUAGE TO ANOTHER BILL THAT SAT IN LAME DUCK 2012, THAT WAS A BILL THAT WOULD HAVE ALLOWED CHARTERS TO SELECTIVELY ENROLL STUDENTS. AND I DID OPPOSE THE SELECTIVE ENROLLMENT CLAUSE OF THAT CHARTER BILL. WITHIN THE EAA BILL, THERE WAS, AT THAT TIME — NOW, IT’S CHANGED SINCE — THE NEW EAA BILL HAS IT, BUT THE BILL AT THAT TIME DID NOT SAY THAT THE EAA’S EFFORTS WOULD BE FOCUSED SOLELY ON LOW PERFORMING OR HIGH PRIORITY SCHOOLS, THOSE IN THE BOTTOM 5%. THE LANGUAGE LEFT IT WIDE OPEN FOR THE EAA AND CHARTERS TO SERVE KIDS AT ANY PART OF THE LEARNING SPECTRUM. AND I WAS PART OF A GROUP THAT WANTED LANGUAGE THAT WOULD HAVE RESTRICTED THE EAA TO THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH WE THOUGHT IT WAS DESIGNED, WHICH WAS TO INTERVENE IN LOW PERFORMING SCHOOLS IN THE BOTTOM 5%. SO IT WAS THE BILL, THE LANGUAGE IN THE BILL, THAT WE WERE OPPOSING AT THAT TIME. I, PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY, THOUGHT, AND ACTUALLY MENTIONED THIS TO JOHN COVINGTON AT THE TIME, THAT, YOU KNOW, IF HE COULD GET THE 15 SCHOOLS TO REALLY DO WELL AND BE ABLE TO BRING FORTH CHARTS LIKE I DID, THEN EAA HAS ITS CREDIBILITY AND COULD MOVE ON. SO I’M GLAD YOU LET ME CLARIFY, BECAUSE THIS IS THE SECOND TIME I’VE HEARD THAT I OPPOSE THE EAA, AND I ACTUALLY NEVER DID THAT. AND I — WITH ALL THE POLITICS SURROUNDING THE EAA, I KNOW THAT THOSE PEOPLE IN THOSE BUILDINGS ARE WORKING HARD EVERY DAY TO DO THE BEST THEY CAN FOR THOSE CHILDREN. PEOPLE DON’T COME INTO TEACHING, THEY DON’T COME INTO PRINCIPALSHIPS WITHOUT HAVING A MISSION IN THEIR HEART TO DO BEST FOR THOSE KIDS. AND IT IS SAD THAT SOMETIMES THE POLITICS OF OUR WORLD GET IN THE WAY OR INTERFERE OR CAUSE FOCUS TO BE SHIFTED FROM THAT. IN TERMS OF WHAT WOULD I DO… OH, I’VE GOT LOTS OF IDEAS, AND I’M TRYING TO THINK OF HOW TO MAKE IT SHORT. I BELIEVE THAT THE SCHOOL REFORM OFFICE, WHEREVER IT SITS, HAS GOT TO BE THE LAST RESORT THAT YOU TURN TO WHEN YOU ARE NOT ABLE TO GET SCHOOLS TO IMPROVE STUDENT LEARNING ON THEIR OWN. AND I THINK IT’S IMPORTANT TO HAVE A LAST RESORT, BECAUSE WE CANNOT LET CHILDREN STAY LOCKED INTO SYSTEMS WHO, IN SPITE OF THEIR BEST EFFORTS, CAN’T SEEM TO GET ACHIEVEMENT MOVING. I DO BELIEVE, HOWEVER, AND IN FACT, MY ISD WAS PRETTY INSTRUMENTAL IN WORKING WITH SOME FOLKS, AND OTHER ISDS ARE NOW CONSIDERING THE CONCEPT OF BRINGING IN AN OPTION THAT WOULD ALLOW A MORE TEMPORARY INTERVENTION IN THOSE SCHOOLS, LEAVING A LOCAL SCHOOL BOARD IN PLACE, LEAVING THE ASSETS OF THE DISTRICT TO BE PART OF THE DISTRICT, BUT BRINGING IN KIND OF A SWAT TEAM OR TRIAGE TEAM. AND THAT COULD COME FROM UNIVERSITIES, THAT TEAM COULD COME FROM ISDS, THAT TEAM COULD COME FROM THE EAA, IF IT PROVED ITSELF TO WORK, THAT TEAM COULD COME FROM AN ENTITY WE CAN’T EVEN THINK OF RIGHT NOW THAT WE DISCOVER TOMORROW OR IN A YEAR. THE IMPORTANT THING ABOUT WHATEVER ENTITY WOULD BE PART OF THAT TRIAGE TEAM WOULD BE THAT THEY WOULD HAVE HAD A RECORD OF PROVEN RESULTS, SO THAT WE KNEW WHAT WE WERE BRINGING IN TO MOVE THAT SCHOOL FORWARD AND THAT WE DID IT IN A WAY THAT HAD AN INTENTION OF RETURNING THE SCHOOL TO ITS COMMUNITY, RETURNING THE FULL OPERATION OF THE SCHOOL BACK TO ITS COMMUNITY AFTER THAT ACHIEVEMENT WAS RAISED AND WAS STABILIZED FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS, JUST AS WE’RE DOING WITH THE CONSENT AGREEMENT FOR FINANCE. WE’RE IN THERE, WE’RE WORKING WITH PONTIAC, WE’VE GOT OTHER AGENCIES HELPING, THE ISD IS HELPING, WE KNOW THEIR DEFICIT WILL BE ELIMINATED IN ANOTHER 10 TO 12 YEARS. YES, IT WILL TAKE A LONG TIME, BECAUSE THE DEFICIT WAS VERY BIG, AND YOU HAVE TO KEEP A VIABLE PROGRAM IN PLACE IN THE MEANTIME. I THINK WITH EDUCATION IT WILL NEVER HAVE TO TAKE THAT LONG, BUT YOU NEED AT LEAST THREE OR FOUR YEARS TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU’VE GOT THE NEEDLE MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION, AND THEN YOU — JUST BEING THERE WILL ALSO BUILD CAPACITY IN THE DISTRICT TO WHICH THAT SCHOOL BELONGS. AND I THINK THAT’S A POTENTIALLY POSITIVE ROAD TO TAKE BEFORE YOU START TALKING ABOUT TOTAL TAKEOVER OR TOTAL REMOVAL OF A SCHOOL FROM ITS COMMUNITY.>>THANK YOU. A QUESTION OCCURRED TO ME. ONE OF MY FONDEST HOPES OF WHAT WE MIGHT BE SEEING COMING OUT OF THE DETROIT COALITION AND THAT I SUSPECT THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE WOULD EMBRACE AND TRY TO HELP WITH AND THAT I WANTED US TO EMBRACE AND HELP WITH AS A BOARD AND A DEPARTMENT IS SOME SORT OF SANE PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT STRATEGY FOR TAKING, IN THE DETROIT CASE, THE EXISTING CHARTERS, WHICH ARE GOOD, BAD, AND INDIFFERENT, EAA AND DPS, AND LOOKING AT THE WHOLE AND SAYING, “CAN YOU MANAGE A QUALITY EDUCATION SET OF SCHOOLS HERE?” THIS MEANS CLOSING DOWN ONES THAT DON’T WORK, REPLACING WITH HIGH QUALITY SCHOOLS WHERE WE NEED THEM, AND HAVING SOME SANITY TO WHERE AND WHEN THE COMMUNITY CAN INFORM OF WHERE AND WHEN WE NEED DIFFERENT TYPES OF SCHOOLS, INSTEAD OF THE CHAOS THAT WE HAVE OF SCHOOLS, GOOD, BAD AND INDIFFERENT, OPENING, CLOSING, AND MEANWHILE DISABLING PUBLIC EDUCATION. THAT LOGIC COULD BE EXTENDED TO ALL THE MAJOR URBAN MARKETS, OR WHERE WE HAVE A MARKET OF CHARTER AND CHOICE AND PUBLIC SCHOOLS THAT MAKES NO SENSE IN TERMS OF A QUALITY CONTROL. COULD YOU SUPPORT A KIND OF PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT APPROACH OF THAT SORT, OR DO YOU HAVE A BETTER IDEA OF HOW WE COULD MANAGE TO QUALITY OUTCOMES THIS FAMILY OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS THAT WE HAVE?