Thursday, July 02, 2009

The Broad Foundation

It's clear that folks want to discuss the Broad Foundation, so, by all means, let's discuss it.

Here's their motto: "Transforming urban K-12 public education through better governance, management, labor relations and competition."

That prompts the questions: What is their idea of better governance, better management, better labor relations and competition?

Their idea of better governance can be found in Don McAdams book, "Reform Governance". Don McAdams was a member of the school board in Houston, Texas. I haven't read the book, but I'll get a copy as it appears to give a deep insight into their idea of how Boards should function.

Their idea of better management involves what they call "Active management of instructional improvement" and "Accountability and empowerment of schools". It's hard to cut through all of the buzz words and find any meaning.

We could definitely use better labor relations in Seattle Public Schools. The Broad Foundation has supported a number of "pay for performance" features in teacher contracts.

The competition they support is primarily from Charter schools.

Here's the weird thing, none of the stuff that I see on the Broad Foundation web site reminds me of what we're getting in Seattle. The Don McAdams book is all about the power that Boards have because they are democratically elected and they represent their constituencies and they are supposed to rally the community behind a reform movement that they are leading. I see the opposite here. The management looks like what Dr. Goodloe-Johnson is talking about, but I'll believe it when I see it. The labor relations here are about as bad as I have ever seen them, so I can't believe this represents an effort to improve them. And the pressure put on alternative schools is quashing competition, not encouraging it.

105 comments:

Sahila said...

When I posted some suggestions for reading on school management reform on Harium's blog, he wrote back that all the Board had been given the Don McAdams book to read....

Harium said:
"Thank you for the suggested reading. I have not read the book by Mr Dimmock. There are several books that all the board have copies of and have read and are reading they include:

"What School Boards Can Do" by Donald McAdams

"School Reform from the Inside Out" by Richard F. Elmore

" a framework for Understanding Poverty" by Ruby K. Payne"

It looks to me like the Board has taken the Broad bait, hook, line and sinker!

for info on the other two books/authors, go to:

http://www.edweek.org/media/elmore_reform.pdf

http://www.shankerinstitute.org/shankerboard.html

and:
http://www.rethinkingschools.org/archive/21_02/fram212.shtml

wv = notion!!! does Broad think we dont have a notion as to what's going on?

dan dempsey said...

Broad Foundation makes efforts to improve urban education through better governance. NO it does not say that. It says Transforming urban K-12 public education. So what in the world does transform mean?

1...(transitive) to change greatly the appearance or form of

2...(transitive) to change the nature, condition or function of

Nope I do not want Broad doing any of this. Next question… who provided the grant funding for the $753,000 to hire "Education First" to tell us what our high school curricula should look like?
This is looking like the great marionette show there are so many strings attached to this school system.
(note: "Education First" under "what we read" on their website no listing for the Natrional Math Advisory Panel final report.... only lists the type of reading material that produced our current math mess)

As you know I’ve had a 2.5 year beef about SPS math. Currently there is a legal appeal filed in Superior court over the Discovering Math high school adoption. Here we have a great example of MG-J decision making in action.

Just prior to MG-J's arrival
May 2007 the Everyday Math (EDM) adoption occurred after I dumped five months of testimony and piles of relevant data on both administration and the school board. No problem they ignored it all and trotted out cherry-picked stats (Brad Bernetek helped) to get the board to vote 6-0 for EDM + Singapore. Year one results EDM produced worse results (grade 4 WASL math 2008) despite 75 minute math classes and professional development. 6 of 6 acheivement gaps expanded.
(end of part I)

dan dempsey said...

part II

After another 2 years I’d gotten a wee bit smarter and decided to watch closer. How does this work? Courtesy of Freedom of Information requests and legal action shows how this works.

Background ….Remember that the Santorno-MG_J's first choice was IMP (the UW choice) which produced absolutely catastrophic results at Cleveland. These folks do not wish to be denied. MG-J hates losing.

#1.. Stack the adoption committee … we have the 5 questions and the scoring rubric it is clear reform math enthusiasts wanted.

#2.. On March 3, 2009 I informed Anna Maria that the State Board of Education Consultant's mathematicians had found the Discovering Series Mathematically Unsound and she should inform the core-committee of this finding. It did not happen. My letter an email was not in the materials submitted upon which the HS adoption decision was based. A person on the committee reported no mention of this occurred at the next meeting.

#3.. The National Math Advisory Panel final report “Foundations for Success” is the current definitive document for mathematics education. The core-committee did not use it in decision making as it was not in the submitted materials. There can now be little wonder as to why they ignored the Report's focus on preparation for and access to "Authentic Algebra". They did not read the report.

#4.. The OSPI favorites Dr King & George Bright churned out a report saying that Discovering Math was super duper. This report was submitted in the materials used to make the decision.

#5.. What was not present were the extremely detailed reports from the State Board of Education Consultant's Mathematicians as in Independent Mathematicians with no ties to the OSPI agenda. Yes the two extensive reports one by Dr. Guershon Harel of San Diego and the other by Johns Hopkins Math department head W. Stephen Wilson, who is a current member of the National Common Core State Standards Development feedback group were not submitted as these detailed documents were not used in the decision making. We have 1200 pages and these reports are not there.

This seems to be typical of how the public gets the MG-J version of data driven decision making with full transparency …. If you can afford several thousand in legal fees to find out how contrived and dishonest the decision making process is you get transparency otherwise no.

No I do not like the Broad “Transforming” of the district. I vote NO but I live out of district now so I have no vote .... as if anything makes a difference anymore under the rule of Broad.

Donations needed to fight the entrenched possibly corrupt establishment.

Thanks from Marty, Cliff, & DaZanne, the plaintiffs.

THE COURT ACTION

Sahila said...

I am wondering what it would take to get Broad influence out of SPS...? Seriously, what would we have to do?

We can see the links - people and money trails, we can identify and counter the educational reform lies, we can show lack of achievement/results, we can show shocking waste of money and resources, we can show damage to our various student populations and the community at large, we can show the insidious/covert/clandestine takeover of management of the District, without mandate from the community, indeed expressly against the wishes of the community - see the repeated refusals to allow charter schools in the state...

Its the same question I have about the Board - how much do we need to take action, and what action can we take.... anyone with links to legal people?

WenG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dan dempsey said...

Another Broadie in the News:

July 2, 2009 - A hastily revived Board of Education voted unanimously Wednesday to retain Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, but didn't allow public comment at its first meeting in seven years.

Very similar to MG-J's original slam-dunk pay raise & contract extension.
---------------------

Getting the Broad out of Seattle... that may take more than a little thinking and action

I suggest more resistance in public for starters while a comprehensive plan is devised.
Last night at the board meeting several testimony slots went unused.

Scott Oki's "Outrageous Learning" has some anti Broad elements.

We need to figure out what is out there ... easier to build alliances than starting from scratch.

First of all let me say I want Broad Out of Seattle. Who knows some may argue for Broad's continued presence.
---------------------
I think the Math legal appeal is a good start on the stuff it senario.

WenG said...

Sahila, I think the coming academic year will be the turning point, one way or another, for SPS and MG-J's leadership. So much has been set into motion.

If her plans are going to be proven right or wrong, we'll see the results within months. The more everyone can do to force more awareness of the full picture might affect the outcome. Two years ago, I felt strongly that the new sup chosen for SPS might be the last to lead the district before the city, indeed, decided to take over the district. I hope I'm proven wrong on this, because Broad, Kipp et al target schools that are in line to be taken over, or already there. Outsourcing is the name of the game. If I saw that the Broad Foundation was actually helping, I'd be interested in seeing more. So far, MG-J's actions, the actions of her staff, don't tell me the proof will be in the pudding. For a Broad board member, I'm not at all impressed with her engagement, or her results to date. Sloppy, trite, evasive. That's all I see.

Body painting, collective action? Yes. Then lawyer up and investigate where every dollar is going.

Where are the foundations that help parents and students?

Dan: I agree. The appeal is good news. Keeping my fingers crossed on that one, and I was also happy to learn (from Adhoc?) that Shoreline is dropping Discovery.

dj said...

WenG, not to be difficult at all, but how will we know next year whether or not the Superintendant's various changes/plans/etc. have succeeded? How are we measuring success?

beansa said...

Tell Broad to hit the road!

I guess I now know what my summer reading will be. I am interested in protesting or doing some kind of activism to raise awareness of the Broad influence in SPS - but I feel like first I need to know what I'm talking about.

So I guess my first step is more research. And maybe showing up at meetings with signs and some kind of info to pass out?

Chris said...

At the board meeting Wednesday, when Michael DeBell asked about schools with elementary math waivers, Anna Maria said there were 2, North Beach and Schmitz Park. When she was asked how they were doing, she said she saw "teachers engaged and working together" and that "good things would happen" in those cases "regardless of the materials used."

Hmmm. Seems like a dangerous, and dangerously accurate, thing to say. Unfortunately these two schools are not particularly underserved or underperforming. Can we get waivers at schools where EDM has been particularly unhelpful?

For the record, I am not personally comfortable showing up in body paint, but I would be quite willing to show up wearing nothing but EDM consumables.

Reader said...

Interesting about the math exemptions for North Beach and Schmitz Park. Those schools have had really significant declines in math performance over the last 5 years. Check it out.

North Beach 2003 90% pass rate
North Beach 2007 70% pass rate

Schmitz Park 2003 84% pass rate
Schmitz Park 2007 60% pass rate

Wow. Very significant performance declines. And a worse trend than the district as a whole. And very ho-hum performance for their relative demographics. The board should rescind their exemptions. Records like that blow the "it's all the EDM's fault". If you say you love "data", you can't just cherry pick.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

Well I guess we need MORE data on those two schools. When did they switch from EDM? Before or After the decline?

Not up for body paint either—t'would not be a pretty sight! Now an outfit made from EDM consumables....hmmm.

owlhouse said...

Reader-
Interesting that you found the numbers so quickly. At the board meeting, Ms. De La Fuente glossed over the question of performance- saying that as the district is not using those materials, thus they are not tracking the success... but that schools where teachers are working working together, results will be positive. To add to Solvey's questions- has there been a demographic shift? High rotation of teachers or administrators? I wound think it would be important for SPS to keep an eye on these schools- not just the testing data, but the lessons developed, student engagement, parental support...

owlhouse said...

Maybe everyone has already seen this- but Broad's Education Quarterly, 4th quarter '08, features Seattle.

http://www.broadacademy.org/news/newsletters/4q2008/index.html

Given some of the concerns, maybe we should organize a parent, student, teacher round table and invite Seattle Broad residents to participate? As long as they're here- they should know what we want and need, and how we can help.

(Body paint and EDM costumes welcome!)

dj said...

Thanks for the link, Owlhouse. It continues to raise for me the same questions. Dr. Goodloe-Johnson wants to have "the best urban school district in the nation." How do we evaluate "best urban school district"? Is it percentage of students who choose public schools? Highest average standardized test scores? Lowest percentage of students with failing standardized test scores? Highest level of reported parent satisfaction? Highest percentage of kids who go on to college? Fewest families reporting that their needs are not being even minimally met? Highest SAT scores? Most even distribution of students across schools? Smallest performance gap between FRE students and non-FRE students? (Measured by what?) Spending the least amount of money per student? The most? Running in the black versus the red? Getting national organizations and media outlets to write articles about your school district?

That list is nowhere near exhaustive and those measures aren't mutually exclusive. What is getting me increasingly frustrated, however, is having no sense of what a "successful" school district would look like in the superintendant's (or the school board's) eyes.

beansa said...

I am pretty sure North Beach has had Saxon math for at least the past three years. They were definitely doing Saxon when I toured there looking at Ks which would have been the 2006-07 school year.

Here are the North Beach WASL pass rates:
3rd 4th 5th
2005-06 91.7 81.1 77.1
2006-07 92.3 91.9 87.5
2007-08 84.4 70.8 89.2

Josh Hayes said...

Thanks for the numbers, beansa.

That's a staggering one-year drop in math pass. What the heck happened? I have to think a teacher or two left, or something.

WV: It must be Wimbledon time, says seles

Dorothy said...

The North Beach WASL numbers do not indicate anything to me. Have you seen the WASL tests? If you get a chance, ie, if you have an elementary school kid who took it, go look at your child's test. It is very much aligned with the "reform" math ideas of problem solving, writing out answers in specific ways. Not necessarily aligned with the goals of Saxon. I would want to see something more straightforward, MAP comparisons or something before making a judgment. I truly think that elementary school kids need to concentrate on computational fluency which should be used to drive a growing functional understanding. The EM approach which seems to focus on the conceptual understanding --- and hoping that it will drive computational fluency. I just do not believe that makes sense. So these wasl scores don't particularly distress or surprise me.

