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tv   Washington Journal Pedro Rivera Discusses Pennsylvanias Education Policy  CSPAN  September 21, 2017 6:54pm-7:27pm EDT

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cassidy and another one bipartisan proposal aimed at large premium increases. caucus host a civil rights town hall and then a discussion about state and local integration policy on c-span3. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies that is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> now on "the washington journal" the c-span 50 state tour continues. we are in tensile vignette in the new bus that is parked outside the state capitol harrisburg and joining us from the bus to discuss education policy from the state level is
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the pennsylvania secretary of education, pedro rivera. thank you for being with us. the proposed budget for your department in the coming year is about $6 billion. where does that money go? mr. rivera: first, thank you for the opportunity. it is an interesting topic of conversation as you are looking specifically at education funding. the vast majority of ending is actually passed through to school districts. we are a relatively small department in terms of service to 500 districts across the commonwealth including 174 harder schools and technical education centers -- charter schools and technical education centers. but most of our funding is for
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-- >> but how do you allocate that questio? mr. rivera: we are proud of some of the work we have in engaged in. for the first time, pennsylvania has a basic education funding formula. historically we had run our lending through a legislative process, meaning wherever you started -- ended last year is where you would start this year. the first time over two years ago, the governor signed into law a basic education funding for new up which takes into doubt the needs of students, poverty level, concentrated poverty for urban communities, distressed poverty or more dispersed poverty for rural areas. we take in a number of el students, english learners. over the worst of the past two years for new funding going into
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education, we allocate that in a very transparent, coordinated, and equitable fashion. know, on monday use amid it your state plan for the tory student succeeds act the federal department of education, what is in your plan and what is the process like? mr. rivera: absolutely. this has been an amazing opportunity for us in the department. we understand this as the primary opportunity to connect and drive educational policy for the next decade and the on. i have to take a moment and share that we started much sooner in our work around education policy to reimagine education in the commonwealth. we started to engage stakeholders before the actual adoption of every student succeeds at. we really engage with them on what they would like to see and what they believe the education
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system in the commonwealth should look like. we submitted our plan. we received back over 3000 stakeholders dispersed across our education community. urban, suburban, we connected with business partners, advocates, students. we highlighted a couple of areas we were going to focus on over the next decade, first moving away from this test taking system. and not necessarily one measure of sweeping change, but to look at three things. one is accountability, using standardized tests to evaluate achievement levels, but also -- focus on growth. but we are also going to look at at theirsures, look
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grade reading level attainment, seventh-grade math level attainment, meeting the needs of iep students, chronic absenteeism. we understand they are primary indicators that students graduate on time and are less likely to drop out. readinessok at career programs, baccalaureate, advanced placement, career technical education programs, dual enrollment with colleges and universities and a free 39 plan, which are college and career readiness lands. plans.iness we are deliberately writing into our plan college and university preparation, and not just middle and high school, we are focusing elementary school students. we have kindergarten students discussing with their
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so that is a distinction that we are extremely proud of, and at the governor has set an expectation and a pathway for us and we have been very happy to move forward on that path. c-span, the washington -- the " and we arejournal in harrisburg, pennsylvania, with the secretary of education for the commonwealth of pennsylvania, pedro rivera. education affects every community, so we want to hear from you. first off, we want to hear from pennsylvania residents. you to the number for call. we also want to hear from educators. if you live anywhere else in the country and you want to talk about education policy,
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202-748-8002. secretary, what is your initial of betsy devos and the department of education under the trump administration. it's an interesting question and something that i have reflected on over the past several months. i have an interesting perspective, as secretary. i spent my whole clear in the career in-- my whole the classroom, and in administrative offices. governor made the decision to select an educator because he made education his priority. it is not something that i have been focused on, secretary devos. i have not worked with her. i don't know her. we have not had an opportunity to interact. what i do think she is reflective of the environment
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the administration is looking to create. and here in pennsylvania, we are absolutely clear, we want to focus on the outcome of education. we want to focus on teaching and learning and enrich outcomes, for all students regardless of zip code. i think what i've been focusing on much more was the policy driven by the administration. and i'd like to continue seeing it be much more inclusive of all kids. i like to see that we are focusing on our most vulnerable communities, and not stripping resources at a much needed time, but adding resources to educators, to provide the best quality education for their students. secretary rivera has served as a teacher, a principal in the philadelphia school district, and he was also the
