Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Crosscut has Two Interesting Education Stories

There are two interesting stories on education issues recently posted on Crosscut.

One, by Kent Kammerer, questions the focus on K-12 education leading to the one path of college.

The other, by Craig Parsley, is about innovators working under the radar to evade the bureaucracy in Seattle Public Schools.

38 comments:

Melissa Westbrook said...

I had meant to post Kent's article and hadn't seen Craig's yet.

Kent's is very interesting because of the age-old argument - are all kids going to college? Our district is careful to say "college-ready" which is great but there's this "gotta go to college" mentality that just isn't plausible.

There are simply some students, either because they don't like school period OR are interested in other things who aren't going to college. (Students who struggle academically are another subject.) It has been this way since we've had public education.

I know a lot of adults of my parents' generation who did not have jobs for which they needed to go to college. First, there is honor in any legal work. We need to help our children to understand that. Two, anyone who has ever gotten a bad waiter, salesperson, contractor or mechanic knows, you value someone who knows what they are doing. There is an art to most jobs. (Watch Undercover Boss and watch these CEOs struggle with basic tasks that need to be done quickly and with finesse.)

I absolutely want all kids to have some kind of training, whether they get an AA degree, vocational ed, whatever. They will do a better job at whatever they do. We will always have jobs to do BUT yes, the caveat is that we do not have the manufacturing base we used to have as a country so that is not a guarantee a person can walk out of high school and easily find a job.

What I find interesting is that many European countries actual have tracks in high school and encourage kids to pick one. This is hard for me because I do think college-ready students end up with more choices. But that fact that we are going to build a CTE skills center speaks to the fact that even the Superintendent gets this.

Kent gets it right:

"To acknowledge that some kids are less able and may never be college-bound puts one in danger of breaching some doctrine of political correctness."

I love his ending:

"Wouldn't it be amusing if running for public office required that candidates to take and pass the test for U.S. citizenship along with the 10th grade state achievement tests given to our kids? If paying teachers based on the test scores of their students is a valid way to measure their performance, then let’s apply the same principles to our politicians and educational reformers. It’s only fair, isn’t it?"

And Craig is a teacher we are lucky to have. I'm just wondering how long he can fly under the radar.

Melissa Westbrook said...

FYI, Kent is the leader of the Neighborhood Coalition that once month gets a mover and shaker to speak on a Saturday morning. I heard State Auditor, Brian Sonntag speak at this get-together and got to ask lots of questions. It's one of the best little secrets if you want up close and personal with government officials and other leaders.

Get on his mailing list; he offers cogent minutes of what was said.

Charlie Mas said...

I think we need to adopt Shep Siegel's broad definition of "college" to include all post-secondary education. That means 4-year colleges and universities, but it also means 2-year colleges, vocational schools, apprenticeship programs, and more.

Seattle-Ed2010 said...

The fact that the district doesn't applaud, study and replicate Schmitz Park's math and science success is all the evidence anyone needs that SPS district leadership is dysfunctional and inept and not really striving to achieve "excellence."

In fact, there's a good case to be made that this superintendent and attendants are striving for sabotage.

Seriously -- wasn't our district better off four years ago, before the arrival of MGJ and her ed reform agenda?

--sp.

ParentofThree said...

"Seriously -- wasn't our district better off four years ago, before the arrival of MGJ and her ed reform agenda?"

Yes I think so and would love to see the before/after headcount downtown as well as the before/after budget numbers.

Also, interesting fact about school reports is that they only go back two years, not showing the before the standardization of curriculum. Look back three four years and see how much math scores have tanked at different schools.

Stu said...

The fact that the district doesn't applaud, study and replicate Schmitz Park's math and science success is all the evidence anyone needs that SPS district leadership is dysfunctional and inept and not really striving to achieve "excellence."


The fact that the district has a program like the one at John Stanford IS, which was awards best elementary school in the country by Scholastic a few years back, and hasn't replicated it around the district, or made it an option school, is just another example of the district not paying attention to what the families want.

This administration does not reward anything that's not "standardized" in some way. They'll throw money at "problem" programs, and hire all sorts of "experts," but won't copy the successful programs that already exist.

stu

Bird said...

