Thursday, December 02, 2010

Executive Committee Steps Up (Part Two)

Onward.

On January 12th the Board will have their annual Legislative luncheon. It was interesting because (1) they are all very worried about the state budget and (2) Michael asked about evaluating the district's lobbyist (we have one of those). It was agreed that it was a good idea but I think it surprised some staff. This would be done at a Board Executive Session.

Michael said he had met with Rep. Carlyle about curriculum adoptions at the community college level and how it affects SPS. He said there was a group of teachers interested in piloting it and Dr. G-J said the district would have to pay the teachers. Michael countered that they had to do professional development anyway and the other Board members agreed.

So on the agenda for this meeting was Community Engagement. The time came for this topic and the Superintendent said there was nothing new and she can't do more. It was somewhat awkward because she seemed defensive but said nothing. I was a little surprised she didn't mention what she HAD been doing (Coffee chats, teacher lunches, etc.) and how that informed her thinking. She did state that they were finishing on the budget survey and heard from the SCPTSA that they preferred a simple report out and that they could do a community meeting about it.

So the district is hiring yet another consultant, this one to do organizational work on governance. Her name is Karen Reed. (Nothing on how much she will get paid or how long or who she is accountable to.)

Discussion came around Board work plans and the lack of hours to get everything done. Kay wanted to voice the concern around changes that occur at the last minutes or getting items at the last minute. She said she understood the weather issues but, for example, she thought the Work Session on Tuesday was about one thing and it had something else in it. (She's referring to the integration of budget and transition plan which staff hadn't communicated to the Board.) She said that "we need to be on the same page". Silence. Steve agreed.

Mr. Kennedy then mentioned reporting out on the audit oversight but I was confused here because I didn't see this on the agenda. Nothing else much was said here.

They then discussed rescheduling the hearing for the Board to deliberate on the use of Brave New World. There was discussion about doing this after a Work Session but Steve felt it was important enough to be on a Legislative session day. They were all careful to say they would check with the family to find a satisfactory date for all. I think they would like to do it in December but that would have to be on Wednesday so I think it is more likely to happen in January.

So then we got to the agenda item "Correcting errors in district reports and statistics". Yes, it got interesting.

Michael had two concerns. One stemmed from Rep. Carlyle's post on his blog about the 17% statistic. Michael said he had left Patti Spencer (Communications) an e-mail about a letter to public officials and community leaders who used the stat at face value to apologize for the wrongness of the stat. He said it was "starting point". He acknowledged the Superintendent's letter to the community but felt the Board and district owed these leaders an apology because so many of them had used it as a touchpoint and it left them in a vulnerable position. Silence.

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson said the district would do this. Silence.

He said he had asked Patti about this before Thanksgiving but hadn't heard from her. He had asked Reuven if he had received anything and he said no. (That's embarrassing for Michael, for sure.) Michael said he talked to a couple of City Council people and they had all used that figure when speaking to people about Seattle public education.

He said that this incident highlights the importance of clear use of reports and stats. He basically said that it was not good enough to explain something in appendices. He said it was not appropriate to use a number and not associate it with its proper meaning.

Silence.

He then said that he wanted to know if there would be anything in the school reports that could be a problem. (Yoo hoo, Charlie, want to chime in here?) He stated this was a concern going forward about transparency and the message we are sending about how we describe ourselves.

Kay asked about Charlie's issue about the stat in the school reports (she referenced a blog notice). She said "the community is digging in the weeds now" because of the 17% blunder and looking to understand what the numbers mean.

Dead silence.

She said the community is now questioning stats on the scorecards.

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson said slowly that the district wanted to acknowledge when a mistake is made or a misrespresentation made (even in an appendix) and they haven't apologized yet.

Then Steve stepped up and said it seemed like a good topic to take up with the quarterly evaluation of the Superintendent. He said Michael was to be credited for asking questions early on. He said if there are other stats, we need to be clear about the complexity of issues about student achievement and make sure we are vetting stats and understanding the advantages and disadvantages of stats. "Are we getting at the fundamental issue that we want to when we use stats". I could have hugged him.

Dead silence.

Michael stated that the letter of apology needed to go out to these officials and leaders AND the public. (Again, it would have been a hugfest if I had my way.) He said the way to prevent this is using a critical eye as part of the quarterly evaluation of the strategic plan. He said there should be follow-thru on concerns raised by Board members. He said what level do Board members concerns warrant attention? (It was hard to hear this because if Board members ask questions and get blown off, what hope do the rest of us have?) He said there was no clear mechanism to get answers unless someone on the Board goes to the rest of the Board and creates an action to get feedback. He then wanly said it was a problem of being a complicated organization. He went on to say that Brad B. had explained the Colorado growth model at the Work Session but Michael said he had grad classes in statistical methodology but most people haven't.

