Thursday, January 28, 2010

STEM Update for January 28

I know you're all probably tired of hearing the daily STEM news story, but this one is GOOD.

The Board discussed STEM at a work session on Wednesday afternoon, January 27. It began with Michael Tolley delivering a memo that clarified some misunderstood points and answered some questions from the Board. Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson was there but let Mr. Tolley do all of the talking.

Then Steve Sundquist and Harium Martin-Morris described their visit to an NTN high school in Sacramento.

Most of the Board members asked a few vague questions and got a few vague answers. The only memorable point to come out of this is that NTN is about project-based learning, not exclusively about STEM. So a lot of the NTN schools are not STEM schools, but all of them employ project-based learning.

Then just as it looked like it was going to end, the good stuff came out. Director DeBell started asking questions about the performance numbers from NTN schools. He mentioned Dan Dempsey (who was there sitting next to me) and the doubts about the numbers that had been previously reported. Mr. Tolley said that he didn't have those numbers but that they were getting them ready. Mr. DeBell reminded Mr. Tolley that they had asked for those numbers before and didn't get them. Director DeBell is leading a trend in which members of the Board remember the questions that they ask that don't get answers. Answers are promised, but they don't come. That used to happen all the time without notice, but now the Board members are starting to notice it and ask the questions again and mention that they had asked them before. It is an extremely promising trend.

Let me note here that the numbers Mr. DeBell asked for - and was promised - are readily available. Federal law requires schools to report this data publicly. It's part of NCLB. The data is online and can be found in minutes. If the staff hasn't provided the numbers it can only be because either they haven't looked for them or they have them but don't want to report them.

Then came the most wonderful part of all. Director Smith-Blum - who is rapidly becoming my favorite Board Director of all time - said that she asked her intern to research the availability of comprehensive STEM programs and, within a few minutes online, found that Project Lead the Way offers a comprehensive suite of services that are essentially equivalent to the one offered by NTN, but with longer training for the teachers and at a fraction of the cost. In this time of tight budgets, we need to seriously consider alternatives before we plunk down nearly a million dollars for some outside help. She then passed out copies of Project Lead the Way literature for each board member.

Now Dr. Goodloe-Johnson found her voice.

She said that there has been a STEM Steering Committee that worked on this for a long time and chose the NTN program as the only one that was comprehensive.

Yes, said Director Smith-Blum, and we have asked you for information on that selection process but have not received any. (There's that trend again!) With the previous mention of requested answers not appearing this created the sense that this was a recurring problem with the staff ignoring Board requests. It put the superintendent a little further into the hole.

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson said that the NTN materials were multi-disciplined, not just engineering, like Project Lead the Way, but for humanities and the arts as well.

Director Smith-Blum said that the Project Lead the Way folks told her that their program was comprehensive too, covering all kinds of classes and providing materials, lesson plans, a national network of teachers, the whole kit and kaboodle. She also noted that we already had a Project Lead the Way class at Cleveland and at several other schools. They are already our partners. Moreover, they are already approved with federal grant money.

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson started sputtering - yeah, sputtering - about how there wasn't enough time...

Director Smith-Blum said that she contacted the folks at Project Lead the Way and asked them if they could complete a contract and have everything in place for the Fall and they said that they could.

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson then said that they had gone too far down the NTN road to break it off now.

This troubled me because the Board had not yet approved the contract. I'd hate to think that she had painted them into a corner and created a situation in which they were somehow obligated to approve the NTN contract.

Well, with one thing and another the end result was that the Board offered the superintendent the guiding suggestion that she provide them with information about the comparable services available from Project Lead the Way.

Directors DeBell and Smith-Blum really impressed me. First, for saying out loud that they had been asking questions and haven't been getting answers. Second, for doing some of their own research. Director Smith-Blum then really impressed by
1) Getting an intern. What a freakin' brilliant move.
2) Giving the intern this assignment
3) Bringing the materials to the work session. That was the cherry on top.

I'm impressed and delighted.

77 comments:

SolvayGirl1972 said...

Charlie said "I'm impressed and delighted."

Me too! Thanks for bringing us this welcome news.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Holy Backtalk, Batman! I absolutely love it! Man, I should have gone.

I note that Director Carr had asked for background information on NTN a month ago at a Board meeting and was promised it by Dr. Enfield. She repeated her request again at the last Board meeting. Dr. Enfield promised it again.

Follow-up and follow-thru - I love it.

I have been talking with some teachers/staff in the district about Project Lead the Way (just the engineering, mind you). They all like it. And they like it because they get good training, the curriculum is updated frequently and there is help available. I did a recent search of Project Lead the Way, putting in words like "problems", "issues" and "criticism". I didn't find much at all.

This is big not just because it is refreshing but because it may signal the strengthening of the Board. They are not there to rubber-stamp. I'm pleased to see they are at least asking valid questions.

Down the road too far with NTN? Please. It's that old "gotta it get it done or it'll cost too much". They don't mind spending more on maintenance so why start worrying about money now?

Keepin'On said...

I. Love. This.

ArchStanton said...

Very encouraging, indeed. Maybe some of the other board members can follow the example and find their backbones, too.

wsnorth said...

Hurray for director Smith-Blum!

Does anyone know why the district didn't just make Cleveland an IB program? That seems to be working well.

The problem now is it is getting late - as usual with the district, as I am beginning to learn - if they don't do something soon, nobody will be assigned to Cleveland and nobody will choose it, and then the surrounding schools will really have capacity problems. I have talked to several parents who are enthusiastic, but skeptical, about this concept. It needs to be decided soon.

dan dempsey said...

I was there with Charlie. It was fabulous. I sent Director DeBell a letter and blog posted it HERE.

Here is the short cover before the word.doc:
=========================
Dear Director DeBell,

I am extremely concerned about the Superintendent's ongoing failure to supply answers to questions. This indicates either a failure to research or a failure to disclose the results of research.

I am astounded that this NTN STEM Cleveland idea could have even gotten started, given what one weekend of online research at cde.gov.ca revealed to me.

The $800,000 New Technology Network presentation given by the CAO on Jan 20th, indicated why other models were rejected. It certainly seems that more than a casual glance would have led to the NTN model being rejected as well.

What is going on here that the Superintendent has pushed this apparently broken buggy this far down the road .... without inspecting anything?

At this point in time it certainly appears that any vote to approve this $800,000 NTN proposal would be "Arbitrary & Capricious".

Please see my attached letter for a fuller explanation of this situation as I see it.

Sincerely,

Dan Dempsey

P.S. More data to come .... as the Superintendent has thus far been unable to provide much.
=====================

Please note that I constructed an NTN fact sheet that I handed out to several folks at the Cleveland open house. On Saturday I handed one to Michael Tolley and Director Maier as well. It contains the answers to most of the questions that Mr. Tolley and MGJ failed to answer yesterday. The board has been sent this fact sheet also.

Seattle Parent said...

Yeah to hear this!
Both that some Board members are standing strong and also that there might be a better alternative to keep the STEM and have it not steal the budget quite as much for all the other schools.

