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Event Transcript
November 1, 1999

The Urban Child in Peril: Can Literacy Change the Outcome?

INTRODUCTORY SPEAKER, GESU STUDENT: Our speakers today will address a very important topic: literacy. I love to read, especially scary books, and my reading has improved my writing skills. This year I am studying in the new writing program we have here at Gesu School. Reading good books, I have found, puts more creative ideas and imagination in my writing. When I grow up, I want to get my Ph.D. from either Harvard or Yale.

I am glad I am learning the basics that I need in order to achieve my goal. I’ve been at Gesu since kindergarten, and Gesu has taught me well, thanks to Sister Ellen Convey and to all my teachers. Thank you all for caring enough about kids like me to be here today. Enjoy the 1999 Symposium on Inner City Education. Thank you.

WIN CHURCHILL: I’m going to introduce our panelists and then turn this over to John DiIulio, a member of our board who will be our moderator today. First of all, Sister Ellen Convey. Sister Ellen has been our Principal since 1991. She has created a number of innovative programs, including single gender classrooms for third and fifth grades, as well as a resources room for children with learning disabilities.

Reverend Floyd Flake is the senior pastor of the Allen African Methodist Episcopal Church in Queens. With its 10,000 members and innovative programming of 11 corporations and ministries, Allen Church is the second largest African American employer in New York City. Additionally, Rev. Flake is a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

Marciene Mattleman is the founding director of the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy in Philadelphia and currently serves both as Executive Director of Philadelphia Reads and chairperson of the National Institute for Literacy's Literacy Advisory Board.

Acel Moore is a columnist and editorial board member of the Philadelphia Inquirer and has created training programs to encourage minority students in journalism. He has also written frequently about the Gesu School for five or six years. We very much appreciate that support. Last week Knight Ridder awarded him the John S. Knight Gold Medal for his work in promoting diversity in newsrooms everywhere.

It is my pleasure to introduce Checker Finn. Mr. Finn is the John M. Olin Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and President of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation. A prolific writer on education and reform movements, his forthcoming book is entitled Charter Schools in Action.

Finally, our moderator John DiIulio, is currently the Fox Leadership Professor of Politics, Religion and Civil Society at the University for Pennsylvania. A Senior Fellow at both the Manhattan Institute and the Brookings Institute, he is a prolific writer, speaker and teacher, and a valued Trustee here at Gesu School.

JOHN DiIULIO: Before we begin, let me just add my thanks to Win Churchill and my other Gesu colleagues for helping to organize this panel. The topic of discussion for today's event is: "The Urban Child in Peril: Can Literacy Change the Outcome?"

I want to begin today with Professor Checker Finn. I use the term "Professor" because it is a fighting word. No one really in academia has studied these issues more closely than Professor Finn. There are those who say we have an urban school crisis, those who say we have an urban education crisis, and those who say we have an urban literacy crisis. Based on your writings, Professor, one might say we have all three. What are some of the baseline statistics that tell us the state of literacy for kids in America?

CHECKER FINN: The best barometer of literacy is something called the National Assessment of Educational Progress, known to its friends as NAEP. This is a federally funded, periodic, sample-based test of kids in grades four, eight and 12 around the country in the core academic subjects. The NAEP produces the best data we’ve got on the country as a whole, and also produces state-level data—But only if the states opt to participate. To my dismay, I discovered that Pennsylvania was one of about ten states that didn’t bother to participate in 1998, so I can give you no Pennsylvania data, but I’ve got more national data than you want.

Let me share a little bit of it with you. The NAEP results in reading and writing and all the other subjects, are reported against three standards: basic, proficient and advanced. These standards are high, and ambitious: they are set by the National Assessment Governing Board, which I once had the honor of chairing:

  • “Proficient” is the level that everybody is supposed to reach;
  • “Advanced” is the world-class level that not very many Americans reach;
  • “Basic,” which is quite a lot less than proficient—and which is not satisfactory—is nevertheless a stepping stone on the way to satisfactory; and
  • “Below Basic,” means something close to not literate, or in some cases, not literate at all.

Let us look at some 1998 numbers for reading, We will begin with national numbers for the fourth grade:

Fourth graders nationally, 1998:

  • “Advanced”: 7%.
  • “Proficient or better”: 31%.
  • “Basic or better”: 62%.
  • “Below basic”: 38%.

Thirty-eight percent of fourth graders nationally are below basic. Allow me to pause for just a minute and read you the definition of “Basic” as a standard: "Fourth grade students performing at the “Basic” level should demonstrate an understanding of the overall meaning of what they read. When reading text appropriate for fourth graders they should be able to make relatively obvious connections between the text and their own experiences, and extend the ideas in the text by making simple inferences."

We’re not talking about decoding here, we’re talking about reading with some understanding—limited understanding—but 38% of American fourth graders cannot do that.

Let’s look at this 38% a little more closely. We'll stay with the “Below basic” category:

  • Boys: 41% below basic.
  • Girls: 35% below basic.
  • White students: 27% below basic.
  • African American students: 64% below basic.
  • Hispanic children: 60% below basic.
  • Central city students: 45% below basic.
  • Suburban students: 32% below basic.
  • Low-income students: 58% below basic.

Here is how this statistic breaks down in terms of specific types of schools:

  • Public schools: 39% below basic.
  • Catholic schools: 21% below basic.
  • Other private schools: 24% below basic.

Statistics are better at eighth grade levels, but not anywhere near where we ought to be. Here is how national eighth grade reading levels break down:

  • Advanced: 3%.
  • Proficient: 33%.
  • Basic or better: 74%.
  • Below Basic: 26%.

One in four eighth graders are below the basic level for eighth grade. Again, here is how the below basic statistic breaks down for the eighth grade:

  • Boys: 32%.
  • Girls: 19%.
  • White students: 18%.
  • African American students: 47%.
  • Hispanic students: 46%.
  • Central city students: 32%.
  • Suburban students: 21%.
  • Low income students: 44%.
  • Public schools: 28%.
  • Private schools: 9%.

These numbers force the comparison of the 47% figure for African American eighth graders below basic with the 9% figure for kids attending schools like Gesu: It’s an enormous difference. Don't get smug, however: Catholic schools in eighth grade are only 48% proficient. Half the kids in Catholic schools have not attained the proficient standard in reading in eighth grade. That’s a lot better than the public schools, but it suggests that even very effective schools have a considerable distance still to go.