"We have to make sure that any indicator that gets picked up as something it is not, then we own the mistake. That's the vigilance I'm asking for."

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson said she would be "happy" to follow up on all these comments. (That was a poor choice of words given how often she has said that in the past.)

Noel said that there should be a good "scrub" of primary reports to start making sure we don't have issues. Dr. Goodloe-Johnson said the 17% measure should have had a public conversation a year ago. She has a concern our numbers are not accurate and "we own that".

(I would take issue with that statement because if you read her letter to the community, it sounds more like the public isn't bright enough to follow the high level work they are doing and sorry if we misunderstood. That's not owning a mistake.)

Michael then said something a bit odd. He said that "Brad measured what he was asked to" and it wasn't fully clarified to the public. Brad B. said that he created his own measure of college readiness so even if he measured it, it was to a standard he created (or used from the Colorado model).

We then moved onto "Proper oversight and the role of annual reports". Michael said he wanted to follow-up to the "awkward" moment with the C-SIPs at the last Board meeting. He said that Joan Dingfield (Board staff) had been asked to look at the prescribed reports and what our policies ask us to insure on an annual basis. He said that incident at the Board meeting did not present the professional face that they want and it calls in their credibility. He said they didn't want to get themselves in that position on live tv. We need to have a schedule about what reports are legally required and what the deadlines are so they can meet public expectations.

Susan Enfield said that she and Jessica de Barros talked through the timeline and had to make sure it aligned with budgeting. Basically, it was about school improvement plans shifting ahead of compliance to improvement. She said, "We won't be in this position again." Steve said it was a difficult moment and thanked Susan for her grace. He said "we are accountable for our votes" and the quality wasn't what he expected. (And yet, he still voted for it.) He said it was less about the document itself than the perception of shared belief of outcomes. (But again, they said the C-SIPs are where the get some of the info for the all-important school reports. Either they are important to get right or they aren't.)

Then Susan said that the Executive Directors are working very closely with the principals and that it will take time but there is a disconnect between outcomes and the collective teams at schools. The principals say they have a fine team and yet the outcomes aren't what they should be.

Steve said it goes back to shared accountability from the top down. Kay said the timeline is critical and that she had gone back and checked some of them. She said a simple checklist that things get done would work for her.

Michael then said the C-SIP was an obvious example but it ran deeper than that.

That can be a compliance question or accountability tool. If this is the basis for performance management money and change, then there has to be integrity and it has to be real and not an empty exercise.

Kay then referenced other missed deadlines for other reports.

Silence.

Noel asked if there was a list of types of reports? Oh, Joan is working on that.

(Sidebar; there is no schedule/list out there for these things that is accessible to the Board?)

I think at this point staff was thankful to move on to BEX Oversight Committee vacancies. There are currently two but Mr. Martin seems to think there is no urgency to fill (except that sometimes they don't have a quorum). Turns out this is another area with no real process on how to fill these vacancies. Kay talked about getting people who know land use issues or finance issues or construction, etc. They passed out a sheet with names but I didn't see it. Bill said there was a charter and so they did have to follow that and not just pick people. Michael said it should go thru Operations and then ont0 the Board for confirmation. They will make an announcement at the next Board meeting. Bill said the current Committee should have input on candidates.

There was a brief discussion of the Superintendent's evaluation format with quarterly sessions to offer feedback. Michael and the Superintendent seemed to have different recollections of what was agreed to. It was agreed to keep to quarterly sessions in executive session. Kay said that was fine but for the Board to be sure to refer back to previous areas of improvement (either made or recommended).

End of notes.

Pretty amazing. All three of the Board members made it known that they had discomfort with leaving other elected officials in the lurch over the 17% (as well as community leaders). They asked for and are getting a letter of apology sent out to those people as well as the public. They all expressed concern over how stats were being used, that those stats could be understood properly by the general public and that they did not want to be surprised/embarrassed again. That Michael also called out that he didn't want a public display of confusion like at the last Board meeting over the C-SIPs was great.

This is accountability I can believe in. This is what I am looking for. No yelling or wagging of the finger needed. Just "don't like this, get it right, don't let it happen again."

44 comments:

Charlie Mas said...

Here's the thing about the CSIPs.

Yes, it was a staff failure. The reports should have been there when they said that they were there.

But, more than that, it was a BOARD failure. The Board didn't even check for them. Worse still, Director Martin-Morris adamantly insisted that the Board shouldn't check for them. Failure to oversee followed by refusal to oversee.

The CSIPs didn't reflect a staff problem so much as a Board problem. The Board still doesn't get that.

