Friday, September 24, 2010

Open Thread Friday

To note for Saturday:

Director Smith-Blum Community meeting
10-11:30 am - Douglas Truth Public Library, 2300 Yesler Way at 23rd

Director Patu Community meeting
10-noon - 4400 Rainier Ave. S at Genesee

The district is claiming, in their bid for the TIF grant, that 3 years ago our district was "...a collection of independent schools operating with little direction and no accountability..."

I wrote to the Board asking them if they support that view. Ponder that and tell me if you think that was our district 3 years ago. (I have to say that stating there was no accountability 3 years ago as if there is accountability now is just the height of chutzpah.)

What's on your mind?

65 comments:

southend girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charlie Mas said...

Every so often I try to take a step back, take a breath, and take a fresh look at Seattle Public Schools. I know that I can get all twisted up in history and hold grudges and get so deeply entrenched in fighting with the District that I can forget that the teachers and principals are doing work that I want to support, that there are lots of dedicated, hard working people doing their best in the Central Administration, and that everyone, even those who drive me crazy, have good intentions and want to help students.

Stepping back like this provides me with the space to question and re-order my priorities. With the turning of the school year and the opportunity to speak to folks at the Welcome Back meeting, this was an good time for that reflection.

I'm concerned about the Board's failure to oversee the District. So when I spoke to Michael DeBell, I wanted to talk to him about embedding accountability into every Board action. That's a tool that I think the Board can use to improve their oversight.

The Education Directors are a key player in the enforcement aspect of Performance Management. They are going to be putting pressure on the principals to put pressure on the teachers to deliver the aligned curriculum. So when I spoke to Nancy Coogan it was to share with her my enthusiasm for the non-standard stuff in the District - NOVA, Marine Biology at Garfield, math education opportunities outside the Pathway, etc.

For Susan Enfield, there can be no higher priority than the reliable and systematic provision of early and effective interventions for students working below Standard in grades K-10. It is plain that the key to closing the academic achievement gap is to bring all students to Standard. It is plain that the way to bring all students to Standard is to identify those who are working below Standard and provide them with targeted support to bring them to Standard. Not only does this make very simple sense, it works. No, it does not work for every student in every case. Nor is it absolutely necessary for every student to meet every element of a generalized set of expectations. Of course we need to allow for normal, healthy human variation. But we also need to provide every student with the means to fulfill their potential. If they aren't at Standard it should be for reasons of their own, not due to inadequate support or opportunity.

As for the superintendent, she is the executive and needs to focus on the executive role: setting culture and providing management. I wish I could speak to her in a way that she would hear. So long as she believes in her pope-like infallability, there is no talking to her at all.

This is what I gathered when I stepped back and took a fresh look.

Seattle-Ed2010 said...

Everyone's welcome to attend this free forum on Oct. 5 at Seattle U.

“Race to Where?”
A forum on the (mis)direction of education reform
with Diane Ravitch (via Skype from NYC)


“I think ‘Race to the Top’ is a terrible program and I congratulate Washington for not advancing. I hope that you don’t win the money, because winning the money means you agree to do things that are very harmful to public education.” – Diane Ravitch, KUOW 94.9 FM., Aug. 2, 2010


SEATTLE, Sept. 20, 2010 ¬¬– Diane Ravitch, education historian and former Assistant Secretary of Education, will head “Race to Where?,” a forum on the damaging realities of education reform, Tuesday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m., at Seattle University’s Pigott Auditorium.

Dr. Ravitch, broadcasting live from New York University via Skype, will be joined by a panel of local education advocates, include Wayne Au of Rethinking Schools, Jesse Hagopian, local teacher and founder of Social Equality Educators (SEE), Dora Taylor, public schools parent, co-editor of Seattle Education 2010 and founding member of Parents Across America. Seattle Ed 2010 co-editor Sue Peters will moderate the event.

The forum will include a conversation with Dr. Ravitch, an eloquent critic of the Obama administration’s “Race to the Top” privatizing ed reform policy, followed by a Q&A session with Ravitch and the audience led by the other panelists.

The free event is sponsored by Seattle Education 2010, Social Equality Educators (SEE), and Parents Across America Seattle, in conjunction with Seattle University’s Matteo Ricci College and the College of Education.

WHERE: Pigott Auditorium, Seattle University campus

WHEN: 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010. (Doors open at 6:30 p.m.)

ADMISSION: Free. Two clock hours will be available for teachers. Limited seating; guests are advised to arrive early.

WHY: Is Seattle the next battleground in the debate over education reform? Seattle Public Schools, under its current superintendent, has fast-tracked a series of reforms in the school district these past three years, most recently a new teachers’ contract that ties teacher pay and evaluations to student test scores. Seattle is also the headquarters to one of the biggest players in ed reform, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which supports RTTT -- merit pay, charter schools and high-stakes testing. So far, Washington has failed to qualify for RTTT funding and state voters have repeatedly opposed charter schools. Meanwhile, a growing number of Seattle parents and teachers are asking: Why should we adopt reforms that research shows are detrimental to our schools and kids? Ravitch, who once supported these reforms as a member of the Bush I administration, agrees, and now warns against them.

WHO: Diane Ravitch is Research Professor of Education at New York University and an education historian. She is the author of 10 books, including "The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education" (2010). She shares a blog, Bridging Differences, with Deborah Meier, hosted by Education Week and also blogs for Politico.com/arena and the Huffington Post. Her articles have appeared in many newspapers and magazines. From 1991-93, she was Assistant Secretary of Education and Counselor to Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander in the administration of President George H. W. Bush. From 1997- 2004, she was a member of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the federal testing program. (adapted from: http://www.dianeravitch.com/vita.html)
[MORE]

SolvayGirl1972 said...

