Monday, June 22, 2009

Charters

This article appeared in the NY Times about the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, and a speech he will make this week to charter school leaders. I thought this was a good basic starting point for charter discussion. From the article:

"In an interview, Mr. Duncan said he would use the address to praise innovations made by high-quality charter schools, urge charter leaders to become more active in weeding out bad apples in their movement and invite the leaders to help out in the administration’s broad effort to remake several thousand of the nation’s worst public schools.

Since 1991, when educators founded the first charter school in Minnesota, 4,600 have opened; they now educate some 1.4 million of the nation’s 50 million public school students, according to Education Department figures. The schools are financed with taxpayer money but operate free of many curricular requirements and other regulations that apply to traditional public schools.

Mr. Duncan’s speech will come at a pivotal moment for the charter school movement. The Obama administration has been working to persuade state legislatures to lift caps on the number of charter schools."

What I have found doing research is what this latest study from Stanford University says:

"The Stanford study, by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes, used student achievement data from 15 states and the District of Columbia to gauge whether students who attended charter schools had fared better than they would if they had attended a traditional public school.

“The study reveals that a decent fraction of charter schools, 17 percent, provide superior education opportunities for their students,” the report says. “Nearly half of the charter schools nationwide have results that are no different from the local public school options, and over a third, 37 percent, deliver learning results that are significantly worse than their students would have realized had they remained in traditional public schools.”

However, here is Secretary Duncan's call to arms:

"But, the speech says, states should scrutinize plans for new charter schools to allow only high-quality ones to open. In exchange for the autonomy that states extend to charter schools, states should demand “absolute, unequivocal accountability,” the speech says, and close charter schools that fail to lift student achievement.

Mr. Duncan’s speech calls the Stanford report — which singles out Arizona, Florida, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio and Texas as states that have done little to hold poorly run charter schools accountable — “a wake-up call.”

“Charter authorizers need to do a better job of holding schools accountable,” the speech says. (Mr. Duncan is to note exceptions like the California Charter Schools Association, which last week announced a plan to establish and enforce academic performance standards for charter schools.)"

And that's it in a nutshell: if you are going to take public money for charters, then the states have to craft legislation that holds them to a high standard and close those that don't. Most states don't. If the feds think charters are a good thing, then have federal standards. This is the same thing that should happen with public schools - do better or face severe consequences.

30 comments:

Roy Smith said...

do better or face severe consequences.

Which leads to the $64 question: What is "better", and how do you measure it?

What criteria did the Stanford study use to evaluate student achievement and superior education opportunities?

zb said...

You can read the study here:

http://credo.stanford.edu/

As well as summaries/press releases.

I'm suspicious of data that's divided into three categories (significantly better/significantly worse, and no different) and that 17+37+50 add up to more than 100. But, I'll read the report before coming to any misleading conclusions

Roy Smith said...

The study appears to measure "better" by evaluating improvement over time of results in reading and math, according to the results of standardized testing. No other subjects or considerations of the diverse reasons parents choose schools for their children seem to be considered, as far as I can tell from reading the study methodology section of the report.

dan dempsey said...

Having been in CA and looked at CA charters within LAUSD in fact teaching at The Accelerated School, I have the following Charter School thoughts:
#1 Mixed bag
#2 Less bureaucratic big district politics
#3 Different politics
#4 Required parental involvement is the big charter advantage
#5 Many charters have high teacher turn over, as without union involvement some create bizarre working conditions.
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I think that Seattle Schools could be significantly improved by making some changes. I am less than convinced that permitting charters would have a beneficial effect as measured in elevated academic performance.
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The governance model of the SPS is defective. Currently those in power would have us believe there are two choices:
#1 Centralized autocratic decision making (although rhetoric never admits this is the model) or
#2 Autonomous schools with no accountability.
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Of course there are many other choices but these are never considered or even acknowledged. Scott Oki believes strongly in
#3 Autonomous schools with great accountability to the neighborhood using a board of trustees for each school.

