News Conference on the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute
September 23, 1986
Transcript


Individuals Speaking, in order of their opening remarks

James R. Vivian, Director
Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute

Benno C. Schmidt, President
Yale University

Dr. John Dow, Jr., Superintendent
New Haven Public Schools

Dr. Pamela Glenn Menke, Director
Division of Education Programs
National Endowment for the Humanities

Thomas Gregory Ward, Program officer
Humanities Instruction
Elementary and Secondary Schools Program
National Endowment for the Humanities

Biagio DiLieto, Mayor
City of New Haven


James R. Vivian:

Good morning.

Eight years ago the announcement of a grant by the National Endowment for the Humanities to the Yale-New Haven Teachers institute provided the occasion, the first ever in anyone's memory, for the President of Yale, the Mayor of New Haven, and the Superintendent of the New Haven Public Schools jointly to hold a news conference.

As the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute begins its tenth year in operation, I am grateful that the National. Endowment for the Humanities provides today this occasion for President Benno C. Schmidt to hold his first news conference together with Mayor Biagio DiLieto and Superintendent John Dow.

Unfortunately the flight this morning from Washington for the representatives from the National Endowment for the Humanities was canceled. We believe that they are on another flight and due to arrive before the conclusion of the news conference. We will go ahead and begin without them, in hopes that they will be here shortly. We do have the formal announcement of the grant in hand, so I think I can safely tell you what the grant will. enable us to do. Members of the press, in fact, have in the press kits that have been prepared a description of our proposal.

The period of the grant is from this coming January through December 1989. The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded $245,000 in outright funds and will provide another $100,000, if we raise gifts in that amount for them to match. Yale will contribute more than $400,000 to the project during the three­year period. New Haven and other donors will provide almost $200,000, so that the total cost of our program in the humanities during the coming three years is about $966,000.

This grant will enable us, in each of the next three years, to offer five seminars in the humanities that respond to the two Endowment­wide initiatives announced in October 1985 to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of NEH. At that time the Endowment called upon schools and colleges to join in an effort to provide an increased understanding of American history and culture and an understanding of other nations through their language and literature. Included in the press kits is a list of the Yale faculty members in the humanities and the seminars that they have proposed to offer during the next three years. Fifty New Haven public school teachers in the humanities will participate in these seminars in each year.

Our proposal summarizes the results of our program to date which have shown that it has further prepared teachers in the subjects they teach, assisted them to develop new materials for classroom use, heightened their expectations of their students' ability to learn, and thereby improved the academic rigor of basic school courses in the humanities. Without summarizing further the results of the studies, I would refer you to the fact that they are in the press kits.

The proposal also describes the role of the National Advisory Committee for our program in advising and assisting us in how we might contribute most effectively to universities and schools in other communities that-. have an interest in establishing similar programs. We will during the three years of the NEH grant announced today be holding national conferences for others working in school-college collaboration. Finally, the proposal­states our belief that our program should become a permanent link between the University and the New Haven Public Schools, and it details how the three-year support that the National Endowment for the Humanities is providing will assist us in conducting an endowment campaign to insure the Institute's future.

Individuals involved in school-college collaboration across the country, and studies on collaborative programs, stress that such programs depend on the support of the president of the institution involved in the partnership. I am therefore especially grateful that President Benno C. Schmidt is with us today. Mr. Schmidt:

Benno C. Schmidt:

Thank you, Jim. I am delighted to he here to express my respect for and support of this remarkable Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. Among the many ways in which Yale University seeks to be a good and active citizen of New Haven, among the many ways in which we have cooperated with the leaders of New Haven for betterment of this community, I think the Yale New Haven Teachers Institute is one of our great successes. In the view of most people who are concerned with the capacities of institutions of higher education to assist in the public education of the communities in which they are located, most people regard this as the outstanding Institute of its kind in the country. I think all of us can be enormously proud of the productive cooperation that has given this Institute, created such a great tradition, and laid the basis for the ongoing cooperation that is reflected in our plans over the next three years.

