[The Congressional Committee]------- [The Hearing]------- [Testimony]

[History/English Assignment]-------[Student Work]

[Information about NTHS for the Committee]-------[Our Business Partners]

[Return to Ms. A's Class Home Page

On January 29, 1997, a congressional committee held a field hearing at New Technology High School in Napa, California. The committee was chaired by Napa's own Congressman, Frank Riggs. The hearing was entitled "Education at a Crossroads: What Works? What's Wasted?" This web page was prepared for use in an assignment for the Integrated U. S. History / American Literature classes at New Tech High, taught by Deborah T. Aufdenspring and Sandra Mings-Lamar.

It is hoped that this web page might also be of use to the press, to the public, and possibly to the committee itself, as an example of the educational uses of technology. New Technology High School is, after all, an institution dedicated to finding out "What Works?" in education, as we enter a new century and a new millenium.

This page was originally put together just before the Committee hearing. After the hearing, Committee testimony and student work was added to it without restructuring the entire page. I apologize in advance for any errors or omissions. - dta


The Committee

Representative Frank Riggs chairs the Committee meeting at New Tech.

[Rep. Riggs], [Rep. Hoekstra], [Rep. McKeon], [Rep. Miller]

The House of Representatives Committee that will be holding their field hearing at New Technology High School is the Committee on Education and the Workforce. The theme of the hearing is "Education at a Crossroads: What Works? What's Wasted?". The Committee's membership is composed of 45 Representatives (25 Republicans and 20 Democrats) and is chaired by Representative Bill Goodling, Republican, of Pennsylvania. Only a few of the Committee's members will be attending the hearing in Napa. This is normal for field hearings. Other meetings of the Committee, or its subcommittees, are scheduled on this topic in other locations.

The Committee on Education and the Workforce was originally established in 1867 as the Committee on Education and Labor. The history of the Committee includes a number of name changes and reorganizations from 1867 to the present. Its current name was the result of a renamimg that took effect on January 7th of this year.

The following members of the Committee are expected to be in attendance at the hearing at New Tech. Basic information about each Representative is available by clicking on the links beneath their pictures. Additional information, if you are participating in the U. S. History / American Literature class assignment, is up to you to find by using the search tools you have bookmarked, or the additional tools presented in the "Assignment" section of this page (below).

Representative Frank Riggs
Chair of this hearing
1st District of California (North Coast and Napa)
Official Committee Biography

Project Vote Smart Profile Page

The following representatives are listed in alphabetical order.

Representative Peter Hoekstra
2nd District of Michigan (Western Michigan)
Official Committee Biography

Pete Hoekstra's Homepage
Project Vote Smart Profile Page

Representative Howard P. "Buck" McKeon
25th District of California (Northern Los Angeles County)
Official Committee Biography

Project Vote Smart Profile Page

Representative George Miller
7th District of California (Contra Costa and southern Solano Counties)
George Miller's World Wide Web Site

Project Vote Smart Profile Page


The Hearing

New Tech students observe the Committee hearing for their assignment.

[Purpose], [Agenda], [Elements of Testimony], [Congressional Committees], [Transcripts, etc.]

Purpose of the hearing

This hearing at New Technology High School was called to explore the theme "Education at a Crossroads: What Works? What's Wasted". The Committee hopes to get testimony from educators and parents and business people about not only what works (and doesn't) in education, but about the role of the Federal government in education.

At the end of the hearings (there are more in other cities around the country), the Committee hopes to have a better understanding of what curricula work; how parents and the community should be involved in the schools; what studies there are that support the successes and failures of American education; and of the role of the Federal government.

Agenda for the hearing at NTHS

Event 1: The Education subcommittee will hear "testimony" from representatives of the State of California, local educators, students, parents, business supporters.

Scheduled to testify formally:
Ms. Marian Bergeson - Sec'ty. of Child Dvpt. And Education, State of CA
Ms. Ruth McKenna - Deputy Supt. For Instructional Services, State of CA
Mr. Jere Jacobs, Asst. VP, Pacific Telesis
Dr. Lois Barber, President, Lou Barber and Associates
Mr. Mark Morrison, Interim Administrator, NTHS

Dr. David Brown, Superintendent, Napa Valley Unified School District
Ms. Ruth Workman, Community Advisory Committee and Parent
Dr. Nancy Todd, Lake County Office of Education

Event 2: Lunch and Speakers on Technology Planning, Survival Economics, Business Partnering

Speakers: Hewlett Packard, IBM/Lotus, Landmark Consulting, Silicon Graphics

Attendees: Various school districts, Napa Chamber of Commerce, business partners, media/press,
other invited and interested parties.

Elements of Testimony

Testimony at a hearing generally begins with a written statement. This can be followed by questions and answers. As an example, for this hearing, the Committee requested that Mr. Morrison, our New Tech adminstrator, prepare written testimony of from 5 to 15 pages in length, double spaced. He was requested to focus on: "what's working and what is wasted in education generally; what is working and what is wasted in Federal elementary and secondary education programs; what the Federal government's role in education, if any, should be; and specific examples of what is working and what is wasted in education in California"; and, how we are using technology at New Tech and what support New Tech is getting from private business.

About Congressional Committees

In addition to web sites, more information about Congressional Committes can be found in our Electric Library, accessible from your computer, or on some of the CD-ROM encyclopedias in the classroom. Standing (permanent) Congressional Committees are found in both the House of Representatives and the U. S. Senate. There are also joint committees between the two Houses of Congress.

When committees have done their job, bills (laws) are drafted and sent to the full House and Senate for action.

Accessing Committee records

Summaries and transcripts of Congressional hearings, and other information about committees, are available in the Congressional Record, at a Congressional law library and at both free and commercial web sites.



[Dr. David Brown], [Mr. Mark Morrison]

Below are the written statements presented to the Committee by some of the people invited to testify.

Dr. David E. Brown, Superintendent, Napa Valley Unified School District:


Testimony submitted to the


"Education at a Crossroads: What works? and What's Wasted?"

