This is a transcript and recording of Karen Pittman participating in a roundtable discussion held by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP) titled “ESEA Reauthorization: Meeting the Needs of the Whole Student.” The purpose of the hearing was to discuss how federal policy can support efforts to address the needs of the whole student, since students who are healthy, safe, and engaged in learning are more likely to succeed.
At the outset of the hearing, Committee Chairman Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) reiterated the need to look at the broad array of supports and services for young people and to build the capacity where we see "very successful patterns" in order to support every element of the student. Karen presented the vision of an “insulated educational pipeline,” and recommended that the reauthorization of ESEA: (1) broaden the definition of student outcomes; (2) formalize and support the roles of families and community organizations; and (3) focus on improving both the content and context of student learning.
In this new roundtable hearing format, panelists provide a brief excerpt of their testimony while the majority of the time is dedicated to discussion. Karen spoke succinctly to many of the Senators' questions and made several points in tandem with other panelists, including Geoffrey Canada, CEO of the Harlem Children's Zone, Anne Henderson from the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, and Dan Cardinali, President of Communities in Schools. Upon Chairman Harkin's question on how schools might handle the increased workload that comes with addressing the whole student (e.g., expanding the school day, broadening outcome areas beyond academics), Karen emphasized the role of partnerships between schools and community organizations that serve young people. Karen also emphasized the need for both early and sustained investments in young people.
Be sure to check out the Senate video of the proceedings here. You can hear Karen's responses to questions at the following time-stamps: 28:00, 58:00-61:00, 86:00, 122:00.