Class Disrupted S5 E4: How America’s Oldest Nonprofit Aims to Drive the Future of Education
Carnegie Foundation’s Timothy Knowles discusses efforts to boost social & economic mobility in higher ed and the undoing of the ‘pesky’ Carnegie Unit.
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Class Disrupted is a bi-weekly education podcast featuring author Michael Horn and Summit Public Schools’ Diane Tavenner in conversation with educators, school leaders, students and other members of school communities as they investigate the challenges facing the education system amid this pandemic — and where we should go from here. Find every episode by bookmarking our Class Disrupted page or subscribing on Apple Podcasts, Google Play or Stitcher.
On this episode Timothy Knowles, President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, joins Diane and Michael to discuss how this historic foundation looks to drive the future of American education. On K–12, they discuss why Carnegie has partnered with the Educational Testing Service and why they are seeking to assess a broader array of skills — not just focus on the standards that are already assessed. They also dive into Carnegie’s push to undo the Carnegie Unit and move toward a competency-based system. Knowles also shares details on the Foundation’s efforts to prioritize social and economic mobility in higher education by changing how they classify colleges and universities.
Listen to the episode below. A full transcript follows.
Diane Tavenner: Hey Michael.
Michael Horn: Hey Diane.
Diane Tavenner: Well, we are fully in the holiday season at this point, and I’m super curious. A couple of clips away from the big part of COVID, are you noticing or experiencing anything different this year?
Michael Horn: Oh, yes, we are. We are hosting constantly, it seems. We have had one of my kids’ entire class and all their friends over. We’ve had parties galore, and it seems like it’s never going to stop. We’re going to do it apparently straight through New Year’s. So that feels like a big difference. As you know, we’ve been renovating our house. That’s basically done. COVID basically done. Knock on wood that there’s nothing else coming. And so there we are. And here we are in this, our fifth season, still working through some of the sticky issues in K-12 education, all the way into how it impacts higher education and lifelong learning, frankly, and trying to give people a different vantage point on how to think about these intractable — historically — issues. And I guess the last thing to say is, as listeners know, this year we’re doing a lot more guests, a little less of Diane, Michael, a little bit more of people out there doing some really interesting work. And today you have invited a guest, Diane, who is doing a lot of interesting work.
Diane Tavenner: That could not be more true, Michael. It is my great pleasure to have invited Tim Knowles here today to be with us. He’s the president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning. And as you know, I am really privileged to sit on the board of that foundation. And so I have a really front row seat to the ambitious agenda that the foundation is undertaking. So much of what Tim and the team are seeking to tackle relates to the topics that you and I have been talking about on all of these seasons here, on Class Disrupted. And so I just thought it would be really fun to go back and dig into some of those, like, seat time, competency-based learning, assessment, accountability, but through the lens of a really historic foundation that has a really ambitious, modern agenda and has had really profound impacts on our schools that I don’t think most people realize or understand. And so I’m super excited for this conversation. Tim, welcome.
Timothy Knowles: Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Michael Horn: Yeah, well, we’re incredibly excited. I was really thrilled when Diane told me she was going to extend the invite. And before we dive into the work that you’re doing now that Diane just alluded to, I know that the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning has a long and pretty storied history. Can you tell us a little bit about the organization and why it has mattered to K-12 education in this country?
Timothy Knowles: Sure. So, Carnegie Foundation is 120 years old and it’s been instrumental to a wide range of educational things. The first thing it did, literally the first thing it did was create TIA, now TIA CREF, the largest retirement fund for teachers, professors, and people working across the social sector. It then created the pesky Carnegie Unit, or the Course Credit, the bedrock currency of our educational economy, which I expect we might get into a little bit further. And it’s done other important things through its history. It created Pell Grants, it created standards for engineering, law, medicine and schools of education. And more recently, it introduced improvement science, known colloquially as continuous improvement, to the education sector. But big picture, it’s an institution which has, or I like to think of it as an institution which has, looking around the corner in its DNA. It’s identifying levers to press, to improve both the quality of K-12 and the post-secondary sector, to incubate things, and to bring them to life at a scale that’s persuasive. And today our stake is firmly in the ground for first-generation underrepresented and low-income young people nationwide.