Clearly the current governance model is grossly inadequate. In the performance evaluation that Director Sundquist read at the last board meeting the lowest number he read was 2.0 and that was for academics.

We have a part time volunteer school board attempting to direct a far less than competent Central Administration. (Which often feeds the board less than accurate information) Look at facilities or most any department and the room for improvement is obvious and yet corrections fail to occur.

Yes!!! a big change that will bring positive academic improvements is needed, unfortunately we may get charters instead.


A great change currently would be having the board govern effectively rather than reactively. We see two choices with schools:
#1 keep existing schools open (and unchanged)
#2 close some schools (to supposedly save money)
again there are other options but in the reactive model they are never considered.
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The Administration continues to ignore D44.00 and D45.00 as well as the state math standards k-8 and the NMAP recommendations and apparently wishes the Classroom disruption law 28A 600.020 did not exist.
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Look for the next fiasco to be increased mainstreaming ... while an increase in mainstreaming may be appropriate, I believe that team MG-J will produce yet another fiasco.

Time will tell but don't believe all that you are told.

seattle citizen said...

What's "better"?

I can tell you: engaged students learning about important concepts (some "standard") and ideas while involving themselves in their world. Students learning how to write AND communicate otherwise in "the language of power," in expression, in argument with new and spontaneous ideas...Students literate in a variety of disciplines (not necessarily to the same degree as each other in each discipline) and able to compare, contrast and correlate a variety of materials and other inputs, again not the same inputs for each student.
Students are "better" when they cogently discuss or present on important issues and themes in their world, drawing on a variety of sources and precedent while investigating and inquiring along new (often non-standard) lines.
Students can compute, in their heads and on scratch paper (no calculators!) various mathematical problems, not just for the math in them but because this fosters a mind capable of extrapolating from the "math" part of the brain into other areas, such as demographics, design and (of course!) handling money.
Assessments strictly in Reading and Math miss many other subjects, of course, but rarely assess the correlations between those disciplines and all the others.
Lastly but not leastly, students are better when everyone around them is better.

Hmm, WV has it wrong: instead of "noessess," we need essessments that are relevant to quality education and unique styles and capacities for various "intelligences," to borrow from Gardner...

TechyMom said...

I've often wondered... If our alternative schools (and language immersion, montessori, IB, etc) had charter agreements, would they be safer from being closed down on the whim of the district? If they wanted to use evaluation methods other than math and reading scores, wouldnt' those be written into the charter?

sped said...

Dan, don't worry your pretty little head about "increased mainstreaming". Do you know of a single "to be mainstreamed" kid, that wouldn't have been "mainstreamed" anyway? I don't, but maybe you know a lot. Are your wife's kids being mainstreamed (you know, the kids in her classes)? The fact is, they cut the "inclusion programs"... not the "self-contained programs." Those are all still there. Not 1 student removed, and all kids at every grade are still able to color in the "self-contained" bubble on the form. BUT, if you're just starting out in K, you're not able to select "inclusion" program. Gone.

Now, since you're a math guy, solve this everyday math word problem. If you subtract out inclusion programs, but keep self-contained programs, what do you get more of? ???

If you colored in the self-contained bubble, you answered correctly!

BTW. Self-contained != Mainstream. QED!

adhoc said...

I'm not opposed to curriculum alignment, but I am opposed to strict standardization. Especially, when the materials that are standardized are sub par and ineffective (EDM, CMP, Discovering Series, Writers Workshop, etc).

By the district standardizing with sub par materials, pacing guides, and robotic lesson plans, they are flinging wide the door for charter schools.

Families may see charters as their only escape. Families who didn't like the standard school model used to be able to choose an alternative school, but now even alternative schools are required to use the same materials, grading systems, schedule, etc as every other school (are they even alternative anymore?). Not to mention that the alt schools that families can choose from will be severely limited with the new SAP.

We are a very different district now than we did when the first two charter bills came before us for a vote, and we rejected them. I'm not so sure we would reject a charter bill this time around.

