This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. Margaret “Macke” Raymond, founder and director of the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University. She shares some of the major highlights from Hoover’s recent Education Summit that featured a wide variety of national and international experts. They discuss the reasons for persistent problems, even after several federal efforts, with American students’ performance on important exams such as NAEP, TIMSS, and PISA, and the best path forward for state and federal education reforms. They discuss the shift in political support for charter schools, and the outlook for expansion among charters as well as private school choice programs. Dr. Raymond offers thoughts on the implications of the successful U.S. Supreme Court decision on Espinoza, and the likelihood of another victory in the Carson v. Makin case.
Stories of the Week: In Rhode Island, a federal lawsuit over whether there is a constitutional right to an adequate civics education has led to an agreement to improve instruction. States such as Texas and California are directing portions of the $350 billion in federal COVID relief aid to create or expand service and conservation corps programs.
Dr. Margaret “Macke” Raymond has served as the Director of CREDO since its inception. She has steered the group to national prominence as a rigorous and independent source for policy and program analysis. She has done extensive work in public policy and education reform, and is currently researching the development of competitive markets and the creation of reliable data on program performance. Macke also leads CREDO in investigating the effectiveness of public charter schools. Prior to joining Stanford in 2000, she held faculty positions in the political science and economics departments at the University of Rochester. Macke also worked for a number of years in the telecommunications industry and was President of Raymond Associates, a private consulting company specializing in public policy research projects and telecommunications policy formulation, from 1985 to 2000.
The next episode will air on Weds., June 22nd, with Dr. Deborah McGriff, a former Managing Partner with NewSchools Venture Fund and a former urban superintendent.
Tweet of the Week:
— Robin Lake now at Threads (@RbnLake) June 10, 2022
‘Democracy in peril’: Agreement seeks to bolster civics education in RI public schools
State and local governments are leading the way on service programs
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Read a Transcript of This Episode
Please excuse typos.
[00:00:00] Hello listeners.
[00:00:25] GR: This is Gerard Robinson. Talking to you from beautiful Charlottesville, Virginia. It is always beautiful in Charlottesville, but it’s always even, I would say more beautiful to have conversations with Cara about education, about social policy, about economics, about charter schools, about voting, about a lot of things.
[00:00:44] And so to make a beautiful mind, even better, we have to welcome.
[00:00:49] Cara: Hello, Gerard, thank you for that beautiful introduction. I, wanna go to beautiful Charlottesville, Virginia. I’m still waiting for my invitation, but we’ll leave that there. Um, It’s [00:01:00]
[00:01:00] GR: well, well, well listeners, we should realize that Gerard in fact, invited Kara to a very exclusive meeting at the Institute in Charlottesville and the campus, or I just said the grounds of UVA.
[00:01:11] But she was so busy working to save the children, which I understand she could not make it, but one of her colleagues came in her stands. So it’s not from lack of, of trial,
[00:01:24] Cara: but you’re correct. I would say said, colleague begged me, please let me go. Because it was such a cool convening. So I’ll give you props for that. I’ll, have to make it to the next one. you know, what’s going on here in, in it is beautiful in Boston today. It’s not always we’re in the throes of the last week of school, Gerard.
[00:01:37] And let me tell you. I can’t decide if I’m ready for the, just the last week of school to be over or school to be over, because it feels
[00:01:44] like a
[00:01:45] Cara: sprint. It is a sprint to the finish line. Nobody’s doing anything except bothering mommy and , and, and our school has, which has been very locked down is finally.
[00:01:56] Thankfully opening things up to parents. And I have a daughter [00:02:00] who is graduating sixth grade when we were kids. I don’t, feel like we graduated from anything but high school, but we’re gonna go celebrate that. Well, listen, Jared, I would ramble on about beauty and coming to visit you and my personal life, but we’ve got some stories to get to, and I know you’re fired up about yours, which means I’m gonna go first.
[00:02:18] I’m gonna make you . But I, I love this. Blog out , from Brookings, it’s written by Martha. it’s entitled state and local governments are leading the way on service programs. And this is all about how many state and local governments are using those. Do you remember those? A R P American rescue plans, state and local fiscal recovery funds.
[00:02:43] Mm-hmm right. Nobody talks. Out these, we had talked about these a little bit on the learning curve because we were thinking, oh, you know, there are certain educational functions that states can use these for, but this blog is all about how a lot of states. Are [00:03:00] using these funds to expand service cores and especially conservation cores.
