Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dealing With the District

This is the Dilbert cartoon for March 31, 2010.

In it, Catbert, the Evil Human Resources Director, explains that leadership is the art of trading imaginary things in the future for real things today.

This is precisely the art of leadership practiced by Seattle Public Schools. Think of all of the imaginary future things they have promised in exchange for real things in the present. Then remember how few (if any) of the imaginary future things ever materialized.

When dealing with the public, the real thing they want in the present is usually your willingness to accept a change that is unacceptable and the imaginary thing in the future is some action that will mitigate the damage done by the change.

For example, if the APP community won't kick up too much of a fuss over the split of the program, then the District will deliver an aligned, written, taught and tested curriculum concurrent with the split. The APP community didn't oppose the split, but the District never delivered - and now clearly never will deliver - the promised curriculum.

This is the standard modus operandi for the District. DO NOT ACCEPT THESE DEALS.

Tell them that their credit is no good and demand the mitigation come first.

You could demand a lot of other things, but don't. You could demand the deal be put in writing. You could demand objective measures of completion. You could have them make it a promise from the District rather than a from an individual. You could demand contingencies (i.e. "If this isn't done then..."). You can demand all of these things. You can even demand that the Board vote to direct the superintendent to fulfill the commitment. None of that is any good. They can and have weaseled out of every one of those sorts of situations. Don't accept any of them.

You must absolutely insist that they come through first. If you ever accept any sort of deal with the District in which you do not get them to fulfill their part of the bargain first, then you will never see them fulfill their part of the bargain. They never have before and they never will.

55 comments:

ttln said...

And this is my boss, boss's boss. 'Who is their boss?' my students ask. 'Your parents,' I answer.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

I stopped believing in the District's promises a long time ago—that's why we went private for MS and HS. But I'm still on their case because I care about what happens to all the kids in this city. They are our future.

WV: Flamette—the slow-burn Seattle citizens have been doing about education in this city. When are we going to turn up the heat?

seattle citizen said...

Thanks for your dedication to this city's kids, Solvay. One hopes all adults step up. Education is the hope of the world.

TechyMom said...

In general I agree that the district has maxed out their credit.

One the specific issue of APP curriuculum, it seemed for awhile like progress has been made on the APP curriculum. There was a draft shown at one of Mr. King's coffee hours at Lowell a few months ago. It looked reasonably complete, with expectations filled in for math, reading, writing, social studies, and science. I'm no curriculum expert, but the requirements seemed reasonable to me, and similar to what I was taught in progressive private schools in the 1970s (except for the Math, but that is a separate issue). I probably still have a hard copy somewhere. Has nothing else happened with this?

SolvayGirl1972 said...

I'm looking forward to when I send my only child off to college so I'll have the time to be more of an activist on this issue. It's not just Seattle, of course, it's everywhere.

My husband was seriously considering moving us somewhere else because of the state of public education in Seattle, until I explained to him that it's pretty much universal if you want to live in a city. Schools in the burbs or small towns might be better (might), but I don't want to live in either of those places.

Add in the "reform" movement and the anti-government crazies and public education is definitely in a bad place. Just wish I had more time and energy to fight the fight.

gavroche said...

Charlie, are you kidding about this?

APP community didn't oppose the split,

It absolutely did. Hours and many efforts were spent fighting this, meetings and discussions with School Board members, (wasted) entreaties to the Superintendent (who responded to one parent's concerns and dissent with a threat to that parent's employer, by the way -- so much for MGJ's interest in "community engagement.")

Now, some in APP leadership positions acted as if it were "a done deal" -- including, I'd argue, Lowell's then-principal -- and some may have been told by SPS to "sell this plan to your community," but that does not mean that the community supported it. The vast majority did not, and many, I would argue, still don't.

Please correct your mis-statement. For one thing, such canards get the District off the hook for imposing something (the split) against the will and welfare of the community that was at the receiving end.

Once again, the District acted AGAINST community interest and in spite of community input to the contrary.

Chris said...

OT: I just read this on Crosscut, by Ronald Holden, Food article but naturally I thought of education.