If families have the opportunity to choose a traditional math charter school, or a democratic free school charter, or a Waldorf charter school, or... I think they might be interested.

dan dempsey said...

adhoc raises interesting questions. Consider the following:
Does the Broad Foundation have too much influence?


MG-J is on the Board of the Broad.
MG-J pushes standardization.
Broad pushes Charter schools.

adhoc points out that frustration with MG-J's monolithic push for standardization may be the source of a push for Charter Schools.

I've never been much or a conspiracy theorist ..... but when hit over the head with a shoe ... that you are not allowed to throw back .... you may be better off wearing it than continuing to be pummeled with it.
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The Summit closing looks very much like another motivation for charters.
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Dr. Richard A. Askey's fine paper
Good Intentions Are Not Enough
precisely details the k-12 math flop the kids are now sentenced to serve in SPS prison.
-----------------------------------
The old board picked MGJ, who was Broad trained or was it the Broad trained the old Board to pick MGJ.
-----------------------------------
Why is it the three newer board members who each had in excess of $100,000 in campaign donations + Cheryl Chow are always voting for lunacy?
Crap Math
Denny/Sealth
Close schools like Summit so old schools need to be opened.
Can hardly wait for their thinking on STEM Option Cleveland.
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Needless to say I am still disturbed at the (introduction/action one meeting slam dunk) 7-0 vote to raise MGJ's salary and extended her contract in violation of Board Policy in June 2008.

Whenever possible ignore the public but be sure and ask for public support.

I liked Ricky Malone thanking Cheryl Chow for not running during Ricky's testimony at the last board meeting.

Sahila said...

Its not so hard and it doesnt have to be charter...

Google "New Zealand - Tomorrow's Schools" for a look at a different model...

And for reports on the pros and cons:

http://www.mercatus.org/uploadedFiles/Mercatus WP0901_GAP_New%20Zealand%20Reforms.pdf

http://www.nzcer.org.nz/default.php?products_id=133

So, if you're own system is broken and you've got a model that's working elsewhere and you already know what are the pros and cons in that other model so that you can adjust for them, why wouldnt you be willing to give it a try? What have you got to lose? Especially if you were sincere in your desire to give your kids the best educational outcome possible?

PS.... I will get this live link thingy worked out before the end of the week!

adhoc said...

Can a long term parent or staff member from AS1 or another alt school post about how your school has changed over the past 5-10 years. Has the alt culture and policies of your school changed? Has it watered down? And, if so, who is responsible for that (families, MGJ's standardization, the princpal)?

emeraldkity said...

I prefer that the federal government allow states to determine charter school requirements, just as the feds allow states to determine what levels of health care are available.

Otherwise- I think it is too easy for restrictions to be passed that aren't applicable ( or desirable) for the majority of the country.

Do we want the federal government to come up with one test for all high school seniors?


If McCain and Palin had gotten into office, would we have wanted to see all school health clinics restricted to " just say no" birth control?

Some districts ( like Lake Washington), welcome staff and community input, even to the point of supporting ideas for new schools.

If Seattle was more receptive to feedback and adept at utilizing local resources I don't think we would have gotten to the point where we are even talking about charters.

But the public school district should serve all the children of the city -standardization & uniformity is not the answer we have been looking for.
I would also like to see an elected superintendent of schools, perhaps we would see some accountability?

adhoc
As I have posted elsewhere- I had been interested in Summit K-12 since the early 1980's. I had attended an alternative high school in the Lake Washington district & I was drawn to the opportunities that a well supported K-12 school could offer.
While even 25 years ago, I remember attending meetings in support of Summit K-12, because I believed that choices for families made the district and the city stronger, it was a different school, with more students who were Summiteers and more families who were able to give time in and out of the classroom.
When my younger daughter began Summit, we had weekly swimming in elementary school, a vocal group in elementary, jazz instrumental and vocal in high school & more arts programs than they had when they closed the doors, despite the hard work of the parents and teachers.