[00:03:05] So these are programs similar to AmeriCorps and Hey, peace Corps. Let’s go back to the sixties and think about it, right? Mm-hmm . But these are programs in which you sign up to serve your community for a defined period of time. And then you can work on projects that add societal value, like things like, some kids are working on actually what this article points out, what this blog points out.
[00:03:26] A lot of localities are using this for climate stuff. So they’re having cores that are focused on, climate mitigation by insulating homes and weatherizing homes and climate friendly landscaping. I need somebody to come to my home and just do landscaping. You can make it climate friendly. Right, but it’s really an interesting article.
[00:03:45] And one of the things that I appreciated about this is it points out that these programs are actually a really good return on investment for local communities. And that’s for a couple of reasons. Number one, communities are getting work. I mean, so [00:04:00] people do this in exchange for a pretty small living stipend, but the, people who participate are usually young, they’re looking for a career pathway.
[00:04:07] Some of them will end. In higher education after sort of putting in their time, some of them can mitigate the cost of higher education with some of these programs, but they’re doing things where they’re really giving back to the community. So you can think about a program like AmeriCorps. I know we have a program here city year got a lot of it’s funding from AmeriCorps, right.
[00:04:26] And you go in and kids are tutoring in schools. So that’s another educational use of. This article points out that for every dollar, the federal government puts into these programs, they’re getting a return of $17 and 30 cents. That’s a pretty good return on investment if you ask me. And I think that there’s just a lot of good things to be said about these programs, but also questions about Do we need always to think about the federal government as the lever that needs to be pulled to keep these programs sustained and to get these going, because there was a big [00:05:00] resurgence in these with the state and local fiscal recovery funds.
[00:05:04] Previous to that you’ll remember previously pandemic America funding, for example, had been cut. I know the church I used to chair. We relied on AmeriCorps members and we couldn’t after a while because the funding had been cut, but you can use folks in these community programs. To meet everything from long term needs.
[00:05:22] Like the ones that I just pointed out, climate change to meeting emergency needs such as during I don’t know a pandemic. So we think that it raises some really interesting questions. Martha does in this blog about how can states think about leveraging these programs or even cities leveraging programs like this in the absence of huge packages from the federal government.
[00:05:42] And I wanted to say, Gerard, I know I’m sucking a lot of bear, so I’m gonna let you get to your story. One of the things I love about this is something that I think you and I, and I know listeners of the podcast and others have been thinking a lot about lately, and that is just. How much people need community right now [00:06:00] and how people need to feel like they are members of a community right now.
[00:06:04] I mean, we’re reading it and we’re seeing it. Many of us are seeing it, unfortunately in our lives in people with high rates of depression. And, we know that suicide rates are going up. I know, this year, Many of us have lost, loved ones under pretty unimaginable circumstances. We see it in kids acting out in school.
[00:06:22] We see it in people leading their jobs in droves because of many different reasons, but among them a feeling of burnout, of anxiety, of other things. And I think that. I don’t know for any of us who have ever worked in a situation like this, there’s a really visceral feeling of when you are part of something bigger than yourself.
[00:06:41] You know, some people get this from organized religion. Other people get this from other organized civic groups. And this is part of, I think, what. These localized programs can do is they bring together community members, a sense of giving back, doing something meaningful. We can talk a lot. And I know you do at AI about the [00:07:00] value of work and the meaning of work.
[00:07:02] And although this blog didn’t talk about that, it really left me thinking, these civic programs and sort of this rebuilding of. Civic society and civil society in this really active way is so important in this time. So I loved this article and it makes me think about I don’t know, for a long time I’ve been volunteering at uh, food bank.
[00:07:24] And in the past couple months, I have to admit that because my kids have been so busy with their various sports. We haven’t been going on the weekends. I read this article and I thought you’re getting back there next weekend. It’s the beginning of summer. Time to go. So, anyway, Gerard, how about you?
[00:07:38] Have you ever participated in a program like.
[00:07:42] GR: I never participated personally, but I had an opportunity to work as a coach or to work as an adult lead. So for example, always had the almost 20 years ago for two summers, I worked with students uh, who stayed at UVA on grounds [00:08:00] as a part of the outward bound program.
[00:08:01] Our brown program is part of a larger trio program. Started, decades ago, basically very similar to the idea of AmeriCorps is to invest federal funds into young people, to not only inculcate a spirit of service learning and giving but also to give them an opportunity to meet students.
[00:08:20] Often from similar economic situations across race across urban and rural guidelines here in Virginia, and to come and spend 1, 2, 3, 4 weeks with each other in different programs. So that was a great opportunity for me to see that university of Virginia in fact, has one of the country’s oldest upward bound programs.
