Friday, October 22, 2010

Open Thread Friday

Director Meetings this Saturday: just one. Director Martin-Morris from 9:30-11:30 am at Diva Espresso, 80th and Lake City Way NE).

The Superintendent has another Coffee Chat on Monday the 25th at West Seattle Elementary, 6760 34th Ave SW from 6-7 p.m. Have Coffee Chats been in your parent newsletter or on your school's website?

There is also a Curriculum and Instruction Policy Committee Board Meeting from 4-6 p.m on Monday.

91 comments:

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have a link for interpreting RIT scores? My child wrote down her scores; I'm not sure the tables I find when Googling are accurate.

Thank you,

Mom of 2 SPS kids

Anonymous said...

Is there an SPS policy that will allow me to home school my child for the first 1.5 hours of the day? She's been placed in a class where the reading work is waaay below her level, and a teacher who does not differentiate instruction. Rather than have her bored out of her mind for a year, I'd like to teach her at home, then deliver her to school, where her other needs are being met.

I can only find policies for 1/2 time students who are home schooled, but I really only want to do reading, and deliver her to school at 10:15.

Thanks if you can help

Mom of 2 SPS kids

ParentofThree said...

What I would do is talk to the principal and let them know you are considering the pulling your child and enrolling them as a part-time homeschooled student, unless they can come up with an alternative solution.

They will lose funding if you go this route, so I believe an alternative will be found.

owlhouse said...

I just reviewed RtN, preparing for Nova's public screening coming up this Tuesday. It's more powerful than I remembered; giving voice to students, parents, teachers, health professionals re: concerns that high-stakes schooling/testing and a culture of competition have "invaded" childhood.

This is my 3rd "open thread Friday" post on the screening as I really do think the film speaks to so much of what is discussed on this blog. RtN has been featured on CNN, Oprah and the Washington Post says the film "is playing as a quiet counterpoint to the better-known Waiting for Superman." Hope you can join us:

Race to Nowhere
Tuesday, 10/26
6:30 Film; 8:00 Community Discussion
@ Nova
300 20th Ave E, 98112
tix at: racetonowhere.com

Dorothy Neville said...

The National Council for Teacher Quality has weighed in on the new Seattle Teachers Contract. Wanna guess what their conclusion is?

The conservative Washington Policy Center discusses both the above report and the levy.

Sahila said...

why I say "no" to standardised testing for my child

anne said...

Mom of 2 SPS kids...

I pulled my son out of middle school for science and home-schooled through WAVA (Washington Virtual Academy) @ www.k12.com. I had to go through considerable effort to get the district's legal department to sign-off, but I think a student has the right to do this through WAVA (the district paid for the WAVA course fee). I eventually got the school to change his schedule so that he would leave after 5th period.

It took at least a month of calling WAVA and the district to get the paperwork through and the school was less than accomodating in the beginning, but with constant pressure they finally did complete the required paperwork. Then the district seemed to be out of alignment with WAVA on what paperwork had to be filled out. Supposedly Washington state has a specific form that must be completed by the district legal department and they weren't very prepared to do it because they don't do it very often.

Are you talking about elementary or middle school? Elementary would be harder since it's a single class all day and the time the do a particular subject may vary throughout the week.

Rosie said...

I'm going to the Alliance for Education's auction tomorrow night. I was just previewing the catalog and see an item that I know will be of interest to this blog. Specifically, one of the live auction items is the chance to learn the secret handshake that Bill and Melinda Gates and the Broads use to identify folks who can safely be let in on the great ed reform conspiracy they've been orchestrating for lo these many years.

Unfortunately, I budgeted only $500 to spend at this auction, and I suspect this item will go for a much larger figure. I'm willing to buy it collectively and share it with members of this blog. Just send me an email with your credit card number and the maximum amount you want me to charge to your card. If we can collectively get between $3,00 and $5,000, I'm sure I can be the successful bidder.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Mom of 2 SPS kids, I did that only in reverse (homeschooled my son for one class at the end of the day). Your best resource is the Home School Resource Center in SPS. They know how to do all of this. (Biggest piece of advice: do NOT withdraw your child from SPS to do this. You can do it without that occurring.)

I can tell you that your child's teacher probably won't be happen but don't be deterred. If what you feel needs to be happening isn't, then by all means be proactive. Since you seem to have talked with her teacher, have you talked to the principal?

Interesting, Rosie.

Maureen said...

Rosie, I'm just not seeing it in the catalogue :). But maybe we could all pitch in for Mel and Charlie and their spouses to get #29:

29
DINNER FOR 4 WITH THE SUPERINTENDENT AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE GREATER
SEATTLE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Join Seattle Public Schools’ superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson, and her husband Bruce, along with the President of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce Phil Bussey and his wife Cathy for a unique dining experience. This is a onderful opportunity to learn more about the inner workings of Seattle Public Schools and the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce from two of Seattle’s brightest stars.

Restrictions: Mutually agreeable dates. Expires 10/23/11.
Thanks to Maria Goodloe-Johnson & Bruce Johnson and Phil & Cathy Bussey
Value: Priceless

Single Child said...