Out of the classroom time is not valued in the district Not on the WASL,, even though the skills acquired through out of the building experiences at Summit( and at Garfield, where my daughter chose to attend high school, because of programs like GTA- ironic though- considering how the district likes to boast of some of the out of the building experiences, like Essentially Ellington competition) boosted her academic and life achievements to a level that I never would have predicted when she entered SPS at eight years of age.

owlhouse said...

"Since 1991, when EDUCATORS founded the first charter school..." (my emphasis)

The days of charters opened and led by educators, were short lived.

Every time the charter issue comes up, we raise the optimistic possibilities for unique and powerful schools, based on educational theories not often incorporated into our public system. And it's true, there are Waldorf, Montessori, democratic, art-based, language immersion... charters. They are roses amongst thorns- and too many have been "consolidated" or closed outright.

The charter movement has been co-opted by corporate-edu-philanthropists, who may or may not be well meaning. The majority of charter start-ups are now built and managed by entrepreneurs unfamiliar with the communities they serve, or the service (education) they provide. The fastest growing charter models are the scripted lesson, test prep factories devoid of critical thinking or creative expression.

The Stanford study is the first national, peer reviewed study of charters- but not the first to raise concerns. Last year, the U of Minnesota (home of the first charter) found that charters "underperform" their public counterparts and "intensify racial and economic segregation in the Twin Cities schools." This year's Rand study of 8 states found that students across multiple grade levels, perform on average, the same as their public school counterparts. The 2007 Princeton study DC charters found no evidence of charters producing improved academic outcomes, and did note negative consequences including "social fragmentation and stratification."

I recognize there are studies showing gains for charter students- but in following the funding and methodology of such, find zero objectivity and limited multi-state research.

Arguments for charter schools include increased choice, perhaps leading to improved parental involvement or better social/academic fit for a student. Additional advantages include decreased bureaucracy. So, how do we bring these advantages to the public system, where (theoretically) all students have access, all stakeholders have a voice, and all schools are accountable?

We've got work to do...

ZB- per your numbers, 37% performing worse + 17% performing better, leaves 46% or "nearly half" performing "no different".

owlhouse said...

Emeraldkitty- "Do we want the federal government to come up with one test for all high school seniors?"

I most certainly do not. The Democrats for Ed Reform and their business backers- do. Unfortunately, the Sec of Ed seems to be in line with them- believing that if we could just standardize, get everyone on the same page, stop "allowing" excuses- we'd have improved educational outcomes. This reactionary, fear based response leads to more testing (and hundreds of millions of investment $ for new and improved tests). Along the way, no one asked the teachers, students, families or communities what they need to better serve all students.

Below is an interesting 2000 article on pursuing "world class standards" while upholding "place-based pedagogy." In the 9 years since its publication, education has trended even further toward the goal of educating a global workforce. In light of the new push for standardization, via charters and public districts including our own, I look forward to renewing this conversation- advocating the importance of balancing locally determined curriculum, materials and instruction with any state or national standards.

http://www.ericdigests.org/2001-3/world.htm

dan dempsey said...

Owlhouse,

About 20 years ago when the first push for standards was starting to roll, economist Lester Thurow said:
"The best we can hope for are national subject area tests with a passed sticker for the diploma and a notation on the student's transcript that they passed and their score."

That would be a most acceptable test to me. Unfortunately that hardly looks like what is currently being planned by those in the know.

Sure wish Thurow's plan was today's goal. Instead the desire of the autocrats is to cajole or penalize the populace into bureaucratic submission for the good of the children. We are now reaching the point where many will need to succeed in spite of school. Long gone are the days of assisting the child to learn what is important and within the grasp of the individual child.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'd rather have one national test than 50 state tests. How can we ever, as a nation, say how our children perform if the standards and tests vary from state to state? And when the states range from Minnesota to Mass. to Mississippi, well, you can guess the outcomes.

owlhouse said...