[00:08:39] And so was glad to be a part of that. When I was in Florida, as well as Virginia knew a number of people who were AmeriCorps. Workers but also people who worked in state departments who actually invested funds or oversaw people who were involved. So I’m a big fan. And one of my early mentors was Dr.
[00:08:57] Samuel Proctor. He was at one [00:09:00] time a pastor. At Abdin and Baptist church in New York. But he was also the first director of AmeriCorps appointed by John F. Kennedy. So those programs ring well, to me, two things come to mind when you mentioned the American recovery and reinvestment act of 2009, we had.
[00:09:17] similar conversation with Margarite Rosa and a couple of other guests about this topic because you and I both know this isn’t the first time we’ve had a massive investment of federal dollars during a time of economic uncertainty, and that we should try to learn lessons from that. Number two, we actually referenced on this show, another Brookings report, which actually identified lessons learned.
[00:09:42] So. Superintendents governors teachers and others who are involved with handling multimillion dollars, all of a sudden coming to the district what they can do as someone who is a supporter of our free enterprise system, someone who likes entrepreneurial thinking. I like the idea of seeing, did you say a [00:10:00] 17 to one return on investment?
[00:10:02] Ah, yeah. I mean, if you and I put a dollar in and had $17 return, someone would say that was a very good financial investment. Yeah. I see this as a very good human capital investment. I also like the idea of looking for public private partnerships. There’s some states, in fact who like to get a public match or a private sector match, or they can combine money because you’re right.
[00:10:25] There are a lot of reasons and I’m a supporter of the federal role in education. A smaller F compared to the better Robinson professor Robinson and UVA. Who’s a bigger F than me, but we both believe there’s a role there, but I also want to see the for-profit sector play a role, not just for their money, but to be invited in for their ideas, because I think a true public private partnership.
[00:10:46] Shouldn’t be. Public will run it private, give us money and then shut up and stay in your lane. Right. So I like the idea. I’m a supporter and glad to see that program moving forward. I will say that if people are looking for ways to support public [00:11:00] private partnerships one thing to do is to look.
[00:11:02] And whether or not your state is investing money into national teachers of the year North Carolina continues to have more nationally board certified teachers than anyone else. They also have a financial investment that goes along with that. Some states had to get rid of that investment because.
[00:11:18] Money was tight. So as we think about this, I think we should learn lessons from programs like this and see what we can do to support those in that program. So thank you so much for that story. My story’s a little different it’s about civics and it’s about a state. I don’t think we’ve actually.
[00:11:34] Spent any time talking about on learning curve. And so this was a learning curve for me as well. So in 2018, a group of parents and students in Rhode Island decided to Sue the state and the governor, well, the governor being the state and the education officials in federal court, because they said that.
[00:11:54] Rhode Island was not doing a great job to prepare students to fully [00:12:00] participate in civic life. And they asked the federal court if they could actually get a constitutional right, that all students in public schools in Rhode Island would have access to civic education. And so I went to court at the first level, the district level, us district judge, William Smith , actually dismissed the lawsuit.
[00:12:17] He said, while he understands the claim is desirable and even in central, he said for citizens to understand civic responsibility is really important. He said, but it’s not something that the us constitution contemplates mandates. So naturally moved to the us circuit court of appeals, which is in your city of Boston and the circuit court actually upheld the ruling of the district judge.
[00:12:41] They said that the defendants brought a good case, but again, it’s not something that the Supreme court can do. In fact, the court went further to say that defendants told the appellant court that binding legal precedent has established that there’s no fundamental right to education in the constitution.[00:13:00]
[00:13:00] So we’ve had on this show, a number of people who’ve talked about the Rodriguez case uh, it was a federal case decided in 1973, by the Supreme court, which basically ruled there was no federal right. To education. And this was part of a large wave of school finance lawsuits across the country, California, Texas New Jersey.
[00:13:20] Now, the reason I mentioned New Jersey is that Michael rebel and a group of others have been part of a number of lawsuits in different states to try and get. A federal right to education. Well, this take was a little unique in the fact that they said, well, let’s go for a constitutional right to civics education.
[00:13:38] So district court said, no, appellant court said no. The attorney for the parents and the students said, you know what, maybe I should take to this, to the Supreme court. Well, in the interim, the department of education in Rhode Island said that both sides the plaintiffs and the defendants decided to come together and he reached an, a.
