For Public Comments to the Commission, please click here
1 to achieve those numbers, and I think that's what we're
2 hoping to work towards.
3 MR. HANNA: Grace.
4 MS. RAMOS: Well, I was just really glad that
5 Leslie cleared that up as far as higher education,
6 because I agree with Al. You see a lot of successful
7 plumbers, electricians. They have their own business,
8 which is where they need that educational portion to
9 enable them to run their own business.
10 My only thing, when I think about when we
11 talk about excel and going to college, what we are
12 looking at is the option to go to college, but be
13 prepared to go. But if you're not prepared, you can't
14 pass the test, you can't get into the college, it
15 doesn't do any good.
16 My concern is we watch out for the steering,
17 and steering happens at the junior high and senior high
18 level where we steer the children into the vocational
19 trade schools before they graduate from college and
20 they're graduating from vocational schools, which is
21 great to get a job after college, but basically what you
22 have done is dead-ended that person as far as furthering
23 their education because they don't have the college prep
25 And that steering is happening even now. It
1 happened when I was going to school. You saw the young
2 Hispanic, Mexican kid, whatever, and you said: You know
3 what? We'll put him in trade school. She can be a
4 beautician or a secretary, and we steer and do not
5 prepare them for college.
6 It's that preparation that I think we need to
7 look at in our families so that they do have their
8 option. They may decide to go to a different school,
9 like Leslie says, but I think what the bottom line is
10 going to be the earning power of that. At the end of
11 the day it's the earning power.
12 MR. HANNA: Octavio.
13 MR. VISIEDO: Just a final point on that. I
14 think Grace actually articulated my position perfectly,
15 which is it sort of reminded me of some of my prior
16 experiences which is you make those decisions very early
17 on. You don't make them when they're in high school.
18 And what we -- what we are all I believe in
19 total full agreement with is that we want to make all
20 kids, in this case particularly Hispanic kids as well,
21 prepared to make whatever decision they choose to make.
22 And our goal should be, the old standard, if it walks
23 like a duck, if it quacks like a duck, it's a duck.
24 Make them the best possible students.
25 At the end of the day they're going to make
1 the choice because that's the track that we put them on.
2 My only reservation is even if we -- I understand the
3 president's perspective on it, but even if you talk
4 about college, it's almost like if you don't get there,
5 then you're failure. And these are my words, not
7 Just to be clear, if you don't get to that
8 standard, you're a substandard, and I think that's a
9 wrong message. I think the message is we make sure that
10 every one of the students that work out of every high
11 school, especially as early as elementary school,
12 they're prepared to be the next level to perform in the
13 highest part.
14 That should be the goal, that should the
15 agenda, and we ought to tell the parents to not allow
16 the counselor to say go into shop, because they did that
17 to my daughter, and I was a relatively senior member of
18 the school district at the time.
19 And so it happens. I knew enough to
20 basically say no, that's not right. But there are a lot
21 of parents out there that don't. And that's what we
22 ought to focus on.
23 MR. HANNA: Ofelia.
24 MS. BOSCH: I think I'm sort of living proof
25 of some sort of success. I started out as a secretary.
1 I didn't wind up as a secretary and I didn't go to
2 college. So I just wanted to point that out.
3 MS. SCHOFIELD: And she's on the working
5 MS. MAZZUCA: I just wanted to go back to my
6 thoughts on the importance of the family when it comes
7 to that elementary level and the supports that the
8 family leads to and I don't know how to do this. I wish
9 I did, I would have the magic, but to ensure when the
10 opportunities were not right for the kids that the
11 family had a means and it's spelled out in the title one
12 act and what's happening right now in the legislation
13 and opportunities that kids could be afforded and
14 families afforded to assure the kids are best prepared
15 to be able to move on with their education and make the
16 appropriate choices.
17 Where the concern is with the family, what
18 about those kids whose families for whatever reason are
19 not accessing the students on behalf of their children
20 and can we as a commission make some statements and look
21 at some policies, legislative policies, that we're
22 acting actually as advocates, not taking the place as
23 the family, but acting as advocates, so when the
24 children fall behind that we can almost mandate the
25 Saturday schools, year-round schools and the additional
1 programs that right now even though they are being
2 afforded for kids at an elementary level are going
3 underutilized, particularly in the Latino population.
4 MR. HANNA: Do we have any other questions,
5 answers, commentary regarding the family working group
6 at this time?
8 MS. SANCHEZ: I apologize. Maybe you
9 addressed it.
10 Family, as many of you said, falls within the
11 parameters of all the other groups, but one of the
12 questions that the work group brought up, they do want
13 to work with the federal working group because there's
14 federal and state and local responsibilities to the
16 And in terms of dollars also, that there
17 ought to be something that each of you take into
18 consideration. What does the local government have to
19 do in support systems in terms of money or information,
20 bilingual information to serve our constituency? We all
21 have to partner with each other to make sure that's
23 MS. SCHOFIELD: I was just letting Leslie
24 know that's the part I referred to about one of our
25 challenges as a working group is to integrate what
1 everyone else is doing into the family work group
2 because you can see that we do fit in with everybody
4 MR. HANNA: Any other questions or comments?
5 Okay. Let's move to the educator working
6 group, and the chairman of the educator working group is
7 Alex Gonzalez.
8 MR. GONZALEZ: I'm the interim chair of the
9 work group. The other members are Chris and Pat
11 Now, the reason I'm the interim chair is that
12 you learn in the military and other places that if
13 you're not there, you get elected chair. Chris Barbic
14 is not with us today, so he's chair. Actually his wife
15 is expecting a baby at any moment and we're all going to
16 help him out, but since he's a practitioner in the
17 public school -- I mean in the schools, he agreed that
18 he would be the chair of this group.
