1:41 PM 09 Jun 1997
|to:||Bruce N. Reed|
i think Mike's memo is extremely good. I wouldn't worry much about length -- I think the state-by-state summary, which takes up the largest chunk of the meno, is quite valuable. I would add our proposal for modifying Chaka Fattah(sp?) to give a lift to our standards effort. There clearly are people around here who will be arguing that we should propose incentives for states to adopt our tests; Mike's proposal, aside from its other merits, is a way to make these people into our allies, rather than our opp onents. The weakest part of the memo is that dealing with communications strategy. Does Don have any good ideas on this score? I think we might need more of a general description of our communications strategy -- not just ideas for discrete events, but an overall plan for recapturing the media's (and the publci's) interest.
1:50 PM 09 Jun 1997
|to:||Bruce N. Reed|
I just read Mike's cover note. I think we should tell the President what states we're having trouble with (though, of course, not in such detail) . I wouldn't bother trying to state more explicitly the "on the right track" message. It inevitably will sound defensive; we're better off just telling him what we're doing. And the NCSL seems like a good idea to my uniformed ears.
1:59 PM 13 Jun 1997
|cc:||Bruce N. Reed|
It's great. Just a couple of questions: (1) Do we really want to raise the prospect of a high school test? I think with only six states in hand on our initial goal, people would ridicule such a call. And I think the President himself will see this as nonresponsive to his demand -- that we step up efforts on the challenge we've already put to the American people. In short, I am afraid this will make us look semi-oblivious. We should at least delete the first entry under the heading "pushing the Policy Envelope;" I think we might remove the fifth (on the Hgher Education Act) as well. (2) He will remember that we promised him a 4-8 state event. If the past is a guide, I'm skeptical that we'll be able to pull this off. So I wouldn't make the promise. (3) Similarly, I'm not sure I'd remind him in the last paragraph of the memo that we promised him 40 states. Finally, you should proof the whole thing. There are some missing words and things here and there, but I didn't bother to keep track of where they were (sorry!). Anyway, this is really terrific.
6:17 PM 13 Jun 1997
|cc:||Bruce N. Reed|
Attached is the latest draft, responding to Elena's suggestions. Here's what I've done: 1. I've deleted both the suggestion for a high school test and for requiring kids to meet standards in order to get college aid, as suggested by Elena. I think the President would love a high school test, and I think its a good idea. However, I've always thought we had to have 4th and 8th grade testing pretty well along before we take on the 12th grade. Unlike Elena, I'm not concerned that the President will think this proposal is nonresponsive; my fear is that he will go for it before we are ready to take it on. On the other hand, I think the President is very unlikely to go for the college aid proposal, and we will run into all kinds of opposition within the Administration and the education community. Upon reflection, I'd rather drop this for now, and have a serious discussion with the two of you as to whether we should make a serious run at this as the Higher Education Act proposal comes to us. 2. With respect to the state (and local) sign-on events, I now talk about signing on a "handful" of states or cities, with no specific number. 3. I'm comfortable reminding him of our goal of 20 states this year and 20 the next, even though he will no doubt remember it more clearly and more often that any of us. They are ambitious goals, but worth pursuing. And the President ought to believe that we have specific and ambitious goals for this, and are killing our selves to reach them. What would he think of us if we didn't. (Besides, fresh off the success of corning close to "first in the world in math and science", I'm ready to set another impos sible targetl) 4. In the section desribing possible Congressional fights, I've removed the notion that we might send up legislation that would condition receipt of federal funds on the use of the tests. this is on the theory that I shouldn't propose anything that I couldn't live with the President actually agreeing to. I'm ok with leaving in an option that we provide incentives for states to use the tests, though not wild about it. 5. I've had my intern proof the memo, and fixed the problems we caught. However., the last two lines of the memo, now the only two lines on the last page, start in the middle of the page. I have not been able to figure out how to fix that. I hope that when the two of you make any final changes and have Cathy print it out in final, she will be able to take care of that. Let me know if you need anything else. Unable to convert ARMS_EXT: [ATTACH.D37]MAIL40666636E.116 to" ASCII, The following is a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nooooooooooooooooooo 0000060E000000000000000000000000060EOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO000000060EOOOOOOOOOOOOOO 0000000000060E000000000000000000000000060EOOOOOOOOOOOO000000000000060EOOOOOOOO 0000000000000000060E000000000000000000000000060EOOOOOO000000000000000000060EOO 0000000000000000000000060E000000000000000000000000060E000000000000000000000000 060E000000000000000000000000060EOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO00060EOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO 000000060E000000000000000000000000060EOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO00000000060EOOOOOOOOOOOO 000000000000060E000000000000000000000000060EOOOOOOOOOO00000000000000060EOOOOOO 000000000000000000060E000000000000000000000000060EOOOO00000000000000000000060E 000000000000000000000000060E00000000000000000000000006OEOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MEMORANDUM FOR THE PRESIDENT