DiIULIO: Thank you Checker. We will now turn to Marciene Mattleman for some more encouraging information. No one in this metropolitan region, and frankly nationally, knows more about reading and getting kids to read and what it takes to get adults and kids to read than Ms. Mattleman. She will now present us with the good news regarding literacy in America.

MARCIENE MATTLEMAN: Let me tell you a couple things. If you read the popular press, the government releases or professional journals these days, you cannot help but hear something about literacy. The press highlights the fact that 45% of the kids in third grade can’t read at grade level. Government officials are realizing that welfare-to-work programs will never succeed unless people have enough skills to work in the service economy. What can we do to solve this problem?

In academia there is an ongoing struggle over what the best way is to teach reading. Now, Checker and I agree that we have known the proper way to teach people how to read for more than thirty years. Nonetheless, I think this is all still positive: it is drawing needed attention to the problem.

President Clinton started a program called America Reads—without any federal allocation—but it captured the values and it captured what people cared about. Boston Reads and Houston Reads began, and then Philadelphia began its program, with which I have been involved. We are the only national program, and we are the only initiative, that’s directly in the mayor’s office. Mayor Ed Rendell has been a superb partner for our program. Now that America Reads has been funded as the Reading Excellence Act, there will be millions for cities such as Philadelphia. This is great news for our cause.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge has allocated $100 million over four years for reading, and because Philadelphia has such a large percentage of “Below Basic” readers, we’re going to get a lot of money from that provision. Forty low achieving schools will be funded by January. This past Thursday we had some more good news: a sort of national awakening. Vice President Al Gore is hosting a meeting on "21st century skills for 21st century workers," and exhorting employers to follow the example of a local company, Toll Brothers. Toll Brothers needed workers. They were able to locate a lot of people who could work very well, but couldn’t read. Toll is training their workers and teaching them to read. In this particular situation, the people in question happen to be people for whom English is not their first language, but Toll Brothers is training them right on the job. I'm going to be attending that meeting and I think it is going to be a very important event for the cause of literacy.

As Director of Philadelphia Reads, I am in a wonderful position to see a lot of encouraging trends in literacy. First of all, Philadelphia Reads wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for private funding. We all talk about the government, but if it weren’t for the Philadelphia Eagles, Philadelphia Reads wouldn’t exist. The Philadelphia Eagles came in with the Eagles Youth Partnership and said, "This is something we care about: we care about reading and we’re going to pay for the infrastructure."

Philadelphia Reads has created a campaign to help first, second, and third graders in Philadelphia public schools, 80% of whom are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. The kids in this city are from really low-income backgrounds. We provide several services: we support any and all organizations that are out there in the community that are helping kids read better. We’ll provide them with volunteers, training, books and computers. (Speaking of books, people like yourselves have contributed, since we started 16 months ago, 24,000 new and gently used books.)

Our community-based centers are doing wonderfully, as well. The Police Athletic League runs recreation centers, and though they’re not part of any national network and they’re not publicly funded, if you stop by the Calvary Episcopal on Tuesday or Wednesday afternoons, you will see programs that are working because people care.

We are funding a program called the 100 Book Challenge. It’s a program that challenges kids to read 100 books in each of the three report periods. You may wonder how do little first graders read 100 books all year, let alone 300. Well, they’re little books: but the fact is kids are reading them. They are emerging as readers, and we know the more you read the better you read

We have another wonderful program called Power Partners, in which more than 500 lawyers and court officials, secretaries and paralegals are meeting with kids once a week in their offices. We bring the kids to their offices, and they are coached in reading. We use the word “coach” rather than “tutor”: the kids know if the word "tutor" is used, they are in trouble. "Coach," however, is an inspirational word. To see a lawyer like Alan Davis, who is a very well known and respected attorney, working with a kid that he had coached this summer privately because he cared about him, is quite moving. I think people know that the viability of our cities and of our nation depends upon having a literate workforce.

For $1,000 you can start a class in the 100 Book Challenge. That money brings about 300 books to an individual student. In running the Challenge in specific schools, we fund ten classes at once, not just one or two. Ten classes is an impetus for change: one class is no such mandate. We began 16 months ago with 7 schools and we are now up to 47 thanks to the help of Visa, PNC Bank, the Philadelphia Foundation, the William Penn Foundation, First Union Bank, Mellon Bank, and a few local philanthropists. I don't want to sound like I am letting the government off the hook, but I’m saying that we can do it ourselves if we have the will.

The 100 Book Challenge is working. When our kids in first, second and third grade were compared with counterparts who didn’t use the program, they did much better. Our program isn't the only one that has been proven to work, however: there is also the Links to Literacy program in the Northeast, or the Children’s Literacy Initiative for kindergarten and first graders. The programs exist if we pay attention.

Recently, a very nervous parent asked the Admissions Director of Williams College, “How can I get my kid into Williams? What can I do to make sure that he does well on the SAT?” The Admissions Director said, “Read to your child when he’s little, and keep reading.” This approach works. It has been proven over and over again. Reading to your child is the variable that’s most closely related to a child’s future academic success. It is quite amazing.

Frequently I’m asked, "How about the parents? Where are they in all this?" About 40% of the parents in cities—Philadelphia included—are functionally illiterate. What do they do? They don’t vote intelligently, because they only vote from the sound bites on television. They make mistakes when they read the labels on medicine bottles. Of course these are the parents who cannot read to their kids.

I’m happy to say that the number of available family literacy programs is growing quickly. These programs operate by having the parent come in to the school for assistance with their reading while the child attends class. The community colleges are taking on literacy programs, and they have been successful because the parent does not have to say "I’m a bad reader and I need help." Rather, “I’m going to community college,” will suffice.

We have to act aggressively. There’s a lot that’s working. I think we’re on a roll: people are paying attention, and I think we really have a chance to accomplish something great.

DiIULIO: Thank you Marciene. There’s probably nobody in America who has seen and dealt with these issues from more perspectives than our next speaker, the Reverend Floyd Flake, has: From the halls of Congress, from the pulpit, as a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and the list goes on.