Provided by
David E. Brown, Superintendent
Napa Valley Unified School District


January 29, 1997


Napa, California




Even before A Nation at Risk appeared in 1983, and certainly since that publication, we have been served a non-stop supply of studies and surveys which bemoan the decline of quality in American public schools. Now emerging from these reports and recommendations is a current reform focus which has its center in contextual learning, suggesting that students should understand and appreciate how the knowledge and skills they are being taught are associated with practical world applications.

Recently, targeted career paths or clusters, Tech Prep, and high school academies have been developed to help students make clearer connections between school and the world of work. Partnerships have been created in a large number of California communities which have heightened awareness of the value of contextual learning experiences supported by the development of workplace experiences for high school students in particular, but for students in grades K-8 as well.

The Federal Government has lent its support to this direction through the signing of the School-to-Work Opportunities Act on May 4, 1994 by President Clinton. As a joint initiative between the Departments of Education and Labor, the School-to-Work Opportunities Act is a part of a much broader national initiative.

California's Response:

Recent notification that California was approved to become a School-to-Work direct grant recipient provides significant encouragement for the implementation of School-to-Work programs in schools throughout the state. The Governor has convened a task force focused on what he has renamed in California School-to-Career. In support of that group a second group has been established which represents those of us primarily responsible for the direct delivery side of School-to-Career.

I have served for the last 18 months as Co-chair of this second California State-wide Task Force on School-to-Career. This Task Force involves representatives from a broad base of educational organizations and employees groups, representing just about every acronym associated with the business of education.

Among those participating are the following:

EDD - Employment Development Department

CTA - California Teachers Association

CSBA - California School Boards Association

CSEA - California School Employees Association

PTA - Parent Teacher Association

ACSA - Association of California School Administrators

AFT - American Federation of Teachers

CDE - Califronia Department of Education

CCSESA - California County Superintendents Educational Services Association

CSU - California State Universities

CCCO - Community Colleges Chancellors Office

This group has worked collaborative on a common theme of implementation of School-to-Career principles and practices into our local communities. A number of those represented on the Task Force are direct grant recipients of Federal School-to-Work funds. Others anticipate some funding support from the recently announced State Grant. Most of us, however, recognize that momentum for StC, including funding support, will be provided primarily through local partnerships with other public and private agencies, businesses, and corporations. We further recognize that much of the progress toward achievement of more relevant educational programs is not dependent on funding, but rather on the collective will of communities whose students, professional educators, parents, and business partners actively participate.

The members of the Task Force are united in our belief that principles embodied in School-to-Work legislation, when implemented thoughtfully and with enthusiasm will become the chief driving force behind meaningful educational reform --- reform which categorizes successful students as those who are able to make clearer connections between the knowledge and skills they acquire in our educational institutions and the application of that knowledge/skills in a work environment. California's working definition of School-to-Career has been carefully crafted to capture School-to-Career directions as key to the improvement of our educational system's productivity.

"School-to-Career is an education system based on rigorous and relevant academic standards, integration of learning, and career exploration for all students and curriculum, fostering lifelong education and employment for all Californians. California's School-to-Career system will be locally responsive, but globally competitive, and will be developed as an active partnership among education, business, and the community."

School-to-Career involves new ways of educating students that enable them to build skills necessary to be successful in the workplace, whether they enter the workplace after high school, after advanced vocational training or after completing a four year college/university or graduate program.

The emphasis on career goals in School-to-Career, does not mean that traditional academic subjects will be neglected. In fact, School-to-Career emphasizes a deeper understanding of these subjects with project-based learning and work experiences that require students to become much more thoughtful about the "what" and "why" of what they learn.

Under School-to-Career programs, beginning in elementary schools, students
become increasingly aware of career options. In middle schools, students visit job sites and begin to study the many aspects of industry-related work. At the high school level, students master academic competencies through grade 10 and in the eleventh grade, with the assistance of parents, counselors, and career advisors, select career paths that are of interest to them.

Throughout all the K-16 experience, students will find an increased emphasis on the skills everyone must have in every career, i.e. problem solving, verbal and written communication skills, use of technology, and the ability to work well with others.

With this brief background, I wish now to deliver several observations regarding "What works and What is Wasted" in two specific areas which should interest our federal government and give some options for an extended national presence School-to-Work directions.

1. Why School-to-Career makes sense, and how a number of extremely successful programs already demonstrate the kind of reform which leads to higher quality and more productive educational systems.

School Level

Implementation of School-to-Career is resulting in systematically restructured high school programs. The number of career paths/academy programs available at high schools is increasing annually. Students are being directed and/or select from one of the following sample options:

Agriculture and Natural Resources, Environmental Issues, Health Services, Transportation, Energy, Finance, Arts/Media/Entertainment, Public Service and Safety, Hospitality/Tourism and Recreation, Retail/Wholesale and International Trade, Human and Social Services, Fashion and Design, Manufacturing, Business Services, Construction, Engineering, and Information Systems

Students are being provided great opportunities to participate in work-based learning, including job shadowing, internships and school-based enterprise. District guidance teams are agreeing to adopt the National Career Development Guidelines for K-Adult; middle schools are developing career centers; elementary schools are utilizing books and videos to enhance career awareness; and (in Napa) a Freshman Focus class has been developed which will be required for all freshman and includes a major component on career preparation. All students in career clusters and academies are job shadowing and/or interning and every student (through English classes) is receiving pre employment instruction. All of these programs which are helping students better value their educational experience as they better understand the nexus between classroom learning and work world applications.

Community/Business Involvement

Throughout California businesses and corporations are becoming more and more involved in partnerships with larger consortia and with individual school sites. In Napa our business/education partnership growth has been responsible for our being positioned to provide significant work-based experiences, particularly through internships. Businesses are also participating actively in exchanges involving teachers and business leaders in "Teachers in the Workplace" and Principal for a Day" programs.

Additionally, we are discovering more student participation in Jr. Achievement and other local enterprise/entrepreneurial options in direct proportion to the increased focus on the value of School-to-Career programs.

California Task Force initiatives designed to promote School-to-Career

Marketing the concept --- Communicate School-to-Career as a core program

Community Colleges/U.C.'s focusing increased attention on StC programs.