FROM: BRUCE REED MICHAEL COHEN SUBJECT: Long-Tenn Strategy for National Standards and Tests Tuesday's TIMSS announcement of 4th grade progress in math and science was front-page news across the country. This memorandum provides an update on our efforts to sign up states and cities for the testing initiative, and outlines a long-tenn plan to secure broad support. I. TEST DEVELOPMENT The test development process is on track to be ready for administration as a pilot in Spring 1998 and nationwide in Spring 1999. A contract has been awarded to the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) to develop the detailed specifications for the reading and math tests. This involves, for example, determining the balance of multiple choice and open-ended items for each test. CCSSO perfonned this same role for the development ofNAEP, and this step is one signal to the education community that the new tests will in fact parallel NAEP as promised. As it did with NAEP, CCSSO has also established several advisory committees of subject matter specialists, testing experts and the education community to help guide the development of test specifications. The Request for Proposals for the test development contracts has been let, and the contracts will be awarded before September 30. The Education Department is on schedule to award additional contracts for related research, development and evaluation necessary for the development and validation of the tests. II. STATE PARTICIPATION The success of this initiative is largely dependent on the voluntary efforts of states to incorporate the 4th grade reading and 8th grade math tests into their state testing programs. We have focused most of our efforts toward building a critical mass of states, with governors of both parties, to commit to participate in the testing program. We continue to believe that if we can achieve this objective over the next several months, we will pave the way for most remaining states to sign up over the course of the next school year. Over the last four months, we have waged an intensive retail campaign to solicit every state's participation. Secretary Riley has written to every governor and chief state school officer, and 1 Automated Records Management System Hex-Dump Conversion tests into their state's approach to standards, testing and reform. The Vice President and Secretary Riley met with more than 40 chief state school officers in April, and secured their organization's endorsement. We have made steady but slow progress to date. Half a dozen states are on board; another dozen are within reach of the next few months, as outlined below. But even states with leaders strongly committed to participating in the test are reluctant to commit publicly without first building the necessary support within the state. A number of factors are making officials in many states cautious. These include financial and political investments that states have already made in their own state standards and tests; skepticism from the education community about "yet another test"; concern about stimulating opposition from the far right, especially in states which experienced serious battles over state reform efforts or over Goals 2000; short-term distractions during the legislative sessions; limited understanding among governors about NAEP and the relationship between the new national tests and NAEP; and diffuse governance arrangements and tensions between governors and other state education officials. In each state we have to overcome these hurdles and take advantage of strong public support for national tests in reading and math, States Signed Up: As you know, 6 states n Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, West Virginia, Massachusetts, and Kentucky -- have pledged to participate in the test, with support in each case coming from the governor, the chief state school officer and the state board of education. In addition, the Department of Defense schools have also pledged to participate in the testing initiative. In a seventh state, California, State Superintendent Delaine Eastin has pledged her support, though Gov. Wilson and the State Board of Education (Wilson appointees) have withheld theirs. They have not opposed participation in the test, but instead have chosen to oppose Delaine's independent action. These 7 states represent approximately 24% of the nation's 4th and 8th graders. Next Target States: A number of additional states are within reach in the near future, based on our discussions with governors and chief state school officers. Over the next several weeks we will work to nail down as many of these states as possible. Ifpossible, we would like to hold a multi-state sign-up event with a handful of states at the White House in mid-July. Our most promising current targets are 14 states with about 20% of the 4th and 8th grade population: Tennessee The Commissioner of Education (a gubernatorial appointee) has asked ifit would be possible for Tennessee to announce its participation in the testing initiative the day before the Vice-President's Family Conference, when the Vice President returns to the state. She is reconfirming Gov. Sundquist's support for participation, and we are working with the Vice 2 Colorado Gov. Romer has indicated his intention for Colorado to participate. We are working with him to determine how soon he will be prepared to announce publicly. Nevada Gov. Miller has indicated that he wants Nevada to participate. We are also working with him to determine the timing of the announcement. Vermont Gov. Dean wants Vermont to participate; he is working to secure the support throughout the state for Vermont's participation. One critical step in this process is a mid-July meeting of a state task force on student achievement. No official decision will be made until after this meeting. Missouri Gov. Carnahan and his chief state school officer are prepared for Missouri to participate in the 4th grade reading test. They have just