>>WELL, WE NEED SOME SYSTEM. I DON’T KNOW YET — THE PORTFOLIO NAME CAME ABOUT IN NEW ORLEANS, AND WE’RE NOT NEW ORLEANS. WE’RE VERY DIFFERENT. WE DIDN’T HAVE A HURRICANE. [ LAUGHTER ] AND SO WE HAVE THREE SYSTEMS IN PLACE, SO WHETHER OR NOT OUR SYSTEM COULD LOOK LIKE THE NEW ORLEANS SYSTEM OR NOT IS SOMETHING THAT REALLY REQUIRES MORE STUDY. AND I DO SIT ON THE SUBCOMMITTEE, THE POLICY SUBCOMMITTEE FOR THE COALITION FOR THE FUTURE OF DETROIT SCHOOLCHILDREN. SO I WANT TO MAKE IT CLEAR THAT ANYTHING I SAY RIGHT NOW IS NOT SPEAKING FOR THAT COALITION, AND IT IS NOT TELLING YOU WHERE THAT COALITION IS GOING. I WANT TO SEPARATE THAT. BUT WE DO NEED A SYSTEM. I MEAN, THIS BOARD HEARD FROM DR. ARSEN, I BELIEVE, LAST SPRING OR THIS FALL. YOU HEARD FROM HIM THAT WE, RIGHT NOW, HAVE A LINE OF DECLINING ENROLLMENT FOR MICHIGAN CHILDREN, AND WE HAVE A LINE OF INCREASING SCHOOLS TO MEET THAT DECLINING ENROLLMENT. WE HAVE TO HAVE A SYSTEM WHERE WE MATCH THE NUMBER OF SCHOOLS WE HAVE TO THE NUMBER OF STUDENTS WE HAVE. NOW, WE ALSO HAVE TO HAVE A SYSTEM TO MAKE SURE WHEN WE DO THAT MATCH, THE SCHOOLS ARE OF QUALITY. AND BECAUSE WE HAVE KIND OF THIS DUAL SYSTEM, AND IN DETROIT, EVEN KIND OF A POSSIBLY EVEN MORE THAN DUAL SYSTEM, WE HAVE TO FIGURE OUT A WAY TO DO IT FAIRLY. WE’RE GOING TO BE A SYSTEM OF CHOICE. THAT’S NOT NECESSARILY BAD. I HAVE ALSO, SURPRISINGLY, NOT EVER OPPOSED CHOICE, ALTHOUGH I SEEM TO BE CAST AS YOUR ANTI-CHOICE CANDIDATE. I HAVE SAID THAT CHOICE IS NOT A REFORM THAT RAISES STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT, BUT I HAVEN’T SAID THAT CHOICE IS NOT SOMETHING WE SHOULD HAVE. THEY’RE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS. SO WE HAVE TO FIGURE OUT, BECAUSE WE ARE A STATE WITH A CHOICE, AND IT’S A PUBLIC POLICY THIS STATE HAS CHOSEN AND EMBRACES, WE HAVE TO FIGURE OUT WHAT FAIR WAY DO WE GET TO THE RIGHT NUMBER OF SCHOOLS IN THE RIGHT PLACES WITH THE RIGHT QUALITY. AND I BELIEVE IT’S NOT GOING TO BE ONE SIMPLE ANSWER. I BELIEVE IT’S GOING TO BE AN EXTREMELY COMPLEX SET OF THINGS WE NEED TO DO. FIRST, WE NEED TO IDENTIFY AND BE HONEST ABOUT WHAT’S WORKING AND WHAT’S NOT. WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO LOOK AT ARE THERE COMMUNITIES WHERE THERE’S GAPS IN SERVICES? THERE’S SOME COMMUNITIES IN DETROIT THAT HAVE NO SCHOOLS WITHIN NEIGHBORHOOD DISTANCE. AND THEN, WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO FIGURE OUT HOW DO WE COME TOGETHER TO FIX EVERY LAYER OF THAT COMPLEX ISSUE. SOME OF IT’S GOING TO BE QUALITY CONTROL. SOME OF IT’S GOING TO BE DEMOGRAPHICS AND GEOGRAPHICS. SOME OF IT’S GOING TO BE, AND I HOPE MOST OF IT IS GOING TO BE CAPACITY-BUILDING. THERE ARE VERY FEW FOLKS IN EDUCATION — AND I’VE BEEN A TEACHER AND AN ADMINISTRATOR FOR A LONG TIME IN A LOT OF PLACES — THERE ARE VERY FEW FOLKS THAT COME TO WORK EVERY DAY AND SAY, “GEE, HOW CAN I DO MY BEST TO MAKE SURE THESE CHILDREN DON’T LEARN?” EVERYBODY’S COMING TO WORK TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO DO THEIR BEST FOR THESE CHILDREN TO LEARN. SO WE HAVE TO NOT ONLY TALK ABOUT WHAT TO WE CLOSE AND LEAVE OPEN AND HOW MANY DO WE HAVE, BUT WE HAVE TO TALK ABOUT A SYSTEM OF SUPPORTS THAT WILL ALLOW THE CHARTERS TO THRIVE, THAT WILL ALLOW THE LOCALLY-GOVERNED SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO THRIVE, AND THAT WILL ALSO PUT INTERVENTIONS IN PLACE WHERE NEEDED — SOMETHING LIKE AN EAA MODE. WE CAN’T GO ON AS WE ARE, BECAUSE IF WE DO, IF WE KEEP OVER-BUILDING AND OVER-OPERATING — EVERYBODY WHO RUNS A SCHOOL KNOWS THE MOST EXPENSIVE THING YOU CAN HAVE IS MORE FLOOR SPACE THAN YOU NEED. IF WE CONTINUE THAT, NEITHER THE CHARTER SYSTEM NOR THE LOCALLY-GOVERNED SYSTEM WILL HAVE ENOUGH RESOURCES TO GET KIDS WHAT THEY NEED.>>THANK YOU. CASANDRA.>>WELL, MOST OF THE QUESTIONS I’VE HAD, YOU’VE ANSWERED THROUGH YOUR ANSWERS ALREADY, SO I JUST WANT TO SAY, I APPRECIATE THE FACT THAT YOU’RE BEING SO SPECIFIC AND CLEAR IN YOUR ANSWERS. SO I’M GOING TO THROW ONE OUT THAT IS UNIQUE TO YOU, BECAUSE YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE EXPERIENCING THIS RIGHT NOW, WHICH IS YOUR WORK WITH PONTIAC SCHOOLS. SO WE KNOW THAT THERE ARE A FEW DISTRICTS IN THE STATE OF MICHIGAN THAT ARE IN WHAT PEOPLE ARE CALLING A DEATH SPIRAL. THEY’VE LOST STUDENTS, AND SO THEY CLOSE SCHOOLS. THE MORE SCHOOLS THEY CLOSE, THE MORE STUDENTS THEY LOSE. THE MORE STUDENTS THEY LOSE, THE MORE SCHOOLS THEY CLOSE, AND YOU’RE — YOU KNOW, DETROIT IS THE BIGGEST EXAMPLE. PONTIAC IS ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THIS. HOW DO YOU ADDRESS A DEATH SPIRAL? ONCE A DISTRICT IS IN THIS, HOW DO YOU GET THEM STABLE SO THEY CAN GET BACK OUT OF THAT?