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administrator and harrisburg. you talk about well-rounded students. what does that mean? historically, especially in recent history, we have been so fixated on standardized tests, and using one measure to identify successful and failing schools. and we understand through conversations with not just educators, but business and industry leaders, education advocates. and parents. how well theirow students are doing, based on a number. so this moves us away from that one standardized measure, and not only that, looking at the need for students and we understand that you can't uncouple the needs of the student from the needs of
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that community. programspporting across the commonwealth, like the communities cool model, where we are bringing in mental health services, physical health services, family services, adult education programs, into the schools. this allows us to realize that once again, schools of the center of most of our communities and should be the hub of support for all of her neighbors. and by ensuring that our schools are being much more inclusive of the community around them, as well as business and industry we community and leaders, can be much more inclusive. looking at chronic absenteeism, as to why students are absent. looking at issues like immunizations, to ensure students are healthy and happy. insecurity,ood ensuring that we offer high-quality breakfast and lunch programs because in many cases, those of the only meals are kids option -- helped the
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a healthy option is a male. summer programs before and after school. so it is thinking more holistically at the state and policy level, as to how we educate our children. host: let's hear from some pennsylvania residents. mary in levittown, pennsylvania, is up first. i am from bristol township school system. and this is different from a neighboring school system, that is totally different in the amount of money that is available. we are a much poorer school system. and right now, isn't it true that the budgeting and education , we are 46th out of 50 states
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in their contribution to the school systems? you, it also true that right now, have a lawsuit because of this, and the fact that there are so many discrepancies between poorer systems and richer systems? you, or how are we as a state, going to fix these situations? host: mary, do you have children in the school system? are you an educator? aller: i did have children in the school system. a different one, that he's even poorer than this one. in,o: thank you for calling mary. i had visited bristol township school district and had a great conversation with your administrator and teachers. you are absolutely right. it is interesting. when you look at pennsylvania, we fall into the
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-- how much funding we are contributing to each student educationally. that mary is right. when you start to dig down deeper, around the discrepancy between our poor school district and our wealthy school districts, we are also among the states in the country that of the largest gap between how much we contribute to poor school districts versus how many dollars we pay for students, between our poorer students and our more affluent school districts. and that is because the state's contribution to school district is among the lowest. we are primarily taxpayer driven. property taxes paid a percentage of the allocation for schools, and how much we invest per child. and that is something the governor has been absolutely, very vocal about, and we have
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been facilitating over the past few years. thate not shy to share, the governor has artie made historic investments in education. a basicly have education funding formula that allocates new money, and i emphasize new because the formula only impacts new funding. which means we are only distributing funds in an equitable manner, that are allocated for schools and school districts over the past three years. are going to close that gap between our lowest, per-pupil spending districts and our highest per-pupil spending districts, we're going to increase how much we spend on education. and both the governor and the department of education are committed to equitable distribution of finances through all districts across the commonwealth. fourthare in the bottom
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in terms of how we distribute those funds. host: and the education department's budget in pennsylvania is approximately $6 billion out of it total proposed budget of $32 billion. nancy, elkhart indiana, on our educators line. >> i'm listening and i fully agree with this idea of our students being well-rounded. the most important thing i see is when students come to seeergarten, we can almost right away whether the student is going to be ready to be educated. just as our previous speaker was the primary point of whether they can be educated has to do with the idea of being poverty-stricken, and is related to crime and everything else. and until our government learns that, or sees it -- i talked for
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30 years, and it really never has changed -- our government and our educators need to know that the people in education are professionals. well, the just say, education needs to be allotted a certain amount of money. they need to talk to the professionals. host: thank you, nancy. secretary rivera. nancy,i fully agree with and i would be fully remiss if i didn't take a moment to thank her for her years in education and affecting the lives of children. but, nancy is correct. not only do we engage with students and student at -- students and parents and communities themselves, but this is exactly what industry leaders have been telling us. they not only need an educated workforce, they need a well-rounded workforce. they need someone who can not only made -- not only meet the
