The University of Michigan has long been a leader in social science research on the many dimensions of social inequality. This bicentennial symposium will highlight these contributions by focusing on the work of distinguished social scientists who were trained at the University of Michigan.
0:00:01: I'm David Lam. I'm Director of the Institute for Social Research, and I'm a professor in the Department of Economics, and it's a real pleasure to welcome you here to this Bicentennial Symposium: Impact on Inequality. I wanted to just tell you a little bit about how this symposium came to be, and thank some people, and then we'll get right into the first session.
0:00:23: The idea for this symposium really began about two years ago. In late 2015, the University Bicentennial Committee requested proposals for activities for the bicentennial year, and I began working with Susan Collins, who's gonna talk to you soon, who was Dean of the Ford School until recently, and we had the idea of trying to put together a symposium that would reflect the strengths of the social sciences at the University of Michigan over many decades and would focus on the incredible group of alumni that have been produced here at Michigan in the social sciences, and we wanted to give it a substantive focus, and we thought focusing on many dimensions of inequality and the contributions that Michigan Social Science has made and that these alumni have made to research on inequality in many dimensions would be a good focus.
0:01:21: So we got approval from the Bicentennial Committee, got some funding from them, began working with an excellent committee from across campus, representing the major units in the social sciences, and we began asking department chairs and deans and faculty about alumni in their fields in the social sciences, working in various dimensions of inequality, and within a couple of weeks had dozens of people. It was clear we were gonna have to make some decisions, and we ended up with a great group of 30 alumni that's represented here, and I encourage you to look through their very impressive bios. In fact, they're, the bios are all so impressive that we're not gonna try to give real introductions to everybody during the program, but encourage you to read them. It's an amazing list, and we've tried to represent a wide variety of disciplines and schools and colleges, and junior and senior people.
0:02:25: It was really fun putting it together, and we got great cooperation from the people that we invited. We ended up with these 30 alumni. They represent nine different schools and colleges, and that's not even counting all the many departments within those schools and colleges, so it really represents the entire university, a wide range of disciplines, a wide range of methodologies, a wide range of substantive topics. I think it really reflects the great tradition in social sciences at the University of Michigan.
0:02:56: I want to thank the committee, which is listed here on the back. So, Susan and I were co-chairs. We had Cleo Caldwell representing Public Health, and all of these committee also have many hats, but I'll just identify them by the unit that we thought of them as representing on the committee. Liz Cole represented the College of Literature, Science, and Arts, Jorge Delva, the School of Social Work, Carla O'Connor, the School of Education. So we had six units represented on the committee. We ended up with even more units represented among the people that we invited. So it was great working with that committee, and really a fun kinda cross-campus activity.
0:03:40: We had a lot of support from the staff listed here, and I just wanna flag all of them. Terry Ingholm was the key staff member in ISR, working on organizing the program, and many of the alumni coming in had a lot of interaction with her. Iona Massey from ISR, Catherine Carver and Shelley Connor from the Alumni Association, and Emily Hicky and Laura Lee from the Ford School. And it was really a very nice collaboration between ISR and the Ford School and the Alumni Association putting it all together.
0:04:13: We also had financial support from many, many units, and we got great cooperation. Major funding was from the Bicentennial Committee. We had funding from ISR, the Ford School, Alumni Association, School of Education, LSNA, Public Health, Social Work, Rackham Graduate School, where we're hosted in this beautiful building, and the Law School, and the Ross School of Business, and Poverty Solutions. So it's really been a campus-wide effort, and really a, very rewarding to put it all together.
0:04:45: So I want to turn things over now to Susan Collins, the co-chair, and it's been great working with her. She was Dean of the Ford School until this summer when she finished her very successful 10 years as Dean, and she worked on this committee in that capacity, and brought together ISR and the Ford School in a great way, so... Susan.
0:05:10: Thank you very much, David, and I don't want to repeat what David has already said, but just one sentence that this idea really was David's, and I was just delighted to be asked to work with him, and to work with so many people from across campus because the University of Michigan has had such a huge impact on the topic of the symposium today, looking at various dimensions of inequality, socio-economic, gender, racial inequality. Our challenge was that there are so many ways that it's had an impact. A lot of the conference as you will see will focus on the impact through research, and then the last session this afternoon will focus more broadly on many different ways to have an impact in those dimensions.
0:05:58: But we also are very well aware of the fact that there's so many people here on campus now who are actively engaged in work in this area. And so while we are absolutely thrilled by the 30 alumni who we have been able to bring back and are just delighted to be able to engage with them and, hopefully make new connections in a lot of different ways, we're also really looking forward to the conversation that we hope to have in each of the sessions. And so I'd like to welcome and invite each of you to think about your comments and your questions. After the presentations, each of the sessions will have an active opportunity for a conversation. And, I think this beautiful room, while it does hold people and we are expecting other folks to be joining, it's very congenial, so we're looking forward to that.
0:06:47: So it is my great pleasure to introduce Rob Sellers, and I don't believe in long introductions, but I do have the honor of just saying a couple of words about him. I'm not gonna repeat what's in the program. I think all of you know that he is chief diversity officer and that he heads up equity and inclusion for the university. When I first got to know him, he was Chair of the Psychology Department and in that capacity, was not only known as a champion for students and mentoring faculty, but also as a stellar researcher in his own right. And, I don't know how much he will have a chance to talk about some of his work in the context of inequality as part of the panel, but from that perspective, we were just delighted to invite him as one of our distinguished alumni of the university also to moderate the first panel, which will be on education disparities.
0:07:39: And so we're looking forward to that. It also is particularly fitting because, as David mentioned, this really is an effort that is cross campus. And so to have someone who represents the university at the highest levels, and also that it turned out that this is part of the university's week on diversity, equity, and inclusion, all of those stars aligned in a variety of different ways. And so it's really a great pleasure for me to both welcome Rob to say a couple of some introductory remarks to get us started and then to moderate the first panel. Rob, welcome.
0:08:19: Thank you very much. Good morning, everyone.
0:08:24: Good morning.
0:08:28: Come on now. Good morning, everyone.
0:08:30: Good morning!
0:08:32: Alright. We are very, very fortunate to be here today to enjoy what I anticipate to be an extremely exciting series of panels, both today and tomorrow. Panels that are extremely timely, so even though this is part of the University Bicentennial, it is also extremely relevant to who we are as an institution today and the challenges that we face as a broader society. I want to first thank both Susan and David for the invitation and the opportunity to participate. I just wish that I would be able to participate longer and more fully in the events over the next couple of days, but I will be here in complete and total spirit. Even if you don't see me, I'm kinda like the moon during the day, I'm always there.
0:09:39: The symposia over these next two days are not only important in the context of the University Bicentennial, but they're also happening, as Susan mentioned, in the context of the university's first diversity, equity, and inclusion summit. And, this summit celebrates our first year of implementation with respect to our diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic plan. And, this strategic plan is a tangible dedication and commitment and pledge that the university has made to make sure that diversity, equity, and inclusion is not only a core value of this institution, but is also standard operating procedure. And, there's lots of ways in which the symposium fits within that broader goal and those broader efforts. First and foremost, when we started the DEI planning process, it was very important that it wasn't simply a diversity process.
0:10:48: That diversity without issues of equity and inclusion addressing issues of social justice, without that, is quite hollow and really a pipe dream. That true diversity also must address issues of inequality, also must address issues of inclusion. And so, as we move forward in our efforts, it's not only important that we address representational diversity, but that we also understand the differential opportunity structure that exists within the university. So President Schlissel is often fond to point out that while talent is equally distributed everywhere, opportunity is not. And so, as we move forward in our efforts, it is extremely important that we consider that. The second reason why this symposia is particularly relevant for our DEI summit week is that within the strategic plans, we have three major themes, strategic themes.
0:12:02: One really focuses around the recruitment, retention and development of all of our faculty, students, and staff. So it's really a person-focused approach. The second theme focuses on creating an inclusive and equitable climate. And I like to think about that in terms of a process focus theme. And then third, it is to infuse diversity, equity, and inclusion in our scholarship, our teaching, and our service. And really, that's the product of this university. That's the mission of this university. And if diversity, equity, and inclusion is going to be not only a core principle, but also a part of our standard operating procedure, then diversity, equity, and inclusion needs to be a part of our scholarship. One of the great things about this university is that we have a long and distinguished history, which is embodied by our panelists today and tomorrow in addressing issues of inequality and addressing issues related to diversity and inclusion. And so today and tomorrow, we continue that tradition as we attempt to build on that through our strategic plan to impact the larger field and society at broad.
