Melody Barnes

  • Aired:  12/14/11
  •  | Views: 25,516

Melody Barnes believes that empowering teachers and involving parents is the key to changing America's education system. (6:33)

>> Jon: WELCOME BACK.

MY GUEST TONIGHT, SHE IS PRESENT

WHITE HOUSE DIRECTOR OF THE

DOMESTIC POLICY COUNCIL.

PLEASE WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM

MELODY BARNES.

[APPLAUSE]

THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE.

>> MY PLEASURE.

>> YOU ARE THE DIRECTOR OF THE

DOMESTIC POLICY OFFICE FOR THE

PRESIDENT, BUT YOU ARE LEAVING?

>> YES, I AM.

>> Jon: WHEN ARE YOU LEAVING?

>> AT THE END OF THE YEAR.

>> Jon: SO IN TWO WEEKS?

>> YES.

>> Jon: LET ME TELL YOU HOW I

KNOW THAT.

LOOK AT HOW HAPPY YOU ARE.

LOOK AT YOUR SMILING, RADIANT,

EXCITED FACE.

WE HAD AUSTAN GOOLSBEE ON TWO

WEEKS BEFORE HE LEFT.

HE HAD THAT SAME CREEPY GIDDY

EXCITEMENT.

>> IT'S A MIXTURE OF EMOTIONS.

>> Jon:, NO NO, IT DIDN'T LOOK

LIKE A MIXTURE.

THAT AIN'T A MIXTURE.

THAT'S PURE JOY.

IF YOU COULD BOTTLE WHATEVER IT

IS AT THAT HIGH-POWERED ELATION

THAT'S THAT COMES FROM LEAVING

THE WHITE HOUSE, I THINK THE

DEFICIT COULD BE SOLVED.

>> THAT'S MY NEXT MOVE.

>> Jon: NOW, YOU WERE... WHAT

IS IN THE PURVIEW OF THE

DIRECTOR OF THE DOMESTIC POLICY

COUNCIL?

WHAT WOULD BE THE KIND OF THING

YOU'RE WORKING ON?

>> SURE.

SURE.

THAT'S BASICALLY THE QUESTION MY

PARENTS ASKED WHEN THE PRESIDENT

TAGGED ME FOR THIS JOB.

>> Jon: DO THEY HAVE A SHOW?

>> NO.

IT'S A RANGE OF THINGS.

THERE ARE EVERYTHING FROM HEALTH

CARE TO ENERGY TO EDUCATION TO

IMMIGRATION TO CIVIL RIGHTS,

NATIONAL SERVICE.

IT IS A VERY, VERY BROAD

PORTFOLIO.

>> Jon: AS YOU WALK OUT TO,

YOU MOST... THING YOU'RE

PROUDEST OF WALKING OUT THE

DOOR?

>> THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS,

BUT THE WORK WE'VE DONE AROUND

EDUCATION HAS BEEN A GAME

CHANGER.

IT REALLY HAS.

>> Jon: YOU'VE TURNED THE

COUNTRY AROUND.

WAIT A MINUTE.

>> NO, NO, NO, NO, NO.

WE ARE TURNING SCHOOLS AROUND.

AN WE HAVE SET A COURSE ON

EDUCATION REFORM LIKE NO OTHER.

THE PRESIDENT HAS CALLED

EVERYONE TO THE TABLE AND HE'S

DONE VERY COURAGEOUS THINGS.

WE PASSED A HIGHER EDUCATION

BILL AT THE SAME TIME THEY

PASSED THE HEALTH CARE BILL THAT

IS THE BIGGEST HIGHER EDUCATION

REFORM SINCE THE G.I. BILL.

IT IS REALLY CHANGING LIVES.

IT'S HELPING STUDENTS WITH THEIR

DEBT AND THEIR LOANS.

>> Jon: RIGHT, RIGHT, RIGHT.

THAT WAS A BIG DEAL.

WHAT ABOUT BEFORE YOU GET TO I

GUESS COLLEGE.

[LAUGHTER]

AND THE TROUBLE WE HAVE READING

AND THE WRITING AND THE...

>> YEAH, YEAH, YEAH.

WE'RE WORKING ON THAT.

>> Jon: WHAT'S GOING ON WITH

THAT?

>> WE'RE DOING THAT TOO.

>> Jon: THE BIGGEST COMPLAINT

I HEAR FROM TEACHERS, AND BY

TEACHERS I MEAN MY MOM...

>> MY MOM'S A TEACHER, TOO.

>> A, WHY DID YOU WEAR THAT

SHIRT, AND, B, THEY'RE TEACHING

TO THE TEST.

THIS IDEA THAT THIS RACE TO THE

TOP, NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND, THESE

BENCHMARKS THAT HAVE BEEN GIVEN

FROM WASHINGTON HAVE CAUSED

SCHOOLS TO FOCUS ENTIRELY ON

WHATEVER... MEETING WHATEVER

BENCHMARK OR REQUIREMENT THEY

NEED TO GET FUNDING, AND IT HAS

REMOVED FROM EDUCATION THE... I

GUESS YOU'D CALL IT THE

EDUCATING.

>> THAT'S EXACTLY THE SAME THING

MY MOM TALKS ABOUT.

SHE WAS A TEACHER FOR A VERY

LONG TIME.

THAT'S WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO TURN

AROUND.

NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND HAD THAT

COOKIE CUTTER, ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL

APPROACH TO EDUCATION.