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technical demands of the job, but also the social and emotional demands. so we need to ensure that our kids are learning to engage in school, as early as 3, 4, 5 years old is extremely important. we are also engaging aggressively in what we call stem initiatives. we have created five, statewide stem ecosystems, were reported community together and drive not ,nly the educational assessment but engaging business and is -- business and industry to ensure we are educating the next generation workforce. by 2025, 73% of jobs are going to require some kind of computer science background. so we have to strike now, to in to integrate stem and science opportunities into our
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curriculum. we have teachers as early as kindergarten and first grade, already starting to do so. time we have to acclimate students to the needs and expected social behaviors and our school. every day, teachers walk into their classrooms and administrators walk into their buildings and understand they are going to need to engage the students for much more than traditional curriculum. they are going to be preparing them to be the next generation workforce. ahead.lease go caller: some of the people who previously called asked the same question i was about to ask, about funding between suburban and city schools. philadelphiat in and pennsylvania, compared to other states, most city schools are being stripped of things
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and music programs, programs that are definitely going to benefit tints -- benefit kids. you have acity, cluster of people who were paying taxes. to me it isities, more equal than the cities than it is in the suburban areas. suburban areas are in a higher tax bracket. however, i would like to know, how are we going to change the system, based on what is going on right now? host: do you have children in the school system? >> i have grandkids in the school district. host: in philadelphia? >> yes. host: thank you.
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mr. rivera? >> thank you for the question. in stating ant observation that i have made in school districts as i visit school districts across the commonwealth. when i was in educators serving urban classrooms and urban students over the past 20 plus the culture that we have created and identifying tests as a single measure, many other learning opportunities for students is diminished. reduced funding and also a change in focus, we have seen a reduction in the number and percentage of humanities offered, music courses, arts programs, extracurricular activities, summer activities. that is probably the primary reason the governor has focused on supporting education, and providing more funding to across theans
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commonwealth. philadelphia is a good example. over the past two years, with the investment the governor has been able to make, and the investment your mayors have been able to make, you have brought back hundreds of new counselors, you have brought back our teachers, humanities teachers, new textbooks in classrooms across the city, and that is just a start. i was we could say we have done everything we need to do, but it is a move in the right direction. i focus on college and career readiness, and issues a -- chronicapt is --enteeism,, not only where not only are we going to provide a change of culture, we are going to have to provide incentives. we are always focused on standardized testing, which is why we are looking at taking the
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test later in the school year, to give them more instructional time. , byre working with teachers having them work together to focus on the needs of the kids, as focusing on -- as opposed to focusing on that single measure that we have been focused on for far too long. host: you have talked about testing, and i have been trying to come up with the right word to ask this question, but it is -- but is it seductive to teach the test? pedro: i think it is human nature. -- if you tell me you are going to only focus on one aspect of my performance, that's all i am going to focus on areas it is not seduction. that it is absolutely human nature to want to perform as well as you can, on the measurements put in front of you. my team has a saying, we treasure what is measured. as an environment
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of education, we have only focused on standardized test scores. so as a result, that is all our children have focused on and that is all our educators have focused on. so as a result, we have to have a change at the grassroots level, up to the top, in policy, to ensure there is much more to educating students. test scores are important. i understand. i am not advocating for throwing away standardized testing assessment. but we have to understand why test scores are important. test scores are important to ensure kids are learning the content expected of them. those scores should then be used -- drivein drop instructional practice, and identify when we need to enrich students, and then provide the resources needed to meet those standards.
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that is why assessments are important. they have never been effective when you are looking to rank someone, a building, a person, a community. to rank a subgroup is not what assessments are intended to do. assessments are attended to improve instruction and improve outcomes, and to ensure all students are receiving rigorous instruction regardless of zip code. host: matthew is an educator in emerson, new jersey. go ahead. r: i talked for over 25 years in elementary school. i've just glad that the current secretary of education is trying to allow inner-city children a school choice. i have two questions. the first is, could you please address the failure of common which frustrates parents but also frustrates the children as well?
