The tag line for this blog is, "Joining together across Seattle to fight for public schools that deliver academic excellence for all."
But, imagine we are successful. What would that look like?
I would fight strongly any effort to define academic excellence by WASL scores alone, but I recognize and acknowledge the need to measure outcomes (what students can do), and know how difficult and time-consuming that can be to do well in a way that honors individual learning styles and differences.
I think academic excellence can be described, in part, by the range of school offerings or programs. For example, for Seattle schools to be academically excellent, I believe there need to be strong AP offerings, six periods of real classes a day at high school (not credit for helping the gym teacher sort equipment, which is what I have read is currently happening in some schools), rigorous and inspiring music and art classes, challenging hands-on science classes, and more.
Describing academic excellence in terms of what schools offer creates one problem and raises one question. The problem is that, with this kind of definition, a school could offer excellent academic offerings that don't meet the needs of their students. What one student may need to excel academically may not be the same as what another student needs. The question this raises is, should every school try to offer the same types of programs and offerings? Or, given that we are a district that (at least for now) offers school choice, should we be encouraging schools to specialize more?
These are my initial, unpolished thoughts on academic excellence. I would love to hear what others think. We need to know what "academic excellence for all" will look like in order to be able to achieve that goal.