Mom of 2 SPS kids,

Here is the link to the site where you can convert RIT to percentile for MAP test. I also have the percentile tables saved as pdf files but I do not know how to add them here.

http://www.bismarck.k12.nd.us/uploads/resources/7915/completenorms2008.pdf

Anonymous said...

Thanks Anne, Melissa and Parent of Three.

My child is in first grade. They have a regular reading time because the school does "Walk to Math" and all the PCP stuff is in the afternoon.

Have spoken to the teacher and she assures me that things are about to get more differentiated so I'm hoping no change at all will be needed. But to date, the work coming home is late pre-school, early K stuff, and as of last spring my child read at the 2nd grade level. She complains of being bored and I can see why. Parents who've gone before me say it never gets up to the level she needs, so I'm just not sure what to do. She's starting to balk at going to school in the am.

Thanks for your help!

Mom of 2 SPS kids

Anonymous said...

There is a part-time homeschooling law in WA state that allows for single-subject homeschooling. The student would become a 0.8 FTE, meaning that the funding for your child is reduced 20%.

Since the school has a defined reading time, it seems this would actually be possible at the elementary level. The principal has to agree and sign off (though it's my guess that the principal isn't actually doing the deciding, it's someone else). The difficulty with making the request in elementary school is that the child can't be on campus during the missed class. And like someone else mentioned, class times aren't usually at a consistent time.

See this site for more info:
http://www.washhomeschool.org/advocacy/whoPartTime.html

The Homeschool Resource Center has the forms you would need to make the request.

Another mom

Anonymous said...

Also, as a part-time student, your child may not be eligible for transportation.

Another Mom

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the link, Single Child. I think my DD misread or miswrote her reading number. I'll just have to wait until conferences!

Mom of 2 SPS kids

Anonymous said...

Thanks Another Mom. Very helpful! Transport is not an issue.

Mom of 2 SPS kids

Lori said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Central Mom said...

Rosie, I appreciate your finely tuned sense of irony. But, in all seriousness, I have personally listened to least three board members who are troubled by the direction Sara Morris has taken the Alliance.

What used to be a "neutral" civic booster and fundraising arm for SPS has become an organization with a definite viewpoint.

The board members are questioning the inclusiveness of the Alliance and they are questioning whether the board and superintendent should hold positions on the Alliance given the direction the Alliance is going.

I am not commenting on whether NCTQ, etc. is valid. Different people will have different viewpoints. But the fundamental point that the Alliance members and the community need to discuss is 1) whether it is appropriate for the Alliance to become an advocacy group and 2) whether, if the answer is yes, the board and superintendent should be on the governance group of the Alliance.

And no, I won't disclose the 3 board members names', as in each case these were personal conversations and I did not ask permission to publish their concerns. I also do not know if this concern is shared by more than 3 board members or by the superintendent. Nor do I know if anyone is talking to Sara directly.

hschinske said...

When I called the Home School Resource Center a few years back, they seemed to think that part-time homeschooling was something that just didn't happen (which I knew was wrong from talking to Melissa and Dorothy about their experiences with it). Maybe I just spoke to an inexperienced staffer; can't remember. We didn't end up going that route, and it's all rather vague now.

Helen Schinske

SickOfMAP said...

Dorothy Neville put out the link to the NCTQ analysis of the teacher's contract. I've read it over quite a few times and I'm not sure I agree with the facts.

First off, where did this "value added score below 35" number come from? I don't see that in the contract at all.

Also, the NCTQ analysis says that low growth causes the teacher to be put on a performance improvement plan. There's a fine point there, I think - the principal can only "recommend" that the teacher be put on a performance improvement plan.

Am I right? Wrong?

Either way, as a parent, I will be watching closely to see how the district tries to apply this contract. So far as I can tell, there are absolutely no studies whatsoever that show value-added data to have any validity. And even if they were, each new implementation of value-added data would need to be tested.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

hschinske said...

There's nothing wrong with the general concept of value-added data. In itself it's quite a good and useful idea. The district is just measuring it badly and misusing the results.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

I have a possibly complicated question. Currently, my 2 kids go to our neighborhood school. Love the school, etc... However, we are very likely moving next summer and then our neighborhood school would be W Seattle Elementary which is a failing school. I still don't quite understand what that means to be a "failing school". Would we get a waiver to be able to decline going to W Sea elementary? What if we can't get into other W Sea school due to capacity or are we guaranteed a spot? Does anyone know if we could retain our spot at our current school (we'd provide transportation) or is that spot gone once we apply to other schools? I am going to try and go to the coffee chat at WSE next week and maybe try to get this question answered and I know that I am rambling, but any input would be appreciated.

Thank you,

Moving to W Seattle

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

Dear Moving to West Seattle,

Under the old student assignment plan your children would be entitled to keep their seats in their current school despite the move (although transportation would be your responsibility if you moved out of the cluster).

The Framework for the New Student Assignment Plan, written and approved by the Board, called for the Superintendent to provide consistent school assignment for students who move...

But she didn't. The New Student Assignment Plan calls for your children to lose their seats at their current school. They can apply to get the seats back through the Open Enrollment process. Of course, if the school is full they will be denied.