Lisa Escobar is co-principal with Dr. Gary, not the Assistant...that would be, I believe, Sara Morningstar
.
Many of us for whom RBHS would be our assignment HS figured this would happen sooner or later. The idea of co-principals was doomed to failure IMHO, and the resulting likely splintering of the existing community and staff was just one of the reasons nearly 700 students did NOT choose RBHS for the 2010-11 school year.

The Rainier Valley Post (blog) covered this with a link to the story in The Medium:

http://seattlemedium.com/news/Article/Article.asp?NewsID=105319&sID=4&ItemSo

Seattle-Ed2010 said...

[/2.]
Wayne Au – is a former public high school teacher, and Assistant Professor of Secondary Social Studies Education at the University of Washington, Bothell, and an editor of Rethinking Schools, a journal devoted to social justice education. He is also the author of Unequal by Design: High-Stakes Testing and the Standardization of Inequality (Routledge, 2009).

Jesse Hagopian – is a Seattle teacher who lost his job due to budget cuts, and a founding member of the progressive union caucus, Social Equality Educators. Hagopian’s writings in defense of public education have appeared in The Progressive, Common Dreams, SocialistWorker.org, Real Change News, Truthout.org, the Seattle PI, and the Seattle Times.

Dora Taylor & Sue Peters – are the co-editors of the Seattle Education 2010 blog, and founding members of the new grassroots public education advocacy organization, Parents Across America (PAA).

Seattle Education 2010 – is a blog of news and commentary created in 2009 by two Seattle parents in response to the reforms imposed on their children’s schools and district.
Parents Across America (PAA) – is a national grassroots organization of public school parents who oppose the current direction of education reform (“No Child Left Behind” and “Race to the Top”) and believe parents’ voices are missing from the national conversation about education.
Social Equality Educators (SEE) – is a new progressive union caucus within the Seattle Education Association (SEA).

Diane Ravitch on “Race to the Top”
(excerpted from: “The Conversation” with Ross Reynolds, KUOW 94.9 FM, Aug. 2, 2010)

“I think ‘Race to the Top’ is a terrible program and I congratulate Washington for not advancing. I hope that you don’t win the money because winning the money means you agree to do things that are very harmful to public education.

“First of all, it means that you are expected to have charter schools and for states that have a limit on charter schools you are expected to have more charters schools. These are privatized schools that research has shown repeatedly do not perform better than public schools. So there is no reason to privatize low-performing public schools, we should help those schools get better, do whatever it takes to improve them, but not turn them over to private entrepreneurs.

“The second thing, ‘Race to the Top’ expects states to do is to evaluate teachers by test scores. And there are so many reasons why this is a bad idea. It leads to teaching to the test, narrowing the curriculum, dropping the arts and science and history and all those things, and it’s just a terrible thing to do to teachers because there many reasons kids get high or low scores and it’s not all about teachers.

“And the third thing that ‘Race to the Top’ does is that it commits states to they call “transform” low-performing schools. What they really mean by that is to close them down, fire the principal, fire the staff, fire half the staff, fire all the staff -- these are very punitive measures and they are built right squarely on the foundation on George W. Bush’s ‘No Child Left Behind’ program. So I think it’s sad that President Obama and Secretary Duncan have tied themselves to a law that has proven to be very unsuccessful.

“I commend the states that didn’t apply and I commend the states that didn’t get the money because you’re better off.”

(…)

“I was seven years on the national testing board – President Clinton put me there. When you get close to the testing process, you realize this is a social construction, this is not a scientific instrument. There are many flaws in the test, they’re frequently not valid, not reliable, loaded with measurement error, random error and we’re now going to hang teachers’ evaluation on these test scores. It just isn’t right.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: seattle.ed2010@yahoo.com

Melissa Westbrook said...

Southend girl and Solvay Girl, thanks for the update. I read the Seattle Medium story and it sounds like a bad situation. I feel sorry for the community as a whole because a school can't function well if people are at odds. I guess what I wonder is what value-added there is so far in having two principals.

southend girl said...

Correction, the RB PTSA voted no confidence in Co-Principal Lisa Escobar, not the assistant principal. Apologies.

SolvayGirl1972 said...

That is the $64,000 question Melissa...just what was the District hoping to accomplish by creating a co-principalship at RBHS? I believe she was brought in to entice the reluctant families to the school. But without a clear plan as to how it would all work, we were leery—especially when on at least one occasion people who toured were told that "Ms. Escobar may not even be here next year," by staff members leading the tour. I don't think she was ever accepted by the existing community.

dan dempsey said...

Here is what is on my mind....

"Ponder that and tell me if you think that was our district 3 years ago."

In regard to the Southeast Education Initiative MGJ said that three years is not enough time to make a measurable change. ...

So what exactly is she taking credit for and why at the end of her third year as superintendent?

The claim, amazingly is that she has transformed us from total disorder and chaos into a highly functioning unit ... and her analysis has not a shred of verifiable evidence .... other than "I am the Empress and I say so".

Let us see what the Washington Appeals court thinks about her "Empress's right" to exclude evidence submitted by the public in decision making.

dan dempsey said...

SolvayGirl1972,

Exactly ....
.......What was the plan?

The central admin announced the SEI with particular goals, which were rarely if ever measured and reported on.

So now comes a move with no announced plan or goals at all. Well at least the Central Admin won't need to worry about Charlie pointing out that: What the Central Admin promised would happen in fact did not happen.

Guess in this instance SPS decided not to visit the land of "Big Promises".

The Board sat idly by with no concerns that a sub 500 student school would have two principals and no plan. Nope no questions as to why this innovation was needed or what it was expected to do.