I think of all the organizations from outside this community that have supported the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, none has been more generous both in their public statements and in financial commitment than the National Endowment for the Humanities. With the grant that Dr. Menke announces today, the NEH has extended its support for the Institute to a total, since 1978, of more than $1 million. This support has been indispensable to our successful development, and is critically important to Our continuation and to our prospects for permanency­prospects which I will support with all the enthusiasm, and I hope some success, in the effort to lay a permanent foundation for this excellent program.

We are a nationally influential program for school-college collaboration, and so with the Endowment's help this work and this national influence will continue.

A program like this cannot succeed without many active, supportive partners, and a number of persons have contributed splendidly to the effort which now the Endowment has decided to fund so generously.

I want to thank in particular our distinguished Superintendent of Schools, Dr. John Dow, Jr., and the New Haven Board of Education who have been our extremely effective, responsive, and helpful partner in this joint program since its inception, and who in the proposal for the current grant significantly increased their commitment.

Of course, I thank especially New Haven's outstanding Mayor, Ben DiLieto, who has been instrumental in the continuation of the program. I have come to learn that the Mayor of New Haven is a wise and learned man, and I think there is no one in New Haven who is more devoted to excellence in education at all levels in this community­and in the private institutions of this community as well as in the public schools­and our opportunities to work with him toward educational excellence are always most rewarding.

I want to thank as well the many New Haven Public School administrators­subject supervisors, department chairs, principals, and others­who have been so helpful in the operation of the Institute.

Members of the New Haven business community have supported the Institute because they understand that­they are enlighted and public spirited­and they understand that strengthened public school education contributes in so many ways to the economic and cultural development of this community, and to all of our well being.

Finally, I want to thank the teachers who have made this program work, the New Haven Federation of Teachers, and its President whose support has been notable, and our own Yale faculty members who have led Institute seminars and given talks in this program in past years. Under the present grant., a number of our most distinguished faculty members will offer fifteen seminars in American history, literature, and culture, and in understanding foreign cultures through their language and literature. These themes in the upcoming seminars respond to the current initiatives of the Endowment. So I thank our Yale faculty members who participate in this program and those who serve on the University Advisory Council on the program.

But most of all, I salute the public school teachers who by their leadership and participation have made this Institute so successful here in New Haven and so widely acclaimed as a model all across the country. Teacher leadership and participation is a hallmark of this program, and the program's success reflects the dedicated work of so many New Haven teachers, some of whom are present today. More than two-hundred teachers have taken part in the Institute, many more than once, and with the present grant fifty teachers in the humanities will participate, either for the first time or again, in each of the next three years.

I am grateful to the National Advisory Committee for the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, which is composed of some of the nation's leading educators and philanthropists in education. Their wisdom on educational reform in this country has been exceedingly valuable to us in advising and assisting this Institute.

The breadth and the depth of collaboration among all these individuals from New Haven and from across the country is a measure of the tremendous value of the Teachers Institute to Yale, to the teachers and students in our community's schools, to New Haven generally, and to the future of school-college collaboration all across the country.

I thank the National Endowment for the Humanities for contributing so significantly to the continuation of our great work together. Thank you very much.

Mr. Vivian:

Under the leadership of Superintendent of Schools, Dr. John Dow the Yale New Haven Teachers Institute has been incorporated in New Haven's 5-year Staff Development Plan, and as mentioned earlier, the financial support of the Board of Education has been significantly increased. I want to thank John Dow for the magnitude of his support for our joint program. Dr. Dow:

John Dow, Jr.:

Thank you, Jim.

First of all, I would like to express my appreciation to Jim Vivian for his leadership with respect to the Institute. Obviously we are very excited about this recent grant, in that I think it gives stability to an outstanding program, and certainly our teachers and our students will be better off because of this stability. Certainly we are very excited.

I think this Institute is a model for the nation, and certainly in New Haven, where you have a university with the stature of Yale, recognized as one of the finest institutions in the world, that we would have an opportunity for our teachers to participate with such outstanding faculty. Ultimately the relationships that are developed and acquired by our teacher cannot be measured.