This was a grave failure by the superintendent to heed the Board's wishes. You should bring your case to the Board's attention by writing to them about it and by speaking about it at the next Board meeting - and at every Board meeting until they fix it.

Your issue goes beyond your children. It even goes beyond the New Student Assignment Plan. It speaks to governance: the Board's authority over the superintendent and the superintendent's duty to follow the Board's explicit instructions.

This is kind of a big deal.

While you are working that line you should work two more: speak to your principal and to Tracy Libros in the Enrollment department.

Charlie Mas said...

As for home-schooling part-time, one of my daughters did it. It is totally legitimate and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. If they do, then you ask them to show you the law or policy that governs the situation.

There is, however, a bigger issue, which is a teacher who refuses to provide appropriate instruction for your child. If the teacher doesn't get it done, then you need to talk to the principal. If the principal doesn't get it done then you need to talk to the education director for your region. You should also be talking to your board representative, and to Susan Enfield. Don't ask them to intervene; ask them how it is supposed to work.

TechyMom said...

Moving to West Seattle,
As I understand it, if your children were assigned to their current school under the old assignement system, then they are grandfathered at their current school, even if you move. That means that if they went to their current school LAST year (2008-2009) they can stay at their current school through 5th grade (or 8th if its a K-8).

Charlie is correct about the bigger issues, but those issues may not impact you.

Maureen said...

Haven't we been told that all K-5s have ALOs now? Wouldn't that mean that K-5s must have a plan in place for teaching all kids at an appropriate level? Is Bob Vaughan in Advanced Learning in charge of monitoring that?

StepJ said...

Moving to W Seattle,

Here is a link to the rules about keeping your assignment if you move this year.

A lot depends on what type of assignment you have at your current school -- i.e.: grandfathered, assigned. As well as the timing of your move.

Like the annual Transition Plan these rules governing assignment if you move may change each year.

IF you do apply for a different school during Open Enrollment, and you do receive assignment to a school you list on your application, you do lose your grandfathered or assignment area school guarantee.

Bird said...

Haven't we been told that all K-5s have ALOs now?

No, we've been told that all K-5's will have ALO. My kid's elementary still does not as is the case for many others.

Susan Enfield told me it''s still in the works, but didn't know the schedule. Bob Vaughan never answered my email about it that I sent at the beginning of the school year.

Melissa Westbrook said...

ALOs, another one of those non-action action items. I wish the district would not say something exits/is in every school, if it isn't.

Charlie Mas said...

Maureen asked: "Is Bob Vaughan in Advanced Learning in charge of monitoring that?"

No. He isn't.

There is no one from the district monitoring any of the advanced learning programs in any of the schools. There is absolutely no District-level oversight provided and there is no effort to assess the programs' quality or efficacy.

Don't count on anything from Bob Vaughan or anyone else from the District to take any steps whatsoever to assure you that the advanced learning program at your child's school is in any way effective, or even that it is authentic.

Anonymous said...

Thank you all for your thoughtful replies. What you all said is how we understand it too, but found it all a bit confusing and overwhelming. Can somebody explain to me about WSE being a failing school and what that all means and what happens if we are assigned there? Can we get that assignment waived?

Thanks,

Moving to W Seattle

Rosie said...

Central Mom, Just for what it's worth, it would never occur to me to ask you to identify folks, just for what it's worth.

It's a ridiculously huge Board (28). I would expect nothing less than many differing opinions with so large a group. I have no idea of the internal workings of the board, but the naive and optimistic side of me hopes they have places for concerns like this to be heard and considered by the collective, and if there's majority support, to be acted on. I know a couple of folks on the Board and they're definitely not the shrinking violet types, so I suspect discussion is robust, if one can get heard over the crowd.

Maureen said...

I thought Central Mom meant the SCHOOL Board, not the A4Ed Board. In which case three is significant.

Rosie said...

Great article in the New Yorker on the absence of a crisis in education. http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2010/09/27/100927taco_talk_lemann

Rosie said...

Hopefully Central Mom will clarify.

Central Mom said...

Sorry not to have been clear. The concerns came from school board members. Conversations all within the last month.

I've been thinking about both sides of this. I don't know Sara. I imagine she hopes to invigorate the program and raise its profile. I think she's doing that.

I believe that the group has the right to chart its own course.

I also think I agree that if this is the direction the group is going (as opposed to a United Way clearinghouse model) that perhaps school board members and the superintendent should not be on its board. And that perhaps some of its current activities, which are quite entwined with JSCEE staff operations, should be curtailed.

I feel certain the current District superintendent and some other members of our current school board would disagree.

It's an interesting question, because I absolutely believe there is value to the business community raising money for our schools and raising awareness of the needs of our District's students.

But as a non-member, I have a lot of questions about its role right now. Is it really OK for the Alliance to provide funding, staffing, guidance to Central Staff in its current iteration?

another mom said...

It looks as if the rehab of Viewlands has started. A construction trailer is parked and a large dumpster is overflowing with stuff.An aesbestos abatement company was there earlier in the week.

owlhouse said...