"...but there was a time, not that long ago, when fewer than half a dozen national breweries supplied the nation with lawnmower beer while half a dozen artisans and idealists were brewing tiny lots of craft beer. It was a classic struggle between industrial, bottom-fermented lagers and flavorful, top-fermented ales, between standardization and individuality. In the end, as we know, it was the consumers who won."

Will the consumers win in edu-reform? Can macro-brew drinkers really be college/career-ready? I'm sorry, I just prefer my children to be "crafted in smaller lots" and I don't think that option should be limited to those who can pay a premium...

Stu said...

Gavroche: I think what Charlie meant was something that's been talked about before; the "official" APP representatives went into the split talks with a "it's a done deal let's make the best of it" attitude. They didn't kick and scream and threaten . . . they were told, in no uncertain terms, that the split was going to happen and that, if they worked with the district, maybe they could smooth things out.

Many of us were disappointed in our representatives for not fighting right from the start. That doesn't change the fact that the split was contingent on certain things happening and that none of that was delivered.

stu

udubgrad said...

"Leadership is the art of trading imaginary things in the future for real things today."
One current "trade" is "MAP accountability" for supposed future improvement. The district counts on no one questioning the validity of the MAP because so many districts are using it--right? (just like so many districts are using the failed Everyday Math Textbooks). I've done a little poking around on NWEA website for information regarding MAP and find that the normal growth for 7th grade students in reading is 2.5 --mighty small scale to measure year long student growth. The standard deviation could be higher than the expected growth! In addition, growth during the summer from seventh to eighth grade is 1.1. The rate of academic growth during the 2 1/2 months of summer appears to outstrip growth during the school year! Valid and reliable?

hschinske said...

I've done a little poking around on NWEA website for information regarding MAP and find that the normal growth for 7th grade students in reading is 2.5 --mighty small scale to measure year long student growth.

The reality is that the average in reading ability DOES move very little from year to year in middle and high school. Not saying the MAP is necessarily the best measure (the sense I'm getting is that it doesn't have enough high-level stuff on it to be worth using in high school, except perhaps for remedial assessment), but in that respect it's telling the same story as many other such tests have told.

Helen Schinske

Stu said...

You must absolutely insist that they come through first.

The problem with all of this, in fact almost everything we discuss/debate on any of these blogs, is that, until the time comes that we can raise enough money to vote in people like Charlie, we're screwed. (The lawsuits, which should be the last resort, may actually be the only effective means of dealing with this administration.)

We can run anyone we choose for the next available seat but, as long as Broad/Gates/etc. are throwing money at "their" candidate, there's little chance for change. As long as the gang of four are there, they really don't have to respond to any of our demands or requests.

stu

Charlie Mas said...

The opposition to the APP split was significantly diminished by the promise of the curriculum. That's what I meant.

gavroche said...

Blogger Charlie Mas said...

The opposition to the APP split was significantly diminished by the promise of the curriculum. That's what I meant.


Not among any of the APP families I know. The opposition remained and continues. Many never believed there would be a curriculum, just as many never believed the District's promise that cohousing APP with a different socioeconomic community in two separate programs would not be a repeat of the APP at Madrona failure which John Stanford said NEVER TO DO AGAIN. And now look at Thurgood Marshall -- two separate groups of kids, tensions between the two groups, and now the TM kids are going to lose their Title 1 funding, thanks to the Superintendent's decision to raise the threshold on Title 1 qualifications and the influx of the APP program.

Every reason the District gave for the splits was challenged by the APP community and proven bogus.

Consequently, the Superintendent and School Board lost any credibility during the "Capacity Management" debacle.

Perhaps you believed that Bob Vaughan alone could create a replicable APP curriculum for multiple grades in 8 months (the short amount of time between the Board's vote to split the schools on Jan 29 and the start of the new school year in Sept 2009), but I don't know of anyone else who did believe this. I know I didn't.

udubgrad said...

hshinske, seventh grade math MAP scores move very little as well as reading MAP scores. The average seventh grade math score moves only 4 points from fall to spring and jumps almost 2 points over the summer. MAP looks like a very poor instrument--and have you seen the price tag?