The fact that the district has a program like the one at John Stanford IS ... and hasn't replicated it around the district, or made it an option school, is just another example of the district not paying attention to what the families want.

Word is that they will be announcing a new site for an international school in the Hamilton service area soon. See the integrated planning post for some meager information.

Sounds like it won't be an option program though, so it'll be little solace to most parents in the district.

Goodloe-Johnson has burned up a lot of parental goodwill in the district, you'd think she'd be smart and throw parents something they want (like more immersion schools) a little more often to keep her political wheels greased.

Then again maybe she doesn't think she needs the goodwill of families in the district to stay afloat.

Charlie Mas said...

I'm pretty sure that the new immersion program will go into McDonald.

Won't that be lovely? The only two language immersion programs north of I-90 will be at two schools right next to each other and they will both be attendance area schools.

So the message to everyone living north of I-90 is:

"If you don't live in Wallingford, you can just forget about having access to language immersion."

How does this represent equitable access to programs and services?

Oh. Right. It doesn't.

Anonymous said...

I surely wish the district would wise up and allow Singapore math to be taught in other schools. I was appalled last week when helping my 2nd grader with her homework, and I realized that they have taught them 3 different "short-cut" methods of adding two-digit numbers, which are unlikely to be workable when they get into 3 and 4 digit numbers. They are deliberately NOT teaching the kids the old standard addition practice of carrying numbers, which of course you can learn once & then apply to any size number you want. Then they wonder why kids are confused - when they go to solve a math problem, they first have to go through the menu of possible ways to do it & hope they pick the right one, instead of having been taught one method that will always work!

Her teacher did not actually tell her to stop solving the problems that way, but did put her in a group with the other two kids in the class that know how to carry, so they wouldn't confuse the rest of the kids who haven't heard of it.

Mom of 4

Anonymous said...

Seriously -- wasn't our district better off four years ago, before the arrival of MGJ and her ed reform agenda?



Uh. You seem to forget. It was the parents who drove off the last superintendent, Raj Manhas. Who was everything MJG is not. Harassing him mercilessly with racist and incendiary threatening public commentary and conduct. He found the job not worth the price and quit. Before that it was Joseph Olchefske. And no, we are definitely were NOT better off with Joseph (where's the money) Olchefske.

Nother Parent

seattle said...

mom of 4 believe, it or not the very same thing happened to us 8 years ago when our son, now a 10th grader, was in 2nd grade. Back then the curriculum du jour was Terk which was just as bad (if not worse) than EDM. We got so frustrated with the ridiculous ways kids were being taught to add and subtract that we finally just sat down and showed our son (much to his relief) how to carry and borrow. Shortly afterward we were called into a meeting with the teacher who actually scolded us for "confusing" him! It was hilarious. Seriously, hilarious.

Eight years later and the district is still at it. They are still teaching fuzzy math, only they now call it EDM. Families are still trying to help kids make some sense of math by teaching tried and true methods like carrying and borrowing, and teachers still get irritated with parents for doing so.

Will things ever change?

seattle citizen said...

Nother parent brings up a good point: Manhas was attacked often and with invective, rightly or wrongly.

I'm reminded of the recent article I read about the Atlanta problem, where their board is trying to gracefully ease their superintendent out because they fear not being able to attract any good candidates if they and the public pillory the current one...

This question has come up before here: How do we attract, support and retain a good superintendent? Does it have to be a star search? Can we rise someone up from the ranks? Maybe another local superintendent who wants the challenge?

Heaven knows I'm not in favor of the current direction, but what's next? Will we (public) have a say in who's next? Will there be a job decription open for comment before a new superintendent is selected?

Maybe it's time for another thread on what kind of superintendent we want in this district, and how do we get that person and keep them.

wsnorth said...

The Schmitz Park math team rocks!

Bird said...

Manhas was before my time.

I remember a lot of hostility directed towards him because of the closures.

Was there a lot of parental animosity outside of this?

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

Raj Manhas was run from office for two primary reasons:

1) He actively obstructed the Vision and Goals of the Board.

He disagreed with the reformist Board (lower case "r" reform), so he thwarted their efforts at every turn. He didn't realize that he worked for them, not the other way around.