Speaking of Cleveland's STEM, my link to Meg Diaz's powerpoint doesn't work anymore. Does anyone still have the document & can send out a link?
Meg had some very interesting graphs about the NTN school's academic data, besides so much else.
Thanks-

seattle citizen said...

Interns for Board Directors! Yea! That IS a brilliant idea...maybe we can put together an office staffed with interns that Board Directors can call on to research, word process, bird-dog etc...

Wow! We've talked about how Directors don't have resources, and all along we've missed this simple solution...

Oh, and once again Charlie, thank you (and Dan...and Melissa...and everybody else who does this) for taking the time and effort to go to these meetings and report. You ROCK!

This blog is DATA DRIVEN!

Dorothy said...

Roosevelt has some Project Lead the Way classes. I think they are called pre-engineering.

I don't know a lot about them, but my son has a friend who has not been well served in high school in general, but excelled in and loved his PLTW classes.

dan dempsey said...

NTN's New Tech Sacramento was started in 2003. It is the Show Horse demonstration school for its demographics are similar to Seattle's and it is classified as an NTN demonstration school.

Directors who wish to vote for this will need to explain why a STEM school would be modeled on NTN schools which are almost universally serious under-performers in Math.

New Tech Sacramento is particularly troublesome as this was the School that the Video focused on at the Cleveland Open House. California API ranking dropped like a rock over the last four reported years:

API ranking

2005 6
2006 5
2007 4
2008 3

This places New Tech Sacr. in the bottom 30% of California High Schools for Academic Achievement .... but even worse .... when ranked with schools of similar demographics it received a Similar Schools API ranking in 2008 placing it in the bottom 20% of such schools.

Which Directors will vote to spend $800,000 to copy that?

Would that classify as misfeasance or malfeasance? If so it will be time for a recall.

How did TEAM MGJ miss this way back at square one? My guess is no one had permission to look ... this looks like another autocratic fiat from MGJ.

Princess Shareef never requested a STEM school and it seems that IB would make a lot more sense. But none of that matters because MGJ wants the incredibly defective NTN model copied.

dan dempsey said...

I met with Candidate Smith-Blum and was impressed that she said the job of the school director is to direct the Superintendent. That certainly appears to be her plan. MGJ had best improve her game substantially as cheer leader Cheryl Chow is no longer holding any Pom Poms.

Ty Graham said...

I want to echo the thanks to Charlie and Dan for this great news.

dan dempsey said...

I forgot to mention that it was brought out that 85% of New Tech Sacr. Students passed the California High School Exit Exam in math. {WOW like that is supposed to mean something}.

CAHSEE Math is a mix of 8th grade algebra with a bit of geometry sprinkled in. It means you are ready for lots of remedial math at Community College if you go to community college. In 2009 of 50 students tested in Algebra II EOC, only 6% were basic or better and 58% were far below basic. It seems our Superintendent can only cherry pick favorable data and she is having a really hard time finding much of that.

Also New tech Sacr. costs more than the Sacramento HS average to run and has lower class sizes than most Sacramento High schools.

Stu said...

r. Goodloe-Johnson started sputtering - yeah, sputtering

What a lovely sentence . . .

Maureen said...

Hooray for Smith-Blum!

Any details from Martin-Morris and Sundquist about their vist?

Is there a job description or career path (or age range) for Seattle School Board Intern?

Charlie Mas said...

ACH! I can't believe I forgot this!

Director DeBell asked for some new data as well.

He asked how many NTN students had to take remedial math in college.

He said that got right to the heart of the matter and leaped over any question about differences between California or Washington state tests.

southend girl said...

Glad to hear it. But this whole thread makes me realize how pathetically low the bar has been. Hurray, someone is following up on unanswered questions and this is enough to qualify for hero status. Hope is in the air...I'm quite glad for the change but is it too much to ask for Board members to be proactive, thorough and to hold the Supe and staff accountable?

seattle citizen said...

Charlie, that's intersting (the number of students having to take remedial math in college)
It DOES jump over a lot of different stats, doesn't it? HSPE might not correlate with WASL (or MAP?) but the stat DeBell asked for is constant and eternal.
This stat should become a commonly used denominator

wseadawg said...

Wow! For all my concerns about KSB being a modern-conservative wolf in sheep's clothing, she's turning out to be the opposite: A true-blue, FISCAL Conservative!! Hot Damn! That's somebody who walks the walk! I thought they'd all but disappeared into the dustbin of history.

Finally, someone who demands Quality Goods AND a Fair Price! BRING IT ON KSB!!!

And I'd be remiss if I didn't give major, MAJOR PROPS to Dan Dempsey for his tireless efforts too. Thank you Dan!!

Stu: Just saw your post. I'm not one for blogger or IM shorthand, but I'm LOL'ing almost to the point of ROTFLMAO.

And to quote a famous ex-felon: "It's a Good Thing."

Working Together said...

Our Board members do what they can in the time they have-- which brings me to the point-- we have got to PAY Board members! If each earned even $30,000 a year it would be enough to make it worth while to work part time instead of full time, and devote more energy to the District. We cannot expect people to work a full time job and then put in another FT job as a director-- without pay. Yay for KSB and interns! For now, would be great to expand that pathway.

Dora Taylor said...

Finally, school board members are doing their jobs.

Dora Taylor said...

Working Together, these school board members knew what they were getting into when they ran for school board. They were well aware of the responsibilities and the time that it would take to do the job well and that is what I expect from each of them,to do their job in a competent manner.

Yes, I think that they should receive a stipend, if only to pay for an intern, but either way, this is about speaking up for the rest of us and not genuflecting to the superintendent.

wseadawg said...

Actually, they wouldn't have to work full-time necessarily. This SI and current Admin has been pushing an extremely ambitious agenda that has kept the board, and community, on their heels. This is no accident. Its by design to overwhelm the Board and the community.

But I agree, they deserve a decent stipend of some sort. Out of 500 million budget, 200k ought to be there for the Board.

StepJ said...

I was at a DeBell community meeting in the recent past. He was asked by another attendee why no response on some issue. His reply was the Board had no staff, no way to research etc. A savvy mom present (was it Central Mom?) suggested getting a college intern -- zero labor cost for Board Directors - school credit for the interns. A win/win all around.

DeBell was dismissive of the idea. Perhaps he would be more receptive now?

dan dempsey said...

Dora T said:
"Yes, I think that they should receive a stipend, if only to pay for an intern, but either way, this is about speaking up for the rest of us and not genuflecting to the superintendent."

When Sundquist ran for the board he was all about philanthropic partnerships. He has yet to vote against much of anything. I still wish I knew the agenda of the major contributors of the super big donors to the class of 2007. Mayoral contributions are limited to around $700 max. but School Board is unlimited.

MGJ has proposals so diffuse and so huge in number not even she can keep track of them. How can the board? She started this NTN STEM thing likely on a whim from a former acquaintance Monica Martinez, the president of the New Technology Network. MGJ never presented any real research on the NTN proposal and she has an enormous nearly $1000 per kid central office staff.