completed the development of an 8th grade state math tcst (at a cost of $6 million) and do not believe they can move forward with a separate national math test as well. We are working with Carnahan to determine the timing of an announcement. Delaware Gov. Carper is heavily leaning toward participating in the national testing initiative; he is planning on working to secure the support of his state board of education and legislature. We will work with Carper to determine how soon he will be prepared to make a public commitment. Utah Gov. Leavitt has expressed tentative interest in having Utah's participate, pending consultation with his chief state school officer. We are following up directly and working with Romer to secure Leavitt's support. Wyoming Gov. Berringer participated in a conference call with Secretary Riley, Mike Cohen, and a number of governors identified above. He expressed considerable interest, and we are now following up with him. Oregon Gov. Kitzhaber and State Superintendent Norma Paulus are both interested in Oregon's participation, with the most active leadership coming from Norma. Norma has indicated they would be willing to make a public announcement after the legislature adjourns in late June. New Jersey Preliminary discussions with the New Jersey Commissioner of Education (a gubernatorial appointee) indicated clear interest from him and Gov. Whitman. However, within the past few weeks the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the state's approach to complying with a court order to provide more equitable funding is itself unconstitutional. As a result of this decision, the attention of state education officials is now heavily focused on school finance issues. However, we are trying to determine if an announcement from New Jersey will be feasible in the near future. New York Commissioner Rick Mills is working to secure New York State's participation in 3 has solicited input from education and business leaders in the state, and has discussed it with Gov. Pataki. There is no specific timetable for the Regents to take this issue up, but Rick is pushing to have the Regents consider this as soon as possible. Wisconsin Gov. Thompson has moved from initial opposition (he wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Times in February) to tentative interest, in part due to several conversations with Secretary Riley which resolved some misunderstandings he had. We believe Thompson is interested in having Wisconsin participate in the tests, although a running conflict with his chief state school officer may make it difficult for Thompson to provide the necessary in-state leadership. We are reaching out to the chief state school officer in an attempt to resolve this problem. New Hampshire Gov. Shaheen is inclined to support participation in the test, as is Commissioner of Education Betty Twomey. They are both currently preoccupied with enacting Shaheen's kindergarten initiative. Once the legislative session is over, we will approach Gov. Shaheen again. Maine Both the Commissioner of Education and Gov. King have expressed preliminary interest in participating in the test. We are working with them to address concerns they have raised regarding how best to integrate the tests into their own standards and tests, and to explain participation in national standards and tests to the public after so much effort has gone into developing the state's own standards. Next Steps: Secretary Riley and Mike Cohen have met with Govs. Bob Miller, Romer, Hunt, Thompson and Leavitt and discussed the possibility of a bipartisan effort between now and the NGA meeting, to reach out to and gain the support of as many governors as possible. The Democratic governors are prepared to help; we are trying to determine over the next several days which of the Republican governors will also help. We will then proceed to work with the governors to secure the commitment of as many states as possible to participate in the testing initiative. Democratic States: We are making a special effort to reach out to the seven Democratic governor not already listed above (Knowles, Chiles, Zell Miller, O'Bannon, Nelson, and Locke) We have made preliminary contact with these states, and encountered difficulties with a few. In Georgia, responsibility for deciding state testing policy lies with the chief state school officer, an elected Republican who is openly hostile to every form of federal involvement in education. Gov. O'Bannon has indicated that the timing is not right in Indiana for him to pursue participation in national tests. And Gov. Locke's office has sent Secretary Riley a letter indicating that Washington will not participate in the testing initiative, because they believe it will disrupt their own efforts. We have asked Gov. Locke to reconsider that position, and to indicate so in writing. Republican States: We believe that this bipartisan approach will be the most effective way to reach a number of large-state Republican governors, including Govs. Rowland, 4 Gov. Bush. Unlikely States: Finally, there are a number of states we think we are not likely to sign up unless there is a change of leadership or political climate. These include: Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Virginia. We have also been exploring the possibility of securing an NGA endorsement for the testing initiative. However, this may prove impossible, due to the opposition of Gov. Voinovich, the incoming chair. Despite the close overlap between his agenda for education reform and yours, in recent years Gov. Voinovich has generally opposed federal involvement in education (it took nearly a year to persuade him to support Ohio's participation in Goals 2000). In addition, there are two civil rights issues pending between the Department of Education and Ohio. While Secretary Riley and the Education Department are trying to resolve these issues in a cooperative fashion, they complicate our ability to reach out directly to the