2) He utterly failed to do his job.

Read the CACIEE report. The whole first half is a catalog of the work that Raj Manhas failed to do.

In addition to those primary reasons there were a basketful of secondary reasons. He was a liar. He was a poor communicator. He knew nothing about education. He broke all of his promises to students and families. He didn't listen to the community at all.

He was basically just like Dr. Goodloe-Johnson in a lot of ways.

The District doesn't need a superstar earning more a quarter million a year. The District just needs a compentent manager and administrator who knows how to delegate and communicate.

Is that so rare?

dan dempsey said...

Two points.

#1 Raj Manhas was unlike MGJ. Make no mistake he was still incompetent in fulfilling the job requirements. He was just lousy in different ways than MJG.

#2 The Math mess has quite a bit of history. The shorter version:

A.. NSF/Education and Human Resources division spent close to $100 million in grant money developing most of the pathetic reform math programs.

It was in the best interests of Universities to play this game. They were paid to develop and then could sell the product without having to pay a nickle back to NSF/EHR. Michigan State University loves this. Everyday Math comes from the University of Chicago and the NSF is still pouring money into that reform math pit.

B.. When the programs do not work then the NSF/EHR spends millions more for professional development for teachers in an attempt to turn a Sow's Ear into a Silk Purse. UW loves this. --Ever wonder what happens to dollars sent to the FEDS? This has become possibly the most counterproductive spending in the history of US education.... well there was whole language .. so lets call it a tie.

C.. Since Education Leadership is more a game of following what is in vogue ... OSPI bought this nonsense hook line and sinker.... with the mantra of most WASL Math aligned most districts across the state snapped up the k-5 programs TERC, Everyday Math, Trailblazers, etc. over 90% of elementary schools were using Reform Math.

In middle schools about 2/3 used Connected Math Project.

The invasion of reform into high schools was not as successful. Witness Roosevelt's historic resistance to this baloney.

dan dempsey said...

D.. In Ballard Ted Nutting who annually produces the best AP Calc results apart from AP Magnet Garfield is among the harshest critics of SPS Math direction. Ted attributes a lot of Ballard's AP success to pre-calc that is not reform and the efforts that many teachers at Ballard make to be agents of math repair after the k-8 damage.

E.. Take a look at the results with UW's professional development HERE.

The UW is spending our tax dollars via the NSF to provide teachers of math with an extra planning period to that the UW can teach them all about "complex instruction". The results are either a crime or a joke depending on your point of view.

==========
Craig Parsley and I talked in May 2007 after the Board voted to adopt Everyday Math. We agreed there was no data to support this adoption and predicted achievement Gaps would not close and this adoption would be exposed as a complete debacle within three years.

In the first two years of EDM use achievement gaps increased for every ethnic and economic group as well as special education students and Limited English speaking students.

dan dempsey said...

The Board in 2007 was either full of themselves or brainwashed. Brita Butler-Wall wrote me that "We chose to trust our hired professionals" ......

YUP data and studies and 10 years of futility don't count because the Board chooses to trust their hired professionals.

So it is still the same today.

In the words of Dr. Phil: "How's that working out for you?"

============

There is a lot of flying under the radar to produce math results as Schmitz Park, Ballard, and Roosevelt have done. The District big wigs demand allegiance to the counterproductive so the District as a whole stinks. Remember the "Discovering" adoption ... Sealth's John Boyd spoke about all the principals being in favor and the Sealth MATH department head said her kids needed to be able to learn the Discovering way.

dan dempsey said...

Here are the Absolute rates and then changes IN PASS RATE DIFFERENTIALS for Cheif Sealth in math from WASL 2009 to HSPE 2010 adjusted by THE STATE DIFFERENTIAL:

67.70% : +1.60% ][ White
42.20% : -3.90% ][ Asian
10.20% : -7.70% ][ Black
25.00% : +18.60% ][ Hispanic
00.00% : -7.50% ][ Limited English

It seems that for many students they may be not be able to recover from the extremely poor k-8 mathematics programs in Seattle so high school mathematics is very difficult when the student is totally unprepared for High School Math.