Interesting, Dan. It sounds like there would be national standards in content area, but that graduation would not be dependent on meeting these? I could foresee a variation of that system. Still, do we want the federal government to come up with one test? Given that the federal government has turned to everyone other than educators to build a "reform" movement, all while blaming teachers and schools for a variety of societal challenges? I'm skeptical of their ability to develop an appropriate test. And, I wonder, what are the stakes? How is content determined? The ramifications for states, districts, individuals not meeting a standard? How will we recognize mastery of important subjects not easily demonstrated via bubble test or timed essay?

I'm genuinely interested in exploring these questions. I do think we can improve our public education system. I don't think we're taking the right steps, in Seattle or nationally.

adhoc said...

"Still, do we want the federal government to come up with one test?"

I'm not sure that I want the federal government to come up with "the test", but I absolutely would like to have a national test administered to all public school students. It's the only way to measure how we, as a district, are doing in comparison to the rest of the nation.

"I'm skeptical of their ability to develop an appropriate test."

I worry about this too, but surely there are a set of skills that we, as a nation, expect our children to master in our public schools. Surely the states could collectively agree on, and come up with, an appropriate test.

Personally, I think it is absolutely necessary for us to have a national test, and I would advocate in favor of this. However, I am not in favor of any "stakes" being placed on the test, for a state, a district, a school, or a student. And, I would adamantly oppose any "sanctions" to be placed on a state, district, or school as a result of test scores. I think the test should serve as a tool, and a way for a district to compare and measure their performance on a national level.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

I thought we already had some national tests. Years ago my daughter took things like the Iowa test in elementary school. And high schoolers take the SATs and ACTs. And aren't the AP tests nationally based? Why do we need more tests? Is it because we cannot trust the grades our children receive?

none1111 said...

So here's another angle to consider with charters:

1) It's pretty clear that the Broad Foundation has goals of making a move into Seattle.

2) It's also seems pretty clear to me that the current SPS administration is setting up the city to be amenable to this move. Anyone disagree?

I'm perfectly fine with the general notion of charter schools. What I'm not fine with is a non-local corporate body coming into our city and pushing their notion of charters schools down our throats.

I think if we, as parents, as a city, want to have any control at all over the direction this is going, we may need to be proactive. We need to consider if and/or how we'd like to see charters come into play that does NOT include non-local corporate sponsorship or ownership. It should be possible to draft legislation (through initiative, or whatever the appropriate means is) to spell out that any charters coming to Seattle will be created and managed locally, and without outside corporate oversight.

If you think voters are just going to keep reject charters, I think that's an naive, idealistic view right now. The Broad Foundation and their ilk are very well-heeled, very smart, very organized, and patient. They have been injecting "their people" into our system right before our eyes, and they are doing this for a reason.

So think about what a charter system would look like that would be acceptable, and consider moving proactively to make it happen - to block out the rest. I have no knowledge of how to work this process, but I think we need to start talking about it, otherwise our city is going to get blind sided.

Thoughts?

adhoc said...

Solvaygirl SPS does not administer any national tests in elementary or middle school. We used to have the ITBS (though I'm not sure it was a national test), but SPS no longer uses it, nor have they replaced it.

It is true that we have the SAT and the ACT, and they are national tests, but these tests are only taken by college bound students, and they are taken as a student is leaving high school. AP tests are even more selective as they are only taken by the districts highest achieving students - the students that are taking college level courses in high school.

owlhouse said...

none111-
You raise good points. I think you're right in recognizing the Broad Foundation agenda at work in Seattle. If the chaos and failings in our district lead our city to be sympathetic to the Charter cause, what will the state-wide impression be? With CAO Santorno moving to Tacoma, do we see a difference in leadership, an opportunity for career advancement, or another step in advancing the Charter cause? Plenty to keep an eye on.

Watching the national trends, I will not advocate any type of charter here. I will be proactive in supporting our district as it takes advantage of the policies in place to create new programs. I will work to cut red tape, streamline the bureaucracy, and otherwise improve public education. I see little in the charter movement worth embracing, and plenty - abuse, segregation, lowered academic outcomes, inexperienced teachers, lack of academic/budget oversite... to protect against.

wseadawg said...

none111: I caution your rationale. There may be a time when that tactic becomes necessary, but your analysis reminds me of a joke: Why support a Democrat? Because they lead you over the cliff slower than a Republican.