I believe that the improvement of our school system can directly be related to the kind of involvement that we have here and with other institutions. Frank Carrano and his leadership have certainly provided, I believe, an environment to assist us in this particular program. I think that, contrary to what many people might feel, we have demonstrated through this Institute and others that urban education, urban public school education, can he an outstanding venture. I believe that the leadership we have demonstrated here in New Haven certainly can be a model for the entire nation.

We are very excited about this grant, and it is in concert with the State's initiatives in recognizing the fact that we must make a total commitment to our teachers, not only in improving salaries, but also in quality intervention with respect to their being able to improve their professionalism and competencies.

I want to give my personal appreciation to the Mayor for being here today and providing leadership and support to this particular collaborative. Certainly, it is very important that the administration provide that kind of support in order for this to be a successful program. We are very pleased about it, and we look forward to a successful participation in future years.

Mr. Vivian:

The representatives of the National Endowment for the Humanities have arrived and will join us now. I am delighted that they have arrived while you are still here.

In introducing the representatives from the National Endowment for the Humanities, I want to point out that long before the current, widespread interest in school-college collaboration, the National Endowment for the Humanities was promoting collaboration between university faculty members and school teachers in the humanities. The Endowment has been in the forefront of this national movement for teachers from universities and schools to work together in strengthening the teaching of academic subjects in schools.

Dr. Pamela Glenn Menke came to the Endowment from Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire, where she was professor of humanities, provost, and dean of faculty. She is Director of the Division of Education Programs at NEH. are delighted to welcome her to New Haven, and regret her travel problems.

Dr. Menke:

Pamela Glenn Menke:

Thank you. I am pleased to be here today to join in congratulating the New Haven schools and Yale University on their outstanding collaboration, and to announce on behalf of the National Endowment for the Humanities the award of $345,000 to continue the excellent work that the Teachers Institute has accomplished over a number of years. The model of school college collaboration presented by the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute has gained national recognition. The Chairman of the Endowment, Lynn Cheney, and I applaud the project's use of important texts as a foundation for learning. Effective teaching demands teachers who know the content of the humanities, who have informed perspectives that enable them to present great works, events, and ideas in an integrated fashion, and who have the intellectual preparation which stimulates them to engage in dialogue with students and with one another.

Yale University and the New Haven schools have demonstrated that excellence. They have demonstrated that the humanities can be the basis for civic relations and that the distinguished scholars of the humanities are part of a tradition of public service. over the past eight years with support from the Endowment, the project's vision has strengthened for all of us and for the teachers, schools, and colleges who have admired and emulated the project, an appreciation of the force, vitality, and the central practicality of the humanities. Over the next three years I hope that the project will have an even more widespread influence and that the project will achieve its important goal of sustaining its work with the support of the businesses in the greater New Haven community.

Without strong schools there can be no strong universities. Schools, colleges, and universities are partners in the enterprises of preparing children, youth, and adults to become the informed citizens who shape our nation. Yale University and the New Haven Public Schools through the Institute have the academic intensity and dedication of purpose which bring teachers and scholars together to form an intellectual composition of a common heritage.

President Schmidt, Mayor DiLieto, Superintendent Dow, Mr. Vivian, distinguished project faculty, if some of you are here, and participating teachers and teacher coordinators, if some of you are here, the Endowment congratulates you on your very fine past successes, and looks forward with eagerness to the achievement the next three years will bring.

Mr. Vivian:

Thomas Gregory Ward came to the National Endowment for the Humanities from the Fairfax County, Virginia, Public Schools, where he was social. studies curriculum specialist. He is Program Officer for Humanities Instruction in the Elementary and Secondary Schools Program. He became acquainted while negotiating details of the grant that Dr. Menke has just announced. I want to thank him for his assistance in bringing this grant to fruition. Mr. Ward:

Thomas Gregory Ward:

Thank you. I am delighted to be here, and I am delighted that all of the details have finally been worked out and that everything is "go" at the present time. Just to add one very brief comment to Dr. Menke's remarks: the grant here at Yale and the project here at Yale, I think, epitomize what the Endowment has attempted to foster and to generate and to build upon in the country, and that is to focus on the intellect and things intellectual in the schools, as opposed to things managerial and pedagogical, and I think Dr. Menke's remarks have pointed that out.