Over the last three years according to the School report card for Denny Middle school stated the percentages of students leaving Denny ready for high school math were
2008 => 87%
2009 => 90%
2010 => 76%

The percentages of students able to score above level 1 (far below basic) on their 8th grade OSPI annual math test were
2008 => 61.3%
2009 => 61.0%
2010 => 72.3%

There is seemingly no correlation between OSPI scores and the District’s assessment of the percentage of students ready for high school math. It appears that the 8th graders mad a really substantial improvement on 2010 OSPI testing as 72.3% were able to score above far below basic. I still would not say that 76% of students were ready for high school math but 57% did pass the OSPI test.

How the District came up with 87% ready in 2010 when only 38.1% passed the WASL Math and only 61.3% could test above far below basic is mind boggling. Note that is the cohort group tested as 10th graders on the OSPI HSPE this year.

The Central Administration is spending piles of money to spin wheels going nowhere.

dan dempsey said...

CORRECTION FOR LAST two paragraphs above:

How the District came up with 87% ready for High School Math in 2008 when only 38.1% passed the WASL Math and only 61.3% could test above far below basic is mind boggling. Note that is the cohort group tested as 10th graders on the OSPI HSPE this year. --- Sure does not look like 87% were ready for high school math ... perhaps the District would like to explain how 87% were ready and then what happened to those students over the last two years. In 2010 39.5% passed the OSPI HSPE up from the 38.1% that passed in grade 8. So what does ready for high school math mean in Seattle?

The Central Administration is spending piles of money to spin wheels going nowhere. They are certainly trying to spin the public.

dan dempsey said...

I should also mention that the NSF DOES NOT EVALUATE ANY OF THESE PROJECTS FOR EFFECTIVENESS.

A proposal is made to do something and the costs to do this project are put fourth in the plan.

NSF evaluation consists of making sure that the funded applicant spends the money in the way that the proposal said it would be spent.

Money out ... Checks with money in.

Super duper ... Results are not important.

dan dempsey said...

Melissa wrote:

"are all kids going to college? Our district is careful to say "college-ready" which is great but there's this "gotta go to college" mentality that just isn't plausible."

I hope that readiness is more reliable and accurate than the readiness the District calculated for percentage of 8th graders going to high school ready for high school math. If not there will be lots of folks not making it past year one of college.

The idea that we are attempting to make all students college ready explains why classes are dumbed down and social promotion is rampant, the only way to complete such a task is to fake it.

When it comes to faking it. MGJ is having a bit of trouble ... 17% .. 66% ... and forgery.

emeraldkity said...

know a lot of adults of my parents' generation who did not have jobs for which they needed to go to college.

& my grandfather didn't go past 8th grade- yet my grandparents were able to pay cash for a pretty nice brick house on Ruffner in Magnolia.

Think anyone with similar background could do that today?

But that fact that we are going to build a CTE skills center speaks to the fact that even the Superintendent gets this.
No- it means that Shep Siegel is oretty good at getting others to share his agenda.
We have many proven vocational training providers in Seattle

Does it make sense to reinvent the wheel?

Outside of the kids paid $10 more an hour than starting pay @ Boeing,working in construction @ Garfield while students- has anyone tabulated how students steered to a CTE path are doing after they leave the district?


It's pretty ironic that those that are pushing for more voc-ed already have a college degree. ( Shep has a Ph.d from Berkeley)- but those who are actually working in blue collar fields know that many roads are closed to you if you don't have at least two years of college courses-Their kids are going to college.

The construction sector, already badly hurt by the recession and housing slump, took the largest hit, down 2,100 jobs for the month. Most of those losses were in specialty trade jobs, such as carpenters and electricians, Weeks said.
Over the past year, construction employment has fallen by 11 percent, a loss of about 11,000 jobs.
Financial companies lost 500 jobs in November; information shed 400; transportation, warehousing and utilities lost 300; and other services were down 300.
Education and health services gained 800 jobs. Other sectors with more jobs were professional and business services, with 700 more; state, local and federal government, up 600; manufacturing, up 600; leisure and hospitality gaining 600; and wholesale trade, up 400.
All the state job growth was in higher education, with most of that student jobs, Weeks said. Not counting those jobs, state government lost 200 jobs in November.



Read more: However jobs in education- are increasing

emeraldkity said...

