Policy

Arne Duncan, Julius Genachowski: What We Need in Education

By Betsy Corcoran     Sep 11, 2012

Arne Duncan, Julius Genachowski: What We Need in Education

As part of the September "bus tour acrossAmerica," Education Secretary Arne Duncan and his team came to SiliconValley: they toured some local hot spots including Coursera, Udacity and theKhan Academy. On Tuesday, Duncan and FCC Commissioner  Julius Genachowski joined a group called the LEAD Commissionfor a chat about the future of education led by EdSurge's Betsy Corcoran.Here's an excerpt from that conversation:

Share two things you're proud ofduring the past three years in Washington and a "wish"--something you'd like tochange.

Genachowski:  The agency I got to four years ago wasunfocused, confused.  Thecommunications world is complicated. Our staff was not waking up every day andthinking about how to seize the opportunities. Today the conversation isfocused on the opportunities of high speed internet, of wired and wirelessaccess for everyone in our country. The Erate program spends over $2 billion ayear. We took a program that was capped and indexed around inflation and helpedschools get more for their money. My wish: that we do the right thing togetherand translate theory into reality for our kids and across the country.

Duncan: To see 46states raise standards not because of federal mandates or sticks but because ofcarrots and incentives. I think that's an amazing game changer over time, notovernight. It's the first time in the history our country where folks haveraised standards and done it together. The implications for kids and tech andteachers and parents are pretty extraordinary as we go forward.

Second: The fact that we increased Pell grants in this year10 million young people have access to college that couldn't go before -- gonefrom 6 million to 10 million just in the past 2 year-- that's a big big deal.

The area where we've been pretty spectacularly unsuccessfulis in pushing on the demand side for education reform. I think we're facing aneducation crisis in this country. We have not done nearly enough to getparents, white black Latino inner city suburban rural -- we don't have enoughparents demanding change and demanding all of us to do more.

The biggest critique [my team] always gives is that we'regoing too fast. I think we're going far, far, far too slow.  I wish we had a lot more pressure fromthe community, saying our children deserve a world-class education.

Are teachers feeling inspiredby what they hear out of Washington?

Duncan: I thinkit's mixed. There's been atremendous embrace of higher standards, of the common core, from teachers, fromthe teacher unions, which is a very courageous move.

Some of the things we encourage in RTTT, like better teacherevaluations, and taking into account student achievement -- some people likethat some people don't. It's very scary.

Moving away from test scores and looking at growth and gain-- I think it's a big step in the right direction. But is it universallybeloved? No. We've talked a whole lot about this next generation of teachers.There are 1 million teachers retiring, one third of the work force and our abilityto attract retain teachers over the 4-5-6 years will shape education for thenext 30.

We think the entire teacher pipeline is entirely broken. Howwe attract the pool coming in, how we train them, how we mentor them, how wecompensate them. How we move forward. How we support great talent. The entirething is basically broken. We're looking at radical change. It may be a littlescary. But it may be the biggest gift we can give to the country.

Does the governmenthave a role in helping schools [not pay too much for network access?]

Genachowski:  E-rate: is a government program and weshould make sure it's run as efficiently as possible. We can't let bandwidth bea constraint in harnessing the benefits of technology.

Do MOOC and opensource education change (reduce) the value of standardized tests?

Duncan: Udacity,Coursera, Sal Khan -- they're literally helping to change the world.

But those international benchmarks are still extraordinarilyimportant. We're competing for jobs not with states districts, but with India,Singapore, South Korean and others. I absolutely want to know how our children are doing relatively to otherplaces. So people can learn across the globe, learn 24 x 7. That's fantastic.But I still want to know : are our graduation rates going up, are our drop outrates going down. Are our children competitive?

Is there a role fortalking about Mastery in education?

Duncan: Competencyversus seat time? Yes we're moving away from seat time moving toward competencylearning. You're seeing that on the higher ed side, in some of our waivers tostates around NCLB. But there's still evaluations on the back end.

Do we test too much?

Duncan: In some places we do.

What's an example?

Duncan: Where folks have had local tests, state tests, multiple differenttests, in conflict with one another. That doesn’t make sense.

I draw a distinction between testing and evaluation, highstakes and low stakes. I want to look at growth and gain, year over year. Andwant to see how students are improving. Black, white rich poor it doesn'tmatter. It's really important. Having low stakes, no stakes assessments whetherevery week every month, now every day, to understand, did that child learn in5th grade math - so that teacher can act differently, parents be different… andlet students take ownership of their own learning.

