Thursday, December 16, 2010

Local Education News

First up, Bridget Chandler, the head of Communications for SPS, has resigned to take over as CEO of the Central Puget Sound Council Campfire group. This is effective Jan 3. 2011. Bridget always struck me as pretty smart so naturally I had to wonder how much she could take at SPS. (I'm thinking the next 6 months could see many central administration figures leave.)

Second, guess who was in town today (and shhh, was it state secret or something)? Michelle Rhee. Yes, over at LEV, they mention she visited and...

Rhee spoke to a diverse audience of parents, teachers, principals and other education advocates about a new initiative she founded to drive reforms and improve student achievement in education.

Rhee will continue her listening tour tonight in Seattle with students and parents.

Really? I wonder who those teachers and principals could be given it was a school day. Or who she is talking to tonight. Weird how LEV heavily promotes every event and yet this one comes up the day it happens and no explanation of who she spoke to or where.

Something to find out.

41 comments:

Trish Dziko said...

This was not organized by LEV, but by a student leadership group (whose name escapes me right now). That is why LEV did not announce where--it wasn't their gig and it was by invitation only.

The people Michelle Rhee spoke to were students from the leadership group (about 90% kids of color) and later to parents and org leaders--mostly parents though. It was held at the Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club.

She was there to listen and to support parents & kids. The stories from parents were poinent (some a bit long). That was all. She spoke very little. I for one was happy she came because it seemed to be the galvanizing moment parents in the SE needed.

Seattle-Ed2010 said...

In other local ed news, SPS confirms that Brad Bernatek has resigned.

--sp.

dan dempsey said...

Trish,

Thanks for the update.

One question:

"I for one was happy she came because it seemed to be the galvanizing moment parents in the SE needed."

Galvanizing in what way, to do what?

There sure is plenty to do and get galvanized about.

-- Dan

seattle citizen said...

Trish, according to the LEV blog, Rhee didn't just meet students and others at Rainier Vista. Rhee "stopped by the League of Education Voters’ office to speak with education advocates.
Rhee spoke to a diverse audience of parents, teachers, principals and other education advocates about StudentsFirst, a new initiative she founded to drive reforms and improve student achievement in education."

Maybe a group invited Rhee to Rainier Vista, but LEV certainly must have invited Rhee to stop by their offices to speak with "a diverse audience of parents, teachers, principals and other education advocates." Or did Rhee just stop by on her own, and the aforementioned people were just hanging out at LEV? Obviously she was invited to LEV, but WE weren't. Aren't we parent, teacher, principal and education advocate enough for LEV or Rhee?

Maybe we're the wrong kind.

The picture on the LEV blog about this shows Rhee with a bunch of "white" women, interestingly. Not a "person of color" among 'em. Hmmm. So Rhee spoke to the white, liberal money movers, then went down to speak to "90% kids of color" down at Rainier Vista?

Has anyone read Tom Wolfe's Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers? A good read about post-Watts race politics that I was reminded of by the LEV blog post.

Trish Dziko said...

Dan, many of the parents seemed to be at a loss as to how to get noticed in their schools, get meeting with teachers, be seen as relevant by administrators at their schools, etc. The stories seem similar on nature and once everyone realized it and Michelle basically said she's not the one to fix it for them, a few lightbulbs went on.

The other thing that felt reassuring that working together is possible was knowing there would be support by folks in other places who've been down that road. In addition, Michelle indicated her org would help if asked.

I think it was a good night.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thanks for the update, Trish. Okay, but who were the teachers and the principals mentioned?

Seattle Citizen, I think you're being a little hard on Trish and LEV. If Michelle Rhee wants a low-key visit to Seattle, that's her thing. I do think that she probably met quietly with other people.

wseadawg said...

Rhee's in town? Did she fly in on her broom?

dan dempsey said...

Trish,

I sure hear that frustration of parents about their invisible stature. I think that various organizations have dropped the ball on their issues. (Those organizations I will not name.)

It does appear that there may be an organized resistance to the lack of service provided to SE by the District.

The 88 page Board Work session update on the Strategic Plan (12-15-10) formally revealed discouraging information about the SEI. Information of which most close followers were already aware. So does the Board even care about any of the following?