Dora Taylor said...

udubgrad,

Yep, I have started to hear about these scores and have very serious concerns regarding the fact that a teacher's performance will be evaluated based at least partially on these test scores. I am being generous when I say "partially". This ed reform movement is "data driven" in their own words, and I don't see much else that the supe, backed by the Broad and Gates,will want to evaluate the teachers on.

Josh Hayes said...

Dora sez:

"This ed reform movement is "data driven" in their own words, and I don't see much else that the supe, backed by the Broad and Gates,will want to evaluate the teachers on."

There's a big difference between "numbers" and "data". Data are supposed to represent some information-rich measure of something, whereas numbers can just be any old bullsh*t. It is incumbent on those who would use some measure, or set of measures, to show that they are data, not numbers.

And no, giving a test an acronym does not bestow upon it "data" status.

The whole idea that every single kid can be plopped onto an objective, real-world-data spectrum, and that his or her placement is solely, or even largely, down to the teacher, is so ludicrous it's hard for me to believe that anyone with two brain cells to rub together takes it seriously. And yet -- and yet...

They do. It's appallingly dumb, but earnest True Believers are capable of believing really dumb things.

Dora Taylor said...

Yes, Josh, for example, the School Board when they approve the Assessment Policy at the next board meeting. It will perfectly tie into the Performance Management Policy that was approved last week by the board.

It is horrifyingly and will be "appallingly dumb".

mirmac1 said...

APP, schmaPP
Where parents have drunk the koolaid is special education. The District presents a chimera of a land of inclusion, a land without prejudice, where our children can blossom into their full potential with the commitment and care of their teachers and fellow students.
This is not "best practice," this is reducing costs, fitting the SAP model, and to HELL with the young kids floundering in a general education setting without supports.
This district had no credibility from day one on the one. And it gets worse day by day. Successful models are being phased out. New delivery methods are gelatinous at best. You are experimenting on real children here!

dan dempsey said...

Blogger SolvayGirl1972 said...

.....But I'm still on their case because I care about what happens to all the kids in this city. They are our future.
---
When are we going to turn up the heat?


Sure do know what you mean. I've retired and live in Lacey. I Should be doing lots of retirement stuff I suppose, instead it is 24/7 trying to hold these folks to some standard of accountability. I am not taking trips and paying for Greens Fees instead I file legal challenges at $250 to $280 a pop against the SPS. Wanna be a plaintiff about something then just see me.

That accountability may be coming closer.

#1 District violated RCW 28A.645.020 again in failing to provide the administrative record as required by law on 3-25-10 in regard to Anderson appeal filed on 3-5-10 appealing 2-3-10 NTN Imaginary contract approval.

---- .... Except once again a free pass was issued by a KC superior court Judge. No problem as their Dearest District need NOT come up with the goods until 5-7-10.

============
I interrupt this comment with a Message from a company I luv
BOX.NET.
Note the lower left cartoon. Does C. Mas run this company? Note the pseudo S. Balmer quotation.
===========

Well the Game Changer ... and I am darn certain that this is all just a game in King County may be the filing of the $250 "Writ of Mandamus" in Olympia with the State Supreme Court, naming SPS District #1, all 7 school Board members, the King County Court, and specifically the Honorable Judges Theresa Doyle and Laura Inveen as participants in GAME PLAYING. Clearly Judge Middaugh needs to be included but that will just have to wait.

So now we finally have someone's serious attention. Tom Kuffel in the KC Prosecutors office is looking at defending the Court and Greg Jackson of Freimund, Jackson, & Tardiff in Olympia, defending in the NTN appeal, are giving this a serious looking over.

My guess is here is what they see.
#1 SPS never has the "administrative record" in the form of the required complete transcript filed in 20 days of an appeal ... even when K.C. Court Judge's give extensions of huge length (like of 1 year in a case) that complete transcript never shows up.

Thus how can SPS ever win an appeal without that record?

Good chance they cannot.