Engagement of all appropriate education partners in discussions that lead to the development of local models

Dissemination of successful programs through resource guides

Enhancement of WASC (High School Accreditation) inclusion of School-to-Career goals

Advocate for adequate School-to-Career funding

Provide technical assistance


2. Are there duplications that can be realistically avoided, i.e. what is wasted? How can federal government intervention assist?

One major component of School-to-Career is the development of integrated curriculum in career path areas. Huge sums of money are being spent in professional development workshops for teachers, but the curriculum being developed is of variable quality, as is the commercial material now being produced.

The federal government could gather the considerable curriculum that has already been developed, both locally and commercially, and then convene a group of teacher/administrator/business leaders to evaluate the curriculum according to criteria developed by NCRVE. Material with potential could be revised and improved, and all exemplary curriculum could be posted on the internet.

Such an approach might overcome some of the K-12 internal resistance to StC because teachers would be spared the burden of developing all the curriculum from scratch. They could customize standard curriculum to meet local needs which would be much easier than their having to develop it.

A second area of technical assistance falling into the much needed category would be the development of promotional materials that clearly explain School-to-Career. Many parents now view their child's participation in StC as a barrier to a college education. A public relations firm could produce commercials that could be broadcast nationally, as well as print materials which could be disseminated at the local level.

Frankly, School-to-Career is still too much of a secret. Even in the expanded business/education circles, we often find ourselves talking to each other, rather than expanding the base of participation and support.


Several other questions which still need to be answered.

1. How can employers' natural tendency to want to recruit the best students be reconciled with the educational goal of providing access for all students, particularly those who might benefit most from a pedagogy of "learning by doing."

2. Is it reasonable to advocate an end to tracking in public high schools? or is there another way to eliminate the distinction between college-prep and technical training paths in high school?

3. If all students should have work-based learning experiences, will enough employers be interested? If the supply of work-based learning opportunities is inadequate, what alternative options can cover the shortfall? And, if students have to compete for limited slots, will at-risk students most in need of school-to-career programs lose out to more academically successful students?"

4. How can the emerging emphasis on standards for academic disciplines be prevented from sabotaging School-to-Career programs designed for all students?

5. How do we schedule time for students and teachers; ensure a quality career path selection process; and provide connecting activities?

6. Will postsecondary institutions be willing or able to take on the role proposed here? And how can School-to-Career be utilized to bring some reasonable and accommodating adjustments to our nation's Admissions requirements?

Finally, I believe that the message of School to C areer must be more widely and more vehemently delivered, because of the powerful implications of the StC program on increasing the quality of our public schools' productivity. There are many outstanding programs already underway, but now clever minds need to collaborate to broaden the base of support and involvement.

Testimony of Mr. Mark Morrison, Administrator, New Technology High School:

New Technology High School
920 Yount Street
Napa, California 94559
JANUARY 29, 1997
9:00 A.M.


Honorable Members of the Committee,

On behalf of the staff and students of New Technology High School, I would like to welcome you to an exciting place to be. First, I would like to thank Representative Frank Riggs for his early and continued support. From concept development to the implementation of New Technology High School, his has been a voice supportive of business-education partnerships, of alternative ways to educate our young people, and of creative solutions to the new challenges presented by the mushrooming growth of technology. Staff and students are inventing new ways of schooling, and we all feel very privileged to be on the cutting edge. In some circles, it's fashionable to call what we're doing "experimental", but we don't see it that way. We regard what we are doing as vital to the survival of public education as an American institution. Technology in education is not a fad or an experiment. We have begun our move into the 21st century, but the future of public education depends upon our ability to integrate the classroom and the workplace, individualize and personalize instruction in small school settings, and the use of technology to continue to challenge our young people to prepare themselves for the demands of the 21st century.

Secondary education for the masses appeared on the scene just over a hundred years ago. It was designed for the times the Industrial Age ruled the day and factories needed workers who could meet the demands of industry. At the turn of the 20th century, 85% of our countryís workers were in agriculture, but the changes sparked by the Industrial Revolution were already making their effect felt. Today, fewer than 3% of our workforce is engaged in agriculture.

By 1950, 73% of employees in the United States worked in production or manufacturing. Today, less than 15% of the workforce is engaged in manufacturing jobs.

The United States Department of Labor estimates that by year 2000 - just three short years from now - at least 44% of all workers will be in data services, gathering, processing, retrieving, or analyzing information. In 1991, for the first time ever, companies spent more money on computing and communications equipment than the combined monies spent on industrial, mining, farming, and construction equipment. An estimated 2/3 of American employees work in the service sector, and "knowledge", according to Peter Drucker, is becoming our most important "product." We have seen a revolution in careers - the SCANS report emphasizes that most individuals will have more than three careers, not JOBS, but CAREERS in their lifetimes. In the 1960s, it was predicted that by the end of the 20th century, appliances not even invented yet, would be a part of our everyday lives - the microwave, the PC, VCR, compact discs and players, modems, fax machines - we now take these things for granted and feel deprived if they're not part of our daily lives. Change is one of the constants in the world today, and if we are going to successfully serve our students in the future, we in education must change, too.

At New Technology High School, we are working with full knowledge of the conditions our students will face as they try to compete in the global economy. Accountability is a fact of life - responsibility, power, and authority are being pushed down to the lowest levels in organizations. Businesses are re-forming into self-directed teams, empowered employees, and flexible work groups. Successful employees have to be accountable for results, both as individuals and as members of work groups. Teamwork and collaboration lead to higher levels of thinking and ultimately better, more creative solutions to problems. At New Technology High School we are preparing our students with the skills necessary to compete in this new paradigm.

The vision of New Technology High School is that through cooperation with businesses, parents, and community agencies, we will prepare each student to enter a high technology career and/or a college program. Computer and telecommunications technologies are used in work-like situations. Learning occurs with the assistance of business and community members, at work sites, and by the use of electronic networks.

Curriculum is designed to adapt to changes in employment trends and requirements. Both students and staff engage in continuous training to upgrade their technology skills. Curriculum and student performance standards determine staffing patterns and course schedules, and students must demonstrate mastery of specific performance-based competencies.