REVEREND FLOYD FLAKE: As I consider the question of literacy—particularly when you talk about inner city kids—I think of my experiences as Dean of Students at Lincoln and Boston Universities. The great challenge for me has been: "How do you transform ideas about what children in inner cities can do, and raise levels of expectations so that performance is consistent with potential, as opposed to predetermined ideas about where students fit on the socioeconomic spectrum?" If you go by the predetermined standards, you have no possibility of success. In my recent book, The Way of the Bootstrapper, I talk about myself: the product of a family of 13 children of fifth and sixth grade-educated parents. As I listen to the various debates about whether children have the capacity for learning, based upon the historical limitations for informal education of parents, I find it appalling. I am the product of what they say cannot possibly produce a child who is able to perform in this society. Yet, I have a doctorate that I earned while fulfilling the busy schedule of a congressman: I think that people underestimate the sense of desire and determination felt by young people in low income urban areas.

Because of this, people oftentimes make pre-determinations that these young people will never be able to learn. They believe that there are too many social issues that mitigate the possibility of their being able to succeed.

I recall my first job as a social worker in Head Start. I was evaluating students’ learning curves as they came out of Head Start at the second or third grade level. We would go back and look at these students three or four years later, and find that their learning had actually retarded because they were brought back to the level of other students in the class. The schools did not have the capability to deal with an accelerated student.

I grew up in the South—segregated Houston—where we went past several white schools to a black school in the country with four teachers teaching eight grades. In that situation, a child like myself, who was excellent in spelling, could be placed in the next grade level's class because that class was in the same room. So I moved from second grade to third grade. I could do spelling with the third grade, then when I got in the fourth grade and the fifth grade in the same room, I could do fifth grade work though I was a fourth grader. Open classrooms were excellent for addressing that type of problem: I’m building a charter school now that will have those capabilities.

I think it is critical for us to understand that most young people, if introduced to reading at a very young age, can indeed learn. When I was at Lincoln as a Dean, I got into a fight with the head of the economics department, because as a Dean in Student Affairs, there was a sense that we had no responsibility in the academic area. They asked me if I would consider hiring a student that had worked for me part-time. A part of what I wanted him to do would have been writing letters and preparing information in a weekly newsletter that we put out on the campus, so I made him give me a writing sample. I discovered that this economics major, who was about to graduate from the university with a degree, did not even have minimal writing skills. I said that I could not hire him, and then I got into a fight with the head of the economics department. My feeling was that I had no control over the situation because I was not in the economics department. My responsibility for the kid superseded my sense of responsibility for the department.

Our challenge is to not allow partitions to keep us from dealing with the reality of our country's tremendous literacy problem. We all have an obligation to raise our expectations: not to lower standards, not to look for reasons why children in inner-city communities cannot learn. Rather, we must challenge them to learn.

In 1976, when I left Boston University to come to a church in New York, the first question I had was whether they would be interested in an educational venture in which we would build our own school. We did it: we now have pre-K to eighth grade and 480 students total. A few months ago, on February 14th, The New York Times published a story on our school. Young people in our school are testing at a rate of between 86%-96% in reading and math. Compare this to 40% for other young people in the same community.

People keep asking me, "What are you doing in your school that is not being done in the neighboring schools?" I challenge my students to understand two things: we have high expectations, we do not accept hip-hop or street language. A student in our school understands that when they put the uniform on and walk through the school door, our expectations for them are very high. Our standards are high because we believe it is important to prepare them to be competitive and to have the ability to communicate, regardless of what setting they might happen to be in. I tell our young people all the time: If you want to use slang, go ahead and do that after three o’clock but by eight o’clock the next morning, get that out of your system because we will not tolerate it in this environment.

We need to begin to challenge young people, and I’m a witness to the fact that when you challenge them, they will perform. If the level is lowered or if the median is low, they will function to some level up to where that median is. If you raise the level beyond what is the acceptable median and challenge them to function at that level, I’ve come to realize that they will do it. Of all the kids that have graduated the Allen School since 1982, we’ve only had one student who did not graduate from high school. Additionally, all of our kids who were college-ready have gone on to college.

I am thankful to the Catholic system, because the majority of the young people graduating out of our school go to Catholic high schools—including my children—and they’ve been extremely successful. I have a daughter who graduated with honors from Spelman last year, another graduating with a 3.7 at Spelman this year, and a son in Morehouse. I attribute our success to challenging our young people.

At Lincoln University in 1970, we made a decision that we would no longer teach grammar. Additionally, we allowed students to substitute humanities classes for English. I think it was one of the worst mistakes we’ve ever made. Many of our children did not have the basics, and if you don’t have the basics—regardless of what you read—you cannot develop the necessary comprehension skills.

Even in the Internet Age, students need excellent reading skills and comprehension skills in order to take advantage of the opportunities available to them. We are challenged to try to do our best to raise the expectancy level so that they can perform competitively in the future. Thank you very much.

DiIULIO: Mr. Acel Moore is a well-known journalist in the Philadelphia area. He has wrestled with these issues, particularly in some recent columns. Today he will share with us his understanding of the context and various nuances associated with literacy in this city and nationally.

ACEL MOORE: I think one of our most pressing problems is what to do with the children who do not meet the standards of a school like the Gesu School. They are put out, and so the public schools are left to deal with them. To me, that that’s the real issue. There’s no doubt that Gesu is successful—it’s going to continue to be successful—but what about those who are left out?

You know as a child, not only did everyone older than me in my home read, but they all read to me. That included my parents, my grandmother who lived with us, as well as my older sister. Every evening after dinner, and after the kitchen was clean and the dishes stacked, the three adults would go to the living room and sit in their favorite chairs. With their shoes off and legs propped on the hassock, they would read from one of the three daily newspapers and two weeklies that were a mainstay of the household. Sometimes my grandmother, at the insistence of my father—and to the delight of my brother and I—used a magnifying glass when she read. My big sister would sit at the dinner room table doing her homework and reading. It was quiet time in the old house: a time when only the noise of crackling newsprint, when pages were turned to be heard. The radio was turned off, and there was not even a telephone or television. Television at that point was still an experiment for the rich. Sometimes one of the adults would read aloud, and invariably there would be discussion about something one of them had read. They often would exchange the papers or would take turns reading a story that my father had brought to their attention. The words politics, political reform, Democrats, Republicans, Russians, were all words that I recognized long before I fully understood what they meant or used them in my spoken or written vocabulary.

Sometimes my sister would come into the living room and get one of the sets of green and brown books that were neatly stacked on a bookcase and take it back to the table where she was doing her homework. Some years later my twin brother and I would use those same books: a set of encyclopedias and several volumes of classic literature including Shakespeare, Dickens, Poe and H.G. Wells. Like our sister before us, we were not allowed to listen to our favorite radio programs until we had done our homework.