Rosie @ 4:08,
Thanks for sharing the NYer article. Always so refreshing to have a bit more history when looking at eduction and reforms. I especially appreciate:

Education is nowhere mentioned in the Constitution; the creation of the world’s first system of universal public education—from kindergarten through high school—and of mass higher education is one of the great achievements of American democracy. It embodies a faith in the capabilities of ordinary people that the Founders simply didn’t have.

Anonymous said...

Moving to West Seattle,

WSE was a failing school, but it is turning around. It has an almost entirely new teaching staff who are supremely dedicated to student learning.

I don't know about the SAP rules, but it might be interesting to take a tour and observe a few classes before you make your decision.

StepJ said...

Moving to W Seattle,

You would not be able to have the assignment waived.

The determination of Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) for individual schools is provided to SPS in about mid-August.

If West Seatle Elementary is classified as a "failing school" or "school in improvement" then you will receive a letter in the mail.

The letter will explain WSE is failing and list schools to which you can transfer if desired.

You need to respond within a very short time window of about 10 days.

This link explains a little bit more about the process.

Good luck with your decision.

Dorothy Neville said...

Parents of middle school and high school kids. Put this on your radar: end of course exams. They are starting this year in Math.

The state has created end of course exams in Algebra 1/Integrated 1 and Geometry/Integrated 2. For this transition year, all 10th graders will take one (geometry?) no matter how long ago they took geometry/Integrated 2. Upperclassmen who have not yet passed the Math HSPE will be taking these as well. It sounds kind of complicated at least during the transition. There is no more Math HSPE, at least that's what I think is happening.


In the future, kids will take this at the end of their course, whether they are in middle or high school. (Could this be some objective measure used to grant credit in hgh school? who knows.)

I really do not know enough and am not 100% on the details of the transition or of the overlap between the two competing curriculum sequencing. I heard a presentation from the principal at the RHS PTSA meeting on Wed, but I was distracted with other issues and did not hear the entire thing. But this definitely should be on your radar, expect to learn more soon. If you are not learning more, ask teacher and principal.

Especially if you have an upperclassman who has not yet passed math HSPE or if you have a 10th grader this year.

Anonymom said...

Dorothy why wouldn't we expect our kids to pass a proficiency test if they took the class? I don't understand. We all had to take finals when we were kids.

I kind of like the idea, though admittedly, I haven't thought it all through. My first thought is more accountability. Teachers have to teach or their kids won't pass.

Anonymom said...

And won't kids have to retain their geometry and Algebra skills to take the SAT or ACT too? Even though they may have taken the classes years before?

seattle citizen said...

Anonymom, I don't see where Dorothy wrote that we wouldn't expect our students to pass a proficiency test.

At any rate, if the test aligns to the curriculum, we should expect them to pass...if they are at level and ready to learn the material at the beginning of the class...

IF the test aligns to the curriculum: It's a state test. So it is testing, one would hope, the agreed-upon standards.

(There is always the problem: Can a teacher teach every standard; to every student no matter the level of that student; or is teaching not quite as quantified as this, does it have some flexibility and recognition that some things might get "hit" more than others...Ach, that's a somewhat philosophical argument best saved for another day.)

Regarding HSPE and Math - The state offers what's called "Collection of Evidence," an alternative method of displaying knowledge and skills, for Reading and Writing. This is typically done in the senior year for students who haven't yet passed HSPE but need to graduate, eh? It is, in a nutshell, a series of essays that demonstrate strand knowledge in Reading and/or Writing, which are submitted to the state. (The state decided a number of years ago that, for whatever reason, students might not do well in a test-setting so they are offered this option if they have not passed HSPE)

But there is no Math COE. What students need to do for Math if they haven't passed HSPE is to take math classes their entire senior year and pass them all. I could see where some might think this a bit squishy - there is no document of their math skills, per se, as there is in COE, but rather just their passing grades in 12th grade.

So I could see that some might want an "official document such as a proficiency test to document success for non-HSPE HSPE purposes.

That and the increased drive towards standardizing everything in the interest of industrial efficiencies and profit margins (uh, lowering costs.) The more standardized the curriculum and assessment, the easier it is to drop a drone into behind the teacher's desk.

Dorothy Neville said...

Anonymom, did I say anything to make you ask these questions? Did I say I didn't like these? No, I simply said to look for them because they are a significant change. And the transition may surprise some folks. Never hurts to be aware.

There are lots of ramifications, perhaps good and bad, that can and will be discussed.

Maureen said...

Anonymom, you seem to be assuming that Dorothy is opposed to the exams. As I read it, she is giving us all a heads up that requirements are changing.

I am somewhat concerned that they seem to be giving the same exam to kids whether they take Algebra 1 or Integrated 1, (and Geometry and Int 2)it seems that they could pony up for different exams since they claim they are end of course exams.

Dorothy Neville said...

The principal was confusing the other night and talked about the intersection of curriculum in the classes, but I found an FAQ from OSPI that explains more. I just sent it to Melissa, and if she is still on-line (she's got a virus, send her some virtual chicken soup) she'll start a thread about it.

http://www.k12.wa.us/mathematics/MayWebinar/math_FAQs_for_EOC_exams.pdf

FWIW, parents of underclassmen were not yet aware of this and very interested, that's why I thought ya'll might be as well.