Each student is assigned a staff advisor who monitors the student's academic progress, attendance, community internships, and post-secondary planning.

There are two career pathways at New Technology High School. The first pathway provides students with the necessary skills to obtain high-paying, high-skilled employment immediately after high school graduation; the second is the path to post-secondary education, including colleges, universities, and trade/technical schools. Students who have home computers can link with their files, their records, make reports to teachers (via E-mail), and find out what assignments theyíre missing. Parents, on the other hand, can link to the school and access attendance records, grades, homework assignments, student progress, and general school information. All of the foregoing are accessible through Domino, a new Lotus Notes technology which allows access to school records via a Web Browser.

To accomplish the job market career pathway, the school simulates a business environment and wherever possible students are treated as employees. Like a business, our students need and learn software, computer, communication, presentation, and team work skills. The acquisition of these skills provides the foundation for all curriculum development at New Technology High School. To graduate, our students must pass industry standard performance tests for spreadsheet, word processing, database, and presentation software. There are also performance tests on Internet use, keyboarding and the development of a performance portfolio. All students receive practical work experience through the internship graduation requirement.

Class work is integrated, project based, and requires students to work as teams to accomplish and present their finished products. The operation of our school as a business environment has created a cultural shift for the staff at New Technology High School. We have migrated from an authoritarian based model to a more collaborative design. Our teachers are facilitators of knowledge and our students perform the role of worker. We have found when students are empowered to act responsibly, productively, and collaboratively, they excel and achieve at high levels. We have conducted student focus groups and find our students are more engaged, take pride in their school and work, and understand the value of a collaborative, project based educational experience. Discipline problems simply do not exist and student attendance is excellent. I have had parents who normally fight to get their student to school, comment that they can't get them to come home from school now. When our work day ends, usually after 6:00pm, we need to ask anywhere from 15 to 20 students to leave so we can lock-up. What a marvelous change! Our business partners tell us that, with the skills they are learning, our graduates will have access to high paying technical jobs.

All of the skills and training which make our students employable also assist them if they choose the post-secondary education pathway. We believe by creating links during high school to post-secondary education, it allows our students to more easily access this pathway. The link is accomplished by requiring students to take a college class in each of the four semesters they are enrolled at New Technology High School. When our students graduate, they will have completed almost one full semester of college. If students choose to attend Napa Valley College, they will enter with the privileges of a continuing student.

To prepare our students, the curriculum of New Technology High School is based on performance - and those performance levels are set at industry standards. Traditional paper and pencil tests are used infrequently, students demonstrate competency and proficiency in real-world skills. Through collaboration with one another, they are challenged to provide creative solutions to problems they would face in the workplace, using traditional language arts and social studies curricula as the vehicle for those solutions.

New Technology High School is one example of education moving in an extremely positive direction. What you see here today did not happen by accident. This school happened in large part because local business had a need for high tech, high skilled employees. The Napa Valley Unified School District was bold enough to look into the future, search out the possibilities, and act on some sound business advice from local business people like Ted Fujimoto and Buzz Butler. The result is a one-of-a-kind school which the community, state, and whole nation can be proud of. There is much to be learned from our experience. New Technology High Schoolís business relationships, infrastructure, and curricular design can serve as a model nation-wide. The synergistic affect of involving business in every aspect of this school cannot be overlooked. Their counsel to start small, stay focused, and become very good at clearly defined student outcomes is sound advice. We maximize our resources by not duplicating services available at other sites. To provide students with the best possible education, we have deep and detailed relationships with Napa Valley College, Napa County ROP, Adult Education, and local businesses. Business relationships, from implementation to daily operation, have allowed New Technology High School to operate beyond what we could financially afford through Napa Valley Unified School District alone. Our first donor, the Rotary Club of Napa, a group of local business people, committed $50,000 to get our project off the ground. Landmark Consulting Group and their President and CEO, Ted Fujimoto, saw the need four years ago for a high tech school and they have been extremely generous with their time ever since. Napa Net, a local Internet company, provides free Internet access to all of our countyís schools. Alkar Personnel Services, a local temp-to-permanent employment agency, is assisting New Technology High School by helping us operate and supervise our student's internship experience. SiliconGraphics donated their services and helped in the design of this building. Hewlett-Packard, Lotus Development Corporation, the Gasser Foundation, and thirty-eight other business partners made the vision come true through financial and technical support. The banner behind you is true, this is the school that business built.

We have learned from our business partners to treat students and parents like clients. They, along with our business partners, are key members in our educational community. In education we can learn much from our students. Ask students what's working and what's not; they know, and are usually quite open to telling anyone who will listen.

In summary, at New Technology High School we have created a new model for the next century. We are proud to be on the cutting edge and accept the challenge as explorers and pioneers to prepare students with the skills necessary to survive in the global economy. We firmly believe that technology and the skills needed to use it are the future.

We have laid the infrastructure, but in the information age, obsolescence comes rapidly. Equipment and training lasts on average three to five years. As leaders, we must continue to be proactive and to look aggressively to new technologies such as video conferencing and distance learning to continue to serve the needs of students and teachers nationwide. These technologies are critical to fuel our next steps in education reform.

There are many ways that Congress can encourage and support the work of pioneer educators across the country. First, we recommend that you take advantage of what we have learned in establishing this cutting-edge program. As a working laboratory for educators across the country, we can share our experiences to help others from local coalitions to replicate our program.

Second, create a National Web site with distance learning opportunities, high tech schools, infrastructure information, funding sources, technical training opportunities, future technologies relating to education, links to successful educational technology initiatives and schools, etc.

Third, support the development of distance learning services at the state and regional levels. As schools become smaller and more client-centered, diversified and advanced curriculum offerings will be more difficult to provide. Distance learning removes the need for students to attend class physically with other students, and it could make almost all courses available to every student. Such centers will need federal support to become a reality.

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for your attention and your interest in our school.


History/English Assignment - Congressional Committees

Deborah T. Aufdenspring and Sandra Mings-Lamar
New Technology High School, Napa, California

New Tech students observe the Committee hearing for their assignment.