1.. The poorly Money spent for no results.

2.. A "Disorganized Plan", with poorly devised and inconsistent, poorly communicated goals.

3.. No construction of rubrics for the "promised" annual evaluations that never happened.

4.. No "promised" summative evaluation after the end of SEI on August 31, 2010

5.. Failure on the part of the Administration to read their own documents. The SEI ended 8-31-10 but the Superintendent seems to think it is continuing. Where is the documentation that the SEI was extended after 8-31-10?

It will be most encouraging if SE parents organize to let the District know this is completely unacceptable. If those parents and others in SE do organize, they certainly deserve the support of others.

-- Dan

wseadawg said...

On a more serious note, I cannot conceive of a more divisive, polarizing figure within the Education Reform Movement than Michelle Rhee.

I notice she's peddling a more respectful, softer image these days after DC voters turned her boss, Mayor Adrian Fenty, out of office, largely because of Rhee's unpopularity. She's even going lighter on Teachers Unions, if you can believe it!

Unfortunately, I don't buy an ounce of her trite "all about the students" BS. She wants things her way, period, and when faced with the prospect of having to work with a Mayor who didn't buy into 100% of what she wanted, she up and quit. Such rigidity, inflexibility, and hubris are not what we need more of in Seattle.

Sorry Trish. Sorry LEV. Rhee is radioactive for a reason. I'm tired of people like her learning the ropes and the truth the hard way, on the taxpayers' dime and at the expense of the community.

To me, Rhee epitomizes everything that is wrong with Education Reform in this country.

Data Debacle said...

Incorrect SPS data hits the news.

http://www.ballardnewstribune.com/2010/12/13/news/errors-seattle-school-board-statistics-hurt-balla

Dora Taylor said...

All Rhee wants now is the money.

She's started this new organization and has established a goal of bringing in so many millions of dollars the first year.

Michelle Rhee was booted out of DC because she dissed teachers, most of them minority teachers who take pride in what they do and the community stands by them.

She knows nothing about education. She did a quick tour with TFA and went on from there eventually becoming Eli Broad's darling.

I'd call what she did with the students today a photo op and nothing more.

There is a group that has formed called Parents Across America, Seattle and we invite all parents to join from all neighborhoods and communities.

We want to discuss our issues and find our common ground. I know that we all want the same thing for our children.

Rhee isn't going to do anything for those students but we can help as a united front.

Our question has been how do we do that? Literally. Do we just call the PTA President and say, "Hey, we would like to meet with you and see what we have in common and see how we can support each other?"

I and others are open to suggestions.

Forget Rhee, she's not going to do anything for us, we have to do it ourselves.

If you want to know more about Ms. Rhee, go to the Seattle Ed website and scroll down the right hand column to Michelle Rhee and read all about her.

And wseadawg, she does have a broom, she had it with her on the cover of Newsweek.

Dora Taylor said...

Data Debacle,

Looks like DeBell will continue regretting allowing the %17 to echo throughout Seattle without him demanding answers to his question.

It does seem, though, that it's his M.O. Ask a question and then not really demand an answer.

He did that when questioning the rif's. He asked the question, never got an answer so he didn't ask the question again.

It's his own d----- fault that he has pie on his face now.

Trish Dziko said...

Melissa I'm not sure who the teachers were. That must have happened earlier in the day.

dan dempsey said...

Speaking of "Pie on Face"
What was the vote on extending the Supe's contract?

I remember 5-2, is that correct?

With perhaps Patu and KSB voting no.

Have I got that correct?

dan dempsey said...

In Breaking Local NEWS !!!

The "Teach for America" approval by the Board is being appealed today.

Info HERE

seattle citizen said...

Melissa, I'm not trying to be hard on Trish. LEV, however...

Trish said it wasn't LEV's gig. Well, that just doesn't wash with me. LEV is connecting to ALL the players in the Reform squad, and it just doesn't seem plausible that Rhee happened to be in town. Rhee met with a bunch of people at LEV, by invite. Well, who invited people to this? Rhee? A4E?