As Charlie points out. A few hours online at most and the board's previous questions could have been answered ... but with 7 days until the vote ... The Directors are still waiting for answers. Most of those are on the fact sheet I provided but no one at District Office has taken the time to vet them.

This is an intent problem starting at the top, which discourages any transparency, or data driven decision making.

Size of staff is not the issue, the number of undertakings and intent of the Superintendent is the issue.
DeBell once asked about the model that uses 111.5 Academic Coaches at a cost of $10+ million. Do we have any evidence that this model works? Never got an answer on that one either. Not even a "We'll get back to you on that one." But there are at least that many coaches budgeted for next year I would imagine.
Our "Broad" board member Superintendent, would have the Seattle board directors believe the answer to improved academic achievement lies in the performance management elements of her strategic plan. The "Broad" foundation has donated $1.2 million to the Alliance for Excellence to be dispersed for this purpose. {Another of those wonderful philanthrophic partnership Sundquist likes.... Don't ya just luv... "Broad" + Seattle}.

The Problem with improving academic achievement lies at the top of the totem pole that is filled with internal political infighters and very few person capable of doing the job. If they were allowed to do their jobs and given enough time and direction it might be different but with MGJ as leader that is clearly not happening or going to happen. Try reading the Strategic Plan. MGJ can't even keep up with the updates much less implement this monstrosity.

OK... I'm done now.
Rant over.

dan dempsey said...

Correction to above:

Alliance for Education .... not Excellence

The "Broad" foundation has donated $1.2 million to the Alliance for {Excellence} Education to be dispersed for this purpose.
==================

Note: I believe that former OSPI head Terry Bergeson is heading up the San Francisco version of Alliance.

dan dempsey said...

Interns... Interns ...

Imagine that an Intern that is not a Broad intern, what a concept.

zb said...

I like that the board seems to be asking tough questions (especially when they haven't been answered before). I'm wary of micromanagement, but if fear of it gets the central administration to start backing up their decisions with data that'll be a good thing.

And, I think that fixing facilities *should* be done through this newly aggressive board, rather than through protest votes. Give this board an opportunity to make a difference, before sending misinterpret able "protest" signals out there to the public.

Charlie Mas said...

I certainly don't want the Board micro-managing the Superintendent or using interns to second-guess her decisions.

BUT the decision to sign a contract with NTN is a BOARD decision. And the Board needs to take it seriously and base that decision on some criteria beyond "The staff recommends it."

zb said...

"BUT the decision to sign a contract with NTN is a BOARD decision. And the Board needs to take it seriously and base that decision on some criteria beyond "The staff recommends it.""

Totally. And, if something is a Board decision, the administration shouldn't be *allowed* to box the Board into a corner. This is what Boards are for.

Now we need to get them a finance intern and a demographics intern. I'm not so concerned about the lack of payment. Yes, stipends might be good, but it would be a great experience for the right kind of student.

Chris said...

Has Sherry Carr's request for info on the NTN board of directors been fulfilled?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Don't know. I'll ask; Dr. Enfield said, "tomorrow" and that was on the 20th.

Steve said...

Another way to help the board members is to attend the meetings, specifically keep track of every question the board asks for which Staff says "We'll get back to you," and then publish these items here the day after the meeting *and* send them to every board member. A gentle reminder of what they asked for and when Staff said they'd get it back to them. The running list would be interesting to look at and review with board members before meetings...

Dora Taylor said...

Wseadawg and Dempsey,

I agree with you. Our superintendent has had a track record of top down decisions that made everyone dizzy with the number that would come down since her time in Charleston.

See: "Rapid changes taking toll on some teachers - Charleston County educators say demands leaving them overwhelmed, exhausted"

Scroll down to #13 under 9/8/2004

http://www.timesizing.com/gts0409c.htm

DGJ should have been stopped with the school closures and the rifs in the spring, both being completely unnecessary.

Unfortunately the board didn't need to do much homework to know that the number of students was increasing substantially at the same time that they were voting on both issues. Others knew, including me. The information was in the census report as well as information that was presented to them by SPS staff in a board meeting that spring. In the same board meeting where our CFO stated that the rif's were necessary, one of Bernatek's people stated that they were over-enrolled by 1,200 students and counting for the fall.

Many of us asked the board to slow down and think about the ramifications of the moves and closures but they thought, in fire drill fashion, that the votes had to happen right away per the superintendent's request.

This happened recently with the vote on the grandfathering issue. Harium decided to vote for the two year proposal. When asked why he voted that way, he said it was because he didn't understand Blum's proposal. My question to him was, if you didn't understand it and you knew that this was a hugely important issue, why didn't you simply ask for a clarification or more time to consider Blum's proposal?

I do know the supe's MO and it would be difficult to keep up with her. I also think that it is a strategy to get what you want. Decisions by the board are made based on either misinformation or a lack of information in record time and then later people have a chance to think about it after the damage has been done. Everything is all important and a fire drill and it all has to be approved NOW per the supe. Same MO as Bush II and his administration.

Yes, I know that the board is human but it is time to stand up to our superintendent and let her know that time is needed to consider the issues that she brings to the table. This is all too important to vote on now and then ask questions later.

Maureen said...

The New Tech Foundation website doesn't seem to say anything about a Board (just staff), but it looks like it is actually a subset of the Knowledge Works Foundation headed by Barry Schuler, former CEO of AOL.

(I was going to link something to Schuler's name, but decided that would be over the top!)

Chris said...

Thanks Maureen, or should I say, "Director Carr's new intern?"
;)

nacmom said...

Love it. It is awful to watch the district pull snow job after snow job on the board. Melissa oulined it perfectly on the transition plan vote: Provide impossible deadline, no information, refuse to provide requested info and what? Board still votes.

If I were on the board (which will never happen) I would tell the district: Have full info to us (including responses to previous questions - doh!) one full meeting ahead of the deadline, or we'll delay the vote. Always. As a matter of policy. No matter what.

Like anyone or any org, if you can provide little info and do so at the last minute - why not? If no one'e tracking your unanswered requests for info, why do it? If it causes you pain or problems, then, you will eventually adjust to work ahead and be accountable if you know you're being watched.

Interns = Brilliant

dan dempsey said...

Dora you have really nailed it with the following:
"I do know the supe's MO and it would be difficult to keep up with her. I also think that it is a strategy to get what you want. Decisions by the board are made based on either misinformation or a lack of information in record time and then later people have a chance to think about it after the damage has been done."


Time line:
Saturday Morning Jan 16....
I read the Intro item proposal for $800,000 to NTN on the web-posted agenda.

Begin researching. Within one hour realize this is an absolute disaster.

Continue finding more information dig, dig, dig. Must come up with something substantial by Wednesday introductory item board meeting.

Send out stuff to board as I unravel that not all 41 NTN schools are successful.

Jan 20 ...
#1..Go to Work session before the board meeting. While cobbling together a hand written testimony during work session from research notes.