Jan said...

Charlie -- you are right, but I think the first instinct (especially for the 5 who were used to just rubber stamping things and enjoying the Reform breeze on their faces as they careened down the street aboard the MGJ express), is to look around to see whose ball dropping (the staff's) caused you to be on the hot seat. I suspect it will take them more time and reflection to totally own up to their own sorry part in the affair. And I am not sure some of them are up to that level of reflection -- but I think others are.

I still wish the Board would put a freeze on all the "new" projects until the District manages to untangle and dig out from the messes it has already created -- and wouldn't it be great if, as part of that, they sorted out the timelines, etc. to get reports done and filed when they are supposed to be? Of course there should be a checklist -- and there should be ticklers to the appropriate deliverers, in the weeks and days ahead, to remind them of the deliverables and the dates. For petes sake, we have computers. They DO this stuff.

Charlie Mas said...

So the superintendent is stumped for what more she can do around community engagement. I have some ideas about where she can look for inspiration. First, she should look at the agenda for the regular legislative meeting of the Board and check the action items for the ones that list "None" for community engagement. Then she can review the community engagement protocols for Strategic Plan projects and compare that mandate to what has actually been done for each project. That's a couple good places for her to start.

I find it very hard to imagine the superintendent writing a letter of apology about the 17% deception so soon after writing a letter in which she insisted that she had nothing to apologize for.

Which brings us to "Students making gains on state tests". Michael and Kay held the door open for Dr. Goodloe-Johnson, but she refused to step through it. She is going to stay the course because she is constitutionally incapable of admitting any error. That's just sad.

What level do Board members concerns warrant attention? Ummm... none. Board members are no different from other members of the public.

Director DeBell actually made specific reference to the Colorado Growth Model and said "We have to make sure that any indicator that gets picked up as something it is not, then we own the mistake." Bwa ha ha ha ha ha. There is no question that this statistic has been misrepresented as something it is not.

Eric M said...

Well, that's SOMETHING, a sign of life. This must have been very brave for many of the Board members.

Now, we'll all be interested to watch what the Board does when the things they asked for aren't done. That response will require even more courage, more than this Board has ever shown.

Charlie Mas said...

Here's another thing about the CSIPs, the point that bothered Director DeBell: the timing of the motion made it impossible for them to defer it. This is a familiar story. The staff acknowledge that the motion really isn't ready or they haven't yet provided promised data or reports but the Board HAS to pass it now or the district will miss a critical deadline and all will be lost. So the Board passes the motion and the staff promises, swears, vows that they will bring it to the Board well ahead of time next year. Then, next year, it happens exactly the same way again.

Anonymous said...

Now would be a great time for the BEX state audit to appear. It is supposed to be here before Christmas, yes?

-skeptical-

Chris said...

Michael then said something a bit odd. He said that "Brad measured what he was asked to" and it wasn't fully clarified to the public. Brad B. said that he created his own measure of college readiness so even if he measured it, it was to a standard he created (or used from the Colorado model).

My interpretation of this is that DeBell is saying BB is taking the fall for his boss. Something one might suspect anyway.

dan dempsey said...

While I am greatly encouraged by this question session ... I have a parallel.

In Spring 2008 Ted Nutting and I sat as likely the only audience as Rosalind Wise and Linda (Hoste? remember the lady who was some type of administrator above Rosalind with the British accent) explained a high school math proposal to the Board at a Board work session.

Then the Board asked most every question I had sent them over the previous two years ... slammed that "IMP" proposal into the ground. MGJ who had arrived late then back-peddled explaining it was not a proposal as the SPS would wait for the State guidance.

Flash Forward one year. Rosalind and Linda are gone. Anna Maria sells "Discovering". Waiting for the State ????? Oh yes that made all the difference.

SBE says Mathematically unsound.

Greta Bornemann speaks for 10 minutes right before the Board approves "Discovering" the MGJ proposal by 4-3..... and Greta in her 10 minute talk neglects to mention "Mathematically Unsound" in fact says anything might work.

===========
I am greatly encouraged by the Executive Committee's Stepping Up.

Now let us see if it goes anywhere.

If anyone was really to step up, MGJ would be fired with cause amidst this effort for better accountability to questions.

Charlie makes an excellent point about the Board essentially force by time-line to approve inadequate "CSIPs" .... and how it happens over and over again.

Don't for get the "Discovering Math Adoption was a unanimous vote of approval only a year after the Board administered the "IMP" beat down.

Label me "Cautiously Optimistic"

Man I am having a good day.

dan dempsey said...

My Mistake ...

Correction to:
Don't for get the "Discovering Math Adoption was a [(unanimous)] vote of approval only a year after the Board administered the "IMP" beat down.