My point about not being invited, boo hoo, was that the "parents, teachers, principals" etc that LEV (and Rhee, probably) wants to talk to are not those with opposing views. All these Reform groups say they've got support around the city, like OSC does, but I notice it's not in most of the city, but only some parts. It's cherry picked.

Charlie Mas said...

The District seems to have a lot of trouble keeping a Communications person. What's up with that?

I think it must be a tough job, to be in charge of communications for an organization that needs to do it, acknowledges that they need to do it, pledges to do it, and then, when the time comes, refuses to do it.

Also, it must be frustrating to be expert at something, be hired to do it, then be denied the opportunity to do it, then watch everyone else screw it up so badly.

Does anyone believe, even for a moment, that a communications person wrote that atrocious letter of explanation (it was not an apology) about the 17% lie? No way. Anyone - ANYONE - who works in communications would have written a real apology without excuses in plain English on one page.

Trish Dziko said...

Seattle Citzen I'm not sure how to clear this up any further. You seem he'll bent on blaming LEV for something they didn't arrange in the first place. The youth leadership group was also a maior part of the Seeds of Compassion event so they apparently had the connections to get Rhee here. Once she was here other folks were given an opportunity to meet with her.

I am a member of the LEV board and we didn't get notice of Rhee's potential visit to the offices until Wednesday. I had been invited to the youth lead event over a week ago.

That's really how it all happened.

dan dempsey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dan dempsey said...

Charlie,

Exactly. It could well be that a communications person can recognize deception, fraud, perjury, etc. and not wish to be an accomplice. Perhaps that is why MGJ seems to be doing more of her own communications work.

Oh yes speaking of skullduggery. The Huff Post has an article, which those of us in Seattle would have titled "More about the motive for buying MAP testing."

Gates' Evidence versus Gates' Spin

Here is my take on VAM: Value Added Growth Modeling.

Some of the same folks appealing the Board's "Teach for America" approval today, were responsible for appealing the Board's NWEA/MAP approval.

MGJ and her always compliant Board need to realize "We have not yet begun to fight" ... They ain't seen nothin' yet.

If the Board wants to be involved in less legal action, both appeals and recall sufficiency hearings, it will need to:

1.. Intelligently apply evidence to decision making.

2.. Stop stretching the truth.

3.. Stop rubber-stamping and actually honestly evaluate proposals.

4.. Have the Superintendent investigated for gross misdemeanors and a felony. If she teamed up with the CAO to forge the 3-12-2010 NTN Action Report, is that conspiracy as well? If so add that in the request for an investigation.

5.. If Brad Bernetek resigned over 17%-gate, then the Board needs to have MGJ resign as well or fire her with cause as the Board now has a multitude of causes for firing her.

6.. Each Board member needs to explain why not calling for an investigation into the many likely illegal acts committed by MGJ is not a violation of their oath of office as taken by each school director. .... A good place for that explanation will be at a superior court recall sufficiency hearing. One violation of oath of office is sufficient cause for recall. How can this failure to act in the best interests of the District not be intentional? Likely Judge Inveen can tell us why around the end of January as the hearing is scheduled about 30 days after the filing, which seeks the recall and discharge of an elected official.

seattle citizen said...

Thanks for the clarification, Trish. The LEV blog indicates that Rhee met with "parents, teachers, principals and other education advocates" at their offices, so I assumed that Rhee had been invited to speak at LEV, and that the above-mentioned people had been invited to LEV to hear her.

No matter, my point is that Rhee was in town, met with the group at Rainier Vista, met with LEV...To me, it just seems like more of the same faux-grass roots: Some small amount of people meet, behind closed doors, then announce that "parents, teachers, etc" support this or that, that there is great demand, etc etc.

Maybe I'm just reacting viscerally to Rhee, who strikes me as an opportunist.

Sahila said...

Seattle Parents and Community Groups will today file a lawsuit to stop the Seattle Public School District from bringing Teach for America recruits to the city's most disadvantaged children.

Appellants argue that the School Board's vote to allow Teach for America recruits in the District's lowest performing schools violates federal law, in that minority, high poverty children will not be given equal access to "highly qualified" teachers.

Appellants also argue that the School Board, knowing this, then violated Washington regulations by voting to approve the introduction of Teach for America recruits into city schools.