While thinking Damn... good thing I am retired as it is really hard to find enough time from Saturday to Wednesday to oppose MGJ's constant stream of lunacy.

#2.. Testify at Board meeting and then watch the Susan Enfield NTN STEM show complete with all students will be taking Calculus... This show was produced and directed by MGJ as it contained NO intelligent applications of relevant statistics ... that is what is known as her signature style.

Sat Jan 23 ...Go to Cleveland open house on Saturday. Hand out NTN fact sheet to several folks, including Maier and Tolley. Peter mentions the fact that he has received a lot of STEM info via email from me.

Tuesday Jan 26 HS math adoption court action

Wednesday Jan 27 ...
Attend board work session where KSB has fantastic proposal that reveals that MGJ really views all this NTN stuff as a done deal.

Really MGJ has managed to push through a Student Assignment Plan based on Cleveland as an NTN STEM school. No one asked for this STEM not the principal, not the Cleveland community.
But here it comes NOT Bio-tech Not IB and not even an academy but the entire school.... of supposedly eventually 1000 total enrollment. I cannot even find an NTN school with a total enrollment of more than 500.... No make that 400...
Biz Tech in Portland is under 300 and falling.

Board members Martin-Morris and Sundquist were surprised to find out on Tuesday when they visited New Tech Sacramento .... that even though this is Seattle's Show Pony for Cleveland... New Tech Sacramento is NOT a STEM school. They never knew this until visiting campus.

WOW do you suppose this train went way too fast from square one. No research apparently by anyone ever on the Cleveland NTN proposal until I started on Saturday Morning January 16, 2010.

dan dempsey said...

This is the MGJ plan for action....

Let the vendor's claims substitute for research. Never allow any research to be done and never answer substantive questions from the Board.
.... Cheryl pick up your Pom Poms and support MGJ. Oh gee ... Cheryl's not there any more ... it is Directors KSB and Patu whatever will MGJ do?

Bigger question is What will the Directors do? Will the board actually direct something? Like say Direct the Superintendent which is their Job. Has the board finally come to work after how many years????

Hey there are 7 of you... you have one employee to supervise. Tell her to slow down so you directors can do your job.

I also went to the Court proceedings on Tuesday. I now realize that "we choose to trust our hired employee and her staff of professionals" is "Arbitrary and Capricious" when all the data points the wrong way.

Brita, Cheryl and crew already did that one with Everyday Math when Carla and Linda Hoste suppressed all the data I submitted to them and disregarded the data I sent to the school board.

First Carla told me she would meet with me. Then I sent her a list of questions that needed answering. Then she said I was mistreating her because she was a Black Woman and refused to meet with me.... All in less than 30 hours from start to finish.

When I protested to (previous librarian) then SEA president Wendy Kimball (Now at JSCEE in charge of National Board teacher certification efforts), I was told that initially Carla still refused to meet with me ... BUT ... Wendy had managed to get Carla to meet with me sometime after the elementary school math adoption. "You see Carla is very busy at this time."

There you have it the flow was even too fast during the waning days of the Manhas regime. Well at least too fast for Carla to meet with me to talk about real data. Not the cherry-picking data that Brad Bernetek supplied to Carla for School Board consumption but the true data picture of the entire situation, you know the kind one could make an intelligent decision from.

Same Central Admin MO but this time involving NTN Cleveland STEM, if any board members play this same game of "We choose to trust our Superintendent's recommendations even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary" I suggest that the name plates for those Directors that say "Director" be replaced with "Rubber-Stamper".

The "Rubber-Stamper" sign will help those new to Seattle to follow the game. Always helps to have a program at the stadium to fully appreciate the game.

Dorothy said...

This is all so telling, and I am grateful for the awakening in the board of asking questions and following through. Yay for KSB, for the initiative in finding an alternate program that could just as easily be in place next Fall.

If the Super does not have the authority to sign a contract with a vendor, then it is *never* too late to turn back. She has no power to put the district in that position. And if the vendor is professional, it would already know that. And be prepared to woo the board.

On a related note, (ie, money and budget) please, everyone should have an rss feed to Meg Diaz's blog. She's updated the budget deal, showing that the admission of the coaches part of the budget was smoke and mirrors hiding other administration increases.

Meg said...

This is really encouraging. But.

I feel like a killjoy saying this, but for reasonable discussion between district staff and the board to occur, at least 4 board members need to be willing to vote against any given measure. And a no vote will probably need to happen more than once for district staff to realize that the game has changed.

Still. I think I've read this post 6 or 7 times now, and it still fills me with delight.

Maureen said...

Here's the link to Meg Diaz's Blog.

I just looove "Crappy! Chart! Thursday!" at Dolce and Nutella!.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Honestly, you should tune into Meg's blog more often. She's a gifted and funny writer.

Dan! The Man! I had no idea that the Sacramento school wasn't a STEM school. How could they have made them take the trip without telling them that? And Enfield was with them, by the way.

So we are spending $10M on 111 academic coaches (which was pointed out by Michael DeBell at a committee meeting as NOT the norm at other districts) and spending money on 28 FTE for BEX (does NOT include project managers). I'm still waiting for that spending information.

So when the district cries poor, remember. Dr. G-J has priorities and not all of them are revealed in their entirety.

A2Z said...

Thanks to all of you staying on top of this. I will (and would recommend that everyone else does) send an email to the board members to vote NO on any money for NTN until this can be sorted out. Further more, with the bloated staff at the central office I am disgusted that timely answers are not being delivered.

North End Mom said...

Thanks sooooo much, Charlie, for this post! It made me smile! ;)

Did they discuss (at the STEM work session) whether or not there would be partnerships with local tech companies (or universities)? How about interships for STEM students, so they can get some real-world experience?

Also, sorry to stray off-topic, but you would think that with all the Central Office staff, they could have posted the revised and amended version of the Transition Plan by now! It's been 9 days! All I've been able to find is the press release with a summary and "highlights."

Central Mom said...

Back on the school violence beat, today's reported incident is from Cleveland. Assault on teacher. Immediate student expulsion but not immediate call to police.

http://www.seattlepi.com/local/414812_school30.html

ttln said...

As a person who felt hope when a board member appeared to be listening and acting on data presented to him then was crushed when he went status quo, I wouldn't count my chicken as hawks until something substantive comes of this.

Still, it is nice to see an attempt to hold the staff accountable.

Central Mom said...

TTLN, I assume you are talking about Sundquist? My observation is less that he has gone status quo on his thoughts than status quo on his interaction w/ staff.

He was on the right track with identifying SAP issues in West Seattle. Earlier, after a rough start, he asked good questions about the closure of a WS school, which ultimately turned out to be Cooper (now Pathfinder).

This is in marked contrast with board member rubber stampers (Chow being the classic example) who had either no inclination, or possibly ability, to probe staff plans.

His error, I believe, is accepting staff data, timing and explanations ("the IT system can't handle it" is my favorite Staff catch-all).

He has the potential to push back and insist on solutions for his area. He just needs to start doing it. Sherry finally found her voice, so he can too. Or, he can be voted out in a couple years.

dan dempsey said...