[If someone knows the plan, please jump right in and let us know.]

Guess that asking for a justification or a plan would classify as micro-management .... Profound ideas on governance come from some of these school directors.

G said...

The article clearly illustrates what Rainier Beach High School is up against. Families in the neighborhood are not choosing RBHS because it is not a good high school, but because of the years of neglect the students who do end up going there have experienced at the local elementary and middle schools.


"The letter further alleges that by the fall of 2010, Rainier Beach was no longer in the lower 5% for all public schools in the state, despite having a significant number of students who entered the school as freshmen reading at a 5th or 6th grade level."

"A minimum of forty percent of the students who enter Rainier Beach are not ready for high school,” says Brown. “There is nothing in her background that says she can even understand what we’re working with at Rainier Beach.”

The problem is not RBHS, the problem is much more systemic.

peaches said...

On a different note, we got a letter today encouraging us to have our first grader tested for APP based on MAP scores from last spring. Maybe there is an effort being made to encourage testing for advanced learning.

Another interesting point in the letter addressed the question of whether APP exists at the high school level. The letter says "APP is offered at Lowell Elementary, Thurgood Marshall Elementary, Hamilton International Middle School, Washington Middle School, and Garfield High School."

Steve said...

Regarding MAP and APP, the letter below from Dr. Vaughn (manager of Advanced Learning at SPS) was forwarded to APP parents at Lowell. Has there been a groundswell of APP parents who are opting out of taking the MAP test? I've seen it mentioned on this blog a few times, but no idea if it's widespread.

The Advanced Learning Department considers the MAP to provide very important information on individual student academic growth, as well as important information about the quality and consistency of the Accelerated Progress Program. Although many students in APP score near the 99th percentile, MAP’s RIT scores provide us with additional information to look for growth, success, and differences among even these top performing students. Although the publishers of MAP have some good guidance about performance and growth targets for typical students, it will only be by the careful accumulation and study of MAP data from students in APP today that we will learn what constitutes mediocre, average, and exceptional progress in reading and mathematics. Many parents may innocently have concluded that all APP students are at the top and performing at the same level; MAP data, however, will help us to distinguish differences among these students and to create different, appropriate teaching expectations tailored to our students’ different needs.

We strongly encourage all APP students to take MAP assessments and to do their best so that we can better help individuals and also help improve our program. Please share this message with any family contemplating having their student opt out of MAP testing. Also, please encourage any parent who needs to discuss this further to share their concerns directly with me.

Sincerely,

Robert C. Vaughan, Ph.D.
Manager, Advanced Learning
Seattle Public Schools
206-252-0130

dan dempsey said...

Anyone have any idea of the validity and/or accuracy claimed for a MAP test of one student?

I fear that this is in some ways beginning to resemble belief in fairy-tales.

cascade said...

Don't know if this is ok, but am reposting part of my conversation from a separate thread now buried by all of today's threads. Am on the prowl for the few, the proud, who are willing to step up, because ain't nothin' going to change unless it happens.

cascade said...
"WS North" U know your stuff. You are a consistent commenter on this blog. The question is, are you going to run for school board. If so, get going. And if you are not, WHO are you going to educate and persuade to run. Because frankly not a darn thing is going to change in WS unless you get a different board rep. In fact little will change across the district unless we get a different mix of votes. Sundquist has to go. As does Maier and Martin-Morris.

You know what your district needs. What are YOU going to do to really make a difference instead of pontificating from the sidelines.

And PS, yes I am putting my money where my mouth is. I am writing a check to a mom parent in Harium's district who sees through the gobbeldy-gook being spewed by the pr flacks at HQ. She is educated, engaging and is going to kick a little a** KSB-style. You do your part and that just leaves Maier.

9/24/10 8:54 AM

none1111 said...
cascade said: "Sundquist has to go. As does Maier and Martin-Morris. "

You seem to have forgotten to include Carr. She may not be as disgracefully bad as Maier and Sundquist, but she hasn't done anything meaningful besides bleat along with the others for her entire term.

Of these 4, I think Martin-Morris has the best chance of getting set back on the tracks, but I'm not holding out a lot of hope for that.

9/24/10 9:59 AM

cascade said...
I did not forget PTSA Supermom Carr. I have been unimpressed with the amount of knowledge she has versus what she has actually done with it.

BUT if she does revamp last year's PATHETIC budget process AND puts a public, qualified professional on the Audit committee then I might give her a pass, just because it is a hell of a lot more than Harium, Steve and Peter have done.

I do think all three of them are beatable. The Position III mom rocks from what I've seen of her. But still I persist. WHO THE HELL IS RUNNING AGAINST PETER AND STEVE. Get off this blog people and step up. Seriously. I learn a lot here but sometimes it feels like just so much armchair QBacking with no one willing to do the seriously heavy lifting.

9/24/10 10:08 AM

Lori said...

I wondered the same thing, Steve.

This line in the letter was interesting: "it will only be by the careful accumulation and study of MAP data from students in APP today that we will learn what constitutes mediocre, average, and exceptional progress in reading and mathematics.

Really? I'm intrigued. This sounds like a research study to me, using our kids as the participants, to determine how to use MAP with future APP kids (and maybe other highly capable kids in other districts). Is NWEA involved in this process? Will they use the data from our kids to sell their product to other school districts with programs like APP? Are our kids being tested via MAP for free since apparently no one knows how to interpret the results yet? SPS shouldn't have to pay to use a tool that cannot yet be interpreted in this population.

Now I'm going to have to go not only to curriculum night for our grade level, but also to the one the night before where they talk about MAP use in APP in general...

