Transcript of a twenty-seven minute video program on the results of the
National Conference held at Yale University February 16-18, 1983
Supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in cooperation with the
Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the Council of Chief
State School Officers, and Yale University
Featuring in order of appearance:
A. Bartlett Giamatti, President, Yale University
Ernest L. Boyer, President, The Carnegie Foundation for the
Advancement of Teaching
Robert MacNeil, Executive Editor, "The MacNeil-Lehrer Report"
Gordon M. Ambach , President, The University of the State of New
York, Commissioner of Education, State of New York
Barbara W. Newell, Chancellor, the State University System of
Norman C. Francis, President, Xavier University of Louisiana
Craig Phillips, State Superintendent of Public Instruction,
Benjamin H. Alexander, President, University of the District of
John E. Sawyer, President, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Floretta Dukes McKenzie, Superintendent of Schools, District of
Stephen S. Kaagan, Commissioner of Education, State of Vermont
John B. Duff, Chancellor of Higher Education, Massachusetts
Michael G. Cooke, Professor of English, Yale University
Good evening. I want to welcome you to Yale and to New Haven. By coming
here from 38 states, American Samoa, the Northern Marianas, and the U. S.
Virgin Islands, you have made this a truly national meeting of Chief State
School Officers and college and university presidents and chancellors a
national meeting of elementary and secondary and higher education which is
almost without precedent. A central purpose of this meeting is to draw
national attention to the crucial role that higher education can, indeed
must, play in strengthening teaching in our schools.
The drama of America in its endless town meeting is to me something very
beautiful. That is, as de Tocqueville put it, when in doubt, call a
meeting. But I don't diminish that, because that signals the priorities
that somehow shake us out of the tracks we're on, and the very fact that
we leap out of those means something is stirring in our society that needs
attention. And so the issue, what have you accomplished? Well, the
accomplishment has been that people have come to New Haven.
I read that in your opening remarks you said that there are four problems.
You mentioned four problems, nice alliterative problems: "prestige, power,
pay, and preparation." Which of those problems . . .
Those are with regard to teachers . . . ?
Yes, with regard to teaching. Which of those
problems does this effort, this conference, carve out and potentially
Well, I suppose in an interesting way,
we are not going to solve the problems of pay, and we are not going to
solve the problems of power, whatever that may mean, in any given
institution. The extent to which school teachers and university faculty
believe themselves engaged in a common enterprise that has dignity and
purpose and "juice" in it, the extent that there are interests of
prestige, and self-worth, then I think in fact the mode of collaboration
will address that in due course. And I think in terms of preparation, by
which I mean the sense of how better to encourage the people who do teach
well, to teach better, in ways not only in the boosting of morale which
goes to the other point, then I think there have been a great many ways in
which that has been addressed, in terms of the various case studies that
I think we leave with a much better understanding of some of the specific
projects that are underway. The stress here has been on practice, on
what's actually happening, and although there may be some who have known
about a particular project in Michigan, or a project in North Carolina, a
project in Louisiana, we may not have all known about those projects, and
what happened in order to put them in place in the particular locations.
So, I think we each carry away a certain, very specific learning about
some practice which has gone on elsewhere in the country. And I think we
come away with a mutual concern that it is possible to replicate these
kinds of practices elsewhere, if we will take the initiative to do so. And
I think perhaps, along the lines of prestige, one of the most significant
points that has been made is the matter of the colleagueship among those
who are in faculties in the colleges and universities and those-who are in
the elementary and secondary schools. We have our educational system very
much split along horizontal divisions. There is very little vertical
connection or integration, if you will, for the most part. And I think
some very significant points have been made by way of what it means for
the teacher in the elementary or secondary schools to be associated with
faculty at the college and university level, in the sense of prestige, but
I think more important, in the sense of commitment to scholarship, and a
commitment to learning, to being on the forefront of learning, and in the
sense, mutual, of an impact on the university level, by way of a better
understanding of in fact what is really going on in the schools.
Barbara W. Newell:
Barbara Newell, University System of Florida. If you re adding so
substantially to human knowledge, one of our real problems is how do we
make sure that all within the educational system share, and it seems to me
to be one of the major parts of the New Haven project, one of the very
real reasons for the partnership, is to try to make sure that all teachers
in the system have an opportunity to know how fields are changing, what
the expectations of students are. I think the subject matter in-service
training is perhaps the most significant part of the partnership. And as
we put our emphasis on subject matter it also seems to me what we re
saying is that the partnership has got to be far broader than Schools of
Education. It has to cover the entire university community.
Finally, I stressed the need to have continued schooling of the teacher.
The data are absolutely shocking. Some have told us about forty percent of
the teachers have not had continuing education courses over the life of
their high school teaching this in science and mathematics as the field is
changing. All of these, I stressed this morning, are obligations for both
the schools and the colleges, and there are ways in which both of these
institutions can focus on what I think is a comprehensive response to the
problem of teaching excellence in the schools.