I was fortunate to have been born before the impact of television. For me reading was as much of a challenge and an achievement as using a knife or fork, or being able to wear long pants. I recognize the importance of reading from the earliest point of my life, and imagined and dreamed of adventures in far away places. As a result, it was my perception from childhood that knowing how to read was the basis of all knowledge, success and pleasure. That is the context of my experience, and that is what I believe is missing from the academic experiences of many of our young people today: particularly those in the statistics that were cited earlier. In today's society, parents have been replaced: television clearly is a factor that was not a factor when I was growing up.

My father is a high school graduate: he graduated in 1932 at the age of 19. At that point in history, he would certainly not have been in the majority of the population of America, he would be in the minority. Clearly most of the people when he graduated, and even when I was going to school, did not have a high school education. The men in my community had jobs. The single-parent households in my community were in a clear minority. In the block that I lived there was only one family that fit that description. I grew up in South Philadelphia. My father’s and our poverty level was not determined by the fact that my father was uneducated or didn’t work hard, he did: he was a marine electrician during the Second World War and worked seven days a week. We were relatively poor because my father was told when he finished high school that because he was African American, he couldn’t get a white master who would take him as an apprentice: he had to find a black master somewhere. If it weren’t for our poverty, he certainly would have gone to college. He was a brilliant, well-read man.

The children today, through no fault of their own, are more focused on hip-hop than the curriculum, and they cannot adjust. With the prevalence now of poverty and single-parent households, it seems there is just so much that a community can do. When we talk about these issues, about education and literacy, we cannot ignore the fact that these people who live in the inner cities are more isolated than the poorest immigrant who came to our shores. The teachers lived in the community where I grew up. Because of segregation, black professionals lived among the people that I grew up with: an urban middle class. Even though we were poor, there was hope in those values. If you isolate a community so that the teachers and the professionals who are African American or who are Hispanic do not live in that community, what do you expect? We reap what we sow. I believe in personal responsibility, but I cannot hold a child, who comes into a setting without a father, whose mother can’t read herself, accountable for his lack of literacy. We have to deal with those issues first, and I think we need to be realistic about it. I think that we must praise Gesu, and I have: it’s a very fine school. I think it has an impact because it’s within the community, and it’s not far away. People can see what’s happening here, and it has an impact.

Let's be realistic. What do we do when the child cannot meet the standards set and the values set by private, parochial schools? I have a son who is 32 and a daughter who is 8. My son is a product of the public schools and my daughter, despite the fact that I do not live in the inner city, is sent to a private school, because I’m able to do that. But what about the child who comes from a single parent household? These are important factors that we have to deal with, and it’s not going to be easy. I don’t have any unique answers, but I know the principle of reading is the most important thing, no matter how poor you are. Take that away, you take away the hope of a mother or father ever getting a job. We have to restore that somehow.

DiIULIO: I thought I knew how to teach after a dozen years at Princeton. Then a couple of years ago I had the pleasure of seeing Sister Ellen Convey teaching her eighth grade class. Sister Ellen taught me how to teach there on the fourth floor. With eighth graders, I actually used my own American Government textbook: the one that I co-authored with Professor James Q. Wilson out at UCLA. I had used this text for ten years at Princeton, but I used it with those children. Given, I didn’t use all of it: there were parts of it that I had to excise and explain. But it was remarkable: while there was a tremendous variance in the reading abilities and so forth, every single one of those 40 children—from the most proficient to the least proficient—could read that relatively difficult textbook. That textbook tests out at grade 11.4, and these were eighth grade children.

We hear about the miracle of the Gesu school: you have a 95% graduation rate. Could you give us some insights into your experience here, and what may have led to such outstanding success?

SISTER ELLEN CONVEY: There is not one secret ingredient that has contributed to our success. One of the things that I read in preparing for this panel was that a typical inner-city child is read to 25 hours in their lifetime before they reach kindergarten, whereas a suburban child is read to over 1,000 hours. I think that has been a keystone here at Gesu from the time the children enter pre-K: immersion in books. Our pre-K teacher may read three, four books a day. She will read anytime there is a lull between activities. The children respond to that, they love to be read to.

Even our eighth grade teachers read to the children. During any given day, there’s a time when the children are actually read to, and they all respond well to that. Immersion in literature is key. We’ve been lucky: we’ve had the IHN Mission Fund and through a book company we have received generous donations. The classroom libraries are well stacked. I always say to the librarian, "Don’t tell the kids, but I don’t really care if the book comes back. If they like it enough to keep it, let them keep it."

The other key factor is the fact that we use a traditional approach to education. We teach grammar, phonics, handwriting and spelling: all the traditional Catholic school remedies. By the time the children are in the junior high, they’re so well trained, that they could do many of the rote routines like a maintenance sheet or a math drill without a teacher. That doesn’t make the teachers go out for coffee or anything, but the children learn and I think all those things are important.

I also think that a key to success is keeping the classroom small enough. You need to have the ability to give special assistance to the child that’s having trouble. You need to take time and sit down with them, and then you can find something for more developed ones, so they do not lose their advantages.

This morning, one of my eighth grade teachers said to me, “On Wednesday we have high school visitation day in the city. The eighth graders go visit high schools, and they don’t come to school that day." She wanted to know if she could take the day off with them and go along to visit the high schools. She wanted the opportunity to observe the different school's programs because she felt she needed to find a special program for one of her students, Malik. She told me, "He's just so bright: I need to find more to challenge him. I tell him, 'Well here, read Dickens,' and he says, 'I already read it.'”

On both ends of the spectrum, we’re looking to challenge our students. Our new writing program has been a great gift to Gesu. All along I’ve known that we have the brightest children in the city, but when applying for high schools a few years ago, we applied to one of the Friends schools. The child applying had excellent marks, behavior, etc., and I called the school because I couldn’t wait for the results. When they told me they thought her writing was too shallow, I almost went through the phone, I was so angry!

Writing is one of our most important initiatives now. We recently started a new program, and I believe the results are already observable. The writing is certainly not shallow—I’ll never forget that.

On the other end of the spectrum, this year we were lucky enough to open a resource room for children who are learning disabled. This has been an excellent addition to our program. Unfortunately we have sixth graders who now, for the first time, have been diagnosed LD. It is only now that they are getting into the attention of a special teacher and a smaller class. The teacher knows all the special techniques to help them.