WV is reckill, and yes, my rec time is being killed by all these meetings.

hschinske said...

Many parents may innocently have concluded that all APP students are at the top and performing at the same level; MAP data, however, will help us to distinguish differences among these students and to create different, appropriate teaching expectations tailored to our students’ different needs.

I'll believe it when I see it; still, this is not a bad goal. If the MAP test should turn out to perform as advertised, this would be a sensible use for the data. So far, I am not at all sure that it does.

Helen Schinske

Dora Taylor said...

"MAP data, however, will help us to distinguish differences among these students and to create different, appropriate teaching expectations tailored to our students’ different needs."

OK, let me get this straight. The APP teacher will receive reams of paper, and they do, on all of the students that she/he is responsible for and then, after digesting the information, tailor a specific plan for all of her/his 30+ students if they teach elementary school, or 15-200 students if you teach junior high or high school?

Will these teachers have assistants to help analyze the information, devise specific programs for each student and track each student on their specific goals?

I think not.

Honestly, you really need to think this process through.

And then, if your child is in APP, does it really matter where in that range they are? Is this going to become a game of whose child's MAP score is better than another?

And about this grant, it's a one time deal so that means when the money runs out, and it will faster than you can say Superintendent Dr. Goodloe-Johnson, we'll be back to square one. In the mean time we will have wasted more resources than we have trying to administer and then evaluate the test results and then act on the results IF they are valid.

Good luck with that.

Dora Taylor said...

Oh yeah.

I actually visited SSS today because it is open thread Friday, my favorite day on this blog, and I wanted to get the information out about the forum featuring Dr. Diane Ravitch that will be held on October 5th, free of charge at Seattle University.

For additional information, pleasse go to:

http://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2010/09/21/forum-with-diane-ravitch-press-release/

or:

http://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2010/09/19/forum-with-diane-ravitch-coming-soon/

If you want to hear more than the Duncan/Broad/Gates eduspeak from the Alliance and all of its' morph orgs, then I would recommend checking this out.

hschinske said...

And then, if your child is in APP, does it really matter where in that range they are?

Um, yes, it does. Many profoundly gifted students over the years have found APP woefully inadequate. Not surprising, as their needs are about as far from the norm within APP classes as those of APP-level students in regular classes.

Helen Schinske

Sarah said...

Lori- Do the research. Check out Bill Gates, University of Washington, measurement academic performance and you will find our children are the subjects of research! I wish the District would be honest with us! Educational decisions are being based on MAP results

Lori said...

And then, if your child is in APP, does it really matter where in that range they are?

I can see where it would matter. Right now, the spring MAP report tells you how your child's scores/growth compare to the district as a whole and the national sample, which isn't really relevant if your child is an outlier at the upper end. I would actually be curious how my child's scores compare to her APP peers as the reference group rather than the district as a whole.

Just as a child with an IQ of 130 has different needs than a child with an "average" IQ of 100, the child with an IQ of 160 has different needs than the child at 130. Now, I can't say that MAP effectively distinguishes among children at that level, but surely if you have one APP child scoring 2 grade levels ahead on MAP and another scoring 4 grade levels ahead, they are going to require differentiated instruction.

Similarly, if my child weren't keeping pace with her APP peers, that would be good to know too. So as a formative tool, I still think MAP has some merit.

Melissa Westbrook said...

G, which neighborhood schools do you think are not doing well? South Shore, I think does well (and it should), Dunlap I think is okay, what others do you think need a shake-up? And, do you think with the new 5-yr grant to get better teachers into those low-performing schools, is that what will make a difference?

Good catch on that APP letter, Lori. Very interesting.

On the opting out of MAP, I wrote to Dr. Enfield about the district protocol around opting out of MAP and/or WASL. Here is her reply:

"I will get these questions to our staff and have answers for you soon."

So when I know, you'll know and they will hopefully post this info to the website.

And Dora makes an absolutely excellent point on the teacher raises, the stipends, the collaboration time - how is all this sustainable? The district has had to go to two sources (one the grant and the other the not-yet-passed levy) to get the money. Obviously, the schools that get the grant money are pilot schools and even the stipends and collaboration time are pilot projects. (These are my thoughts, not facts.) But I just can't see where this can be sustained especially when we don't even have line item for textbooks (and hence coming to beg for money for them in the levy) or decent maintenance for our school buildings.

All this uber-projects/initiative stuff somehow takes away the focus from the simple truth that the district is simply not well-run nor are the fundamentals (textbooks and building maintenance, for example) being kept up.

Patrick said...

Did you see this column by Dr. Jim Taylor in the PI?

Stanford Charter School Fails to Make the Grade

How much more evidence do we need before we conclude that charter schools aren't the panacea for America's public education woes that so many believe them to be? If you missed the story a while back, a charter school created and administered by Stanford University's renowned Department of Education had its charter revoked by the local school board. Why? The same old drumbeat of low test scores and a designation as one of the poorest performing schools in California by our state's Department of Education.

The column continues at http://blog.seattlepi.com/jimtaylor/archives/222510.asp

seattle citizen said...

Dr. Vaughn wrote in his letter,
"The Advanced Learning Department considers the MAP to provide ...important information about the quality and consistency of the Accelerated Progress Program."

Will the District be using MAP scores to assess the quality and consistency of the Science alignment? Their math curriculum? I have not heard from the district that they will use MAP to assess curriculum provided by the district, only that they will use it to measure student growth, inform instruction, and evaluate teachers. If I'm wrong, if they have said they will use it to assess their curricula, someone correct me.

This is important, of course, because if student growth on MAP is merely used formatively and to evaluate teachers, there is no check on the curriculum and/or standards (along with their corollary materials and staffing such as ELL IAs, etc) that the district itself provides.