0:13:37: So I'm very happy to be here, and given that, I know you didn't come here to hear me. The folks that you've come to hear are all ready to present, and let's get ready to move into our very first panel. And our very first panel discussion focuses on perhaps the most important opportunity structure within our society, and that's education. And it's entitled, "Educational Disparities in the US: Are We Making Progress?" We have four distinguished panelists today, and I'm gonna ask each to come up one-by-one to present their 15-minute, 15-minute presentation, and then they'll go back, sit down in the audience, so they can have an opportunity to see the other presentations. And after our last presenter, we will then move to a question and answer period. And at which time we'll ask that if you have questions or comments, to raise your hands, I will call upon you, and we've got microphones that will be brought to you, and we'll engage in a conversation, a set of discussions. I'm also gonna invite the panelists to engage with each other as well as we move forward. So, without any further ado, it is my great honor to introduce our first panelist. And taking Susan's lead, I'm not giving long introductions because all that you would want to know and need to know about this panel is located in your programs, so I'm just gonna save the time for the panelists to speak.
0:15:36: First up is Antonio R. Flores who is president and CEO of Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, HACU. He has received his PhD here from the university of Michigan in higher education administration in 1990. So Antonio, would you please join us at the podium.
0:16:10: Thank you for that introduction, Professor Sellers. Buenos dias.
0:16:20: Buenos dias.
0:16:21: I think we can do better than that. Buenos dias!
0:16:25: Buenos dias!
0:16:26: Wow, I'm impressed. Bilingual audience here. [laughter] But I'm delighted to be here with all of you this morning because obviously this is a very dear to my heart institution where I spent a good part of my time in the US. I want to also share with you that I'm an immigrant from Mexico, came to the US at the tender age of 25 without the benefit of the English language. While I went through high school and college, no one suggested to me that taking French was not a good idea, that my chances of going to France were almost nil, and that maybe I could come to the US someday. And so I had to start from scratch, and I came to the Midwest when I first arrived to the US for my first year in Wisconsin and then the rest in Michigan, and now that I live in Texas where the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities is based, in San Antonio, and have been there for now 20 years. My friends still question me about the lack of a Texas drawl in my accent. [chuckle] And I have to explain to them that I really learned my English in Michigan for the most part. And that is... My English is not a Tex-Mex type, but it's a Mich-Mex type.
0:18:04: And so we cleared it out and moved on with the business of what is that we do at the Hispanic Association of College and Universities, which is a nationally, and internationally now, recognized organization that represents about 472 colleges, universities, throughout the country and Puerto Rico. And of course, we are grateful that this very fine university is part of our association. The bulk of our member institutions are those that enroll the overwhelming majority of Hispanics in the country. In fact, about two out of every three Latinos who attend college today go to one of our universities, and that is 3.5 million Hispanics that are in college today. And of course they also enroll diversity of students from all walks of life and are very diverse institutions.
0:19:06: And I want to give you that additional insight only because it's important that as I make my remarks, it is clear that I do have a bias, and it's a very strong one, and there is one that is grounded in my work as far as advocating for Latino higher education success without excluding other populations that obviously we identify with in terms of their quest for access to educational opportunity and success, and with those that we work very closely as well, but I want to basically do three things today. One is to give you a sense of, not so much as a researcher, but as a practitioner and a practitioner, not obviously, of institution, or management or teaching, but of advocacy and policy advocacy to that end, and we in that sense are more consumers of research, users of research to inform our policy analysis and presentation of information to members of congress, to state legislatures, and others who are willing to listen to us.
0:20:28: And of course I say this because what I'm going to cover is mainly through the lens of policy advocacy at the national level particularly. But of course, I will mention a few states that are of special importance to our work. I want to first commend, obviously, Dean Collins and Director Lam for organizing this symposium, and my fellow panelists for being part of the conversation today, and all of you for engaging yourselves in this session. I want to also remind myself that it was here at this institution where I really learned much of what I now use in my work and places where usually need to have your facts together in a way that is compelling and that is documentable, and that is gonna make a difference, for students, for institutions. And I want to cover some of the questions that Dr. Lam posed to the panel, as a part of a preparation to frame our presentation, and I'll do it very quickly. And then I will move into remarks that relate to the very questions that he raised.
0:22:00: He asked us to discuss what are some of the essential facts to know about your work on the topic, on the topic of disparities and education. And of course, I already said a few things about my background, and my work again is mainly to advocate for policy changes at the national and state levels, particularly to advance educational opportunity for Latinos across the country. But of course, for underserved populations in general. What is the fact that runs counter to expectations? In my view, the main fact is that the persisting gaps in educational attainment across different racial ethnic populations in the nation is just not something that we can accept as a nation and that we need to step up to correct. But this is something that is running counter expectations. I arrived to this country well, again, I was 25. This is back in the 1970s and obviously as a newcomer, I wasn't really sure what I was getting into when I would try to understand civil rights issues. The legislation had just been enacted in recent years and was still getting off the ground. And yet in my mind, I thought the country was in the right direction back then and moving at some what a good pace.
0:23:48: But then here we are, more than four years since then and really we are not where I was hoping back then we would be, because the gaps not only persist, but in fact, in some instances have widened. And so that is really something that runs counter my expectations anyway. And now the other question raised by David is what is the pattern or trend that shows good news in your field? Obviously, in our work, we are very encouraged by the fact that minority populations, particularly low income populations in general, have continued to improve in their educational attainment. In fact, the entire country has moved up. And that is very encouraging that obviously more young people of color, particularly are graduating from high school at higher rates, and entering college also at higher rates that back them back in say, the last part of the last century. But that is encouraging. In other words, it's encouraging to see that we all are moving up. It is not a good thing that not all of us and all the different populations racially and ethnically speaking in the country are moving at the same pace. We are not. And so the fourth question that he raised is, what is the pattern or trend that shows bad news in your field? I mentioned that already. What are also... We are also eager to have you talk about the links between research, especially your own research in policy in this area.
0:25:43: Of course, I mentioned that we are mainly consumers of research, and we use it widely to prepare our policy and recommendations to the members of Congress and others. Now on September 26, a Washington Post headline read by age three, inequality's clear, rich kids attend school, poor kids stay with a grandparent. And this was making reference to a book that was discussed by that article. And the writer of this article, Heather Long, goes on to report that only 55% of America's three- and four-year-olds attend a formal pre school, a rate far below China, Germany, and other public players on the global stage. Well, it's even below my native country's rate, which is 64%. And of course, this is really, I frankly didn't realize how bad it was until I read this information, that we are so far behind many other countries in helping our children at that stage get the best possible educational opportunity, and that so many of them are left without any.
0:27:11: And so right there, it seems to me, we really have a problem. Because if someone is born into a low income, low education family and basically is going to enter life, the life journey, and if you want to call it competition with the rest, with those disadvantages, and then as they move into the first three years of life and beyond, they are not given the opportunity to try to catch up, or at least not get further behind, because of the lack of opportunity at this stage, then we're only complicating matters for that population. And that's what happens primarily with lower income and minority populations, because the rates of attendance by race and ethnicity really vary. In 2015, according to the National Standard for Education and Statistics, whites and Asian-Americans participated in those programs at rates over 40%, compared to African-Americans at 39% and Hispanics at 30%. So there are really significant differences there. And of course, Latino children have historically had much lower participation rates in preschool education and much higher rates of poverty and parental under-education.
0:28:48: As the Casey Foundation reported in 2013 that about 34% of Hispanic children lived in poverty in 2011, compared to 14% of non-Hispanic white children, and nationally the average was 23%. And so you have poverty and lack of educational opportunity going hand-in-hand right from the get going. And one, out of any racial or ethnic group, Latino children were the most likely to have a head of household who lacked a high school diploma. And roughly 42% of Latino children live in a single-parent home compared with 25% non-Hispanic white children in 2011. Frankly, I was surprised by the disparity, that the magnitude of the disparity here, but as a way, it was reported at that time.
0:30:00: So when we started the race of life, so far behind, and with more obstacles than the rest, it shouldn't be surprising that so many young people in communities of color particularly, and low income populations don't graduate from high school at the rate that other populations do. And certainly don't go to college at the same rate, and graduate. There is... Frankly, in my mind, the effects of poverty clearly impacting on educational opportunity and attainment. Now... Is that? I'm done?