Hey Folks,

I learned from KSB ....
When the load is over-whelming delegate.

Here is the report from my unpaid highly skilled intern Pancho:

http://mathunderground.blogspot.com/2010/01/seattle-supe-mgjs-new-technology.html

In it Pancho finds out why there is NO need to research anything about the $800,000 contract for profit vendor Net Technology Network which is a part of the non-profit KnowledgeWorks Foundation.... gosh I am confused already.

Read Pancho's report at the link above.

dan dempsey said...

Central Mom I have a slightly different take on your earlier statements on Director Sundquist.

In short what is important is the VOTE .... NOT the explanation or the research story. Thus far I find Director Sundquist to be an abysmal failure in regard to voting but an exceptional explainer and story teller.

Let me explain in regard to the 4-3 vote on the High School math adoption in which his vote would have stopped the continuation of the abysmal mess.

1.. I don't care if Harium says he finds Math Program Manager Anna Maria a visionary as long as he voted against which he did. Harium also looked at the books and said "I just don't get it".

2.. What really burns me is when Steve tells a big stroy about how he poured over the NMAP "Foundations for Success" and comes to the conclusion that a vote for "Discovering" is warranted. He then reads two quotations from NMAP that were printed on the 12 page action document provided by the Central Office (as if he actually found these two semi-supportive statements). There was not a shred of intellectual honesty in his claim to having poured over the report.

A... the report clearly states that students struggling to learn mathematics need increased "Explicit Instruction"

B... the major focus of the report is preparation for and access to "Authentic Algebra" class success.

C... the publisher's materials in the form of brochures and the introduction to each text clearly state "This is an investigative approach to mathematics". Steve's statement was that he found the materials somewhat balanced but tilted to the reform side. Only people who can not read or choose not to could possible believe the TEAM MGJ statements of balanced approach. Look at the books page after page of investigation after investigation comprises each lesson.

He voted wrong. He has yet to cast a vote of any significance despite his supposed investigative work.

His voting looks almost exactly like Cheryl Chow's or Peter Maier's voting.

Steve apparently looked at the books and said ... I am not a teacher what do I know.

He also initially questioned whether this adoption was really the board's business..... not much research on that thought.

Don't get me started on Denny/Sealth and Steve Sundquist.

Many times I feel like I am watching a Darlene Flynn rerun. Some great questions and then "Oh well what to I know" I am voting with the Supe.

dan dempsey said...

KUOW wants to hear from you about Discovery Math .... they would like to hear about experiences with inquiry based materials.

Here is a link with more information

Central Mom said...

KUOW also wants your opinion of the school levy situation here.

Charlie Mas said...

Right now there is a King County Superior Court judge who is trying to determine if the Board of Directors of Seattle Public Schools made a capricious decision when adopting high school math materials last year.

This is the same Board who, on June 17, approved a $756,000 contract for Education First Consulting to support high school curricula alignment work. Prior to the vote, a number of the Board members plainly stated that they didn't know what work the consultants would be doing. Then they went ahead and voted for it. Incredible, huh? Watch the video. It starts at 58:55. Even the Times found it offensive.

Now we have Director Martin-Morris saying that he wouldn't vote to approve a motion because he didn't have needed information about it. We even have Director Maier saying that he wouldn't vote to approve a motion even when he has the information about it if that information has not been vetted.

Well, then, I don't see how they can vote to approve the NTN contract when they don't have the information they need to make the decision and much of the information they have been provided has not yet been vetted.

Perhaps the only prudent path for them to take would be to defer the vote until such time as the information is provided and vetted. There's no urgency. The contract can be signed just as well two weeks later.

goeagles said...

So I can see, and a little bit understand, a lot of happiness in this thread about Director Smith-Blum's pushback on the NTN contract--from the perspective of those who want more aggressive oversight from the board, I can get why this would be cause for celebration.

But as someone who has been working with teachers, building leaders, parents, and community partners for many months, trying to design a valuable program, your glee is my pain, and I fear will be the pain of the Cleveland community if the board votes this contract down and we are asked to transform a school on the backs of teachers with no meaningful support. NTN didn't come out of some smoke-filled room--it was selected and advocated for by the design team because we on the ground at Cleveland believe it is what teachers need to be able to pull off an ambitious STEM program well. Project Lead The Way only trains the teachers who teach those courses--2-4 of Cleveland's staff of 48. The design team rejected models like Ballard BioTech and IB because we are an Option School, not an Option Program, therefore *all* families and students who enroll with us, not just some, need to be served with a genuine Option to a comprehensive high school. NTN made the most sense as a support to us because it is one of the few programs that will work with *all* teachers in a building to bring about a real shift in teaching and learning.

I've now visited three schools in this network, and folks from Cleveland's community have visited a half dozen of them. There is powerful learning going on in those classrooms, with skilled, artful teaching and students (many of whom share the demographics of Cleveland's current students) who are engaged in school and comfortable talking with adults and peers about rigorous content. At each of these schools there was evidence of vibrant partnerships with the world outside of high school. I have dared to hope, over the last few months, about what it could mean to the current and future students of Cleveland to have access to that kind of rich learning, and what it would mean to the teachers of Cleveland to have strong support in creating that model . . . so it's a little jarring to have so many folks expressing glee at the prospect of scoring points off the superintendent and executive staff in the decision-making on this contract.

I know there are some who have already made up their mind that the contract is a bad idea, and I don't expect that what I say will change your minds, but no matter which way you are rooting on this contract, please bear in mind that this is not just a game of chess between the board and the district staff--there are students and families and teachers that will feel the impact of these decisions for years to come. I know that a no vote on the contract will be devastating to the morale of many folks at Cleveland--not just a few people in the district's upper echelons. Not trying to guilt anyone for being a watchdog, but just trying to provide a dissenting voice on a thread with a lot of agreement.

dan dempsey said...

GoEagles Thanks for commenting as always this is exactly what makes this blog community great.

You said: :
"NTN didn't come out of some smoke-filled room--it was selected and advocated for by the design team because we on the ground at Cleveland believe it is what teachers need to be able to pull off an ambitious STEM program well."

My issue with this is the SPS has way too much believing and not enough researching. "Happy Talk" is a constant substitute for relevant data. Anecdotes are not a valid predictor of future success. Good intentions are clearly not enough. I am extremely tired of we feel.

The math performances of New Tech Sacramento, Biz Tech, Welby, Global, are below pathetic. These are factories for Collegiate "Math remediation" programs. How does this square with being a STEM school?

In math, state residents, students, and families have suffered through an enormous decade of school admin "Doing what we want to do" based on little more than feelings. This is a proposal for a school of 1000 students not an academy. Most New Tech schools are below 400 students and have stagnant or declining enrollment.

Most of the schools I've been able to find enrollment numbers on have junior classes that are at most 70% of 9th grade class sizes. TEAM MGJ said Cleveland will have an enrollment with 250 students per class in a few years. At the board meeting intro on Jan 20, CAO Enfield assured us that Calculus would be a requirement.