The law suit will be filed at the King Country Courthouse at 11am, Friday 18th December 2010.


Details:
Appellants are:
Joan Sias (SPS parent)
Cecilia Palao-Vargas (SPS parent),
the Seattle Shadow School Board and
Parents Across America - Seattle.

1. Appellant Seattle Shadow School Board (S3B) is an organization made up of parents and community members that advocates for the School Board to better represent the values and priorities of the community in general, and the parents of SPS students in particular, and for teacher quality and equitable distribution of highly qualified teachers.

2. Appellant Parents Across America – Seattle (PAA-S) is an affiliate of Parents Across America, a national non-profit corporation which is not owned by any parent corporation. PAA-S is an organization made up of parent, community members, teachers, and former teachers that advocates to improve the representation of parent/community views in public education and for teacher quality and equitable distribution of highly qualified teachers

3. Appellant Joan Sias is secretary of S3B, and is mother of two children who attend Seattle Public Schools. She cares deeply that all children, not just her own, and especially minority and low-income children, have access to high quality public schools with well-qualified full certified, experienced teachers.

4. Appellant Cecilia Palao-Vargos is the mother of a disabled child attending Seattle Public Schools. She works to preserve highly qualified special educators for children with special needs.
Defendents are the six Seattle Public School Board members who voted to waive SPS procurement procedures, and to approve a personal services agreement (PSA) with Teach For America,

Teach for America, Incorporated (TFA) seeks to create an alternative certification pathway program and placements for its recruits in the Puget Sound Region.

When a TFA intern is placed in a school as teacher of record, the individual is also concurrently enrolled in a teacher preparation program.

The expectation is that this individual will be issued a limited conditional certificate, and work for two years as a teacher of record while they make progress on a two-year teacher preparation program. These teachers will not qualify for a full State certificate until completion of the program

SPS seeks to place TFA teachers in high-poverty schools that receive Title I funds. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation requires that all teachers in Title I schools be "highly qualified" and hold full State certification.

A recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling found that teacher interns without a full State certificate are not "highly qualified" under NCLB. The Court invalidated the U.S. Department of Education regulation that conflicted with the "plain language" Congress included in NCLB. The Court held that high-poverty children in Title I schools were harmed by the disproportionate share of inexperienced novice teachers.

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

What would you have liked to see Rhee do, SC? Would she have been able to do anything in her one day here that would have pleased you?

I'm glad she was able to meet with students from a LEADERSHIP group at Rainier Vista (of which 90% were kids of color). I think that was a good use of her time.

Despite your loathe of private funding and charters, SC, the fact is that south end schools are not meeting the needs of their students, by far. The schools are allowed to limp along year, after year, after year. And SPS has not been able, or willing to do anything about it. Sure, they will throw a bone every once in awhile, like they did with the SE Initiative, which unfortunately was a complete waste of tax payer dollars, and resulted in little, if any, improvement in the schools.

South end families have tried to work with the district for years. but they have not had any success. At all. Their kids remain stuck in some of the lowest performing schools in the entire state.

How long should those families be expected to hang on and wait?

While the district does nothing, and remains unresponsive?

Nothing is improving at Aki, RBHS, Emerson, Dunlap, Dearborn Park, or Highland Park. And I don't expect that it will while being managed by SPS.

I can't blame families for giving up on, and losing faith in the district. I can't blame them for turning toward Rhee, charters, TAF, or any other life rafts that they can find.

Can you?

Curious for Campfire said...

Only one of the two News Items seems to be getting any discussion. What about:

First up, Bridget Chandler, the head of Communications for SPS, has resigned to take over as CEO of the Central Puget Sound Council Campfire group. This is effective Jan 3. 2011. Bridget always struck me as pretty smart ...

Any other thoughts or comments about Ms. Chandler? What kind of CEO is PSC Campfire getting?

Michael Rice said...

Hello

Ms. Dzyko writes:

Dan, many of the parents seemed to be at a loss as to how to get noticed in their schools, get meeting with teachers, be seen as relevant by administrators at their schools, etc. The stories seem similar on nature and once everyone realized it and Michelle basically said she's not the one to fix it for them, a few lightbulbs went on.