One other thing that I would add: in our work at the Endowment we focus on trying to work with teachers of elementary and secondary schools, and to help them expand and enhance their understanding of the humanities, because we feel that at the core of elementary and secondary schools is at that very core the teacher. It is what the teacher does in the classroom with the student that really makes a difference in education, and that is why we give so much effort to teacher training and teacher development activities.

It is a pleasure to be here this morning. Thank you, Jim.

James R. Vivian:

It is well known that the Mayor of New Haven established relationships between the City and this University which created an atmosphere in which our Institute might be developed and sustained . We are grateful for his support at so many points in the past, and for his presence today. Mr. Mayor:

Biagio DiLieto

Thank you very much, Jim. I have consistently maintained that Yale University is one of New Haven's greatest resources, if not the greatest resource. A resource that has, in my judgment at least, not been constructively exploited sufficiently in the past. The program that we are discussing here today is an excellent illustration really of the kind, of cooperation that exists between the City administration and Yale University, and it speaks well for our efforts to maintain that relationship at a very high level.

I am delighted to be here this morning. I am delighted principally because of the fact that the National Endowment for the Humanities has seen fit to make this grant, because it is more significant than simply a sum of money that is being granted to Yale and to the City of New Haven. It bespeaks a judgment on their part that the program in question is one that is highly meritorious and I think that vindicates our judgment in having established the program here in the City of New Haven.

I wish that I could claim credit for having established the program. Actually, it predated my mayoralty, but it is a program that I have supported consistently because I recognize how important the education of our children is, and I also recognize that our teachers ought to be given every opportunity to teach our children in the most effective way. And, of course, this teachers Institute enables them to receive opportunities they might not have otherwise, that is, opportunities to broaden their exposure to the humanities and to the social sciences and so forth, and to develop curriculum that will be used to good effect in our school system.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Jim Vivian for the wonderful job that he has done, and it goes without saying that Dr. Dow has done an exceptional job with our public school system here in the City of New Haven. I laud him constantly wherever I go, principally because I am deeply impressed with the wonderful work that lie has done. Given time the city of New Haven can look with pride on the quality of education being provided in our public schools. It goes without saying that I am deeply grateful to those representatives from the National Endowment for the Humanities for granting us this large sum of money which will enable us to continue the program.

Of course, with regard to President Schmidt­I was present at his inaugural­and I must say that I was deeply impressed with the marvelous address that he delivered. But the thing that stands out mostly in my mind was the comment that he made with regard to his being a citizen of New Haven, and I am sure that he was not simply sparing for himself but for the entire University family when he said that. I look forward to a continuing good relationship with Yale University and all. that it has to offer, and I in turn pledge to President Schmidt that I will continue to support Yale University in the future as I have in the past. Thank you.

Mr. Vivian

The individuals seated facing you will now take questions, first from reporters and then from others present. If you would indicate whom your question is for, please ...

Question

Yes Sir, from Channel 3. Mr. Schmidt, in light of the arrests yesterday, arrests you, sir, ordered, many students on campus are questioning your . . .

Mr. Schmidt

I'll take questions about the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute, which is what we are here to talk about and what we are here to honor. Anyone who has any questions on that, I will be delighted to try to respond.

Question

Would you then speak to us afterwards, Sir?

Mr. Schmidt

Yes, I would he happy to speak with you after, but not here.

Mr. Vivian

Are there questions about the Institute or about the grant that is being announced today?

Question

Could someone elaborate a little more on the Institute's national impact?

Ms. Menke

Certainly. As I mentioned in the opening remarks, congratulatory remarks, the Yale-New Haven Institute has had a dramatic effect in serving as a model across the country. Among its many activities­ and Mr. Vivian or Tom Ward may want to expand on those­among its many activities are dissemination conferences which make available approaches used, as well as some of the materials used in conversations with teachers, to interested schools, school systems, and teachers across the nation.

Question

How many are there? Are there hundreds or thousands?

