Friday, January 16, 2009

Reasons not to split APP right now

A friend said that she might get a chance to meet with a Board member about the proposed APP split and asked me if I could sketch out the reasons that the split should not go forward at this time.

I'm a habitual self-plagerizer, so once having written something I cannot resist the temptation to re-use it. Here is what I sent as reasons that the District should not move forward with the split.

At the elementary level the primary reason that APP should not be split as part of the Capacity Management plan is the simple fact that the idea represents really poor capacity management. The plan tries to get 434 students, the number the District wants to put into Thurgood Marshall (see Appendix H, page 80) into a school that can only hold 366, the functional capacity of Thurgood Marshall (according to this report). That just isn't sound Capacity Managment.

I suppose that they will manage somehow. They will probably repurpose an art room or a music room as a classroom. Ironically, in the plan, APP families were supposed to bring art and music to Thurgood Marshall. This was supposed to be one of the promised benefits of this program placement. It seems that APP will actually cause the neighborhood program to lose art and music resources.

Of course, the neighborhood program won't be very big. The District intends to place 236 APP students in the building. With a functional capacity of 366, that only leaves room for 130 students in the neighborhood program. The minimum general education cohort is 146 students. That's one full classroom at each grade (23 in K-3, 25 in 4-5). Honestly, though, I'm not sure that a single class per grade is a sufficiently sized cohort. Didn't Dr. Vaughan say that the minimum cohort for APP was two classes per grade? If that's true for APP then isn't it true for general education as well? Can one class per grade form the critical mass necessary for a viable learning community? Again, this represents some poor capacity management practice.

Maybe the split isn't about capacity management. Maybe it's about equity and access. If Thurgood Marshall has 236 APP students and 146 general education students, that would fill the school - in fact overfill it - with 382 students. There will be no room for growth. So how will access be improved if there is no room for the program to grow?

There may not be much room for APP, but there will be even less room for the neighborhood kids. It's bad enough for the general education program to be squeezed from 251 students to 146, but some of those seats are likely to taken by siblings of students in APP. All families like to have their children together in the same school, APP families also. If there is just one sibling requesting assignment to Thurgood Marshall's general education program for every four APP students in the building, that would be about 60 siblings. Since the sibling tie-breaker comes before the reference area tie-breaker, those APP siblings would futher reduce the number of seats available to neighborhood students. The District will have to right-size the Thurgood Marshall reference area to encompass only about 90 elementary students. That's pretty tiny. It doesn't allow much access to this wonderful ALO that the District promises to develop.

Maybe this isn't about equity and access. Maybe the District thinks they are doing this to follow the recommendations from

The new ALO that the District plans to develop at Thurgood Marshall - you know that they have one already - will be installed in accordance with the recommendation from the APP Review (see the last page) in which the outside experts recommended that the District "situate this program in ALO settings where talent development of all learners has been identified as a priority among educators in the building". The recommendation goes on to say "it is ill-advised to situate this in a low-performing or other divisive school setting as this only stands to further the divide between the APP students and parents and general education students and families." Thurgood Marshall, is, of course, a low-performing school. What could be another divisive school setting? I don't know how the District intends to avoid the sort of culture-clash and friction that made IPP at Madrona such a crashing failure, but forcing two-thirds of the Thurgood Marshall students out of the building isn't a good way to start. It's going to be pretty hard to convince the Thurgood Marshall community that APP isn't "taking over" their school when their community is decimated. Their numbers will fall from 251 to 90. That has the potential to become divisive.

The APP Review also had this recommendation about co-housing: "In order to maximize the benefits of this model, it may be wise to hire a gifted liaison to negotiate between the two groups of teachers. This individual would be charged with co-planning with teacher teams (comprising both APP and general educators at the grade level) who can facilitate the genuine sharing of resources and expertise between the general education and APP faculties." I don't think the District is doing this.