[00:13:56] On how they wanna strengthen civics education in Rhode Island.[00:14:00] Governor Dan MCee actually signed legislation last year to require public schools, students to demonstrate proficiency as defined by local school districts in civics education, and to at least have or participate in one civics project beginning 20 22, 20 23.
[00:14:16] So there are at least three things that stand out for me as relates to this article one, here’s an example. Of when people use the court to get administrative agencies and executive agencies to do something. So even though there wasn’t a win in the court the executive branch bringing the governor’s office said, Hey, let me sign legislation.
[00:14:36] And then you had the regulatory agency, department of ed. Working with the plaintiffs and the defendant say, listen, let’s get to the table and see what we can do. So when I work with undergrad and grad students, when I talk about the history of school reform, this is one example of how people will use the court to wink at other governmental bodies.
[00:14:54] They do some work. Number two, I think it was really interesting. The role that the term [00:15:00] democracy in peril played. In fact, that’s the opening title for the article. the attorney for the plaintiffs basically said, listen, we need to do this in order for us to teach student civics and teach them responsibilities and one example.
[00:15:16] And so I think that’s important. So that’s my. Number two, many people here know that I’m a big supporter of civics education. In fact, today June 14th, a bipartisan group of us senators reintroduced the landmark civic secures democracy act, which would authorize in historic investment to support K12 civic education and American history.
[00:15:38] I’ve had a chance in 2020 to write a piece I published at AAI. About that piece of legislation and another one in a Virginia newspaper. So I’m pretty clear where I stand with civics education. So listeners, let me give you a quick overview of the state of civic education in the United States, based upon a 2016 report published by education commission of the states.
[00:15:59] [00:16:00] 47 states in DC address civics education in state or local statute. Every state requires students to complete coursework in civics education or social studies in order to graduate 37 states require students to demonstrate proficiency. Through assessment in civics or social studies, 17 states include civic learning and this accountability framework.
[00:16:23] And lastly, every state includes civic learning or social studies in the standard curriculum. I’m on the board of I civics uh, it’s nonprofit organization founded by former us Supreme court justice, Andrew Day O’Connor we work to provide a civics curriculum across the nation. With more than 120,000 teachers actively using our resources to more than 7.5 million students doing the same in all 50 states.
[00:16:48] So I am sure our listeners in Rhode Island I have already reached out to is civics. Or if you’re not familiar, we have partners, , in your state doing work. But let me go to the third part. And this is more about what I would call semis[00:17:00] the symbolic use of language.
[00:17:01] And so when we’d say democracy in peril the attorney. Upon hearing that there’s possibly not gonna be a win in the case that side of the fence said, listen, democracy is in peril. And all we have to do is take a look at what took place on the us capital steps January 6th. And I’m in agreement.
[00:17:21] I’m already on the record of saying that that riot was a tragedy on several fronts. And of course, right now, Congress is taking a look at that. And if January 6th is going to serve as a platform to talk about responsibility, democracy, or democracy and peril. Why not also look at the riots that took place across the country, following the death of George Floyd.
[00:17:45] And let’s just put that in perspective in terms of numbers. So there’s a company called property claims services and it tracks insurance claims related to civil disorder across the country since 1950. As least right now in [00:18:00] 20 states, the damage from the riots that followed what took place, the death of George Floyd in current dollars, 1.2 billion.
[00:18:09] Well, let’s put that in context. That’s more damage in terms of property value than the Rio in 68 in Chicago. 68 in Baltimore, 67 in Newark, 77 in New York, 68 in Washington, 1980 in Miami, 67 in Detroit and 65 in LA combined. And so if we are to talk about riots and to use it as a way of talking about peril about.
[00:18:37] What we can do about responsibility and about government. I think we should also look at what took place in our cities across the country related to George Floyd. So that’s another place we should look, but it’s also worth noticing that in Providence at least according to a June 2nd 22 report a police cruiser was torched.
[00:18:56] Windows in businesses were shattered. 75 to a hundred [00:19:00] people actually stormed ’em all and looted about 12 to 18 businesses. So there’s a local example of what we could use at that time. 2020 to also talk about responsibility in government and from historical standpoints also worth noting that in 1824, as well as 1831 if we’re to talk about white mobs, January 6th, there were white mobs in 1824 and 1831 in Providence who stormed and racked black homes and businesses historical way of also using that city race and white mobs to talk about government and civics.
[00:19:37] So I’m all about civics. I’m about using riots. If that is a vehicle in which we talk about civics responsibility, government and building a better nation, but let’s not cherry pick which ones we want to use and which ones we wanna.