Diane Tavenner: Well, and that is one of the many reasons that I really appreciate being able to be on the board and be a small part of what Tim and the team are working on. The only thing that I would add is I was really surprised to learn when I joined the board that it’s the first nonprofit in America. It was enacted by Congress and became the first nonprofit in America. So, many of us who work in education, I think, take nonprofit entities and organizations for granted. And here’s the founding member of that team. So just a really fascinating, long, long history.
Timothy Knowles: I look really good for 120, don’t I?
Michael Horn: Better every day.
Diane Tavenner: Interestingly, for how old it is…Are you president number eleven?
Timothy Knowles: Ten.
Diane Tavenner: I mean, not a lot of presidents.
Michael Horn: That’s impressive.
Diane Tavenner: Tim, you just alluded to it. For the last stretch of time under the previous president, because you’ve been here at the Foundation for a couple of years now, the Foundation was really focused on improvement science. And one of the interesting elements of this Foundation is that the current president really gets to define, has the full latitude to define the agenda. And so under Tony Bryk, that’s when I joined and when a whole vibrant improvement science community really formed. You’re continuing that. You believe deeply in improvement science and have a long history of it as a method for how we do our work, but then have layered this really ambitious agenda on top. I want to start with one of those meta outcomes. There’s a few of them that you’re driving to, and that is to accelerate social and economic mobility and achieve equity across the educational sector. And you just alluded to this. Earlier in this season, we had Todd Rose on the podcast and he shared a number of findings that suggest that a majority of Americans are really starting to question the ROI of four-year college and even our K-12 education system. And that they have this perception that education has become the end goal versus sort of a means to achieving a good life, economic security, freedom, however you want to say that. And this big outcome that you’re talking about seems to be in tune with the sentiments of the American public, if you will. So will you talk to us about why this big meta outcome is important to the foundation and honestly, what you think can be done about it?
Timothy Knowles: So I’m going to start with a sort of personal reflection about that. My first job as a teacher was teaching Southern African history in Botswana, and it was before apartheid fell. And so by day I taught a fundamentally emancipatory history curriculum, and by evening and by weekend, I was involved more directly in what was then known simply as the Struggle. I had the opportunity about 25 years later to visit South Africa, which I hadn’t traveled to, when it was free. And I met with artists and activists and clergy like Desmond Tutu involved on the ground in the Struggle. And to a person, literally to a person, they said it was teachers, students, and professors who broke the back of apartheid. From a personal perspective, if educators were responsible for that, our work here to accelerate economic and social mobility and achieve equity seems eminently doable. I guess I would also say personally that I want to live in a nation and I want young people to live in a nation. Whether you grew up on Navajo Nation or in rural Appalachia or in the South Side of Chicago, you have the opportunity, legitimate opportunity, to lead a healthy and dignified life. I’m much less interested in arguments about the particular kind of school you attend public, private, charter, home school, or the time it takes to finish high school or a postsecondary degree. I care much more about how to build systems that enable millions more young people to possess the knowledge and skills that they need to lead purposeful lives. I know for your listeners, there are some out there who are going to be persuaded more by data about why social and economic mobility matter. There was a study, just to cite one study, there was a study by the Federal Reserve in Boston and economists from Duke and the New School. It was called the color of money. And they looked at the net worth of families living across a range of American cities by race. And the average white family’s net worth was $247,000. The average Puerto Rican family’s net worth was $3,020. And the average non-immigrant black family’s net worth is $8. To be clear, I’m not suggesting education is not a powerful engine of economic mobility. We know it is. What I am suggesting, and where Carnegie is putting our stake, is that it could be a much, much more powerful one.