The APP Review specifically recommended that the District not attempt any split of the program until the District has developed an overall curricular vision for APP and all of Advanced Learning that is consistent with a program vision and goals statement. "If Seattle decides at some point to create another self-contained APP setting beyond Lowell or Washington, it will be critically important that these foundational pieces are established and are functionally in place. In the absence of guiding documents and tools, the issue of highly-variable teachers will create exponentially larger issues for ensuring quality curriculum experiences for all APP students." The District doesn't have any of the foundational documents that the experts insisted we develop - and have functionally in place - prior to any attempt at a split.

The District hasn't even taken the first step, a vision for Advanced Learning. At the presentation to the Board on December 9, the Superintendent discussed how the Capacity Management plan would impact Special Education, Bilingual Education and Advanced Learning. There were Vision statements for Special Education and Bilingual Education. The Special Education Vision referenced Integrated Comprehensive Service Delivery, least restrictive environments and Individualized Education Plans. The Bilingual Vision referenced a system-wide instructional program and the needs of English Language Learners. The Vision for Advanced Learning, however, was: "Our strategic vision is that every student meets or exceeds grade level expectations and graduates from high school ready for college, career, and life" If that sounds familiar, it's because it is essentially the same as the District's Vision and Goals for every student: "All students achieve at high levels, receive the support they need and leave high school prepared for college, career and life;". There is no vision for advanced learning other than the generic Vision for all students.

Maybe this split isn't about following the recommendations from the APP Review. Maybe the District is doing this to provide a least restrictive environment for the Special Education students at Lowell.

The Special Education program at Lowell is a low-incidence program. Many of these students are severely and profoundly disabled, both physically and cognitively. None of them have inclusion as part of their IEP. Not one of them has an element in their IEP that requires participation in the academics of a general education classroom. The APP students and the Special Education students do interact. The mix of these two programs, in fact, is a defining element of the Lowell culture. Whatever time the Special Education students need with non-disabled or typically developing peers they can get with the APP students. The Special Education families at Lowell are thrilled with their children's placement there, delighted with the care and empathy the APP students show, and are NOT demanding any moves. In fact, when a move was recently proposed, the Special Education families successfully opposed it.

Choice and the student assignment plan have a role here. It is a little known item in the proposal that APP families can choose between the program sites, but that the District will not provide out-of-cluster transportation. Check the document; it's there. Think of what that means for APP families living in the Central Cluster. Lowell is closer to home than Thurgood Marshall for nearly all of them. If they don't live within walking distance of Lowell their child can take the bus there as Lowell is within their cluster. Of the 236 APP students living in the south-end, 101 of them live in the Central Cluster. The south-end program is already smaller than the north-end program. The imbalance will become worse if a significant number of Central Cluster APP families choose to keep their child at Lowell - avoiding yet another transition (they have all had one already to get to Lowell and many of them have had two if their child was in a Spectrum program) and staying closer to home - rather than move their child to Thurgood Marshall. While this would ease the crowding at Thurgood Marshall, the north-end program will be MUCH bigger than the south-end program. It will be nearly impossible for the District to convince anyone that the two programs are equitable.

This might not be the case if the District could find a north-end location for the north-end program, but the District says that they can't. Failing to find a north-end location for the north-end APP students violates Policy D12.00 which requires that the programs be equitably distributed among the clusters. They are not equitably distributed among the clusters if they are both in the Central Cluster. Policy C56.00 governs program placement and says that programs should be placed where students live. The north-end students live in the north-end, so that's where their program should be placed. The goal of equity and access is not satisfied if the north-end program isn't in the north-end. That isn't very equitable or accessible for those families. This is very poor program placement practice.

In April of 2007, the District made a commitment to the APP community that they would engage the community when making a plan to reconfiguring the program or propose any splits. The District made a commitment to do it within the context of the new student assignment plan. The District is now trying to break that commitment. This is not how trust is built. This is not how honorable people conduct their affairs.

To sum up, this split does not work as capacity management, it does not work to improve equity and access, it does not follow the recommendatios from the APP review, and it is not required by IDEA, by any IEP, or by the Special Education families at Lowell, it does not comply with District Policy, it does not reflect good program placement practices, and it breaks a commitment made to the APP community less than two years ago the last time the District tried this. The District should not do this. And what is creating the impetus to do it? What is the driving need? There really is none.