When Central Office admin tells the public that all 41 NTN schools are successful and yet can provide no data to that effect to the public or even the board at a work session when the vote is one week away.... something smells.

I was at the Cleveland STEM open house on Jan 23. I watched the "Happy Talk" video that centered on New Tech Sacramento and listened to happy talk but what I did not hear or see was any relevant statistical data that supported any of the talk.

The student assignment plan is at its core based on making every school a quality school. Take a look at Meg Diaz's 9 slide show of Jan 20. There are no resources to even fantasize about such an "every school a quality school" possibility.

We are burdened with a bloated Central Administration that keeps on bloating.

At the work session last Wednesday, TEAM MGJ could not answer questions or did not want to. Does NT Sacramento cost more to operate than other Sacramento High Schools... NO answer. (In fact it does). I'd handed Tolley a fact sheet at the Cleveland Open house on data researched by me from cde.gov.ca. This sheet had the answers to most of the questions that he could not answer 4 days later for the board.

So I ask this:
How did the planning for a STEM school get this far down the road with apparently no planning on how to provide math instruction effectively?

It is quite apparent from research provided by NMAP "Foundations for Success" that students struggling to learn math need an increase in explicit instuction. John Hattie's exhaustively documented analysis of 800 meta-Analyses "Visible Learning" reports that Problem Based Learning has a very low effect size of 0.15 and inquiry learning is not greatly effective either 0.31
Looking at the way NTN schools teach math and the results produced it is obvious that Hattie has his effect sizes correct for math and a lot of other things also. Note New Tech Sac's plummeting API ranking.

I suggest that in the future it would be advisable to do some unbiased research at the beginning rather than
"A design team selecting and advocating so that those on the ground wind up believing"

dan dempsey said...

=================
Speaking of some smoke-filled room ... that must be where the districts k-12 math program came from.

Good Luck to any high school attempting to build on the k-8 math fiasco.

Our nation's schools are in dismal shape in regard to math. The number of students in college over the last 25 years has greatly increased and the number of students enrolled in second year Calculus has constantly decreased over the last 20 years.

UW Bothell just started an engineering program with 18 students and only 2 are recent high school graduates. They definitely feel the effects of the miserable math preparation provided to high school students.

Please provide some relevant data and make use all feel better because so far a bloated central administration has failed to provide anything of substance.

dan dempsey said...

I am horrified that with the huge numbers of folks in Central Administration ... they clearly do NOT understand that:

To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data.


It is becoming very apparent that these folks in Central Admin do not seriously look at data (and they sure do NOT want the board looking either).......

or is it that Central Admin has NO interest in Improving the system?

Is that part of the Broad plan?

dan dempsey said...

In case you missed it...

Here is a high quality 9 slide Meg Diaz production on the STEM proposal.

http://docs.google.com/present/view?id=0AVRHgOkrxGL8ZGhta2I4cXJfNTBjYjh0ajRoaA&hl=en

Enjoy.

Charlie Mas said...

Right now I would only advocate that the Board defer the vote on the NTN contract until they have the information they requested from the staff about NTN and the process through which NTN was selected.

In fact, I haven't heard or read anyone advocate a "No" vote.

There are times when each of us needs to set aside our narrow self-interests or the interests of our child's school or program to consider the needs and interests of the District as a whole and all of the students and faculty.

$800,000 for NTN is just a fraction of the spending on STEM. I think it is reasonable to ponder whether that money - and all of the other $2 million that the District is proposing to spend on STEM - could not be applied to better use across a number of schools rather than spent entirely on 500-600 students at Cleveland.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Goeagles, I find your post very compelling but somewhat troubling. If you are a member of your community, trying to get community support, why didn't you sign your name? Don't you want to be front and center in support of the program?

You say that you and some other people have visited schools. Which ones? Were they STEM schools in name? Because Directors Martin-Morris and Sundquist were taken by Dr. Enfield on a trip to what they thought was a STEM school and it wasn't. That's a big waste of time AND money. Because allegedly they are cutting back on trips to save money.

I would also gently point out to you that there are 5 other schools reopening. They are not getting near the resources to open and develop a program as Cleveland. The use of the money in BTA for Cleveland is quite vague. Do you know in specific what it is to be used for?

(Side note: so I sent e-mail to the Board letting them know that Garfield wasn't using their PLTW equipment - that the district was going to spend something like $500K to equip Cleveland - and why not just save some money and move the equipment to Cleveland?

Something odd happened to that e-mail along the way. I'm not quite sure as no one will tell me and I don't mean to be cryptic but I'm not at liberty yet to say what happened.

Anyway the upshot is that suddenly Garfield might just have PLTW - and yes it is quite sudden - and IF they find a PLTW teacher, they'll have it in the fall. Now the district can't wait on an IF so naturally we'll pay to equip Cleveland as well. I do wonder, though, that if Garfield couldn't find a PLTW, how will Cleveland?)

dan dempsey said...

Let me make this perfectly clear.
I am not opposed to STEM. I am opposed to continuing the Seattle Central Admin's Facade covering an ineffective k-12 math program. "Discovering Algebra" was selected precisely because the students could hopefully be engaged when they know an insufficient amount of k-8 math to be in an algebra class.

It is readily apparent that NTN schools fit this Facade perfectly.

I cited a few that do not offer classes below Algebra I and their EOCs for Algebra I are horrific. Geometry EOCs are even worse.

And as for New Tech Sacramento (the SPS chosen Show pony) this school is a factory for producing Collegiate remedial math students.

While CAO Enfield stated that Cleveland will require Calculus. She failed to disclose the abysmal NT Sacramento below dismal Algebra II EOC performance. This is deception clear and simple or else it is total incompetence, take your pick.

The Central administration has that reverse Midas touch that turns gold into straw. Here we will once again see big spending on a ill chosen vendor, which has a track record of futility.

Off course the board could say stop this nonsense.

Hey Charlie is right (as he so often is).... the board could at least request slowing the flood on nonsense down so that the nonsense can be more carefully inspected as it goes by.

The civil rights issue of this decade will likely be access to a quality math education. Directors you can figure this out now or likely have it explained for you in Federal Court some time in the next few years.

Cleveland's current Black students (thanks to UW inquiry based guidance) had over 70% unable to score at level 2 or higher on the grade 10 math WASL. No problem SPS has similarly trained replacements coming from grades k-8. So how many of these will become Calculus students at Cleveland?

The district's NTN plans will wind up with a bunch of $$$$ dedicated to a different clientele at Cleveland, while the district continues to neglect the needs for a quality Math program for Low Income and most other students district wide.

Not to be missed in the open house explanation was that "The fidelity of Implementation" math pacing plan idea is not required at Cleveland. In fact other texts for math maybe used.

Also Danny Westneat in his math lawsuit opinion in the Seattle Times was very happy with his daughter's math program in elementary school, which clearly was far outside the pacing plan.

Bird said...

PLTW?

zb said...

goegles -- but, that's the argument that the district & advocates need to be making. You're making a substantive argument why you think NTN is better, not sputtering that it's too late to do anything different.