Michael Horn: Just, I mean your own personal story and how you come to this is inspiring. Tim, the few times we’ve gotten to connect at different conferences and so forth, hearing you speak about it always touches a chord, I think, for those listening. And obviously you just alluded to how you all now want to make sure that the system evolves and really creates a lot more opportunity for a lot of individuals. And I think that relates to a big partnership that has been in the news quite a bit lately, which is this partnership with ETS, the Educational Testing Service. Can you tell us about what you’re trying to do and why?
Timothy Knowles: First of all, I don’t think assessment is a singular answer to serving young people better. Young people need to love school. They need to be engaged. They need to feel challenged and pressed. They need to learn hard things and relevant things. They need to experience learning, not just enact learning. So I don’t think we’re going to assess our way to a better place. However, there are a set of skills that we know matter, that we know predict success in life, in the workplace and in the schoolhouse, and yet we haven’t paid them as much attention as we might. And their skills affective behavioral, cognitive skills like persistence, communication, critical thinking, creative thinking, collaboration. We think they deserve more attention, not at the expense of reading or algebra or history. Disciplinary knowledge really matters, and you can’t think critically without something to think about. But we think these skills in particular need to be elevated. We also know that these skills are developed in all kinds of contexts, both in the schoolhouse and outside, that many young people who demonstrate them, they’re too often invisible or illegible to postsecondary institutions, and to employers, and even to students and parents themselves. So just by way of an example of what I’m talking about, if I’m growing up in rural Indiana and I work for 2 hours every morning on my family farm, and then I get to high school at 7:30, every day on time. I have a 98% attendance rate. I do my homework on time, I get B’s or better, and then I have a job after school or on the weekends. Taken together, those skills, in my view, would represent persistence and they should be made visible to students themselves, certainly to educators and to postsecondary education institutions and employers. So if I was to state Michael, really simply, what we’re trying to do with ETS, we’re trying to build a set of tools that will provide insight into key predictive skills that the education sector has neglected. I don’t think teachers have neglected these skills, and I could say more about that. I think they know that these skills matter. But we want to build tools that will capture evidence of learning also wherever it takes place. And to make those insights visible and legible to students and parents, actionable for teachers, and useful for postsecondary institutions and employers. That’s at the heart of this.
Michael Horn: That’s super helpful. Diane may jump in as well because she’s been working in these domains for a long time. FoR1, I guess I’m curious when I hear you say that, from my perspective, critical thinking, creativity, things like that, there are a set of skills that can be applied in different domains, but being a good critical thinker is in a domain, right? It doesn’t necessarily cross unless you have domain knowledge. So I’m sort of curious how you square that circle with something like the example you used, perseverance, which I would put, in Diane’s language, the habits of success, different from skills, which might be a set of artifacts across lots of different domains to show those habits. And so I’m sort of curious, are you thinking of them all as the same set of assessments that will capture these? Or how do you distinguish some skills that sit within academic standards perhaps, or academic domains, let me say, versus those that maybe are a collective evidence across lots of bodies of work?