I think the other thing that makes Gesu so successful is the parents' level of responsibility. Every Tuesday we have what we call a Tuesday folder, and it goes home to parents every week, and they have to sign it and send it back. Anything from a cake sale to the latest test results are in there. Students now come running out of the resource room to show anybody and everybody their 100s, their 84s, or their 96s. Helping them to achieve and feel successful is a big part of what we do at Gesu: if the kids feel successful, they’ll be successful, and if they think they can, they will.

DiIULIO: We’re going to go to the audience in a few moments for questions and comments, but to this point I think this presentation has been a little too friendly and consensual. Let me see if I can change the dial slightly by just asking one more "friendly" question. I want to begin with Checker Finn, because he read from the Nation at Risk reports. There is a national debate currently, where one side maintains that all told what we really need to do is work within public schools and reform them. The other side says we need school choice: up to and including vouchers. There are nuance positions here and there, but people tend to choose one side or the other.

A year or so ago, I wrote an article called “My School Choice: Literacy First,” where I basically said, not so much a pox on both your houses, but why can’t we do literacy now, and worry about other reforms later? The response from both sides of the issue was negative. They say we can’t just do literacy, we can’t just have intensive reading. We cannot just replicate these successful programs: we’ve got to either fix other things in the schools or push for greater supply of quality schools. Checker, and how do you relate the literacy challenge to the overall public school challenge?

FINN: You have committed the mortal sin of wanting to talk about content and substance rather than structure and politics. All of the structure and politics people will gang up on you from every side, if you want to talk about something as seemingly simplistic as literacy.

Good schools come in all sorts of flavors: they come in public school flavor, they come in private Catholic flavor, independent flavor, fundamentalist Christian flavor, and charter school flavor. Unfortunately, however, so do bad schools. I’ve stopped thinking that private schools are a panacea. Though the odds are better for a kid in a private school, it’s still no guarantee.

I think that schools need to be shaken up, and I don’t think they shake very well from the top down. They have too many rigidities in them, they have too many people who can’t be moved, they have too many things that can’t change or won’t change or have an excuse not to change. I think that top-down shaking of schools and school systems simply doesn’t work very well. You get the rare exceptional circumstance where an amazing superintendent or an astonishing principal manages to break through the best of interests and the traditions and the mess and bureaucracy and do a good job, but those are the exceptions. The rule is that shaking from the top down doesn’t work.

What does work? What concentrates the mind of every school in America, public, private, and parochial? What concentrates the mind of every school in America is the discovery that they no longer own their students because their students have the option of going somewhere else. The discovery that your kids could go somewhere else if you don’t do a good job with them is a painful—obviously politically unpalatable—but nevertheless vivid way of getting the attention of a school and causing it to change. I think that all American schools need to lose their monopoly on kids, and need to awake one day to the possibility that their kids have options. Whatever it takes to get to that situation is what I’m for. That requires some degree of school choice, and my view is the more choice the better.

This doesn’t mean that the first choice you make will be a success. My son, who’s now in medical school, went through five different schools as he went through K through 12. The first three didn't work, and we kept trying. Eventually we had the right match between kid and school.

REVEREND FLAKE: I think there are some other issues that we have to consider. First of all, let me respond to Acel's comments regarding the children who aren't accepted into schools like Allen or Gesu. We don’t test kids in, we take kids from the market: the same kids that go to public school. Additionally, we have never put a child out of the school. I find that once a child comes in and knows what the expectations are, they work at it. We’ve never had to put a child out, and I think the difference here is, in a school like mine and like Gesu, that in the public school, some of those same children would be put directly into special education. For me, this is the real problem. Many times they cannot do a proper diagnosis: they do not understand that a specific child does not have an academic learning problem, or any other kind of disability. If the student knows what is expected of him, he will achieve to that standard.

I find the disparity between schools in the same district in terms of resource allocation, to be phenomenal. Schools in Forest Hills, which is a part of District 28, and schools in South Jamaica, which is where I am located, have significant differences in resource availability. Computers, books and all manner of other resources are available in Forest Hills, while most of the schools on the poorer side of that district do not even have books. If they have any, they are 20 years old. There is no justification for this. I think that Acel and I would both agree—though we don’t want to get into a race discussion—that one of the biggest problems facing education reform in America is the reality that there is a disparity in terms of resource availability to schools in certain parts of certain districts.

In addition to being the pastor of the largest African American church in the state of New York, I am also a community builder and developer. We build homes: we built over 160 brand new homes just recently and we’re placing first time home buyers in those houses. What happens however, just as was the case in the 60’s, immediately following white flight, there was African American middle-class flight to the suburbs. I can place a first-time homebuyer in the community in a new home. When they reach a certain economic level, if they don’t have access to quality education in their community, they too take flight. If you cannot stabilize the population in the community around middle-class persons staying there, or wanting to come back there, we cannot build those communities. When I look at The New York Times and I see Manhassett and Garden City and places in Nassau County advertise their school district it is disquieting. I’ve been to about 35 cities over the last year, and in no urban community in America can you advertise a school district as a reason for a person to want to live there.

The greater issue for me is not that the public system will reform itself, but rather what forces will have to be applied to make it happen. I tend to think the only way you’re going to make the system better is to put apply force. Those currently in charge of public education in America are never going to give up the amount of dollars available to them without a fight. In New York they spent $10 billion for public education. I believe the system will right itself, simply because it knows it has to justify itself in order to maintain and keep the dollars that it’s getting.

MATTLEMAN: I feel that when an argument is framed as “vouchers or not,” it really overlooks other elements of choice. You mentioned charter schools. I think the charter school movement is very exciting. It is going to have its pitfalls, but that’s an element of choice. Magnet schools and magnet programs—which in Philadelphia have been very successful—have been instrumental in keeping schools and programs integrated. I think that’s something that we really need to be working for. We’re talking about literacy, we’re talking about structure: when you talk about resources you need to talk about opportunity. Opportunity means the chance to learn with all kinds of kids, because otherwise the world isn’t going to change.

I think the whole community service movement in the school district—service learning—is a wonderful way to cross-fertilize a lot of the things we’re talking about. When people in cities where there are vouchers, or people who are involved in charters or in magnates are able to do projects in order to give something back to those programs we will be able to make tremendous strides. This is a very important movement that we need to talk about. The whole service learning/community service movement is a way that we can bring groups together and really have an impact.

