Executive Director, Correctional Education Association
Our mission is to give support to teachers and educators who work in correctional education settings. We
assist with professional development so these teachers can do a better job rehabilitating prisoners. Many
people who end up in prison have had difficulty in school and make up for that by acting out in negative ways.
Many prisoners have learning disabilities, often compounded by a lack of social skills. They don’t have the
ability to problem solve because they don’t have the aptitude to think their way through situations. There is
now a waiting list for inmates to get into prison schools. Inmates are referring inmates for school because they
realize this is the only way they have a chance for success when they get out.
Vaughn Charter School
Vaughn Elementary school was a regular public school in L.A where the students were in the single digit test
scores. Coming from a Special Education background and tired of the Los Angeles bureaucracy, I agreed to be
part of the original charter process after speaking to Dr. Chan. In a Charter school, you know your population.
You know your community and you don’t have to do things that you know won’t work or wait for permission to fix
things. Dr. Chan won’t ask her staff to do something that she wouldn’t do herself. There is nothing that she
wouldn’t do for her kids. She doesn’t wait for resources to come to her, she seeks them out. She has been a
wonderful mentor to all of us.
In one of the worst parts of L.A., we have created a community that has bought into the school. We expect the
parents to be part of the school and we welcome them with open arms. We have had families come to us crying
because we didn’t have room for their kids.
Edward M. Hallowell, M.D.
Founder of The Hallowell Center for Cognitive and Emotional Health
Having ADD and being dyslexic is actually an advantage in my work because I understand very quickly what is
going on. The biggest misunderstanding about learning disabilities is that it is a disability. Most people with
ADD or dyslexia are gifted. I think of these conditions as markers for gifts. The challenge is to draw the gift out.
It may be a gift that is hard to unwrap, but it is surely there.
My first grade teacher, Mrs. Eldridge, would put her arm around me when it was my time to read because I
would stammer and stutter and had trouble reading. None of the other kids would laugh at me because I had
Mrs. Eldridge sitting next to me. She couldn’t cure my dyslexia, but she did cure the biggest learning disorder
of all which is fear. I was not afraid. In fact, I looked forward to reading period.
The most important message I can give is to look for strengths, talents and interests in a child and promote
those. Celebrate your child instead of just addressing weaknesses.
Education should be an adventure in learning and not just a march towards standardized testing.
Stephan Thernstrom, Ph.D.
Winthrop Professor of History at Harvard University
Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute
Today, the average Black or Hispanic twelfth grade student is performing in reading at the same level as
Whites and Asians in the 8th grade, and in Math, at the same level as Whites and Asians in the 7th grade.
If you graduate from High School and do not have a child before you are married and before you are 20
years old, you have only a 5% lifetime chance of ever living below the poverty line. If you don’t graduate
from High School, have a child before you are married and/or have a child before you are 20 years old, you
have an 82% chance of living below the poverty line.
Middle class society can choose where their kids can go to school. Most choose better schools by where
they live. It is the poor people in the inner city that have no choice. If the educational system was
restructured, children could choose, through vouchers, where they want to go to school. Children who are
conscripted into schools and have no choice, are not likely to be dedicated to, or feel ownership of their
Peggy O’Brien, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President of Educational Programming
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting was established in 1967 and is the mother of public
broadcasting. Our mission is wrapped around education. Education is the whole reason we exist.
People who teach everyday are the most important people on earth. If you ask anyone who is the most
influential person in your life, nine times out of ten, they will point to a teacher. If you ask a teacher who
was the most influential person in their lives, more often than not, it will be another teacher.
We help determine what the educational needs are and work with producers to develop these programs.
We strive to make programming educational and entertaining so that the kids are more likely to watch and
learn. We even have a large group of people who are new to the country that watch PBS and learn to read
and speak English. While it will never take the place of a human, there is tremendous teaching power in
media and technology and we are constantly trying to enhance the learning experiences of kids.
Founder and Head of YES College Prep Schools
We want teachers with a lot of energy who will buy into the mission of the school and who are smart and
know their content. We are looking for the rock star teachers that we can put in a classroom and let them do
We also have spent a lot of money finding people who can be rock star teachers and training them over
their first two years of teaching. We give them the nuts and bolts of how to run their classroom, but they
have to come to the table with passion, intelligence and a commitment to the mission.
Robert Thompson, Ph.D
Director - Center for the Study of Popular Television
Professor - Television, Radio & Film at Syracuse University
You certainly hear a lot about education in the news media. During Presidential debates or during political
battles, it is one of the big domestic issues. However, education in the news is almost always framed in
controversy that has little or nothing to do with how people experience an education. Education takes a long
time and is not condusive to a 2 or 3 minute news segment on TV. If you watch a news story on education, it
tends to be on the politics of education.
Unlike a home makeover show where you see the beginning and a huge difference at the end of 30 minutes,
education doesn’t work that way. For the most part, news is about things that are breaking down, which is why
you rarely see good news about schools. It is our human curiosity to want to know about disasters and big
scandals. Education happens inside of our head and really makes for bad drama that doesn’t sell.
Chime Charter School Director
Chime Charter School was opened in 2001 as a result of a grass roots movement of parents wanting a school
fashioned after the pre-school started at California State University at Northridge. We have more control of our
school and can more accurately adjust to the needs of the children. Our teachers are working with Dr. Mel Levine
and the All Kinds of Minds program to understand how students learn from a neurological perspective and how to
help the children understand how they learn so that they can advocate for themselves.
Charter Schools in California are funded less than regular public schools. School districts take a percentage off the
top of the money allocated to charter schools. All of us are at different levels of understanding and agreement
about that slicing off the top. Even under this fiscal restraint, we are testing in the 90 percentile in math and literacy.
The sad part of this story is that we have 240 students and over 300 on the waiting list.
President, National Education Association
The National Education Association is working to make sure that every child has access to a quality public
education, a qualified and certified teacher, and an atmosphere conducive to good teaching and learning.
Everybody wants to hold teachers accountable for the progress of the students, but they don’t want to look at
the economic structure and tax base that makes this possible. If the tax base and infrastructure for a good
public school is not in place, it is practically impossible for teachers to obtain the results that the public
demands and deserves.