Before giving an inch, the truth about Charters needs to get out. They are successful in a few distinct areas, for some populations, but overall are not doing any better than traditional schools. The public is just getting word of this.

Nobody is naive about Broad's intent; Obama and Duncan are spewing the same drivel everyday, and backing it up with 100 million bucks to blackmail states with. (Do it our way or get no $!)

The DLC and Clintonites brought us Republican Light. The DFER are no different, and potentially much more harmful to public education long term.

Broad does what it believes it needs to do, with a classically justifiable "everybody wins" rationale for its tactics. What's wrong with turning public schools into for-profit enterprises if they improve kids' educations? Everybody likes a win-win, right? Except for the bodies of educators, children and parents that pile up along the way, what's the problem?

Sarcasm aside, marshalling the facts and getting the truth out to the masses is job one, before we even consider partnering up and associating with the idea of charters. Who would run them? Green Dot? KIPP? Edison? Who would staff them? TFA newbies on 2 year teaching stints?

It may be that if the public perceives public schools as continually failing to do the job, they may eventually vote for Charters, especially if Obama is touting them. It could transpire alot like welfare reform under Clinton. But if we don't get the facts out first, and allow charters in the door, the situation will be worse.

For now, we need to keep the conversation going and keep marshalling the facts.

adhoc said...

"I see little in the charter movement worth embracing, and plenty - abuse, segregation, lowered academic outcomes, inexperienced teachers, lack of academic/budget oversite... to protect against."

You don't have to wait for Charters to start "protecting against" these things. You can begin "protecting" right now as they are already here, in our Seattle Public Schools:

Abuse - student on student rapes where authorities are not called, teacher/student sexual abuse, militant style schools where kids have to walk with "hands on hips and fingers on lips", schools that do not allow recess.

Segregation - A new SAP with limited choice, lowest performing schools located in low income minority neighborhoods, MLK principal doesn't welcome "white" families, a large achievement gap that is not closing.

Lowered academic outcomes - WASL driven teaching, strong move toward standardization, inadequate material adoptions (EDM, CMP, Discovering), 58% on time high school graduation rate, 1 in 4 drop out rate, 50% of SPS high school students fail the math WASL, 62% of SPS high school students fail the science WASL, SPS graduates unprepared for college.

Inexperienced teachers - part time unpaid school board, senior teachers fleeing to other districts

Lack of budget over site - some of the largest class sizes in our nation, per pupil funding some of the lowest in the nation, excessive staff at the JSC, indulgent transportation spending, a Superintendent paid more than the mayor, a multi million dollar budget "mistake" under Olschefski, misguided BEX spending, and an ongoing and constant "deficit".

And these are just the things that I can think of off the top of my head.

owlhouse said...

Absolutely, adhoc, our current system is flawed and as informed stakeholders, it is up to us to help mend it. The great thing about this blog is that parents from across the district can share their experience and wisdom, problem solving together. Maybe we'll even gather steam and take some collective and cooperative action as Sahila suggests.

With Charters, the criminal and concerning issues appear amplified, with even fewer mechanisms for public oversight and involvement. And while we "could" write charters to allow for/require standards of community engagement or transparency, we may find ourselves shut out or legally challenged as so many districts have. Within our public system, we already have requirements for documentation, oversight, engagement and recourse (again, theoretically). We just have to figure out how to insist that the district uphold the rights of the students and community.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"AP tests are even more selective as they are only taken by the districts highest achieving students." Really? And your proof of this is? You absolutely know that throughout the district that only the highest achieving students are taking AP tests? I'd like to see that data.

AP is open to everyone and the district is trying to encourage all students to try a class. At RHS, all sophomores take AP Human Geography and I'd say maybe a 1/3 of them tried the test.

adhoc said...