0:30:39: Oh, a minute. Okay. Well then... I didn't know I could, I would talk so slow. But let me see. And Latinos hit a drop out rate of 29% in 2000, compared to 13% of blacks, and 6% of whites. But it used to be much... That was back at that time. Since then, it has gone down significantly for all groups. And the good news is, that again we are moving up. In college completion wise, it's a different story. We have problems that are more severe than you would suspect to be the case. And let me just very quickly say that all together, about 55% of those students who complete a degree or certificate within six years of entering a higher education institution... Broken right down by the race and ethnicity, the race fluctuate between by up to 25%. Because Asian and white students pretty much complete their degrees within those six years at a rate of about 63%, whereas Hispanics and black students are way below at 45% and 38%, respectively. I could... If I had time. But I don't. But let me just say in closing, that I think this is a critical issue for the nation as a whole. Not just for communities like the Latino community, or African-American community that educational opportunity becomes more a reality than just an aspiration in our nation because...
0:32:21: Just in recent months the Department of Labor reaffirmed a projection that about 74% of all the new workers joining the American labor force during the current decade, will be Hispanic. 74%. That's almost three out of every four new workers. And of course, if we as a nation don't do a much better job at educating them for the very highly demanding, highly skilled new jobs of our economy, obviously as a nation, we would be at risk. That's why it is so critical that we really invest in more significant ways in institutions that are educating the overwhelming majority of these young people. Thank you.
0:33:18: Thank you, Antonio. We're gonna hold, again, our questions 'til the end. Our next presenter is Odis Johnson, Jr., who is Associate Professor in the Departments of Sociology and Education at Washington University in St. Louis. He is an Education and Social Policy PhD alum, graduating in 2003. Odis, please.
0:34:00: Good morning, everyone. And I'd like to thank the Bicentennial Celebration organizers, Dean Collins and Director Lam. And then of course Dr. Sellers, for the wonderful introductions and moderating the panel. The advice we were given suggested we should address educational disparities and whether we're making progress. I have put researchers here in the parentheses, because I think there is a measure of progress we need to make in translating our research into policy in a way that impacts educational disparities. And I'm assuming it's this button? Yeah, there we go.
0:34:45: I have an interdisciplinary background here at Michigan. I was in education and social policy, I had a committee made up almost entirely of professors from the Ford School, but then took a lot of my courses in the Department of Sociology. I then ended up having a Spencer post-doc at the University of Chicago, where I worked with Tony Bryk in education in both sociology. And of course, I had a great group of mentors here in Sheldon Danziger, and Steve Raudenbush who was my dissertation chair, in shaping my perspective. And then moved on to be in the Department of African-American studies, and now I'm in the Department of Education and Sociology split 50/50, and also in the Institute for Public Health. I'm interested in social justice. A lot of the issues that we face are the critical ones facing our nation. And my research really is an extension and an expression of those topics as being increasingly important, not only for me and relating to my social background, but also for the public in general.
0:36:00: And policy is also an interest of mine. I'm interested especially in how we are translating research into policy in order to move the needle on a lot of these social inequalities. So I tend to take this triangulated approach to my topics. One, neighborhoods, I'm acutely interested in segregation and all of those other factors, social mechanisms within neighborhoods that relate to schooling, and then also are either ameliorated or exacerbated by social policy. Social control is the way that I am thinking about this. When I say social control, I'm talking about formal social control, meaning the impact of institutions and then also how those institutional practices are actually systematic. When I say control, I'm interested in the control of black and brown bodies, which seems to be one of the pressing issues, given our current environment with policing within neighborhoods and schools.
0:37:12: I'm also interested in racial and social segregation, economic segregation as well within neighborhoods and the social purpose of schooling. And then policing in both context that alters opportunity structures and the character of schooling, especially in charter school environments. So first, I want to say that we should think about this prompt here. Imagine a member of a racial group growing up segregated from another racial group, being socialized to undervalue and fear those neighborhoods and schools, and then as an adult, serving as a police officer in their neighborhoods and schools.
0:37:55: So here we have the background or the impetus for a lot of what's going on arising in neighborhoods and how socially separated we are. So one of the studies that I've been working on that proceeds from that assumption is the Fatal Interactions with Police study, and it's a collaboration between multiple universities, The Washington Post, and Wash U., because we really have a dearth of data out there on policing and how that policing impacts youth development. Here we have a data set that we've basically created from crowdsourced data reports. We now have identified 1,762 fatalities that have happened within a 20-month time span, merged those data with the Law Enforcement Management and Administrative survey, which is our nation's nationally representative dataset of police agencies, geocoded those data so that they are linked to the location of the fatality. And so now, we're moving into the analysis, and what have we learned?
0:39:09: We've learned that we have about 88 fatal interactions with police per month. That's almost three per day. The oldest fatal interaction with police is a 107 years old, and it goes to 103, 101. So we have quite a large percentage of the distribution that actually is beyond age 60. But still our age range in our sample is 102 years old because the youngest are very young at age five. Percentage male, 93.5%. And then also racial distribution, initially, the Washington Post who had created or catalogued really the first 800 observations, said that the majority of the fatalities were of whites. We now know after identifying more of these fatalities, that the majority are people of color. So here, I've calculated the odds or estimated the odds that someone under the age of 25 would be a victim of a fatal interaction with police, and we actually have found that Hispanic youth are the ones with the greatest odds of being killed by police, followed by blacks.
0:40:30: We also have looked at some other things that are promising in terms of policy. It looks as though the evaluation of criteria for officers, if it includes community problem solving, actually reduces those odds. And then also, if there's training for officers seems to reduce those ads as well. So moving into schools, if I see three or four young... And this is the quote from the Louisiana Police Chief, "If I see three or four young black men walking down the street, I have to stop them and check their names. I want them to be afraid every time they see the police that they might get arrested." Then imagine entering school every day where there are police officers. So we have a problem with the pre-K to prison pipeline. Black children make up 18% of preschool enrollment, but 42% of preschool are suspended once, and 48% of preschool are suspended more than once. So we have not only high rates of suspension and expulsion, but we then have racial disparities in those rates. Boys receive more than three out of four out-of-school preschool suspensions. In Prince George's County, and I think this would be indicative of many counties and systems only if they would collect the data. We actually see here that even among youth who commit crimes, we see a disparity here.
0:42:00: Juvenile intake at a rate 2.4 times that of whites for African-Americans. The relative rate for Latinos in Prince George's County is 1.87 times higher than that of whites who have committed offenses. So we're not talking about the odds that someone would be referred based on normative adolescent behavior, but ones that actually are offenders. So we've come to this realization within the work that recovering African-Americans that dropped out of school would make the estimated size of the black-white test score gap actually smaller. Which means that ability is really not the issue. It really is the fact that youth are being pushed out of schools and that it's behavior. Our expectations of normative adolescent behavior or child behavior that might be the problem and need modification. Related to that is the educational proliferation of charter schools. Charter school networks such as these listed above have adopted no-excuse approaches to adolescent behavioral management or child management and it results in these disproportionate suspension rates. Here we have data from New York City that in any given year, 42% of all suspensions in New York are happening in charter schools. My research has been funded by NSF to actually look at these things.
0:43:41: We're interested in re-directing the pipeline from prison cells to STEM careers. The reason why NSF is interested in this is because if we're gonna broaden participation in STEM, we have to go to where people of color are underrepresented. We could not meet our nation's requirements or goals for STEM by focusing on the populations that are already overrepresented in those professions. One of the major findings from our work so far is that for every major disciplinary sanction students in this sample are roughly... And this would be in the ELS and the HSLS and CES data. In the sample, roughly 44% less likely to take an advanced math course. Students will also score roughly 0.167 points lower than their peers on a standardized math ability test for every major disciplinary sanction. I wanted to move on to research and policy and the question of, "Are we making progress in translating research into practice?" First, I want to say that on the bright side of this, there are restorative justice initiatives underway in major school systems in Oakland on the East Coast as well in New York and Boston school systems, and they're having positive outcomes. They are related to higher GPA, they're related to greater graduation rates.