As many of you know, I teach mathematics at Rainier Beach High School. I have very little parent contact every year. It is not for a lack of trying. When I want to contact a parent, I go to Esis to look up a phone number or e-mail address, and most of the time, what I get is a disconnected phone number, bounced back e-mail and an incorrect address. Parents feel invisible? Well, become visible! Act like you care about your child and at least have up to date contact imformation. I have had many unpleasant meetings in June when parents finally start to be interested and come to school and act like it is my fault their child is failing my class and is not going to graduate. When I mention, the unupdated contact information, the parents act like I should somehow know their new address and number.

I am including a link to some articles I have recently read that talks about what the responsibilites of the student, teacher and parent are. I think we can all learn a great deal from them. Make sure you go read all three posts.

http://tweenteacher.com/2010/12/03/the-equation-of-student-success-webquest-top-10-responsibilities-of-teachers-to-avoid-student-failure/

Please know that I (and the great majority of teachers) are upholding our end of the bargain. I don't really think it is too much to ask the parents and the students to uphold their ends.

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

Michael, as a teacher it must be extremely frustrating to do all that you do, try so hard with these children and then reach out to their parents only to hit a wall. And, you are absolutely right - parents have a responsibility to be involved in their children's educations. Their involvement is the number one factor in their childen's success. And yet so many parents fall short in this area.

Teachers are my heroes. My kids teachers stay for hours after the school day ends to help kids that need and want help. They answer my emails and calls late at night and on weekends. They encourage my kids! And I am in awe of them.

However, as great as our teachers are, they can't make up for a failing system. And a dysfunctional district whose priorities are ass ways backwards. No matter how hard they work, and try.

We need more support and programs for struggling students. We need to replicate what other districts, like Renton, have been doing successfully to improve their schools and graduation rates. We need more remedial classes. More programs like AVID (in every school) that support kids who are not doing well academically, but who have the capability. We need extended days, and an extended school year for struggling students. We need smaller class sizes. We need our college counselors back.

Until SPS begins to create a support system, and has an intervention plan, for struggling students, teachers don't have a fighting chance, despite their best efforts, of turning a school around.

Just my opinion.

And keep up the good work Michael!

agibean said...

I'm sure it must be really frustrating, Michael, but you need to look beyond blaming at least some of the parents on lack of updated contact information. When your phone is shut off because you had to choose between groceries or rent that month or a phone, it's going to be out of service. When your landlord decides to sell your building and gives not much notice to move out, updating your email address, if you have access to a computer, is going to be low on your priority list. If you don't speak more than a few words of English, keeping your kid's school updated isn't going to be all that easy.You need to go through one of your kids, or a friend, or your religious leader or, or, or...

Please try to keep in mind that not all the unreachable parents are deliberately blowing you off. The examples I just gave are real life examples from just a couple of families I know. I know a pastor who is the contact for all the schools a refugee family's kids attend. Their teachers know to call her, not the family home, which is often without a phone.

So I can see why many parents aren't right there in the school as often as you'd like. And I can see why they'd feel invisible. Sure they need to get involved, even if they don't have a phone or are moving homes often. But you know, it's not always that simple.

wseadawg said...

Seattle: Everything you ask for is exactly what you should be getting from SPS. The district is failing you, right? But you're advocating the same district make wholesale changes like Charters, etc.? It's the same folks at SPS who are screwing the SE schools right now who will be jettisoning you into the hands of a charter franchise where you'll have even less of a voice. How does a model that sees 50% attrition rates between 6th and 8th grades "improve" things in the SE?

And let's acknowledge what we know: The district fails everyone except their private benefactors.

All successful schools succeed in spite of the district, not because of it. And fighting for resources is an annual event. Removing counselors from a struggling community school is absolute cruelty and deliberate indifference.

What your area needs is financial support, resources, and then for SPS's hysterical, burdensome administration to get the hell out of your way, instead of throwing bone after bone like the SE Initiative.

Syd said...

seattle - I live in the SE Seattle. My kids attend SPS schools. I do want more for SE kids, but I am not asking for charters. I am fundamentally opposed to people making big money off of our children. And by the way, that's taxpayer money.

CCM said...