So: Teacher, in fall, is handed crappy curriculum and told to teach it word for word. Students don't do well. Will teacher be dinged, or will broader assessment be made of the curriculum, matrials and support?

My guess is that teachers will be dinged.

And students will suffer through an unassessed curriculum. I've heard it said that ELL students across the district, who had been showing improvement on HSPE, fell last year. Some blame the new district-wide Edge curriculum. But I'm sure those teachers should just be more "quality."

reader said...

At my school, the principal claimed that the MAP was a great tool because it indeed was a good indicator of progress for students who were many years ahead of standard. Unlike other measures, the CBAs and WASL/MSP, the MAP was able to measure progress of students who were way ahead... instead of just "close to standard".

dan dempsey said...

Seattle Citizen,

The following contains some data of ELL Math scores at high school over time.

HERE

Sahila said...

This belongs in two places - here and Waiting for Superman.... but I'll put it here only...

please read:

http://perimeterprimate.blogspot.com/2010/09/ed-deform-propaganda-in-full-bloom.html

http://sahilachangebringer.blogspot.com/2010/09/no-time-to-let-grass-grow.html

http://forums.thedailyshow.com/?page=ThreadView&thread_id=30615

Truly - this is the last push of the reformers... if you dont want this, you need to do something....

emeraldkity said...

boy Melissa- chutzpah sounds awfully polite.

As for the superintendent, she is the executive and needs to focus on the executive role: setting culture and providing management

I agree.
I would like to see a culture where we don't have to get 1/4 new principals in one year who are also new to the district.
I would like to see a culture where teachers ( if interested) are encouraged & supported to move into a principal position and other principals are supported so that they can do their job & not have to leave the district ( although if they are completely inappropriate- then " here's your hat, what's your hurry".

I'd also like to a see a culture where not only admin wonks in the Stanford center get to put in their $.02, but the community including teachers/students/parents & other interested parties are not only asked for input, but FOLLOW UP info is relayed back and they are kept apprised of the areas they are interested in so that we can see if these changes are making any difference.

What. an idea!

Maureen said...

Emeraldkity wants a culture where: ...teachers/students/parents & other interested parties are not only asked for input, but FOLLOW UP info is relayed back and they are kept apprised of the areas they are interested in so that we can see if these changes are making any difference.


Melissa, Is there some way that this blog could keep a record of all of the questions we, as individuals, directly ask the people downtown and record whether or not they have responded?

Could there be an ongoing link on the side bar where we could post the text of our emails and any answer we got?

(In the last six months I have sent about four emails to staff (ccing Board and MGJ) and have only had replies from Kay Smith-Blum. (and robo replies from the Supe)

Dora Taylor said...

Wow, note the resemblance between Pittsburgh and Seattle.

Superintendent and Broad Graduate Mark Roosevelt on September 23rd received a TIF grant to move forward the teacher incentives also known as merit pay and high stakes testing from the Gates Foundation.

See:

MARK ROOSEVELT

The Broad Superintendents Academy Class of 2003

http://www.broadacademy.org/fellows/31_Mark+Roosevelt.html?page_filter=0

and

Federal grant to city schools boosts teacher incentive plan

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10267/1089925-53.stm

So you see Seattle, we're not all that special. We're just one of the many "urban centers" that the Broad and Gates want to morph into their idea of ideal education even though neither one of them knows anything about education let alone education in public schools.

dan dempsey said...

Hey Dora,

How corrupt can this get?

Feds quote glowing comments about SPS based on ZERO research so SPS can provide funds to implement performance management agenda.
The agenda that big Obama campaign donors from 2008 wanted.

Extortion ... Bribes .. Oligarchy rules the non-billionaire peasants.

Rose M said...

eckstein numbers published on their website

Dear Eckstein Community,

I would like to thank everyone for a great start to the year. We have done an amazing job of getting 1,210 students (as of today!) into classrooms and learning. This is no easy task and we have done this without skipping a beat.

When our original enrollment projections came out we were slated to have 1,125 students. Many more families chose to come to Eckstein so the adjusted Spring count included an additional sixty 6th graders and twenty 7th graders. With this adjustment we were given an additional FTE (teacher) to mitigate the overload. This was spread out between Language Arts, Social Studies, and PE/Health classes. The rational for these specific classes was to round out part time FTE in LA/SS and to reduce class sizes in PE from fifty for safety reasons.

Right now our Math and Sciences classes are overloaded. We are waiting for our October 1 count to come in and are expecting additional funds. At that time we will be able to hire more Math and Science teachers. It will be necessary to change schedules and balance classes at that time.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Best,

Kim Whitworth, Principal

seattle citizen said...

Thanks, Dora, for researching who else got these TIF funds. I know that Seattle's original Performance Management funds (nine million) were provided by the Gates Foundation (and fed through the Alliance for Education) and here you have shown how another city's Broadie is also getting TIF funds. Broad, Gates and Arne Duncan appear to be BFF. I will soon go that federal TIF document myself to have a look at who all is getting these funds, these tax dollars, to institute the unproven and damaging Broad reform.

ttln said...

I now have data from a year (+) of MAP w/WASL/MSP results broken down by student. Only two more spread sheets to complete ...
Anyone curious?

emeraldkity said...

RE: APP

My kids haven't been in K-12 for a while- but as a volunteer with kids for the last 30 years ( 28 as a parent), I don't think my kids are atypical.

To use our families experience re: the gifted program- we do know lots of students who were able to cobble together a pretty good education in SPS by either attending Spectrum/Horizon- APP, for K-12 or supplementing with private school & other resources till college.