0:45:17: And hopefully on the flipside they would be related to lowered incarceration, but we don't know that for certain. But, we still have this research and policy misalignment that I think is really where we need to focus a lot of our attention. Though we have increases in school-based measures to control normative adolescent behavior, and criminalize it, in fact. The rate of violence has been in the decline in school systems for the last two decades, but yet we have high school students suspended or expelled in school and that rate has increased roughly 40% from one in 13 in 1972 to one in nine in 2009. Then there's a racial disparity within that. For African-Americans, the rates are more troubling. It increased from 6% in 1972 to 16% in 2011 while the rates for whites over that same period increased from 3% to 5%. We're also increasing our dependence on other sources, or sources external to schools, mainly police officers, to manage and handle discipline.
0:46:36: Roughly a 16 percentage point increase in school resource officers from 1999 to 2008. Then this of course is related to other educational practices that are really alarming where teachers might actually search students in front of officers and thereby circumventing their Miranda rights or even the necessary probable cause for a search in the first place. We need to train teachers on how to protect students' civil rights in this case. We also have zero tolerance policies still in place. It prohibits the consideration of intent of course in all of these disciplinary actions and it undermines the professionalism of staff, the fact that discretion cannot be used. We can have a discussion about whether that is a good thing or not, but my belief is that discretion is being used anyway, it's just not used in service of students of color. The criminalization regime however, is expanding, even though we know that the data does not support the need for this expansion.
0:48:00: So a new Missouri statute that took effect just this year classified physical altercations between youth of all ages from a misdemeanor to a class-E felony. So we need to have conversations with policy makers. We need to be translating our work in a way that it prohibits these types of policies or suggests to them at least that a different direction is needed. And I'll just close on an interaction that just happened at the Supreme Court between Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, who I actually met here when he was a professor at University of Michigan, and he's now president of American Sociological Association, and Chief Justice Roberts, where this case was about gerrymandering, and there was research presented, and Chief Roberts said, "This is gobbledygook." And while social scientists would like for our work to be recognized as empirical, as rigorous, we also need to be translating it in a way that it does not appear to someone like Chief Justice Roberts that it's gobbledygook. [chuckle] And I'm not saying, or in any way defending what I believe is a bias toward that type of work anyway. But nonetheless, I think our imperative is to translate our work in a way that's gonna move the needle on a lot of these things and get rid of some of these policies that are really supported by law, and that requires that conversation to take place. Thank you so much.
0:49:51: Thank you, Odis. Our next speaker is Susanna Loeb Barnett. She's a Family Professor of Education at Stanford University and received her PhD here at the University of Michigan in Economics in 1998. She also received a master's in Public Policy in 1994 from U of M. Susanna, please.
0:50:42: Thank you so much for having me. It's really such a pleasure to be here. I can't think of a place that I prefer coming than to the University of Michigan. I really had the best time here as a graduate student, and I've been at Stanford for probably three or four times as long as I was at Michigan, and I still root for Michigan in any sports event.
0:51:01: So I'm gonna take you a little bit more into the weeds of schools, which is where I spend my time. So I'm just gonna start... I work with a bunch of districts, and they tend to be these big urban districts with strong rhetoric around closing achievement gaps and the importance of equity. And I put a survey in one of these districts to all of the teachers and the school administrators there.
0:51:27: And here's one of the questions: If you could set priorities for the district, which of the following five-year achievement trends for low and high income students do you think would be a more desirable goal? And I had them compare equal gains. So you can see the dotted line are the high income kids and they improve over time, and the lower line is the low income kids and they improve over time. So both groups go up, and they're equal gains, and I had this versus. And here I randomized two different choices so I could get a sense of how I presented it and what did it mean. They were both equal outcome choices, but one of them kept the high income flat and raised the low income, and the other one made a trade-off. So it was supposed to reflect the fact that we may actually have to make trade-offs if we do really wanna reach these equal outcomes.
0:52:22: So what happens? This is just... Everybody got to see the one in the upper left hand corner, and then they got the choice of these two down here. So 63.2% of teachers chose equal outcomes in the case where there wasn't any trade-off, but only 23% chose the trade, to have equal outcomes instead of equal gains when there was a trade-off. So still 23%, you might think... I'm not making a judgement at all on which is right, but this is the view that they hold.
0:52:57: But one of the interesting things is I also asked them how important of a challenge are achievement gaps for the district, and 32% of them said that it was the most important challenge. So fewer people were willing to make trade-offs in order to reach those goals and were... When asked this broad question about the importance of achievement gaps, were really willing to say, "This is the most important thing." And so this just points a little bit towards our really thinking about the words that we use and what we mean when we're talking about these things. So in order to explore this a little bit further, we asked them, "Which achievement... There are a number of achievement gaps that may concern educators. Please rank the gaps listed below according to the amount of effort you feel that you should devote to each gap." And so we asked about individual achievement differences, home support gaps, which are also kind of an individual difference across children.
0:53:58: And then we asked about these two kind of more structural gaps that I think we're all talking about here today, income gaps and race gaps. And what you can see is that, and this is in a very heavily equity focused district, the most common gap that people were interested in, were individual achievement gaps. And, we also asked them, "Well how do you spend your time in the classroom? How do you devote it to different kinds of students?" And again, students who are low achieving got the biggest, they're the ones the teachers reported giving the most time to, and students from more disadvantaged backgrounds was one of the least of the one of the options that they took. Okay, so you might be thinking, oh well it doesn't really matter if we focus on low achieving kids, we're gonna be able to close the achievement gap, but that's just actually probably not the case. So here's just a little description using actual data on fourth grade reading scores and comparing poor kids and non poor kids in the US. And it's not perfectly representative, the data, 'cause I made the lines very smooth and things like that. But what you can see: The blue are the poor children and those are just kind of percentages in each of the achievement levels. And the non poor are higher, that's the red one.
0:55:20: But what you can see is there's a lot of variation around the gap and the difference in average between poor and non poor, which we might think really represents differences, or clearly represents differences in opportunity. Well if some of the rest of the gap, the differences that you see may not be differences on opportunity. Not that they're not important to address too, but they're not these structural gaps. Those are really wide, relative to the structural gaps so these aren't the same thing. And just to give you this in another, kind of easy way to think about this, this is looking between white and black students in the US. And looking at the proportion of them that are below basic, on this, so the lowest achieving. Basic... Kind of middle achieving or proficient or above... High achieving. And what you can see is that the model white student is proficient or above and the model black student is below basic. And so you think oh well I'll just focus on low-achieving students and I'll fix this gap. Well if you take, you focus on your 10% lowest achieving students in the US and you say, "Okay I'm gonna get them I'm gonna improve their achievement." You can see what that does, is that it does reduce the proportion of black students who are below basic and increases the proportion above basic.
0:56:40: But it does the same for the white students too, 'cause white students are a bigger group, and so even though a lower proportion's there, a fair number of them are there. If instead of this, you took the exact same number of students and increased them the exact same amount but focused on black students instead of the low-achieving students, you can get the distributions to look much more like each other. Now this is just all not to say which one, which choices you should make, but just that these are different choices and sometimes we don't have the language to really talk about this in a way that's useful. There's a quote that I like, from Jencks, which is: "The enduring popularity of equal educational opportunity probably derives from the fact that we can all define it in different ways without realizing how profound our differences really are." So one of the things that [chuckle] I've been working on lately, and this is a little self-promotion, sorry, is that I have a book coming out with three co-authors. Another kind of social science-trained, economics-focused researcher, Sunny Ladd, and then two normative scholars, one in political theory and one in philosophy, and you still have to describe to me what the difference between that is, but Harry Brighouse and Adam Swift, called "Educational Goods" where we're trying to kind of create the language for this.
0:57:58: And create the language for what we're trying to produce in education as well as some of these distributive principles. Because if we think something... Why would we care about that things are unequal except at the bottom? Well, we might care if we were in a world where elites have power. And I think we're in a world where elites have power right now. And so we might wanna think about kind of moving the whole, shifting whole distributions. Okay, since I'm in Michigan I figure I should do an example of the kind of empirical work that I do because that's really more of what I do and really what I've learned from being here so I wanted just to give you an example of that as well. Okay, so most of my work has had to do with addressing educational opportunities through policies focused on adults in schools. So these have been teachers and principals and because that's what I feel like separates kind of schools that are providing effective opportunities from those who aren't. But through these district partnerships that I work, I've recently added parents to that as another educator for students. And they asked us, a doctoral student that I was working with, Ben York and I, to help the district increase parent engagement at little cost.