SC Parent said...

Is there a Facebook group for opposing the supplemental levy? That would be the most efficient way for me to share it with everyone I know.

I've posted some specific commentary, but it would be nice to just link to the eloquent and reasonable argumenst against the levy for people who are interested.

SC Parent said...

Oh, my bad - I found the Facebook group: "NO on Seattle Schools Supplemental Levy."

I would love it if some of these SSS postings could be linked on there to share with everyone.

SickOfMAP said...

Helen Schinske wrote:

"There's nothing wrong with the general concept of value-added data. In itself it's quite a good and useful idea."

But are there any studies showing it's accurate?

Dorothy Neville said...

SC Parent, the group you found is that new style thing that I am having trouble figuring out.

the better place to go on FB is the Seattle Teachers against the Levy 2010. It's a different style group. I think you "join" by "like" ing it.

Dorothy Neville said...

I have been trying to collect the discussions on the levy in one spot, some pro and anti articles because both are worth reading, articles AND the comments.

I put a few links to threads from here, but if anyone has suggestions for more articles and links to share, please let me know. I hope you find this summary of links helpful.

Summary of Articles and Discussions

dan dempsey said...

SC said:

"But there is no Math COE. What students need to do for Math if they haven't passed HSPE is to take math classes their entire senior year and pass them all."


A some point in the past there was a collection of evidence for math. {I know nothing more than that about the Math COE.}

Dorothy Neville said...

Will the math Collection of Evidence return? Yes. The Legislature has approved the return of the math Collection of Evidence as an alternative when passing the math exams become a requirement for graduation. The math COE will return in the 2011-12 school year. In addition, a science Collection of Evidence will debut in the 2011-12 school year.

This is from the FAQ I provided above, from OSPI

karyn king said...

SC. here:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Seattle-Teachers-Against-the-Levy-2010/105429699518334#!/pages/Seattle-Teachers-Against-the-Levy-2010/105429699518334?v=wall

seattle citizen said...

I know one purpose the "end of course" tests will serve:

Since they are administered across the district (and state, I suppose), they will serve as one leg of the two-leg teacher evaluation tool: "two district-wide assessments..."

it would be great if they were used to critically assess what students need, what curriculum changes might be appropriate, and what assistance might be given to teachers to "differentiate" to the five or six...or eight...student levels they have in the classroom, but given the sole focus in the media lately on "teacher quality," I expect their use will be rather limited: "Prove" that teachers aren't successful with struggling students, use that "proof" to exit the teacher, and use the "struggling student" data to place schools in Level 5 restructuring even quicker.

Ach, someone convince me I'm wrong, convince me that the reformers want to HELP teachers, want to make the curriculum better (and deeper), want to help identify struggling students and the problems they face, in order to address those problems!

Alas, merely blaming the "unquality" teachers (and, since the argument is predicated on race categories, by inference the "racist" teachers) is a bit easier and might even generate some profit, to boot. ka-ching!

dan dempsey said...

If you are opposed to the VAM model of teacher evaluation, here is a national petition you can sign.

===
NEWS FROM THE EDUCATION PROGRAM

October 22, 2010
Dear Colleague:

It is encouraging that there has been increased attention paid to improving the educational achievement of students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. However, it is unfortunate that much of the new policy discussion has focused on the mistaken belief that educational outcomes can be significantly improved by heavy reliance upon students' scores on standardized tests in mathematics and reading to evaluate, reward, and remove the teachers of these tested students. We have recently co-authored a paper, Problems With the Use of Student Test Scores to Evaluate Teachers, which shows that even the most sophisticated use of test scores, called value added modeling (VAM), is a flawed and inaccurate way to judge whether teachers are effective or ineffective.

Adopting an invalid teacher evaluation system and tying it to rewards and sanctions is likely to lead to inaccurate personnel decisions, while also demoralizing teachers. Such a flawed system could lead talented teachers to avoid high-needs students and schools, or to leave the profession entirely, and discourage potentially effective teachers from pursuing careers in education. Moreover, heavy reliance on basic math and reading scores to evaluate teachers will further narrow and over-simplify the curriculum to focus only on the subjects, topics, and formats that are tested. We believe that the evidence shows that educational outcomes will suffer if policymakers establish systems of teacher evaluation, tenure and pay which rely heavily on student test scores.

We are writing to invite you to sign a statement opposing this approach by going to http://www.epi-data.org/education/. We have posted the statement and listed resource material that provides the research basis for the statement. We also urge you to encourage others to sign the statement. We will publish the signatories on the EPI website and elsewhere.

If you agree with our approach, please add your signature to this statement as soon as possible to ensure that your name is included among the signers. The deadline for signatures is November 19, 2010.

We hope you will join with us in this very important effort to improve the educational outcomes of students, especially disadvantaged students who will be most harmed by these misguided policies.

Thank you for your help.

Sincerely,

Eva L. Baker

Paul E. Barton

Linda Darling-Hammond

Edward Haertel

Helen F. Ladd

Robert L. Linn

Diane Ravitch

Richard Rothstein

Richard J. Shavelson

Lorrie A. Shepard

Anonymous said...