My older D's current roommate for example, attended APP through middle school, but then attended Franklin, cause he wanted to see different kids everyday.

He graduated from Reed as well ( '06), with a double major in biology & chem ( very unusual as you have to write two theses) & is finishing up grad school.

So at the time- he was able to get enough AP classes at Franklin to keep his momentum from Washington middle school.

But I have to mention that even though my daughter graduated from high school in 2000,and she had a fantabulous experience in school- ( private)- I know that many, many children who were just like her, are being bored to death and worse.

She is " twice gifted" & because I know that those on this thread are so savvy,( and because I am primarily writing for those who just read this blog) I will mention that Dr. Nancy Robinson was one of the people who encouraged us to go private & she tested our D many times ( as part of a study) and found her I.Q. to be over 160. ( so she had learning differences on both high/low ends)

We used the SPS testing several times to see if she qualified for any gifted program & she did not- so she stayed in private school.

While I was mainly observed the Spectrum program ( again- where she didn't qualify)- I didn't see any indication ( except for the TOPS program which had some common features with UCDS- ), that it seemed enriched enough for her- ( or for any student really)
Quite depressing.

I had been told that the APP program was much more appropriate, but as appealing the decision was our only option, I declined- because I didn't feel right about " working " the system.

At Garfield- you can take an AP class, ( at least when my youngest attended), if you want to attempt it.
No testing required- no hoops.
My daughter had a whole block of friends who were in her remedial math class, but were also in her honors history/english classes and later in AP with her.

I would like to see students in middle and elementary school given the same options. True " giftedness" isn't just being able to work hard, or have good memory skills, it is a different way of looking at things & these tests just don't pick up on that.

We are losing kids- because we are trying to hammer them into a box.

emeraldkity said...
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emeraldkity said...
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emeraldkity said...
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Melissa Westbrook said...

ttln, if you e-mail me with those results, I could do a thread on them. I think many people would be interested in that data.

It's sss.westbrook@gmail.com.

Maureen, I'll look into your idea. I like it.

Rose, Eckstein is like the gift that keeps on giving. It was about 1200 when my son was there. I think it is too large, the resources get stretched too thinly (I remember the librarian really being worried about it) and yet they keep packing them in. Again, is this just a blip on the NSAP or did they get so much pressure they quietly added in more kids?

Emerald Kity, Nancy Robinson is a gift to this city and the University. Thanks for the shout-out to her.

emeraldkity said...

I am making a metacomment- blogger said my post was too long & I had to split it up into 3 different posts- but then it posted the original?

So that is why all the deletions after my post- sorry.

Eric B said...

We also got the letter saying that one of our kids' high MAP scores qualified her for APP testing. What we found interesting an insulting was this paragraph in the letter:

If you would not seriously consider re-locating your child to another school for a new program in the 2011-2012 school year, please help us conserve resources by not testing until you are ready for a school change.

What bothers me about this is that it discourages people from getting tested. Who is going to be ready to change schools before they even know if they qualify for the program? Not to mention all of the issues that go along with changing schools (transportation, school culture, etc.) that you just aren't going to find out about until you are eligible for a program.

And isn't the point of testing is to identify highly capable children who might benefit from additional services and support, whether that is in their own school or an APP program, not to shuffle kids around?

emeraldkity said...

I agree Nancy & Halbert Robinson have a wonderful legacy for the area children-

I also forgot !, to mention that my original attempt to find a place in SPS for my daughter was @ Summit- as at the time, they had wonderful enrichment- very similar to TOPS or Salmon Bay now- or better- but it also was so popular that even though we tried for years, she didn't get a seat.

I know I am not the only one who is stymied by the failure to adequately support programs ( Cathy Hayes the principal @ Summit was a main reason why it stayed successful for decades) and the failure to replicate what is in high demand/successful.

wsnorth said...

Schmitz Park overcrowding news (abridged and editorialized):

"Dear Parents,
We have three areas that need volunteers.

9:00 – 9:20 Before School Playground...·

11:55 – 12:40 Lunchroom – with 92 kindergartners and 84 first graders, we could use help ...

3:25 – 3:45 Bus Line Up ...to help a staff member take attendance in the bus lines."

These should all be paid hourly staff positions, not parent volunteer activities. The last is particularly ridiculous because the district has skewed the boundaries so that many local families can no longer attend, but are asking the remaining local families to help alleviate the problems caused by restricting local access and bussing kids in from half way across West Seattle!

NewKParent said...

Help with bus service - new kindergarten parent here experiencing my first baffling interaction with the central office. My son's on-site before/after care program was unacceptable and he did not like it there. So, on Thursday we switched him to a nearby program. 8 kids already ride the bus to/from the program to his school, including another child in his glad. On Wednesday, I spoke to transportation, they took my info and said "great, that's all we need." Thinking that equaled approval, he took that bus Thurs and Friday. To my shock, we receved a letter Friday denying our request saying there's no eligible route. Huh? Should I ignore the letter and keep doing what we are doing or try to explain the situation again?

Melissa Westbrook said...

NewK, what I would do is e-mail the head of Transportation, Tom Bishop, AND cc it to Steve Sundquist. Tell him the problem and your confusion over whether your child can ride the bus to the daycare that other children are allowed to ride.

Also, I don't know if you know the name of the person you initially spoke with in Transportation. If you do, put that in the e-mail. If not, try to remember in the future to get the name.

Maureen said...

newk in the short run, see if you can get a "green card" from the school office to have your kid ride with the other kid in his class to the child care address.

NewKParent said...

Thanks for the suggestions!

wseadawg said...

Emeraldkity said:
I had been told that the APP program was much more appropriate, but as appealing the decision was our only option, I declined- because I didn't feel right about " working " the system.