I think those of us who thought the discussion seemed good thought it was good in the hopes that there will be substantive information raised, that clear explanations of decision making and choices be given. I hope that you are sending the information you posted here to Kate Blum (and her intern).

Melissa Westbrook said...

Sorry, Project Lead the Way. It's an engineering course that the district is using in middle and high schools.

Dorothy said...

Goeagles, I am completely perplexed.

The board's action here has been anything but aggressive. The Super wants the board to sign a contract to commit to spending $800K. The board has simply said OK, we certainly want to consider that, so explain to us how and why you chose this vendor. That's not aggressive, that's simple common sense.

So you say that there was a design team and that you all met regularly and researched options and concluded this was the best. So why isn't the Super simply handing the board your report? Why isn't the chair of the design team available to answer questions at a meeting? Where are the minutes of your meetings? It ought to be brain dead easy for the Super to offer this evidence. So why didn't she? Why didn't Mr Tolley or Ms Enfield get back to the board with their specific questions answered?

And why oh why did they spend the money to visit a school that isn't a STEM magnet?

dan dempsey said...

GoEagles ... Wednesday is coming and I have yet to see any relevant data that would lead anyone to vote for this $800,000 contract. Given the supposed powerful learning that is detailed in anecdotes. Why have we not seen statistically validated improvement? It sure looks like SPS is being asked to purchase another fairy-tale.

I've been to both board work sessions on the STEM subject and I attended the Board meeting when CAO Enfield and a couple of Cleveland folks made the pitch. Here is what I heard: "All 41 NTN schools are successful". I also attended the Cleveland Open house a week ago.

That makes 4 major events connected to this at the work sessions a total of 2 hours to STEM, the open house about 2 hours and then the board meeting topic time about 30 minutes+. In that ball park 4 to 5 hours, I have seen next to NO supportive data to back up any of these anecdotal claims.

I also went to Court and watched the HS math legal appeal. All through the High School adoption the district admin kept repeating the mantra of "Discovering" is a balanced curriculum.

Judge Spector is perhaps a bit skeptical of that claim as the district is hard pressed to prove it. Attorney Keith Skully made a much stronger case that it is NOT balanced because it is an investigative curriculum and the publishers say so in their advertising brochures and in the preface in each book in the series. Open the books lesson after lesson of investigations.

So you want us to believe that a Cleveland team conducted research into the fact that NTN is good stuff. Sorry I do not buy it.
Where is the data? I've got mounds of data showing the opposite is true.

Could you please present evidence that leads anyone to believe that this NTN model can be scaled up to 1000 students. You said it ...This is not like bio-Tech this will not be a part of a comprehensive high school.

At the open house I saw a lot of Asian kids and parents. Looking at what I saw there is my guess for next years 9th grade class if Cleveland opens with the NTN model.

Asians 55, Whites 35, Blacks 12, Hispanics 8, American Indians 2 = 112 students

To even get near 1000 students four years from now would require 300 frosh because of class size reduction by 11th grade. The plan is for an opening with 250 9th graders.

As David Fischer wrote: "Cleveland has a history of trying things that do not work." Now it is going to copy something that Does not work and pray for a miracle. A plan to copy a model that is not working to teach children mathematics and believe it can be scaled up and work.

Again look at the API scores for New Tech Sacramento ... this NTN school is not educating children either efficiently or effectively and it is getting worse over time.

So how many directors will sign on to make an arbitrary and capricious decision this time by voting yes on the contract?

MGJ won't provide data, CAO Enfield won't provide data, Mr. Tolley won't provide data. The two Cleveland representatives provided no data, Princess Shareef has provided no data. This entire process seems pretty arbitrary.

JvA said...

Hi -- I'm the mom of a 1-year-old, and I've only recently starting reading about SPS. I grew up in Oregon and have no first-hand experience with area schools. So my comments/questions are probably going to sound naive.

As someone who lives close to Cleveland, I've been especially interested in discussion of what's going to happen there. And based on all I've read here I'm flummoxed as to why the SPS would choose the NTN program. And it's infuriating to hear that they continually refuse to provide any metrics that helped guide their decision-making.

So I read all this, and it sounds like maybe there's either nepotism or kickbacks involved.

Has anyone addressed this yet? I've seen post after post and comment after comment about how there's no foundation for this decision, but obviously there's always a reason.

A 2-minute Google search turns up that the NTN president, Monica Martinez, is from Colorado (http://www.kwfdn.org/press_room/press_releases/press_release.asp?prID=171). And that Goodloe-Johnson "started as a special-education teacher in Aurora, Colo., in 1981 and worked her way into administration jobs in Colorado" (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003650494_goodloejohnson04m.html).

I'm guessing that they're friends from Colorado and that MGJ wants to throw a million bucks her friend's way? Is that the undertext of all these posts and comments? Should we not talk aboout this?

--Naive mom

wseadawg said...

JvA: You're not naive at all. There's all sorts of nepotism and conflicts of interest in SPS, particularly in its outsourcing and contracting. Even worse is the incompetence on top of it all.

I'm not saying people don't work hard or try to do a good job. I'm saying they take on too much, aren't thoughtful or diligent enough, and get stuck in the "inside the silo" group-think mentality and can't break free of it. There's also the completely arrogant and unjustified cockiness shared by central staff, knowing they can always toss another fastball by the Board.

What's embarassing and humiliating to me, as a Seattleite, is how naive so many people are to the fact that the district is caught up in the same model of education reform that is happening all over the country and is rife with corruption, tainted and skewed data, privatization, and overall deceiving and fleecing of the public while short-changing the kids. Case In Point: Dan Dempsey is right on point harping on the Discovery Math adoption. It was a bad decision and the Board knew it. But they did it anyways, based on some of the worst, flimsy rationales I've ever seen. Ms. De La Fuente essentially argued, "we can find a way to make it work" and the Board said, "Okay, good enough for us."

Most on this blog are tuned in, but there are many, many parents who remained indifferent until they woke up to what will happen to them next year under the new SAP.

For people just entering the schools, many are asking: What in the hell is going on? Whose ideas are these? Why are they doing this?

Many times I've implored folks to "follow the money" and MW, Charlie, and the rest on this blog have done that very well. The problem is, every month there is another fight and yet another big-ticket item to investigate and try to make sense of because MGJ and her allies deliberately keep the "full court press" on 24/7.

They don't want anyone to have enough time to really think about these proposals, especially the Board. Such is life in SPS today.

JvA said...

Thanks for the comments.

I see Dan Dempsey has already written about the Monica Martinez/MGJ connection: http://mathunderground.blogspot.com/2010/01/seattle-supe-mgjs-new-technology.html

gavroche said...

goeagles said...

NTN didn't come out of some smoke-filled room--it was selected and advocated for by the design team because we on the ground at Cleveland believe it is what teachers need to be able to pull off an ambitious STEM program well.


A couple of questions come to mind. Who is on the Cleveland STEM design team and how did they learn about NTN?