governor. We have also asked for the assistance of the Ohio Business Roundtable and CEO's such as John Pepper and Joe Gorman. However, we do not anticipate that this will produce quick results. LOCAL P ARTICIP A TION We are also trying to sign up a number of urban school districts, where the need for reform is greatest. Cities that sign up will also be asked to share with us and with their communities the steps they will take to help prepare students for these tests (in most cases, this will create opportunities for cities to highlight, enlist new support for, and integrate efforts already underway). This will underscore that your testing initiative is about preparing students to meet higher standards, not simply testing. We have identified a pool of approximately 20 large city school districts in which we believe there will be strong interest in participating by the local superintendent, and by the mayors that are involved heavily in the local schools. The Council of Great City Schools has made preliminary contact with each of the superintendents; at least half a dozen expressed strong interest (Boston, Broward County FL, Cincinnati, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and San Francisco) , and we will follow up with all 20 superintendents over the next few weeks. We anticipate being ready to announce the cities that will participate by mid-july. We are working to assemble a package of assistance we can provide to cities that commit to participate in the testing program. For example, the Education Department and the National Science Foundation are identifying technical assistance resources, models of effective practices, and discretionary funds that can be directed toward assisting the cities. Enterprise Zones may have funds that can be directed to assist participating schools. The Office of Bilingual Education is planning an outreach effort to involve the Hispanic community in support of reading and math, and this effort will be targeted to participating cities. America Reads can help mobilize reading tutors, and NSF will help identify local partners from the mathematics and scientific communities. 5 As you know, Rep. Goodling has backed away from his earlier support for the testing initiative and has now signaled his opposition, including an attempt to add a rider to the supplemental appropriations bill that would have prohibited the Education Department from spending FY 97 funds on test development. If Goodling continues his opposition, we are likely to face a battle over continued funding for test development as part of the FY 1998 appropriations bill. If we can regain Mr. Goodling's support, we think it will be possible to assemble a bipartisan coalition that will ensure continued funding and the legislative authority we will need in the future. At your request, Secretary Riley, along with Mike Cohen, met with Goodling this week, to explore his concerns. While no specific progress or commitments were made, Goodling's opposition softened over the course of the discussion. We will keep working on him. Beyond Goodling and selected others on the Education and Economic Opportunities Committee, your national test initiative has received little attention from most members of Congress. Consequently, it is difficult to gauge the level of support we will receive if there is an appropriations battle. We have launched a concerted effort to firm up Democratic support. First, the Education Department has begun to provide Members with information on the testing initiative on a targeted basis, starting with members from participating states. Second, we are identifying members who will actively promote the test, starting with the House. Reps. George Miller, Dale Kildee and Tim Roemer are especially strong supporters, and virtually every Democrat on the House Education and Economic Opportunities Committee starting with Clay can be counted on to support the testing initiative. In addition, Rep. Etheridge is preparing to introduce a sense of the House resolution in support of this initiative, and will work to secure broad support for it. On the Republican side, Reps. Frank Riggs and Mike Castle have been quite supportive. However, we suspect neither will want to split from Goodling on this issue ifhe remains firmly opposed. v. CONSTITUENCY GROUP SUPPORT We are working with the business groups that have endorsed your testing initiative (Business Roundtable, National Alliance of Business, Chamber of Commerce, as well as high-tech CEO's) to encourage governors to participate in the testing initiative, especially in the states we have targeted as most promising. We are working with the AFT, which also supports the testing initiative, to encourage local union affiliates to support local district participation in the testing initiative. And we are working with the Council of Chief State School Officers to identify states that may be prepared to announce participation in the testing initiative. We are working with other education groups to secure endorsements for the testing initiative. 6 are likely sources of support. The national organizations representing elementary and secondary principals are also potential sources of support, though they historically have not supported the idea of national tests. We will be meeting shortly with Bob Chase to discuss how best to enlist NEA's support; as you know, NEA has also not traditionally been a strong supporter of national or state testing initiatives. Several constituency groups have expressed serious concerns about the testing initiative, especially civil rights groups. In general, their concerns focus on issues of: (1) test bias and test fairness; (2) concern that the tests will be used for high stakes purposes; and (3) the difficulties Hispanic and other students with limited English proficiency will face on the 4th grade reading test if it is given only in English. Both White House and Education Department staff have met frequently with representatives of the civil