Mr. Vivian

We have, since 1978, furnished materials to scores of institutions across the country that have sought to know more about what we have done. We have participated in conferences that we have organized and that others have organized, and have consulted individually and in teams with people from schools and colleges in other places. There are a number of programs established at other institutions which have drawn, if not wholesale, at least to some extent on our experience here: for instance, at the University of Washington, at Duke University, at Lehigh University, at the University of New Mexico. We will in November be holding the first of the conferences that Menke referred to­under a present grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities­that will bring together representatives from about fifteen of these programs that we have assisted in the past, and we will be holding annual conferences in the same vein during the next three years.

Are there other questions?

Question

I am a little confused on the $100,000 matching grant. Exactly from whom is that?

Ms. Menke

I can respond to the one half; you can respond to the match. The National Endowment for the Humanities is quite interested in, encouraging the use of Treasury funds, which are intended to stimulate private, foundation, corporate donations from other sources. So there is in the $345,000, I believe $100,000 in Treasury funds, which are to be matched on a one­to­one basis by funds raised by the Institute from whatever .sources.

Mr. Vivian

Which we hope to do. The first grant that we received from the National Endowment for the Humanities, in fact, contained a similar provision, and we were able to secure a gift that entitled us then to the matching funds from NEH, and that we hope to do again.

Ms. Menke

As a p.s. to that, one of the things that pleases us about this particular project is the hope that it may become self-sustaining. The money that the Endowment has given is money that has stimulated, encouraged, supported a project which will find a permanent place, and that pleases us greatly.

Question

Has NEH funding diminished over the years? In the three-year period, is the grant less this time?

Ms. Menke

The Treasury matching monies have increased over the years, as a matter of fact. Yes.

Question

But the overall grant?

Mr. Vivian

It is approximately of the same magnitude as the Endowment has been providing annually since 1978. Their support has been magnificently consistent.

Are there other questions from reporters before I open the floor to questions from others?

Question

Are there other programs or academic fields that you are going to continue? You are talking mostly about the humanities, but over the next three years will you be looking at the sciences or any of that with other funds?

Mr. Vivian

We announced this past year a major grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York which provides, over a similar period of time, for seminars in mathematics, the sciences, and technology. The two grants combined, in fact, give us the first period of time in the Institute's history where we can look, down the road three years with secure funding in all of these academic fields with the exception only of this amount of matching money that we must still raise.

Question

The Carnegie Corporation?

Mr. Vivian

The Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Question

And how large was that grant?

Mr. Vivian

That is a $250,000, three-year grant.

Question

How many Yale faculty members take part each year?

Mr. Vivian

Under the Carnegie grant we will offer seminars led by three Yale faculty members in each year.

Question

When was the NEH proposal submitted and is the Endowment's procedure for deciding which grants you will award?

Mr. Vivian

We submitted the proposal before the January deadline­ immediately before the deadline.

Mr. Ward

Our review process takes this length of time for the proposals to be reviewed and to go through all of the phases of the review process, peer review and review internally and review by the National Council on the Humanities, who are a Presidentially appointed body. The final approval comes from the Chairman of the Endowment.

Mr. Vivian

Present today, in addition to reporters, are a number of participants in the program. We perhaps have time for one or two question from them if there are any. Are there any of the others present, who have a question? Mr. Langan.

Question

In light of the questions we have just heard how competitive was this grant process? How many other proposals came in and how many grants were made? We hear a lot of press talking about teacher collaboration between higher education and public schools. Has there been an increase in these types of proposals?

Mr. Ward

Well, I think we receive a number of proposals. At each deadline we receive proposals for a number of different categories of funding, including institutes which have often a national focus as opposed to a collaborative focus, which is what the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute is. At this particular deadline . . .