Discovering was a 4-3 vote as mentioned earlier.

Everyday Math was a unanimous vote in Spring 2007.

Could be that progress is being made as DeBell noticed EDM was crap after approving it
and eloquently explained that "Discovering" was likely similar and voted against it.

Gang of Four (Chow yes - Harium no) as a Block flushed $1.2 million and the math program continues to be a joke.

Wait for the State??? Oh yeah that is rich.

SPS now has elementary texts not recommended,
Middle school texts not recommended

So the SPS adopted "High School" texts not only not recommended but rated mathematically unsound. In Bethel SD these texts had become a proven failure of large proportion at the time of SPS adoption.

Excellent example of MGJ waiting for the State .... Now we wait for Washington Appeals Court Division I Spring 2011 as the k-12 math joke continues on.

Yet we get to listen to more "Total Crap" from the powers that be.

Try THE TROUBLE WITH SCHOOLS OF EDUCATION for an interesting view and then apply it to this Seattle process of educational decision making.

It is a better than average reasonable explanation for UW - M.E.P.'s continued existence. Hey it is education and results are NOT important to the crowd with the power.

There is no organized group that represents the kids. How sad is that?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Skeptical, the audit could be any time now. I would like it to come out AFTER the new year because I don't want it to get lost in the holiday shuffle. (Not that I think it will but timing is everything.)

Bird said...

This is a familiar story. The staff acknowledge that the motion really isn't ready or they haven't yet provided promised data or reports but the Board HAS to pass it now or the district will miss a critical deadline and all will be lost

As a parent, I know that sometimes you have to take the hit in the short term to get the results you want long term. If I let me kids get away with this sort of behavior, I'd find it happening consistently as well.

It's reprehensible that the staff does this, but clearly at root the fault lies with the Board. They need to hold fast and not let the "kids" get their way through bad behavior.

Why wouldn't the staff use the same methods over and over when they are so effective?

When you reward bad behavior, you just get more of the same.

Bird said...

So the superintendent is stumped for what more she can do around community engagement. I have some ideas about where she can look for inspiration.

I suspect that the superintendent sees community engagement as an empty exercise, or perhaps purely an end it itself. We have community engagement to have community engagement, not to inform planning or discussion.

If you have that sort of view, then, of course, you will rapidly come to a point of deciding we've done enough.

If you view community engagement as serving a purpose outside of mollifying the public and looking "engaged", then it's pretty easy to find lots of places to pull in the community.

Bird said...

They all expressed concern over how stats were being used, that those stats could be understood properly by the general public and that they did not want to be surprised/embarrassed again

So what would you call the stat that incorporates the "Colorado Growth Model" in order to make it clear to the public?

I can't think of a name.

But then again I still don't really understand it. I mean, does the comparison piece involve district only scores or state scores or what?

Even if that's clarified and adequately named, I don't know if I really trust the district to measure itself against such an untransparent statistic. If their calculation is wrong, who will ever know? It seems like we have neither the necessary raw data nor the details of their model that are required to check up on it.

If they think this is a useful measure internally, that's fine, but I don't think it is useful to publish it out.

If I can't verify the statistic independently then I can't count it as worthwhile.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I don't know that the Superintendent doesn't know what other public engagement to do; my impression was that she couldn't do more. I'm not asking her to do more because she is very busy but:

-Charlie is right on the agenda items having public engagement. She can direct staff to do that and she doesn't.

-it would be nice to hear her, as Kay does, reference what she heard at a Coffee chat

-it seems imperative that she mend fences with teachers - she is the leader of the district and to not enjoy their faith in her leadership hurts every school

kid not like the others said...

Perhaps "engagement" is defined differently by parents than MGJ defines it. Engagement can mean to meet or interact and not necessarily to incorporate or use anything garnered from the interactions or meetings. We could be dealing with a situation that is like the 17% and the “Making Gains” statistics that mean something entirely different to the staff than they do to the public.

What is happening is, by definition, engagement. If we want it to be input that is considered and acted upon rather than "meeting with us" or simply interacting with us, letting us talk, and take surveys then sending us on our way, then we might want to have a conversation with the board and others about what engagement "looks like" and the purpose of such engagement. A stricter definition of “engagement” may be warranted.
-when in doubt, leave no doubt

ParentofThree said...

So it would seem that we have moved from...

"We are working on that" or "we will get back to you on that."

to...

Dead Silence.

Just another tactic from the playbook.

Jan said...

Yes, but dead silence, like pregnant pauses, carries more, and more critical meaning than "I'll get back to you on that." The latter, if left unchallenged, implies that it is a reasonable response. That NOT having that data/report/information available when requested is reasonable.