Sahila said...

Dorothy - I'm no expert (despite having four kids, three of whom have finished high school and two of whom have post grad quals), but with my children, especially with this youngster (just graduated kindergarten) on whom my life is focused now, I noticed that they learned more about math by thinking about and playing with concepts than through drilling computational fluency...

For example - my bright and theoretically underachieving (my and AS#1's on-purpose strategy - emergent learning) boy knows how to count past one hundred (no big deal, I know).... for fun sometimes, when we go on journeys he sees how far he can count without losing track of the numbers.... he needs help with the jumping from one level to another, sometimes in the tens and sometimes in the 100s.... but he's recognising the pattern and we are starting to play with the concepts contained in those patterns.

We use lots of 'what if' statements... if 9+1=10, what does 1+9=? if 10-1=9, what does 10-9=? and he has got to the point where he recognises that we are working with the same numbers, just changing the order.... he's getting that he doesnt have enough fingers and toes to count on and we sometimes dont have objects to do grouping and he's figured out that he can start at a certain point and carry out the operation, without having to hold all the preceding numbers in his head...

This is all in games and encouraging lateral thinking - nothing formal such as drilling computational fluency... and this ability to see the patterns and recognise the rules and figure out/problem solve how to work with numbers when you dont have physical objects to represent them is what he is taking into other subjects/areas of learning...

My daughters did this much earlier than my sons have done - both boys were 'slow' to get into both language and math exploration - around age 6, whereas the girls began playing with words and numbers from around 2-3. The boys were far more interested in exploring the physical world and building etc... it has been a challenge asking them to switch focus to sit still and learn to read and write and put language and number concepts on paper. AS#1 - a school attuned to all kinds of minds... know what kind of mind you have and work with that... pity much teaching and all standardised testing doesnt reflect this educational best practice.

Sahila said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sahila said...

And I meant to add as a final comment in my last post...

And, thinking about my child's journey and what his unfoldment means to his entire being, its a total joy and so exciting to watch him explore ideas, follow thoughts, literally watch his face light up when he suddenly and spontaneously 'sees' or 'gets' something, as if its the first time anyone ever 'got' that concept... and I see the confidence and his sense of self-empowerment and ability to manipulate his world grow, as he recognises and accepts and revels in and then flexes his own intellect...

And seeing that be the impetus for further exploration and discovery.... seeing the birth of the love of learning, for learning's sake...

That's what each of our kids deserves and that's what is our duty to enable to happen for them...

And, generally speaking SPS is failing in that... its quashing more than its nurturing... its constraining more than expanding... and this is what Broad and Gates are all about with their highly standardised models...

wv = emudful - internet knee-deep in muddy ideas?

Josh Hayes said...

That's a good point, Dorothy, about the WASL. I sort of lost track of that; I guess I assumed that, while the WASL is pretty useless, it's at least consistent. Guess not.

(My son, for instance, was incensed when he got back the results from his first-ever WASL to find that he'd barely passed, despite getting virtually every question right, because the explanations weren't deemed sufficient.)

hschinske said...

"Here are the North Beach WASL pass rates:
3rd 4th 5th
2005-06 91.7 81.1 77.1
2006-07 92.3 91.9 87.5
2007-08 84.4 70.8 89.2"

That's interesting, because as far as I know North Beach is not a school that has terrifically high turnover, so it's likely that essentially the same population who had a 92.3% pass rate on the third-grade WASL in 2006-7 had a 70.8% passing rate on the fourth-grade test the next year. So what changed? Other year-to-year scores look much more similar (e.g., the 2005-2006 third graders scored very similarly in third, fourth, and fifth grade).

Helen Schinske

Reader said...

Actually, I've looked at many, many WASL's. There are tons available on OSPI's website. It really isn't all that bad. No, there aren't piles of multiplication problems, or addition problems, but there are some. There are many reasonable questions, and questions reading data and answering questions. It isn't terrible. They are questions we'd all like our kids to be able to answer. Not that it's the "be all and end all" either. And of course the "math essays" from years past were time consuming to grade and probably quite subjectively graded. So, it's not perfect.

The bottom line is that we do have state standards, and the districts are supposed to teach the materials in the state standards. The question really is does EDM teach to the state standards or not? If so, then great! Can kids learn the standard material using something else like Saxon? If Saxon can not bring kids to the state standard, then we either use something else... or we need to get OSPI to change the state's standard. That is the essence of accountability. It seems to me that the answer is NO for these 2 schools. We all complain about "accountability" and use of "data".

My understanding is that over the last 5 years, the math WASL has actually gotten easier. Easier to get higher scores that is. While it may not be a perfect test, I darn well expect that schools like North Beach and Schmitz Park to perform excellently on WASL math, and to have a good performance trend, if they have somehow gotten a hall pass. Otherwise, why shouldn't every school get an "exemption"? Why have a standard curriculum? Why even bother with a state standard? From the data, it seems to me that these schools would be doing better if they weren't using Saxon.

(In the case of these schools, the downward trend goes all the way back to 2003. Perhaps it has nothing to do with the materials used.)

MathTeacher42 said...

Sahila, at 7/3/09 1:36 PM -
I think you're missing a key variable in your youngster's math education - he has someone to engage with him and challenge him and and and etc etc etc - I wish all kids had that, they do NOT.

I don't see anything earth shaking about the obvious conclusion that we all learn differently and we all learn different things at different times.

... and now, what are we as a community going to do for the 4 MILLION +/- kids starting kindergarten this year, or the 4 million moving to 1st grade ...?

As far as I'm concerned, getting ALL our kids to master a set of basic operations is achievable and reasonable.

IF it could have been done effectively by teaching concepts first, THEN it would have been a 1 kid at a time success, not a complete systemic failure.

Broad Foundation, Gates, the downtown policy people, and the univerisity 'research' people all have something in common with the ravings of some poor Joe the drunk under the Ballard Bridge - little or none of the schemes are thought out with useful detail, and even less of the schemes are PAID for.

At least when I give a buck to poor joe, maybe he'll use the buck for bus fair to go get some help somewhere, instead of going buy another 40.

I'm really fed up with having my time wasted by these over credentialed hugely degreed staggeringly clueless edu-crats justifying their useless policies, their powerpoints and their fat salaries.

Bob Murphy

Dorothy said...

Well, I guess I could call myself an expert. I have an advanced degree in math and years teaching experience with high school and college math classes. My son experienced 8 years of math in SPS (one year I homeschooled math and one summer he took an accelerated course at UW) just finished Precalculus at Roosevelt and qualified for both Honors Calculus and Honors Chemistry at UW this Fall, where he will be a freshman. (He turns 16 in November.) I also tutor middle school and high school kids in math.

So I am an expert not in how to teach elementary school kids math, but in what kids need to be successful in mathematics in high school and college. They require a functional understanding and computational fluency. I will not say they need conceptual understanding because my definition of conceptual understanding seems to be different. (more on that later)

I did not say drill in my comment. But anyway, what's so bad about the word drill? Play a sport? Play an instrument? Do it well without any drills? I doubt it. Drill does not have to mean strapping a child to a chair and slapping them with a ruler while they recite their tables.

I haven't looked at a math wasl in years. Frankly, the wasl questions I saw did not reflect things I think my kid should know or know well. I would like to know more about how it is easier now to get a high score. What does that mean? Isn't the whole district in a downward trend in math wasl? So how to tell that those two schools would be doing better if using something else? And OSPI did change the standards. I do not believe the wasl has yet reflected the new standards. So perhaps they should not be getting a pass on the standard curriculum, I do not know. I do not think that the wasl is a measure that can tell me that though. Wasn't at least one of those schools a pilot for MAP?

Dorothy said...

See, this is why we need a forum structure rather than a blog structure. Broad gets chatted about in the comments on something else, so they create a Broad post, but then we get off track on math.

Anyway, sure kids should explore math conceptually, but they are not going to be able to use math successfully as a tool without true fluency. And they will not be successful in solving algebra problems without computational fluency in arithmetic. So no chemistry, physics, computer graphics, economics, engineering...

You need both functional understanding and computational fluency and what I see of EDM and CM do not offer the right balance. Then again, I see kids who are not successful. Otherwise, their parents would not pay me money to help them.

What does conceptual understanding of arithmetic really mean to you all? Take fractions. Kids need to know how to accurately solve problems using the four basic operations with fractions. Computational fluency. Kids need enough understanding to know when to add fractions and when to multiply them to solve a problem. That, to me, means they need to understand their functionality.

But conceptually? How much conceptually do kids understand fractions? Why do you have to get a common denominator and only add the numerators when you add, but when you multiply you multiply the numerators and the denominators? Can your sixth grader tell you the answer? Do we need them to?

beansa said...

Only North Beach uses Saxon Math. I think Schmitz Park uses Singapore Math.

North Beach has used Saxon Math since the 2000-2001 school year - so Saxon would be responsible for both the 90% pass rate and the 70% pass rate on the WASL.

beansa said...

I thought Helen's question about the big drop in N. Beach's math scores was interesting, so I've been looking at the OSPI report card online. Specifically, I was looking at the math pass rates for 2006-07 3rd graders and 2007-08
4th graders.

There's a pattern. Lots of schools had significant drops in their math pass rates. The bar graphs on the website compare the past year's 4th graders to the current year's 4th graders - but look what happens when you compare the 06-07 3rd grade to the 07-08 4th grade:

*the first number is 06-07 3rd grade, the second is 07-08 4th grade*

Adams 91.1 67.4

AA K-9 33.3 12.8

Alki 82.8 64.4

Arbor Height 74.4 56.6

BF Day 68.1 46.5

Brighton 34.2 22.2

Broadview 75.3 57.8

Bryant 84.7 79.3

Greenlake 83.3 71.4

Greenwood 61.4 41.7

Hawthorne 38.2 26.7

John Rog 66.7 54.3

Northgate 37.8 24.4

Oly View 87.3 50

Whittier 87.2 75.7

Wing Luke 54 35.8

So I'm really interested to see the 5th grade scores for 08-09. I'm wondering if there was some kind of problem with the 4th grade test last year. These low numbers were out of sync with the rest of the pass rates for most of these schools.

I didn't look at the scores for every school. I was going down the list alphabetically, but I admit I skipped a few. Two exceptions to this pattern that I noticed were Wedgewood Elem and West Woodland, who had high pass rates for both years. I'm not saying this is a rock-solid analysis, just food for thought.

Chris said...

I've been thinking about assessing the effect of math programs. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this was the 3rd year of EDM at my school. So 06-07 would have been the first year. One major point is that kids exposed soley to EDM just finished second grade and won't be taking the math WASL for another year or two. Not that we can't glean anything from current 3-5th graders, but it's important to note that they may have a significant foundation from some other curriculum. It also means North Beach was never exposed to EDM, but you already figured that out.

I'm not even sure where I stand on the best way to teach math - I think it's probably a combination of approaches. From my limited experience, manipulatives seem very appropriate and effective K-2. What really bothers me is 1. dictating teachers how to teach, 2. forcing identical lessons on an entire district (I've been hearing Dan Dempsey say that "reform" math is disadvantageous for some populations, e.g. low SES & ELL, and I believe him,) and 3. The unnecessarily high cost of the curriculum and "consumables." Consider that pattern blocks, pennies, and snap cubes last for many years, needing only sanitation after flu season...

Chris said...

ps: standardized curricula does seem to be a major facet of our Broad contingent, so it's relevant to discuss here.

Reader said...

Just another point on the data. All the school years show regression year after year.... meaning, each year, fewer and fewer kids pass the math WASL. (on average) I'm sure there are blips at certain schools or in certain years. But basically we see fewer kids passing as they age. Statewide and in Seattle, 70% pass third grade but 50% pass 10th grade (not counting drop outs). So, it isn't all that interesting to look at the same cohort. You need to look at how one age group performs each year. The regression as kids age is expected, unfortunately. It's not clear if it's due materials, the test, or anything else.

And btw... shouldn't OSPI be reporting the drop-outs as failures for the school? If 50% pass.... but 20% have dropped out... it is a true 40% pass rate instead of 50%. So, the numbers are actually worse than they look.

Maureen said...

beansa 07-08 was the first year of EDM implementaion for most SPS schools. So I wouldn't be surprised if cohort scores dropped for all K-5 grades in Seattle (of course this wouldn't explain NB and SP scores). (I know my kid's teacher didn't get anywhere near as far into the material as she did this year because it was all brand new to her)

Ananda said...