Mom of 2:

A parent in our elementary school home-schools a child in math only for roughly the first hour of the day, essentially exactly what you propose. Last year the principal was resistant to this, and the parent compiled the evidence below in support of the plan. Unless state law has changed drastically, you can definitely do this. (IANAL, but I can tell you that RCW = Revised Code of Washington and WAC = Washington Administrative Code. These are citations of the actual state laws governing operation of the schools. As you can see in reference 2, the law specifically says you can attend part time and take ANY combination of classes or services.)


Reference #1: E-mail from Laura Moore, OSPI Program Director of Private Schooling


Under RCW 28A.150.350(2) and WAC 392-134-005 provide for part-time ancillary services to private school and home-based instruction students. They both cover part-time coursework but provide no restrictions on the number of courses/services that can be accessed by home-based instruction students.

Laura Moore

Program Coordinator,

Navigation 101/Private Education

360.725.6433

360.664.3575


Reference #2: WAC 392-134-010 - Attendance rights of part-time public school students.

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.aspx?cite=392-134-010


WAC 392-134-010

No agency filings affecting this section since 2003


Attendance rights of part-time public school students.


An eligible part-time public school student who qualifies as a resident of a public school district pursuant to the definition of a "resident student" set forth in chapter 392-137 WAC, as now or hereafter amended, shall be entitled to attend the schools of the district within his or her attendance area tuition free on a part-time basis. An eligible part-time public school student shall be entitled to take any course, receive any ancillary service, and take or receive any combination of courses and ancillary services which is made available by a public school to full-time students. Eligible nonresident part-time public school students may be enrolled at the discretion of a public school district pursuant to the terms and procedures established for nonresident student attendance in chapter 392-137 WAC, as now or hereafter amended.



[Statutory Authority: RCW 28A.41.145 . 80-05-035 (Order 80-6), § 392-134-010, filed 4/15/80.]




Reference #3: From OSPI: Request for Part-Time Attendance or Ancillary Services From Private School Student or a Student Receiving Home-Based Instruction

http://www.k12.wa.us/PrivateEd/HomeBasedEd/PinkBook/A-1.pdf

Anonymous said...

Mom of 2:

A parent in our elementary school did exactly what you propose last year. The principal did not want to cooperate, so the parent presented the material below in support of the plan. You can definitely do this. Contact OSPI if the school gives you any complaints and ask them who to call at SPS to get your principal straightened out.

Reference #1: E-mail from Laura Moore, OSPI Program Director of Private Schooling

Received by e-mail on September 29, 2009:

Under RCW 28A.150.350(2) and WAC 392-134-005 provide for part-time ancillary services to private school and home-based instruction students. They both cover part-time coursework but provide no restrictions on the number of courses/services that can be accessed by home-based instruction students.

Laura Moore

Program Coordinator,

Navigation 101/Private Education

360.725.6433

360.664.3575


Reference #2: WAC 392-134-010 - Attendance rights of part-time public school students.

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.aspx?cite=392-134-010

WAC 392-134-010

No agency filings affecting this section since 2003


Attendance rights of part-time public school students.


An eligible part-time public school student who qualifies as a resident of a public school district pursuant to the definition of a "resident student" set forth in chapter 392-137 WAC, as now or hereafter amended, shall be entitled to attend the schools of the district within his or her attendance area tuition free on a part-time basis. An eligible part-time public school student shall be entitled to take any course, receive any ancillary service, and take or receive any combination of courses and ancillary services which is made available by a public school to full-time students. Eligible nonresident part-time public school students may be enrolled at the discretion of a public school district pursuant to the terms and procedures established for nonresident student attendance in chapter 392-137 WAC, as now or hereafter amended.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 28A.41.145 http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=28A.41.145


Reference #3: From OSPI: Request for Part-Time Attendance or Ancillary Services From Private School Student or a Student Receiving Home-Based Instruction

http://www.k12.wa.us/PrivateEd/HomeBasedEd/PinkBook/A-1.pdf

Anonymous said...

Forgot to add: IANAL, but as you can see, reference 2 specifically says a part-time student can receive ANY combination of classes and services. RCW and WAC mean Revised Code of Washington and Washington Administrative Code. These are the specific state laws that apply here.

Lisa said...

I learned of the end-of-course math exam at "Family Math Night" last week. Doesn't sound like such a bad idea, but the transition may be quite rough. My kid is in Geometry, so I guess he will take an end-of-course exam in Geometry? The teacher seemed to think so. But he is in 9th grade, so will he have to take a 9th grade exam instead?

Of course, the teachers have not yet seen the exam and don't know what will be on it. I guess they are starting with math because it is more clear-cut what ought to be taught over the course of a year than some other subjects.

owlhouse said...

I heard the end of course math exams- to be implemented this year- are not yet complete. I didn't follow up, but the teacher I talked with was concerned, wondering if the curriculum/lessons were aligned w/ the test. Anyone know more? Time line for having the tests done?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, Thank you so much for that information. Very specific, and very helpful.

Mom of 2

peonypower said...

Regarding end of course math tests- the same is coming for science. The biology exam will come first and then it sounds like one for physical science.