I known several APP families who you would malign as "working" the system, and there is no doubt their children belong in APP.

What so many on this blog do not understand, is how poor and varied the district testing is for Spectrum and APP. Testing conditions have a huge effect that is often only corrected and offset by private testing. I don't know where this "working the system" garbage comes from. No reputable private tester would improperly place a kid in APP if they didn't belong there. As Charlie has mentioned, each year, there are a couple of kids who go elsewhere, sometimes because it's too much for them, and sometimes because they need more.

And really, what kind of parent would put their kid into a program that their child wasn't ready for? That would be hell. Who'd borrow that trauma for their family? Who'd want the fallout if it didn't work out?

APP kids get tested all the time and have to keep up with the pace and content of the classwork, or they'll ultimately be counseled out. Fortunately, because the placement process is pretty darn good and accurate, that is extremely rare.

The notion that there is some sort of free ride after somebody tests into Spectrum or ALO is hogwash. Teachers care about students and so do parents. They aren't going to prop up a kid who doesn't belong there, nor will they inflate scores or go easy on a kid to slip them through with a wink and a nod to the parents & principal. Come on folks: have a little sense.

Y'all can bombard me with anecdotes all you want about how so-and-so weaseled or bought their way into APP, and I would respond by saying, give Bob Vaughan & Co. a little more credit than that. He, any parent, and any teacher who inappropriately placed a kid in Spectrum or APP would only suffer for it. They'd have nothing to gain and it would only be bad for the child by causing them suffering now and in the long run.

wsnorth said...

I think the "working the system hogwash" comes from many antecdotes and personal experiences several of us have experienced first hand or heard second party over the years. But one person's "working the system" might just be another's "doing what is best for their children". It will be interesting to see if the number of loopholes and exceptions have been lowered under the NSAP.

none1111 said...

wseadawg said: "I known several APP families who you would malign as "working" the system, and there is no doubt their children belong in APP. "

Thank you for saving me from writing the same post! All of which I strongly concur with, except possibly the "They aren't going to prop up a kid who doesn't belong there". APP staff definitely tries to help kids who appear to be on the edge. But I would counter that isn't really any different from most schools/programs where you try to help your kids before encouraging them to find a better fit elsewhere. I do think that there should probably be a little more exiting than currently happens, but not much.

emeraldkity, you have always struck me as a thoughtful person (and a positive contributor here), so I'd like you to consider that while I continue. :-)

If you really knew APP was the best (note I won't say "perfect") fit for your kid at the time, it shouldn't matter if you feel like you're "working the system" or not. You take appropriate steps to do what's best for your kids - end of story!

If I had to guess, I'd say you probably had reservations about whether it really was the best fit; especially not knowing if the program dealt well with 2E kids (it generally does a good job with that, btw), and with what sounds like a (relative) math deficiency, which might have presented a problem.

Ultimately, you may have made the best decision with the information you had at the time, just don't say the reasons were because you didn't want to "work the system", cause that's not a good reason. ;-)

Dorothy Neville said...

"If I had to guess, I'd say you probably had reservations about whether it really was the best fit; especially not knowing if the program dealt well with 2E kids (it generally does a good job with that, btw)"

I can believe that is mostly true now but is has most definitely NOT always been true. Absolutely positively, 2E kids have not always had their needs met or felt wanted by APP teachers.

StepJ said...

E-mail forwarded by a friend...

The Seattle Public Library Foundation

Today we are announcing that an anonymous donor has pledged $500,000 to The Seattle Public Library Foundation if we can raise a matching amount through community contributions.

Here's how the gift came about. When the 2010 mid-year cuts to The Seattle Public Library's budget were announced, The Seattle Public Library Foundation got a call from the donor's representative. The anonymous donor had read the news and wanted to find a way to help.

The anonymous donor was especially concerned about how budget cuts would impact the community, in particular children and families who rely on Seattle's public libraries for so much. The donor felt this would be a powerful way to inspire others in the community to step forward and support our library system.

Our goal is to raise $500,000 to match the gift by December 31, 2010, so we can make those dollars available for Seattle's public libraries to use by 2011. Once raised, the money will be used to help the libraries serve the community - to buy more books and resources and support free public programming.

This gift essentially doubles any donation made to the Foundation in the coming months - go to www.foundation.spl.org for all the details.

You can also help us spread the word by forwarding this message to family and friends who love our libraries.

Thanks for your support of The Seattle Public Library Foundation!

Dave McShea
President
Board of Trustees, The Seattle Public Library Foundation

none1111 said...

Dorothy/emeraldkity,

Okay, I should qualify what I said - especially as it was just an aside and not the main point I was trying to get across.

I don't have a lot of data points, and I do know of one situation that was not working out great, but more that have been okay. I'm also probably being a little loose with the term 2E, as in not necessarily "identified" by the district as such, as I only know a couple of those personally. Also, I'm mostly thinking about Lowell.

That said, I'm not sure any of these kids are going to have a fantastic fit anywhere, just by the nature of their needs. Many of our kids are already square pegs in a round-hole world, and these kids are even more so than most. I've at least found an understanding and mostly helpful attitude within the elementary program. I really doubt these kids will get that much at most schools because they don't even understand the gifted side very well, let alone 2E issues.

Enough from me, others with more experience than I could speak with far more authority.

emeraldkity said...

I used the term working the system- not to disparage anyone who used what ever tools they needed to, to get their child an appropriate education- but because at the time- ( I was very young...) I felt that the curriculum in the gifted program must have been selected to benefit the children who tested well with the process the school district was using.

Little did I know- that probably was far from accurate.