I recall reading earlier this year that there was a dramatic, state-wide decrease in 3rd grade math WASL scores (so much so that OSPI was concerned about if there was a flaw with the test). I wouldn't use any school's test score in any subject for just one year as an incidator of the school's success or failure.

Isabel D'Ambrosia said...

Wow, just reading over these posts, I just wanted to say how important Dorothy's posts are (7/3, 5:03 and 5:18pm). Everyone should re-read her comments. She really is an expert!

Why weren't people like Dorothy on the high school math adoption committee? SPS needs to be WAY more aware of what is needed to succeed in college/university math.

My kid is two years away from high school and I'm not looking forward to paying a math tutor. But it might be necessary. Too bad the only kids who will be prepared for careers in engineering, science or medicine are those whose parents can afford a math tutor.

dan dempsey said...

This 2008-2009 is the first 100% Singapore Math year for Schmitz Park.

I agree with Dorothy we are talking WASL math here .. lets not get too excited about WASL math.

When a real math test shows up then we have something to look for.

In case you are wondering the NAEP math & reading gap changes for Black and Hispanic students from 2003 to 2007 for both 4th and 8th grades placed Washington among the worst performers in the Nation.

The school with EDM for all of the last 5 years is Green Lake the EDM pilot school.

WASL MATH gr 3 gr 4 gr 5

2004 .............68.1
2005 .............70.7
2006 ...73.0....73.2....71.1
2007 ...83.3....55.3....81.4
2008 ...85.7....71.4....79.4

grade 4 change 2004 to 2008 =+3.3
district at grade 4 = -3.2

First year of EDM saw a -5.5 at grade 4 for the district
but the state had a -4.5 drop from 2007 to 2008

Green Lake Demographics:

Ethnicity (October 2007)
American Indian/Alaskan Native 3.0%
Asian 11.7%
Black 9.5%
Hispanic 8.7%
White 67.0%
Special Programs
Free or Reduced-Price Meals (May 2008) 26.0%
Special Education (May 2008) 17.2%
-----------------------------
Remember a k-8 math education should either include an Authentic Algebra class or adequately prepare students to take an Authentic Algebra class in High School....

Most Seattle students are so poorly prepared for that.... the SPS manipulated the adoption away from any Authentic Algebra book and straight to the Mathematically Unsound "Discovering Algebra".

In regard to steering and manipulating ...
The adoption committee did not even use NMAP's final report "Foundations for Success"

So that is the math plan for the next several years.

Unless McLaren, Mass, & Porter prevail in Superior Court.

dan dempsey said...

Beansa,

Nice work remember that except for Green Lake, North Beach, and Schmitz Park, 2007-2008 was year one for EDM.

State scores for 3rd 2007 & 4th 2008 look like this: with drop

State 69.6 53.6 : -16.0

Adams 91.1 67.4 : -23.7

AA K-9 33.3 12.8 : -20.5

Alki 82.8 64.4 : -18.4

Arbor Height 74.4 56.6 : -17.8

BF Day 68.1 46.5 : -21.6

Brighton 34.2 22.2 : -12.0

Broadview 75.3 57.8 : -17.5

Bryant 84.7 79.3 : -5.4

Greenlake 83.3 71.4 : - 12.9

Greenwood 61.4 41.7 : -19.7

Hawthorne 38.2 26.7 : -11.5

John Rog 66.7 54.3 : -12.4

Northgate 37.8 24.4 : -13.4

Oly View 87.3 50 : -37.3

Whittier 87.2 75.7 : -11.5

Wing Luke 54 35.8 : -18.2

Again this is WASL math ... another expensive useless left over from Terry Bergeson's 12 years of Math destruction.

dan dempsey said...

If you have not read the 120 pages NMAP "Foundations for Success" just keep reading Dorothy's comments and you will have the same content.

dan dempsey said...

Meanwhile what about getting The Broad out of here?

dan dempsey said...

It is the WASL so do not get too wild about the following but it is of interest I think...

About grade 10 WASL scores:

State WASL score change from 2005 to 2008 for READING at grade 10 went up by 8.9 points from 72.9% passing to 81.8% passing

What I find of greater interest is that every subgroup I compared
went up more than the State rise of 8.9 points
Hispanics by 6.7 points more
American Indians by 3.3 points more
Limited English by 4 points
Black by 6.9 points
Low Income by 5.5 points

For Reading these 5 subgroups have an average gain of 5.28 points
more than the 8.9 point rise.

Hooray for Reading!!!

------------ --------- --------- ---------
Now for Math....

State WASL score change from 2005 to 2008 for MATH at grade 10 went up by 2.1 points from 47.5% passing to 49.6% passing
(preliminary stats for WASL Math gr 10 2009 = 45.26% passing)

Now lets look at the 5 subgroups in comparison to the
State rise of 2.1 points
Hispanics up by 0.1 points more
American Indians up by 0.4 points more
Limited English down by 1.3 points
Black down by 0.3 points
Low Income down by 0.5 points

For MATH these 5 subgroups have an average loss of 0.32 points

Now if that preliminary WASL number of 45.26% Math Passing for the Class of 2011
is accurate, then Math score from 2005 to 2009 will be down by 2.24 points.

Looking to the UW or OSPI for math guidance is problematic.
NMAP is a better choice.

Reader said...

I guess I don't understand Dan's point. Either you like the WASL or you don't. Either you use its results as data or you don't. You can't use them when you want to prove something, and then ignore the same data when it indicates something to the contrary.

When Schmitz Park posts huge losses in WASL scores (15 LOSS points AFTER adopting Singapore)... Dan says, "it's just the WASL, don't get too excited. Singapore is actually good.". When minority groups fail the WASL at a declining rate in a single digit percentage, Dan says "it's a calamity, I'm proving my point, we need to change materials."

That doesn't make sense. If you don't like the test, don't use it's data. You evidently want to use WASL as a metric. If so, Saxon and/or Singapore don't cut it based on the school performance data we have. If you don't like the standards the WASL measures, petition OSPI to change them. Complaints at the district level are misplaced.

Dorothy said...

As for the Broad Foundation.

I would not say a priori that we ought not have a sort of Intern/Resident model. It seems like the structure could be useful and, one might even add, ethically correct. By that I mean that to become a high level professional, one needs mentoring and experience. A fellowship intern program makes sense and it also makes sense that the intern would report directly to the superintendent. So having the district pony up $50K a year to ensure quality people are available for future superintendents might be the right thing to do.

That said, the whole process needs to be more transparent and we need to see exactly what the residents accomplish. One idea is that the Board should be involved. Now I know that the board is not involved in any staff except the Superintendent. That makes sense. But if we are going to participate in a special superintendent-internship program, that seems different enough from ordinary staff to warrant a special situation. Perhaps there could be several applicants to the residency and they would have to be interviewed and selected by the Board. Then should have to report back to the board at intervals.

Sahila said...

heya Dorothy - I dont have a problem with interns, fellows coming through an institution/the District - it could be a win-win two-way street... lots of energy/enthusiasm, knowledge/disciplines we dont have in the make-up already augmenting what we are working with...

But I want fellows/interns from different arenas - not all from one foundation which has a very specific idea about its goal in life vis a vis public education and a very successfull mode of infiltrating public school districts and implementing its agenda...

All this without public and Board involvement - no fanfare (except amongst the converted) and no scrutiny...

Well, I'm watching and I dont like what I'm seeing and what my child is experiencing in education in this District... and I have never been good at holding my tongue when things dont look/feel right, so I guess I shall be making some more noise!

wseadawg said...

Re-Post from New CAO thread:

Direct quotes from Broad's Website (4th Qtr. EQ) ref'd by Owlhouse:

New Broad Residents Jessica de Barros and Cordell Carter (Class of 2008–2010) who recently joined Seattle Public Schools, have also discovered that their work in the Seattle district requires all of their skills, talents, and knowledge.

“This is a great challenge,” said de Barros. “I’ve never had an experience like this.”

Carter, who has degrees in political science, policy, and law said, “I’m using my entire education, unlike any other job I’ve had previously. Education is so complex. I had no idea.”

Carter has appreciated the complexity, finding his work challenging, engaging, and rewarding. “I’m doing interesting work every day,” he said, “and doing something that has an effect on real people.”

Seattle’s Broad Residents areworking to transform Seattle Public Schools, and Goodloe-Johnson knows they will continue to help implement her reform vision and make a difference for Seattle schools. Does she want more Residents?

“Absolutely,” she said. “I want four next year.”

wseadawg said...

Re-Post from New CAO Thread:

So for anyone who loves business analogies, let me ask this question: Why are we bringing in Broad Resident Newbies with no education background whatsoever? How on earth are they qualified in any way to have a job with a school district, besides Broad's influence and connections?

I don't care of each has 10 Harvard MBAs. Why should we parents tolerate their on-the-job training, while paying 1/2 their salary?

SPS has its head screwed on backwards! The true professionals in the classrooms are maligned as lazy, union-protected sloths while the administration is filling up with Broad Foundation Newbies who say things like "I had no idea" and "I've never had an experience like this."

I didn't realize Broad's connections means one can get a job in a major school district, with voters paying 1/2 the training wage (for the training wheels), with ABSOLUTELY NO EXPERIENCE REQUIRED! None. Zip. Nada. And the Super would like FOUR of them.

But what if parents, who have never been consulted about this, DO NOT want corporate CEO types invading the administration of our schools to further their own agendas?

Let's call it what it is: A Hostile Takeover of our schools by corporate interests. The same corporate interests that drove our economy into the ditch, if not the grave, and now think their greatness should be spread throughout our schools.

Enough already.

Dorothy said...

As for the math thread hidden in these comments, here's an essay that that I agree with wholeheartedly. (H/T Helen S).

Well, except I don't know about the ending paragraph. I do not know enough about elementary school teaching to know how brittle or how useful those particular metaphors are. But other than that, the article is excellent.

The tern functional understanding I stole from him.

hschinske said...

I *think* I finally figured out what his problem is with the balloons -- the scale is not set up to measure negative weights, so it can handle only a net positive (or zero) weight in any case (and if you're not going to go below zero, taking away some of the weight that's there is a better model of subtraction than adding the balloons would be). Plus, if you attach enough balloons, the scale itself will fly away :-) But it seems to me that the problem is the use of the positive-weights-only scale, not the balloons. The balloons are kind of clever.

Helen Schinske

Sahila said...

I agree with you WSEADAWG.... I had noticed from the Broad information but hadn't gotten around to commenting yet that these people have absolutely no experience and their qualifications have no link to education at all....

And we're supposed to pay for four more?

And they'll come in, help wreak havoc in the District, messing with our kids and families lives and futures and then waltz off bragging on their resumes about what they've done? And 20-30 years down the track, our then grown kids might be lucky enough to be able to pick up a few of the pieces and rebuild something that resembles true public education for their children.... because the meddling and reforming wont last - its based on a corporate, capitalist model, its not sustainable and it will implode - we have seen that over and over again - recessions, depressions, the spread of misery and disenfranchisement that globalisation (standardisation, centralisation, super-sizing) brings...

WV = torets.... my non-PC pun-forming brain jumped in and said this stuff makes me so mad that if I had Turrettes syndrome, I'd be jumping up and down cursing by now... truly no offence intended

Dora Taylor, AIA said...

Repost from the "New CAO" thread:

Amen and pass the potatoes, wseadawg.

It's great to see on this blog so much information and discussion about the Broad and the influence that they have already had on our school system.

I find it interesting that Gates and Broad provided money to SPS for a package of items including school closures in 2008. Since when would we need money to determine what schools should be closed and which should stay open? Why would it be their concern?

I have so many more questions than answers right now.

I'm beginning to think that these school closures were nothing but an exercise of moving chess pieces on a board. It didn't have anything to do with saving money or handling under enrollment as DGJ said it did. We saved $3M in the closures which is nothing and so far our district is over enrolled by 1,200 students for the fall. That means 1,200 students over what their initial estimate was.

They closed, threatened and marginalized several alternative programs, split APP, moved SBOC out of Queen Anne, closed AAA, etc. These programs are a very important part of SPS. These are the smaller schools that provide an alternative to the larger traditional schools (sounding familiar...as in charter schools?)and have been exceptionally successful. Why touch them? Someone told me recently that DGJ doesn't like small schools and that's why she is going after the alt ed programs. I don't think that's it at all. As far as the Broad is concerned, there should be only one alternative option to public schools and that is the charter school.