[Calendar], [Introduction], [Group Tasks]
[Grading Rubric], [Search Engines], [Student Work]


January 27, 1997 - January 31, 1997

Monday - 1/27
Introduction to Congressional Committee Work
Discussion of issues and brainstorming
Division into research groups
----- How Committees Work
----- Committee members
----- Communication of Issues

Tuesday - 1/28
Addressing Congress
Protocol and Format
Business Letter Format
Continuing research in groups on 3 areas
The group in each of the 3 areas that does the most professional research work and writing will have their work added to the Congressional Committee Web Page to be distributed.

Wednesday - 1/29
Representatives from each class to observe committee hearings
-----Roles of participants
-----What are the issues
-----Points that speakers make
-----Letter Writing on issues
-----Peer editing & rewriting

Thursday - 1/30
Observers report to class on Committee Hearing.
Revision of letters to the Committee
E-mail letters to the committee

One of the advantages of attending New Technology High School is that opportunities, that other schools are less likely to have, drop into the curriculum at various times. This week, NTHS is the site of a Congressional hearing on Education and the Workforce, which presents staff and students a chance to look at the workings of such a committee close up. We will do this in four parts:
1) Research into the purpose and workings of House Committees and Subcommittees
2) Research into the biographies and political positions of the committee members
3) Discussion and analysis of the issues the committee will consider
4) Agreeing on a class position concerning some of the above issues and communicating the position to the committee through e-mail

Introduction to Committee Work
Congress has several types of Committees. Standing committees conduct public hearings in an attempt to get input from the public, and build public awareness of issues. The underlying idea is that such hearings are useful in the creation of legislation.

Committee on Education and the Workforce
Purpose: To find out what is working and what is not working in education today
1) What curricula work?
2) What kinds of parental and community involvement work?
3) What role should the Federal Government play in education?
4) What are specific examples of what works and what does not work at New Technology HS?
5) How is technology being used at NTHS?
6) What is the role of private business at NTHS?

Committee Members (likely to be present):
Representative Peter Hoekstra - Republican, District 2, Michigan
Representative Howard P. McKeon, Republican, District 25, California
Representative George Miller, Democrat, District 7, California
Representative Frank D. Riggs, Republican, District 1, California

Agenda for Hearing at NTHS

Event 1: The Education subcommittee will hear "testimony" from representatives of the State of California, local educators, students, parents, business supporters.

Scheduled to testify formally:
Ms. Marian Bergeson - Sec'ty. of Child Dvpt. And Education, State of CA
Ms. Ruth McKenna - Deputy Supt. For Instructional Services, State of CA
Mr. Jere Jacobs, Asst. VP, Pacific Telesis
Dr. Lois Barber, President, Lou Barber and Associates
Mr. Mark Morrison, Interim Administrator, NTHS

Dr. David Brown, Superintendent, Napa Valley Unified School District
Ms. Ruth Workman, Community Advisory Committee and Parent
Dr. Nancy Todd, Lake County Office of Education

Event 2: Lunch and Speakers on Technology Planning, Survival Economics, Business Partnering

Speakers: Hewlett Packard, IBM/Lotus, Landmark Consulting, Silicon Graphics

Attendees: Various school districts, Napa Chamber of Commerce, business partners, media/press,
other invited and interested parties.


Research into the purpose and workings of House Committees and Subcommittees
What kinds of committees are there?
What is the purpose of this committee?
What legislation is the committee considering that is important to students here?

Research into the biographies and political positions of the committee members
What area does the representative come from - specifically?
Republican or Democrat?
What particular interests does the representative have in education?
-----Look in the VoteSmart Web pages.
-----Follow the links to how the Representative voted on education issues.
Educational and professional background?
Political Experience?
Other areas of interest to voters.

Discussion and analysis of the issues the committee will consider
Consider the brainstormed issues from class discussion
Select three or four issues about which students can provide information to the committee
Design a poll about the issues and get answers (Example: What do you think are the two things that are most useful to your education at NTHS? Why?)
Compile the answers into statements that reflect the views of most NTHS students.

Agreeing on a class position concerning some of the above issues and communicating the position to the committee through e-mail will be a whole class exercise. The writing of the letters will be done in groups. The two or three best letters will be chosen to send.

Similarly, several groups will work on each of the three tasks above. The group that does the most professional job will have their work included on the web page with their names. Letters to the Committee will also be on the web page.

This project is worth 100 points. You will be graded in the following areas. Teachers will look at both class activity and finished product to determine your grade.

Class Participation
Willingness to participate in discussions and activities.
Ability to make meaningful contributions to project.
Attention & on-task behavior.
Group Work
Cooperation with other group members.
Willingness to share group responsibilities.
Writing Skills
Willingness to contribute to written work.
End product - letter or report.
Research Skills
Understanding of Internet searches and Electric Library searches.
Ability to synthesize information into a report.
Willingness to participate in reporting research results to whole class.

You may use our regular search engines, which you should have bookmarked. However, for this assignment we recommend the following:

Thomas - A site sponsored by Congress for finding Congressional information.

GovBot - A search engine for finding government web sites.

Goldmine Search - The search engine that covers all web material on the California Department of Education web site.

Alta Vista - An old standby, you probably have it bookmarked. Congressional information managers say it is best at finding committee and lobbying information. Queries need to be specific.

The Electric Library is a particularly good source for the kind of information you will need. Log on from your computer.

In addition, the encyclopedias on CD-ROM have good entries on Congressional Committees, etc.

To make it easy to use the Congressional links already cited in the descriptions above, you can go back up the page by clicking on the relevant internal page link here: [The Committee], [The Hearing]. You can also use the "Find" button at the top of your browser to find specific words on this page.



Analyses and surveys of the issues:
1. Willie Salone, Chris Lorenzo, Margaret Caragan

2. Commodore St Germain, Diane Cruz, Andrea Ruybal, Shauna Wilburn

Letters to the Committee:
1. Jessica Brookes, Jillian Branicki, Giancarlo Umali

2. William Cupples, Denise Barylski, Joseph J. Coughlin



Survey 1. Willie Salone, Chris Lorenzo, Margaret Caragan


Definitions of Issues:

Federal Government
- Government of a union of states in which sovereignty is divided between a central authority and component state authorities. The central government most often handles the concerns of the people as a whole, while the local governments retain other powers.