Timothy Knowles: That’s a great question. And frankly, is the work that we are doing right now is to figure this out in terms of which skills are we really going to draw on disciplinary knowledge? Which skills are we going to draw on extant data that may exist like the kid in Indiana I just described? And which skills actually do we need to build tools for from the ground up that we may not have a nuanced enough set of tools to measure, for example, collaboration or working with others? So do you need to build game-based or scenario-based tools that would help you, give you visibility in terms of how someone is developing on that arc? But it’s a very good question and clearly, whether it’s critical thinking or even persistence, you don’t want to divorce that from content and from subject matter. You learn a great deal about young people in terms of their persistence based on their approach to complicated problems and hard problems and how they go about solving them. So this isn’t divorced from disciplinary knowledge in that sense by any means. I think in terms of assessments, first of all, I should say the aim was not to take on the American assessment industry and all the politics that go with it and try to introduce an incrementally better set of disciplinary assessments that feels like that would be sort of a Common Core redux. And I think we saw that play out pretty clearly and we saw where dividends were paid and where they weren’t. So, I think really the intention here is to identify competencies that we know matter that predict success that are developed in all kinds of contexts and create a set of tools that won’t look or feel like traditional assessments and push the educational sector to attend to a richer array of outcomes. Another important thing that I think is worth pointing out, which actually makes me optimistic about this, perhaps more optimistic than I should be. There’s something, as you both know, but maybe not all your listeners know, that is sweeping the nation in the form of these things called portraits of a graduate, or portraits of learner. States and school systems and schools have been developing them, engaging lots of stakeholders, basically asking, who do we want our young people to be? What do we want them to be able to do? So colleagues from ETS analyzed as many as they could find. This is one of the wonderful things about being partnered with ETS. I feel like I have 3000 new employees I can ask to do things. But they analyzed all of these portraits, and there were about eight to ten core skills that Americans say they want young people to possess upon completion of K-12. It’s almost as though – and this resonates, Diane, with some of your work – but it’s almost as though there’s an invisible consensus about the core purpose of schooling. Kind of a river running through our nation, whether in red places or blue places, in cities, in rural areas, about what we want our young people, who we want our young people to be. That’s hopeful to me. So if we can help the other thing that people say about the portraits, if you speak to them candidly, is A) They haven’t changed anything, like we haven’t actually changed what’s going on on the ground, even though we put a lot of energy into it, and B) We have no way of measuring these things. That, to me, represents an opportunity in the US, right now, that I think is worth plumbing.
Michael Horn: I’ve just learned a tremendous amount from you, and I had a takeaway that I think I haven’t had from the press stories on this, which is, in essence, you’re not trying to do what we recommend you never do in disruptive innovation, which is to try to leapfrog the incumbents with a better assessment or a better this widget whatever, but instead go to the areas of non-consumption where the alternative is nothing. And you’re right. I see the same thing in the portraits of graduate, which is there’s no teeth. There’s no way to measure or represent or have an asset based framing around these things because there’s nothing to measure them. So you’re going there. I think maybe the second question is less mine and more what I think a lot of people are wondering, which is why partner with ETS on this? Because they have a reputation in different quarters and different ways, as you know.
Timothy Knowles: That is a completely fair question, Michael. And I know you both know as well as I do that most assessment companies across the world are grappling with what their future will look like and are seeing, quote, market share evaporate really quickly. Standalone assessments that bring schools to a screeching halt for two weeks in May and are not predictive of very much, I hope are not going to be part of the equation for the long term. And yet those very assessment companies, including ETS, have made an incredible business based on that design. ETS is clear-eyed about that, in my view. They hired a new CEO, Amit Sivak, who is exceptionally clear-eyed about. And one of the magnetic forces, from my perspective, was they have the capacity to build for scale. I don’t, Carnegie doesn’t. We’re a small organization. When I introduced to the board the idea of focusing on the future of learning, which is really the aim here, is to get at learning. One of our board members, who is a very well regarded scholar of assessment, said, well, what about the future of assessment? And at the time I thought, we really don’t have the capacity to build credible, reliable, valid tools to do some of this work. Then, Amit, who I’d known prior to ETS, joined ETS, and I thought there was an opportunity that led to a year’s worth of conversations about whether they are willing to really try to innovate and in essence create a separate entity within ETS, but with its own walls and autonomy to build a new set of tools that would attend to these skills, that would think about assessment in very different ways and that would be focused on the insights that were generated, not focused on the test as it were. So that’s why ETS. Now, to be fair, again, I think the test for us is can we build something different? Is it going to be useful to young people? Is it going to be useful to parents, to teachers? I think we can, but I know we won’t know unless we try. That sounds slightly glib, but I think it’s true. Like we have to take a shot at broadening the picture of what we say is important for young people. It bears probably saying that we met recently as part of this work with the 50 teachers of the year from across the country, from each state, and introduced the work to them. And literally there were some teachers in the room in tears and I was like, “Why?” But they were saying, bring it. This is the work we want to do. This is in essence the work that parents know we should do. And this is why we started to teach in the first place. That’s my short answer to “Why ETS?” We have enough elegant examples that live around the edges of our profession. Everybody in this sector can point to elegant examples of competency-based learning that haven’t scaled. So we need to think about – if we’re serious about tipping or using this tipping moment – we have to figure out how to enact at a broader scale than we have tried to historically.