[00:19:50] Cara: well, I’ll keep my remarks brief. Sure. Because we’ve got a fabulous guest waiting for us, but couldn’t agree more.
[00:19:56] One of the things that’s so interesting about your, thank you for [00:20:00] your detailed history, you always do such a good job of, bringing the facts. You’re like an encyclopedia is just this idea that I don’t think, civics education is really part of the broader American conversation and not only the examples that you gave, but just so many other facets of American.
[00:20:16] Right now and what we’ve come to accept it as normal in American life. Unfortunate parts of what we’ve come to accept as normal lead me to believe that civics education not only incredibly important, it’s increasingly important. Yep. Not just south of here in Rhode Island, but everywhere across this country Gerard, thank you for that.
[00:20:35] we’ve got, like I said, a great guest waiting for us, a friend of the show, someone we’ve talked to before, but we’ve got new, fresh questions for this person. There’s a lot on our mind. We’re gonna be speaking with Margaret Mackey, Raymond, and she is the director of credo, the center for research and educational outcomes at Stanford right after.[00:21:00]
[00:21:20] Learning curve
[00:21:20] Cara: listeners. We are really happy to have back. Dr. Margaret “Macke” Raymond. She has served as the director of credo since its inception. And I told you at the outset, what CREDO stands for, does the center for research? On educational outcomes. She has steered the group to national prominence as a rigorous and independent source for policy and program analysis.
[00:21:41] She has done extensive work in public policy and education reform and is currently researching the development of competitive markets. And the creation of reliable data on program performance. Macke also leads credo in investigating the effectiveness of public charter schools prior to joining Stanford.
[00:21:58] In 2000, she held faculty [00:22:00] positions in the political science and economies department at the university of Rochester. Macke also worked for a number of years in the telecommunications industry and was president of Raymond associates, a private consulting company, specializing in public policy research projects and telecommunications policy formulation from 1985 to 2000.
[00:22:19] I did not remember the telecom part of your background, Macke and interesting time to be thinking about digital divide telecom. So much of what’s going on, but I dig. Welcome to the show. Thanks for being here.
[00:22:34] Margaret: Thank you very much for having me. I’m very excited to be here today.
[00:22:37] Cara: Yeah. we’re excited to hear what you have to say.
[00:22:39] So, I’m curious, just to get started right off the bat, you recently hosted an education summer at Hoover institution that featured a wide variety of national and international experts. Talk to us about what happened there. give us some of the big highlights.
[00:22:56] Margaret: well, I’d be happy to, we were incredibly lucky [00:23:00] to catch the wave of people just starting to travel after months and months of, staying close to home.
[00:23:07] And so we decided that we would gather. Policy leaders from across the globe on the topic of the priorities and the urgency of really big change in K12 education, not only in the United States, but around the world. And the message that we heard was consistent across all different stakeholders who came either as audience or as speakers, which is that the problem.
[00:23:34] Of public education is under described and under defined and not taken sufficiently seriously. And the magnitude of the consequences of not addressing it are less well understood than they should be. And they are disastrous. So starting with that as a sort of basic premise across the summit we heard.
[00:23:57] Almost every single person in the room [00:24:00] and online on the zoom virtual conference, the urgency of creating enough coalition and willingness to change to really drive substantial revision of our system. And if not to our peril and the per of the students who are in school,
[00:24:18] Wow. Do
[00:24:19] Cara: you think it took a pandemic to spur that urgency on to get people to really realize what trouble we’re.
[00:24:27] Margaret: I think that we have seen something similar in other disaster scenarios. Obviously there was hurricane Katrina and we had similar hurricanes in other parts , of the country. we’ve had wildfires that have closed down schools. We’ve never had a disaster at this scale before.
[00:24:44] And I think the, scale of this actually created conditions where. Regular citizens, parents, neighbors, grandparents got to see what really was happening in schools or more specifically what wasn’t happening in [00:25:00] schools. And it caused both concern and mobilization on a scale that we’ve just never seen.
[00:25:05] Yeah. Yeah,
[00:25:06] Cara: no, I couldn’t agree more. I mean, looking at, and this, actually leads to the next question I wanna ask you, because I think that, from my perspective, obviously from your perspective or what you were hearing at your summit absolutely parents woke up, communities, woke up, saw under the hood and thought, oh my goodness, is this really what’s happening?
[00:25:24] some of the stories, I’m sure we could all tell. But at the same time, a lot of the narrative that we hear. From those who have a vested interest, right. In maintaining the status quo we should say, or the, or just don’t wanna see it is sort of like, well, we need more of this and we need more federal involvement.