Also, who came up with the overall idea of establishing STEM at Cleveland? A group of us (parents) asked Harium Martin-Morris this question last summer, and he indicated that he didn't really know. He said the idea came from some outside source, and not from the Cleveland or SPS community.

Something's foul in Denmark....

(PS - Thank you to Kay Smith-Blum for demonstrating concern for due diligence and fiscal responsibility as a Board Member. She puts others on the Board to shame.)

gavroche said...

JvA--

(...)So I read all this, and it sounds like maybe there's either nepotism or kickbacks involved.(...)

You're not naive, you're a quick study!

Yes, there are number of questionable interconnections in SPS, many entangling the Superintendent.

Here's another fishy liaison:

Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson is a member of the board of directors of Northwest Evaluation Association (http://www.nwea.org/about-nwea/our-leadership), the enterprise that manufactures and sells the MAP(tm) tests which the Seattle School District has bought.

(These standardized computerized tests are being administered to SPS kids, including kindergartenders, three times a year starting in 2009/10.)

Furthermore, as Melissa points out in her recent BTA levy post (http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2010/01/bta-iii-list.html), the Superintendent and District are requesting $4.3 million more for MAP student assessment testing from the taxpayers in the latest levy.

Isn’t Goodloe-Johnson effectively directing millions of taxpayer dollars to her associates at NWEA?

She may claim she does not benefit financially from all this (at the moment -- what about in the future?), but how can Supt. Goodloe-Johnson be objective in her assessment of this product (MAP tests) and how can her efforts to funnel millions of dollars to NWEA while she is on their board, not be tainted by bias?

(more info here: http://www.nwea.org/about-nwea/faq
/General%20Information#faq-1043)

Here's the complete NWEA press release about Goodloe-Johnson joining their board in Sept. 2008 (http://www.seattleschools.org/area/news/sbnews/nwea_board.doc):

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: JulieAnna Little, R/West PR
503.223.5443 x114/ julieannal@r-west.com

Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Joins Northwest Evaluation Association Board
Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson Lends Education Expertise and Leadership to Help Further NWEA’s Mission to Help All Kids Learn

September 16, 2008 – Portland, Ore. – Northwest Evaluation Association is proud to welcome Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson, Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools, to its board of directors.

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson will lend her experience and guidance to help NWEA fulfill its mission of “partnering to help all kids learn” by using assessment data to help make education more child-centric.

"I look forward to working closely with NWEA to support development of effective assessment and evaluation tools," said Dr. Maria L. Goodloe-Johnson, Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools. "To reach our goal of excellence for all students, we must provide teachers, principals and school systems with data that lets us know what is working well and where instruction, services or programs need to be adjusted. It is very powerful to collaborate across all member districts and to share best practices."

“We are extremely excited to have Dr. Goodloe-Johnson join NWEA. Her experience leading large, urban school districts strengthens a critical perspective on our board, which truly reflects the diversity of our schools and our mission,” said NWEA president and CEO Matt Chapman.

“Our board represents schools throughout the United States, as well as disciplines ranging from administration to research, from reading programs to special education. What unites us is our shared vision to make the educational system child-centric, relying on comprehensive and accurate data to enable every child to achieve his or her aspirational academic goals.”


(continued on next post)

gavroche said...

(continued)


Dr. Goodloe-Johnson has been Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools since July of 2007 and is responsible for the learning, teaching and operational activities of more than 45,000 students and 7,900 staff members throughout the Seattle Public School District. Previously, Dr. Goodloe-Johnson was the Superintendent of Charleston County School District in South Carolina, where she oversaw 43,000 students and 5,500 employees.

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson has been extraordinarily involved in advancing public education and supporting families and children throughout her more than 20-year career as an educator, administrator and leader. In addition to NWEA, she currently serves on the Broad Advisory Board and was selected to participate as a 2008 Fellow in the Entrepreneurial Leaders for Public Education program. She has also been involved on the boards of the National High School Alliance, National Board of Middle Grades Reform, National Conference for Community and Justice and the American Heart Association.

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson has been awarded for her work in education by the American Association of University Women, the Mt. Pleasant District AME Hall of Fame, the Morris Street Baptist Church, the Charleston Branch of the NAACP and the University of Nebraska – her Alma matter.

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson joins six other directors of the Northwest Evaluation Association, including: Board Chair Dr. Mike Flicek of Wyoming, Dr. Jim Angermeyr of Minnesota, Dr. Barbara Smith of California, Dr. Brenda Tanner of Virginia, Lynn Fielding of Washington, and Dr. Joseph Wise of New York.

“We share a common belief with all of our advisors that the educational system should understand and address the academic growth of each individual learner, as reflected in our vision of child-centric education,” said Chapman. “Our assessments are central to that belief, as is our research.”

About Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA)
The Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) is a national non-profit educational services organization that provides research-based educational growth measures, professional training, and consulting services to improve teaching and learning. Partnering with school districts, states, and other education organizations, NWEA delivers computerized assessment services to more than 3,100 education agencies and four million students. Additionally, its Growth Research Database, the most extensive collection of student growth data in the country, provides a rich source for the study of academic achievement. Contact and other information is available at www.nwea.org."


Goodloe-Johnson is also on the Board of Directors of the Broad Foundation (http://www.broadcenter.org/about/board.html), the "venture philanthropy" enterprise of AIG billionaire Eli Broad, whose agenda is the privatization of public education via charter schools, and the imposition of the ineffective, and potentially union-busting "merit pay."

These are clearly conflicts of interest for the Superintendent.

Whose interests is she serving? Our kids' or her own -- or someone else's? It isn't at all clear.

The School Board needs to address this. The Board should demand that Goodloe-Johnson resign from the Broad Foundation and from the NWEA immediately.

Her potential ties to NTN also need to be clarified and addressed, especially if she is attempting to direct $800,000+ to them.

At the very least, Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson's numerous relationships with these other enterprises that do business with Seattle Public Schools creates the appearance of impropriety, which in turn taints the entire management of SPS.

JvA said...

gavroche--

Wow. Thanks for all this info.

So it sounds like the administration is not required to write any reports that explain which vendors/programs they considered (for textbooks, standardized tests, whatever) and why they recommend one above others? If that's true, how is the board expected to do anything but rubber-stamp the administration's recommendations? (what wseadawg just said.)

Thanks for helping catch me up here!

JvA said...

(Hopefully MGJ has recommended that the NWEA hire a PR firm that can spell. Or at least made it an "aspirational academic goal":

"Dr. Goodloe-Johnson has been awarded for her work in education by ... the University of Nebraska – her Alma matter.")

Lori said...

From gavroche's post, these numbers from the NWEA press release just jump off the page:

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson has been Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools since July of 2007 and is responsible for the learning, teaching and operational activities of more than 45,000 students and 7,900 staff members throughout the Seattle Public School District. Previously, Dr. Goodloe-Johnson was the Superintendent of Charleston County School District in South Carolina, where she oversaw 43,000 students and 5,500 employees.

hmmm, we need 2400 more employees for a distrcit just 2000 students larger?

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