>>WELL, WHEN YOU’RE IN A DEATH SPIRAL WITH A DEFICIT AND YOU HAVE — IN PONTIAC RIGHT NOW, $800 OF EVERY PUPIL’S REVENUE IS GOING TO PAY OFF THE DEBT, ON AVERAGE OVER THE COURSE OF THE PLAN, $800 OUT OF THE $7,200 OR WHATEVER IT IS THEY’RE GETTING IS A BIG CHUNK. SO THE FIRST THING YOU HAVE TO DO WHEN YOU GO INTO A DISTRICT WITH A HUGE DEFICIT IS YOU HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU’RE NOT TAKING ANY MORE OF THAT. HAZEL PARK JUST GOT ON THE LIST BECAUSE OF SOME ERRORS IN BUDGETING THAT HAD OCCURRED PRIOR, AND AT THIS POINT, THEY’RE NOT IN A CONSENT AGREEMENT, BUT THAT’S BECAUSE THE ISD SENT A SWAT TEAM IN ALREADY ON FINANCES, AND WE’RE GETTING THAT — I THINK WE’LL HAVE THAT DISTRICT PRETTY WELL STRAIGHTENED OUT IN A FEW YEARS THROUGH THE REGULAR DEFICIT ELIMINATION PLANNING PROCESS. BUT WE HAD TO, THERE, ALSO SAY THAT THIS DEBT THAT THEY’VE INCREASED, WHICH IS NOW GOING TO BE SOMEWHERE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF 11 OR 12 MILLION, HOW DO WE MAKE SURE WE CAN PAY THAT OFF OVER TIME? AND THE OLD PROCESS HERE THAT SAID YOU HAD TO HAVE A DEP, AND IT HAD TO BE FINISHED IN TWO OR THREE YEARS, THAT DOESN’T WORK ANYMORE. BECAUSE, DEPENDING ON THE SIZE OF THE DISTRICT, DEPENDING ON THE ENROLLMENT DECLINE, YOU SOMETIMES NEED MORE YEARS. AND IT’S WONDERFUL THAT SUPERINTENDENT FLANAGAN HAS BEEN FLEXIBLE IN LOOKING AT THAT AND HAS HAD HIS PEOPLE BE FLEXIBLE IN LOOKING AT THAT. SO YOU HAVE TO HAVE A REASONABLE EXPECTATION OF HOW MUCH OF THE MONEY YOU’RE GOING TO TAKE AWAY FROM THE PER-PUPIL FUNDING TO PAY OFF THE DEBT, A REASONABLE EXPECTATION ON HOW LONG THAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN. AND IT’S WORTH IT. IT’S WORTH WAITING, BECAUSE IN PONTIAC, WE ARE NOT USING ANY BAILOUT MONEY. THERE’S NO STATE BAILOUT THAT’S GOING TO CORRECT PONTIAC’S BUDGET. WE’RE USING LOANS, WE’RE USING OTHER FINANCING TOOLS, BUT THOSE TOOLS ARE GOING TO CAUSE PONTIAC TO PAY BACK ITS DEBT, JUST OVER A LONGER PERIOD OF TIME. AND THAT’S CRITICAL. SO YOU GET THAT STRUCTURE IN FIRST, THAT WAY, YOU HAVE ENOUGH MONEY SET ASIDE THAT YOU CAN RUN VIABLE PROGRAMS. BEFORE THE CONSENT AGREEMENT, PONTIAC WAS AT 42 KIDS IN A KINDERGARTEN CLASS. THERE’S NO WAY YOU’RE GOING TO ATTRACT ENROLLMENT WITH 42 KIDS IN YOUR ELEMENTARY CLASSES. WITHIN MONTHS AFTER THE CONSENT AGREEMENT, AFTER WE HAD THIS PLAN, AFTER WE COULD GET SOME COMMON SENSE CONTROLLING THE MONEY THAT WOULD GO TO PAY OFF THE DEBT, THE MONEY THAT WOULD OPERATE SCHOOLS, THOSE CLASS SIZES ARE ALL 30 OR LESS. PONTIAC WAS NOT ABLE TO SPEND MONEY ON TEXTBOOKS OR MATERIALS. LAST YEAR, WE TRIPLED THE AMOUNT OF MONEY PER PUPIL THAT WAS GOING TO BE SPENT ON CLASSROOM MATERIALS AND TEXTBOOKS SO THAT TEACHERS ACTUALLY HAD THE MANUALS. AND IN FACT, WE HAD THE MANIPULATIVES. WE WENT ONE-ON-ONE WITH THE CHROMEBOOKS FOR OUR SECONDARY SCHOOLS, BECAUSE IT DIDN’T MAKE SENSE TO BUY 100 POUNDS WORTH OF TEXTBOOKS. IT WAS MUCH CHEAPER TO ACTUALLY BUY CHROMEBOOKS AND PUT THE TEXTBOOKS INTO THE CHROMEBOOK. AND THEN WE LOOKED AT EDUCATIONAL PRACTICES AND WE MADE SURE THAT ALL THE SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT PLANS — AND YOUR MDE DEPARTMENT HERE WAS VERY HELPFUL — WERE FOCUSED ON THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS. NOT 100 PROGRAMS IN A MONTH. THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS. VERY TIGHTLY FOCUSED. AND ALL OF A SUDDEN, WITHIN THE FIRST YEAR, ALL OF THE NORTHWEST EDUCATION EVALUATIONS SCORES STARTED NUDGING UP. EVEN THE HIGH SCHOOL ACT SCORE NUDGED UP LAST YEAR BECAUSE OF THAT FOCUS. NOW IT’S HAPPENED, THE COMMUNITY KNOWS THAT THAT’S GOING TO BE PAID. THE COMMUNITY KNOWS ACHIEVEMENT’S GOING UP. THE COMMUNITY KNOWS WE’RE BEGINNING TO STABILIZE. WE’RE NOT — WE DECLINED IN ENROLLMENT HALF AS MUCH AS THEY EVER DECLINED IN THE SIX OR SEVEN YEARS PRIOR. WE CUT THE DECLINE IN HALF IN ONE YEAR BECAUSE THE COMMUNITY IS GETTING CONFIDENT. ALL COMMUNITIES WANT THEIR SCHOOLS, AND THEY WANT THEIR SCHOOLS TO DO WELL. THEY DON’T WANT THEM DISSOLVED OR TAKEN AWAY. THEY WANT THEIR SCHOOLS, BUT THEY WANT THEM TO DO WELL. NOW THAT THE PONTIAC COMMUNITY IS GROWING IN CONFIDENCE AROUND ITS SCHOOLS, THE MORALE OF THE STAFF IS MOVING UP, THE KIDS ARE EXCITED — WE DID A STUDENT ENGAGEMENT — STUDENT ENGAGEMENT IS A BIG THING, BECAUSE ONE OF THE WAYS YOU MOVE STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT UP EVERYWHERE IS STUDENT ENGAGEMENT, AND IT’S A CRITICAL GOAL IN OAKLAND COUNTY FOR ALL OF OUR SCHOOLS. SO WE DID A COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT SURVEY IN PONTIAC, AND PONTIAC STUDENTS MADE THE MOST GAIN, THEY SCORED THE HIGHEST IN THIS YEAR’S SURVEY, THE RESPECT THEY FEEL IN THE CLASSROOM, THE WAY THE CLASSROOM MEETS THEIR NEEDS, THE KIND OF BEHAVIORAL STANDARDS IN THE CLASSROOM, THE KINDS OF EXPECTATIONS TEACHERS HAVE FOR THEM, WENT UP HIGHER THAN ANY OTHER DISTRICT IN OAKLAND COUNTY. AND THAT WAS IN PONTIAC, RECOVERING FROM ITS DEFICIT.>>MICHELLE.>>THANK YOU. YOU HAD ME ALL WRAPPED UP THERE. I LOST TRACK OF MY QUESTIONS. [ LAUGHTER ]>>DO YOU WANT US TO COME BACK TO YOU?