When kids come to school, we talk only about reading. It’s not just reading, however, that should be the focus: it’s reading, writing, listening, and speaking. The mother who is lucky enough to be taking her kids in that station wagon to different after school activities is talking to that kid all the time. It’s language development. Where do you get your values and your vocabulary? My husband and I mentor a young man from this neighborhood: a wonderful young man who just graduated from Penn State and took a job at Kodak. As a young college graduate, an African American young man, he isn’t missing a thing mentally. What he was missing was concepts. He had no father, his mother worked during dinnertime, and he had no discourse with people. When we talk about reading, it’s not just decoding those words: it’s getting the meaning behind the printed page.

MOORE: I don’t have the faith in the political leadership of this country to do the right thing and make a voucher system work. I think that regionalization of the public schools might be something worth consideration, but clearly that’s not going to happen.

I don’t know: I’m not an expert and I don’t pretend to be. It seems to me, however, that you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to devise a way to deal with a significant portion of our population. We know what the issues are, and we know what the problems are causing. We need to change the educational system so it is better able to accommodate students. Some children are raising themselves. They are literally orphans, and they need more than just the traditional setting. We need to train teachers better in how to deal with those issues. I’m not convinced that the political leadership is going to provide enough funds to deal with these problems. I know money isn’t everything: but I just want to feel comfortable that somebody is going to stand up and say "Hey, we can do better than we’re doing now."

FINN: You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to devise the idea, but I think you might have to be a rocket scientist to devise the political strategy for changing urban school systems. I don’t know anything about Philadelphia, but let me talk for a minute about Dayton, Ohio, where the little foundation I’m involved with works. It’s a small city that has every urban pathology that you know of. It has 22,000 kids in its public school system, and it has the second lowest test scores in the state after Cleveland. It has a completely dysfunctional public school system, and the dysfunctionality starts with the elected school board, which is a collection of self-interested incompetents.

It happens that the election is tomorrow, and who’s running? More self-interested incompetents. They all fall into one of three categories: either they’re aspiring politicians who want to use being on the school board as a stepping stone to higher office, or they are single-interest folks with a cause that they want to inflict on the school system, or they are disgruntled former employees of the school system with a grudge. That's who runs for school board: most of them run with the support of the teachers’ union, which ends up pulling the strings in the election. This group of people then picks a superintendent. The superintendent tries to change anything and the teachers’ union inevitably complains and the school board says: “Don’t change it. Sorry, can’t do it, superintendent.” The superintendent tries to change it and he gets fired. They appoint a new superintendent and the cycle begins anew.

Political leadership is absent in the community. I don’t think the mayor knows where the school board is located. Business leadership is interested and wants to do something, but they don’t have any levers. Additionally, none of them actually live in the city anymore. They all live and vote in the suburbs. The entire middle class of the community, white and black alike, has moved to the suburbs.

So the people you’d like to have run for school board can’t, because they don’t live in the city and therefore they’re not eligible to run for school board. It becomes circular and self-defeating, and I don’t know what the solution to the problem is. I think, however, that trusting the parents is a better idea than trusting the school board.

MATTLEMAN: I agree with you, and I think that what we will have if the status quo is maintained is a separate school system. One for those of a certain economic level who can make choices, and one for the others who cannot make choices. I think separate is unequal: it was clearly delineated in the 1954 decision, Brown v. Board of Education, but we might as well go back to Plessy v. Ferguson if we continue what we’re doing now. It is effectually the same.

DIIULIO: I am now going to open the floor for questions:

QUESTION: This question is directed to Checker. In the NAEP standards that you read, you expressed the fact that kids were being assessed on their ability to make inferences based on their experience. My question is, given the economic situation of many of the students in urban areas, what are the criteria by which they established those experiences?

FINN: Good question. The standards that I read, by the way, which is one of nine different standards—basic, proficient, and advanced, for grades four, eight and twelve—are summary descriptions of a laboriously constructed set of standards that’s closely related to the actual questions that are on the test. This version does describe as a part of the standard the ability of kids of fourth grade basic to connect what they read to their own lives. My own impression is that even fourth graders from seriously disadvantaged circumstances do have life experiences, and they can be connected if the child has learned to think about what he or she is reading, in a way that causes them to reflect upon what’s going on there. You could conceivably pick some stories or books that are so completely remote from the experiences of disadvantaged kids that they’d have trouble connecting with it: for instance, if you’re reading a story about a polo game or something. Even fantasy. Nobody connects directly with the world of Dr. Doolittle or the Wizard of Oz, because nobody—be they poor or upper middle class—has had those experiences: they are imaginary. Nevertheless, everybody’s had an imaginary experience, and I think this is an important way to get at whether a kid is able to read with understanding. Can they make any sense out of this in terms of the life they lead, not just in terms of the life on the page.

REVEREND FLAKE: I think the depth of the question goes to another level. When you prepare a standardized test you do it based on a sense of what language is. Words, however, can have different meanings in different settings. When I was in Houston, if I wanted a Coca Cola, I would ask for a soda water. When I got to Dayton, Ohio, to Wilberforce University, I asked for a soda water, and the woman looked at me as if I was a crazy. She said, “What do you want?” and I said, “I want soda water.” She said, “What is that?” Finally I pointed to the can of "soda water" as I knew it. She said, “That’s a pop.” Then I go to Boston and I’m asked, “Would you like a drink?” I don’t drink, so I’m assuming it’s alcohol. I said no, because I’m assuming that’s what she’s serving. So then she comes and serves everyone else Coke, and 7UP, and Sprite. I said, “Oh, that’s what I’d like.” She said, “Well I asked you, and you said no.”

It is important to understand that there are some major cultural differences that makes it difficult for many children to pass the test. Not because they don’t know what it is, but their frame of reference is so different that when they sit to take that standardized test, there is no connection. I don’t know how we solve that.

SISTER CONVEY: I think the issue of experience is of paramount importance here. Just recently we had a visitor in our third grade, and we read a story in class about a rodeo. The visitor came out amazed that not one single boy, it was an all-boy class, knew what a rodeo was. They had never experienced or been exposed to a rodeo. That’s the story of a lot of inner-city children, with very simple concepts.

I often tell volunteers who come in to try and expose the students to something new. Take them to a show, take them to a movie: broaden their world. That’s another problem with the standardized test. If the child doesn’t know what a rodeo is to begin with, the whole paragraph on the rodeo becomes incomprehensible.