In recent years there has been a call for federal curriculum standards at the high school level. This is in opposition to a long tradition of local input standards with input from states.

Curriculum - All the courses of study offered by an educational institution.

The issue of improving California's educational curriculum has become well known due to TV advertising and other forms of media.

Business Partners - A partner in business. One who provides money and/or material for a service or for payment.

The role of business partnerships in schools is controversial in terms of what input the businesses should have in curriculum and what give and take occurs between schools and their partners.

Technology - The scientific method and material used to achieve a commercial or industrial objective.

In schools, it is usually agreed that students need to learn current technology. How to provide access to which technologies is more often debated.

The issues mentioned above are some of the most controversial issues at the Technology High School. Our group conducted a survey on these issues. The results are below. We asked a class room of forty-two students at the Tech High five questions. Here are the questions:

1. Do you think the Federal Government should have a say in what you learn at school?
2. What do you think of the curriculum at the Technology High School?
3. Do you like the current role of our private business partners?
4. Are you satisfied with what your learning at the Tech High?
5. Do you think technology helps the learning process?

Federal Government:
When we got the results of our survey we tried to break up the information into a yes and no answer polling system. Some of the information is approximate.

When we asked the students our first question, we got basically the same answer from each student. The students believe that the Federal Government should not have any say in what students learn at school. The students at the Tech High believe that the local School Board and the community should be in charge of what children learn at school. However a lot of students think that the Government should set general guidelines for what and how students learn at school. Thirty-five percent of the class said yes to question one. Sixty-five percent said no.

The students had a lot to say when we asked them the second question. Thirty-five (83%) of the forty-two students loved what they were learning at the Tech High. The other seven (17%) did not like it or they thought that it could be improved. In fact all of the students thought the curriculum could be improved, but they still thought they were learning "cool stuff". Some of the "stuff" students are learning are Adobe Photo Shop, Macromedia Director, Extreme 3D, South- Western Keyboarding, and a variety of Microsoft programs.

Business Partners:
We had a hard time getting answers for question three because the students at the Tech High did not know the role of their business partners. The majority of the students did not know who the business partners were. For those who did know the role of the business partners, they asked for more face to face involvement at school and/or business sites.

Although the students did not know much about the business partners, they were not afraid to tell us what they thought should be offered. Most students felt the partners should open opportunities for internships because it would give them work experience and teach them more about computer related jobs.

The students at the Tech High also thought the business partners should have no say in what they learn at school. They believe the businesses should be like guardians. There is one thing we all agree on. We think all schools should have private business partners. It makes the businesses look good and the school has a cushion to fall on when the government makes cuts in educational funding.

When asked to relate how they felt with the use of technology in education, students were split both ways. Many thought technology improves communication between peers and faculty, improved the appearance and quality of assignments, and allowed for greater comprehension of projects and ease of overall learning. The down side of the technology included the quirks that sometimes result from a malfunctioning server, slowing down the working process.

Although there are downsides to using technology at school, the students at the Tech High seem to like using technology. Seventy Three (73%) of the students said yes, they do think that technology aids the learning process. Seventeen percent (17%) disagreed, and ten percent (10 %) said technology sometimes helps.

2. Commodore St Germain, Diane Cruz, Andrea Ruybal, Shauna Wilburn


On January 29, 1997 the Congressional Committee on Education and the Workforce met at New Technology High School to discuss the education of the past, present, and the future. They discussed what was going well and what was not. The committee wanted to know from the students at New Technology High School how they felt about the school and about groups involved in the students' education. We put together a few questions and asked students to respond. The following are our survey questions and replies.

How do you feel about the technology at our school ?

"I think that the technology here at our school is great. We have access to a lot of programs that we can use. We have programs that are up to date, not old."

"Right now it is better than 90% of the technology in businesses. I am concerned about keeping up the quality of technology."

"The technology at our school is important to the whole structure of our school. It's what makes our school different and unique."

"I think that the technology we have available to us here is top of the line, state of the art -- best."

"I feel that the technology at our school is the best. It's even better than some businesses."

"I think the technology is good. It makes school seem easier, and it also prepares us to deal with technology."

"I think it's good that we have the latest technology but we're going to have to constantly update it."

Students generally feel that the technology at our school is what makes it stand out from all other schools, and the technology that we have available is even better than most businesses. Some even feel that it helps them through school, making it seem easier. The biggest problem that we are faced with, though, is updating the equipment and raising money to do so.

Do you feel that students should have a say in the curriculum?

"I think that the students should not have a say about the curriculum because the teachers know what we have to learn."

"On electives, maybe students should have some input."

"I think that the students should have a large say in the curriculum because we will be the ones taking the classes and we are the ones who will pass or fail."

"Yes, definitely [students should have a say]."

"Yes, I feel that we should have say in our curriculum because we are the ones that are going to have to put that knowledge into the world."

"I think we should be able to at least have our, (student), opinions taken into consideration."


Students are pretty evenly divided between those who want a say in the curriculum, and those who don't. The ones who do, would like a say in what we are learning because we will be the ones who have to apply it in the real world. A good idea mentioned is that students should have some say in the electives that will be available. Those who do not want a say, believe it should be left up to the teachers to decide. After all, teachers know what we will need to know in order to make it in the "real world".

Do you like our curriculum?

"Yes, except math shouldn't be taught to high school students at a college level."

"I think the curriculum in our school is beneficial and important in our careers that we may be pursuing. The things we are learning here we can take with us forever and use the skills in just about anything we do in the future."

"I think that the subjects tie together well, but we need improvement on how things are done. I would suggest a more hands on approach."

"The most beneficial class in New Tech High is Computer Applications.
I think that all our classes are important."

"Our curriculum is much more complex, demanding, and also unique."

"Yes, because we are being taught in a different style, it is more group based."

"Yes, because it's not the regular high school curriculum. It's a lot different; we will have more technological experience."

"Yes, except for requiring students to create portfolios. What if I only do a whole bunch of O.K. papers, nothing really spectacular? I wouldn't want that following me around."