0:59:10: So that "at little cost" is always a part of what you're supposed to do. Now there're clearly meaningful systematic variation in parenting and these have implications for childrens' outcomes. I think we've all heard about the three million word... 30 million. It's huge word gap, but not only is the gap in number of words that kids hear, but the kinds of words. Whether they hear positive, encouraging words or negative words. How much warmth they receive, all of those things vary, really across socio... Between socio-economic groups, but also within socio-economic groups. And so what we were wondering is whether we could utilize some of the new research on adult behavioral change to see whether we could help parents create positive home learning environments.
0:59:56: And basically the work is, one, seeing if we can help the parents in this district and two, trying to understand if these are important issues in parenting more broadly. So we started this with how do parents decide what to do and clearly there is kind of the basic economic model. Parents have goals, they have budgets of time and money and they utilize it the best they can and that's where the difference in parenting comes from. And I think the research that is out there shows that the goals for parents are pretty universal. Everybody wants the best for their children. Money is not, budget constraints are not and it's really important to consider. Budget constraints, we know money makes a difference on parenting. That's just not an opportunity we had at this point. So then there are issues of information. Maybe different parents have different kinds of information about how to help their children, but even if they have that information, it's possible there are these behavioral barriers. So that parents aren't using their resources and the information they have to reach their goals. So that's what we decided to focus on because we didn't have any money. So why would behavior... Why would these behavioral barriers be an issue in parenting?
1:01:17: Well we thought of three that might be important, and I think actually they turn out to be very important. So one is cognitive load. When you think of "Oh, I pick up my five-year-old at school or my three-year-old... " I'm more focusing on young kids here. How challenging can it be? How cognitively challenging? But if you think there are a million questions you can ask and you have to choose a question from there or a million games you could play and you have to choose something from there, we know from really interesting research largely in marketing that having choices is really debilitating. If you have too many choices, particularly if you've got a lot of other things going on, you can just freeze and not do anything: "I don't know what question to ask, I'm not gonna talk." Cognitive load is one thing we were trying to get around. Attention is another.
1:02:06: There's been a lot of work that something you have to do over a long period of time, like parenting, which you have to do forever, it's very hard to hold attention. Savings, exercise, those kind of things. So we wanted to think, can we do something to help parents hold attention? And then the third is self-control. The issues of eating cake instead of apples. Like why do we do that when the benefit is only about a minute and a half, when the benefits of eating apples can go for a long amount of time. That's true in parenting, too. I know for me, like I'm washing, I see these dirty dishes in the sink, and I say "I really wanna wash the dishes, so it's not dirty and sitting in the sink," instead of playing with my child or doing some other kinds of things in parenting. And so I think self-control is a third one.
1:02:54: And when you've got a lot of other issues going on, trouble meeting bills, two jobs, things like that, all of these issues can become more intense, even if your goals and everything else are equal. So we use text messaging to design... And most, there have been a bunch of programs on text messaging, but most have been around holding attention: Take your medicine, exercise. This is one we're trying to get through all of these things: Information, too much choice, cognitive load, attention, and self-control. So on Monday, we gave information in a text. On Wednesday, we gave them a really easy thing to do, like what questions should you ask your child today. And then on Friday, we did that again. We gave them something easy and we also said "Good job." Our attempt at getting some immediate gratification. And we did this for a whole school year. So here's an example. Fact: Children need to know that letters make up words. Research shows that kids with good letter knowledge become good readers. Tip: Wednesday, point out the letters in your child's name in magazines, on signs, and at the store. Have your child try who can find the most... Whoops, then there's a growth one. Some of them focus more on conversations. So during a meal, ask your child "What is your favorite food? Why?" Now tell your child what your favorite food is and why. So they were just... We did these every week. So we looked at the effect on parents... I guess before I put that up.
1:04:21: We looked at the effects of parents reports of what they did and that went up a lot. We had this blind thing for teachers survey, for teachers to fill out, where they talked about which parents came in and talked to them and the parents came in and talked to them more, and we got positive effects in both years that we did in early literacy and then we did it in math and we got it them in math. And you can see in the first year, which is the red bar over there. We actually didn't get an overall effect. But if we look at the lowest half of the students, we got about a third of a standard deviation effect, which is in the range of three months of literacy learning over the course of the year, and we got it in year two and pooled. So what are the implications? Well, one is that behavioral and informational barriers are issues in parenting. And that more intense, more information is not necessarily better. That we have to really think about these things when we're trying to help people with really busy lives do what they wanna do. Improve the lives for their kids. This may be since I think about other educators, this can be an issue for educators as well. Teachers have tons of things to do.
1:05:29: We throw professional development at them as if anybody could take a big book and then operationalize it that next day. Texting can be short-lived and so this doesn't... I just wanted to say this doesn't rely on texting. It relies on this idea that the effectiveness of small bits of information that are well timed could be promising. We're now expanding this and we want to expand it. It's easy to scale up. It's low cost. We're sending it to about 70,000 families three days a week, right now. We need to make the intervention better and so we're doing a whole bunch of random... This was a random controlled trial that I showed you, but now we're doing all of them to test the details.
1:06:15: So what are implications? This is very quick: There are big disparities across groups and individuals, and they have long-term consequences. That's why it's so exciting to be in this session today and in this convening. I feel like I can learn a lot and it's also great to see so many people working on this. How we consider gaps likely determines the policy approaches we choose, and also the research questions we ask. I think sometimes we're not systematic enough with thinking about what we really care about when we're choosing what we wanna analyze for research. Researches provides new insights, like this... The behavioral barriers that are generative both for understanding and for effective program and policy development. So it's a very positive view, but we still have a long way to go. So thank you.
1:07:08: Okay, our... First, thank you, Susanna. Our final speaker is Laura Perna, who is the James S. Riepe Professor and Executive Director of the Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy. She's at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her PhD here at the University of Michigan in Higher and Post-Secondary Education in 1997. Laura, would you please come forward?
1:07:42: Good morning, everyone.
1:08:00: Okay. Thank you. It's such a pleasure to be here today for so many reasons as have been mentioned. It's an honor to be back. And the themes that I'm gonna mention really link to so many of the others that have been mentioned already. I just wanna begin a little bit by reflecting on my pathway, especially for the more junior people in the room. So I received my PhD in 1997, 20 years ago, and I have an MPP from what's now the Ford School as well. So you have the bio in your handout, but my path has so not been direct, and I think it's so much easier to tell the story of where you are in retrospect. I've taken a number of different positions on the way to where I am right now. I've had the opportunity to work in different types of higher education institutions. I worked at the University of Dallas doing institutional research. I worked at a policy research organization, UNCF in Washington DC, and so I think there are a lot of different ways in which you can create a life and make a difference on these issues, and I think the key is really just thinking about what are the best decisions in the moment and making the best decisions that you can keeping your eye on what you really care about.
1:09:18: In reflecting back on why I value being here so much, I think I learned the tools of the trade. I learned how to do what I hope is high quality research with a variety of different types of techniques understanding the different frameworks. But there are also so many opportunities that I had when I was here to engage in the work in different types of ways through different class projects through different mentorship from faculty different types of research opportunities and then also the learning from peers. And so the extent to which you're in this moment now and you can be engaging with each other you end up being friends with these people and connecting with people over and over in your path, and I think that's kind of a Michigan thing, actually. There's so many Michigan people out there doing great work and so it would be somehow interesting to dissect: What is it that actually happens here that makes us all directed on what I think are the most pressing issues facing our society?
1:10:17: So I'm gonna circle back. I focus on higher education. We all know that higher education is important, but I think it's also useful to look at the data that it's so many different ways to describe. And in this current climate I think it's really important for us to be thinking about: What are the data that we're using, and how are we making the case consistently about what it is that we do value? So we are making these choices every day about the things that we study. And there's skepticism about whether or not the things that we care about, others should be caring about, too. So this is just a picture of some of the economic benefits of higher education, but also figuring out and articulating the non-economic benefits of higher education especially to our democracy is important as well. We were asked to try to highlight good news and so this was highlighted by Dr. Flores earlier. We have increasing educational attainment. And so I think that is good news. But we continue as been discussed also across the panelists, we have these persisting gaps across groups and so while overall the picture is getting bigger, we're making so little progress in closing gaps.