QUESTION: My interest in literacy goes back to Lyndon Johnson’s days when he introduced the right to read. He claimed that if we could put a man on the moon in a decade than we could teach every person in the United States to read by 1980. I’m ashamed of the fact that the professionals haven’t been able to get this job done.

I wonder if I could just ask the panel to try to separate the politics and school boards and unions from the education. Try to separate the education reform issues from the drive for literacy. I agree that small classrooms are good. But I’ve also seen men from churches work one-on-one with the incarcerated and they still did not learn to read. You’ve got to get these kids early. I’ve taken rolls of quarters and gone to shopping centers and given little kids quarters and have them put them in PACMAN machines and they run those things expertly. Can we utilize this technology of computerized systems to teach young children to read? I can visualize a box you walk into, like a confessional box, and you put your card in, and find out where you were yesterday. You spend 15 minutes with that computer to bring you up to where you are going to be tomorrow. A kid could just as easily pay that machine as a PACMAN, and he would actually be learning.

MATTLEMAN: I recently stepped down as chair of the Board of Trustees of the Free Library. One of the initiatives that we are involved in now is putting computers in all the libraries: eight computers in all of our 53 branches. Additionally, many of the libraries have preschool centers. The little kids are very small and the computers are low to the ground: they handle them beautifully. The research on computer-assisted instruction is excellent. Kids love them, they’re not afraid of them.

Teachers aren’t trained enough, unfortunately. They aren’t at ease enough. Unfortunately, a lot of computers are not used as tools. Computers are like books, pencils, or magnifying glasses: they are tools that should really be important in every classroom. A lot of kids have to go out to computer class. We’re working away from that now, but I think you’re absolutely right: technology can be a big help. In order to utilize technology, we must have high expectations. We have to expect the kids are going to do well and you talked about what happened during the 60s: I think that just wasn’t happening back then. There was too much tolerance for substandard performance.

FINN: A computer is like a stove. It can be used to cook wonderful things, and it can be used to cook bad or inedible things. It depends on what’s in the computer, what the program is, whether the right program has been picked and whether it’s integrated as well with what the kid’s doing in class. Technology can be a huge asset to a teacher who knows what she’s doing. Reading instruction, however, is still being bungled by an enormous number of American teachers. I don’t think the technology will ever come through until we get what’s going on in class also pointed in the right direction.

MOORE: I went to a lecture historian David McCullough gave about computers and research, and he reminded me of something. One thing that made the Truman biography and other biographies so magnificent was letters that people wrote to each other. Most of us probably saw the PBS series on the Civil War: it was done completely using still photos and the letters written by common men who were soldiers on both sides of the conflict. The letters really told the story. As we enter the new century, the new millennium, a lot of that is going to be lost because we don’t communicate that way. When was the last time you’ve sent a handwritten note to someone? I try to do that often, just so I don’t get totally engrossed. The point I’m trying to make is that historians in the new millennium are going to have much more difficulty in capturing what transpires in the technology driven society.

QUESTION: I would like to ask the question of the Reverend. The Gesu School has a very interesting, body of Trustees and I believe that part of the Trustees’ activity brought the Gesu to be so successful. I’d like to ask you if in Queens you have a board of Trustees or advisory board to assist you in your success. Then I have a question to the panel about the school district in Philadelphia: To what extent is the public sector involved in running the public schools, and how can you get more people involved in running the schools to help them do what you are looking for them to do?

REVEREND FLAKE: At our particular school we do have a board of Trustees, but you have to put that in context. Everyone on our board primarily evolved from within the church. There are 12 people who understand what the church’s mission is, what the church’s agenda is, and they have no secondary agenda. The agenda wholly consists of what is in the best interest of making the Allen School a first-rate school for someone who is not going to go to public school.

What Checker was discussing is something that I believe is endemic throughout this country. A number of people are waiting for the next city council slot, and they get on the board for exposure and visibility. They have an agenda, and their agenda rarely is reflective of what’s in the best interest of the children. Until we get to a place where we can change the whole electoral process in this country, where people no longer feel you have to do those things in order to get elected, then I don’t think we’re going to change public education in a significant way.

I came to Queens in ’76, and by ’78 we were building our first major project: a senior citizens building. A lot of local elected public officials were saying to me, "You know you’re going to be in this community, ultimately there are going to be positions opening, you ought to run for the school board." That’s what they said I should do, and they were willing to support that. I said no, I’d rather be involved in community building, I have no interest in an elected political office.

When I ran for Congress in ’76, I ran because the people in the community came and asked me to run. Though a state senator, an assemblyperson and a judge were running, they asked me to run. I had no prior political experience. Ultimately, we need to get to a place where the people who are chosen to be the elected officials are the persons who are chosen by the people, as opposed to by the special interests. If we can achieve this, we are going to get a whole shift in terms of school board orientation. People will have enough independence that they will know that this position is not gong to define them because they are defined positively in other ways where they have other successes. Too many of our elected officials’ only success is by virtue of the photo op, the press release and the party. If they don’t make those three things, there’s nothing else to define them.

I left Congress after 11 years. Before that, I got elected constantly by 80% or more, even though the Democrats usually ran somebody against me, and I’m a member of their party. We have to have people who are independent enough to speak out on issues without worrying about, if I lose this job, I’ve lost the best job that I've ever had or ever will have again. That's the struggle.

MOORE: I just want to make it clear, that despite my criticism of vouchers, a lot of my heroes are here today. Marciene, Rev. Flake, Father Bur, Win Churchill and a whole group of people who created and kept the Gesu School open and made it what it is right now are a great source of inspiration for me. You all are a shining example to others who seek to improve education in their communities. The Gesu School had the courage to do what it’s done and I think they’ve caused other people to take a look. I hope that what you all have done gets emulated in other communities, in the city and the region. I just wanted to make everybody here aware that I think the Gesu is a good thing and I think it’s having a positive impact. Hopefully motivating others to take similar actions.

QUESTION: My name is Monsignor Britto, and I mention that specifically because I grew up a block from the Gesu. I graduated from the Gesu, and I stand here, not only with a question but a comment in complimenting not only the Gesu community but also the sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for their commitment in staying in our community. The Jesuits, the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and even the Sisters of Blessed Sacrament that teach at my school—the St. Ignatius School in West Philadelphia: their commitment is so important in continuing the important work that has been done in providing a better education for the children of Philadelphia.