It's pretty ironic that those that are pushing for more voc-ed already have a college degree.

Isn't it though-
I haven't googled Craig Parsley yet, but Kent Kammerer is a retired teacher who has a second career as a ( presumably- volunteer) neighborhood activist.

How nice he has something to occupy his retirement, but does he really think those without college degrees will even know what ( retirement) is like?

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

I appreciate your point emeraldkity and I wish that all kids would go to college too. But the fact is that not every kid is cut out to go to college. Not every kid WANTS to go to college. Every kid does not take the same path. The fact is we will always have kids, who, by their own choice, do not want to go to college. Period.

Once you acknowledge that fact, and you must acknowledge it, then you have to decide what you want to do for those kids. Is HS the end of the road? Do we just have them hit the streets? Or do we try to prepare them for a trade before they graduate?

I haven't heard anyone, not Parsley, Krammerer, or anyone else on this blog advocate that some kids shouldn't go to college. What I hear is an acknowledgement that not all kids choose to go to college for whatever reason, and how can we help those kids that choose different paths after HS?

seattle citizen said...

I agree, Charlie, we don't need a superstar. We need a manager who recognizes talent in the organization (from all quarters) and, well, manages. I believe there are many people capable of this. And many who would do it for less than a quarter million plus car plus hefty 401 contributions plus free parties for supporters.

WV notes that Seattle is full of many SEAMEN who, with their experience captaining ships, would do a great job!

seattle citizen said...

Not every job NEEDS a four-year degree. Yes, competition often means that a college degree is asked for, but we need to a) recognize that not all jobs reguire one; b) pay non-college jobs a living wage; and c) generally reorganize our education system and economy to reward all sorts of career choices.

You don't need a college degree to be a welder. We need welders. Many people like welding...

dan dempsey said...

I went to school years ago with Walt. He did not do much college and did just fine. Liked SCUBA diving and is an under-water welder .. well he is retired now and financially very comfortable.

My third son, had lots of interest in all the wrong things in high school and zero interest in college, and for years had zero hours in any educational institution beyond high school. He worked at Taco Bell as a high school senior and continued after graduation. Then he glued pipes and fabricated fittings in a factory for 2 years. He loves being outdoors and became a USFS hotshot and then a USFS smokejumper; some guys jump past 50 years old.

He decided to do a bit of college while recuperating after being hit by a large boulder in a forest fire accident. He eventually continued college in the off season and at age 32 will receive his masters in teaching and a teaching credential this May.

Note: financially it would have been much better for him to stick with the US Forest Service. But he says you only go round once in life so after the Forest Service (which included some Katrina cleanup), Crab fishing off the WA Coast, Salmon fishing in SE Alaska, construction building new homes, running a marathon in four hours, mountaineering, it is time to teach elementary school. Hope he finds a job next year teaching. If not he can still go back to the US Forest Service.

He is getting married in September so ramblin' man may be slated for less ramblin'. .... or not ... as he is marrying a biomedical engineer (Masters in Biomedical engineering) that fabricates orthotics and prosthetics. She is a runner and a ski racer.

Son number 2, very dyslexic struggled through high school and attempted community college but did not attain an AA degree. He did receive an "Automotive Certificate" from Bellingham Tech and briefly worked as a service writer until he decided that he would not sell folks stuff they do not need and left that firm and the automotive line of work. He has amazing talents and eventually rose to a position where he is an assistant director of a non-profit that provides 24/7 care as well as lesser services to developmentally delayed persons and others. He got there by working from the ground up. He is now working to complete a College degree so he can become director as he is slated to become director in 4 years.

The point I am making here is each of these two guys did not need the accelerated push to be college ready by age 18. Kids need to realize they are of value and can live successful lives without going near a formal school classroom after high school. I have a friend who got a GED at 16. He eventually took a few HVAC classes after he began working in construction but not much more. Now around 35 he is a project manager for a large construction firm. Needless to say he makes more than any k-12 teacher in WA.

Our kids need to be supported for who they are .... not forced to feel bad for who they are not. If they have a passion, then support them in going for it. If it does not pan out, they can find another passion or just settle for a job.