Is there a place forMaker activities in our national dialogue?

Duncan: It has a huge place - whether it's looking at those kinds ofthings, or the growing research and data around resiliency and grit,noncognitive side of things…. So we're looking at a whole spectrum of things…our character, are we giving young people the skills they need to besuccessful, toughness,  to be lifelong learners.

Is there enough moneyfor teacher development?

Duncan: Quick quiz to the audience; What does the federal governmentspend each year on professional development? Last year: $2.5 billion, add inthe states and it's more like $5 to $6Bn.  I'd argue that's by far the worst money we spend. We get theleast bang for the buck. Are we invested enough? Probably not. But we need toget a hugely better return on investment on what we do have…. As a country, a"D-" would be a generous assessment of where we are today. Thequestion is:  how much better canwe get and how quickly can we do that.

What would you liketo be able to accomplish if you have another four years in office?

Genachowski: Four years from now, I want to be able to say we executedon some big bold ideas that changed the course of technology and education. Afew months ago, Arne and I announced a goal around moving the country fromwhere it is to digital textbook world in five years. Well, let's get there.  Now is the time to identify and rollout the big bold ideas. One of the hard things to do when you're in dailygovernment is to say here's a five year plan, a ten year plan--and commit toit.

What would you liketo be able to accomplish if you have another four years in office?

Genachowski: Four years from now, I want to be able to say we executedon some big bold ideas that changed the course of technology and education. Afew months ago, Arne and I announced a goal around moving the country fromwhere it is to digital textbook world in five years. Well, let's get there.  Now is the time to identify and rollout the big bold ideas. One of the hard things to do when you're in dailygovernment is to say here's a five year plan, a ten year plan--and commit toit.

 Duncan: Four years from now we have to have college graduation ratesup significantly. One challenge to this community: Can we have every child inthis country have a tablet or device? Can we get this community to step up and thinkabout every child learning 24 x 7? I'd love to see-- soon than later -- everysingle child have that kind of access. 


Also see:

One More Thing

Policy

Arne Duncan, Julius Genachowski: What We Need in Education

By Betsy Corcoran     Sep 11, 2012

Arne Duncan, Julius Genachowski: What We Need in Education

As part of the September "bus tour acrossAmerica," Education Secretary Arne Duncan and his team came to SiliconValley: they toured some local hot spots including Coursera, Udacity and theKhan Academy. On Tuesday, Duncan and FCC Commissioner  Julius Genachowski joined a group called the LEAD Commissionfor a chat about the future of education led by EdSurge's Betsy Corcoran.Here's an excerpt from that conversation:

Share two things you're proud ofduring the past three years in Washington and a "wish"--something you'd like tochange.

Genachowski:  The agency I got to four years ago wasunfocused, confused.  Thecommunications world is complicated. Our staff was not waking up every day andthinking about how to seize the opportunities. Today the conversation isfocused on the opportunities of high speed internet, of wired and wirelessaccess for everyone in our country. The Erate program spends over $2 billion ayear. We took a program that was capped and indexed around inflation and helpedschools get more for their money. My wish: that we do the right thing togetherand translate theory into reality for our kids and across the country.

Duncan: To see 46states raise standards not because of federal mandates or sticks but because ofcarrots and incentives. I think that's an amazing game changer over time, notovernight. It's the first time in the history our country where folks haveraised standards and done it together. The implications for kids and tech andteachers and parents are pretty extraordinary as we go forward.

Second: The fact that we increased Pell grants in this year10 million young people have access to college that couldn't go before -- gonefrom 6 million to 10 million just in the past 2 year-- that's a big big deal.

The area where we've been pretty spectacularly unsuccessfulis in pushing on the demand side for education reform. I think we're facing aneducation crisis in this country. We have not done nearly enough to getparents, white black Latino inner city suburban rural -- we don't have enoughparents demanding change and demanding all of us to do more.

The biggest critique [my team] always gives is that we'regoing too fast. I think we're going far, far, far too slow.  I wish we had a lot more pressure fromthe community, saying our children deserve a world-class education.

Are teachers feeling inspiredby what they hear out of Washington?