19 We have -- we started out with certain
20 parameters that would limit the scope of what we want to
21 look at, and the conversation worked this way, along
22 these lines.
23 No. 1, we have a year, which is a relatively
24 short amount of time, to come up with a recommendation
25 or a set of recommendations to the president that can be
1 implemented. There's a lot of information out there
2 already that's been compiled, and as Ms. Schofield
3 pointed out, in 1990 Mr. Bush started this process.
4 Between that time and now we have a lot of
5 information that all of you have seen. There is no
6 sense in reinventing the wheel and rehashing the major
7 issues with the education of Latinos and Hispanics in
8 this country.
9 So we chose to focus in on what has been
10 clearly shown to be the most critical piece to anyone's
11 education, and that is the quality and the preparedness
12 of the teacher and classroom. That is the major factor.
13 If you have a good teacher who is well
14 prepared, knows what they are knowing, who has the
15 enthusiasm, they're going to make a difference with
16 those kids. And fortunately for us we have an expert
17 teacher, we have two of them in our work group, three
18 with Chris, who says he's been doing other things other
19 than teaching. So that's what we focused on, educators.
20 So the first thing that we did was we decided
21 that one of the major issues that the staff is facing is
22 they're being bombarded by all kinds of individuals that
23 have the answer for us, not only in written form, but
24 oral form as well.
25 So we have set a criteria as to what
1 information we will actually review or otherwise we'll
2 never even get started with the job. We set the
3 criteria as we will look at reports that appear to
4 referee the journals, articles that have been peer
5 reviewed in a sense. That's when you get them
6 published. Somebody has in a sense to go through them
7 and determine if they're based on a methodological
8 basis, whether they're pertinent.
9 We would look at reports from think tanks,
10 not just somebody's white paper that describes they have
11 the answer and send forward. Charles said brown papers.
12 We'll look at monographs, government publications.
13 We're setting some other parameters there.
14 But really what we're looking for is going to
15 be what criteria are we going to use that represent the
16 best practices in teacher training, what are the schools
17 that have good teachers, what are the higher education
18 schools that trained good teachers.
19 It's not the same across the country.
20 Different states have different criteria. There are
21 different criteria used for the certification of
22 teachers as well as I'll just give you a very, very
23 clear example.
24 California in its wisdom many, many years ago
25 decided that they were going to do away with the
1 education major. It just wasn't the right way to do it.
2 Now we don't have education majors. We have education
3 schools, but as an undergraduate you don't get a degree
4 in education. You get something called liberal studies.
5 I think that's a good example of legislative
6 interference, but we'll move on from that one.
7 The point is that we need to look at how
8 teachers are trained and what are those characteristics
9 that make for a good teacher.
10 In addition, what we're going to do is we are
11 going to go look at some expert teachers, what are those
12 characteristics about those teachers that work with
13 those kind of kids that makes them understand, what
14 makes a Chris Barbic or what makes a Pat Mazzuca, what
15 is it in their daily lives that gets them to do the
16 things that they need to do and influence those kids.
17 More than that, this goes beyond. As we were
18 looking at our charge, we wanted to look at it, we also
19 recognized the fact that teacher education and the
20 profession of being a teacher in this country is not
21 valued the way it is in other countries, in Asia, for
22 example, Latin America.
23 What we are looking at then is not only
24 teacher preparation, but the sustainability of those
25 teachers to stay in the profession. If you look at the
1 data, the attrition rate of teachers is horrendous.
2 Chris was saying the biggest issue in Houston
3 after the fourth or fifth year they leave. It's that
4 way across the country. How do you -- what can the
5 president do to help teachers stay in the profession and
6 really develop in four, five years. It takes you that
7 long to get your feet wet in the classroom, how to feel
8 comfortable with developing a lesson plan, how do you
9 stop that frustration and help that move on. A lot of
11 When you're a youngster -- maybe not so
12 young. When you first get out of the teacher educator
13 program, much more enthusiasm, you can live on a lot
14 less. What Chris pointed out, you start getting older,
15 start raising a family. How can you do it on $30,000 a
16 year? And the prospects for making more than that are
17 going to be very, very low.
18 So not only teacher preparation, but
19 sustainability, and the next part of it is professional.
20 What are good examples of best practices of professional
21 development of teachers, how do you train them, how do
22 you get them to continue with their education, because
23 usually that's going to be tied to their salary.
24 Those are the kinds of issues we're looking
25 at. How do you energize teachers, how do you train the
1 teachers in theory, but at the same time help them --
2 help them get enthused and engaged.
3 What we decided we were going to do
4 especially is look at math and science teachers as one
5 of the focal points of this group, how do you keep math
6 and science teachers in the profession.
7 If you're really good at math and science,
8 when you get frustrated, you probably either go to
9 business or some other kind of private research
10 endeavor, and we were looking at that as well.
11 The next step for us is we will put together
12 a report working with Erica, and Chris will take over as
13 the chair, and Highman Scalenta have identified a couple
14 schools in southern California that we're going to go
15 visit, one of his former students.
16 The other thing we are going to do, we have a
17 list of schools of education that I know of as well as
18 Columbia, Ninth Street -- what was the other one -- and
19 NYU that we're going to try as we're out there go get
20 the information, see how they do and see how they work
21 the teachers and how they get the teachers to the
22 standard profession.
23 A lot of districts now, for example, are
24 treating them like athletes, not like the Arizona
25 Diamond Backs, not giving them a few million dollars
Back | Transcripts Home | Continue