So I attended this Community Center for Education Results' The Road Map for Education Results kickoff today (I'm tired just typing all that). More on that later but they had breakout sessions that, like most conferences, were a lot better than the speeches. One was about Seattle Schools and Data (the word transparency was used). It figured out favorite manipulator of data, Brad Bernatek and a couple of other SPS women (a data coach and a data steward).
They went through the creation of the School Reports and how they used MAP and how they could put together data as a "trigger" to help students. Fine, I'm sure other districts are interested. Now Dorothy had been in the first session of this information and told me Brad apologized for the 17% stat.
Indeed he did. He called it a "good lesson for all of you". He explained how it came about and that last year they had changed it to "TBD" (first I heard of this) and they were not "proactive" about telling people this.
Now Dr. Goodloe-Johnson, in her first explanation letter, said this:
.."we publicly announced it was under review"
Her second report said this:
For this year’s District Scorecard we published a revised measure that focused on the minimum requirements necessary to apply to a 4‐year college. This yielded a very different number from the original measure (46% vs. 17%).While we did review this at the board workshop, this was clearly not sufficient in terms of communicating to our community what had changed and why it had changed.
Weird. So Brad said was changed to TBD and she said it was 46%. Maybe it was two different times. But I'd be willing to bet that change was not called out either time.
So Brad said what Dr. Goodloe-Johnson has said: they are redacting that data from the website and they are doing their "key stakeholders" apologies by phone (20 so far).
And, he said on her behalf and his, he apologizes.
Here's what else she said:
I would like to publicly apologize to our community for the confusion that this has created and let you know that we take ownership for this mistake. We are also making changes to ensure that this does not happen again.
Great but I don't think confusion is what was created. It is a credibility gap whereby you allowed many people - elected officials, School Board members, parents - to use a stat, over and over, that you knew was wrong. I guess you could use the word "confusion" but we were not confused. We had been misled for two long years.
Ensure it doesn't happen again? Well, how quickly that's not true. Because Charlie found the 66% problem in the School Reports.
Guess who referenced that in his presentation?
We are responding to community feedback and sharing what we learn together about how to improve the way we measure and report on our progress.
- Adjusting the language for the student gains measure to be clear that this
is a measure of gains relative to students’ academic peers
-Preparing our community for changes in how we report on advanced
learning, based in part on their feedback with suggestions for
This is ALL information that Charlie daylighted. (I'm sure others may have notice/puzzled over the Advanced Learning issues in the School Reports but he let the Board know.)
The analysis that Charlie did brought this to light and the district is going to change the School Reports (now? in the future?) to reflect it.
Charlie's work is EXACTLY what the Board needs to do its job well, maintain oversight and make sure that the data the public receives is accurate.
Charlie should get the job at the School Board.
At the bottom of both Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's Dec. 8th update and at the bottom of Brad's presentation was this:
We are committed to setting clear goals and reporting on our progress as a district. This is
important and complex work, and the District has taken huge steps forward by publishing
comprehensive information on our schools’ performance. We pledge to continue to learn from
these and inevitable future bumps in the road as we fulfill our commitment to transparency
with our families and community.
I like that "bumps in the road". How about quit manipulating data/being lazy with data?
Make an honest mistake and it looks like an honest mistake. Fine, it happens.
But the idea that no one is going to notice the CSIPs, no one is going to question their figures, no one is going to cross-check on a School Report that there are allegedly no highly capable students at a school and yet then they are referenced elsewhere. (Brad claims they left out the ALO students.)
Seattle Schools, the days of putting out any kind of data and believing you can make it so by saying it is so...those - days - are- over.
Because you now know, as Director Smith-Blum stated at a Board Committee meeting last week, that there are people searching in the weeds now. We're not playing gotcha. But you have now weakened your credibility and because you did it to everyone (not just your usual target, parents), I doubt if any elected official will take anything you say at face value.
Trust but verify. (I just quoted Ronald Reagan and somewhere a corner of hell just froze over.)