1:11:27: My dissertation was looking at the effects of financial aid on student's choice of college to attend and I don't know what I was thinking, but I didn't think I'd be studying essentially the same issue now 20 years later in different types of forms. Access is increasing overall, as you see here, the upward trend. In addition to not closing the gaps we're also not making great progress ensuring completion. So more people are going, but we're making less progress in closing the completion gap and this is just another way of depicting what we've heard about the differences in life chances across groups. So just 15% of students in the lowest SCS quartile, in the 10th grade, attain a bachelor's degree within eight years of their expected high school graduation compared with 60% of those in the highest SCS quartile.
1:12:18: Those are really big differences. We've also heard about the differences across racial ethnic groups and then the gender difference within racial ethnic groups is important as well. So really profound persisting gaps in the extent to which people have the opportunity to realize the many benefits of higher education. We've heard many reasons why and we all... I'm sure you're all thinking about the reasons why these issues are important, but another way of thinking about this is around the increasing racial ethnic diversity of our population. So the whites are the minority of the population now and already it dis-varies across by state in the extent to which these trends are playing out as well too.
1:13:05: Over the course of my career, I've really focused on trying to understand what is the role of public policy in improving college access and success, especially for students from underserved and underrepresented groups. I mentioned my dissertation. I started out doing statistical modeling of trying to understand what are the ways in which people from different groups and different places make decisions or end up with different types of outcomes. I've done case studies, trying to understand how these forces play out within high schools to try to... Cause the context matters, so much of opportunity is based on where you live and the schools in which you attend. We also heard the opportunity to look at how these issues play out in different international contexts and that's something I would urge you to think about too. It's so helpful that the opportunity to think about how these things work some place else and then you come back and you have new awareness of what's happening here. I have also... And there are other types of individual studies along the way. I wanna talk a little bit about a series of studies that I did with a colleague at Penn, Joni Finney, understanding the role of state policy in higher education.
1:14:19: And this has been a fun collaboration. Joni Finney comes from the policy world and so she's... I learned a lot in terms of this issue of dissemination of findings. So I was very... I really wanted to get a book out of this project and Joni kept pushing, we also have to have these short policy briefs that we send directly actually to the media in each state, that tended to be a way to get to the attention of the state legislators in each state. So this project really capitalizes on variation that exists across the US in educational attainment. Here you can see the wide range in the share of percent of folks in different states who have at least a bachelor's degree varying quite widely from more than 40% in Massachusetts to around 20% in West Virginia. So a part of our project is to capitalize on that variation to try to understand what's happening in these states with different levels of performance. So what we did is we did case studies of each state. We spent several days in each... First we did a lot of work to learn everything that we could about each state's system of higher education, all sorts of different indicators of performance, and then spent time in each state interviewing legislators, leaders of colleges, universities, people on the K-12 system, etcetera.
1:15:35: Our five states were Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Texas, and Washington, and they span across that continuum of educational attainment. I won't go into too much depth, given the time, about what it is we found. But in short, as you can see by the titles here, the stories were quite different across states. One constant was all states are experiencing gaps across groups in educational attainment. There're really important ways in which systems are serving to perpetuate disparity, essentially through the public policies that are and are not in place. This was most profound in Georgia. Georgia is a low performing state in terms of educational attainment and really big gaps across groups especially for blacks versus whites. And blacks are a large share of the population of Georgia. Illinois is a state that had very high attainment in the 90s and then steadily was experiencing, for a variety of different reasons, declines, especially with regard to the support of need-based financial aid. Maryland, a high performing state, but really those persisting gaps especially between blacks and whites and also Baltimore versus the rest of the state.
1:16:42: Texas... Interesting, a lot of rhetoric. Well, and real plans towards. They have a strategic plan called Closing the Gap, orienting towards improving performance. And the time we were there, there was also an initiative to improve the number of highly ranked research universities in the state. And so what this title really gets at is this issue of choices. What do we really care about? Do we care about closing attainment gaps or do we care about the prestige of our public research universities. In Washington, one of the issues there was around the role of state policy leadership versus the interest of the public four-year institutions and having more autonomy. So that push and pull, so who's interest gets advanced. So really different stories. What we came up with from that is a conceptual model that tries to articulate how these different things come together, so that we can think about ways that we might productively improve attainment. And the foundation is recognizing that each state is different. State context matters. The number of different types of institutions is an important characteristic. The characteristics of the population in terms of demographic, economics and so on.
1:17:58: The circle gets at... The types, the categories of policy so we did not in our project try to identify if you just do this one, if you implement this one policy you'll solve your problem, because I don't, it's more complicated than that, obviously. So, we really have these categories of policy that I'll talk a little more about in a second. And then, but underlying that is really the role of state policy leadership, and I think this is something. So we collected data in 2009 through 2011, which is the height of the recession, right? So it's quite interesting to see how states were thinking about the funding of higher education. The issues though, you know funding matters, but it's not the only thing that matters, policy leadership matters in terms of setting goals and figuring out how to align the priorities of the state with other interests. The one if I were going to do the model now, in retrospect somehow, I would put equity in the picture because that really, I think, if we're gonna make a difference on these issues, the policies and practices that are in place have to be in line towards improving equity.
1:19:03: So, just briefly in terms of the categories of policies, all states that we studied had this misalignment between the needs of people, in particular places within a state, and the types of opportunities that were available. And this was most dramatic in Texas. Texas is a large, diverse state with very different things happening in Dallas and El Paso and other parts of the state. One way that this plays out is in terms of the types of institutions that people of different groups attend, and so low-income students, first-gen students, racial ethnic minoritized groups, tend to attend institutions that are close to home. This shows the great concentration of low-income students at for-profit institutions and the really low representation at the most competitive institutions. And there was a report that came out about 10 days ago that that bottom line is getting worse, so public universities, we're sitting in one, the share of low-income students at the most selective public institutions is going down and the share from high-income families has been increasing. So this problem is persisting.
1:20:14: The second category is around thinking about the strategic use of available fiscal resources, and this really gets at... So we tend to think about policy in isolation, so how are you gonna figure out how much state appropriations to allocate? What's gonna be the financial aid policy? How are we gonna set tuition? But affordability really depends on how all those things come together. There was a report actually released this morning by the State Higher Education Executive Officers, SHEEO, that said only a third of states think about how those things come together intentionally. States continue to make these policy decisions in isolation. This plays out in a variety of different ways. So most... This is for low-income students, so students who are enrolled in college, the top line is the, it's showing the average amount of unmet financial need, so, how much money is not covered by financial aid, essentially, and low income students have the most unmet financial need. Which leads to... There are only so many ways to pay college costs, right?
1:21:15: So, if you don't receive enough grant aid, loans is one way that our system requires you to pay college costs. More and more students are borrowing, this is just for students who are earning a bachelor's degree. The real problems with borrowing are around those who take loans and don't finish. And as we mentioned earlier, only about 55% of students who enter a four-year institution, on average, complete within six years. So, there's a lot of risk in our system, especially for first-gen, low-income students of color. The amount of debt is rising. Another category of policies has to do with thinking about how our systems fit together. So, we are losing students as they try to navigate their way between K-12 education and higher education, and how they move from one higher education institution to another.
1:22:04: So, despite a lot of attention to developmental coursework and remedial education, you can see here the shares of students who are taking at least one remedial course and really little improvement over this, almost, a decade. We also, many students are also attending more than one institution as you can see here. I'm going fast because I'm almost out of time. But there's a real problem with lack of, with transfer of credits, and so you can imagine that the students who are harmed most by these failures of our system essentially are those who are low-income, first-gen, students of color, those least sophisticated and who our system is really failing in lots of ways. So, just to conclude and reiterate the point that has been made several times in different ways, there's so much more work to be done to address these systemic and structural barriers to opportunity. So, thank you.
1:23:08: So, I'm gonna invite the panel to come forward and please join me, and also put on your mics. And while we're doing that, I'm actually, before I throw open to the audience, I'm gonna take the moderator's prerogative and throw out the first question. And it's a brief question I'd like each of you to address pretty briefly. So, from, one of the goals of the panel today is really to talk about not only research, but research as it relates to policy and the panelists have done a wonderful job. And so I'm gonna actually throw out this question: Please identify who is the most important policymaker with respect to the work that you do, and if you had 30 seconds to talk to that person right now, what is it that you would say? And you have 30 seconds.
1:24:25: Antonio, why don't we start off at the end.