And Charlie, Mr. Bernatek might be a fine man but he does have all of the data in his hands and we know that data can be manipulated as easily as a CFO can manipulate the numbers.

"While he has, in a few select cases - not at all in the bulk of his work, presented data in a way that, while true, isn't entirely honest and unbiased, he will acknowledge the bias if you confront him with it."

So does that mean that we now have to follow everything and confront this person each time that he provides data to the public?

"Believe nothing, question everything"?

That might be the case for now. At this point I would say many of us are in that mode and we all need to be questioning everything now, among ourselves, to the board members and to the staff within SPS.

I have decided not only to speak in front of the board, basically just for public record, but also to start picking up the phone and calling people within the SPS structure when I have questions. There is so much to get to the truth about and we need to start doing that now.

And the chaos theory/Shock Doctrine does apply here. Make a mess of things, cause people pain and then allow people like the Broads to come in and save the day.

No way. Not here. Not now.

seattle citizen said...

Broad Foundation, as has been noted, appears to be about using a business model, and hence data. (according to the bean counter proponents in a business model)

Data data data. This is the new mantra. If data is all there is, then MBAs can organize it to a supposedly efficent system.

But...what data, and how is it used? What data is being gathered? Mr. Bernatek's words in the Broad newsletter article speak of drop-out rates, how when there's 50 in HS, but only 40 before that, we not only need to see why the ten extra dropped out (and catch them right when they falter) but ask ourselves why the 40 who have already dropped out dropped out; and ask ourselves why we didn't catch THEM before they were "lost."

This is all well and good, but what, then, is the district doing for drop-out prevention?

My point is, we need to know what data is being gathered, and what actions are being taken based on that data.

My hunch is that there is little qualitative data, but lots of supposed "hard data," quantitative, and even that is probably missing some key corollaries and deeper analysis.

So if we have a business model district, can it continue to educate students with an infinite variety of aptitudes and needs?

My questions:
Why corporatize? Pros and cons.
What data?
How used?
What's missing?
Is corporatized education "education," or is it "training"?

Maybe someeone should ask R,E and A just exactly waht sorts of data they are gathering, and then ask them who they share it with and why. Then one might ask those that the data is shared with what they intend to do with it.
Then someone might ask someone to define education: It's similarities to a corporate model and its differences. Then ask who these similarities and differences are accounted for in planning.

MathTeacher42 said...

Seattle Citizen at
7/4/09 8:22 PM

How's this for data?

Estimate the amount of time an idea takes per student per period per adult, OR
the amount of time per students per period per adult,
times the number of periods a day,
times the number of days a week

THEN multiply by the cost of the adult(s)

THEN PAY FOR IT!

++++++++
I enjoy Dorothy's comments. In my 4 years of teaching high school math at high schools with over 50% 10th grade math WASL failures, I've worked with 600? 800? 900? kids with marginal to non existent basic skills.
I'm no expert - MY EXPERIENCE and MY GUT tell me this reform thing has been a complete failure.
I'll take anything and I'll do anything that will benefit our kids. When solving some simple thing for x like ... (7/15)x = -9 won't happen because of basic skill shortages, I've got better things to do than WASTE more time on reform edu-babble.
I wish I had the data on where those kids stood with their lack of skills, AND, what worked to get them so they could reach their potential.
(If the community has a problem with that - fire me. I was looking when I found this job. I'll find kids to help, AND, I'll make a living. There is 3 bucks worth of blackboard chalk in my bottom desk drawer you can have.)
++++++++++

I enjoyed the observations of the interns. Math teacher is my 3rd career - this is the MOST demanding and exghausting job I've ever done!
Funny how I had to pay out of my own pocket - unemployment checks, two wiped out 401(k)s, savings, student loans, and visa debt to get this experience.
IMAGINE if I'd mastered edu-babble and powerpoint
(instead of cooking in fine dining in Boston 20 years ago ... or supporting enterprise relational databases at a Fortune 100 company!) I wouldn't have had to go down the economic drain to do this career, I could have been heavily subsidized!

... after my first week helping out in a few classes at a local middle school in the winter of 2003, I knew this work was interesting, and I knew I'd figure out how to help kids, AND I knew the biggest obstacle to success would be navigating the adults and ... edu-babble-onia.

+++++++++

happy fourth - remember what we are FIGHTING for.

+++++++++

...that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness--That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the the Consent of the Governed,...

gavroche said...

Re-post from "New CAO" thread:

Chaos Theory

Another troubling factor in all this is the Broad Foundation's stated objective (or M.O.) of "honing in on" troubled school districts that either are in bankruptcy or have been taken over by the city/mayor.

Neither of these conditions is currently true in Seattle.

In fact, despite a poorly run overstaffed central administrative office (full of Broad Residents, apparently -- which may explain its bloatedness!), Seattle's public schools, by and large, are quite strong, with some nationally recognized schools and programs. Yes, there are weak areas and inequities that should be addressed.

So how does Broad (rhymes with "toad") plan to make its case for a privatized takeover of Seattle Public Schools via charters if our district isn't asking for this?

It would, in theory, need to create an environment that is "ripe" (to use one of Broad's own terms) for charters to move in.

How does it do that?

Looking at all the mind-boggling, reckless, rushed and illogical decisions and changes made by this School District this past year under the leadership of Broad board member and graduate, Maria Goodloe-Johnson, with no clear benefits in sight, one might question this Superintendent's objectives for our District.

Are she and her admin staff (larded with Broadies) genuinely trying to improve Seattle Public Schools, make them strong and desirable for all the kids in the city and lure back the high percentage of private school attendees into the public system?

Will school closures that ignore demographic trends and community needs, teacher layoffs, mindlessly standardizing curricula, implementing a failed math curriculum, weakening alternative and highly capable schools, abolishing fresh cooked meals for middle and high schoolers in favor of central kitchen airplane food -- add up to a stronger, more desirable School District?

Or do these "reforms" create chaos and mistrust and weaken schools and parents' faith in the system, and potentially open the door to a public cry for the city to take over the School District? If so, Mission Accomplished, from the Broad perspective, and the next step would be to present the idea of privately run charters as a "solution."

This, of course, is just a theory -- a "Chaos Theory" if you will.

But it really has been difficult to see how Goodloe-Johnson's erratic, poorly executed "Plan for Excellence," which has disenfranchised parents, has little to no community buy-in, and has elements that seem shrouded in secrecy, is putting our kids and their schools on a positive, stronger path.

This is not a new story. There are always those who come from the corporate world who believe that the corporate way to run a business is applicable everywhere.

Well, there's ample evidence that that's just not true.

Our country just finished 8 years under the "leadership" of the first U.S. president with an MBA, and look where that landed us -- in two quagmires overseas and an economy in a tailspin such as we've not seen since the Great Depression.

We now have ample evidence of the for-profit, oversight-free "business models" of the Ken Lays and Bernie Madoffs, Phil Gramms, Kerry Killingers, etc. etc, of the world, and it has left our nation in ruins.

The Broad/Gates-types are the same kind of people who wanted to privatize Social Security. Thank God that didn't happen, for look where everyone's retirement savings would be now.

Above all -- and this is the heart of the matter for me and for many others on this blog I would venture to guess -- our children are not commodities. Their schools are not "enterprises." Their principals are not "CEOs."
Their learning is not a "profit" opportunity. (These are all terms quoted from Broad literature.)

Successful schools are collaborative, creative communities in which parents have a say and teachers are respected, principals are members of the team, and children are the primary focus.

Charlie Mas said...

There is some good here.

There are a number of arts and sciences that people can learn and practice. Among them is management. In schools and districts teachers are promoted to managers when they become principals without the benefit of much training in the art and science of management. They are promoted to program managers or education directors without any more. I see the same sort of promotion from within in some of the central departments as well.

Promotion from within is a good thing, but people have to be ready to take on the job. That hasn't always been the case at Seattle Public Schools.

One way to get the mix of expertise that we need is to teach management to education workers. Another way is to teach the education business to people who are already expert in management. To me, not only are both legitimate, but you need a mix of both or your organization will only have people with one of the primary strengths.

We have seen what the District is like if it goes unmanaged. The most valuable work that the superintendent is doing is bringing management practices to the District. Part of that requires bringing in people with expertise in that area.

Sahila said...

Charlie - I read your post and dont disagree with the gist.

However, would you clarify your last sentence in your last post, please?

Do you support Broad fellows being brought into the District and the community having to pay half of their salaries and benefits?

Sahila said...

Think its time the Broad issue had some attention (and possibly action) outside the realms of this blog...

Meeting at my house, to discuss Broad and to begin formal complaint campaign filing process...

Sunday 19th July, noon to 2.30pm... Greenwood...

All welcome, including kids.... email or phone for address:
metamind_universal@yahoo.com
206 297 7511

Please pass on to your networks...

One contributor suggested asking Sherry Carr (? have to check if it was her or Cheryl!)to the meeting - I need to check with him what benefit he thinks that would bring... if anyone has an opinion, feel free to let me know!

Dorothy said...

I totally agree with Charlie. We do need better management. Yes, classrooms are not places for corporate interests and involvement, but the district as a whole needs the sort of management skills that exist in the corporate world. Good management would not have allowed private fiefdoms to exist with bloated department using antiquated equipment to suddenly and surprisingly jettison a major reform restructuring. Nope, they would have had regular scrutiny for re-org and cost-cutting.

Broad influence? I don't like it either. But instead of me thinking that the first thing to do is fight to get rid of all Broad affiliated persons, I'd like them to stand up and answer some questions. What positive impact has their management expertise brought to the district? Data! Reports! Clear language! It might actually not be in our best interest to cut out Broad and go our own way. I don't know yet. I would like to see some discussion over other models for change. If the Board could have a say in who get the Residencies, if the resident had to report to the Board and if the Board took that seriously, it might be a positive step. After all, these superintendents-in-training will eventually all have to answer to a school board or a mayor or voters directly, why not make that part of the residency?

Bob, one of my favorite math essays that speaks to your issues is from the LA Times Opinion.

Charlie Mas said...

To answer the question directly, I would not exclude the Broad Foundation from the list of hiring sources.

However, I don't understand or support hiring people - even at half-pay - for jobs that are created just so those folks can have jobs.

Sahila said...

SENT TO HARIUM AND SHERRY THIS MORNING:

Good morning and happy summer, Harium and Sherry -

There's been quite a lot of discussion about the Broad Foundation and its influence within the SPS District - see: http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/

and I think its time the situation had some attention outside the realms of the blogs...

So I'm having a meeting at my house to discuss Broad in the District, amongst other SPS issues.

Sunday 19th July, noon to 2.30pm... ADDRESS REDACTED

I already have indications that a number of people from the broader SPS community are going to attend.

We would appreciate it very much if you could find the time to come for a short period - say 30 minutes - and give us some insight into the history behind, and the District's philosophy and intentions in having Broad fellows working within District management. We also would like information about what other groups/institutions work with the District on management and reform measures.

If this date/time doesnt work for you, could you give me an indication of a more suitable one? I am interested in offering meeting times that enable the broadest participation possible, so for most families with working parents that means evenings or weekends.

Thank you

Sahila ChangeBringer
AS#1 parent and BLT member
206 297 7511

wseadawg said...

Boom! And there you have it, Charlie. Why are we carving out and creating positions for residents during a belt-tightening time for all? What problems are they here to address? Do we need them at all?

In the absence of justifiable answers, it is fair to assume the real answer is: to get Broad's tentacles reaching into every department in SPS by utilizing plants, a la Bush & Cheney inserting loyalists in all departments of government while purging career folks who didn't share their agenda. Coup d'etat?

Sure it sounds conspiratorial as can be...but it also adds up. So which is it?

In defense of Mr. Bernatek, he seems like a genuine, hard working, sincere person, and he voluntarily enlightened the Board that there is data, then there is meaningful data, and what we need is good data that we can use.

But he's also a part of the larger campaign to computerize all aspects of future public education. When he speaks before the Board and dialogues openly with MGJ at Board meetings, they speak as if teachers don't exist and don't already get "real-time feedback" from their students.

Re: his dropout example, do we need a spreadsheet or reminder to pop up and let us know we just lost 10 kids as dropouts? Shouldn't & didn't human beings like counselors, teachers and principals already intervene and discuss issues with kids at an earlier point? Will a computer program change that? How?

Much of what Broad and the Board are doing is implementing solutions looking for problems that human beings are capable of handling, if they had the resources, but they haven't had them. Yet Gates & Broad will pour millions into DATA machines, but not put a dime into the classroom until their management and data infrastructures are installed and they control all aspects of the delivery models.