I often ask myself this question—in Bermuda, there is no illiteracy. How is it that in Bermuda there is no illiteracy, yet in a country that has so much technology, we’re still struggling with this situation?

There is another point I wanted to make. At the end of last school year, and even to this day, our boys are bugging Sister and myself about braiding their hair so they can wear their hair in braids in the school. Basketball players like Latrell Sprewell and Allen Iverson have started a fad in our country, and it is the braids. Because of these fads, our kids' priorities have been detoured.

Our challenge is now to continue to challenge our kids. How can we challenge our teachers to challenge our kids? I know there are times when teachers will educate our kids on a level without challenging them. I think this is an important point: it's not only in challenging our kids, it’s also about continuously challenging our teachers and parents. We must continue to stress the importance of literacy, reading, education, and even school choice.

MATTLEMAN: I want to pick up on Bermuda. I only went once but I loved it. I don’t know much about their poverty levels, but I don’t think it’s what we have here in North and West Philadelphia. While poverty may not be an excuse for lack of school success, it is certainly a factor. People pull themselves out of poverty, and parents can make a difference, but when we have kids that read for 25 hours as opposed to the 1,000 hours in neighboring communities, we have a problem. The studies show that in homes of very poor kids, there is less than one book per household: and that is generally the phone book.

The kids that are not surrounded by books, are the very kids who don’t have adequate preschool experiences. We have kids coming to school who lack so much. I’m very happy to see that Head Start is taking on a more professional course now. It needs to: studies show that it can make a difference. We really need to say, it’s not just literacy: it’s all of the problems that poverty brings. Every time I hear that we’re in economic good times, I think that there’s not enough talk about the fact that we have so many people who are poor.

DiIULIO: Let me introduce a gentleman who has been referenced several times throughout our discussion, Mr. David Boldt.

DAVID BOLDT: I just wanted to ask Rev. Flake if he would address directly the question of how much poverty affects student achievement. He talked about the difficulties it creates in terms of vocabulary and so forth, and yet I would gather you are saying that your school is able to overcome these problems with the same kinds of kids who are going to the public schools and failing. How do you do that?

REVEREND FLAKE: You must understand that a parent who puts a child in our school knows that they’re going to pay $3,500 a year. Even if we give a scholarship they’re still going to pay two-thirds, because we require every family to make some contribution to their child's education. In making this commitment, if you don’t have a traditional nuclear structure, you bring in grandparents, or cousins—somebody is involved in the life of that child. I think the extended families in our situation are tremendous and I suppose the same is true here. If they put the child in, and the parents can’t pay tuition, we will get tuition money from a number of other places.

I think another contributing factor in this regard is the demand for homework, which is a daily requirement. What we find is that you get parents involved in education when you require kids to do things that are necessary for parents to help with. I find that sending homework, and calling parents when homework does not come in is particularly effective. It is a major effort for our teachers, but they do it, 7, 8 o’clock at night, whatever time it takes, they’ve got beeper numbers, phone numbers, pager numbers, they know how to reach a parent or grandparent or somebody in their family, and it makes a difference.

I don’t want to dismiss what Acel was saying earlier: he’s absolutely right. We have kids moving from shelter to shelter, and that's a crime. I can honestly say to you that I have not figured out how to solve that problem.

 I’ve not found a parent yet, poor, middle class, or rich, that does not want the best for their children. The question is, how do you give them a sense of stability, so that they can actually work toward that goal? I don’t have the answers to that in total, I must confess. There are serious problems in terms of how to address the needs of parents coming out of those kinds of backgrounds. Despite all the problems, we must keep our focus on maintaining our standards and expectations: that is how we will turn things around.

QUESTION: In Philadelphia, there’s 257 public schools and 240 nonpublic schools. Of those 240 nonpublic schools, more than 90% of them charge less than half of what we’re spending per student in the public schools. Why do we go to charter schools instead of going to vouchers, and making more use of the nonpublic schools? In my mind, a movement to charter schools is akin to reinventing the wheel.

REVEREND FLAKE: We just passed charter school legislation in New York and as I said I’m building a charter school, but it will not substitute for my religious school. They put a Blaine amendment into the legislation in New York that precludes me from being able to convert my religious school. I basically solved the problem by instituting the same set of values and I’m building a charter school from the ground up. You’re saying charter schools reinvent the wheel, but the truth is that is not the case.

What charter schools do is take the school into an arena where you can develop and enter a management system without board of education and union involvement. In New York, the legislation allows us to build the school up to 250 students where you do not have to have a union and you really don’t have to have a relationship with the Board of Education. Rather, the school is related to the State University of New York. They will allow for 100 super schools where you don’t have to deal with unions and so forth. That is important to me because, as a pastor I have a group of what I call my education ministry, which has about 50 teachers, the majority of whom are public school teachers. They tell me to keep doing what I’m doing, because they cannot use their creativity in a union, because it will make other teachers look bad. They feel that it is important for them to have independence and the charter school movement is one way to guarantee that to them.

MATTLEMAN: I was just going to underline the need for parental involvement. Many of us talked this morning about how important parents are. The way that the charter schools are encouraging heavy participation of parents, I think is very encouraging. It gives parents the opportunity to follow their children's progress closely, and guarantee their achievement.

DiIULIO: One last word. I don’t see any reason in the world why Philadelphia, given the talent that we have here and the talent that we’re obviously able to attract from outside the city, cannot makes a pledge to itself as a city. Whoever our next mayor is, let us not enter the year 2001 without having gone through a public, private, religious, and secular set of new partnerships, so that no child and no family in the city of Philadelphia will remain illiterate or below proficiency for lack of community-based programs. Why can we not make that pledge? That is a challenge that I would like to lay down, and now let me bring up my colleague Win Churchill to bring us to a conclusion.

CHURCHILL: Before we recess, I have a list of thank yous I would like to go through: I want to thank our panelists, and I also need to thank our faculty and staff. Obviously, we thank our children without whom we would not be here for any purpose. Thanks to all of our sponsors: Backe Communications, the Connelly Foundation, Mellon PSFS, Bill Stallkamp, Cozen O’Connor, and the Pennsylvania Business Bank. Thank you all so much. So we’ve come to the end of our symposium.


Center for Civic Innovation.


3rd Annual Gesu School Symposium on Inner City Education
Gesu School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania



Win Churchill
Checker Finn
Rev. Dr. Floyd Flake
Marciene Mattleman
Acel Moore
Sister Ellen Convey


John DiIulio


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