1:24:28: Well, in our case, it's probably the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education, Health, and Pensions. That individual holds a lot of power. The Senate is obviously... As you know, each Senator really is very powerful in terms of processes, parliamentary procedure, and I think we could have an opportunity to really present a particular issue or case to the Chair of the Senate committee. That would be my choice to do it with that individual and essentially that's the most important person that I can think of at this point in my work.
1:25:21: In 30 quick seconds, what would you state?
1:25:26: Well, obviously three things. One is that investments in higher education really are great investments that pay off for society and for the economic advancement of the nation because they respond to that particular point of what is the gain, the economic gain particularly, for the nation for whatever investment. The second thing is what would be some of the ramifications or gains also in other aspects of social behavior, if you will, like the decline in delinquency rates, the less investments needed in incarceration, and of course, everything that goes with the criminal justice system. Then I think it will be sort of part of the same conversation.
1:26:22: And the third thing is that of course our nation is increasingly becoming a minority-majority country that needs... Because this is what I do, is I advocate for a particular constituency, and that these particular populations are the most impacted by those policies. And therefore, they really need to particularly pay attention to those populations. Well, some of the research that was presented alluded to the fact that, in your case, you really zero in on black students and as opposed to low socio-economic, they just see the gains. And I think that goes for higher education as well. So they have to invest in, particularly the institutions that are educating the overwhelming majority of these populations. In our case, it would be Hispanic serving institutions. So, those are the three points that I would make to the good senator and that's it.
1:27:23: Susan. Susanna, I'm sorry.
1:27:28: That's okay. I respond to a whole range of different names. It's actually a really hard question in K-12 education because K-12 education is decentralized. The federal government actually doesn't have legal jurisdiction to regulate education in the US. That's given to the states. And so, if I wanted to do something at a high level, it would probably be at the state level. In California, we're a low spending, high cost state. If I were talking to the new governor, I would probably focus on the fact that we're low spending. We have one of the fewest number of adults in the system of any school system in the country, so we have fewer teachers, but fewer counselors and librarians, and all of that, so I would focus on that.
1:28:14: But again, because you may get better outcomes by decentralizing even further, so giving power to districts and to schools, I would actually probably choose to talk to the superintendents of large, urban school districts. And in that case, I would encourage them to utilize some of the new technology to make sure that we trace each student as they go through. We now have the ability to do that, to actually look at each child, what that child knows, what they respond to, and it's just ridiculous that we're not doing that, even in Silicon Valley where I am. I would focus on the children and what they're learning and our ability to reach them.
1:29:03: Susanna is right in terms of the, I guess, the federal versus the state, and really it is a hard question because I'd like to address both. But at the federal level, there are some policies that while maybe are not educational policies, they definitely have implications. So I would want to talk to Congress about zero tolerance legislation that really came out of the war on drugs, about drug-free and safe school zones. Again, more legislation that came out of the Clinton era, and they continue today. Also the fact that charter schools and the proliferation of those forms of education tend to have advocates within these administrations, and definitely support within the US Department of Education, so there is a push from the federal level for more charter schools.
1:30:05: So I think I would say... The one thing I would say to Congress related to those issues is that there's a tremendous human capital loss related to punitive social control regimes and the over-criminalization of youth and people of color.
1:30:28: Okay, thanks. This is such a great question for a lot of different types of reasons that have been mentioned. I've had the opportunity to testify to Congress, and I took after that... I actually have a paper under review trying to understand and think about the use of research and the federal policy-making process in congressional hearings in particular. Academics are not commonly called relative to other... There are people who are in other policy research types of organizations who are called pretty frequently in DC and whatnot. There does seem to be, on the more positive side, a real interest among legislators to have research and data to support the things they wanna do, and so I think figuring out... Odis's point earlier, figuring out how to disseminate and make sure that folks are aware what we know is super important. There's certainly a lot of federal policies pertaining to these issues that I think are important to communicate especially around loans and gainful employment and making sure that we protect low-income students from low-performing institutions, but at this point, I'm really thinking a lot about the state policies around free tuition, and so I have a project on college promise, free tuition programs right now. And what I would communicate with folks would be to think about the unintended consequences of the ways in which some of these programs are being structured.
1:31:51: So they are largely last dollar programs, so they're a supplement to whatever aid is already available through the Pell Grant or any other need-based state aid. And so the dollars that are going to be awarded largely are not going to low-income students, they would go to other students with higher incomes. And they're not recognizing the other financial costs of going to college, typically they cover only tuition and fees. They also tend to channel students to attend particular types of institutions. So the Tennessee Promise, for example, is available for people that attend technical and community colleges, which could be a good thing, but we have to think too about the pathways from those institutions to four-year degrees and the extent to which folks can transfer seamlessly from those institutions.
1:32:39: Thank you. Questions? Yes.
1:32:52: Hi. I'm Sara Ableson, I'm a PhD student in Public Health interested in the role of schools in [1:32:57] ____. Thank you for your [1:33:00] ____ and for your good work. I'm really interested in the research you just presented on variation with attainment across states and the role of state policies and I'm curious what we know about variations in attainment, specifically in inequities across institutions of higher education and the role of school policies in potentially sort of leading to those variations. I'm curious if any of you can speak to that or if you know who's doing that type of research.
1:33:27: You mean variations in making school policy or you mean variations in higher education policy? [1:33:29] ____.
1:33:37: Certainly folks who are looking at those issues. So I have a project now that is trying to identify practices of institutions that enroll high shares of Pell Grant recipients and also have high rates of graduation of Pell Grant recipients, and there's... We're in the early stages of that. Part of the challenge is there's a lot going on in terms of different types of policies and practices. There's a report actually out... I don't know if you subscribe to Inside Higher Ed, that's a daily trade whatever, and I believe it's in there. Today there's a new report from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. I think it has 11 tips for improving graduation actually and that might be a good starting point for you just to think about the categories of strategies that work from an institutional perspective.
1:34:33: And there's one other place to look. Raj Chetty and John Friedman have a recent report that really looks at all institutions and how well they do at graduating first-generation students and low income students.
1:34:48: My reflection on your question is more about the broader processes that are in play for policy-shaping, and in Congress particularly, and of course there is a very strong interest in looking at measures such as time to completion of degree, and measures such as the rate of actual graduation, and thirdly, gainful employment, as they call it. Obviously there is a lot of pushback from some sectors like the for-profit higher education institutions and technical schools that don't like that last one because they do so poorly in terms of the kinds of jobs that people actually get and don't really earn that much and they don't even come... They cannot even pay back their loans.
1:35:46: And so there is a push nationally to what we are always speaking they define us accountability, institutional accountability. So I think for those of you who are interested in researching things that are related to policy, that those will be great areas of study to pursue. And so the [1:36:08] ____ of Higher Education Act may actually be started in earnest this coming year, and some of those issues are going to emerge. This is important, the higher ed communities prepare to respond to them and to actually proactively seek some improvements in the act. Institutionally, we know there are really already all kinds of studies, but the one that comes to mind that has to do more with the ranking of institutions vis-a-vis different measures, is I think one out of Stanford, that is the project for opportunity in education.
1:36:55: That was the one I...
1:36:56: Okay. And interestingly enough, if you look at the rankings of that project, which is done by researchers both from Harvard and Stanford, very sophisticated what they're doing. Actually you go to the website and see the top 10 ranked institutions, and it has to do with the added value for individual students. That experience of going through a college education forced them, is not Harvard, is not the Ivy Leagues. At the very top is California State University, LA. And among the top 10, there are five Hispanic serving institutions. Okay, so because again, the other point is, it's not so much about how fast you complete a degree, or how well you do, etcetera, but what is the added value for the individuals who go through the experience, coming from where they come and where they end after graduation in terms of their socioeconomic upward mobility.
1:38:08: I'll just add to that. I'm not certain if you're interested in a more micro-treatment of the issue, but I know Anthony Jack at Harvard has done quite a bit of work on how Pell eligible and minorities within the more prestigious institutions, I think his work was based in some New England school, relate to persistence and just really the issues of student life. In one of his examples, he talks about how people during the school break, maybe winter recess, actually go hungry in some of those institutions because no one is thinking that lower income students have different needs than the majority. He presents some really interesting work on those experiences within those contexts. I'm not certain he's talking about graduation rates in particular, but there in his work, institutional responses are implicated, and he might have done subsequent work about how those schools actually responded to those student needs.