"At RHS, all sophomores take AP Human Geography and I'd say maybe a 1/3 of them tried the test."

Melissa, I know that AP is open to all, but as you pointed out only 1/3 of the Roosevelt Students tried the test in one class (Human Geography) this year. Roosevelt is one of the top performing high schools in the district so if only 1/3 of Roosevelt students took the AP exam for an AP class they were required to take, I'd bet other high schools have many fewer students taking the test.

Do you think the results of AP exams are really useful on a broad scale? If only 1/3 of the districts highest motivated students in the districts highest performing school took an AP exam in one subject area, how is that useful on a broad scale.

If seems to me it is only useful in a narrow category.

Maureen said...

"At RHS, all sophomores take AP Human Geography and I'd say maybe a 1/3 of them tried the test."

Melissa or Dorothy: Do you know what percent of Roosevelt kids took the AP Euro exam in the past? (I believe that about 50% of 10th graders took the course, so if more than 66% took the exam, then I would say the "AP for all" experiment was not successful (well, in year one at least--so maybe I'm being unfair.) I forget, does the Jay Matthews scale count % taking AP exams, or % PASSING them? (The jury may still be out if more kids pass the HG exam than Euro)

Dora Taylor, AIA said...

I cannot find a place to post this so I am posting it here.

To follow were comments that I made at the budget hearing last night regarding the budget and the Broad Foundation:

Public Hearing on the School Budget for 2009-2010
June 29, 2009

First, I would like to note that I e-mailed to Michael DeBell and Mary Bass the contact information for the State Project Manager supervising the Pre-Disaster Mitigation funds for the State of Washington. This is the $3M grant that can be used to seismically upgrade the Meany building.
For the next item, I will be referring to page 23 of the budget that describes the expenses of the Core Administration. One of the key changes noted is an addition to the superintendent’s office of a Broad Resident and a senior admin staff position for an increase of $127,000.
Several of us want to know if this is related to the Broad Foundation. The Broad Foundation is clear in its’ goal of establishing charter schools in urban areas around the country. Charter schools basically being privatized schools that use public funds and which are more exclusive than inclusive of school populations.
In fact it’s common knowledge that Dr. Goodloe-Johnson is on the Board of Directors for the Broad Foundation. What might be less common knowledge is that Tom Payzant, the “independent evaluator” who was a part of the superintendent’s yearly evaluation this year is also a Broad graduate who is listed as a speaker in the Urban Superintendents’ Academy on the Broad Foundation’s website.
It is also our understanding that the Broad Foundation will be paying for half of the Broad Resident’s salary. We would like to know why we will be paying for this position at all when our students desperately need more teachers. Even one teacher can make a profound difference in the lives of many students and a positive impact on a school community within a year.
We want to know why there is so munch involvement with the Broad Foundation when none of us have either voted for or requested the Broad Foundation’s involvement in our school system particularly when we have voted twice against charter schools in our state.
We are following the money and we don’t like where some of it is going.
We would also like to know how the $9M Gates’ Foundation gift is being used by SPS. On KUOW, a representative of SPS stated that the money was being used for additional testing. If that is the case I want to know why the money is being spent on additional testing when we have the WASL, what is the test, who is evaluating the test results and what is the purpose is of the testing.
Basically we want more information provided on these subjects and more transparency on the use of our money.

dan dempsey said...

Dora Taylor has a concern about district funds paying for Broad residents because of less resources for schools.

In a similar vein I would still like to know the number of math coaches etc. that are floating around in next years budget.

It should be noted that NMAP found no valid research indicating that any of the following “math specialist teachers” are producing any Math improvement in US schools.

For “math specialist
teachers” of three different types—
#1... math coaches (lead teachers),
#2... full-time elementary mathematics teachers,
#3... and pull-out teachers.

They wish to see further research on only #2.
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I believe the reason for this is because some high performing math countries use #2 ( I doubt any place uses #1 to good effect and certainly not the SPS ... just look at EDM results from 2008 WASL).
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Larger class sizes for grades 2 through 5 ... Why?