30 comments:

AutismMom said...

The Special Education program at Lowell is a low-incidence program. Many of these students are severely and profoundly disabled, both physically and cognitively. None of them have inclusion as part of their IEP. Not one of them has an element in their IEP that requires participation in the academics of a general education classroom.

This isn't true. While I argue that the APP classrooms could suffice, the fact is, they haven't. Same at lots of other schools too by the way. People at Lowell definitely have IEP's (or have attempted to have IEP's) that require academic access to non-disabled peers, instruction, and curriculum. I'd love to see such a tome like this one directed at the Lowell staff to actually do this.

Seattlehorn said...

Charlie, I have a lot of respect for your critical thinking skills and am gratified that you've come around on this issue.

Many of us Lowell families are feeling punked. What good is an iterative process if the district isn't honest?

Directors Bass, DeBell, and Maier have confirmed for next Tuesday's meeting at Lowell. I hope the rest of the board deem it critical to attend.

Tonight, tune in at 7 pm to the Seattle Channel to catch ESP Vision's Jesse Hagopian and former board members Dicky Lilly and Irene Stewart debate school closures.

Josh Hayes said...

This gives me an opportunity to ask what's probably a dumb question - but the district's explanations are incomprehensible, so maybe someone here can put it in plain English - to wit:

What's the difference between "functional" and "planning" capacity? Are either of them real numbers?

(The "functional" capacity at the Pinehurst building, for instance, is 304, but the "planning" capacity is 282. Say what?)

Josh Hayes said...

Oh, I'm a nimnum: this question has been addressed over in the "Functional Capacity numbers are posted" thread. Silly me.

Though based on the definitions given over there these numbers STILL don't make any sense to me. Oh well.

North-end Mom said...

Josh,

This presentation on Functional Capacity (beginning on slide 18) may or may not help you:

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/board/08-09agendas/121708agenda/suptpresentation.pdf

Seattlehorn,

There were only TWO Board members present at many, if not all, of the public hearings scheduled for buildings/programs that were actually still on the closure list at the time of the building's hearing.

Transcripts of the hearing will be posted online for Board members and the public to read if they were not in attendance.

Josh Hayes said...

Thanks, north-end mom, for the pointer. It sounds like, basically, they assume they can jam 25 kids into any room big enough to be called a "room" -- although they waive one room for every 8 classrooms, like, say, a gym, or an auditorium.

At AS1, where we have BOTH a gym and a lunchroom/auditorium, I'm guessing their functional capacity designates one of these as a "classroom", ditto with the library, science lab, and art room. So if we do away with the library, gym, science lab, and art room, and squeeze 25 kids into all the regular classrooms plus these four, then it makes sense.

Well, the STRATEGY makes no sense, but the numbers do - and that ought to be illuminating, no?

seattle citizen said...

Charlie, you write that:
"Many of these students are severely and profoundly disabled, both physically and cognitively. None of them have inclusion as part of their IEP. Not one of them has an element in their IEP that requires participation in the academics of a general education classroom"
1) How do you know this? Have you seen all the IEPs at Lowell?
2) Have you seen a survey of various IEPs? They are written by individuals, in consultation with the student, the IEP teacher, and, if available ( ? ! )a teacher or two.
3) IEP writers are notoriusly hard-pressed, in many situations, to get through their workload on these.
4) Sometimes, an IEP writer is "just" a teacher in the building who happens to have a SpEd endorsement, and the task of writing IEPs (or some of them) falls on the person.

The purpose of LRE is to make sure ANY student is in as close to a "regular" environment as possible. Regular might be APP for that student.

Do you think there is, somewhere, a low-incidence student with an IEP who also is "APP" material?