Thus it could be bye-bye to
#1.. Student Assignment plan complete with Cleveland as an Option School.
#2 School closings like Cooper ... could mean Pathfinder needs to find another building ... so how about Fairmount Park for Pathfinder.
#3 MGJ's appeal of Math decision .. say what are she and Carr, Sundquist, Maier, & Martin-Morris even taking about?

Anyway I am sure you get my drift.

SolvayGirl1972 I think we have turned up the heat a few degrees.

SEND Stafne a few bones HERE.

Scott Stafne is the man who came up with the GAME CHANGING "Writ of Mandamus" this may be only the 5th of these ever filed against a school board. I doubt the K.C. Court gets sued very often.

He would like our assistance at the April 7, 2010 school board meeting.

See next comment.

dan dempsey said...

At the April 7th School Board meeting in testimony Scott Stafne would like a few folks during the course of testimony to ask if their words even count as there never seems to be an "Administrative Record" confirming that these words go anywhere except the trash.

Or something to that effect. Only a sentence or two would be sufficient.

When a written email letter to any school board member is sent to Issaquah, a return receipt is sent in a couple days. It tells you your comments are shared with all school board members and members of the administration that are interested in that particular area of concern.

Is it that no one in the SPS has any concern for the public on any issue that such a process is not happening in the SPS?

I remember when MGJ had first arrived she told us that Staff would be contacting every person who testified at school board meetings about their concerns.

I think that was just before she became our Self-Appointed Queen and started reading from her BlackBerry.

I also believe it may have even been before the 2007 installation of the half-million dollar gang of four directors.

Charlie Mas said...

Hey! Here's an idea! Ask the Alliance for Education for some money to support the legal costs of the appeals. Isn't that what the Alliance is for? To provide funding for efforts to improve the District?

hschinske said...

hshinske, seventh grade math MAP scores move very little as well as reading MAP scores. The average seventh grade math score moves only 4 points from fall to spring and jumps almost 2 points over the summer. MAP looks like a very poor instrument--and have you seen the price tag?

You can't judge by that. Those are standard scores -- they could just as well have picked ones that were five apart, or twenty apart, or a hundred apart. On the ITBS, for example, standard scores have been set at 200 for the median for fourth grade and 250 for the median for eighth grade, or and average of twelve and a half points a year. Had they been set at 200 and 225, you'd see similar point gaps to those on the MAP, with no actual difference having been made to the test.

I absolutely do NOT think the MAP should be used to judge teacher performance, especially not at the middle or high school level where test results tend to stagnate. Nor do I know yet whether the MAP is definitely a good or bad test. It is, however, definitely cheaper than the WASL, and from its design has the potential to be a lot more useful for some applications.

Helen Schinske

hschinske said...

Isn't that what the Alliance is for? To provide funding for efforts to improve the District?

Oooh, burn!

Helen Schinske

seattle citizen said...

I agree, hschinske, that MAP has some usefullness (if it proves "accurate" as some sort o general measure of a student's ability level; IF it has other assessments to triangulate and verify it's score; IF there is a system to account for those children just don't take tests well, or just push buttons, or have chronic external factors that depress test efficacy....)

But it COULD be helpful in determining student needs.

But I fear that is not it's purpose at all. It is a move towards the data reuirement of RTT. RTT also stipulates using such things for teacher evaluation. I fear that that is it's real purpose, and any formative help it gives educators is purely incidental. Therefore, it will much more harm than good, as it will depress real teaching while not addressing individual student need.

Would that teachers could merely use MAP to get a snapshot of student learning. AS INDIVIDUAL TEACHERS, not as part of the grand data picture. MAP is solely a means by which top-down admin can control staff and generate "quality" "data" to appease the public and convince them to continue to give their tax dollars to NWEA, Microsoft, Holt, Kumon, Edison, and others while creating dull thinkers to docily serve their future masters and contnue to feed tax dollars into the mouth of this hungry machine.

hschinske said...

By the way, could people please stop calling me "hschinske"? I would prefer to be called by my name. Thanks.

Helen Schinske

hschinske said...