Duncan: I thinkit's mixed. There's been atremendous embrace of higher standards, of the common core, from teachers, fromthe teacher unions, which is a very courageous move.

Some of the things we encourage in RTTT, like better teacherevaluations, and taking into account student achievement -- some people likethat some people don't. It's very scary.

Moving away from test scores and looking at growth and gain-- I think it's a big step in the right direction. But is it universallybeloved? No. We've talked a whole lot about this next generation of teachers.There are 1 million teachers retiring, one third of the work force and our abilityto attract retain teachers over the 4-5-6 years will shape education for thenext 30.

We think the entire teacher pipeline is entirely broken. Howwe attract the pool coming in, how we train them, how we mentor them, how wecompensate them. How we move forward. How we support great talent. The entirething is basically broken. We're looking at radical change. It may be a littlescary. But it may be the biggest gift we can give to the country.

Does the governmenthave a role in helping schools [not pay too much for network access?]

Genachowski:  E-rate: is a government program and weshould make sure it's run as efficiently as possible. We can't let bandwidth bea constraint in harnessing the benefits of technology.

Do MOOC and opensource education change (reduce) the value of standardized tests?

Duncan: Udacity,Coursera, Sal Khan -- they're literally helping to change the world.

But those international benchmarks are still extraordinarilyimportant. We're competing for jobs not with states districts, but with India,Singapore, South Korean and others. I absolutely want to know how our children are doing relatively to otherplaces. So people can learn across the globe, learn 24 x 7. That's fantastic.But I still want to know : are our graduation rates going up, are our drop outrates going down. Are our children competitive?

Is there a role fortalking about Mastery in education?

Duncan: Competencyversus seat time? Yes we're moving away from seat time moving toward competencylearning. You're seeing that on the higher ed side, in some of our waivers tostates around NCLB. But there's still evaluations on the back end.

Do we test too much?

Duncan: In some places we do.

What's an example?

Duncan: Where folks have had local tests, state tests, multiple differenttests, in conflict with one another. That doesn’t make sense.

I draw a distinction between testing and evaluation, highstakes and low stakes. I want to look at growth and gain, year over year. Andwant to see how students are improving. Black, white rich poor it doesn'tmatter. It's really important. Having low stakes, no stakes assessments whetherevery week every month, now every day, to understand, did that child learn in5th grade math - so that teacher can act differently, parents be different… andlet students take ownership of their own learning.

Is there a place forMaker activities in our national dialogue?

Duncan: It has a huge place - whether it's looking at those kinds ofthings, or the growing research and data around resiliency and grit,noncognitive side of things…. So we're looking at a whole spectrum of things…our character, are we giving young people the skills they need to besuccessful, toughness,  to be lifelong learners.

Is there enough moneyfor teacher development?

Duncan: Quick quiz to the audience; What does the federal governmentspend each year on professional development? Last year: $2.5 billion, add inthe states and it's more like $5 to $6Bn.  I'd argue that's by far the worst money we spend. We get theleast bang for the buck. Are we invested enough? Probably not. But we need toget a hugely better return on investment on what we do have…. As a country, a"D-" would be a generous assessment of where we are today. Thequestion is:  how much better canwe get and how quickly can we do that.

What would you liketo be able to accomplish if you have another four years in office?

Genachowski: Four years from now, I want to be able to say we executedon some big bold ideas that changed the course of technology and education. Afew months ago, Arne and I announced a goal around moving the country fromwhere it is to digital textbook world in five years. Well, let's get there.  Now is the time to identify and rollout the big bold ideas. One of the hard things to do when you're in dailygovernment is to say here's a five year plan, a ten year plan--and commit toit.

What would you liketo be able to accomplish if you have another four years in office?

Genachowski: Four years from now, I want to be able to say we executedon some big bold ideas that changed the course of technology and education. Afew months ago, Arne and I announced a goal around moving the country fromwhere it is to digital textbook world in five years. Well, let's get there.  Now is the time to identify and rollout the big bold ideas. One of the hard things to do when you're in dailygovernment is to say here's a five year plan, a ten year plan--and commit toit.

 Duncan: Four years from now we have to have college graduation ratesup significantly. One challenge to this community: Can we have every child inthis country have a tablet or device? Can we get this community to step up and thinkabout every child learning 24 x 7? I'd love to see-- soon than later -- everysingle child have that kind of access. 


Also see:

One More Thing

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