1:39:31: Hi, my question's for Odis. Thank you so much for your talk, that was really great. I wanted to just invite you to say a bit more about zero tolerance policies as you see them and your research on these policies. And in particular I was really curious what he said that you already think that discussions are being used in many cases, just not with stands of color, and yeah, I wanted to know if there's really good research being done on that question.
1:39:57: Sorry, yeah. My name is Mercy Corredor, and I am a PhD student in Philosophy.
1:40:05: A lot of the work that's being done on the issue is really coming from a lot of the advocacy groups. So, I would look to the advancement project as one. I know Judith Browne Dianis does quite a bit of work in that area. The way we see zero tolerance and this is coming from the field, not necessarily from research studies. But I get calls all the time from individuals, families, administrators at school systems, wanting to know how to circumvent these automatic suspensions and expulsions from school systems where, discretion and intent is not available or consideration of intent. I'll give you an example, in Chicago I had a phone call from someone in Chicago, where the student was in a fight, and I think during the altercation, the principal might have been hit while trying to break up the fight. So, there was an automatic expulsion, this was CPS Chicago Public Schools, automatic expulsion. There is an appeal, and during the appeal process, the principal actually supported the student, and said this is one of my best students. The person did not intend to hit me, and the expulsion was upheld. What zero tolerance does in effect is, it removes discretion. It removes also professionalism, meaning that we would think that teachers and school leaders would know best their students and how to manage their behavior. But that's not what zero tolerance allows for.
1:42:00: The thing about discretion though... And I had put a little asterisk on it, because some people would suggest putting discretion back into these decisions will not get rid of the disciplinary gap. It might be a product of the things that we prescribe to the system; bias, racial bias. Whether it's conscious or dis-conscious or unconscious, the fact is that people exercise discretion in biased ways. So my response to that is, that systems tend to conform to the type of populations they serve. And we just see fewer automatic expulsions within predominantly white schools, even that are under the type of zero tolerance mandates. So in that case, discretion, if it was allowed in some urban schools by some school systems, then we might actually see a decline in the disciplinary gap.
1:43:18: Hi, I'm Derrick Darby. I'm a philosopher here at Michigan. One of the things that your work shows, collectively, is that inequality is a complex social problem that merits serious scholarly attention. The attention of people who are doing advocacy and policy and so forth. And as Michigan products, you all know one of the great virtues of this institution is the emphasis on collaborative interdisciplinary research. And I thought it'd be nice if you could share some of your thoughts about how scholars can more effectively come out of their silos and frame research questions about inequality, understanding, thinking about its causes, its consequences, its history. And thinking about how that knowledge can be communicated and disseminated to people who make decisions about the rules and the policies. 'Cause I think we got a real opportunity to use the resources we have at these great universities to impact policy. But I think if we don't appreciate the complexity of the problem and that it requires knowledge that we all don't have individually, then we don't put ourselves in the best position. So maybe you can sort of free-associate on that one.
1:44:57: Well, what I'd say about that is that there are at least two important levels at which that could occur. And one of them of course are the disciplinary level across, not just within institutions, but among institutions and people who have some common interest in the issue of inequality from different disciplinary perspectives coming together and promoting that in a very intentional way themselves. To reach out to all those that are doing similar work but from a different perspective, to create collaborative work across, again, institutions or even within institutions. But at a more sort of macro level, generally speaking, academics belong to different guilds, or associations. And those associations I think need to work more closely together to create that national enterprise in a more purposeful way, in a more systematic way, and in a sustainable manner for policy change. I don't see much of that going on, frankly. I don't know about intra-institutional or inter-institutional, but at the national level, I don't see much of that. There is plenty of room for collaboration across guilds, if you will, of different disciplines.
1:46:46: So I think of this as kind of two steps that are useful. One is this book that I did with these two philosophers came out of this organized collaboration that Danielle Allen and Rob Reich put together on Education, Justice, and Democracy, where we met for about a week, three times in a very interdisciplinary group to discuss these kinds of issues and produce something. And then out of that came a number of collaborations that then took us five years, or whatever it was, to actually produce something. So I think these kind of organized, longer-term collaborations among academics is really important to actually make progress on these kinds of issues. But then there's a question of how you then move that to policymakers. And right now I'm running this thing called Getting Down to Facts for the State of California where we've got about 30 researchers creating research reports to help support the new governor... We're electing a new governor next year... So that they'll all be ready to give them information. And we're writing the reports and then we're putting them into basically two pagers and then we're doing a summary and then we'll two-page of that to make it really accessible.
1:47:56: But even with all of that, we actually have another whole group of people who are right now going around, one-on-one to policy makers and advocates, and all the stakeholders, to get them ready [chuckle] as much as possible to be willing to discuss this, to feel like they had input into what's there and what's not there... I don't know if this will work. We did it about 10 years ago, and we didn't do as good a job on the second part, as we're trying to do now. But, it is a... It's a large scale, multiple foundation work to get the... What we're hoping will be an engagement between policymakers and researchers. I think we have to be willing, that we have to... We've put a lot of money into universities to produce this research, in order that... We need some investment in the translation, and it's not just translating into words people understand, but the kinds of interactions you need to engage with those words.
1:48:53: I would agree with that. The other thing I would add is... Really relates back to my experience here at Michigan. It really is a matter of training, in some cases. I mean, we have here at the University of Michigan a really different environment. I mean, it... There are very few barriers for you to go into other disciplines, take courses. And so here, I just really flourished with all of the resources and the opportunity to actually... To craft a truly interdisciplinary vision of some of these social problems and some of the remedies. That's one thing, but the other thing is that I'm also Director of Graduate Studies for the Department of Education.
1:49:44: And I've been having this conversation about public dissemination, and publicly engaged scholarship, and what should be happening within these doctoral programs for our doctoral students, and equipping them to be more successful and to also be more likely to initiate those type of dialogues with policymakers, and not just... You know, the paradigm of institutions to policymaking, but also to the public. So, we have public intellectuals on TV all the time. What is the model of public engagement? What's the difference between a public intellectual and a popular intellectual? Because I do believe there's a difference. And it's this type of knowledge, we do not give normally our graduate students in the program. Those are the two things, I would say that... We need to get out of our comfort zones, our disciplinary comfort zones, and think about ourselves more interdisciplinarily, and that will then lead to some type of innovation that bridges those divides. But then also, we need to train the next generation to do the same.
1:51:16: So... And I guess I'll just circle back. There's a couple things. I think we're fortunate really, to have had the opportunity to have been here... I have the master's in Public Policy from the Ford School, which emphasizes economics and political science, and I remember having... I still remember going and having conversations with Sheldon Danziger as I was trying to figure out my future, and he sort of helped me understand at that point the importance of interdisciplinary types of perspectives, and being based in a particular issue that I cared about. I also... I think... Just a... A couple... To play on a couple of things that... A little bit more than had been said, I think there are big and small ways to do this overtime, right? And depending on other constraints and issues in your life, collaboration takes time, right? It requires trust, it requires relationships. I think... There's... And somethings that I was able to do here, to think... Help me think about my work was to connect with people at this university who are involved on the policy and practice side of things.
1:52:18: I was in town actually, about two weeks ago for the 60th anniversary at the center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education, and I saw Tom Buds, who was then, working in government of... Leading the government affairs issues for the university. He came back for the reunion. He was so helpful to me when I was a doctoral student understanding direct lending policies, which were just happening, and he still remember talking to me, 20 years later. Lester Motts, who used to be in the provost office, was super helpful and he helped me understand equity and diversity issues from a higher education practice perspective. So I think, there are lots of ways to connect and develop those relationships now with people at different stages. And then... One other thing I think about, in terms of potential fundings, the William T. Grant Foundation is really interested in this translation between research in policy and practice, and that maybe... You might just look at how they structure their call and the types of products that they're putting out there, is a way to think about these issues further.
1:53:20: Thank you. Please join me in thanking the panel.
1:53:28: There can be no doubt that we are off to a great start and look forward for the conversation to continue, and I will turn it over to David.
1:53:38: Okay, thanks Rob. That was a great first session and a great way to get things started. We have lunch across the hall, you're supposed to RSVP for lunch, but I think we have room for everybody, so if you wanna have lunch, it's over in the assembly hall, across the hall, and we can continue the conversations there and we'll resume at 1:30 with the next session. So thank you for coming.