rights groups, these discussions have not yet resulted in greater support for this initiative. The national PTA organization has long been opposed to national tests. However, we believe strongly that parents ought to be among the strongest supporters of these tests. We have met with the incoming PTA president to discuss ways of building support for the testing initiative, and will be working with that organization and its leadership to generate parental enthusiasm for these tests. VI. BUILDING SUPPORT AND SUSTAINING MOMENTUM The idea of national standards and tests is quite popular -- with the public, parents, business leaders and, increasingly, with educators. But translating broad public support into specific state and local actions to participate in the tests is a challenge, since state and local officials have every incentive to continue existing testing programs rather than add a new one which will demonstrate low achievement levels in most education systems. Therefore, in addition to the strategies described above to "retail" the tests on a state-by-state, city-by-city, group-by-group approach, we need ways to focus broad public attention on the push for tests, and spur parents to apply public pressure at the state and local level. So far, the national press has shown little interest in the standards movement. It doesn't cost a lot of money, it doesn't involve a protracted legislative battle in Washington, it has bipartisan support, and it does not have an imminent deadline or obvious villain. To maintain a high public profile on this issue, we will have to generate a sense of urgency and drama on our own -- and we should look for every chance we can to bypass the national press and appeal directly to parents, as you have done in your state legislative speeches and the West Virginia town meeting. We are looking at a variety of ways to raise the profile of this issue: Creating a fight over the tests: At present there is no defining conflict over the tests in a way that would capture the interest of the press and the public, and raise the issue above the narrow confines of the policy community. This could change whether we want it to or not, especially if Goodling aggressively pursues his effort to use the appropriations process as a vehicle for stopping the development of the test. If so, we would have a clear battle over the test, and one 7 We could also take the initiative to create a more visible fight over this initiative in the Congress in order to create a vehicle for mobilizing support for the tests. For example, we could transmit legislation requesting specific authority to develop and implement the tests, or to provide financial incentives for states to participate in the tests. Such a battle has some advantages -- it would attract press attention and could solidify Democratic support. But it has clear down sides as well. It may create undertainty about whether we will be able to follow through on our committment to develop the tests. In addition,a partisan, polarizing battle will make a number of Republican states harder to sign up. Pushing the policy envelope on standards: We can also attract public attention and debate on standards and testing by promoting new initiatives tied directly or indirectly to the tests. We have been considering several possibilities: Promoting "no social-promotion" policies through steps such as developing guidelines for school districts. Chicago attracted enormous attention this week for requiring a quarter of its 8th graders to attend summer school before receiving their middle school diploma. More vigorously promoting state and local intervention in failing schools, through steps such as providing guidelines for state and local interventions or issuing new and tougher regulations for the interventions already required under Title I; providing new incentives for state and local efforts to close down failing schools by enabling them to use charter schools and community schools funds together, in order to reopen failed schools as charter schools that also stay open extended hours so that students can get tutoring and other forms of extra help. Provide new financial aid for college to 6th graders in high poverty schools tied to meeting performance requirements. As an alternative or complement to the proposal under consideration to provide a Pell Grant guarantee for elementary school graduates in high poverty schools, we could propose "education trust funds" for the same students, and provide $500 -$1,000 deposits tied to specific accomplishments, including graduating from elementary school, graduating from middle school, doing well on the national 8th grade math test, and graduating from high school. We could design this approach to fit with proposals for KidSave accounts currently under consideration. This approach would send a very powerful message to students -- and to the country -- that academic achievement counts and will be rewarded. We could also provide bonuses to school and/or teachers with high pass rates for Title I students. A steady pace of events that focus on standards and tests: We are planning a number of events over the next few months to highlight your testing initiative for the public. We are also working with the Education Department on a major Back-to-Basics, Back-to-School initiative, which will provide several opportunities starting in August and continuing through the early Fall for you to highlight the testing initiative and your entire Call to Action. 