Most of us would be pleased if our kids were comfortable in their own skin .... don't let k-12 screw that up too badly.

One of the two above said:
"I learned a valuable skill in high school, how to put up with meaningless BS. It comes in really handy in the workday world."

The State Board of Education still would like CORE 24 to have most kids taking Advanced Algebra. Wait until you see those "dumbed down" advanced algebra classes. Perhaps the SBE should try for the arithmetic skills needed in most vocations. Clearly schools are doing a horrible job of teaching arithmetic skills with the "Reform Math" nonsense so prevalent.

Charlie Mas said...

Ah! If ONLY I could interest either of my daughters in welding...

or plumbing!

Melissa Westbrook said...

The thing is to do almost any kind of trade well you need training and that means focus. We want kids to understand how to gain that focus needed in any job to do it well. Also, many of these vocational jobs require good math skills for the job itself or if you start your own business.

Point is, you need skills and dedicated training to do any job well, whether you have a college degree or not.

Maureen said...

I think one thing we as a society could so better is to make sure all kids have a sense of the wide variety of possibilities out there. Just introducing kids to people who make their living as welders and accountants and engineers can make a difference.

I hear so often that poor kids aspire to be NBA players or lawyers or doctors or cops. That's fine when you're small, but by the time they are in High School, all kids should have met people from a variety of professions: plumbers, electrical linesmen, microbiologists, ....

One of our teachers took a group of kids to visit the dry dock on Lake Union. I bet most of those kids had never seen welding go on before. That sort of thing opens up a new world for some kids.

emeraldkity said...

Re Welding- Tom Flood has been teaching welding for at least a decade at Seattle Academy- but I had had friends who were welders at the shipyards & it is a pretty tough life- they aren't around anymore.

The point I am trying to make- is that these kids who don't want to go to college- whose families don't support it or for whom- more years of books make them want to jump off a bridge are going to have their options limited much more than you think if they do not have the basics to apply to college.

FOrget the misguided 24 criterion-

take my daughter- she graduated with honors from Garfield- yet because she did not take the math placement test for college while she was still taking pre-calc & because she took it a year after her math class ( she also took a gap year before college- to volunteer abroad), she didn't come close to placing in college level math. Which meant that even though she wanted to major in the sciences- she only could take courses without that requirement.
Which meant very few.

She took the math class in the summer at the community college ( online), but because registration had already occurred for the fall when she completed the course she was out of sequence for the next term & has to wait completely messing up her plans.

That is what happened while just taking a year off for a motivated & bright student.

While I worry that students in vocational programs will find that Boeing expects a degree for new machinists or that college is required at Amazon to fill orders- what I really want to emphasize is that being college ready only benefits you in the vocational field.

When I was in massage school, most people had a college degree- & the amount of memorization that was required to be able to participate in the cadaver anatomy class would have been easier if I had those study skills.


In the landscape/construction program @ EDCC the level of rigor is very high & they have one of the most successful placements in the area- much more than other programs (cough) in Seattle.- additionally- degrees are commonly held in this field & are expected if you want to advance. ( or to find more than seasonal work)


There are also thousands of colleges- many with very strong experiential & activity based programs.

They shouldn't be lumped into the same category of schools with classes taught by grad students in rooms that can seat 600.

Deep Springs

Warren Wilson


A great thing about Evergreen is that they have(had?) reverse degree so you can go in as a jr- with a two-year vocational program from community colleges



It is heartbreaking to counsel students their senior year who have not realized until that time that they wanted or even could go to college- unfortunately- it is impossible to make up the requirements for application for most schools unless you have had guidance early on.

I don't believe in forcing students to go to college- by no means- but I don't like tracking & I would rather see much more hands on learning in all classrooms rather than telling students who learn best that way , that they are better suited for working at JIffyLube.

Whatever Seattle decides w vocational ed- it is critical that we hire teachers who are currently working in the area they will be instructing.
Without that- relevance & accountability go out the window.

I have worked as an advisor in the Seattle community colleges & a pet peeve of mine is having to counsel students who return after they discover that their program wasn't aligned with the workplace

zb said...

"The District just needs a competent manager and administrator who knows how to delegate and communicate."