NWEA has been around for about thirty years, and giving computer adaptive tests for about twenty-five. While their test may have been co-opted for current nefarious purposes, I don't think it was *designed* for current (or even old) nefarious purposes. There was a *lot* of grass-roots support for replacing the WASL with the MAP, judging by comments I've seen on blog discussions in the past few years.

Maybe I'm naive, but I still think MAP can be used for real educational purposes, and maybe even used to provide data that could topple some of the erroneous stuff coming out of headquarters these days.

Helen Schinske

seattle citizen said...

Sorry, Helen, using user names is habit...

Yes, it will be interesting to see what information MAP can bring us in the next few years...with a tri-yearly administration, trends might be shown that could surprise us. AND inform instruction, which is the point.

WV is a bad WV,no treat, WV is a NONSIT

lendlees said...

I have seen the MAP test used in it's intended manner. My child's teacher took areas that the test showed a couple students' deficiencies and got them special drills/extra problems to supplement and bring them up to speed. I did have to laugh in that the teacher used Singapore Math to supplement...

Now on the other hand, my child's scores went down this second trimester. But, the teacher indicated that other areas showed an increase that the MAP did not.

Hence the worry of using a single metric to judge 'progress'.

udubgrad said...

Helen,
WASL is being replaced by MSP and HSPE. MAP testing is in addition to state testing.
Teachers I've asked are saying MAP tells them nothing since teachers never get to see what students are tested on. In addition, no teacher I know would dedicate half of a test to material students have not been exposed to, but the MAP automatically does. This raises moral issues in my opinion--especially for elementary children.

Chris said...

Dan is too modest to share this, but I will...

Dan Dempsey has been accepted into Yale Law School where he will begin training for his second (third? fourth?) career in the fall.

Chris said...

He will be helped along his way with a scholarship via the McLaren Foundation's Urban Jurisprudence Prize which aims to transform urban courts into effective public enterprises.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

Hooray for Dan!!! I'm impressed! Hopefully he will come back and fight the fight for true quality in SPS.

Dorothy said...

Chris, that ranks up there with the youtube text mode. Next update will include that Yale Law School has moved to Topeka?

Stu said...

Dan Dempsey has been accepted into Yale Law School where he will begin training for his second (third? fourth?) career in the fall.


Couldn't get into a good school, eh?

Congrats,

stu

seattle citizen said...

Yea, Dan! Congratulations! Yes, plesae do come home with your law degree, we need you, in support of good education, or for fair courts, you pick!

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

Dan, congrat's, what will we do? I would like to wish you well in person. I wonder, if we ever got all got together in "real life" would we start a riot, a brawl, or a revolution? I'd be up for trying it. Maybe we could wear disguises.

dan dempsey said...

OK .. enough of April 1 who HAW.

Here is what I did today.

On Monday Judge Laura Middaugh gave SPS another Get Out of Jail free card. 3-29-10

Who made her the Monopoly banker anyway.

The Law says 20 days so she gives the district an additional 40 after the 20. Transcript due on March 25 so she says that 5-7-10 is just peachy.

So not wanting to waste a bunch of time, today I paid $280 and filed a motion for Discretionary Review with the Supreme Court and then spent another $12.43 to run off the full "Writ of Mandamus" package and delivered that.

So now we have the

King County Superior Court and Judges Doyle, Inveen, and Middaugh as in need of assistance from the supreme court in figuring out how to enforce the law.

WOW!!! SPS needing to follow the law ... visualize that.

none1111 said...

Charlie said: "APP community didn't oppose the split,"

and gavroche said: "It absolutely did. Hours "

(you mean THOUSANDS of aggregate hours!)

"and many efforts were spent fighting this, meetings and discussions with School Board members, (wasted) entreaties to the Superintendent (who responded to one parent's concerns and dissent with a threat to that parent's employer, by the way...)"

This last statement is appalling! Has this been acknowledged publicly? Or is there a way to validate this claim? It's a bit late now, but that kind of behavior, if validated, would be just the kind of thing that could take down someone in public office, including a superintendent. Can you shed any more light on this?

dan dempsey said...