Because my child didn't test well using that test- I figured that the gifted program wouldnt have been appropriate for her. & yes she had a significant math disability- but eventually it didn't interfere with her taking calculus and ochem at Reed & even having a work -study position at the local high school as a math tutor!

none1111 said...

Makes sense. Thanks for your explanation.

ttln said...

I finished putting in my numbers and now wish I had my percentile correlation chart (scaled down to WA norms, mind you) to see if there is a clearer connection to a student’s percentile rank and their MSP score. Doubtful since there isn’t a clear connection between MAP scores and MSP scores.
So far, from what I see in my numbers (roughly 80 students in mixed ability classes ELL and SPED included) there are some whose MAP data and MSP data are "true" in the simplest of descriptions (for example: ELL with low MAP also did not pass MSP and was also removed from the class and returned to "sheltered" ELL program). There are a few kids who were "one the cusp" with the MAP and did very well on the MSP (for example: RIT 221, which is below the 50th percentile national for 8th grade reading, but received a 419 MSP, which is Level 4). There are others who fell into the 1 or 2 standard deviations below grade level (indicators of requiring Sped testing or more extreme intervention) who popped Level 4s on MSP.- Look out HSs, be careful using Spring MAP data for honors or remediation scheduling.
As for measuring my own "quality" as a teacher, because MAP to MSP is comparing apples to oranges (numbers for MAP are normed and progressive, MSP test against a standard so a higher number from year to year is not a measure of "growth" but how a student performs against a standard measure) a way of making the two quantitatively more similar needs to be devised. Has B. Bernatek developed such an index for comparison? Does anyone know? If not, I am starting with the idea that if a student’s score does not change from one year to the next on the MSP, that means they made one year’s growth. Less than the previous year’s score would mean less than a year’s growth. More would mean more… But how much “more” or “less” is where some work needs to be done. Knowing this might make comparing the two tests easier.
Even without the adjustment of the data, I can tell you MAP made me look better than MSP in one of three classes (64% growing at a better than average rate, only 3.9 average pt. gain on the MSP) and considerably worse in the other 2 (only 64% making better than average growth on MAP, but a gain of 11.5 average pt gain on MSP and 48% making better than average growth on MAP and an average 9.8 pt gain on MSP).
Does anyone have any idea how they are calculating the score index for the new reviews?

seattle citizen said...

Let's not forget to factor in other district-wide assessments, where available, as we discuss how these scores correlate (or not). For instance, the district's Read 180 program (a Scholastic product) is growing in use, primarily in HS, but now also more in MS. This is a relatively scripted program with texts, "fidelity of implementation," adaptive computer program that meets students at their individual levals, and most importantly for our purposes, a MAP-like adaptive test built into the software. This test, the Scholastic Reading Inventory, is an adaptive test of reading: students answer (multiple choice) and their answer dictates whether the next question is easier or harder. Computer does this for a number of questions until a "level" is found. This level is given as a lexile.
As this is district-wide, thise score could be used to triangulate with MAP and HSPE...IF it correlates.

The whole thing begs the question: Which data? We now have four sets of operational standards - the national standards, state standards (measured by HSPE?)district standards (measured by MAP?) and department standards district-wide (measured by...?)

Which should the teacher teach to? Some combination that will give the teacher the best "score" on the "two or more district-wide assessments" used to evaluate the teacher?

Anonymom said...
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Anonymous said...

MAP story: I have a child who has always been excellent at subject X. On one MAP test I don't know what s/he did (fall asleep with elbow on keyboard?) s/he got a score well below potential. On the next tests s/he was up at the high 90's percentile. At the end of the year my student got a "most improved" subject X award.

Other than this, map scores have been mostly in line with my perception of the student's abilities.

signed: not my login because this might be too close to home

Shannon said...

I am really interested in the MAP MSP correlation. I have a son in APP and was a fan of MAP last year. For us, the data made sense and he showed growth just at the times I had seen had had learned many new concepts so I felt it validated what I saw in his work anyway.

Last week, he came home from the spring MAP test and said "It was awfully hard and I only had half an hour and the teacher said that if we finished it would be college grade anyway so I just guessed."

Um? Half an hour? Guessing?

He clarified "We were told we only had half an hour TODAY but if we didn't finish we could have more time tomorrow so I rushed to finish."

"Didn't you have a paper and pencil to do the problems?" I asked.

"Yeah, but they were long numbers and I didn't feel like doing it all" he told me. "So I guessed."

This seems like a little case study in testing aberrations :) End of the day, lazy, big numbers, half an hour. Sometimes even I don't get how my kid thinks.

Also, after a 99th percentile in the MAP he was only JUST in the Level 4 band on MSP. We are not particularly driven parents and consider reality more important than test scores so I am not stressing about it, but I thought it odd.

What does the MSP measure vs MAP? What would it mean that he finds MAP 'easier' than MSP?

I know Curriculum night will not illuminate me at all.

Dorothy Neville said...

Shannon, do you mean his FALL MAP test is the one where he had a half hour, the teacher dismissed its importance and he didn't bother to work out the problems?

Hmmmmm. Wonder what will happen in Spring? Lots of time, take it seriously, blah blah? Repeat that for two years worth of kids and boy will that teacher look good on MAP as a measure of her students' growth.

another mom said...

Not sure where to put this, but below is an interesting article about a charter school company in financial trouble.

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/sep/28/local/la-me-0928-charters-20100928

Anonymous said...

Have any kindergarten parents out there been notified how to pay the monthly fee for full-day K? Last time I had a kinder student it was handled by the school. Now it is apparently handled by central administration but I haven't received any information about how to pay it? Do they not need my money? :)

signed,
yumpears