Dead silence, on the other hand, is uncomfortable. It implies that something needs to, but isn't, being said because no one wants the unpleasantness of actually saying it --- but everyone understands.

The ONLY problem with "dead silence" in these meetings, in my opinion, is that it does not create a "dot to dot" trail of accountability -- and that is what is needed. In a transcript, the "context" of dead silence is lost for future readers.

So -- dead silence is a start. But I think that there is enough entrenced bad habit (if not worse) in the District that the Board will probably have to "up the ante" and fill the silence with the "obvious" missing words if any progress is to be made.

SC Parent said...

MW: "No yelling or wagging of the finger needed."

How about the next time this happens? At some point, one person on the board needs to step up and be the bulldog, if nothing else than to give cover for the other board members to actually hold MGJ accountable.

Even if the board started taking strong action right NOW, they would be at least 2 years away from establishing, in the record, that MGJ chronically ignores them and is failing in her duties.

As others have pointed out here, "I'm-disappointed-in-you" speeches only work if there are teeth behind it (or if the chastised person has a strong sense of guilt).

But, I guess I should be happy that the Board expressed some amount of displeasure :(

Dorothy Neville said...

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

No one can change entrenched culture overnight. But I am hopeful in the long run.

Even Tim Burgess is reading Ravich. Dunno if he will see the light, but you never know.

Another positive aspect of this board movement towards empowerment is that it gives a better framework to the upcoming elections. We need candidates, and we need candidates who are paying attention to this movement and whom we can best predict will maintain and support it.

Better late than never.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I think it good that I was there. Otherwise there would be bland minutes and no one to hold the Board accountable.

They have now asked staff if there is anything else that could embarrass the district (after staff has already done that and in a way that embarrasses other elected officials). If staff does this again, then heads should roll. We will all know that the Board (at least on this committee) told them not to do this again and if it happens, then we need real accountability.

another mom said...

"My interpretation of this is that DeBell is saying BB is taking the fall for his boss."

Chris I am not so sure about this.
Looks to me as if DeBell was saying Brad was instructed to do this and he did so. DeBell may have been trying to explain it away just a bit. Bernatek's reputation took a rather big hit. I take it to mean that the onus is on whoever asked him to complete the task. I don't like to read to much into what was said here because at this point it is the follow-up that becomes the make or break for the current administraiton. Melissa was there listening and taking notes. I am sure that did not go unnoticed.

Joan NE said...

THere is a state law that says it is a crime to give false testimony to a public official, when that testimony materially affects the decisions or behavior of the public official. This law also says that a statement is "false" if the speaker does not know the statement to be true.

Turns out that any person who asks can get incredible amounts of information from the district. By law, the district has to provide public information to any person who requests it, "without prejudice."

This means that members of the public can calculate student college readiness rates themselves, without having to rely on a district employee to do this. Members of the public can create a defintion of college readiness that makes sense to them, and then calculate the value from data requested from, and provided by, SPS.


How do you make a public information request? Very easy.

Ask and, unless it is not public information, you will receive.

If the information requested is public, and the "local agency" fails to provide it, then the agency is breaking the public disclosure law. I don't know if such act is criminal or has a penalty.

Chris said...

another mom
Bernatek's reputation took a rather big hit.
It is, nationally. That's more or less what I meant, by taking the fall. He is clearly taking the lion's share of the blame, willingly and don't you think DeBell means he doesn't really deserve it?
I take it to mean that the onus is on whoever asked him to complete the task.
I think we agree that this is DeBell's typically subtle way of saying that???

Chris said...

Melissa, this is great. I am so curious - are the silences typical? If not were they due to your presence or did this session contain more pointed criticism than previous ones? I don't think we'll ever know unless we can get you stranded on a desert island with Michael DeBell...

I do think it would be SO great if we could get a little more organized - with a roster of people with different schedules, we could have a John Q Public at every open committee meeting. Might not change things, but we'd know a heck of a lot more.

I'm not volunteering, but I can commit to attending C & I meetings until further notice.

Chris said...

One more thing, I will thank Michael DeBell for pointing out the elephant in the room - one bad number from a district that lives and dies by numbers is a HUGE red flag.

I was at the first school reports meeting, Monday after the week of 17%-gate and I could not believe !!! how polite we were. I had to physically restrain myself and did indeed mutter in my small group "like we should trust any number from these people."

OK, I lied, one more thing. About community engagement, MSJ being busy: Susan Enfield is out there SO much at these meetings. I just bashed her a bit on the other thread, but it is striking that she is working VERY hard. At that particular meeting, I think Melissa noted, she seemed unusually honest about their limitations, too. The exec. directors are out there a lot more than MGJ too. So the question is, how much community engagement can you delegate? Of course, that assumes any of it counts when it is so faux/delphi...