>>NO. I GOT IT. I GOT IT. THIS IS A QUESTION I’VE ASKED BEFORE, BUT IT HAS TO DO WITH THE DECLINE OF TEACHERS GOING INTO THE PROFESSION AND OVERSEE THE TEACHER PREP PROGRAMS HERE. AND WE’VE HAD SOME DRASTIC DECREASES ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. I JUST CAME FROM A HIGHER ED CONFERENCE. EVEN IN NORTH CAROLINA, I WAS TOLD, THE LAST THREE YEARS WAS A 25% DECLINE IN PEOPLE ENROLLING TO BECOME A TEACHER. WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS, AND WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO TRY TO ATTRACT AND PROMOTE THE PROFESSION?>>I THINK THE BIGGEST REASON IS IN THE LAST DECADE, TEACHERS HAVE TAKEN A HIT PUBLICLY. THEY’VE BEEN THE POINT PERSON TO GET THE BLAME FOR WHATEVER IS HAPPENING IN EDUCATION. I DON’T THINK IT’S FAIR, BUT I THINK IT’S WHAT’S HAPPENED, AND THEY’RE FEELING IT. WE HAVE A TEACHER OF THE YEAR PROGRAM IN OAKLAND COUNTY, AS YOU DO HERE, AND ONE OF THE THINGS WE DO IS, AFTER THE TEACHERS OF THE YEAR ARE SELECTED, WE HAVE A BUSINESS PERSON AND A TEACHER FOLLOW EACH OTHER FOR A FULL DAY IN EACH OTHER’S SHOES. AND SO I GOT TO FOLLOW A TEACHER FOR A FULL DAY. I MEAN, I GO TO FOLLOW TEACHERS A LOT AROUND FOR FULL DAYS, BUT THIS ONE WAS ESPECIALLY A SPECIAL TRIP. AND THE THING THAT — AND THIS WAS IN A VERY HIGH ACHIEVING SCHOOL, A SCHOOL THAT YOU’D JUST THINK HAD IT ALL TOGETHER, AND I SAT IN THE TEACHERS LOUNGE, AND TEACHERS WERE JUST DEMORALIZED. THEY FELT OVERWHELMED BY ALL THAT WE WERE ASKING THEM TO DO, ESPECIALLY AROUND TESTING AND PREPARING FOR THOSE KINDS OF TESTS. THEY WERE OVERWHELMED THAT THEY WERE GOING TO BE GIVEN A VERY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME TO IMPLEMENT THE NEW STATE STANDARDS. THEY FELT THEY NEEDED A LOT MORE TIME AND TRAINING. THEY FELT DISRESPECTED BY THE PUBLIC IN GENERAL, AND BASICALLY EVERYONE BUT THEIR PARENTS SAID LOVED THEM. AND I MADE SURE TO LET THEM KNOW THAT THOSE WERE THE MOST IMPORTANT PEOPLE YOU HAD TO IMPRESS, WERE THE PARENTS OF YOUR CHILDREN, AND YOU COULD KIND OF IGNORE SOME OF THIS OTHER STUFF. SO WE HAVE TO GET BACK TO MAKING THIS PROFESSION THE HONORED PROFESSION THAT IT IS AND IT TRULY SHOULD BE. I SPOKE A LITTLE BIT AT THE LAST ONE ABOUT PART OF THE WAY TO DO THAT IS TO BRING TEACHER VOICE TO THE DECISION-MAKING TABLE. I THINK IT’S VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU HAVE A TEACHER VOICE HERE AT THIS TABLE. WE HAVE — I THINK I MENTIONED TO YOU THAT TEACHER LEADERSHIP AND TEACHER VOICE WAS A HUGE EFFORT IN OUR COUNTY, AND WE WENT FROM LESS THAN 100 TO OVER 1,500 PLACES WHERE WE COULD BUILD THAT TEACHER VOICE OPPORTUNITY. I THINK THAT’S VERY IMPORTANT. THOSE 1,500 CERTAINLY FELT EMPOWERED AND HONORED, AND WE NEED TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN. AND IT’S REALLY, FOR TEACHERS, NOT SO MUCH ABOUT MONEY, BUT WHEN YOU CAN COME INTO A PROFESSION AT A STARTING SALARY THAT IS LESS THAN MOST OTHER PROFESSIONS, AND YOU COME TO IT WITH THE SAME STUDENT LOANS THAT EVERYBODY ELSE ENTERS THEIR PROFESSIONS WITH, IT IS ANOTHER FACTOR THAT ADDS TO THAT QUESTION OF JUST WHAT EXACTLY VALUE DO I HAVE HERE? IF THIS IS HOW PEOPLE RATE ME, ACCORDING TO WHAT THEY’RE WILLING TO SPEND ON ME, WHAT IS MY VALUE. SO I THINK WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING TO MAKE THE PROFESSION COMPETITIVE WITH OTHER PROFESSIONS THAT ARE RIGHT NOW ATTRACTING YOUNG PEOPLE. WE’RE NO LONGER A COUNTRY WITH A GLASS CEILING WHERE, YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU’RE A WOMAN, YOU COULD GO INTO NURSING, TEACHING OR — WELL, THAT WAS ABOUT IT. RIGHT NOW, THE GLASS CEILING FOR WOMEN HAS BEEN LIFTED. WE HAD A WONDERFUL CORE OF WOMEN COMING INTO THE TEACHING PROFESSION WHEN THERE WAS THAT GLASS CEILING, WE HAD A CORE OF WOMEN COMING INTO THE TEACHER PROFESSION WHEN THE CALENDAR ATTRACTED THEM, AND WE WERE A WORLD THAT COULD LIVE WITH THEM — ONLY ONE SIGNIFICANT WAGE EARNER. BUT WE’RE NO LONGER IN THAT WORLD. SO NOW, WE HAVE TO MAKE THE PROFESSION COMPETITIVE WITH OTHER PROFESSIONS TO ATTRACT MEN AND WOMEN INTO THE PROFESSION. I SUGGESTED A LONGER WORKING CALENDAR FOR TEACHERS, BECAUSE I THINK WE COULD REALLY BUILD OPPORTUNITIES FOR COLLABORATION AND BUILD OPPORTUNITIES FOR SHARED PLANNING, AND WE COULD ALSO GET MORE STUDENTS INTO SCHOOL MORE DAYS, WHICH WOULD MAKE US MORE COMPETITIVE. AND I THINK THAT MIGHT BE A REASONABLE WAY TO PHASE IN A HIGHER SALARY SCHEDULE FOR TEACHERS.>>RICHARD, LET’S TRY TO GET ANOTHER ROUND IN.>>OKAY. IN THE YEARS I’VE SERVED ON THE BOARD, SOMETIMES THERE’S BEEN A DIFFERENCE OF OPINION AMONG BOARD MEMBERS AND PERHAPS WITH THE SUPERINTENDENT HIMSELF AS TO WHETHER THE SUPERINTENDENT’S PUBLIC REMARKS SHOULD BE CONFINED TO POLICIES AND AGENDA OF THE BOARD, OR SHOULD THE SUPERINTENDENT ADVOCATE POLICIES WITH THE LEGISLATURE OR MAYBE TO THE GOVERNOR APART FROM AND INDEPENDENT FROM THE THINGS ADOPTED BY THE BOARD. WHAT IS YOUR FEELING OR UNDERSTANDING, I GUESS, OF THE SUPERINTENDENT’S ROLE, AND DO YOU ADVOCATE — I MEAN, DO YOU SEE YOURSELF AS CONFINING YOUR PUBLIC REMARKS TO BOARD POLICY AND AGENDA, OR DO YOU UNDERSTAND YOURSELF AS BEING FREE TO EXPRESS OTHER VIEWS ON ISSUES AS THEY ARISE?