[00:25:42] and on the one hand you’ve got this real grassroots, like revelation around like, no, we need some serious change. I’ll say you see some states passing, real parent centered reforms. We, we don’t know yet the extent to which those are gonna be effective. Right. But on the other hand, there’s this call.
[00:25:58] More and more involvement from the feds. I [00:26:00] wanna visit that notion of involvement from the federal government with you, because you are expert in understanding it. So in the past 30 years, we’ve seen huge policy changes, initiated perhaps by the federal government. Probably some for good and maybe some for not so good.
[00:26:17] So things like standards, accountability through standardized testing, obviously charter schools. And then we’ve got like more state. Reforms around private school choice, et cetera. So, but okay. With all of these reforms and we’ll get nap results soon. Right. But we’re still sort of like in this Midling place, nap results are either stagnant or going down, you see a couple bright lights in places like Mississippi with literacy, ?
[00:26:42] what is it that we are missing that we still continue to not serve so many kids? Is there anything that’s good. About federal education reform or are we, is it a loss? what do you see there?
[00:26:55] Margaret: Well, that’s a huge question and, I hope that we have all day to get at that but in the [00:27:00] same time that we do have, let me just , take a crack at it.
[00:27:02] I know that the average nap results and Tim’s and Piza results have not looked great. But I would also say that the innovations that you’re talking about both at the federal level and at the state level are really intended to set the conditions for change. And what’s ended up happening in the political realm is that those conditions have been undermined by.
[00:27:28] Folks who wanna maintain the status quo. They’re very , effective at the political maneuvering to dilute a lot of those. In spite of that, if you look at any one of these policies, you can actually see big variation in how well they’ve worked. And the thing that we haven’t done is we haven’t looked at the evidence where it has worked.
[00:27:50] Like let’s find out where. Accountability systems really did take root and make a difference. And there are several of them around the country, but we don’t look at [00:28:00] those. We don’t learn from them and we don’t try to redistribute that wealth of knowledge to get other folks to adapt, to be more like that.
[00:28:08] So I think that there’s a sort of a culpability in the effort. Effort is made effort is diluted. We don’t actually zero in on a continuous improvement style in any of these policies that we’ve had. And so they’re much more vulnerable to attack because at the average, it doesn’t look like much is happening.
[00:28:31] Cara: that’s fascinating. I mean, I would even point to thinking about state level reforms in which has seen great growth over time. Right? I think that one of the things to your point that you can point to in Florida and not everything’s perfect. Right. But they’ve, gotten a lot better is to a greater extent than other places, this continuity of approach, like we’re going to expand choice and we’re going to, to some extent.
[00:28:52] maintain a system of accountability. I would love to know your thoughts on where we’re at with accountability, because we spent a long time getting those reforms in [00:29:00] place, and it feels very much like they’re being rolled back. Maybe you can share those thoughts with me while all talking about some states that you think are doing it.
[00:29:09] Well, some commissioners that are, holding the line on the reforms
[00:29:12] Margaret: that do work. So a moment on the accountability. I do think that the pandemic I think legitimately during the pandemic, we put a pause on accountability like that. Wasn’t the thing we should be focusing on right now, but what that did then was to also give.
[00:29:28] Opponents of accountability, a really long runway to get their act together, to maintain the suspension of accountability. And they’re doing that in a variety of ways. They’re trying to weaken the testing systems. They’re trying to continue a moratorium of school quality reviews. They’re trying to eliminate any kind of consequences from any of Thea plans.
[00:29:49] And so I think that. The idea that somehow schools are no longer responsible for the product that they produce is gaining traction. And I think that that’s a [00:30:00] 180 degree misstep in a bad direction. When I think about the places around the country that are, not doing that. Of course, I think of Florida, of course, I think of Mississippi.
[00:30:11] I think of Louisiana where they are. Much more innovative in the way that they think about organizing systems. You know, we have new Orleans, which is an all charter district, but they also think about allowing good schools more discretion and allowing underperforming schools, very little discretion, very directed choices that they have to make in things like curriculum in things like.
[00:30:34] Allowing for additional time in school and additional days of school in the school year. So I do think that there are places around the country where smart minded people are systems oriented. They’re getting the right pieces in place and they’re sticking with them. As you said earlier.
[00:30:51] GR: So M I have a question dealing with American presidents.
[00:30:55] And so when you think about bill Clinton and the role that he played [00:31:00] in creating what is now charter school week the office at the federal level, dealing with investments. And so from Clinton forward you had presidents who supported charter schools. Now with the five administration, there’s been a recent break with his democratic brethren Clinton and Obama on their stance.