SolvayGirl1972 said:
"Just wish I had more time and energy to fight the fight."

I wanna get out of this mess when will you be ready to take the torch?

I know a few SPS teachers who are interested in retiring in three to five and planning to be a lot more vocal when out from beneath the vindictive thumb.
===================
In dealing with the district I am now convinced after wasting almost three years with testimony and letters without much legal action that legal action may well be the way to go.

Note Chris Jackins is once again the leader in this area as he likely would have won several actions had the K.C. Court played fair. Now if we can explode (w/ Supreme Court help) the sorry game of fool the public with this alleged legalized illegal deception from the bench, then more legal action may be the way to go.

Dan

dan dempsey said...

Chris is brilliant ....

reminds me of E. F. Schumacher and Small is Beautiful ....

"Will the consumers win in edu-reform? Can macro-brew drinkers really be college/career-ready? I'm sorry, I just prefer my children to be "crafted in smaller lots" and I don't think that option should be limited to those who can pay a premium..."

Please Note:
This is the exact opposite of the direction that MG-J is dragging the kicking and screaming public ... well I mean that small portion of the public which possesses any awareness of much of anything at all.

SSDemp said...

Mr Jackson of Olympia is the close "friend" of one of the current lawyers on the staff of the District. THATS why he gets cases such as this.

They worked together at King County before she came to the District

Sahila said...

none11....

Others have it straight from the horse's mouth...

I have it from someone I trust that it is true... I understand lawyers were involved....

KUOW's former education reporter Phyllis Fletcher (on maternity leave) told me at court several months ago (when we turned up for one of our hearings on our closure case but the District didnt - Ms McMinime was sick, she said) that Marie Goodloe Johnson had called her bosses, demanding that she be fired....

And speaking personally, in June last year, I lost a nice little part-time job I had, at a big Washington tech company (coincidentally the employer referred to by Gavroche) "because I didn't look the part"....

My DAILY performance evaluations scored 7.5-9 on a scale of 1-9 and both my immediate "tech company" boss and my recruiting boss tried to appeal the sacking, but the senior executive who demanded my firing wouldnt budge.... no i/v, no warnings, no written explanation, nothing defined as being remiss that I could correct...

Now, maybe it was just a coincidence...maybe I'm just paranoid... I cant prove anything... but if I hear of threats against one parent's employment, and then threats against an education reporter, and I - a very vocal opponent of SPS actions this past year or two - get fired for no justifiable reason... I have to wonder....

And its interesting that I havent been able to find work in my field in the tech industry since ... lots of applications and not a single call back... I'm very good at what I do and there ought not to be any reason that I am not scoring interviews... and I know blacklists exist in the industry - I wonder if my name is on one!

SolvayGirl1972 said...

Three+ years Dan. My daughter will be off to college by then and I should have a bit more free time. I'm no legal eagle, but excel at marketing and public relations. I'm a pretty good organizer too.

Patrick said...

Sahila, I'm sorry you lost your job. In the absence of any reason given, it's natural to be suspicious. And of course you'd never know for sure.

You had daily performance evaluations? Is that typical in the high tech world? It sounds like they're nuts to spend their time that way.

dan dempsey said...

SC said:
"it will much more harm than good, as it will depress real teaching while not addressing individual student need."

Apparently MG-J admin has the depressing of real teaching as Job #1.

Check textbooks adopted, suppression of teaching content, use of according to Project Follow Through extremely poor practices ... Performance Management from this crew ????

Are we all April Fools for the entire month? and all of the next decade?

Are we Really Ready to be deceived by screwy judges and our screwy school district forever more?

Last day to appeal the Performance Management decision of 3-17-2010 is April 16, 2010.

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

Patrick -

here's what I do in (paying) life...

www.metamind-creative.com

(cant seem to get 'regular' employment here so doing some consulting for private clients)

and

www.metamind-spirit.com
(quite a lot of activity helping people get real with their lives and make the changes they want/need)

Sahila said...

Patrick -

you have no idea how funny I find all this brouhaha about "performance management and evaluation"...