>>WELL, I’VE NEVER BEEN A STATE SUPERINTENDENT BEFORE, SO THAT’S A LEARNING CURVE FOR ME IN TERMS OF APPLYING WHAT I KNOW TO THIS SETTING. I WILL TELL YOU THAT IN OTHER SETTINGS, IN BOTH THE K-12 WORLD AND IN THE ISD, COUNTY-LEVEL WORLD, THE POLICIES THAT ARE ADOPTED BY THE BOARD OF EDUCATION ARE THE POLICIES THAT I SUPPORT, AND THEY’RE THE POLICIES THAT I’M GOING TO TALK ABOUT. AND IF I HAVE A POLICY ISSUE, IN OTHER WORDS, IF I THINK POLICY A SHOULD SAY RED AND THE BOARD THINKS POLICY A SHOULD SAY BLUE, IF THE BOARD ADOPTS BLUE, BLUE IS WHAT I’M GOING TO SAY, BECAUSE THAT’S THE ROLE OF THE SUPERINTENDENT THAT I’VE KNOWN IN MY PAST EXPERIENCE. I’M SURE — NOW, I WOULD ALSO SAY TO YOU THAT I’VE NEVER GONE INTO ANY ROOM OR CONVERSATION WITH A GROUP OF OTHER PEOPLE WHERE THEY HAVE LIMITED THE CONVERSATION TO ONLY THE POLICIES THE BOARD HAS PASSED, SO I AM FREQUENTLY ASKED FOR MY OPINION ON OTHER THINGS. THAT’S WHY IT’S VERY IMPORTANT FOR THE BOARD TO KNOW WHAT KNOWLEDGE BASE, WHAT EXPERIENCE BASE, WHAT OPINION BASE I BRING TO THE TABLE, JUST AS IT’S VERY IMPORTANT FOR ME TO KNOW. BUT I CANNOT THINK OF A — I’VE WORKED FOR LOTS OF BOARDS. I THINK THREE OUT OF FIVE WERE SPLIT BOARDS. ONE WAS 3-3-1 FOR A REALLY LONG TIME. A FIVE MEMBER BOARD WAS 3-2 FOR A REALLY LONG TIME. OF COURSE, FOR ME, A REALLY LONG TIME — IT WAS LIKE A YEAR, AND THAT FELT LIKE A REALLY LONG TIME, BUT BY THE END OF THE YEAR, I WAS CONVINCED THAT WE WERE EITHER GOING TO COME TOGETHER AND STILL BE SPLIT, PERHAPS, ON THOUGHTS AND OPINIONS, BUT NOT BE SPLIT ON END GOAL AND WHERE WE THOUGHT WE NEEDED TO GO. SO FORTUNATELY FOR ME, MY BLANCHARD TEAM BUILDING TRAINING WORKED, AND WE WERE ABLE TO GET THE SPLIT BOARDS BACK TOGETHER. BUT JUST AS BOARD MEMBERS, YOU CANNOT SPEAK FOR THE WHOLE BOARD, BUT ON OCCASION, YOU’RE ASKED FOR YOUR OPINION AS AN INDIVIDUAL. AND THAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN, AND THAT’S WHY WE HAVE TO COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE WITH EACH OTHER. I’M USED TO A WEEKLY FRIDAY UPDATE THAT GOES OUT. IT’S FULLY FOIA-BLE. THERE’S NOTHING WE SAY IN IT THAT WE WOULDN’T SAY PUBLICLY, BUT IT KEEPS EVERYBODY KIND OF APPRISED. DURING SITUATIONS IN INDIANA, WHEN WE WERE DOING THE 16% CUTS AND TRYING TO RAISE STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT, THERE WERE TIMES WHEN THE BOARD AND I WOULD COMMUNICATE DAILY. I HAD TO GET ONE RECALCITRANT BOARD MEMBER WHO DIDN’T LIKE TO GO ON HIS EMAIL TO GO ON HIS EMAIL EVERY DAY SO THAT I COULD COMMUNICATE WITH HIM EASILY FROM WHEREVER I WAS. SO COMMUNICATION WILL BE HUGE IN HOW WE BALANCE THIS, BECAUSE IT’S NEVER GOING TO BE BLACK OR WHITE. THERE’S ALWAYS GOING TO BE SOME GRAY.>>THANK YOU. EILEEN?>>WELL, IT APPEARS THAT I HAVE A FOLLOW-UP TO RICHARD’S QUESTION, AND I HAVE TO PREFACE IT BY SAYING I’M A DISLOYAL USER OF FACEBOOK. I’M HOPELESS ON TWITTER, AND I DO ADMIRE OTHER PEOPLE’S SKILLS AT USING THEM. BUT YOU ALREADY CITED IN THIS INTERVIEW SEVERAL EXAMPLES WHERE YOU’VE BEEN MISUNDERSTOOD IN YOUR POLITICAL THINKING, AND IT APPEARS TO BE A RESULT OF YOUR USE OF PUBLIC FORA AND MEDIA. I’M NOT SURE ABOUT THAT BECAUSE I HAVEN’T FOLLOWED YOU ON TWITTER, AND I HAVEN’T BEEN LOOKING FOR THIS. IF THAT’S THE CASE, THOUGH, IT’S IMPORTANT TO POINT OUT THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF ED FINDS ITSELF REGULARLY IN COMPELLING CONTROVERSIES THAT ARE EITHER EDUCATIONAL OR POLITICAL IN NATURE, AND THAT CAN INSPIRE FAST, REGRETTABLE RESPONSES FROM THE PERSON AT THE TOP, JUST BECAUSE YOU GET CALLED AND THERE IT IS. HOW WOULD YOU CHANGE YOUR APPROACH TO USING SOCIAL MEDIA INTO THE WAY THAT YOU COMMUNICATE, AND USING THE BOARD AND THE GOVERNMENT RELATIONS STAFF WE HAVE SO THAT YOU WOULDN’T BE OUT IN FRONT OF THE BOARD AND BE IN A SITUATION WHERE THAT WOULD BE DIFFICULT?>>SO LET ME ANSWER IN TWO PARTS, ONE TO EXPLAIN TO YOU HOW WE DO IT NOW, WITH OAKLAND SCHOOLS –>>JUST EXPLAIN, BECAUSE I WILL NEVER GO THERE. [ LAUGHTER ]>>WELL, I DON’T THINK WE’RE ON — I’M SURE I’M NOT ON FACEBOOK. BUT WE DO USE SOCIAL MEDIA. IT’S A WAY TO INFORM. MY BOARD DECIDED THAT WE WERE AN ORGANIZATION THAT WAS GOING TO INFORM CONSTITUENTS ON EDUCATIONAL ISSUES AND MATTERS, INFORM THEM ON CRITICAL THINGS THAT WERE BEING CONSIDERED IN THE WORLD OF EDUCATION POLICY, INFORM CONSTITUENTS ON THE GOOD PROGRAMS AND THINGS WE HAD GOING ON, INFORM THE FIELD ON THINGS WE FOUND REALLY WORK IN TERMS OF THINGS LIKE MOVING STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT AHEAD. SO IF YOU DID LOOK AT ALL OF OUR SOCIAL MEDIA, YOU WOULD FIND A VERY RICH GENRE OF MANY, MANY GENRES OF WHAT’S OUT THERE. NOW, SOMETIMES, INFORMING, AS I WENT BACK TO TALK ABOUT, THE OPINION WE HAD ON UNCAPPING CHARTERS, A PREREQUISITE FOR QUALITY AND SOME NEED FOR TRANSPARENCY IN THE USE OF PUBLIC FUNDING, WE DID POST THAT, THAT THERE WAS SOME EVIDENCE THAT PERHAPS THOSE THINGS WERE NEEDED, THAT OTHER STATES HAD THEM, AND WHY COULDN’T MICHIGAN? WE’VE ALSO POSTED THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF SCHOOLS, BOTH CHARTER AND NON-CHARTER, IN OUR COUNTY, AS WELL AS INFORMATION THAT COMES TO US FROM OTHER PLACES. SO MY BOARD DECIDED THAT WE NEEDED TO BE A PRESENCE AS A WAY OF BEING AN EDUCATOR AND A PLACE WHERE INFORMATION