At the Board meeting of 11/3/2010 there was a discussion, prompted by Director Smith-Blum, that arose during the talk about fairly innocuous motion about cleaning up some obsolete enrollment policies. Her concern was that the District should do assessments of incoming students to determine their academic needs. The superintendent quickly jumped up to twist that by saying that it sounded to her like tracking and discrimination, but Director Smith-Blum made it clear that was not what she meant.
Here's the critical part. Both the superintendent and Dr. Enfield spoke of assessing students' abilities and providing interventions where necessary as a core function of schools. But then Dr. Enfield said that the District's effort along those lines was Response to Intervention and that they were actively seeking outside funding to "take that to scale".
Stop right there. This work is core to the district's mission, but we don't do it and we don't budget for it, and we're seeking outside funding for it.
Right now, when the district perceives a struggling student they send support to the student's teacher - not to the student, to the teacher.
Want to know what's wrong with Seattle Public Schools? Look no further.