The majority of the students that were asked this question said that they liked New Technology High's curriculum. The only part of it that they opposed was the portfolios that are due at the end of the year. The reason they opposed the portfolios is because they felt that they might not have the quality of work to put in it that is required. Otherwise, students feel that the curriculum at New Technology High is unique, sometimes demanding and more interactive with other students.

What input do you feel the federal government should have in our education?

"The federal government should establish basic requirements nationwide."

"I think the government should just send us the money and the local community decide the details."

"I feel the Government should give us national guidelines for what each student should learn so we are all able to get the same amount of education."

"The Government should not try to solve every local education problem, but should set overall guidelines."

"I think students, teachers, and parents should have an equal amount of input into educational standards."

The majority of the students that were asked this question said that the government should have a say in our curriculum and students should be able to as well.

How do feel about our business partners?

"I am excited about what they can do for us, but money shouldn't buy input into the curriculum."

"Our business partners are very important and should have a say in what our curriculum will consist of. I think this is important because these businesses are taking the time out for us as students and they are showing interest in our education and our futures. They are part of the community that is molding and influencing us."

"I think that they're perfect, giving us money and staying out of the way. They could help us by creating internships."

"I feel that our business partners should try to interact more with the students."

"What business partners?????"

The majority of the students who were asked this question felt that our business partners have supported us well. Without the time that they have taken out of their schedule our school wouldnít be the way that it is today. Two of the students felt that our business partners should try and interact more with the students.

Do you feel that business partners support us enough?

"I think that the business partners do help a lot but not enough. They should help our school be able to go to field trips and other places."


"Yes, they do all right but they could give us more money for our school trips.
I wouldn't know."

"We need to hang out with them; they should chill with us."

It is felt here that our partners support is well, but students wish that they would grant us a little more money so that we are able to do some educational field trips. It is also felt that they should spend more time with us.

As you have seen, the students at New Technology High School have found advantages and disadvantages of going to this school. This survey expresses the diverse opinions of a part of the teaching and student body. We were pleased to have the Committee on Education and the Work force at New Technology High School and pleased to have the chance to submit this information.


Letter 1. Jessica Brooks, Jillian Branicki, Giancarlo Umali

Representative Frank Riggs
Committee on Economic and Educational Opportunities
U.S. House of Representative
2181 Rayburn house Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-6100

Dear Representative Frank Riggs:

New Technology High School (NTHS) is a public school that has recently opened and features a project based curriculum on the latest high tech computer equipment. Here at NTHS we each have computers on our desks and have access to several different programs. We learn from and research ideas on the Internet, Miscrosoft Encarta, Electric Library, and many other programs. Having programs like this at our school, sparks more interest to learn and makes it more interesting for most of us at NTHS. Not having to limit ourselves to just book resources, expands our minds and opens up doors to many new opportunities.

Most of the students at this school can say that having computers to do their researching has made learning much easier. You must first learn to use the Internet, search engines, and other such programs before you can start benefiting from the computer. Once you have learned to use these programs, you are much further ahead in your education than many other students in this world. If you are not able to find what you are looking for in one program, you have many others available all within reach. The keyboard and mouse can get you almost anywhere you need to go when researching an idea or subject, especially on the Internet.

Project based learning is more beneficial because it requires putting what you have learned into a project rather than cramming information into your short term memory for a test, later forgetting the material. You not only learn more from this system, but become more eager to learn because of the reduction of stress put into cramming.

When asking students what was the most beneficial asset to their education provided at this school, many answered the learning environment. Having such a small number of students and staff, increases the incentive to learn and helps students focus more on their work. When in an environment so small, you are kept a close eye on, and often feel compelled to work.

The teachers at this school take their jobs seriously and have the resources available to them that can help their students learn. They will not accept failure and always push us to reach our full potential. Teachers seem more concerned with our getting something from doing an assignment than just passing tests. Each teacher is also a student advisor, meaning they help us with school related problems as well as personal problems. When something is wrong or are grades start to slip, a teacher is there to take note of the problem and offer their help. Here at NTHS, we are more like a family than a school.

A school containing all of these characteristics has no other option but to succeed. With the environment, teachers, and tools, a higher percentage of students is more likely to achieve higher and learn more than at a traditional high school. Technology has offered us a once in a lifetime experience that may soon be the everyday activity of the future. We are hoping that many other students will get the chance to learn in an environment such as this. We believe that the future of country could greatly benefit from educating our youth in schools such as our own.

Respectfully yours;

Jessica Brooks
Jillian Branicki
Giancarlo Umali

Letter 2. William Cupples, Denise Barylski, Joseph J. Coughlin

Representative Frank Riggs
Committee on Economic and Educational Opportunities
U.S. House of Representative
2181 Rayburn house Office Building

Dear Representative Riggs:

First we would like to state how excited we were to have your committee choose our school as the starting point of your Congressional Tour. We'd like to talk to you about the benefits of technology in education, specifically the use of research tools and school wide communication. The most widely used reference tool at the New Tech High is the Internet. We use it to access libraries from our computers as well as private sites filled with information.

The Internet allows us to obtain outside opinions and facts when doing research papers and projects. The best example of how we used the Internet on an important project was using it to research your committee and how it worked. Many of us had no real knowledge about your committee, but by using the Internet we all received a good, in depth explanation which we couldn't have obtained from any text book Most schools donít have these benefits, which we have already started to take for granted. We have gotten very used to being able to access loads of information in a short time.

Another piece of technology that we have come to use every day is E-mail.
E-mail allows us to communicate with each other and also let's us talk to the teachers without having a formal meeting. If we have questions after class we can send them to the instructor and get a response relatively quickly. Teachers can also E-mail assignments to students so that we always have a copy that can't be lost. This helps keep all students on task and makes sure that everything is clearly outlined. Bulletins can be put on e-mail and mailed to the entire student body all at once so that you can get immediate feedback.

Without these tools, school was a lot harder and more complicated, but with this technology everything has become more simplified. We are one of the only schools in the country with these opportunities, and we shouldn't be the only school with these tools. Others should have the same benefits that we do, and should also be able to prepare for their futures. We think all schools should have the same computer integration that we do and should be run just like our school. Again we would like to thank you for your attendance and your time.