Melissa Westbrook said...

Chris, this was a lot of dead silence. I think it could have been because of me (and me taking notes) but I think they may have been in a little bit of shock that all three Board members had something to say.

Staff typically doesn't respond publicly to criticism but this was a lot of quiet.

Sadly, I was taking notes so I didn't watch their faces but then again, Dr. G-J has a very good poker face.

dan dempsey said...

Chris,

I love the term..... faux/Delphi
The district needs a press release form for it:

The next SPS faux/Delphi public engagement will be on _______ at _______ at ______pm

The First Arnold said...

"THere is a state law that says it is a crime to give false testimony to a public official, when that testimony materially affects the decisions or behavior of the public official"

This 17% figure was given to a public official to obtain additional state funding. Additionally, this figure was used by R. Carlyle to help pass House Bill 2261.

I am not an attorney, but it sure feels CRIMINAL to me. There needs to be MORE than a slap on the wrist.

another mom said...

@Chris, Yup we agree. Thanks for the clarification.

Joan NE said...

Chris,

Sorry if I am not just going over old ground here....

The table on page 14 of the Strategic Plan represented Brad's statistic this way: "Graduates meeting high school credit
requirement for four-year college (%)" Result for 2006-07: 17.

A footnote to the table says this: "Detailed notes and explanations for these data are included in the Appendices."

From the appendix (page 6 of the pdf):

"Academic Achievement Metric..Graduates meeting high
school credit requirement for
4 year college (%)"

"Methodology for Calculating the Metric...Students that graduate with a Core GPA of at least 3.0 and meeting the minimum college admissions standards for 2012 as defined by the Washington Higher Education Coordination Board. Includes 4 credits of English, 4 credits of Math (includes senior yearmath requirement), 3 Credits of Science (including 2 credits of laboratory science), 2 Credits of World Languages, 3 Credits of Social Science, and 1 Credit of Arts. Results are for the graduating class of the school year of this report."

"Other Comments...HECB requirements are forward looking (to 2012) and are greater than current SPS graduation requirements of 3 Credits of English, 2 Credits of Math, 2 Credits of Science, 3 Credits of Social Studies, and 1 Credit of Fine Arts."

Linda Shaw reported this:

"Brad Bernatek...said [the 17 percent figure] was supposed to be a measure of how many high-school graduates were prepared to succeed in four-year colleges, not just get admitted."

The Nov 9 2010 State of the District presentation says this:
"Graduates prepared for a 4-year college..2006-07 47%."

I have requested the methodology for the revised statistic.

Was Brad asked to predict college success rate of 2006-7 graduates or was he asked to calculate "Percent of Graduates meeting high school credit requirement for 4 year college"


I suspect the latter. If the latter, then it seems to me that the misuse of Brad's statistic is not entirely Brad's fault.

I'd like to see the blame fall where it rightfully belongs.

Joan NE said...

Correction to preceding post.

I suspect the FORMER. If the FORMER, then it seems to me that the misuse of Brad's statistic is not entirely Brad's fault.

Joan NE said...

Actually, even if the LATTER, we still ahve the situation that Brad correctly described his methodology, and nearly any adult human being is smart enough to see the discrepancy between the label and the methodology.

So I suspect that there is a pretty good chance that a court would find that all of these people broke the law: The people who created this table for inclusion in the strat plan; the people who approved the strat plan, and the district employees who used this figure to try to materially influence board votes.

Chris said...

Just for fun, this is how I imagine it:

Brad: Well, it turns out 46% of SPS graduates go to college?

Powers-that-be: Hmmm, are you sure that's 4 year colleges?

Brad: Yes.

Powers-that-be: Oh, but they can't all be successful there! Can you figure that out?

Brad: Sure. Is there an algorithm?

Powers-that-be: I'm sure you can find one somewhere, look in Broad districts, like Colorado. And if you have to tweak it a little, that's OK.

Brad: Will do!

Someone else can imagine the conversation an innocent Brad might have had when the strategic plan featuring his number came out.

Joan NE said...

The governing WAC for CSIPS says that the local school board must annual approve CSIPs in the manner required by district policy.

It appears to me that the Board approved CSIP review process does not require the Board to inspect and review the CSIPS, but only to accept the CAO's certification that each school has a CSIP which meets the WAC 180-16-220.

SO, as far as I can tell, the Board did not breaking any laws by approving CSIPS sight unseen.


After reviewing the pertinent state regulation (WAC 180-16-220) and the underlying law (RCW), it seems to me that, statutorily, the CSIP is nothing more than window dressing.

The Real Arnold said...