Ms. Menke

Of the approximately 120 proposals, and this is an approximate figure, in the Elementary and Secondary Schools Program, I believe eight of those are collaborative projects of this nature which were funded. So this is one of eight collaborative projects­among the most ambitious of the collaborative projects­and was funded out of approximately one hundred twenty total submissions, if that helps. And the answer to the increased interest in school-college alliance: the answer is yes. There is increased interest in collaboration at all sorts of levels, not just among schools and colleges, although those are incredibly important. There are a number of collaboratives. The term collaboration has become, I think, almost symptomatic of the desire of people to group and have dialogue together, but there are other very important projects that have been stimulated by this one, as Mr. Vivian mentioned.

Mr. Vivian

I believe I saw a hand towards the rear. Yes.

Question

Our school system was recently cited as one of the twenty-five best in the country by a national magazine. I would just like to ask Dr. Dow what role he feels the Institute and our participation in the Institute might play in that kind of recognition.

Mr. Dow

Well, I would just like to repeat that he indicated that our school system had . . . I think that the Institute played a significant role in that designation. I think the difference between an excellent school system or an excellent institution and a mediocre one probably lies in the opportunities that are afforded the client and the participants. And certainly I think that the New Haven Public Schools offer a whole host of opportunities and what have you to students as well as to staff. This institute clearly played a significant role in that designation in that it clearly demonstrated a continued program of staff improvement. Not only that, the impact and significance of this involvement could clearly be documented. So without question it had a major impact on that designation.

Mr. DiLieto

If I might add to that, correct me if I am wrong, John, a study was done recently that indicated that as a result of the Teachers Institute the morale of our teachers was elevated sufficiently, so that did encourage many of them to remain with the school system who might otherwise have left, and I think that that is very significant in term of the quality of instruction being imparted to our students.

Mr. Vivian

Are there other questions?

Question

Dr. Menke, I have heard your comments on the significance of collaboration between other schools and universities. Would you care to comment on the significance? Why was there something about our report of our activities here that made it more appealing, perhaps on the question of funding?

Ms. Menke

One of the interesting pieces of the current activities of the current Institute was the evaluation report by a very distinguished writer, speaker, author, of both academic and educational matters, and he alluded to the "authentic relationship"­there were words in between that, but essentially what he talked about­that was formed among the faculty of Yale University and the teachers of the New Haven schools, and that term when I was reading materials and vie were contemplating the funding for the Institute, that really struck me. "Authentic" is a wonderful term; "relationship" is a wonderful term, and those two together perform that forge, that kind of alliance, between eminent scholars and dedicated teachers, I think as I have mentioned in the remarks. They are prepared remarks, but they were prepared with tender loving care. I think it really does talk about the role of the scholar as a public servant, and that kind of alliance with teachers, I think, is something very rare and very precious, and needs to be treasured. Certainly, that spoke well for the work of the Institute.

Question

We pride ourselves on the collegiality that exists between us, and we would very much like you.. we extend invitations to both you and Mr. Ward, if possible, to visit us in the summer to see this for yourselves.

Mr. Ward

Thank you. We would very much like to do that.

Mr. Vivian

I would ask whether there are any final remarks that anyone sitting here wishes to make. If not, to the things that have been said previously about the grant I would like to mention one more: This grant enables the Institute to increase to $1,000 the stipend that each participating teacher will receive. This underscores the importance that we attach to teachers' work in the Institute as professional educators­at a time when there emerges a national consensus that we must increase both the professionalism of teaching, and also the rewards to individuals in that profession.

So, I thank the NEH for this particular aspect of the grant, for their magnificent support in past years, and for all that the grant will enable us to do during the next three years. And I thank them for coming, and all the others who spoke, and all of you for coming. Thank you very much.

Question

I have a question. The question is for Benno . . . I have a question for President Schmidt. In view of your role and academic training, is there any possibility that at some future time, you might want to chair a seminar in constitutional law?

Mr. Schmidt

Is that a humanities subject? I have had the enormous pleasure once before in my life of chairing a seminar that was supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities in which Charles Frankel, a great philosopher, a great, great friend of mine at Columbia, and I took a group of lawyers through some of the great texts in the humanities tradition that raised questions about law and political theory. I think I never had such a good time or learned as much in my life, and so if an opportunity of that sort should arise here, I think I might leap at it.

Mr. Vivian

The opportunity might arise.

Thank you all for coming.


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