I agree that these tests will be used as part of the 2 tests to evaluate teachers. What I find interesting is that students will be tested twice in math and science, but as far as I know once in language arts. I have no problem with an end of course exam, I give one in all of my classes, but it is a percentage of your overall grade. My professional experience is that students who fail the final are already failing the class.

I see more tests as a grab for more $$$. These tests cost a great deal of time and money to administer and I wonder what the outcome will be. If you fail the exam will you fail the class? Teachers have not been informed of the implications yet. The juggernaut rolls on.

hschinske said...

Helen Schinske wrote:

"There's nothing wrong with the general concept of value-added data. In itself it's quite a good and useful idea."

But are there any studies showing it's accurate?


Depending on the circumstances, of course measurements of value-added data can be accurate. It's just a question of measuring the *difference* in two values, rather than just one value -- same as measuring how much a child's height has increased during a year, rather than what her height is at the end of it. It all comes down to the accuracy of the yardstick and the measuring process, not to whether it's valid to subtract the beginning number from the ending number and call the result "growth."

Here's an example I gave a while ago: "The business about scores changing reminds me of when I was pregnant with my twins, and I had one prenatal where a medical student was present. The OB said to the student as they were measuring my fundal height, "This is the problem with twins. *I* don't know where she's supposed to be. She's bigger than she was last month, that's what really matters." Similarly with the measurements taken at the ultrasounds -- I was told they might not be totally accurate (especially the weight estimates derived from them, which were indeed way off), but the point was that they kept going up, indicating that the rate of growth was normal. Stalling out would have been a matter of great concern."

Helen Schinske

hschinske said...

I take it these end-of-course exams are *not* the ones NWEA sells, as the FAQ said "These are paper-and-pencil exams with open-ended items"? It would be nice to have that clearly stated somewhere. (And no, I don't think we should be using the NWEA ones, but district-written math tests have certainly been known to be dire.)

Helen Schinske

Josh Hayes said...

I'm not clear on why middle school kids should be worried about these end of year math tests - unless the concern is only for those kids taking equivalent to 9th or 10th grade math?

Or are they also intending to require a year-end exam for 6th, 7th, and/or 8th grade?

Dorothy Neville said...

Josh, not "worry" just more be on your radar. Specifically for kids taking advanced courses, yes.

For future middle school kids, or anyone concerned about getting HS credit for classes taken in middle school, this could also be an influence there.

Actually, since they are planning to roll these out for LOTS more subjects, parents of middle school and younger students might want to pay attention because your kids may find these EOC exams in all core subjects.

I am not saying these are good or bad. They could be a bit of both. But they are something very different in the state and it is worth paying attention.

hschinske said...

If in fact the physical science and biology classes in middle school turn out not to be as well taught as the ones in high school (or the kids simply aren't ready for that level of instruction, or both), then it's appropriate we should find it out by low scores on the EOC tests -- BUT, if that happens, will blame be laid? and on whom?

Helen Schinske

another mom said...

GHS math department used to do end of quarter proficiency tests, although they may have been end of semester/end of year. They seemed to work.

As long as an end of course exam is aligned with what's been taught, I am not sure it should be a problem. Maybe a better measure of teacher effectiveness rather than the MAP? Just thinking outloud.

owlhouse said...

Slate was a potentially interesting Hive project- a contest to design a 5th grade classroom. The article introducing the contest encourages participants to involve students in planning, consider all types of learners, be practical and or fanciful... They remind us of the open-concept days, acknowledging that a change in architecture isn't useful if teaching doesn't fit the space.

All ideas will be published, and voted on readers. The winner "may" see their classroom built in a new charter school. (?) Anyhoo, seems like a good platform to share visions of what classrooms could/should be physically- and how that might shape the teaching and learning experiences.

http://www.slate.com/id/2269307/

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

Does anyone know if the EOC exams will be created by each teacher or will they be standardized and the same test administered to all students? Right now at my sons high school each class has a final at the end of the semester, and the score counts as a large part of their grade, but each teacher creates their own test, they are not standardized.

SickofMAP said...

Thanks for your clarification, Helen. So for this:

It all comes down to the accuracy of the yardstick and the measuring process, not to whether it's valid to subtract the beginning number from the ending number and call the result "growth."

The results are accurate, but what they mean is up for interpretation? That makes sense. But another question is whether they accurately measure "student growth" - taking into account things like measurement error and the learning that occurred through the simple fact of taking a test. For instance, if you took the same test twice in a row, would it show growth?

Lisa said...

Anonymom: the HS math teacher who told me about the new EOC exams said they would be standardized; i.e. not written by the individual teachers. She said teachers are in a "wait and see" mode because they have no idea what the exams will be like -- and are hoping their current curriculum is preparing kids for them. She said the EOCs would probably replace the usual final exam, and since they are scheduled for 3 weeks before school ends she plans to end the year with project-based work. Which sounds cool, but makes me wonder how well kids will do with -3 weeks to learn the material.

Dorothy Neville said...

Anonymom, if you read the OSPI FAQ, that would have answered your questions.