ABOUT EDUCATION COULD BE EASILY GAINED FROM PARENTS, STUDENTS, TEACHERS, ALL SORTS OF PEOPLE. NOW, HOW THAT HAPPENS IS MY BOARD HAS ALSO GOT A STRUCTURE IN PLACE WITH THEIR POLICIES, OUR CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT PLAN THAT THEY APPROVE EVERY YEAR, AND OUR GOALS AND OBJECTIVES, AND OUR SOCIAL MEDIA EFFORT, ALONG WITH ANYTHING ELSE WE PUBLISH, FITS WITHIN THOSE PARAMETERS. AND THAT’S WHAT WE’D HAVE TO DO HERE. I RARELY — IF THERE’S SOMETHING THAT COMES TO ME — YESTERDAY, I GOT A PHONE CALL ASKING ME TO COMMENT ON YOUR DECISION TO SEND YOUR STATEMENT TO THE GOVERNOR, AND I DECLINED TO COMMENT. I FREQUENTLY DECLINE TO COMMENT. WHY WOULD I COMMENT ON SOMETHING YOU WERE CONSIDERING DOING? I DON’T WORK FOR YOU. I WASN’T HERE. I WASN’T IN THE ROOM. IT WOULD’VE BEEN INAPPROPRIATE FOR ME TO COMMENT. THERE ARE TIMES I GET CALLS FROM THE MEDIA WHEN I HAVE TO GO BACK AND CHECK FACTS AND FIGURES. I’M NOT GOING TO SAY ANYTHING TO THE MEDIA THAT HASN’T BEEN DOUBLE-CHECKED BY THE PEOPLE WHO’VE BEEN ON THE GROUND FLOOR AND INVOLVED. AND I’M NOT ON THE GROUND FLOOR AND INVOLVED WITH ALL THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN OAKLAND COUNTY. I KNOW THAT MAY BE A SURPRISE TO YOU, BUT I’M NOT, NOR WOULD I BE ON THE GROUND FLOOR WITH ALL THE THINGS THAT HAPPEN AT A STATE LEVEL. SO YOU HAVE TO USE — THERE IS VERY LITTLE I SAY QUICKLY AND OFF THE CUFF, EVER. IT’S JUST NOT MY STYLE, YOU KNOW, UNLESS I’M AT HOME WITH MY HUSBAND OR –>>WE’LL HAVE TO TRY THAT NO COMMENT THING. THAT’S A NEW — THAT’S A GOOD IDEA. [ LAUGHTER ] KATHY. AND WE’VE GOT PROBABLY TIME FOR EACH PERSON TO ASK ONE LAST QUESTION IF WE MAKE IT QUICK.>>WELL, I HAVE A DIFFERENT AREA. THESE QUESTIONS — THEY’VE ALREADY ASKED THE QUESTIONS THAT I HAD IN MIND. I’M GOING TO DO A DIFFERENT ONE. SCHOOLS HAVE A BROAD MISSION. WE TALK ABOUT CAREER AND COLLEGE READY, AND WE EMPHASIZE MATH AND SCIENCE AND ENGLISH. I HAVE BEEN VERY CONCERNED ABOUT SOCIAL STUDIES AND CIVIC EDUCATION, AND I WONDERED WHAT YOUR VIEWS ARE. WHAT SHOULD BE THE ROLE OF THE STATE BOARD AND THE SUPERINTENDENT AND THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION IN FOSTERING CIVIC EDUCATION SO WE END UP WITH A MORE CIVIL SOCIETY THAN WE SEEM TO HAVE RIGHT NOW?>>WELL, I THINK THE WAY TO GET TO A CIVIL SOCIETY ARE TWO THINGS. ONE IS YOU HAVE TO HAVE SOME CIVIC EDUCATION SO THAT YOUNGSTERS CAN UNDERSTAND OUR HISTORY AND UNDERSTAND OUR CURRENT REALITY AND UNDERSTAND OUR PREFERRED FUTURE AND HOW WE ALL WORK WITH ONE ANOTHER TO GET THERE. THAT’S GOT TO BE DAY-TO-DAY OPERATION INFUSED IN ENGLISH, MATH, SCIENCE, SOCIAL STUDIES, THE PLAYGROUND, LUNCHROOM, BUS — THAT’S HOW WE LIVE, AND IF WE CAN INFUSE IT IN THE TIME THEY SPEND AT HOME SOMEHOW, EVEN BETTER. THAT’S HOW YOU GET TO A CIVIL WORLD. CIVIC EDUCATION ITSELF IS ALREADY IN PLACE. WE HAVE LOTS OF CIVIC EDUCATION ORIENTED OBJECTIVES IN OUR STATE STANDARDS. THEY ARE VERY CLEARLY DEFINED IN OUR SOCIAL STUDIES CURRICULUMS THAT WE HAVE. THERE’S A SOCIAL STUDIES CURRICULUM THAT WE DEVELOPED IN OAKLAND SCHOOLS THAT IS USED THROUGHOUT THIS STATE AND THE COUNTRY, AND EVEN OTHER COUNTRIES, AND CIVIC EDUCATION IS A LARGE PART OF THAT. TEACHING IT AND THEN LIVING IT ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS, AND WE HAVE TO ADDRESS BOTH.>>LUPE, DID YOU HAVE ANOTHER QUESTION? I’M JUST TRYING TO MAKE SURE WE GET EVERYBODY IN ONE LAST TIME.>>CAN I HAVE A FOLLOW-UP?>>IF IT’S BRIEF.>>THE OTHER FEATURE THAT I’M CONCERNED ABOUT IS CREATIVITY. SEVERAL OF US WENT ON A TRIP TO CHINA — ON OUR OWN EXPENSE, I SHOULD ADD — [ LAUGHTER ] WITH MSU, BACK SIX OR SEVEN YEARS AGO NOW. AND EVERYTHING SUPPOSED TO BE — CHINA’S DOING THIS, AND THE STUDENTS DO BETTER, AND ALL THIS. BUT THE QUESTION THAT THE CHINESE MINISTER OF EDUCATION ASKED US WAS, “HOW DO YOU TEACH CREATIVITY?” CREATIVITY WAS THE STRENGTH OF AMERICA. AND HOW DO WE TEACH CREATIVITY? HOW DO WE MAINTAIN CREATIVITY WHEN WE’RE EMPHASIZING SO MUCH ON MATH, SCIENCE, AND ALL THAT?>>SO I WENT TO CHINA, TOO, THAT SAME TIME, ALSO ON MY OWN MONEY, EVEN THOUGH IT WAS AUTOMATION ALLEY THAT ASKED ME TO GO, AND I GOT THE SAME QUESTION FROM MULTIPLE MINISTERS OF EDUCATION FROM MULTIPLE PLACES WHERE WE VISITED. AND THEN WE HAD DELEGATIONS OF CHINESE PEOPLE — EDUCATORS COME TO OAKLAND COUNTY AND SIT IN OUR CLASSROOMS TO WATCH HOW DO WE TEACH CREATIVITY. AND THEN, WE SAW CHINA MAKE A BOLD MOVE TO STRENGTHEN ITS PROGRAM AROUND CREATIVITY. AND ITS BOLD MOVE WAS TO ORDER — OF COURSE, IT’S WONDERFUL IF YOU CAN BE A GOVERNMENT WHERE YOU CAN ORDER THINGS, BUT — THEY ORDERED THAT THERE WOULD BE LESS TESTING IN THEIR SCHOOLS SO THAT THERE COULD BE MORE INDEPENDENT STUDY, CREATIVE STUDY. WE HAVE TO KEEP KIDS ENGAGED, WHICH MEANS THAT THE WORK HAS TO BE RELEVANT TO THEM. THAT’S JUST HOW CAREER ED AND EVERYTHING COMES IN. WE HAVE TO KEEP THEM ENGAGED, WHICH MEANS THEIR CREATIVE SPIRIT HAS TO BE NURTURED, AND WE HAVE TO HAVE TIME IN THE CLASSROOM TO DO THAT THROUGH PERFORMANCE-BASED KINDS OF INSTRUCTION, NOT DRILL AND KILL FOR TESTS. SO THOSE ARE THE THINGS. AND UNFORTUNATELY — AND OF COURSE, THE ARTS PROGRAMS. I MENTIONED THAT