Diane Tavenner: I will just add here because I hear the critiques, just like you, and the questions. And I will just add from a personal experience, I think you might know this, Michael, and Tim, you certainly do, that several years ago, Summit actually partnered with a startup assessment company that was doing these exact types of assessments. So I know they’re possible, I know that they can be done. And then, of course, as a startup company, they got acquired and employers valued and wanted these types of assessments and they couldn’t stay in K-12 where the market was so competitive and unreliable, etc. And that was such a disappointment to me because I saw such the possibility of those types of assessments and how they could be used and that they really were possible. And so it feels like this is where the sort of solidness and the expansiveness of ETS, perhaps, enables us to move forward. And I would just add a fun fact, which is I don’t think relevant, but ETS is yet another entity that the Carnegie Foundation created and then spun out.
Timothy Knowles: We did — 75 years ago
Diane Tavenner: Tim, you have started alluding to this already because these things are all connected and linked, but you said assessment is just a small part of it. And when you first started, it wasn’t even a thing that you were thinking that we needed to do, because what you’re really setting out to do is sort of build this architecture that produces what you call reliably engaging, equitable, experiential and effective learning experiences for all young people, every single one of them. And I think that those words, those concepts describe the type of learning that Michael and I are talking about all the time, that we are advocating for, that we believe in. So beyond assessment, what does that architecture look like? What else is happening to try to bring this to life?
Timothy Knowles: Here, we need to move away from models of schooling singularly dependent on the Carnegie Unit or the credit hour. It was established in 1906 to standardize an utterly unstandardized educational sector. So it was a great plan in 1906. But since 1906, we’ve learned a great deal from learning scientists and cognitive psychologists, neuroscientists about what knowledge is and how it’s acquired. So we need learning modalities that are truly competency or mastery based, whatever the language you want to use, that allow young people to solve real problems, that support experiential education, that enable them to work with mentors and experts and peers. The problem is not that we don’t know what this looks like. We do. Again, we can all point at examples of it. The problem is we haven’t figured out how to bring it to life at a scale that’s persuasive. Thing one for me is building, in essence, existence proofs and networks of existence proofs and amplifying and elevating them because this work is happening in ways that will generate momentum and attention. And I think we’re in an interesting moment where I’ve talked to 18 or 20 states in the last four months. State leaders, state chiefs, governors, they’re interested in how do we move to competency-based systems. There’s are opportunity windows open at the school system and state level, I think, post-pandemic that we have to leverage. And part of it is about cracking the Carnegie unit. Second thing I’d say is, and you may laugh me out of the podcast, which might be a first to be laughed out, but we need to think hard about learning experiences or curricula. And I know people feel like they’ve been down the curricular road before, but the tools and supports for teachers and students have to be taken into more careful consideration. The problem with the wave after wave of standards and accountability efforts over the last 40 years, and this is completely oversimplified, is that we thought if we cranked up the standards and tested for them on the back end, that somehow magically in the middle, the work that students and teachers would do every day would change. And I think the sort of governance reforms that led to charter schools were not that dissimilar. The theory being if we provided schools with flexibility and autonomy over hiring and money and use of time and governance, somehow the stuff that kids did every day would shift and we didn’t see that really occur. Part of the architecture demands building learning experiences for young people across disciplines, which are course-based, which are unit-based, which can come in different sizes to use that language, are much more engaging, much more experiential equitable and effective. So first thing is the Carnegie unit. Second thing is actually what gets taught. And the third thing is policy. The Carnegie unit has infiltrated much of our state-level policy, and I think we just assume that perhaps the states provide waivers so people can do what they want. Well they don’t. Seat time is the rule. That is the rule. Mastery or competency is not the rule. 990 hours of instructional time per annum, or some variation on 990 is the requirement for the vast majority of states. I’m a fan of guardrails, so I understand the argument that, “Well, you want to be careful about removing the guardrails.” But I’m not a fan of guardrails that don’t acknowledge what we’ve actually learned about learning over the last hundred years. And that’s the peril with this singular devotion to the conflation of time and learning. In my view, there’s a set of policy opportunities, if I was going to frame it in a more asset-based way, that I see. And there’s an appetite. And again, red states, blue states, both are interested. This is oversimplified, but I think the majority of the more conservative states that I talk to are interested in employment and access to jobs for young people who may otherwise leave their state. In the blue states, the interest is more about access and opportunity. But I think both are the same in this case, they’re fundamentally the same. Access and opportunity is really about employment, is really about social and economic mobility. I think there’s some more common ground, despite the kind of thrum of our national political discourse.