One particular point, in the cooperation, collaboration, it is not a "big
brother-little brother" situation, and I think that came through. And if
it was a message that had to come through, I think that most of us
understood the fact that you shouldn't approach it that way, but
unfortunately many of us do so. But I think if the conference said
anything, I think it said that we both have something to bring to the
collaboration, and a mutual respect for what can take place, I think, was
an important point made at this conference.
Mr. Phillips, looking at it from the point of a school system
administrator, confronted with all the myriad problems that you are in the
schools, what piece of those problems does this area give you hope could
be solved? We have heard President Giamatti's four "P's." What chunk of
your problems could this . . . ? How realistic is it to think you can
carve off a piece of your problems with this effort?
well I guess that I would add the "possibility" as the fifth "P," and if
you want to go out of the partnership, we can keep on. Since Phillips
begins with a "P," I'll add that, too, if you'd like.
You re on a roll, guy . . .
This thing called education is a labor- intensive business. I think we
all know that. It s quality, whether it is the public perception or our
own perception, the quality of what happens is directly related to the
quality of and the effectiveness of that labor. Which brings you to the
moment if, and I think it was Ben Alexander in the panel yesterday, who
talked of the promotion side of it.
Well everyone knows if Fords are not selling, we market an advertise; if
clothing is not selling, we market and we advertise; if coca-cola is not
selling, we market and advertise. And what I stated was, this should be
the same for education. You know, we should begin to say, "Education is
like a coke, it s the real thing," and people will understand that. We
should say, "Education is like a Hallmark card: It lets you be the very
best." or we can say, "Education is like a Pepsi: It has a lot to give."
We've sent the wrong signals to young people, for a combination of
reasons, why one should not be a teacher. Pay, prestige, concerns, and I
think if this conference says anything else, it says in effect, "Look,
teaching is not only a noble profession, but it is an important
profession, probably one of the finest professions we have." And that
hopefully, we will bring to bear all of the other things that we have done
for other professions, again, pay and the like. And we are going to give a
priority to it, a concern to it that it rightly deserves.
And I urged that we think carefully about
recruiting young students early for the profession of teaching. I said I m
just tired of having us be told once again that the lowest academically
are entering teaching. If we care about that, we're going to have to
choose our gifted students when they're in school junior high, high
school, and say, "I think you d be a great teacher." And I'm convinced,
just as we recruit athletes in the early grades . And I think that would
have an enormous influence on shaping the minds of young people who say,
"Oh, you think I can be a teacher!"
To me, the single most important task
that we have is to assure that there is a strong quality of teaching in
our schools. The general public perception in this country is that we are
in a surplus circumstance for teachers. We have gone through the 1970s in
which there have been tightening fiscal belts, in which there has been a
decline in enrollment, and a general perception that there is an excess of
teachers. We have got to carry out of that, we have got to be persuasive
and informative that we are moving to a circumstance where there is a very
substantial potential shortage of teaching personnel.
Does anybody else want to comment on that
point? Yes, sir?
John E. Sawyer:
John Sawyer of the Mellon Foundation. I
would comment, and I hope I can reserve the right to a question
afterwards, but I think Mr. Ambach s point is extremely important: That
the sense of these new linkages that have been talked about at this
conference may be very important in bringing forward into the teaching
stream young people in the Bachelor of Arts degrees across the country who
have by discouragement of jobs or the image of the profession have been
seeking other callings. I think there is a tremendous latent potential. We
know that in the early '70s about 20% of the students coming into higher
education thought of teaching. This last year the ACE survey showed it had
dropped to 4.7%. And I think that the fact that jobs will pick up later in
the '80s and '90s will offer opportunity to the kind of talent that this
college- school interaction may help bring forward.
Does anyone else want to comment on this idea? Yes, Ma am.
Floretta Dukes McKenzie:
Flo McKenzie, Superintendent of Washington, D.C. While we talk about the
bright young students entering the profession, some of us have the real
problem of very low turnover rates. In Washington we re down to about 2%
with a teaching force of about 5000 to 5600 persons. What do we do to
revitalize and recharge those people who are going to be with us, because
the economic situation as it worsens, persons are staying in the
profession much longer. And that poses for us in Washington a very
significant problem that we must grapple with. And we must have the
assistance of the colleges and universities to deal with that issue.
I read in one of the addresses to the conference that, I think, on
average, a great proportion of the teachers of the country had not in ten
years taken any form of further education . . . would you like to comment?