I guess your comment struck sparks because you write from a position indicating you are in on the IEP process. Who told you none of them have inclusion? Why DON'T one or more have inclusion? Could be a super-bright brain hiding under that disability, eh? And you say yourself that "MANY of these students are severely and profoundly [is that IEP terminology or your personal description?] disabled," but you don't say ALL are so. Are there some that SHOULD have inclusion to APP (or somewhere, for heaven's sake!)
respectively,
SC

wseadawg said...

AutismMom: Are APP peers per se not "typically developing peers" for any reason other than the curriculum they receive?

Or are they not TDP's because of other traits, besides their advanced curriculum?

And why haven't the APP classrooms sufficed? What would they need to suffice?

Mercermom said...

Re APP choice between Lowell and TM: My understanding is that the no-transportation choice option is for "available space." While some Capitol Hill parents are lobbying for neighborhood families to have a spot at Lowell, the current plan would likely have little or no opportunity, as most or all space is likely to be taken up by North students. (That could change year to year with annual APP fluctuations in population.) Plus families have to weigh proximity for 1-6 with staying with their cohort through middle school.

Re TM capacity: It's my understanding that no current TM students, apart from those in specified programs, would be reassigned. While there may be limited gen ed capacity in the future, won't the school just be terribly crowded in the near term?

North-end Mom said...

Josh,
I don't know too much about AS-1's configuration, but judging by its overall size, it is probably categorized as having 16 classrooms, which would therefore mean that under the functional capacity rules, you would have two PCP spaces. One of these would be the gym. If AS-1 is classified as having under 16 classrooms, then you would get one PCP space, the gym.

The only way your lunchroom stage would count as a classroom is if it had special partitions (so that it could be blocked off). Lunchrooms are not counted as classrooms or PCP space. The library is not counted as a PCP space (though perhaps they have restrictions on size/school?). Libraries are not well documented in the Functional Capacity discussion.

I had to chuckle over your comment about squeezing 25 kids into a classroom. That is currently considered a small class size for all but the primary grades at NE schools. It has sadly become the norm for me. If you have any classrooms designated as special ed, bilingual, etc..., with lower class size requirements, those should have been worked into the functional capacity totals appropriately.

Shannon said...
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Shannon said...

Sorry, I thought I should be more specific.

.....

My family is not in APP. Since the private school my child is now at ends at his current grade I have been speaking with many people about school options. In these conversations I have been surprised by the degree of animosity and resentment directed at the APP cohort - particularly in middle and high school. Is the perceived "elitism" the real reason for the District attempt to disperse the program? I have heard the APP cohort separately described as "untouchable" "specialler than our kids" and "free private school kids." This is not even touching on the issue of diversity which I have heard is a valid consideration.

Is this widespread or have I just stepped in a thicket? Does the district face lobbying against APP?

Rudy D said...

Shannon, I think that depends on who you ask. I think the most resentful people you talk to are those whose kids qualify for Spectrum or obviously should qualify for Spectrum, but can't get them in because of the way the system is set up.

There is a mysterious IQ test given then if the child qualifies they can sit on waiting list for years trying to get in to Spectrum. In the south end, what the schools call "Spectrum" is often nothing more than extra worksheets! No wonder parents of color often ignore the testing process.

Kids should qualify for Spectrum based on their ability to work at least one grade ahead, demonstrated by report card or WASL. Or by the IQ test, but not required to do both.

True Spectrum programs should be offered to meet demand, which may be 10%-15% of all kids in the district. This brings advanced learning into the neighborhoods and communities without splitting APP. But it has to be a real program, not like we have now in the south end.

Parents resent seeing their kids score just one point lower than the neighbor kid, who gets into APP and has guaranteed placement with transportation for life. Meanwhile their child languishes on a waiting list for Spectrum, often for years.

That's my take on the resentment, and I refuse to let the district cause me to infight against other parents because this us-versus-them situation is so artificial! If the district really cared about supporting advanced learning, they would expand REAL Spectrum programs and not limit them to a single school per cluster. At no extra cost!

Melissa Westbrook said...