Agibean --

So if its not the parents' fault that a teacher can't reach them due to circumstances beyond their control -- does it then become 100% the teacher's fault that the student is failing?

Who is responsible at that point?

If parents are showing up angry at the end of the school year when their child is failing...seems they could have taken an interest before that point. They obviously care enough to be angry.

I agree with Michael that the student and parent has an equal responsibility on the path to student success.

I also agree that there are more roadblocks when parents and students are dealing with poverty.

I am thankful for the community members that step up to help those families that need it - like the pastor that you mentioned.

I don't think poverty can become an excuse for every parent that isn't taking responsibility for their student. The teacher is trying to help them by reaching out - there should be a hand on the other end most of the time.

Jan said...

wseadawg: maybe I am splitting hairs, but I agree with seattle's points on the following:

We need more support and programs for struggling students. We need to replicate what other districts, like Renton, have been doing successfully to improve their schools and graduation rates. We need more remedial classes. More programs like AVID (in every school) that support kids who are not doing well academically, but who have the capability. We need extended days, and an extended school year for struggling students. We need smaller class sizes. We need our college counselors back.

You can throw a lot of resources at a problem (and get out of the way) and not see much results -- unless you have a plan for making those resources count. But the details matter.

1. You don't get results unless you have correctly identified the problem. (If the problem is not really bad teachers, you will not fix it by firing a bunch of teachers).

2. You don't get results unless you have correctly identified one or more solutions that will really move the needle on that particular problem. (Even if the problem were bad teachers, if your solutions are (1) provide better support and (2) find and fire the bad ones, but you provide support that is not helpful or useful, or you have a system that fires the wrong teachers (or that is so arbitrary that really good teachers, with lots of options, choose other districts where they don't have to deal with such a bad system), you don't solve the problem.

3. You don't get results unless you actually implement, effectively, your solutions. Although you couldn't prove it by this District, coming up with a "plan" does NOT equal implementing it. They talk all the right buzz words to wow their benefactors -- but there is no there there.

We need to identify SE problems (and get it right), and then we need the kind of "pull together" effort that Everett and Renton have used to specifically devise effective solutions for those problems -- and then, we need to do it. Much harder than it sounds, but it is the only way up. Yes, it takes money, but it takes a whole lot more,

uxolo said...

Have you all seen this:

SEATTLE (AP) — Blaming teachers for low test scores, poor graduation rates and the other ills of American schools has been popular lately, but a new survey wags a finger closer to home.

An Associated Press-Stanford University Poll on education found that 68 percent of adults believe parents deserve heavy blame for what's wrong with the U.S. education system — more than teachers, school administrators, the government or teachers unions.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-ap-us-education-poll-blaming-parents,0,1949319.story

seattle citizen said...

CCM wrote,
"I am thankful for the community members that step up to help those families that need it - like the pastor that you mentioned."

Yes.

Some parent/guardians can't/won't be involved/connected. They might lack the skill (no offense), the physical connections (phone, for instance), the time (two jobs), or the fortitude (strength of character, selfishness that caused them to abrogate responsiblity,lose a job, get imprisoned, stay addicted, or otherwise lose the ability to be involved in their child's upbringing.)

Some teachers can't/won't get involved or connected in their student's outside life, outside the school - contacting parent/guardians, having an idea of the cultural milieu the student experiences, etc. The teacher might not have a physical connection (no phone, no address to contact. They might not have the language skills to commnicate with those that speak the myraid languages. They might not have time. They might not have fortitude (coasting, phoning it in, tired after long hours, lazy, addicted, foreclosed on...and all the myraid stresses parent/guardians have.

These lack of connections are in effect at all student levels - Students struggling with a particular subject, students excelling and needing to move up somehow, those with language barriers, special needs, etc.

So we should be especially thankful for those, like the pastor, can serve as a middleman, a connector. Otherwise, what else is there?

What else SHOULD there be? A system that serves this function, and the staffing (voluntary or FTE) to carry it out. This requires data tracking of the best kind: individualized, connected to outside stakeholders and the students' "real" life, able to identify staggerers and connect with the families (nuclear and foster), the community supports, the district's enormous array and diversity of internal supporters...