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if he could, address the issue many parents do not want to and should not want to have to worry about, who will walk into their daughter's public school bathroom, whether ?t be a man or a boys thank you. i want to address quickly the question around common core. ,here is interest in rhetoric the conversation around common core and curriculum in general. it is important for me to set some context in understanding curriculum. when you look at core standards versus curriculum, curriculum is what schools adopt to a line instruction within that school to meet the standards that are
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created by the federal government, or the state government. we don'tennsylvania, subscribe to the full national common core but we have the pennsylvania core standards. if we look at our core standards in math, they ensure academic alignment to allow students or provide students the opportunity to be prepared for math and take trigonometry and calculus before they graduate from high school. ensure that, in literacy for example, students receive literacy instruction at a rate and a level that will ensure the kids can't engage at the college level, to upper high school level text by the time they graduate high school. that is why standards are important. theyprovide the benchmark, provide the north star, for lack of a better term, to drive instructional practice at the local level. curriculum is adopted by the local school district.
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that is what teachers teach every day in the classroom. when we hear the argument around the pennsylvania core standards or the common core, don't tell us what to teach in our classrooms and what we shouldn't or should focusing on, i think there is a disconnect between what standards are and what a curriculum is. in my opinion, we absolutely want to standards in our education system. if not, there would be no expected outcome, there would be no north star to drive instruction across the country. havinga result of not that direction, to states could be focused on developing different school sets, which would create a greater disconnect between the haves and have-nots of communities in the united states. in relation to the identification support and policies that focus on all of our students, and including our
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lgbtq community, here in the commonwealth i have been very vocal to say we support all students. and to the end that we understand there is a need for some additional professional development, there is a need for additional resources across the websitealth, and on our at the pennsylvania department of education, we have put what we call our equity and inclusion toolkit, to ensure that we provide educators with the tools inclusivity ensure of all students, regardless of sexuality, gender, race, ethnicity, age, it needs, physical impairments. we have been really clear as an administration, it is our job as educators and public servants to support every student and family member when they walk through
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our doors. host: and finally, secretary rivera, how extensive is the relationship that a state education department has, with the federal department of education? pedro: it is interesting. over the course of the three aars i have been here, we had relatively great working relationship with our u.s. department of education. when ia of concern, heard of and read of the anticipated reductions in the staff at the u.s. department of education, we understand, quite honestly, we focus heavily on serving our local constituency. i have made it a point of my team, to visit as many communities as we can and provide the best service as possible. educated dedicated,
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and really and gauged liaisons at the u.s. department of education is extremely important to me. don't wantary, you to have to shop around and trying to find an answer. over the past three years we have a great partners working out of the department. and i hope the current administration is mindful of the only to provide technical support to stool --tricts and state agencies school districts and state agencies across the country, but to really provide thoughts around the direction of the national movement of education. muchas we work with them more so on a technical, case-by-case nature, my hope is that we will find someone knowledgeable on the other end of the phone, when we make that call. host: the population of pennsylvania is about 13 million people. the recent high school graduation rate is about 85%. how many students are we talking about? in our case-12 system we
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serve over 1.7 million students. we have really prided ourselves on focusing on meeting the needs of those individuals. pennsylvania is an interesting community, we are pretty much a microcosm of the united states. we serve rural communities, we serve urban communities, we serve all levels of poverty and have very diverse communities that engage in multiple languages. so, what our educational system does each day to provide meaningful service and instruction to kids, continues to impress me. host: pedro rivera is the pennsylvania secretary of education, and he joins us in our third stop in the 50 state capitals tour. thank you for the
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invitation. host: and we also want to thank our partners in harrisburg, comcast, or helping us get the bus out to the front of the state capital, which was finished in 1906. 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span, i look at two senate health care proposals. by louisianad senator bill cassidy in south carolina senator lindsey graham, and another bipartisan proposal aimed at preventing large premium increases. on c-span2, the civil rights townhall posted by the congressional black caucus. . c-span. where history unfolds daily. c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies, and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider.
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earlier today president trump said the u.s. would impose additional sanctions on north korea. after those comments, steve nugent, the treasury secretary, held a briefing in new york city to discuss the sanctions. --s is 10 minutes to read this is 10 minutes. secretary mnuchin: hello everybody. nice to see you. glad to be here with all of you. it has been a very productive week at the united nations. i have been pleased to be here with the president. today the president strengthened, he signed an executive order that strengthened the u.s. government ability to cut off funding to the north korean regime and its weapons

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