Michael Horn: I think you’re right. And I get super excited when you start talking about replacing this time-based unit – from the foundation that put it in place – with something much more meaningful and meaty. And it’s not surprising to me when I hear you – I want to use the word preaching – about this wisdom that you had to go and that you have.
Timothy Knowles: Ouch
Michael Horn: Well, I want to yell “Preach!” But when I hear you say, “We ended up having to go to assessment,” that makes sense to me, because you have to replace the unit of time with something that is measuring progress in a different way. And so that makes sense. Now to switch gears completely, though, another part of the work — you’ve got your tentacles in a lot – another part of the work that you all do, and something that Diane and I have been talking a lot about on the show, is higher education, of course. And you all have a profound impact about how we think of the categorization of colleges and universities in this country. And you’ve made some big moves to change that. For our listeners that are less steeped in higher ed, can you tell us what the Carnegie classifications are in the first place, why they matter, why they have mattered, perhaps in the way that was not intended, and what you’re doing now with them to change those incentives?
Timothy Knowles: One of the things we do is we classify every postsecondary institution in the nation, almost all of them. There’s some that don’t submit data to the federal government, and so we don’t classify those, but something like 4500 institutions, we classify. Many of your listeners or some of your listeners may have heard of one of these classifications “research one” or “R1” classifications that comes from us. That spawned an arms race in terms of higher ed institutions aspiring to be R1 institutions and designated R1. Not just because of the One, but because the federal government follows it up with vast tranches of capital, of public capital. So there are real incentives to become an R1 that led to this arms race. So when I arrived at the foundation, the classifications had basically been spun off and had gone through very modest changes for 50 years. So since I got there, we’ve brought the classification…I’ve invented a new term, it’s called spinning on. We spun it back on and we brought them in house. Now with our partner, the American Council on Education, we’re trying to reimagine them from the ground up. So in 2025, all postsecondary institutions in the country will be classified in new ways. There’s lots of vectors of the work here, but one thing that I’m particularly excited about, and I hope will resonate with the kind of work we’re interested in on the K-12 side is developing a classification focused on the extent to which postsecondary institutions are engines of social and economic mobility. So every higher ed institution in the country will receive an economic mobility classification. So classification is distinct from a ranking. We’re not of the view that you can distinguish in credible ways between an institute number 599 and 600 on a list. Classifications are groups of institutions. So like institutions, in that sense, we’re less interested in naming names and creating another rank order. The primary aim here is to learn what institutions are doing to effectively accelerate social and economic mobility, to develop public policy that supports it. And just as R1s have been the recipients of large tranches of public capital, to drive public capital to those institutions that are accelerating economic mobility. So that’s that body of work. It’s fascinating because the big world doesn’t know much about it, but the higher ed world pays extraordinarily close attention to it. So two weeks ago I had a conference call with 1500 higher education leaders. That’s a third of them, or something close, which suggests how closely they’re paying attention. So we want to draw attention to one of the things that I think makes America and higher education great, which is the extent to which they’re actually making improvements in terms of young people from low-income backgrounds, first-generation young people, and underrepresented young people in particular.