8 ~ The Vice President's Family Conference The conference this year will focus on families and learning. During the conference, the Vice President will announce a fund being established by John Doerr (who organized the high tech CEO's who endorsed your testing initiative) to support reforms in schools participating in the testing initiative. This will also be an opportunity to announce Tennessee's participation in the tests. America Reads Event in Boston, or a state sign-up event in the region. You will be in Boston on June 30. We are working to develop an event either to highlight your America Reads initiative at an appropriate Read Boston site, or to travel to a nearby Northeastern state (the best prospects are Maine or New Hampshire) to announce its participation in the testing initiative. Either event could also focus on Work Study tutors, since new work-study funds will be available July 1 (Gov. King is a strong proponent ofliteracy programs; his youngest son went through Reading Recovery). Launch of Education Excellence Partnership/ Major League Baseball Public Service Announcements on Standards The Education Excellence Partnership (the Business Roundtable, the National Alliance of Business, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Governors' Association and the U.S. Department of Education) have joined with Major League Baseball to produce a series ofPSA's that use baseball players to reinforce the value of raising academic standards. The fulfillment materials for the campaign encourage parents to find out if their school will be participating in the national testing program. The PSA's will be launched in eariy- to mid-July at an event at Camden Yards prior to an Orioles game. This is tentatively scheduled for July 2. Multi-State Sign-Up Event We anticipate holding an event in mid-July at the White House, to announce a handful of states pledging to participate in the testing initiative. (Alternatively, this could be our news for the NGA meeting). Multi-City Sign-Up Event We anticipate holding an event in mid July at the White House, to announce a handful of cities pledging to participate in the testing initiative. Announcement of Interagency Math Strategy. Prior to your speech to the Michigan legislature, you directed the Department of Education and the National Science Foundation to work with the DPC and OSTP to develop an interagency strategy to help States and local communities prepare students for the 8th grade math test. In line with this week's 4th grade TIMSS findings, the strategy will have a particular focus on improving middle school math. The strategy will address issues such as improving the knowledge and skills of teachers, expanding access to high quality instructional materials, maximizing the benefits of technology, and motivating students to take math seriously. The strategy will include recommendations for involving the math and science 9 community in these efforts. Announcement of this strategy could be combined with the state or city sign-up events. NGA Meeting You will be speaking to the NGA Annual Meeting on July 28. This will be an important opportunity to make case for the testing initiative directly to governors. NCSL Meeting NCSL's Annual Meeting will be held in early August. This would be an opportunity to continue the crusade you brought to three state legislatures in the Spring to legislators from every state. While few state legislatures are in a position to effectively initiate state involvement in your testing initiative, most are in a position to block it if they choose. Making the case for the testing initiative could be an important step toward clearing the path for state participation. America Goes Back to School 1997 The Department of Education is planning the third annual America Goes Back to School effort, designed to encourage parents, community leaders, employers, employees, and other community members to become more actively involved in improving education in their communities. The effort spans August through October; last year, more than 2,000 local events occurred during this time period. This year's effort is led by a broad-based steering committee chaired by Secretary Riley and co-chaired by Tipper Gore, former Governor Tom Kean, Michael Keaton, and Lois-Jean White, President of the National PTA. The campaign this year will be focused on your Call to Action. We are working with the Education Department and the Steering Committee to organize a series of local sign-up events, in which local schools and communities sign-up to respond to your call to action, including the testing initiative. The Steering Committee is meeting this week to develop more specific plans and activities. After that, we will develop a more specific set of events appropriate for your participation. In addition, we expect that we will be asking for the entire Cabinet and others throughout the Administration to participate in high-profile Back-to-School events with a back-to-basics theme. At .present, we are considering the following as possible Back-to-School events for your involvement: Nationally Televised Town Meeting on Education You have been invited to participate in a town hall meeting on education sponsored by PBS, which would be the culmination of a week-long series of shows devoted to education. The series will include one or two shows devoted specifically to standards. The town meeting would pose questions to you sent in by viewers in response to the first four shows. We can also organize one or more town meetings patterned after the one you recently did in Clarksburg West Virginia. You might also consider going back on the state legislative circuit. Fifty-State Business Leaders Event We are working to organize a day in the fall when, in 10 with CEO's involved with long-standing business/education partnerships through organizations such as BRT, NAB, and the Chamber of Commerce, to support a common agenda of higher academic standards, employer efforts to review academic performance in hiring decisions, and a call for state participation in the national tests. Together, these steps should keep us on track to our interim goal of signing up 20 or more states this year, with another 20 to follow in 1998. At some point, we may need your help in making . direct retail appeal to individual governors. But the most important challenge is to keep finding ways to sell the public on the value of national tests and the urgency of raising standards. 11