Completely different open thread comment. View Ridge, Thornton Creek and now Bryant have all been broken into in recent weeks. VR twice.

school break in

Sahila said...

schools and creativity - a new paradigm

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

If you couldnt make it to the forum on Oct 5, go here to see/hear what Diane Ravitch had to say...

Diane Ravitch Seattle Oct 5 2010

Anonymom said...

Thanks Dorothy. I checked the FAQ link you provided but missed the EOC info because it was hidden in the HSPE/MAP page.


Q. Will passing the math EOC be a graduation requirement? Or a requirement to pass the class? There is no mention of that for math (unless I missed it), but for biology the FAQ specifically says passage of the biology exam is a graduation requirement.

klh said...

I was at Harium's Director Meeting on Saturday - and was the only one there for the first hour and a half. At that point one other person showed up.

He gave me information about the music program at Hale, which is something I've had a hard time getting info about for when my middle schooler moves up. (We now live in the Hale area instead of having a Roosevelt assignment as we probably would have had under the old plan.) Evidently the remodel is creating some space challenges, but so far, it doesn't look like there is really an orchestra option right now. Great radio, great (I've forgotten the words here) experimental or amplified program, but standard band/orchestra aren't as popular. He said the district is committed to trying to have similar offerings at every school - so there is a possibility that given enough string players there could be funding for someone...but he didn't think there was much right now. He also remembered a community group that got active last year (as do I) that he hasn't heard anything from lately. Are any of you still out there? I thought maybe I had just dropped off their list - but Harium hadn't heard from them either.

Since it was just me, I got to share some personal experiences with the current math curriculum that he seemed genuinely open to hearing. I also got to throw in my two cents worth about the need for the board and the district to look at data more deeply before making decisions. One example of mine was that regardless of what statistic you use to evaluate student performance, those statistics don't take into account the amount of tutoring (professional or parental) that goes on out of school for students who pass.


Anyway - just some notes from what turned out to be a personal coffee chat with Harium.

seattle citizen said...

So in today's Sunday NY Times Magazine, Deborah Soloman interviews Melinda Gates, relating to her role as co-chariwoman of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Solomon asks: You "attended an all-girls parochial high school. How did that shape you?"
Ms. Gates replies, "The Ursuline nuns were a bit more liberal, so they really taught us how to think about the problems of the world. The school’s motto is “Serviam,” that is, “I will serve.”

So she got a liberal-arts education where she learned how to think critically about world problems (problems that might not have a specific answer), and the motto was "to serve."

Why, then, is the Gates Foundation promoting the destruction of the liberal arts, the focus on non-critical thinking through standardized tests expecting specific answers, and a competitive model that support NOT serving, but rather following and competing and scoring points on the "race to the top" of "college, career, and life"?

hmmmm....

Rosie said...

The Alliance Auction last night raised over $400,000. The raw number is impressive. Given that the event was held at the Fairmont Olympic, which has a small ballroom, it's even more impressive. I didn't really count, but it looked like most/all of the Board was there.

For all of you always looking for fun activities for an auction -- they did something called "heads/tails" that I enjoyed watching. Everyone who wanted to participate raised their paddle to donate a given amount. (I think it was $100 -- remember, this is a well heeled crowd.) Then the participants stood, and placed a hand on their head or tail. THe auctioneer tossed a coin, called the side it landed on, and those who chose the wrong option sat. This continued until only one person was standing. She got some sort of prize/reward. I didn't see what it was. It was lots of fun.

seattle citizen said...

$400,000! Wow! Remember the good ol' days, when Alliance money was used to support actual classrooms and education? Instead of Gates initiatives and Broad dictates? Too bad this money will disappear in the bank account of the superintendent's assessment company, NWEA, the wallet of a Broad employee at the district, or tp buy a "curriculum consultant" for a few weeks...
Alas.

Charlie Mas said...

This past year the Alliance paid for two negotiators at the table for the teacher contract. The two negotiators were on the District's side.

seattle citizen said...

So instead of supporting teachers and classrooms, the Alliance is supporting the district's labor negotiations (which, inherently, are directed at lessoning teacher's compensation packages, etc? No disrespect to district, but that's what management's side is always doing in negotiations - arguing for the least cost to "the business")

Way to go, Alliance. Way to support teachers and education.

seattle citizen said...

here is a wonderful video (from RSA - the white-board drawings accompanying great lectures people!) about how we have to rethink the entire concept of education - it extolls the beauty of childhood genius, and advocates against standardized tests, curriculum that says there is only one right anwser, and FOR divergent thinking. Eleven minutes and worth every second.

Dora Taylor said...

For something a little more upbeat, you can check out the forum with Diane Ravitch which is now on Seattle Education 2010.

See:
http://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2010/10/23/watch-diane-ravitch-wayne-au-jesse-hagopian-dora-taylor-in-race-to-where-a-seattle-ed-2010-forum-on-the-misdirection-of-ed-reform-now-online/

north seattle mom said...

Here is another great meeting.

Board Workshop re SAP and Graduation Reqs.
4:00pm - 8:00pm
Location: Auditorium, Stanford Center

I am glad to see that they are working on the SAP already.

Sahila said...

parents threaten to leave district, opt out of testing

push back is happening all over the country - when is Seattle going to get organised?