@JoanNE: "Turns out that any person who asks can get incredible amounts of information from the district. By law, the district has to provide public information to any person who requests it, 'without prejudice.'"

Not trying to be rude (Really!), but this info is well-known on this blog.

"If the information requested is public, and the "local agency" fails to provide it, then the agency is breaking the public disclosure law. I don't know if such act is criminal or has a penalty."

It is NOT a criminal violation. See RCW Chapter 9A for criminal statutes. According to the Attorney General's website at http://www.atg.wa.gov/OpenGovernment/InternetManual/Chapter1.aspx , you can file suit to force disclosure if your request is denied (See RCW 42.56.550). See that same law for penalties if you prevail against a public agency for disclosure. You might also want to Google a man by the name of Armen Yousoufian.

At the district you make public records requests through Joy Stevens in the district's legal department.

RCW 9A.76.175
Making a false or misleading statement to a public servant. "A person who knowingly makes a false or misleading material statement to a public servant is guilty of a gross misdemeanor. 'Material statement' means a written or oral statement reasonably likely to be relied upon by a public servant in the discharge of his or her official powers or duties."

Have fun!

Charlie Mas said...

While it is true that the Board can accept the CAO's claim that the CSIPs are complete and compliant, for them to do so without making any effort to confirm the fact constitutes an arbitrary and capricious decision - particularly after they have been informed that the CSIPs are not complete.

The Board has no specific duty to review the CSIPs, but they have a standing duty to corroborate and confirm statements - particularly those they attest to be true.

Seattle Parent said...

Joan,
One important point you missed about the Appendix details on the 17%:

It clearly states "Credit requirements" for a 4 yr. college in the Appendix (and in another PowerPoint presented to the Board it even more specifically states on the Goals Table, "Graduates meeting 4-year COLLEGE ENTRANCE reqs."

So, very clearly the District was representing the 17% as those graduates meeting existing Credit and Entrance requirements for college, pure & simple, no matter how else they now try to spin it (and Brad should be responsible directly for that).

BUT- here's the problem-
In the Appendix, not only does the District use their own higher "B" average requirement, rather than the HECB's "C" requirement, the Appendix's number of credits required by the HECB are wrong---The HECB at that time (and still now) requires only 3 credits in math and 2 in science, but the Appendix states incorrectly 4 math & 3 science. The district used this mistake (along with the higher B ave.) to incorrectly arrive at the 17%.

At some point, when Brad & the District admit and recognized the 17% was off, someone must have found these errors (intentional or not), but instead of fessing up, they came up with the completely bogus self-proclamed we originally used a "very aggressive standard" of those HS graduates ready "to be admitted and succeed in college."

Those statements are a complete cover-up and smoke job and should not be excused.

Joan NE said...

Sea-Parent,

Thank you for explaining what this phrase meant: "HECB requirements are forward looking (to 2012)"

I didn't understand the significance until now.

Brad applied to class of 2007 HECB standards that wouldn't apply for any graduating class prior to 2012.

So now it is clear to me that Brad chose standards that were inappropriately high, that would bias the result downward. This decision of Brad's was wrong, regardless of the independent problem that somebody as yet unidentified decided to mislabel Brad's statistic in the Strat Plan.

I wonder how much of a difference this conscious choice made to the results - what if Brad had done exactly the same analysis except that he used instead the contemporaneous HECB standards. I suspect his choice to use the inappropriate standards contributed very strongly to the 30-point discrepancy between the two results (17 vs 47).

Dorothy Neville said...

"Brad applied to class of 2007 HECB standards that wouldn't apply for any graduating class prior to 2012."

But Joan, there are two issues, one is the applying future standards but the other is even more mindboggling. Read the 2012 standards and Brad's metric is NOT the 2012 standards. His metric is beyond the standard in both number of math and science credits AND in the GPA.

Joan NE said...

Thanks Dorothy. So know I know that Brad does have major culpability. But so do thedistrict employees that (a) decided to use Brad's stat inappropriately in the StratPlan, and (b)used Brad's statistic to influence the Board and other public officials.

If I were Brad and certain other folks, I would be worried about criminal charges.

I doubt this Board will take appropriate action.

I hope that lack of appropriate action comes back to bite the incumbents that might seek re-election next year.

Seattle Parent said...

Joan NE says, "Brad applied to class of 2007 HECB standards that wouldn't apply for any graduating class prior to 2012."

No, Brad did not use the actual 2012 HECB requirements (i.e. 3 math credits, 2 science & a "C" GPA)- he upped the bar to a "B" and mis-represented the HECB min. credits at 4 math & 3 science. That is my point, even though the Appendix seems to mistakenly imply that those higher standards are the actual 2012 HECB minimum requirents.