The observation is not only for the District of Columbia, but it is for
our school systems across the country, particularly, I think, right now in
the East. In the State of New York, the number of first-year teachers this
year is less than 2% of the total of all the public school teachers in the
State, and that same percentage has been true in the last five years, and
the same percentage will probably be true in the next couple of years. So,
the matter of trying to address those who are currently in practice right
now, is perhaps even more important than recruiting for the future. The
possibilities of providing a direct relationship and it is true in the
Yale project, a direct relationship has been expressed in other projects
of having a real partnership there, not the "Big Brother" approach, and
that was referred to earlier, but rather a co-equal approach, where there
are college and university faculty members and administrators, who are on
a colleague basis, working one-to-one with those who are in the schools,
it seems to me has the most promise.
Let me just play the "devil's advocate" here a moment. Is there a danger
that this conference, by its very weight and prestige, that you hope is
going to have a positive rippling effect throughout the country in drawing
attention to this aspect of the problem, may by that prestige divert
attention from other aspects of the problem and create the sense that this
is a panacea, that you are going to solve the problems of the schools by
cooperation between colleges, universities, and local school systems?
I think if the conference had allowed itself to labor under that
illusion, the danger you referred to is very real. The fact is, the
conference has not. I think the fact is there has been a very healthy
realism. What I take away from this is a renewed sense that there are
limited and very real things that are possible to do. That the cooperation
that has been manifest and for which there is a record in various parts of
this country indicates to me that if one defines and clearly sticks with
what one thinks one can do in a given locale, one can do a great, great
deal. And one cannot become overwhelmed or paralyzed by the fact that one
is not solving all of the problems of American education or American
culture, all of which are there, but which the educational process will
solve in the longer term if it is healthy every step along the way.
I just wonder, again, playing on this idea of the enormous prestige that
you are bringing to bear, and the attention you are attracting. Do you
give Federal, state and local government an excuse not to pay attention to
the resources because they can say, "Oh, hey, here is a way of improving
the quality of teaching because the universities are going to come in, and
we are going to be able to share some of their academic excellence and
prestige with our school teachers." Does this give them . . .
I think not. No, not at all. First of all, half of us are states, or
directly representing state resource. I think that there is an
expectation, once again, of the public, that unless the school systems and
the colleges and universities can come together and in fact can design the
agenda, can demonstrate that they are genuinely putting their resources
together to meet the most difficult problems, then there is not a good
case to be made to go to the public to try to draw the local or the state
or the Federal resources.
Can you push the improvement of the quality
in the selection of teachers at the early stage, and their training and
development, and career development, without also concentrating on the
resources that are available to pay them? Because isn t that the chief
motive, as well as loss of public image, for them leaving the profession,
for the huge exit of teachers into private industry? Can you discuss it in
isolation from the resources necessary?
No, not at all. And I don't think it's been discussed in isolation.
I think that everybody here has worked
all his life, her life, on the principle that people ought to be paid in
this noble profession of teaching at a level that somehow allows them to
live with some dignity. There's no doubt about all that. The fact is,
there s also some evidence, at least from our little, tiny efforts in one
corner of New England, that shows that a fair number of the New Haven high
school teachers who have gone five years through the Yale-New Haven
Teachers Institute have told us that they have stayed in teaching in New
Haven because of the presence of the Institute.
Even though their salaries haven't gone up?
Not necessarily. There are ways of
making people not just feel better, but recharge themselves, and engage
the profession in the broadest sense of the word, keep up with
scholarship, exchange ideas with other faculty colleagues who happen to be
teaching at Yale, that has meant a good deal to people, while it has not
necessarily resulted in an increase in pay. But it has resulted in an
increase in the kind of internal expansion that you undergo when what you
are doing is taken seriously by everybody.
Is this realistic? I mean, could you
alleviate any significant amount of teacher dissatisfaction particularly
in the secondary schools, for instance in Louisiana, by enhancing their
professional lives this way, without at the same time causing local school
boards or the state or anything to pay them more?
You ask me, first among equals, I would
say right off that you've got to do both. And I think to continue to
assume that teaching is a "labor of love," and you "do it for the cause."
We've got to disengage that in the minds of the public. If we re going to
have the best minds teaching, and we need the best minds in teaching, as
we need the best minds in any of our critical national efforts, we are
going to have to pay people for it. Unfortunately, when we say that, it's
self-serving. So, we don t say it at the beginning, and we talk about all
the nice other things. But let's be very crass about it. I don't think any
of us are naive; we are not going to get the kinds of teachers we want in
any of our educational systems, in elementary or secondary, unless we pay
them their total worth, as we are paying others for their total worth.
What happens next? Is there another? Is there
an agenda? Do all the conferees here go out and spread the gospel? Do they
have specific assignments? What happens from here? (Pause.) Nothing?
You've gotten your answer. That s
symbolic. Each of us has a different course.
I think you can assume there will be
other conferences, and I think there are people in this audience who
represent varying aspects of what we have talked about, who will need to
take it another step, after they have assessed what we've done here. So, I
think there will be other conferences. But I think for us we will all
become missionaries in some way about what we ve learned, about what we ve
been motivated to do.