[00:31:17] And we see even some changes with some democratic politicians. Where do you see charter schools heading over the next five years? Given this current state of affairs?
[00:31:27] Margaret: Yeah, that’s a wonderful question jar. I don’t think that it’s a monolithic solution. we are going to see. States where there is a very, very strong democratic presence that is focused on supporting unions and labor.
[00:31:44] We’re gonna see the charter school environment weaken in those places. And that’s a real. Sad thing because those places are states that educate lots and lots and lots of kids and charter schools in those environments actually are producing superior outcomes [00:32:00] compared to the district schools in the same communities.
[00:32:03] So I’m, prepared and pessimistic about those situations. So I’m expecting weakening in Washington. California, for sure. I think Illinois, New York is a toss up. New York city is very strongly going in a charter school direction, but it’s not because of policy it’s because of philanthropy. And the rest of the state is, holding, but I’m not sure that that can hold for long.
[00:32:26] And then you’ve got places where. There’s already been damage like Massachusetts and the walking away of fiscal parody in a number of the states , in the Midwest. So I think that in some places we’re gonna see the charter school environment . Get softer. I don’t think that’s going to be universal.
[00:32:45] I do think that there are states that are very strong on charters. They have seen the evidence. So I don’t expect places like Louisiana, Missouri. I don’t expect Florida to back off. I don’t expect. Indiana Ohio to back off of charter [00:33:00] schools at all. And I think there’s gonna be a good opportunity for charter schools to start sharing what they do.
[00:33:07] There’s huge pressure now because of COVID to basically take what you know, and share it. And. Charters across the country are being asked to be partners with district schools to try to broaden the range of education options that kids have coming out of the pandemic. And so there are charter schools that are actually co-operating district schools.
[00:33:32] there are charter schools that are taking over district schools to run them. There are charter schools that are basically operating their own teacher training programs and are welcoming district teachers. So I think in some places, the boundary between charter schools and regular schools is gonna blur.
[00:33:49] I hope that that doesn’t get complicated in a political sense, but I think in the short term that that’s actually a good thing.
[00:33:56] GR: And thank you so much for bringing in [00:34:00] philanthropy because they’ve played at times a behind the seeds role, not in an nefarious way or anything in investing to move policy, talk to move schools and to move ideas.
[00:34:11] So we often overlooked that. Let me switch from the executive branch to the judicial branch. So over the last Few years 20 states have actually expanded or established a variety of private school choice programs. Mm-hmm . And when you look at the successful ruling, at least to some of us in the ESP Espinoza case, and we had ESP Espino on our show you couple that with growing parental dissatisfaction with traditional public schools under COVID, something you’ve mentioned, and the likelihood that another Supreme court case, this one coming out of Maine with Carson Vick.
[00:34:43] And, and if that let’s say goes the way reformers want. Where do you see private school choice heading?
[00:34:50] Margaret: Well, I think that it is very much a bull market for private school choice right now. I think we have as you said, broad to satisfaction, if you look at what happened with [00:35:00] enrollments, we are unable to account for over a million.
[00:35:04] In the last school year, we just simply don’t know what happened to them. Well, something is happening to them and programs like education, savings accounts and homeschooling and supported homeschooling, which I think is an emerging model where private schools are actually not accepting students into their school, but they are in fact providing educational resources so that families can homeschool that whole area.
[00:35:29] innovation I think is, ripe for further development. And I would expect to see at least a few more million kids in the next five years, moving out of public school and into private.
[00:35:39] GR: Yeah, that’ll be a monumental shift. Some of our colleagues America Federation for children, ed choice, mm-hmm center for education reform genie.
[00:35:47] We know that there’s at least a million students on the waiting list. And so of what you’re suggesting comes true, we would’ve accomplished in let’s say 24 months, what? 25 plus years of [00:36:00] efficacy and other work to get us to this point. Makes a lot of sense. when you think about right left coalition and reformers let’s take a look at this in terms of the, just the divide of where we are right now in American politics, charter schools in fact came about because of a diverse coalition of people, party, race, gender, public school teachers.
[00:36:23] In fact, in Minnesota and California played tremendous roles in getting. Charter schools off the ground and moving forward, when you think about the country, what do you see as being the most promising compromises, if any, that are going need to take place within our laws and policies to move us to
[00:36:42] Margaret: the next level.