OK, much of this is fear and rhetoric, but does it not seem that emulating the corporate, data-driven model for "delivering curriculum" vs. "teaching children" is Broad and Gates's dream scenario?

Dora Taylor, AIA said...

I think that all administrative systems can improve in terms of management, but bringing in residents who are untrained into SPS is not the answer to improving the management model.

Secondly, our school system is not a corporation, it's a support system, an administration of sorts.

From the beginning I did not appreciate the fact that the Broad, through clandestine means, was basically infiltrating our school system and waiting for the opportune moment to set up shop. I want transparency and honesty, neither of which has been shown.
It took a lot of digging on the part of several people to even find out as much as we have. No one within the school system has EVER mentioned the Broad, charter schools or anything to do with that agenda. And why is that? I know, more questions than answers.

With the efforts that I see being made at this point, I believe that we will find answers and begin to make the decision for ourselves what we believe will work for our students and our communities and what will not. It just has to be a public discussion and not something decided upon behind closed doors without our involvement.

seattle citizen said...

Speaking of testing, and of "data" gathering, there's a relevant essay in today's New York Times Magazine, by Walter Kirn ("Walter Kirn, a frequent contributor, is the author, most recently, of “Lost in the Meritocracy: The Undereducation of an Overachiever.”)
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/05/magazine/05fob-wwln-t.html?_r=1&ref=magazine

A couple of salient quotes:
"As a product of the same education system that molded Sotomayor (and as a fellow Princeton graduate who took his degree seven years after she did), I would like to think that I know a tiny something about what she and others experienced while trying to scale, percentile by percentile, the ladder of academic and social distinction. I call this group of contemporary strivers — a group that has largely supplanted the moneyed gentry as our country’s governing class — the “Aptocrats,” after the primary trait that we were tested for and which we sought to develop in ourselves as a means of passing those tests. As defined by the institutions responsible for spotting and training America’s brightest youth, this “aptitude” is a curious quality. It doesn’t reflect the knowledge in your head, let alone the wisdom in your soul, but some quotient of promise and raw mental agility thought to be crucial to academic success and, by extension, success in general. All of this makes for a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more aptitude that a young person displays, the more likely it is that she or he will have a chance to win the golden tickets — fine diplomas, elite appointments and so on — that permit you to lead the aptocratic establishment and set the terms by which it operates."
"A system of advancement by aptitude, by statistical measurements of mental acuity, doesn’t concern itself with determination and courage, but if the world were truly fair, it would. This was one of the things I learned at Princeton, along with the lesson that multiple-choice tests don’t predict a student’s grasp of Shakespeare."

Sahila said...

I have been posting Broad-related questions on Harium's site, as well as inviting him to a meeting re Broad influence in the District on July 19th... He's checking his calendar re attending and will confirm with me this week... Here's his reply to someone else's Broad posting:


"I have looked at the Broad Foundation website as well as talked to folks from the foundation. As I look at the core, this is what I see

" To become effective, efficient organizations that serve students well, American school districts and schools need strong, talented leadership.

Every person and every dollar in school district central offices and schools must be focused—efficiently and effectively—on students, not adults, and must be held accountable for results.

All students do better when they are supported by a good teacher.

Competition among American schools is healthy.

Best practices should be shared."

With the exception about competition component, I support these iedals. Having educators come to Seattle and learn, I feel is a good thing. I can not speak for others on the board but I will do what is best for our students. I will listen to all views for that it my role as a board member."

I like it very much that Harium reads and responds to the postings submitted to his blog... I'd strongly suggest that if we want to give him a variety of sources of information about Broad, people cross-post to his site...

Dora Taylor, AIA said...

Reading a brochure about a product is one thing, the reality of that product can be completely different.

If we are to measure what is happening in our school district with what is written in the Broads' nicely packaged presentation of itself, I see no comparison.

If we need a school administration to be more efficient, there are experts in the field who can be hired to develop processes that can work for that particular organization. Based on my experience, these consultants can make a very positive difference.

Experts can be hired who have no agenda.

The Broad has an agenda.

If we want to spend money on reviewing the SPS administration to see how it can be more efficient, then by all means, let's do it. But let's also interview consulting firms for that job, not just have some interns come in, get on the job training as well as Broad training, and then simply let them loose within the organization without evaluating the results based on a predetermined standard.

If we're going to do this, let's do it right.

gavroche said...

The Broad agenda - part I

Thanks for bringing this to Harium's attention, Sahila. As Dora Taylor aptly observed, Harium -- and all of the School Board Directors -- clearly need to read beyond the glossy platitudes of the opening pages of Broad's Web site or promo material, and read deeper into Broad's annual reports, press releases touting its latest funding of charters, and other documents to get the full picture on what that organization's agenda and endgame are.

Here is some info directly from Broad that demonstrates that Broad is not just interested in better management of school districts and better achievement for all kids -- who isn't? -- but wants to "hone in" on districts that it deems "ripe" for its own brand of intervention, installing superintendents it has trained to act like "CEOs" at its "Academy" with the ultimate goal of bringing in "charter management companies" to "enterprises" (what the rest of us refer to as "schools").

Does this sound benevolent and constructive?

It sounds predatory and clandestine to me.

It is also no small matter that the people of Washington state have voted against charter schools multiple times.

So we the concerned parents of SPS are justified in questioning what Broad is doing here in Seattle with its corporate, charter agenda, we are right in asking who invited them, why there is no public discussion of Broad's influence on our district, especially considering we have a member of their board of directors [http://www.broadcenter.org/about/board.html] presiding over our school district -- Maria Goodloe-Johnson -- who has blatantly denied to at least one SPS parent that Broad supports charters, when its own literature clearly states that it does, and we have unknown, unvetted, unelected people called "Broad Residents" being planted inside our already bloated SPS administration at taxpayer expense.

Broad also has members of its Board of Directors, like Richard Barth of KIPP charter schools, who stand to gain financially from the implementation of charter schools in the public school system.

This is not "philanthropy," folks, this is business, and with a model for profit that is derived at the expense of our kids and our public schools -- and not necessarily for the benefit of either.

Furthermore, as the recent (6/15/09) report from CREDO at Stanford University reveals, charter schools do not necessarily perform any better than public schools. In fact, 37 percent perform worse.

So yes, we the parents of SPS have a very legitimate cause to question the influence of the pro-charter Broad Foundation's influence on our school district -- especially since their "solution" is no better, or even worse than what we already have.

Following is more info, which will probably require multiple posts to fit it all in.

(continued on next post)

gavroche said...

The Broad agenda - part II

From the Broad Foundation's Annual Report 2008. p. 13, http://www.broadeducation.org/news/biannualreport.html (all bold emphasis is mine):

"Leaders of school systems—superintendents, cabinet executives, school board members, principals
and charter management organization pioneers—are the key to successful reform efforts in
public education across the country. We invest in the recruitment, training, support and retention
of top school district talent.

Once the right people are in place, they need to be equipped with the systems and tools that enable
them to accomplish their ultimate goal: improving student achievement for all children. These
systems and tools range from better human resource operations that streamline the hiring of
teachers and principals and improve the placement of educators in the right schools, to stronger
budgeting controls that ensure critical dollars are pushed down into the classrooms. Our investments
enable school districts to implement the systems and tools they need to build more
effective organizations.
We recognize that there are a number of policy impediments—at all levels of government and
in the areas of urban district governance, management, labor and competition—that hamper
student achievement and reduce the opportunity for schools and districts to become high performing
enterprises. Our work is aimed at informing policy leaders at the federal, state and
local levels about the education challenges facing our nation, and at providing solutions to
those challenges with primary emphasis on professional performance compensation for teachers
and principals,
expanded learning time and national standards.

We invest in cities and charter management organizations where our dollars can be leveraged to
accelerate school reform efforts. In our work with districts, we have honed in on cities that are
making the greatest progress in improving student achievement. Our work in this handful of
cities—including Chicago, New York City and Oakland, Calif.—has deepened over time as we
watched their progress. These cities have a common distinction: the school systems in New York
City and Chicago are under the control of the mayor, and the school system in Oakland was placed
under state control after facing bankruptcy.


We have found that the conditions to dramatically
improve K-12 education are often ripe under mayoral or state control.


In our hometown of Los Angeles, where public charter schools have gained an important foothold,
we have taken a different approach. Now home to more charter schools and more students
attending charter schools than anywhere in the country, Los Angeles is experiencing an education
revolution from the bottom up. By reaching a tipping point, we believe that high quality public
charter schools will place the essential pressure on all other public schools to improve performance.

People. Systems. Tools. Policies. Cities. Charter Management Organizations.

These areas represent the majority of our investments in reforming American K-12 public education."

gavroche said...

The Broad agenda - part III

Here is a Broad press release from 2003 showing the clear emphasis on applying a corporate approach to managing school districts (bold emphasis mine; I am still baffled why Broad puts "Corporate Profit" and "student Learning" in the same sentence):

from: http://www.broadeducation.org/news/112.html

The Broad Center for Superintendents Training Academy Comes to Boston
April 9, 2003


(...)

School superintendents are in charge of our nation's greatest investment - our children. However, many have little training or background in complex financial, labor, management, personnel and capital resource decision-making. In fact, 98 percent of superintendents are trained as teachers - not managers. Additionally, the average urban superintendent's tenure is just over four years. This program will dramatically change this equation. The Academy curriculum will include the following sessions:
CEO Leadership: Developing a vision and theory of action for achieving an effective urban school system.
Corporate Profit: Student Learning: Learning theories and principles of effective instruction. Understanding effort-based education, standards-based education, testing and assessment. Evaluating theories of action for increasing student achievement, including charter schools and choice.
• Competence: Understanding urban district budgets, including sources of revenue, expenditure categories and fund investment. Identifying strategies for budget development, budget reduction and alignment of resources to district success indicators and student achievement. Identifying key financial issues for the attention of the new superintendent.
• Connections: Understanding the politics of race, class, and gender and how a superintendent can manage the dynamics of diversity
• Career: Becoming more prepared to participate in an urban superintendent search process. (…)"

gavroche said...

The Broad agenda - part IV

(from a recent Broad press release dated April 9, 2009

"Broad Foundation Awards $2.5 Million to Expand Charter Schools in New York --
Uncommon Schools and Success Charter Network to triple number of schools in next five years"

gavroche said...

This past year in the Seattle School District has been a tumultuous mess even by objective measures. If this is an example of Broad-trained superintendent leadership and "Broad Resident" administration at work, then at the very least I think it is fair to say the Broad management style is not very effective. In fact, it appears to be downright incompetent.

Which is yet another reason to question the presence, influence, value and cost of Broad graduates and "Residents" in our school district.

wseadawg said...

Great info Gavroche.

The recurring theme re: Broad seems to be the lack of transparency surrounding it.

Why are they here? Why are more coming? What do they seek and hope to accomplish?

Can any parent in the district point to one example of where and how Broad or Gates's money actually made a difference in their kids education? This is a serious question that I personally don't know the answer to.

Conversely, we hear "reform, reform, reform" and endure lots of turmoil and disruption in our schools, and for what, to save less than 1% per year of the SPS budget?

Will any of these reforms being suffered by the current crop of students bear fruit during their educational lifetimes? Or are we building for somebody else's future, like curriculum publishers or Charter operators?

I really am flabbergasted that SPS does not come forth and tell its stakeholders honestly and forthrightly why and how these folks and their philosophy are going to improve SPS. They seem to have the worst PR skills and salesmanship skills in the universe. (Frankly, they couldn't sell a bag of hundred dollar bills for $10!)

We've heard about right-sizing, etc. all for the supposed goal of getting more dollars into the classrooms. Fair enough. But can anyone point me to an example of where that has occurred, or where it will occur, and trace it back to Broad's philosophy and management style? (Or am I kidding myself here?)

If Broad is benevolent, and more importantly, "effective," then I'd expect to be showered with examples of the good deeds they've done everywhere. Thus far, I haven't heard or seen a peep from SPS, but they clearly feel Broad is great. So, as a stakeholder, it would be nice to know what their plan is, in particular.

hschinske said...

Has anyone seen this? http://schoolsmatter.blogspot.com/2009/06/broad-foundation-center-for-reform-of.html or http://tinyurl.com/m3s8xy

The article quoted begins:

"The Antioch school district's three-year affiliation with an education reform foundation aimed at improving schools through better governance has been severed.