Rudy, there's also the subsection of administrators, educators, parents and the general public who simply do not believing in separating kids for teaching. "Every kid in the same classroom." Keep in mind that this isn't true for music or athletics. Of course, you separate kids out, right? I wouldn't call it lobbying but a subtle pressure against and resistance to help parents know about these programs.

I will repeat what Charlie has said and I agree with - every child in SPS has a right to have their academic needs met, no matter where their abilities fall.

wseadawg said...

Shannon: RudyD diagnoses part of the APP perception issue, and Melissa addresses another part. My kid was in Spectrum and her teacher suggested we test her for APP, so we did. It wasn't easy opening the district letter, because we were already at a good school. Then we read that our kid had qualified and the anxiety really started. Long bus rides, unfamiliar community, already in a good school, and leaving neighborhood friends. Then we visited Lowell and, for us at least, found an environment we thought our daughter would love, and it has worked out great. But it was a leap of faith, and with Spectrum in demand at our old school, if it didn't work, we were in trouble.

Many Spectrum kids qualify, but don't make the jump, or as RudyD says, miss by a point or two, and that tiny distinction winds up leading to a substantially different experience between previously indistinguishable kids, which is hard to justify and accept, as it results from simply "having to draw a line somewhere." But many parents also choose to keep their kids closer to home, preferring the benefits of attending the local school, like having more school friends in the neighborhood. It's a trade- off, and not an easy one, I assure you.

I put myself in other's shoes, and yes, I can see why it seems unfair or elitist to treat such close peers so differently. But the district chooses where to draw the lines, after consulting with the "Gifted Child" experts. I despise the "Gifted" designation by the way, as obnoxious and offensive, and I wish they'd dump it entirely, because all kids are on the same continuum of learning, and Spectrum is "advanced learning" too. It's set up for a one point test score difference to label one kid "gifted" and one not. Plus many spectrum kids will test into APP at the middle or high school level, so it's silly to me to "tier" them earlier on with such designations.

Who wouldn't think a school for "Gifted" children was full of kids and parents who think they are better than everyone else? It's not accurate, but that designation doesn't do much to dispel the myths.

On the other hand, many parents and teachers outside APP just repeat what they hear from others, and don't really understand APP at all. I've heard the "untouchable" accusation before, and have to reply, "yeah, right!" (What's this blog about?)

I suggest you just check it out for yourself and see what you think. Don't let anyone talk you in or out of going the APP route, or you'll be sure to regret it.

wseadawg said...

And Rudy: That's why APP parents are taking up the Spectrum cause, whether they split APP or not. It serves such a larger percentage, and having experienced a solid, properly resourced Spectrum program at our prior school, I can attest that it was a great program, too. I truly believe if they had all the Spectrum programs running and resourced as they should be, the resentment you describe against APP would diminish, because so many more children would be having their needs properly met a Spectrum school closer to their home.

wseadawg said...
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AutismMom said...

And why haven't the APP classrooms sufficed? What would they need to suffice?

Look, the reason students don't get included almost always boils down to staff not believing in it. Simple. I don't know the details but I think it's been if 1 teacher will do it ... then ok... (but minimal) if not, well too bad. This sort of thing shouldn't be left up to "the willingness" of any particular staff. The deal is, the staff needs to just do it, commit as a school. And that would mean, working signficantly outside of the box, and outside their comfort zone.

I know people have had problem getting appropriate curriculum. This curriculum problem, again, isn't unique to Lowell. Answer: uhhh I know, "order it" (like you do for everyone else)... or drive down the street to another school and "borrow it".

Here's a great book explaining how to integrate classrooms. It's focus is on students with severe autism, but it can apply in here too.

And btw, what about field trips? Camps (the fifth grade thing) etc. Will disabled kids in the programs be going?

But one other thing is, some parents do want to be closer to their homes, and not in a program like this at all. I understand this completely... but moving the program doesn't accomplish that goal either.

Josh Hayes said...

North-end mom, I hear you -- when you say:

I had to chuckle over your comment about squeezing 25 kids into a classroom. That is currently considered a small class size for all but the primary grades at NE schools.

