Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What To Do About the Assignment Plan?

Lynne Varner at the Times is the latest to weigh in on the problems of changing the assignment plan (and here we thought it was going to be hard to draw the boundaries). As usual, her rhetoric is overblown and it's as if she is taking Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson to task for things that other superintendents and Boards did before she got here. At least she hired Don Kennedy who had the courage to tell the truth (outloud and in public) about the situation. She did have one line of good sense:

"Better to have lasting policy than short-lived plans made in haste."

I agree. Director de Bell and Director Martin-Morris seem urge to forge ahead.

Which do you want - forge ahead with the plan to change the high school enrollment process by the fall of 2009 (but with the understanding that if the system blows there will be mass confusion on a huge scale) or make sure they do it right and commit the time and resources to both the system and the assignment plan and thus postponing any changes? (Of course, the question could also be asked that if it implementation is postponed, would they still only do high school or could they do the whole plan at once because of the new computer system that could handle it?)

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would prefer to wait and implement a comprehensive assignment plan that inlcuded K-12, plus addressed the APP issues - capacity, racism etc. that were pointed out in the recent study/report and also included special education capacity and needs issues. But I know that is just too huge of a nugget for this board to take on.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm naive (maybe?!), but...
A) isn't the computerized assignment plan merely (!) a set of logarithms that is programed into a computer?
B) I know 45,000 is a lot of students, but many are simple, and couldn't, say, A PERSON or a team spend a couple weeks going through the list and making fits?
Call me a simpleton (many do) but it seems that, as Ms. Varner said in her opinion piece, in this land of high tech we should be able to get some good-hearted soul(s) to donate a few programming hours and/or a few days of labor to get assignments made...WHY is this so complicated?

Gordon, who has some extra time lately

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'm working on something to try to get them some high-tech consulting help (no details because it might not pan out). But it's going to take a lot more than a couple of hours or days.

But no Anonymous, 9:51, it isn't as simple as a set of logarithms - the system they use is so old that if you try to change or migrate the information in it, it might crash. (Roosevelt crashed the system last year and that was just overenrollment.)

And by hand? Can you imagine the charges of cheating by parents if it were done by hand? It would take a lot longer than a couple of weeks because of the tie-breakers, programs. etc.

I'm not putting you down; I, too, wish it wasn't so complicated.

Anonymous said...

I found the column to be insightful and on target. Why was payroll given more priority over assignment? Why is everything so difficult in Seattle?

Urgghh.

Charlie Mas said...

Payroll took priority because it risked bringing down the system every two weeks while assignment risked bringing it down only once a year.

Anonymous said...

Please forge ahead. If it wasn't this snafu, it was sure to be another one. I don't believe another year of waiting to take action is OK. This has already been delayed more than a year and counting. I believe that with the clock ticking and the spotlight on the district, the IT problems are going to get resolved. Call me Polyanna? No, call me someone who's worked in the private sector, albeit w/ a lack of resources just like the district, and has seen how sometimes it takes a crisis to force an organization to rise to an occasion and figure out the IT solution. It can be done. It must be done.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, it could be done if BEX Technology money was being moved to Sealth. There IS only so much money and there are hard choices to be made.

Meanwhile Facilities continues its shell game of busily moving money around. I'm counting on COO, Don Kennedy to assert himself in this case to get this assignment plan rolling. That said, it can't happen overnight.

Anonymous said...

In the private sector COOs don't simply deliver the bad news, although they have to do that, too. They present a range of potential actions w/ the bad news. A delay recommendation isn't giving anyone tradeoff choices to work with. What DOES have to give if we want to stay on track w/ the assignment plan. Give the board and the public some options to compare. "We can't do it in the time alloted" simply isn't a satisfactory answer.

said...

World Of Warcraft gold for cheap
wow power leveling,
wow gold,
wow gold,
wow power leveling,
wow power leveling,
world of warcraft power leveling,
world of warcraft power leveling
wow power leveling,
cheap wow gold,
cheap wow gold,
buy wow gold,
wow gold,
Cheap WoW Gold,
wow gold,
Cheap WoW Gold,
world of warcraft gold,
wow gold,
world of warcraft gold,
wow gold,
wow gold,
wow gold,
wow gold,
wow gold,
wow gold,
wow gold
buy cheap World Of Warcraft gold

jessica said...

I have been visiting various blogs for my dissertation writing assignment research. I have found your blog to be quite useful. Keep updating your blog with valuable information... Regards