"In a letter dated June 1, the Center for Reform of School Systems, which is supported financially by the philanthropic Broad Foundation, announced that it was ending the Antioch school district's participation in its Reform Governance in Action program.

"The reason given: The May resignation of Superintendent Deborah Sims, an alumnus of a Broad training program."

Helen Schinske

Sahila said...

I'd like to ask if you would all cross-post your Broad writings to Harium's blog.... he's reading.... I've been posting to the capacity management/Jane Addams thread but today he put up a new miscellaneous thread...

I also would like it if we could get together all this Broad material including meaningful critique from other quarters and data about its success/failure, with all the relevant links and references, and post it to each and every Board member...

I'd love to have that material for the July 19th meeting at my house, which Harium has said he will try to attend - is to confirm with me this week...

Any volunteers for putting it all together?

I'm thinking the best way to derail the awful change process going on in this District is to uncover and derail the organisation and agenda that's driving it all...

seattle citizen said...

Fromm the Broad info Gavroche posted:

"Connections: Understanding the politics of race, class, and gender and how a superintendent can manage the dynamics of diversity."

"Manage the dynamics of diversity"?

There's an over-reach...Meyb if they can quantify it, feed it into their spreadsheet, their machine will spew forth some recommended actions they can take to "manage" diversity?
I can see the course listing now:
Managing diversity 101: Represent gender using a co-option factor of 3.2, divided by the race integral 26.223, multiplied by income level expressed as a numeric multiple of "k": Any deviation from the resultant average dictates leveraged severance of any of the three factors, or a portion thereof, from the equation. The management of this diversity will best be attained with less diversity. Economies of scale necessitate elimination of race, gender and class factors where they are unequally balanced."

gavroche said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gavroche said...

Map of Broad

Here is map showing where "Broad Fellows" (Broad-trained school superintendents) have infiltr--er, been placed, in school districts across the U.S.

(It may be a little outdated -- the Broadite Supt. in Antioch, Calif. just quit, as noted elsewhere on this blog. And I'm not sure who in South Carolina the map is referring to, since Goodloe-Johnson is no longer there. And San Francisco is not on the map, since that city's school board booted its Broadite school superintendent Arlene Ackerman a few years ago. Not sure if she was a Broadite at the time, but she is now -- on the board in fact, despite her questionable record in S.F.)

Also of interest is the Results page. -- It's not clear what great accomplishments Supt. Goodloe-Johnson would be able to boast about in that category.

One Broad Fellow "gave 22,000 teachers a raise," says the site. Another Broad "Fellow" is credited (by Broad) for allegedly "reorganizing the district’s central office to operate more leanly and efficiently—and then he gave his teachers their highest pay raise in seven years."

Why aren't we seeing these kinds of alleged results with the Broad "Fellow" & "Residents" we’ve been handed in Seattle?

Instead Goodloe-Johnson gave nearly 200 teachers pink slips this year -– at a time when school enrollment and teacher demand is up -- and accepted a generous 10 percent pay raise and extended contract after only one year on the job, bringing her own salary up to $264,000.

Have any SPS teachers received pay raises on her watch?

Charlie Mas said...

gavroche asks: "Have any SPS teachers received pay raises on her watch?"

Yes. The teachers this past year received a pretty significant pay raise, but it was not due to anything by Dr. Goodloe-Johnson. Five years ago, Raj Manhas agreed to a contract with the teachers' union that would put their pay among the top five for surrounding districts within five years. The teachers didn't see much increase in their salaries for the first four of those years and then, last year, to comply with the contract, their pay was seriously boosted to be competitive with the pay in surrounding districts. So the teachers got a pay raise during the Goodloe-Johnson administration, but not due to any decision by Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson.

Two things about this teacher contract and how the raise was deferred until the last moment that went badly.

First, the contract itself is a disaster. Certificated staff payroll is something like 80% of the District's expenses. With this contract they ceded control of it to the surrounding districts. It is never a good idea to give away control of your number one budget item.

Second, deferring the raise to this past year and the big boost in teacher pay created by that deferral has been named as one of the reasons that so few teachers are retiring this year. Teacher pensions are based on highest TWO years' pay. So anyone thinking of retiring will get an equally big boost in their pension if they wait one more year before retiring so they have the boosted salary for two years. While retirements are down significantly this year, we can reasonably expect two years' worth of retirements next year. So, just as we RIF a lot of new teachers this year, we will be hiring a lot of new teachers next year.

Charlie Mas said...

Suspicions voiced about the Broad Foundation on this blog remind me of similar suspicions I have heard voiced about the Alliance for Education, TAF, Stuart Sloane, The New School Foundation, and the PTA.

From my perspective, it is difficult to think ill of people who are giving money to public education. Do they have an agenda? They probably do; that doesn't make them evil. I know I have an agenda as well, and so do many of us. It doesn't make us evil either. These folks can offer money with strings attached, but if the District doesn't like the strings, they can simply refuse the money.

You can compare it to vulgar entertainments on television. They have a right to show it, but just because they are broadcasting it doesn't mean we have to watch it. We can choose to watch something else or we can choose not to watch anything at all.

Even if the Broad Foundation were evil, the District can just not take their money or their advice. Your beef, if you have one, is still with the District, not with the Broad Foundation.

adhoc said...

Not sure where to post this on the SSS blogs, it's totally off topic, but worth discussing, maybe in a new thread??

Check out this link to see potential BEX IV schools
http://www.seattleschools.org/area/facilities/BTAIII/potentialBEX4.pdf

Of note:
Jane Addams - modernize k-8 facilities for new program needs
Thornton Creek - replace and expand to K-8
Eckstein - modernize for middle school
Laurelhurst - historic renovation and capacity expansion
Olympic Hills - replace and expand capacity
AS1/Pinehurst - replace and expand capacity
Rogers- replace and expand capacity
Sacajewea - replace building with some capacity
replace building, soe capacity, repoen for elementary school
View Ridge - Replace and expand capacity
Wedgewood - Replace building with some capacity

Sahila said...

My beef with the District is that the Broad Foundation - with a very definite agenda to 'reform' public education according to its own philosophies - is getting its feet under the SPS table without any public scrutiny, with the public paying for the privilege...

I think SPS management could use all the help it can get - IF that help is working to the agenda formulated by the SPS community, not to the agenda set by the sponsoring institution...

Reminds me a little of the story of Little Red Riding Hood...

Oh, grandma - what big teeth you have....

Chris said...

Charlie, I think we are back to the issue of the extreme mistrust we taxpayers have of the district. If we trusted them, fine, they could choose their own philanthropic partners. But we don't. For good reason. So I want to know about the flow of money in from and out to (our 50K) these "foundations" and I want to know what strings are attached, and I want a clear purpose and justification for these partnerships.

SPSMom said...

I poked around the Results page and then decided to go look at Benton Harbor to see this 100% increase in 4th grade math scores. I can't find it. Basically kids are tested each fall and you can track 05, 06, 07, 08 scores currently. In 05, 58% of the 4th graders met standard, 06 = 61%, 07 = 63% and 08= 62%. Looks pretty consistant to me.

So then I looked to see if there was a 100% increase from 3rd graders to 4th grader. A spot check found that from 05 to 06 showed a 10% decrease from 3rd to 4th grade. So then I looked at what was happening to students from 3rd thru 8th grade. In 07, 76% of the 3rd graders passed and only 37% of the 8th graders. In 08, 81% of 3rd graders passed and only 53%. So the longer you stay, the more likely you will eventually fail the math test.

Long winded point: A 100% increase in any score in a two year period should pop out when looking for it. It is simply not there, and yet is being billed as a headline results. Makes me leary of everything below.


Also, this is a Charter school discrict, there is a stratigic plan that rang familiar when I read it and curriculum is all aligned...but the entire district is being watched to be taken over by the state, just as the Detriot disctrict was taken over several years ago.

Josh Hayes said...

adhoc, thanks for the pointer. Looks like a lot of schools are proposed for "replace and expand capacity". What does that mean? Tear down the school and build a new, bigger one?

Probably this merits a new thread devoted to proposed BEX stuff. Any of the mods want to do that?

Or, (WV) were you unable to get tickets to your favorite 90's band and threw a hootifit?

Reader said...

Interesting discussion. On the Broad foundation side, it's really funny that they list "large urban" school districts as somehow on-par with Fortune 500 companies. (and therefore staff deserves salaries on-par with Fortune 500 executives and similar management to a Fortune 500 company) That may be true in NYC, but lets look at what it means right here in Seattle. While it's true that there are around 45,000 students... those should be considered clients, or customers, not personnel. Seattle only has 6,000 employees... that's not Fortune 500, even if you bought into the idea. It's something a bit larger than a small business. Small potatoes.

On the other hand, lots and lots of people have gone on and on about the need for "public-private partnerships". Well... now we've got one. Isn't it what you want? I happen to think that we should say NO to all public-private arrangements, and NO to philanthropic efforts too. Education funding is the responsibility of the government, and the government alone. We get what we elect, and what we vote for. And these philanthropic deals do an end run on that obligation.

Broad made his money by merging his company with AIG. Remember them? Check it out. So, I guess we're bailing it all out now anyway. But why should someone like that get any special say in how people are educated... just because he made a pile of money, at public expense, and got out while the getting out was still good? Does that make him an expert on educational policy? If we manage SPS like AIG will that work out for us too? Is he really a management expert anyway? Will SPS be bailed out like AIG was bailed out? Credit default swaps anyone?

Sahila said...

Please people, make it easy for Harium (and the rest of the Board)... if you have comments/criticisms of Broad and substantive information/data to back up those views, please cross-post to Harium's blog...

Harium and the Board have already been exposed to Broad spin for a long time... now someone has posted a view supporting Broad in the District on the newest thread on Harium's blog...

If we want to educate and influence/turn things around, we have to make it easy for Harium and the other Directors to see the fallacies being promulgated by Broad and the Superintendent and the other Broad plants - staff and fellows....

I'm hoping we can get all the hard info/data uncovering Broad and its failures together over the next few weeks and present a substantive and substantial document to the Board when they come back from summer, along with a request that Broad influence then be purged from SPS....

adhoc said...

Josh, FYI, I also put a thread re proposed/possible NE schools slated for BEX4, on the NE cluster school blog

http://neschools.blogspot.com/

owlhouse said...

Reader- I tend to agree, and also worry that adding funds from various foundations and grants, distracts us from our obligation to fully fund public education. It allows us to "give up"- negating our responsibility while also accepting private influence as a reasonable condition of the much needed funding.

I've been musing over the question of why we might trust Eli Broad (or even his hired ivy educated policy folks) to steer public ed with the bribe of his foundational money. Did KB homes ever invite California educators to help them design their shiny new environmentally destabilizing developments around a school(s) that would serve the community being built? Did he bring a bunch of teachers in to collaborate with the architects and contractors acknowledging that an understanding of child development would be a valuable guide in designing a neighborhood? No. So now that he made all his money creating communities that are not sustainable, now he sees the light and wants to do right by the youth?? He cashed in on his insurance racket, left it along with smaller investors and the American public to crash and burn, and now he's concerned with the achievement gap?? Right or wrong, my lack of respect for Broad's road to financial success makes me overly cautious in accepting his foundation's help- cash or personnel.

SPSMom said...

Here's an article about the BA:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0JSD/is_7_64/ai_n19449467/?tag=content;col1

Here, that same super from Benton Harbor is sited as having raised the Reading scores 100%. Wow, what a go getter! Interesting that I could never find one article about this super that boasted such "results" that was not related to the Broad Academy.

I did find this one:

Interesting article about Eli Broad: His basic belief is this:

"Broad believes the best way to fix troubled urban school districts is to employ the classic American business model in which a powerful chief executive runs roughshod over a weak governing board. Oakland, under state control, has provided the perfect laboratory. Since the state takeover in 2003, Broad has donated $6 million to the Oakland schools, and the district has been led solely by graduates of his leadership training academy. During that period, nine other Broad associates also have held high-level positions in the district"

"a powerful chief executive runs roughshod over a weak governing board." Boy doesn't that sound like the June 6th Board Meeting when the board approved a nearly $1 million contract that they had no idea what was being improved.

http://www.susanohanian.org/show_atrocities.html?id=7567

And of course there is the famed Thandiwe Peebles, BA grad, whose contract was bought out after allegations of mis-conduct. Funny thing about here, you have to dig very very deep to find that she was a BA grad. Not listed as a featured Alum (anymore)
From an article about Ms. Peebles:

"allegations from an anonymous former employee surfaced. That employee claimed Peebles used district employees to run errands for her, during working hours." and "Peebles became embroiled in controversies over her management style." (apparently she was a bit abrupt)

Does that also ring familiar, management style?