BEFORE, THAT MY DREAM WAS ALWAYS TO HAVE INTERLOCHEN IN OAKLAND COUNTY, BUT I HAVEN’T GOTTEN THERE YET. MAYBE WE COULD HAVE MULTIPLE INTERLOCHENS ACROSS THE STATE, IN TERMS OF A PLACE WHERE THE ARTS CAN REALLY THRIVE AND WHERE YOU CAN USE THE ARTS TO REALLY COMPEL. WE’RE NOW TALKING ABOUT HAVING STEAM, NOT STEM. I THINK THAT’S A REAL PLUS, BECAUSE WE UNDERSTAND THAT CREATIVITY. I WAS WITH DESIGN ENGINEERS THE OTHER DAY WHO ARE JUST FRANTIC BECAUSE OF THE SHORTAGE IN DESIGN ENGINEERS THAT WE HAVE IN THIS STATE, AND WE WERE BRAINSTORMING HOW TO GET MORE KIDS INTO DESIGN ENGINEERING, AND PART OF THAT’S GOING TO BE TAKING IT ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, HOW THAT CREATIVITY CAN EVENTUALLY BUILD TO SOMETHING RELEVANT IN THEIR LIVES LIKE CAREERS. SO IT’S TIME, IT’S OPEN-ENDED LEARNING, IT’S BEING ABLE TO COLLABORATE AMONGST THEMSELVES AS WELL AS WORK INDEPENDENTLY, AND IT’S NOT BEING CONSTRICTED TO A NARROW CURRICULUM THAT IS DEFINED BY ANY STATE TEST OR NATIONAL TEST.>>THANK YOU.>>LUPE, DID YOU HAVE A LAST QUESTION?>>YES, I DO. OKAY, WITH YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION’S DIVISIONS AND COMPLIANCE RESPONSIBILITIES, WHAT WOULD YOUR 50 FIRST DAYS LOOK LIKE?>>OH. WELL, THEY’D BE VERY LONG, AND I’D WANT A COT IN THE OFFICE SO THAT I COULD JUST SLEEP HERE. USUALLY WHEN I START A JOB, MY DAYS JUMP IMMEDIATELY TO 12 OR MORE HOURS A DAY BECAUSE I WANT TO MEET WITH EVERYBODY AND TALK WITH EVERYBODY IN THEIR WORKPLACE, OUTSIDE OF THEIR WORKPLACE, IN MY OFFICE, IN THEIR OFFICE, IN GROUPS, INDIVIDUALLY. I WOULD WANT TO LOOK AT THE TALENT POOL WE HAVE HERE. I’D WANT TO LOOK AT ALL THE RESUMES OF ALL THE FOLKS. I’D WANT THEM TO TELL ME WHAT THEIR BEST POOLS OF TALENTS AND SKILLS ARE AND WHETHER OR NOT THEY FEEL THEY’RE REALLY IN A POSITION THAT MATCHES THAT RIGHT NOW. I’D LIKE TO FIND OUT FROM PEOPLE WHERE THEY THINK THEY’RE DOING PRETTY WELL, AND WHERE THEY THINK THEY NEED SOME IMPROVEMENT. AND THIS WOULD ALL BE INSIDE THE ORGANIZATION. AND AT THE SAME TIME, I WOULD WANT TO REACH OUTSIDE THE ORGANIZATION AND ASK THE SAME QUESTIONS. WHERE DO YOU SEE THE MDE HAS BEEN SERVING YOU WELL? WHERE DO YOU SEE WE COULD SERVE YOU A BIT BETTER? WHETHER YOU’RE CAREER ED, WHETHER YOU’RE EARLY CHILDHOOD, WHETHER YOU’RE FINANCE, ET CETERA. AND SO THE FIRST 50 DAYS WOULD BE LEARNING AN AWFUL LOT. IN FACT, I PROBABLY WOULD DO THAT IN THE FIRST 30. AND THEN, THE NEXT 20 WOULD BE TAKING ALL THAT INFORMATION AND WORKING WITH FOLKS HERE AND ANALYZING IT AND SAYING, “WHERE WAS YOUR PERCEPTION? HERE’S WHERE OUR PERCEPTION WAS AND WHERE WE ARE. HERE’S THE OUTSIDE WORLD’S PERCEPTION ON WHERE WE ARE.” IS THERE A DIFFERENCE? AND IF THERE IS, HOW DO WE BRING THAT TOGETHER? AND WHAT’S AN ACTION PLAN FOR OUR OWN SELF-IMPROVEMENT? I MENTIONED TO YOU AT THE LAST MEETING AT OAKLAND SCHOOLS, OUR FIRST STRATEGIC PLAN WAS THREE GOALS FOR INSIDE OUR ORGANIZATION, HOW WE WERE GOING TO MAKE OURSELVES BETTER, AS WELL AS THREE GOALS FOR HOW THE SERVICE WAS GOING TO GET BETTER FOR OUR CONSTITUENTS. AND I WOULD DO THE SAME THING HERE.>>THANK YOU. PAM?>>OKAY, SO I’M GOING TO TRY TO PICK UP WHERE WE LEFT OFF ON MY LAST QUESTION BUT WEAVE IN A NEW QUESTION AS WELL AND TRY TO BE CLEVER HERE. SO I THINK IT WAS OUR GOVERNOR WHO JUST RECENTLY SAID THAT IF YOU MAKE BOTH SIDES A BIT ANGRY OR EVERYBODY’S NOT ALWAYS HAPPY WITH YOU, THEN YOU’RE SUCCESSFUL. LOOKING AT THE EAA, THERE ARE SOME WHO SAY YOU DIDN’T SPEAK UP SOON ENOUGH, OR MAYBE YOU DIDN’T PUSH HARD ENOUGH, SO LOOKING AT ONE OF THE HARDEST HIT COMMUNITIES, DETROIT, BEING UNDER WHAT SOME WOULD SAY IS AN EXPERIMENTATION, THE EAA, THAT’S NOT WORKING SO WELL, HOW DO WE GAIN THE TRUST OF PARENTS, OF — EVERYBODY AS WE’RE LOOKING AT THIS GREATER EMPHASIS OF MOVING HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS THAT MAY OR MAY NOT BE GOING TO COLLEGE, BUT HAVING THEM LOOK AT CAREERS SOONER AND POSSIBLY GOING RIGHT FROM HIGH SCHOOL TO WORK, BUT LOOKING AT THIS CAREER READINESS, AND WITH THIS MORE EMPHASIS ON THAT, HOW DO WE ENSURE THAT CAREER READINESS DOES NOT COMPETE WITH COLLEGE READINESS? TRYING TO GET ALL OF THAT IN, BUT IF YOU COULD –>>OKAY, SO LET ME START BACKWARDS AND THEN GET TO THE EAA AT THE END. SO FOR US, WE RUN CAREER AND TECHNICAL CAMPUSES, AND WE TYPICALLY TAKE THE NON-COLLEGE PREP STUDENT — THAT’S THE TYPICAL STUDENT THAT COMES TO US. AND YET, THE GREAT MAJORITY OF THOSE STUDENTS, WHEN THEY LEAVE US, GO TO COLLEGE. CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION IS ANOTHER PATH TO COLLEGE, BOTH FOUR YEAR AND COMMUNITY COLLEGE. IN FACT, AT OUR CAREER TECH CAMPUSES, DEPENDING ON THE CLUSTER AND DEPENDING ON THE COURSE OF STUDY THE STUDENT SELECTED, THEY WILL GRADUATE HIGH SCHOOL WITH 10 TO 20 COLLEGE CREDITS ALREADY UNDER THEIR BELT. THEY WILL BEGIN — I’LL GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE ON THE NURSING PROGRAM. SO THEY COME TO US IN 10TH GRADE. THEY BEGIN STUDYING TO BE A NURSE. BY THE TIME THEY’RE OUT OF 12TH GRADE, THEY’VE GOT ALMOST THEIR FIRST YEAR OF THEIR COMMUNITY COLLEGE WORK COMPLETED. THEY GO ON TO COMMUNITY COLLEGE, GET INTO THE NURSING PROGRAM, COMPLETE