I see what you mean, but I was thinking of putting 25 kids into our library space and calling it a classroom--apparently, our OFFICE is considered fair game for classroom space by the district as well. Go figure.

It's worth pointing out that we've taken that Title I funding at AS1 and put it toward shrinking our class sizes: while Dr. G-J thinks that the desire for smaller class sizes is unsupported, in the real world it's clear that fewer kids per teacher means more time per kid from the teacher.

My feeling is that if a K-5 classroom is regularly topping 25 kids, with one teacher and no full-time aide, that's simply wrong. I was all set up to write off the Laurelhurst people, for instance, as whiners, a few months back, until I listened to a Kindergarten teacher there talk about how much she loved her job (yeah, yeah) and how dedicated she was to it (oh, sure) and how it was simply not possible when she had 32 kids in her class (Holy COW! She's totally right!).

I know that our classrooms would be great places for a lot of kids who are currently stuffed like sardines into "traditional" rooms, but the district has been, um, less than supportive in our efforts to encourage an influx, shall we say.

But this has strayed far off the stated topic, and for that I apologize.

a mom said...

Hello -

I am an APP parent who received an email from another APP parent who attended Harium's coffee hour on Saturday. It said:

"…that at today's Harium Martin-Morris' coffee hour he revealed that these Design teams (made up of principals, staff and two parent volunteers) will be empowered to make decisions, including having APP classes which do not have to be "contained". meaning, classes could be blended if the design team at that school decides they want it that way. it was quite shocking. as this is different than what bob Vaughn has been saying/promising. apparently the superind will have the power to approve or disapprove but if she thinks it's a good idea, classes may not stay contained."

Does anyone know anything more about what this means, and if it is true?

Wondering now what the district's true intentions are for the future of APP ....

Ben said...

All I know about is what you know about it.

And all I can say about it right now is "What the hell!"

Is SPS really so down on APP? First we get handed one justification for splitting it after another (building condition, capacity, special ed, diversity), and now this!

Is their goal truly to dismantle APP?

wseadawg said...

AutismMom: I understand the willingness part. My curriculum question was, assuming it was available (gen ed level), could it not be "differentially" taught by an APP teacher in an APP classroom. The whole "typically developing peers" label throws me. What's atypical about the APP kids besides working on curriculum 2 levels ahead? The district keeps saying Spec Ed must have Gen Ed around for inclusion because, apparently, only Gen Ed kids are "typically developing peers" under Federal Law, for Spec Ed kids to be included with. I know special ed law is complex, but it seems like the easiest solution for any special ed kid with an IEP for inclusion, is to include them in an APP class, but provide them with work appropriate to their grade level instead of 2 years ahead.

The district apparently won't budge on the Typ. Dev. Peers definition meaning only Gen Ed kids. (Yet another way they say APP kids are special, gifted, too elitist, etc., etc. Now they're too good for the special ed kids they've been in school with all this time. Segregate the APP kids, then call them exclusive? Huh? Nice SPS!)

Thanks for any replies A-M. Appreciate teh helpful feedback.

AutismMom said...

Wseadawg, historically IEPs do not get to specify either curriculum or methodology. Some people think with recent updates to IDEA and NCLB that IEP's are indeed permitted, if not required, to determine these specifics.

IEP's do specify goals, objectives, and location of service.

My curriculum question was, assuming it was available (gen ed level), could it not be "differentially" taught by an APP teacher in an APP classroom.

In theory, of course. My previous post lists a book describing how to do this. In practice, it's hard to tell if it will workout without the details of the students and staff involved.

As to "typically developing", it is a very broad educational term used to distinguish disabled students from non-disabled students, and that's it. It isn't used to weed out every sort of talent, personality difference, or developmental anomoly. In that case, nobody would be "typically developing". Yes I believe APP students are typically developing. They are also "non-disabled" as required by IDEA.

Would a broader range of students be better? Yes, I think it would.

another mom said...