[00:36:42] So I don’t think the game is actually at the political level. In the next period. And let me say a few more things about that and explain why I say that. I’ve been demoing this a lot of thought. I mean, it’s not just parents who got ticked off during the pandemic. There’s been a [00:37:00] lot of, new rumblings if you will.
[00:37:02] And I’m starting to see that there are really important stakeholder groups that live with the consequences. of K12 education policy, but have not yet taken a seat at the table. And let me give you a few examples of this. I think electeds in municipal government. So mayors county supervisors and so on they are required to live with the consequences.
[00:37:29] the folks who graduate from K12 schools in their communities are living in their communities and they are having to cope with the lack of preparation, the lack of employability, the lack of, ability to continue on as lifelong learners. And so I. There is in fact, a stakeholder group among electeds and municipal governments that could actually be a potent force in a coalition for reform.
[00:37:57] I think another one is the employment community, [00:38:00] local employers in the same communities that we were just speaking about, have to hire from that pool. And yet they’re not banging on the table and they should be. And I think as well, I think the sort of. Non-governmental organizations, the non-profits and the social service agencies who have to actually use community resources to continue to support folks.
[00:38:25] As a consequence of not being well prepared for life are another constituency that we never hear from. And yet. People are lining up outside their door, even more now as a result of the pandemic. So they’re a third stakeholder group parents. Obviously we talked about that’s a fourth stakeholder group.
[00:38:43] When I think about the possibility of lining up all those people on main street and getting them to lock hands and say, we’re mad as hell, and we’re not taking it anymore. I think we’ve got the possibility of some really serious coalitions for change.
[00:38:58] GR: That is one of the best [00:39:00] assessments of the different communities and roles and players that we need and stakeholders at the table that I’ve heard in a really long time.
[00:39:08] And when you mention business, yeah, I mean, people are going, for example, To college because they wanna get a job students who are enrolled in VO tech. And we had that conversation last week. A lot of them are going to get a job. And so employers are important and among the board of trustees for America succeeds, and that’s a nonprofit that works to harness the business community.
[00:39:30] So. That’s really, really good point. here’s just a, more of a reflective closeout question for you. Knowing what you do today, and there’s a Mackey and a Mac or Sally or Sam, who’s gonna listen to this, knowing what you know now, what would you tell yourself in 2000 when you were coming to Stanford to do this work?
[00:39:50] Margaret: I probably would’ve said ger your loins. It’s gonna be a whole lot harder than you expect. I would’ve said be very careful [00:40:00] about your opponents, keep your eye on them and make sure that you keep them close and never underestimate the power of individuals to come together and, to force change if we need it.
[00:40:13] And so I, continue to believe all of.
[00:40:17] GR: Thank you so much Mackey for joining us Kara and I, of course, looked forward to this conversation. And of course you exceeded all the great expectations we had for you. Keep up the good work at credo when you have another conference. Remember Kara and I Jamie really. Came back fired up from his trip to the bay area.
[00:40:36] And so, you know, you have a friend here with both of us. You also know that you have a platform. So keep up the good work and look forward to future conversations.
[00:40:44] Margaret: Thanks for your time today. Really enjoyed being with you. Take
[00:40:48] Cara: Thank you, Macke.[00:41:00] [00:42:00] [00:43:00]
[00:43:11] GR: So listeners, my tweet of the week is from Robin Lake. She is a former guest. She is with the center on reinventing public education and here her tweet think learning loss will just vanish. Think it will vanish. For all kids the same way, this report, which she references suggests otherwise. So go to our webpage and take a look.
[00:43:34] Cara: Always bringing the good stuff. we’ve got some great, great reports. Gerard, next week, we’re gonna be speaking with somebody. I believe this person is a friend of yours. I think you used to work together. I might be wrong, but somebody I have long admired, we’re gonna be speaking with Deborah McGriff and she is a former managing partner with new schools’s venture fund, former urban superintendent ed reform.
[00:43:58] Wonk [00:44:00] queen among among many things. So really looking forward to that conversation. So am I, I, I bet you are well until next week, Gerard, please take care and thanks for will do.
[00:44:14] GR: right. And congratulations to your daughter on finishing. You said the
[00:44:18] Cara: sixth grade at the Wellen Montessori school in Newton center, Massachusetts, the Wellen hour
[00:44:25] GR: and shout out to my daughter for graduating from the eighth grade.
[00:44:28] So good time for the Kara Gerard household. Awesome household. Love it. All right.
[00:44:34] Cara: Now just get my kindergartner on the road. Okay. take care of
[00:44:38] Gerard bye bye.[00:45:00] [00:46:00]