I would encourage anyone questioning what is given as a "fact" by the authorities (ie HECB minimum 2012 college entrance requirements) to always go the original source for verification (and I'm not talking about SPS' "The Source"!). It's the only way you can get the whole picture.

http://www.hecb.wa.gov/research/
issues/admissions.asp

Joan, you are assuming that the 2012 HECB entrance credit requirements have changed, but if you go to the HECB website you will see that the basic 15 HECB credit min. college entrance requirements requirements have not changed from those periods we are referring to (although there are minor changes like requiring both science credits to have a lab). There never has been a 4th math credit & 3rd science credit requirement, and is not in the 2012 plan either.

Joan- I do agree with most of your conclusion,
"So now it is clear to me that Brad chose standards that were inappropriately high, that would bias the result downward".
(but the standards used were ficticiously represented in the Appendix as being 2012 HECB standards).

I also agree with your statement completely, "So now I know that Brad does have major culpability."

Hope that makes sense? (and remember, go the the source!)

Seattle Parent said...

(I just wrote a reply to Joan which went into the black hole, so here is the shorter version)


Joan NE said,
"Brad applied to class of 2007 HECB standards that wouldn't apply for any graduating class prior to 2012.

So now it is clear to me that Brad chose standards that were inappropriately high, that would bias the result downward."

Joan- check the HECB website directly- the 15 credits for 2007 graduates and 2012 haven't changed (but rather minor revisions). The HECB standards used in the Appendix are simply incorrect (B ave. GPA, 4 math & 3 science credits), so Brad was making up fictious standards, not HECB 2012 standards.

I do agree with your conclusion, that the inappropriately high standards (if used specifically as HS graduates meeting the min. HECB college entrance requirements) did "bias the result downward."

Joan NE said...

Thank you Seattle Parent. You and Dorothy have made clear now that Brad made up ficticious standards. Thank you for checking the HECB standards. I just accepted them at face value, because I never supposed Brad would lie about them. I was mistaken to make that assumption.

I wonder what other lies Brad has created and the District has promulgated?

This is criminal activity, isn't it?

Why did Michael defend Brad? Maybe he doesn't fully understand what we on this blog have come to understand. But at least he is rightly pointing out that Brad isn't the only person in the District with dirty hands in this matter.

[A letter to Michael informing him of these facts is in order.]

While I hope that Brad (and others) suffer appropriate consequences, I feel sorry for Brad. He probably had a bright future.

I hope other district employees see the risk in following this superintendent's lead, and decide following her lead is not worth the risk.

I hope other Broad Residents see the risk in following the Broad's lead.

When people realize their actions could lead to criminal records, I bet they will straighten up.

dan dempsey said...

I find the biggest culpability is with Superintendents and CAOs who instigate these deceptive requests. Brad began Cherry-Picking data for the Everyday Math Proposal for Carla Santorno.

Our current Superintendent and CAO produced an incredibly inaccurate action report for the 2-3-10 NTN contract vote. The Action Report did not match the included NTN Contract additionally the action report contained numerous false statements as well.

Among the false statements was graduation rate at NT Sacramento, which Director Sundquist chose to promote after his visit with "Students are apparently graduating at a high rate". Action Report used on 2-3-10 said 98% graduation rate but Directors were sent CA DOE information documenting that the actual cohort graduation rates were 37% and 44% for the two NT Sacramento classes that had graduated. 37% and 44%, two numbers Director Sundquist chose to ignore. He chose to tell the public about "apparently high graduation rates" rather than actual verified cohort graduation rates.

WOW!!! Is this our next School Board president? What a combo he will make with MGJ.


In response to NTN appeal filing in Superior Court on 3-5 the Superintendent and CAO responded with a fraudulent Action Report on 3-12. Then in May the District submitted an evidence filing which included a 1-29-2010 "draft" memo masquerading as the original memo sent to the Board on which the Action Report was supposedly based and the CAO signed the filing submission to the court.

In the production of the 3-12-10 NTN action report the Superintendent and CAO were apparently involved in the Class C felony of forgery. MGJ fails to do job on regular basis. Not only do with the 17% fiasco ..... Now we have the 66% fiasco.

When it is NOT possible to meet the goals of the Strategic Plan, "NO Problem" make up 66% a new way to look at "students making progress", which has nothing to do with students making progress but claims to do so. Misleading the Public and Public Officials has become a regular occurrence for the SPS Superintendent.

Here is my "first draft" of Board Testimony for Wednesday Dec 8.

Note:
There are two contracts being pushed through on Dec. 8 with a one meeting intro/action in violation of Bylaw B45.00. ... just another typical action from MGJ.