Wednesday, November 14, 2007

From Steve Sundquist

Here's another introduction from a newly elected Seattle School Board member, Steve Sundquist.

"Thank you for the opportunity to introduce myself to your readers. I decided to run for the Seattle School Board because I believe deeply that all of our children deserve a quality education and the opportunity to succeed.

I’m hopeful that this year’s election marked an important turning point for Seattle’s schools and the leadership of our District. The public voted by significant margins for school board candidates who possess broad and deep experience. As I listened to each of the recently elected candidates on the campaign trail, I heard us echoing similar priorities while maintaining our unique voices and frames of reference.

As I said repeatedly during the campaign, my focus will be on raising standards, improving the academic achievement of all our students, and turning around our under-performing schools so that all children, in all neighborhoods, get the quality education they deserve. I believe that we have a mandate to push forward in the direction of improved academic achievement for all students and effective fiscal management of the District.

We have a new Superintendent and leadership team who are bringing hope, energy, and a focus on student achievement. There’s a renewed commitment to accountability and results. As Dr. Goodloe-Johnson completes her entry period and offers her multi-year strategic plan to make Seattle a “District of Excellence", my top priority will be to evaluate the plan, offer my recommendations for improving it, and then help to unite the community behind the final result. Implementation is critical; the sooner we can move to this step, the sooner we can begin measuring our results and making the adjustments needed for long-term success.

I am optimistic about the future of Seattle Public Schools, and I look forward to serving as a School Board Director. Thank you for giving me this unique opportunity!"

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Welcome Steve!!!

Thank you for your introduction and thank you for sharing you hopes for the district. Brita Butler-Wall occasionally posts on this blog and it is always much appreciated. I hope that you will visit this blog occasionally and weigh in on matters that you have expertise in.

Thank you for recognizing that ALL students need to have standards raised and improved academics...the under performers, the kids in the middle and the advanced learning community too! Many times this district overlooks the students in the middle and higher end of the performance scale, and focus all of their resources and attention on the low performers. Thank you, again, for recognizing that ALL children should be appropriately challenged!

Welcome!

Anonymous said...

Steve
When are the Seattle Public Schools going to switch to first-rate math?

The following article recently appeared in the Queen Anne/Magnolia news:

Study shows that switching to a quality curriculum will improve student performance
GUEST COLUMN: By Liv Svendsen Finne
10/31/2007

Forty-two percent of the class of 2008 has been unable to pass the 10th-grade WASL, which measures understanding of only seventh- and eighth-grade math. The revenues collected by tutoring companies in Washington state have increased 340 percent over the past 10 years. What is going on in our schools?

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Most of Washington's public schools are using the curricula known as Everyday Math, TERC Investigations, McDougal-Littell Integrated Math, Pearson Connected Math Program (CMP) and Interactive Math Program (IMP). A good resource for more information about the shortcomings of these curricula can be found at www.wheresthemath.com, a Web site put together by parents, math teachers and university professors.

Prior to 1998, California was using the same low-quality curricula that Washington state is using today. The outcry from parents, teachers and university professors forced the California Board of Education to rewrite its standards in 1998 and to choose curricula aligned with international math standards, such as Singapore and Saxon math.

The results are in, and they are dramatic. Professors William Hook, Wayne Bishop and John Hook in their report "A Quality Math Curriculum in Support of Effective Teaching in Elementary Schools," prove that the choice of high-quality curricula can make all the difference to students. They collected five years of test results, from 1998 through 2002, of 13,000 children in California elementary schools. Of these students, 68 percent were economically disadvantaged, and between 27 percent and 44 percent were English-learning immigrants. Though their teachers had no particular special training, test results for those students taught with curricula aligned with international math standards and Saxon Math rose from far-below average to above-average. Their performance was superior to students whose districts continued to use the old curriculum.

Gov. Gregoire's Washington Learns Final Report, page 25, recommends that our state administrators for education identify new math curricula aligned with international standards. This requirement is also part and parcel of Washington Learns' plan for school accountability.

In the meantime, Olympia is bogged down in selecting citizen panels and rewrite committees, hiring independent consultants and writing endless reports at taxpayer expense. The path ahead is clear. Saxon and Singapore math curricula exist and can be put in our classrooms (nearly) overnight. Our children are working under the handicap of second-rate curricula. They need first-class math curricula in order to compete in the global economy. Or do we really want Microsoft and Boeing to hire California's children over our own?

Liv Svendsen Finne is Adjunct Scholar for Education at Washington Policy Center.

Georgi Krom said...

I agree with Liv Finne. The math teachers I have spoken with strongly prefer Singapore or Saxon math to our current Everyday math. I do not understand why Terry Bergeson is continuing to push Everyday math in the new Washington state math standards. It is too conceptual and the students do not master basic algorithms to solve problems.
My sons were both honor students in the Seattle Public Schools, but they still required outside tutoring in math to understand the confusing Everyday math curriculum. I hope the new School Board makes needed changes in the math program. Our kids deserve better.