Here's what I think has happened here. The school board has actually sought out BA grads for SPS positions thinking that these people were the "hail Mary pass" we needed. They failed to dig deep to see that actually BA grads seek to undermine school boards.

Ironic isn't it.

dan dempsey said...

The school board has actually sought out BA grads for SPS positions thinking that these people were the "hail Mary pass" we needed.

Thanks for the explanation.
I was wondering how MG-J was selected as one of two finalists when I attempted to watch her intial 90 minute pre-employment interview on T.V.. Thornton was much better. I was wondering wow.... is that all there is. Then MG-J was the choice and I was left scratching my head.

Thanks for the run roughshod explanation for Broad Academy style choice. It explains a lot.

That certainly makes sense out of the deception practiced for math adoptions. Reasons?? Reasons??? We don't need no stinkin' reasons. It has been decided now get out of the way.

dan dempsey said...

Please people, make it easy for Harium (and the rest of the Board)... if you have comments/criticisms of Broad and substantive information/data to back up those views, please cross-post to Harium's blog...


Wow... I gave up on most of these School board members having any interest in what is really going on in regard to the Superintendent and central admin running Roughshod over everyone long ago.

Really look at the votes.... until we get rid of Cheryl Chow it is pointless to suggest that improvement is available by better informing the board.

Maier and Sundquist seem along the same lines as Chow. Corporate Rubber stampers are hardly ever looking for enlightenment.

It seems the only improvement will be better explanations for their rubber stamped decisions. ... oh pardon me ... I meant their carefully considered decisions. Those four votes and accompanying explainations for Discovering Math as the high school adoption were beyond lame. Attempting to better inform these folks seems pretty pointless, as they do not wish to be informed. Most board members are way way smarter than we are (on every issue) so why do they need to listen to the public? After all they have their hired professionals to listen to if any question arises.

Sahila said...

heya Dan...

call me naive and I'm sure other people have adopted the same strategy on other issues, but my goal here is to provide so much substantive information on the public record that the Board has to at least look at it.... and then, if it continues down this path, seek recourse through recalls etc...

Pull things out of the woodwork and into the cold light of day, and then see if they can justify continuing .... and if they do attempt to continue down the same path, take whatever legal steps are available...

all that publicity, with protest and formal complaint campaigns etc, etc

I know that lots of other people have tried any and all of these tactics - not sure anyone has pulled all the different issues and protest strategies into one place/time/focus... what I'm trying to do is get at the root and then persistently and all-encompassingly keep the spotlight on it until change comes...

the constant drip of water eroding the rock....

dan dempsey said...

Sahila,

Things have improved... it used to be almost every vote was 7-0 with an occasional 6-1.


Now 5-2 is showing up with some regularity.

A 4-3 on the math adoption.

Get Charlie Mas elected and who knows where this could go.

I wish you the best. At the moment I am watching for the Math decision appeal in Superior Court... not happening until early 2010.

What a bizarre world we live in today .... where Broad runs Seattle Schools.

dan dempsey said...

Sahila,

Read this for an attempted jump to reality. Chicago schools' academic gains in the Arne Duncan era were an illusion .. wow sounds just like Rod Paige in Houston.

Chicago the real story on results

Sahila said...

Dan - I was at a meeting today where we talked a little about moving SPS in a more appropriate direction before Arne gets himself settled and starts flexing his CEO biceps across the nation...

Dora Taylor, AIA said...

For anyone who thinks that it will take more time to evaluate DGJ's performance, please read below what has been said of her predecessor in Charleston:

http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2009/may/22/mcginley_praised_teacher_survey83219/
For entire article.

"Some Charleston County teachers say Superintendent Nancy McGinley is doing a far better job of leading the school district than her predecessor, according to survey results released this week.

Seventy-three percent of the 817 Charleston Teacher Alliance members surveyed believe McGinley is an effective leader, compared to just 48 percent who said the same about former Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson, according to the teacher advocacy group's report. The district employs about 3,500 teachers.

McGinley outscored Goodloe-Johnson on every issue, including her visibility and accessibility to teachers, her communication with teachers and whether she seeks their input. This is the first time the alliance has done this survey on the district's administrative leadership since Goodloe-Johnson left the district in June 2007. McGinley has been superintendent since then.

Kent Riddle, chairman of the alliance and a kindergarten teacher at Angel Oak Elementary School, said McGinley's approval rating is significant, especially because it comes at a difficult budget time when teachers have been furloughed and school resources have been cut.

McGinley has done more to reach out to teachers and let them know what's happening, and it's important to teachers to feel as if they're being treated as professionals, he said. She likely could have even higher scores if she did more to explain the way teacher input affected her decision-making, Riddle said.

The superintendent has received mostly positive reviews thus far. She scored an 83.1 percent on her first evaluation by the school board this fall, the equivalent of "exceeds standards."

And she is NOT a Broad graduate.

My first thought was "Can we have her as our superintendent?"

Dora Taylor, AIA said...

For anyone who has tuned into this thread after it was posted, I would suggest that you look at the CAO thread on this blog where this discussion originated.

gavroche said...

Whatever business wants...

Thanks for the link, Dan. It leads to another interesting article, from the Chicago Tribune "Education Secretary Arne Duncan counting on business leaders to help push through school reforms" which highlights the close ties between business interests and education "reform" and how the former is driving the latter.

(No mention of what's best for the kids, or "best practices" or anything like "knowledge for the sake of knowledge" or simply helping our kids grow into happy, healthy, educated adults.)

Some excerpts:

"In general, business has a beef with the way schools are run. Name a common practice, and chances are business doesn't like it: the performance evaluations and teacher pay; the math and science curricula; the governance, bureaucracy and union job protections."

(...)

"'What Arne [Duncan] did in the [Chicago] schools is aligned with what business wants: reform," [former Commerce Secretary Bill] Daley said. "The business community wants him to keep that reform mantra going."


While it may on the surface sound reasonable that American corporations want a better educated employee pool here in the U.S., this alleged desire does not jibe with the American (and international) corporate penchant for laying off or bypassing educated American workers in favor of outsourcing work to workers overseas who are no better trained, but cost much less.

Sahila said...

From Sherry, in response to my invitation to attend a community meeting at my house, Sunday July 19th, to discuss Broad influence int the District... Harium is yet to confirm his attendance... I dont want to postpone the date until August - some of us who are concerned about Broad want to plan some action strategies to commence when the Board comes back from recess and when school starts...

I like it that Sherry is holding a community meeting of her own, in Greenwood.... its a weekend day - will try to attend...


Sahila,

Thank you for the email. I am unable to attend on the date requested as I have a family commitment that weekend. I would respectfully request an event after 8/12 or if it is urgent, an event during the week in the evening (like the others, Harium and I also work fulltime). I promised my daughters and husband I would protect the few weeks off from School Board to spend time with them. One option is that I have a community meeting scheduled for 8/15 8:30-10. It is my first and I suspect that there won't be huge attendance given the summer date. It is at the Greenwood Neighborhood Service Center (85th and Greenwood). Not a huge space but good size (maybe 20-25?).

Separately, I did contact Dr. Goodloe-Johnson and requested some background information. I can tell you that the practice of hiring Broad fellows pre-dates her at SPS as I know Raj also hired Broad fellows. I can certainly provide that information as soon as it is available, regardless of a meeting date.

Again, thank you for the email and for including me in your event.

I hope you are enjoying our summer.


Sherry Carr
School Board Director, District 2
(206) 252-0040

gavroche said...

The Broad Foundation and Teach for America

Another concern about Broad is its affiliation with Wendy Kopp's Teach for America enterprise.

Kopp, like Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson, is another member of the Broad Foundation's Board of Directors.

Though billed as a similar to the Peace Corps, it's not. Following is a detailed explanation of TFA from a Daily Kos writer: "Finding the Truth About Teach for America"

Part of the agenda of the so-called "education reformers" like Broad is to weaken the teacher's union, which it considers an obstacle to its goals, undermine experienced teachers, and replace them with "young" Teach for America trainees -- recent college graduates who often have no teaching background at all and don't necessarily remain in teaching for long, it would appear.

There is a profit incentive for Kopp and TFA, according to this Kos writer.

The fact that Seattle School Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson is on the Broad Foundation board of directors along with Kopp would suggest a shared vision about teachers between these two.

Goodloe-Johnson's recent treatment of Seattle teachers has been troubling. For reasons that are not clear, she RIFed (laid off) nearly 200 teachers on Teacher Appreciation Week, no less, and also sent an illegal letter to the 3000 SPS teachers unilaterally ending their contract, bypassing collective bargaining (At a cost of about $15,000 since each letter needed to be sent by Certified Mail). Without getting too arcane, let's simply say, she has not treated our teachers with the respect they deserve. And it is baffling why she laid off teachers at all when SPS is reporting an enrollment application increase of 1200 students more than predicted for the 2009-10 school year.

The unpublicized presence of union-busting NCTQ (the misleadingly titled National Council on Teacher Quality) in Seattle during the teacher's union contract negotiations is also troubling. Why are they here? What are they doing?

Do we share this vision for our schools? Is this element of the Broad agenda what we want for Seattle?

Seattle Public School parents deserve answers to these questions and an open and honest discussion by our School Board and Superintendent about the direction in which they are trying to take our District.

Sahila said...

I need some help in cataloguing and then creating a document of national Broad-related information, with hard critique and references, available for the meeting I'm hosting on 19th July, and for presentation to the Board when they come back from summer recess.

My wish list includes critiques of the books the Board has been given to read... previously listed on this thread...

I also would like information about other institutions/groups active/lobbying in the District...

A couple of blog contributors have gathered huge quantities of information but need help in organising it and making it available....

I/we are wanting to compile this in one place/have it available as a document so that we can present it to the Board - ignorance then is no excuse - and the media, ask some questions and then, depending on the answers, move forward in purging Broad influence in the District...

Really, really need the help cos my primary focus right now, of necessity, is finding some paying work and 'many hands make light work'!

Also, my printer is on the blink, so would appreciate help printing out the complaint form PDF, for people to start filling in at the July 19th meeting...

www.seattleschools.org/area/board/complaintform.pdf

Email me at metamind_universal@yahoo.com

namaste
Sahila

Sahila said...

Harium Martin Morris will be attending the Sunday July 19 meeting at my house (Greenwood) to discuss Broad influence in the SPS District...

noon-2.30pm... children welcome, RSVPs appreciated...

If you want to come, email me for address: metamind_universal@yahoo.com

Sahila said...

PART ONE - cross posted to newest thread to reach as many people as possible....

It would be most helpful if I could co-ordinate pulling Broad information together for next Sunday's meeting with some other people... I have my hands full with job hunting - need to manifest some cash and sustainable ongoing income urgently, as in NOW! - and a six year old home on summer holidays...

I would like to present a document that has an outline of Broad mission strategies, critique of the Broad and the philosophy of corporate influencers generally (and the books the Board has been given to read, which support Broad philosophy), the experience of other school districts with Broad, who are the Broad people in the District, their track record elsewhere and what they cost the District(us) - and provide references and links to that information.

I see the agenda for this meeting being:
1: Welcome and Introduction
2: Introduction of Broad - its mission, Broad people in the District and their positions
3: Harium presents his perspective
4: Introduction of Broad history elsewhere and counter-Broad views
5: Questions/Answers - have some questions ready for Harium?
6: Discussion/decision on whether to take this further within the District and if so, what, when, where, who action steps
7: Those who need to go, do so
8: Those who wish to stay, begin complaint filing campaign
9: End

Please note, I dont know if Harium will stay for the whole meeting - in my invite, I asked him for 30 minutes of his time, which is why I thought he ought to be given the chance to speak first... I am toying with the idea of swapping the order of items 3 & 4, but I dont want him to feel he's being set up/attacked and that he needs to be on the defensive, either in his own perspective or as a representative of the Board...

Input on this welcome...

So - who can help pull a Broad info document together? There is lots of info available on the web and many people have submitted info and links to the SPS Blog - including owlhouse, gavroche, seattle citizen, myself.... If any blog contributors have kept personal copies of their contributions and the references on which they relied for the information and can forward them to me, that would be an amazing start....

I also think its important that we come up with some other ideas about the direction for SPS and how to get there - it doesnt help just whinging and then not having anything useful to offer as an alternative...

Some of us have talked about forging co-operative links with the other (lobby) groups working in SPS - ESP Vision, CPPS, PTSA, SEA etc - to influence the direction in which the District is going.