I was demonstrating prototype software to senior government and business leaders from all over the world - 2, 3, 4 and 5 groups per day, and each group evaluated me on my 'performance' - a good dozen criteria with the 1-9 scale applied to each....

My 'audience' or 'students' or 'clients' where highly educated mixed gender but mostly men, mixed age, but mostly baby-boomers (naturally, given their seniority) and often from countries where English wasn't their first language (sometimes had to deliver the 'message' - the lesson - through an interpreter)...

In other arenas, I often present or teach to groups ranging from 3-4 people to 30-40 at a time...

And I've grown three children to adulthood within the New Zealand and Australian public and private education systems and now am shepherding a 6.5year old through the US public system...

Given all that experience and insight, I think teachers do an amazing job with kids and SPS, MGJ and the Board do a p**s-poor job of:

1: determining what is a quality education; and

2: managing the implementation/delivery of said quality education...

dan dempsey said...

But ... But ... But..

it all depends on more than that ...

1: determining what is a quality education; and

2: managing the implementation/delivery of said quality education...

as how is "Quality Education" defined???

===========
Quite sure if the "Quality Education" definition used is similar to their interpretation of the "Quality Schools" these hucksters are creating with their separate and unequal New Student Assignment Plan........ that they ALL are doing a fine job.

Ms. ChangeBringer you have traveled too widely and learned too much to understand the definition of "Quality Education" in Seattle.
-----------
You remind me of the family that moved from Atlanta GA and were thrilled to be coming to the schools in the high tech Boeing & Microsoft Northwest .... that enthusiasm lasted about 2.5 weeks after children were enrolled in PNW schools.

seattle citizen said...

"We need teacher quality to ensure quality schools and a quality education for everyone!
Uh, could someone help us out with a definition of 'quality'? We aren't quite able to define it. But you know, it's that certain je ne sais quoi thing, we're sure you know what me mean!"

Sahila said...

that's one of my (many?) failings, Dan....

To re-write Robert Kennedy's own misquote... "some ask why, I ask why not?"

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Robert_F._Kennedy

Why dont we have the best education system in the world?

Why dont we look at what other countries do in health and education and use the best of the ideas/practices?

Why dont we acknowledge and use/emulate the 2,000+ year old wisdom and expertise of other systems from other parts of the world?

Why wont we spend money on our kids (and our elders)?

Why do we spend more on war and "defence" than we do on health and education and housing and infrastructure?

Why dont we really have democracy?

Why dont we care that we're using up the planet, killing off other life-forms and keeping billions of people in slavery for our greed?

Why cant it be different?

SolvayGirl1972 said...

Sahila-That certainly is the $64,000 Question. My guess is because the status quo benefits too many people in power all the way from the tiniest town's local politics all the way to the top. Sigh.

ttln said...

MAP is useful when it provides information about kids w/suspect skill levels and great 'cover up my deficit' strategies. However, when num's indicate a standard deviation of three grade levels and greater below grade level and no one- neither admin, counseling, nor parents- put the student into intervention/support classes, further tying my hands, using those students' lack of sufficient progress as a metric of me is unfair. I will be sure to document such instances, perhaps develop my own hold harmless agreement for all parties to sign, to keep as part of public record and to protect myself. Bring it on. I will only be held accountable for that which is in my control and will hold the rest accountable for that which is under theirs.

cpvmac said...

There's far too many of these "coalitions" popping up overnight, filling my inbox with great-sounding initiatives. Judging teachers on student scores means teachers will "judge" that children with special needs (many with normal cognition but needing some supports) are unwanted in their classroom. They are viewed as dragging down the curve.

So on the one hand, the district wants to reduce "highly qualified" special education staff (make them "mentors" and "collaborators" instead), and have SpecEd services delivered by gen ed teachers and IAs. On the other hand, they work behind the scenes through Alliance etc. to weaken the teacher's union, increase ratios, and reduce the likelihood of individualized instruction in the classroom.

Who suffers in the end? Conscientious teachers who believe ALL children deserve a good education, but need smaller class sizes and the administrative support behind them.