I agree with this, and it's the positive statement, a vision of what we think a good superintendent would look like, as opposed to the railing against Goodloe, Manhas, and Olchefske (and I think there was dislike of Stanford, too, wasn't there, before he died?).

Goodloe was the result of a star search, and I completely agree that school districts have become overly focused on such people, the superstar leader who is going to come from elsewhere and be a white knight who fixes our system. It's stupid, and seems to create nothing more than revolving superintendent positions. Klein's jump from NYC to Fox was a disappointing example of the suggestion that superintendent positions are buffing resumes to then jump to the foundation or for-profit sectors. (As was Emmert's jump from UW to NCAA).

I agree with the reaction that we should simply ignore the question of whether such leadership talent is something special, because even if it were (I liked Klein, for example, even if I didn't agree with everything he did), those folk won't stay to do the slow hard work; they'll jump ship after starting things they won't finish. If so, we're better off taking someone who will stay, a competent manager.

emeraldkity said...

Re Welding- Tom Flood has been teaching welding for at least a decade at Seattle Academy- but I had had friends who were welders at the shipyards & it is a pretty tough life- they aren't around anymore.

It is heartbreaking to counsel students their senior year who have not realized until that time that they wanted or even could go to college- unfortunately- it is impossible to make up the requirements for application for most schools unless you have had guidance early on.

I don't believe in forcing students to go to college- by no means- but I don't like tracking & I would rather see much more hands on learning in all classrooms rather than telling students who learn best that way , that they are better suited for working at JIffyLube.

Whatever Seattle decides w vocational ed- it is critical that we hire teachers who are currently working in the area they will be instructing.
Without that- relevance & accountability go out the window.

I have worked as an advisor in the Seattle community colleges & a pet peeve of mine is having to counsel students who return after they discover that their program wasn't aligned with the workplace

Charlie Mas said...

A competent administrator would balance the books and build the internal controls that the District so distressingly lacks.

A competent manager would provide proper supervision to their direct reports and make it clear that proper supervision is expected all the way down the line. Corporate culture flows down from the top. The management style of the superintendent is adopted by the "C" level execs, and adopted in turn by department managers and Education Directors, and adopted in turn by program managers and principals.

The Strategic Plan was and is primarily a management plan rather than an academic plan. I applaud that; the District needs management. It was left un-managed for at least ten years. But Seattle Public Schools doesn't need Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's brand of management. We need consistent, not erratic. We need service leadership, not autocrats. We need decisions based on real data, not on manipulated data. And we need real enforcement, not fake accountability.

We need someone who can delegate. Give people the task, give them guidance, trust them to do it, be available if they have questions or hit obstacles, and monitor their work.

And, as much as anything, we need someone who can communicate. The best communicators listen more than they talk. They don't go on listening tours. They don't set aside time for listening. Folks who do that only listen at those discrete moments when they are consciously working to listen - and they probably don't listen much then either. Good communicators are always listening.

Good communicators speak and write with their audience in mind. They don't use jargon or misleading statements. They speak simply, clearly and concisely using short declarative sentences. Then they get back to listening.

Here's another trick for clear communication: use concrete language. Put a human face on it.

Think of all of the swirl around the jargon about the "Colorado Growth Model". What crap! It all becomes instantly clear when it is described in concrete terms with real people.

Anonymous said...


Read the CACIEE report. The whole first half is a catalog of the work that Raj Manhas failed to do.



Oh please. Gag me with a fork. The CACIEE report was really the "Save Montlake at any Cost" report. And, it was commissioned by Manhas. It wasn't all that critical of him. What special knowledge did any of those people really have about education, or even funding? Uh. None. A bunch of well-meaning, do-gooder, know nothings. Certainly they were way less competent than Broad or Gates. An retired CEO from Boeing and a few others. That was back when CEO's were still cool. Where were all the Gates/Broad corporate crybaby type whiners back then? Oh. Nowhere. But now they forget what the world was like at that point. That was no work of brilliance. (btw it recommended tons of school closures too, as busing was the big "cost" identified." Please don't close our pet school Montlake though.) In the end, if you hate "Broad/Gates" and "reform"... you should have been really happy with Manhas. He simply couldn't stomach his treatment here. And who could really blame him?

Seattle Parent