It seems we need to reach a critical mass of involvement and action to make any difference. We thought that maybe we could begin an outreach campaign, and come up with a fundamental position/need/desire/focus on which we all agree - a real core - such as 'the best interests of our children' , or 'the need for transparency', or 'the need for District direction and action to be determined by community mandate'...

We might have differences on many levels, but surely there is some basic tenet on which we can all agree, on which we can unite sufficiently cohesively to give us a critical mass of influence? And once we have that, then we can negotiate our differences, keeping in mind always that our primary concern is the welfare of the children for whom we say we want the best possible educative experience possible.

Thank you
Namaste
Sahila

PS - it would be most helpful if I could have RSVPs of people who ARE attending next Sunday's meeting... I have an alternate (central) venue lined up if the numbers are so big that my home will not cope. I will put out a notice on Wednesday 15 July confirming location. Meeting date: July 19th; meeting time: noon - 2.30pm; meeting location: email metamind_universal@yahoo.com or call 206 297 7511

Sahila said...

PART TWO - official 'party' line on Broad, I guess, from Marie Goodloe Johnson via Sherry Carr

From: Carr, Sherry L
Subject: Broad Foundation Information
To: metamind_universal@yahoo.com
Cc: "Martin-Morris, Harium"
Date: Saturday, July 11, 2009, 9:11 AM

Sahila,

I wanted to pass on to you all the information I received from the Superintendent regarding the practice of hiring Broad Foundation residents at SPS. It may be more information than you want but I wanted to pass on all that I had to offer you (copy/pasted in blue font below). Please note that included down towards the bottom is a hyperlink to a document that provides some additional information that is not cited in the body of this email.

In response to a question that Director Carr asked:

There have been many questions regarding Broad and the relationship with the district. Our response is below.

I would first like to emphasize that Residents were hired to make quick progress on implementing the Strategic Plan. This is possible because of Residents' demonstrated management skills. A key selection criterion for the Residency is a strong passion for public education and closing the achievement gap as I don't think this is widely known. The organizational benefit to having Broad Residents' includes, talent at half the cost for two years, professional development and support for the residents free of charge from Broad, additional capacity to execute strategic work. The residents all have brought management and business skills that most urban systems traditionally don't have. I have also include a link at the end of the explanation regarding the press release (I am on the board) and many other informational links contained in the body of the press release that may be helpful.



How the Broad Residency Works

· Potential Residents apply to The Broad Center for two-year Residency positions and identify preferred districts.

. The Broad Center reaches out to every urban district in the country to determine if there is interest in hiring Resident(s) to work on strategic management projects.

· Potential Residents undergo a rigorous selection process starting with resume and cover letter review, a phone interview, a day-long group interview with other candidates, and multiple in-person interviews with Broad Center staff and school district leadership.

· The Broad Center determines whether candidates are accepted into the Residency, then accepted Residents interview with their district(s) of interest. Districts ultimately make the final decision to offer or not offer a Resident a position.

. The Broad Center pays for half of Residents' salaries during the two-year Residency.

How SPS Broad Residents Were Hired

· There was initial interest in hiring a Broad Resident among past SPS leadership (Superintendent Raj Manhas, COO Mark Green and CFO Steve Nielsen), and SPS applied for a Resident for Fall 2006. They saw the Residency as a good opportunity to recruit management talent.

· Since both SPS and the first Resident had had a positive experience after two years, and Broad Residents' strategic management skills were a good fit for the work needed to implement the Strategic Plan which had just been approved by the School Board in 2008, SPS applied for 3 additional Broad Residents for Fall 2008, to work in Academics, Operations and Human Resources. SPS interviewed multiple candidates and hired 2 Residents who currently work in Academics and Operations.

Sahila said...

PART THREE (Final) SHERRY CARR - BROAD INFORMATION CONTINUED:

Detailed Resident Hiring Processes & Work Accomplished

Brad Bernatek
· Brad Bernatek applied to Seattle and Denver Public Schools and interviewed in both places. At SPS, he interviewed with Raj Manhas, Mark Green, Steve Nielsen and Holly Ferguson. Seattle was ultimately the best fit for him and SPS offered him a position beginning in Fall 2006. Brad initially reported to COO Mark Green.

· Brad's Residency work focused on a data and financial analysis, including a cost analysis of bus transportation times, analysis of the West Seattle HS schedule, and development of milestones for the Strategic Plan.

· During his second year of the Residency, Brad transitioned to report to CAO Carla Santorno.

· At the end of his Residency, Brad was appointed Interim Director of Research, Evaluation & Assessment due to an immediate vacancy and his demonstrated skills in this area through the work described above.

· After 8-9 months, he was named Director of the department by the Superintendent.

Jessica de Barros
· Jessica de Barros applied only to Seattle Public Schools. She interviewed with Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson, CAO Carla Santorno, CFOO Don Kennedy, Executive Director of Strategic Planning Carol Rava Treat, and High Schools Director Michael Tolley. SPS offered her a position beginning in Fall 2008 reporting to Carla Santorno.

· Jessica's work has focused on developing assessment tools to consistently track student progress, using data to drive improvements in the classroom, and developing a performance management system - key priorities of the Strategic Plan and needs expressed by stakeholders in the input gathered to develop the Plan. In her first year, she has reached out to stakeholders within SPS to identify priorities of assessment, researched best practices in assessment, managed a pilot of the Measures of Academic Progress student assessment, and led a project team to select a common benchmark assessment for SPS. This work has significantly advanced the district's Strategic Plan goals.

Cordell Carter
· Cordell Carter was first accepted into the Broad Residency in 2007 and deferred for one year. In 2008, he interviewed with SPS and was offered a position. He interviewed with Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson, CFOO Don Kennedy, CAO Carla Santorno, and Interim HR Director Gary Ikeda. SPS offered him a position beginning in Fall 2008 reporting to Don Kennedy.

· Cordell's work has focused on promoting efficiency and accountability with SPS by: leading balanced scorecards across operations departments, special education, and support/prevention/intervention; leading business process redesign methodology training to over 300 staffers and facilitating several process redesign teams; and leading the creation of a Technology Roadmap for the district's SAP human resources system. These projects support the Strategic Plan goals of building an infrastructure that works well and monitoring progress at all levels.

www.broadacademy.org/asset/417-tbc%20board%20announcement.pdf

www.broadacademy.org/asset/417-tbc%2520board%2520announcement.pdf>

I can confirm independently from Dr. Goodloe-Johnson that the practice of hiring Broad residents pre-dates her tenure. I know Raj initiated the practice when I was the SCPTSA President. I hope this provides you and others some food for thought and discussion. Do keep me posted regarding a meeting time.

Enjoy our beautiful weather!
Sherry Carr

gavroche said...

Thanks for this info, Sahila. But I still think the School Board Directors and Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson owe us, the parents and stakeholders of Seattle's public schools, some honest and complete answers to legitimate questions about the expanding influence of the Broad Foundation inside Seattle Public Schools, and the serious conflict of interest this affiliation may pose.

The fact that SPS's hiring of "Broad Residents" predates Goodloe-Johnson doesn't change anything in my view. In fact, it fits in perfectly with Broad's stated strategy of ‘honing in’ on troubled districts (that it deems “ripe” for its brand of intervention), getting “the right people” (its trainees and board members) “in place” in those districts, and shoring up its people with "resources." (See: Broad Foundation Annual Report 2008. p. 13)

One could argue that getting the initial "Broad Residents" into the SPS system merely laid the groundwork for further Broad influence in SPS.

When the time came for SPS to find a replacement for Raj Manhas, after an initial pool of about three candidates, somehow Goodloe-Johnson, a Broad Academy trainee, was the only candidate left. Thus Broad was able to get one of its people "in place" at the top spot in Seattle's School District -- one of its own Broad board of directors, no less.

Then, when it came time for Goodloe-Johnson's second annual evaluation this past June, why did the District hire yet another Broadite, ostensibly one of MGJ's colleagues--Tom Payzant--to oversee her evaluation? Was he “half price” too, thus making him a ‘bargain’? Yet, how objective could that have been? How likely is it that Broadite Payzant would have given his colleague and Broad Board of Directors member Goodloe-Johnson, a candidly critical review? (See: School Board to Give Mixed Review to Supe, Nina Shapiro, “The Daily Weekly,” Seattle Weekly, June 3, 2009

Why can't SPS seem to find any talent or resources that aren’t connected to the Broad Foundation?

Why do so many roads lead to Broad?

(continued on next post)

gavroche said...

Why do so many roads lead to Broad?
(continued from previous post)

Furthermore, the district has justified all its actions this past year in the name of fiscal crisis management--so why is it hiring more admin people, like the "Broad Resident," when it is already has one of the most bloated admin staff and budgets of any school district in the state(?). One could argue that even at "half price," we can't afford--and don't need--more admin people in SPS, and definitely not more Broadites.

I still think this all adds up to a strange amount of Broad influence in our district, and a potentially serious conflict of interest since Broad strongly supports privatized charters and corporate influence in school districts, yet WA State voters have rejected charters multiple times.

So how can Supt. Goodloe-Johnson represent the interests of the Seattle school community AND the Broad Foundation when they are in such clear conflict?

If the Broad influence in SPS is so benevolent and benign, why is so much of it done in a clandestine manner? And why did Goodloe-Johnson, just a few months ago, deny point-blank to an SPS parent that Broad has anything to do with charter schools, when that is clearly a significant part of the Broad agenda?

And what happens when a school district doesn’t fall in line with the Broad agenda—will it suddenly pull out all its “resources” and people like it recently did in Antioch, California? (See: Foundation cuts ties with Antioch schools, by Hilary Costa, East County Times, 06/24/2009

Doesn’t that render a Broad-dependent school district--as ours seems to be becoming--quite vulnerable? Do we want that for Seattle?

The fact that Goodloe-Johnson short-circuited community involvement in her recent musical chairs maneuvers with school principals, laid off teachers when none of us wanted that either and when enrollment is up by 1200, and has done various other questionable, non-transparent, non-accountable actions, leads to serious questions about who she is answering to--cause it clearly is not us.

I still think we can understandably ask: Whose bidding is Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson doing? That of the parents, voters and taxpayers of SPS, or that of Eli Broad and his foundation?

gavroche said...

"Venture Philanthropy" -- or "Vulture Philanthropy"?
(more on the Broad Foundation's stated agenda)


Statements like these on the Broad Foundation web site are somewhat troubling (bold emphasis mine):

(See: http://www.broadeducation.org/investments/approach.html)

Our Approach to Investing: Venture Philanthropy

We take an untraditional approach to giving. We don’t simply write checks to charities. Instead we practice “venture philanthropy.” And we expect a return on our investment.

The Broad Foundation works in partnership with our grantees to provide the funding and strategic assistance to improve the learning environment for all students. We connect our grantees to a growing network of innovative leaders who are making some of the greatest gains and implementing the most promising practices in urban schools today. We hold ourselves and our grantees accountable for results—because results are what will improve the education of every American student.

The Broad Foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals. Unlike many foundations that have a traditional grant cycle and review process, we proactively seek out investments that align with our mission to dramatically improve urban K-12 public education through better governance, management, labor relations and competition. We are continually on the lookout for urban school districts and organizations nationwide that are progressive, led by talented, effective visionaries, and are strategically focused on improving student achievement. Once we have identified a potential investment opportunity, we initiate contact with a prospective grantee organization or individual and invite them to submit additional information."


The link at the bottom of the page leads to another page outlining their "investments." ( http://www.broadeducation.org/investments/current_investments/investments_all.html)

This raises a number of questions:
Q: What happens when Broad doesn't get what it demands -- will it pull its funding & support from SPS, as it did in Antioch, Calif., and leave its aborted "investment" high and dry?

While some of the wording in this text sounds somewhat constructive --"progressive," "visionaries" (although that could mean 'pro-privatization, education reformers' in Broad's lexicon)-- there is also a fairly unabashed use of corporate terminology to describe Broad's "philanthropic" 'education reform' objectives.

Clearly Broad has expectations -- or strings-- attached to its 'philanthropic contributions.'

How is this relevant to Seattle?

Here's how: Earlier this year Broad gave SPS around $1 million. At the School Board meeting where the Directors voted whether to accept the money, Director Bass mentioned that some SPS parents had concerns about the Broad Foundation and its expectations and asked whether the Broad Foundation determined how that money would be used. Supt. Goodloe-Johnson said no, it didn't.

Her statement and the Broad web site text seem to contradict each other. So what is the truth?

What is Broad buying with its "investment" in Seattle Public Schools?