Diane Tavenner: Yeah, it’s really fascinating. It’s so interesting that a tool like that is visible to everyone. I mean, so many of the national rankings are based in part, like, if you look at their formulas, the beginning of the formula is this classification. So we all see it, but we don’t understand where it comes from. Super hopeful about the potential impact there. Okay, I have to squeeze one more thing in here before. This is like the speed round. But when I was in grad school, I learned about the Committee of Ten and the profound impact that they had. I’ve talked on this show about this before — Michael and I have talked about this — about how they really defined what the order and sequence of high school curricula was and put the sciences in order, alphabetically biology. So we did it that way for a really long time. You have launched something called the Carnegie Postsecondary Commission. So people should not be surprised to know there was a relationship with the foundation and that old committee. So you’ve launched a new commission. Tell us about it quickly.
Timothy Knowles: So sure. The Committee of Ten was founded in 1892. It was chaired by a guy called Charles Elliott, who was the president of Harvard at the time. Interestingly, and I didn’t actually know this until recently, Charles Elliott was charged by Andrew Carnegie to establish the foundation that I’m responsible for. So the congressional order that says we better create a nonprofit for this thing, the first signature on that congressional order is Charles Elliot. So it’s a very tangled web that we live and weave. So the postsecondary commission is a group of not ten, but seventeen K-12 and postsecondary leaders. My hope is that they become the Committee of Ten for this century that will be thinking hard again about the question of mobility and how we create not just K-12 and post secondary systems, but systems that might even become much more blurred. So K-16, K-to-work systems that are going to not try to reach consensus as a group, and they all signed up with this agreement. The aim is not consensus. The aim is to develop action papers that will provoke both thinking and policy, certainly, but then to help shape the work of the foundation, particularly on the post secondary side for the next decade for what I hope is my tenure. It’s a commission with institutional engine underneath it. It’s an extraordinary group of people. I won’t name them, but I would urge anybody who’s interested to go and look at our website and meet them because they are almost, to a person, first generation leaders who are doing exceptional things ranging from running large public systems to small colleges to K-12 systems serving young people who depend on the quality of school the most. It’s an extraordinary group. We just convened earlier last month, and the world should get ready.
Michael Horn: Well, with that tease, why don’t we leave the conversation there from a work perspective, but before people tune out, Tim, you’re joining us. Diane and I have this end of show segment where we talk about things we’re reading or watching, and we try to make them not about our work. We don’t always succeed, but we try. So can we ask you what’s on your watching, reading, listening list?
Diane Tavenner: Sure.
Timothy Knowles: I have a weird tradition. I read poetry from December 1 to the New Year because it makes me think differently. So, I’m right now, who am I reading? Haki Maributi, South Side of Chicago poet. Gwendolyn Brooks and W.H. Auden, not a South Side poet, so a mixture. But I find it takes me out of my day job and makes me think about the world and people and what I’m here for in different ways.
Michael Horn: I love this because poetry is one of those things I always wish there was time for. I never know how to fit it in. You may have just given an idea for not just me. So, Diane, what’s on your list?
Diane Tavenner: I’m going to go a little bit different this week. Coming off a time period where we had lots of family and fun friends around, I did a jigsaw puzzle this past weekend. Some special guests dropped in and helped put a few pieces in. It was so much fun. Makes your brain think differently. Very social. So that’s my, whatever, enjoyment of choice this week. How about you, Michael?
Michael Horn: I love that. That feels very COVID, I will tell you that, but I love it. Mine, I will go, I just finished the first season of The Morning Show with Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston and have moved into season two and really enjoying it. It’s a complicated set of storylines that follow a little too closely, like real life in 2019–20 and so forth. And we’re getting into the COVID period right now, but it makes you think, it makes you laugh, it makes you cry, and it’s enjoyable. So that’s where I’ve been. And we’ll wrap it there. Tim, huge thank you for joining us, talking through all the initiatives that you all are doing at Carnegie. And for all of us, we will stay tuned. And for all of those listening, we’ll see you next time on Class Disrupted.
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