Respectfully yours,

William Cupples Denise Barylski Joseph J. Coughlin


Napa Valley Unified School District

New Technology High School

[Brief description], [Vision], [Sample schedules],
[Staff], [Superintendent and School Board]

New Technology High School
920 Yount Street
Napa, California 94559
E-Mail: techigh @ napanet.net


A U. S. Department of Education Demonstration Site

The Napa Valley Unified School District opened a "break the mold" school, New Technology High School, in September, 1996, with 125 juniors. In this effort, the District won the support of over 40 businesses and agencies.

Four years in planning and development, the New Technology High School is designed to meet the challenge of preparing individuals to successfully compete in an information-based, technologically advanced society.

Students at New Technology High School:

take college "prep" courses and have opportunities to accelerate their learning.

must successfully complete at least four college classes before high school graduation.

will graduate from high school prepared to continue their college education or enter the work force.

have his/her own computer to use as the key learning tool.

have the opportunity to take athletics, music classes, and other courses at other district high schools.

Choose a program major which will prepare them for a high-skilled job in fields such as:

Multimedia Design and Production
Computer Science
Accounting and Finance
Business Management and Supervision
Office Administration
Drafting Technology

earn credit by meeting specific performance standards.

work in a learning environment similar to a business environment.

must successfully complete a series of internships in the community.

learn academics in an applied, interdisciplinary manner.

have a staff advisor who monitors academic progress, skill mastery, attendance, and community internships.

Contact person: Pam Tuthill, 707-259-8557 between the hours of 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM or write to her at New Technology High School, 920 Yount Street, Napa, CA, 94559. (10/4/96)

The Vision of the New Technology High School

In cooperation with businesses, parents, and community agencies, the New Technology High School prepares each student to enter a high technology career and/or a college program.

Computer and telecommunications technologies are used and taught in work-like situations. Learning occurs with the assistance of business and community members, at work sites, and by the use of electronic networks.

Curriculum will adapt to changes in employment trends and requirements. Both students and staff engage in continuous training to upgrade their technology skills. Curriculum and student performance standards determine staffing patterns and course schedules.

Each student is assigned a staff advisor who will monitor the student's academic progress, attendance, community internships, and postsecondary planning. Students must demonstrate mastery of specified performance-based competencies.

The Challenges

Technology, changing employment trends, and calls for greater school choice are presenting dramatic challenges to American education. Most new jobs in America require substantial training and education beyond a high school diploma. High paying jobs mean high skilled jobs, and our schools must change.

The New Technology High School is a bold response to these changes and challenges. The New Technology High School provides a new, restructured form of education for students.

Sample Schedule for Juniors and Seniors at the New Technology High School

Junior Year

English 11

U.S. History

Multi-Media Design and Production I

Computer Applications/Communication Technologies


Napa Valley College Classes:

Guidance 100 - College Success
PSYC 100 - Psychology of Learning and Problem Solving

Work Experience/Internship I

Senior Year

English 12


Principles of Technology I (Physics)

Technology Electives
Work Place Ethics
Senior Project
Junior Achievement
Applied Communications & Global International Business Project
Multi-Media Design and Production II

College Classes according to Program Major (student will choose one sequence from the list below):

A)Computer Science-Introduction to
Business/BASIC Programming
B)Accounting and Finance-Principles
of Accounting 1/Computer Accounting
C)Drafting Technology-Drafting
Technology 1 & 2
D) Office Administration or Business
Management and Marketing-Introduction to
Business/Legal Environment of Business

Work Experience/Internship II


Deborah Aufdenspring - U. S. History - E-mail Ms. Aufdenspring
Jeanette Cherrington - Registrar
Carolyn Ferris - Mathematics - E-Mail Ms. Ferris
Maria Lopez - Network Operator
Sandra Mings-Lamar - English - E-mail Ms. Mings-Lamar
Mark Morrison - Interim Administrator - E-Mail Mr. Morrison
Steve Privett - Custodian
Carole Toy - Computer Applications
Pam Tuthill - Principal's Secretary
Cassandra Van Buren - Multimedia Teacher - E-Mail Ms. Van Buren
Lori Welty - Internships
Kelly Wheaton - College Liason

Superintendent of Schools - Dr. David E. Brown

Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services - Dr. Virginia Rue

Board of Education

Ray Martinez
Jackie Dickson
Bruce Heid
Linda La Forge
Steve Galios
Michael Moultak
Scott Sedgley

December, 1996


Our Business Partners


New Technology High School is thankful to its business partners for helping to make the school possible and for providing ongoing advice and support. We thank the partners below. (As time allows, web links and e-mail links to our partners will be highlighted in blue. - dta)

Partial List of Supporters (alphabetically)

Alkar Personnel Services
Bank of America

California Department of Education
Creative Multimedia
Digital Planet
Educational Testing Service
Electric Library
Forest Technologies
Hewlett-Packard Company
Human Code
Innovative Solutions
Junior Achievement, Inc.
Landmark Consulting Group

Lotus Development Corporation
MultiMedia Dimensions
Napa Career and Vocational Assessment Center
Napa County Business/Education Partnership
Napa County District Attorney's Office
Napa County Office of Education (ROP)
Napa County Training and Employment Center/Private Industry Council
Napa National Bank
Napa Rotary Club

Napa Valley Adult School
Napa Valley College
Napa Valley Economic Development Corporation
Napa Valley Gateway Business Park
Napa Valley Unified Education Foundation
National Center for Research in Vocational Education, University of California, Berkeley
Pacific Bell
Pacific Data Images
Peter A. & Vernice H. Gasser Foundation, Inc.
SicolaMartin, Inc.
Sumeria, Inc.
Sunrise Rotary Club
The Doctors Company
Theatrix, Inc.
U. S. Department of Education
Vicarious Entertainment (1/20/97)


[The Committee], [The Hearing], [Testimony]
[History/English Assignment], [Student Work]
[Information about NTHS for the Committee], [Our Business Partners]
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