"…that at today's Harium Martin-Morris' coffee hour he revealed that these Design teams (made up of principals, staff and two parent volunteers) will be empowered to make decisions, including having APP classes which do not have to be "contained". meaning, classes could be blended if the design team at that school decides they want it that way. it was quite shocking. as this is different than what bob Vaughn has been saying/promising. apparently the superind will have the power to approve or disapprove but if she thinks it's a good idea, classes may not stay contained."

If this is what one board member perceives as the appropriate role of the new design teams, YIKES! It is terrible marketing to change a highly successful program in this way, and for parents,this looks to be a bit of bait and switch. This sort of wholesale disregard for students and parents is shocking. Only two parents will be on this committee, probably one from APP and one from the Neighborhood? Based on the composition of the design teams, parents in either program will have little voice. It is time that policy makers/decision makers come clean. What is the goal of splitting APP?

TechyMom said...

Another Mom said
"It is time that policy makers/decision makers come clean. What is the goal of splitting APP?"

That is the crux of the matter. No one has articulated, at least in a way that rings true, what reason there is *to* split APP right now. Maybe it is part of a larger vision. OK, what's the vision? Let's decide what we're trying to do, and give the public time to get used to it (or maybe even give input on it? shocking!) before we run off and start implenting stuff. What are we trying to accomplish, how does this help, and what's the next step after that? How will you know when you've accomplished it, or made progress towards it?

Keepin'On said...

Full disclosure first - I do not have any kids in APP myself.

I guess I think that if you look at this district and their disregard of the Spectrum program (not enough program offered for the students interested in it - kids waitlisted for years, no real spectrum available in Middle School, etc), and you look at the new edicts on standardizing cirriculum, and allowing greater "access" to AP courses in Roosevelt High School (the canary in the mineshaft?), by basically denying students the right to take AP Euro as 10th graders, you can see where this is going.

It is my firm belief, and has been since we entered Seattle public Schools, that the powers that be downtown would like nothing better than to see all APP and Spectrum programs disappear completely. Bob Vaughn or no Bob Vaughn. I think Dr. Goodloe Johnson is firmly on the side of elminating these programs as she views then as elitist, etc, and that creating excellence for all means lack of rigor for those who need it.

Just my opinion, but I think the writing on the wall is getting larger. How do you eliminate APP - you start by splitting the program. No doubt many guarentees will be made, and lots of rhetoric will flow, but I think this district will look very different in three years or so.

Just my opinion - I would love to be proved wrong, but doubt I will.

dj said...

Keepin' On, if there are guarantees being made about the APP program in the first place, I'd love to hear about them.

We're not getting empty rhetoric, even, that I am seeing.

Keepin'On said...

DJ - Good point! I guess they can't be held accountable, if they don't say anything.

Maybe they ARE working smarter!

Ben said...

Even if there were guarantees, SPS has worked mightily to make sure none of would take the guarantees seriously.

They've bred a bunch of cynics.

seattle citizen said...

Keepin' On - You write that "...downtown would like nothing better than to see all APP and Spectrum programs disappear...Dr. Goodloe Johnson is firmly on the side of elminating these programs as she views then as elitist, etc, and that creating excellence for all means lack of rigor for those who need it."

I don't know if downtown sees APP and Spectrum as elitist, or if they are aiming to create "common curriculum" across all grades and schools. If the aim is to have common curriculum (see Math and LA threads), then the preference, I would imagine, would be to get rid of any "oddball" programs that can't be standardized.
There is much talk about differentiation (see previous threads) and whether this is possible or not in classrooms, but it is apparent that the district is "streamlining" everything, and this will likely see the elimination of all things that don't connect to some grand plan.

I would foresee the elimination of APP, Spectrum, and also any Alt school (or Non-Traditional) that can't somehow hook itself into common assessments, GLEs, and packaged curricula as provided by Scholastic Corp. and Steck-Vaughan Co., et al.

While APP students might do well on WASL, so they have the common assessment piece, they do NOT focus on reading standardized textbooks, which are known to be very shallow, due to their desires not to offend the officials of NY, Texas and California who purchase their products.