Well, I think it s important to note
that you have 2500 colleges and universities across this country. I think
there s a feeling here that each and every one of those institutions has a
responsibility. They may not be in the business of preparing teachers, but
each and every one has a responsibility by way of helping with the
recruitment, with the identification of persons who might become
interested in teaching.
Mr. Giamatti, what happens from here for you?
Well, I am going to stay the course,
Mr. MacNeil. I d be happy to help. . . .
We have "let us continue" over here, "stay
the course" over there. . . .
I watch your program. You had a fellow
on a couple of months ago who said "Stay the course", and I am going to
stay the course. . . . Frankly, I am going to continue, because I am a
simple fellow, and I am going to work at the local level. We are going to
continue to do, in New Haven, with the New Haven Public Schools, what Yale
has been doing and will continue to do. If that can be useful to New
Haven, it is, from my point of view, not going to solve the country's
problems, but it is going to help New Haven. To the extent to which one
can help as an institution, as a person, other places, and other people,
through this kind of forum or others, I will obviously be involved because
I care very much about it. But you asked me practically what am I and Yale
going to do? We are going to do what we have been doing for five years,
and going to do it better.
The Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute was one
of the models discussed at the conference and outlined in the Carnegie
Report, which the conference . . . which was released at the conference,
which you can all look at, surveying all these various experiments across
the country. Are there any of them, coming out of this conference, that
automatically leap to mind as models that can be copied throughout the
country, or are they limited to their local circumstances and application.
Are there any good models that other people could, just say, yes, transfer
immediately. "Replicate," I think is the word.
Stephen S. Kaagan:
My name is Steve Kaagan from the State
of Vermont. Well, first, I have been impressed with the kinds of projects
presented here. But one of the things that disturbs me a little bit is
that there haven't been enough examples proposed of ways in which
universities and elementary and secondary schools can interact in a way in
which their futures are truly intertwined. In such a way that the projects
that are developed are not able to be jettisoned at a given point in time.
Where a university tries something and decides, well, we will stop
cooperating five years from now and neither the other institution will be
hurt nor will we be hurt.
John B. Duff:
After listening in detail to the Yale
project and the Michigan project and the Syracuse project, that all of
them help the high schools. Mr. Maeroff comments in there that all those
projects seem to give a better feeling to the high school teachers about
themselves and their professions. So, this one person alone takes back
from this conference the feeling that things can be done.
Really the big model is the model
of partnership, that it can be done. That is reflected in every one of the
I don't think there has been any
attempt here for anyone to try to sell the rest of us on a single model or
a single demonstration. On the other hand, I think there is a deep concern
that unless there is a way to repeat what is being done, or somewhat
repeat what is being done, in one institution or another institution, then
we would not bother to be here.
Anyone want to pick up?
Michael G. Cooke:
I'm Michael Cooke from Yale University.
The emphasis that I have heard throughout the conference, and that I have
experienced in my participation in the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute,
is very different from that. First of all, we do not contend that somebody
up there has knowledge and somebody down there receives it. We contend for
the secondary school teacher, as we practice in college teaching, that
training never ends. We train ourselves continually: by reading, by
writing, by teaching. And we say to the secondary school teacher, "we
believe, we hope, we have something to contribute to what you're doing; we
know that you have something to contribute to what we re doing." And so,
there is a co-equal relationship, there is a partnership. This has been
stressed, and I would like to keep that stress and avoid the idea of
Isn't one of the by-products of the Yale-New
Haven experiment that some of the secondary school teachers can teach the
university professor how to teach?
It s not a by-product. It s a central product.
We do. We do have our teaching practices revised, reformed.
I think this is all marvelous. I
really must say that one of the myths we live under is that college
teachers don't know how to teach and don t care how to teach. That's
nonsense. I just don't want to get too enthralled with the mythology on
both sides. One of the nice things about this conference is that it didn't
get too deep into the uncut street stuff of myth. And, just, you know . .
That may be the frustration sometimes
with a conference like this. You didn't promise more than you could
deliver, and we sometimes are looking for more than can be done. And maybe
that's the excitement about it all. We still have left some things to be
And so the issue, what have you accomplished .
Well, the accomplishment has been that people have come to New Haven.
More than that, they have in my view demonstrated a seriousness in their
groping for an agenda, and make no question about it, it is groping but
that's the nature of the human condition. And so I can only say that I,
sometimes I m appalled at this effort and go home enormously depressed.
But when it works, I go home exhilarated at what I can only call the
endless American town meeting. Don't over- expect a conference to behave
any better than your institution or the human race. Because my own view of
institutions and change is it begins in your head. If we go with a
different view in our heads as to the nature of the problem as well as the
nature of the possibility, God, a revolution has occurred. Because that s
where revolutions begin.