WHAT WE'VE DONE THROUGH RACE TO

THE TOP, AND MOST RECENTLY

BECAUSE CONGRESS WOULDN'T MOVE

ON REAUTHORIZING THE NO CHILD

LEFT BEHIND ACT AND TURNING IT

AROUND, WE HAVE USED OUR

FLEXIBILITY AND THE EXECUTIVE

BRANCH TO SAY, YOU HAVE GOT TO

RELEASE, IF YOU ARE GOING TO PUT

IN PLACE SMART REFORMS FROM

THOSE MANDATES FROM NO CHILD

LEFT BEHIND, SO THERE IS MORE

FLEXIBILITY.

THERE'S MORE INNOVATION.

THERE'S MORE CREATIVITY THAT

TEACHERS CAN, IN FACT, TEACH

>> Jon: SO YOUR FEEDBACK IS

THAT RACE TO THE TOP HAS

INTENSIFIED THE ISSUE, NOT

ALLEVIATED IT.

I GUESS THE PEOPLE I TALK TO

DON'T WORK IN THE WHITE HOUSE.

>> NOW, NOW, NOW.

NO, YOU LOOK AT IT.

WE'VE BROUGHT... THE STATES THAT

HAVE WON RACE TO THE TOP GRANT,

WHICH BROUGHT THE TEACHERS

AROUND THE TABLE WITH

PRINCIPALS, WITH PARENTS, WITH

COMMUNITY LEADERS TO FOCUS ON

PLANS TO HELP REFORM EDUCATION,

TO DO IT IN A WAY THAT WE NEED

TO MAKE SURE THAT STUDENTS ARE

CAREER AND COLLEGE READY WHEN

THEY FINISH HIGH SCHOOL.

BUT AT THE SAME TIME, HOW DO

THEY DO THAT IN A WAY THAT'S GOT

HIGH STANDARDS LIKE COLLEGE AND

CAREER READY STANDARDS, BUT AT

THE SAME TIME, LET STATES, LET

DISTRICTS USE THE FLEXIBILITY,

USE WHAT THEY KNOW ABOUT THE

CLASSROOM AND ABOUT THE STUDENT

SO THEY CAN MEET THOSE

STANDARDS.

>> DO YOU THINK ULTIMATELY WE

WILL FIND OURSELVES CHANGING OUR

ENTIRE MODEL OF EDUCATION, YOU

KNOW, I HAVE ALWAYS FOUND WITH

EDUCATION THAT INDIVIDUALS ARE

THE ONES THAT MAKE THE ENORMOUS

DIFFERENCE AND THE MORE THAT

YOU'RE ABLE TO EMPOWER, A GREAT

TEACHER, A GREAT PRINCIPAL, A

GREAT SUPERINTENDENT CAN MAKE

ENORMOUS DIFFERENCES.

HOW DO WE EMPOWER THE

INDIVIDUALS TO HAVE THE

AUTHORITY AND RESPONSIBILITY TO

MAKE THOSE CHANGES AND NOT TIE

THEM TO ARBITRARY OBJECTIVE

REALITIES OR GOALS.

>> RIGHT.

WELL, I THINK YOU DO WANT TO

MAKE SURE AGAIN THAT STUDENTS

ARE COLLEGE AND CAREER READY.

PART OF THE PROBLEM THAT WE'VE

HAD IN THIS COUNTRY IS THAT

STATES HAVE USED ALL KINDS OF

STANDARDS AND, IN FACT, LOWERED

THEIR STANDARDS SO THEY CAN MEET

FEDERAL MANDATES.

THAT'S GOOD FOR THE STATES.

THAT'S HORRIBLE FOR THE KIDS.

SO WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THE

STANDARDS ARE HIGH, BUT AT THE

SAME TIME, WE DO WANT TO EMPOWER

TEACHERS.

AND WE ALSO WANT TO BRING

PARENTS IN.

A TEACHER, A GREAT LEADER

CHANGES A CHILD'S LIFE

SIGNIFICANTLY, BUT WE KNOW THE

PERSON THAT DOES THAT WITH

GREATEST AUTHORITY IS THE

PARENT.

SO WHAT WE'VE ENCOURAGED, WHAT

WE'VE PUT BEFORE CONGRESS IS A

PLAN THAT SAYS, WE'VE GOT TO

BRING MORE PARENTS IN.

WE'VE GOT GIVE TEACHERS GREATER

FLEXIBILITY.

GIVE THEM MORE ACCESS TO DATA

AND INFORMATION SO THAT IN REAL

TIME THEY CAN FIGURE OUT HOW TO

TEACH KIDS.

>> Jon: YOU KNOW MY IDEA?

>> NO.

>> Jon: SCHOOL IS OPEN 24

HOURS A DAY.

THERE ARE THESE BUILDINGS WITH

ALL THESE ROOMS FROM 3:00 ON.

WE RENT THEM OUT, I DON'T KNOW,

BROTHEL.

I DON'T KNOW, WHATEVER.

YOU GET MONEY, YOU CAN DO ALL

KINDS OF STUFF.

>> NOT THE BROTHEL PLAN.

>> Jon: PROBABLY NOT.

CAN YOU STICK AROUND FIVE

MINUTES?

I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE PAYROLL

TAXMENT BY THE WAY,

CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR UPCOMING

LEAVE.

>> THANK YOU.

>> Jon: MELODY BARNES.

WE'LL TALK MORE ON THE INTERNET.

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