THAT. THEY’RE AUTOMATICALLY — IF THEY DO WELL ON THEIR WORK — ACCEPTED INTO OAKLAND UNIVERSITY’S NURSING PROGRAM, FOR WHICH THERE’S A HUGE WAITING LIST FOR ANYONE ELSE. SEAMLESS PATHWAY. WE DO THE SAME FOR AUTO ENGINEERING, ROBOTICS, OTHER HEALTH MEDS — WE HAVE DENTISTRY AND OPTOMETRY. SO CAREER TECHNOLOGY SHOULD NOT JUST BE A PATHWAY TO A JOB. IT’S A PATH TO A JOB IF THAT’S WHAT YOU WANT TO DO. IT’S A PATH TO COLLEGE IF THAT’S WHAT YOU WANT TO DO, JUST AS COLLEGE IS A PATH BACK TO CAREER TECH. ENGINEERS COME BACK TO CAREER TECH AFTER COLLEGE. SO IT’S NOT ONE OR THE OTHER. IT’S BOTH. THAT’S FIRST AND FOREMOST, AND THAT’S WHAT I WOULD FOR SURE WANT US TO BE IN DETROIT TELLING FOLKS. IN TERMS OF THE EAA, WHETHER I WAS TOO SOON OR TOO LATE OR SAID TOO MUCH OR TOO LITTLE, AS I SAID, I ACTUALLY GOT CREDITED FOR OPPOSING THE EAA WHEN I NEVER DID. I WAS IN OPPOSITION TO SOME OF THE COMPONENTS OF THE EAA LEGISLATION THAT WOULD HAVE EXPANDED IT SOONER THAN I THOUGHT WAS APPROPRIATE, SINCE WE DIDN’T KNOW YET IF IT WORKED. I WAS OPPOSED TO THE LEGISLATION THAT WOULD EXPAND IT BEYOND THE BOTTOM 5% OF SCHOOLS WHO ACTUALLY NEEDED INTERVENTION, SOME OF THEM. BUT I WAS NEVER OPPOSED TO THE EAA, AND I STILL DON’T KNOW HOW WELL IT IS OR IS NOT WORKING. I DO KNOW THAT THERE’S A DISCREPANCY, ESPECIALLY AROUND SPECIAL EDUCATION, THAT HAS TO BE STUDIED AND FIXED IN SOME WAY. I DO KNOW THAT WE WILL NOT BE HAVING STATE TESTS FOR A WHILE NOW THAT WILL ALLOW US TO HAVE APPLE TO APPLE COMPARISONS IN TERMS OF HOW IS THE EAA DOING COMPARED TO DETROIT AND OTHER PARTS OF THE STATE, SO WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO RELY ON THOSE INTERNAL EVALUATIONS, AND THOSE HAVE TO BE LOOKED AT REALLY CAREFULLY. AND WE HAVE A HUGE DEPARTMENT HERE WHO COULD LOOK AT THOSE EVALUATIONS NOT JUST OF THE EAA, BUT OF WHAT I’M USING IN PONTIAC OR WHAT DPS IS USING IN ITS SCHOOLS, WHAT THE CHARTERS ARE USING IN THEIR SCHOOLS, AND SAYING IS THIS VALID, RELIABLE ASSESSMENT OF STUDENT LEARNING? AND THEN WE HAVE TO MAKE DECISIONS ABOUT THE EAA AND ABOUT DIFFERENT CHARTER SCHOOLS AND DIFFERENT LOCALLY GOVERNED SCHOOLS BASED ON WHAT THAT ACHIEVEMENT DATA IS TELLING US. AND I’M HOPING WE CAN FIND A WAY TO BUILD THAT BUNDLE OF ACHIEVEMENT DATA WELL BEYOND WHATEVER OUR SINGLE STATE TEST IS. WE HAVE TO BUILD THAT BUNDLE AROUND WHAT TEACHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT THOSE KIDS AS WELL. YOU KNOW, TEACHER JUDGMENT ABOUT HOW WELL A STUDENT IS LEARNING IS STILL THE BEST METRIC YOU HAVE. IN FACT, COLLEGES — THERE WAS JUST A STUDY THAT WAS REPORTED IN — I CAN’T REMEMBER WHAT NEWSPAPER IT WAS REPORTED IN, BUT THERE WAS JUST A STUDY REPORTED — I THINK IT WAS WASHINGTON POST — THAT SAID THE BEST PREDICTOR OF WHETHER A YOUNGSTER’S GOING TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN COLLEGE OR NOT IS NOT THE ACT OR THE SAT. IT’S THE GRADES THAT YOUNGSTER EARNED FROM THEIR TEACHERS. TEACHER JUDGMENT HAS GOT TO BE PART OF THIS WHOLE THING.>>THANK YOU, VICKIE. OUR TIME TOGETHER IS DRAWING TO AN END. SO BEFORE WE SPLIT, IS THERE ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD OR ARTICULATE ABOUT YOUR INTEREST OR ABILITY TO HELP US DO OUR COLLECTIVE JOB OF HELPING IMPROVE EDUCATION IN MICHIGAN, OR ANYTHING THAT YOU WOULD LIKE US TO TALK ABOUT OR REASSURE YOU ON ABOUT WHETHER YOU WOULD STILL WANT THIS JOB?>>I DO STILL WANT THIS JOB. YOU KNOW, I SAID TO YOU ON THE PHONE WHEN YOU CALLED TO CONFIRM THAT IF A CANDIDATE CANNOT ACCEPT AND TOLERATE AND DEAL WITH THE POLITICS OF AN INTERVIEW, THEY CERTAINLY CAN’T DEAL WITH THE POLITICS OF THE JOB ONCE IT WAS THEIRS. SO I UNDERSTAND EXACTLY WHERE I AM. NOTHING HAS BEEN A SURPRISE. AND I DO STILL WANT THE JOB VERY MUCH. I ALSO THINK THAT IF YOU WANT A CANDIDATE, IF YOU WANT A SUPERINTENDENT WHO IS GOING TO LEAD THE MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION IN SUPPORTING AND OVERSEEING OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS TO THE END OF IMPROVING STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT, I HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE TO BRING THAT TO THE JOB. I THINK IF YOU WANT KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE ALL THE WAY UP TO WISDOM, I HAVE SOME OF THAT ALSO, AND I COULD BRING IT TO THE CONVERSATIONS, THE PUBLIC POLICY CONVERSATIONS AROUND PUBLIC EDUCATION, NOT ONLY THE POLICY CONVERSATIONS THAT OCCUR AT THIS TABLE, BUT THAT OCCUR IN THE LEGISLATURE AND OCCUR IN THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE. I THINK IF YOU WANT A SUPERINTENDENT WHO CAN MOVE THE NEEDLE ON HOW MICHIGAN RANKS AMONG OTHER STATES RELATIVE TO THINGS LIKE NATIONAL TESTS, I’M A PERSON WHO HAS WORKED WITH OTHERS TO MOVE THAT NEEDLE IN MULTIPLE PLACES AND MULTIPLE TIMES, AND IT’S GOTTEN DONE BECAUSE I WORK VERY WELL WITH OTHERS.>>OKAY. THANK YOU VERY, VERY MUCH FOR –>>THANK YOU.>>- PARTICIPATING AND PUTTING YOURSELF FORWARD AND OFFERING TO SERVE. WE VERY MUCH VALUE IT. GREAT. WE’LL RECONVENE AT 1:00 P.M. FOR OUR NEXT INTERVIEW. HAVE A QUICK LUNCH. SO THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

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