This is the key missing piece. Some of the district's afforts of late have, admirably, addressed this. The "dash board" was designed, partly, to help identify "outliers": absences, drops in grade, etc. This is helpful.

But the network that exists is frayed, internally. Loss of various FTE support staff, such as counselors, librarians, career, custodial, lunch room...heck, ANY loss of FTE is one less resources...

Charters are no panacea - They might be worse because they do not have access to the vast resources of SPS (whether those resources are effectively deployed is another discussion.) Green Dot will operate in a virtual vacuum, being by nature an independent entity.

BUT: A true community network is possible and really the only way to support ALL students: HSPE failers, HSPE passers, HSPE ace-ers, Special ed, distracted students, depressed students, homeless students who are at the 11th grade level as 6th graders...

This network, as represented by our wonderful (and lonely) pastor, is THE thing that will help graduate more students of all levels. Not ALL: That just won't happen - I know of three or four students in my immediate recall that are now dead or in prison, so they won't be graduating SPS. But maybe we can keep more from joining THAT sad roster, too.

seattle said...

"The district is failing you, right? But you're advocating the same district make wholesale changes like Charters, etc.? "

I've completely lost faith in SPS to make the changes necessary to improve struggling schools. It's been too many years of the same. Too many years of nothing. Maybe a privately run charter will do better? Maybe not. I'm not sure. What I am sure about is that SPS can't and won't do anything - so, yes, I'd be willing to give charters a try.

Melissa Westbrook said...

And Seattle, you may be right. If we had a very strict charter law and only proven charters could come in here, some SE schools just might do better. How it got to this point is the district's shame but if they won't do better, it's on them.

That said, I think some of this recent neglect is deliberate to move forward a national ed agenda.

seattle said...

"The "dash board" was designed, partly, to help identify "outliers": absences, drops in grade, etc. This is helpful."

What is the Dash Board SC? I haven't heard of that yet.

seattle citizen said...

Seattle,

In the spirit of my holiday declaration, I'm gonna let the comment that "SPS can't and won't do anything" slide! Happy holidays!

As to the dashboard, it is a computer program that presents a data picture of a given student to those with access: Principals, truancy officers, APs...not everybody.

One of its purposes is to allow the user to see trends and sudden changes in student data: Grades, tests, absences...It will also, itself, show the user, those students who have become "at risk" in these areas - it'll help the user see, easily, students whose data has changed or is tanking.

Pretty handy, if one believes the data therein. As long as it's not used as a stand-alone tracking device, I'm all for it. Data is squishy, and (gasp!) I'm not fond of test scores, and even grades are malleable of course....But trends, absences etc, are a way to do a quick check.

Seattle-Ed2010 said...

uxolo said...

Have you all seen this:

SEATTLE (AP) — Blaming teachers for low test scores, poor graduation rates and the other ills of American schools has been popular lately, but a new survey wags a finger closer to home.

An Associated Press-Stanford University Poll on education found that....


Yes, I have seen that (Gates-funded) poll and took a closer look at it the other day.

One fact that stood out for me is that 92 percent of the respondents had no school-age children, or children at all.

They were also predominantly white, Christian, and lived in rural or suburban areas.

Is this a representative sampling of the actual stakeholders of public education?

Yet this poll is being cited all over the place, unquestioningly, for its various findings and treated as the opinion of all Americans.

Another oddity of the poll: it uses the word "Negro" as one of its racial categories.

I'm not kidding.

See: New(ish) Stanford-AP-Gates survey asks white, Christian, rural and suburban non-parents about education. Huh?"

-- sue p.

wseadawg said...

Jan: I agree with you entirely. My larger point was that SPS administration's efforts in the SE have been nothing but top-down initiatives borrowed from other places like Denver, for example, and that's why "Seattle's" case is airtight that SPS has utterly failed the SE for over a decade.

Everett, Renton, and even Tukwila have figured out that struggling at-risk kids need people who care about them and who are tasked with following-up with those kids to keep them from falling through the cracks. And its working incredibly well.

Yet, in Seattle, what do we get? Large data warehouses where computers will send an alarm when a kid has two unexcused absences so an "intervention" can be ordered. (Hal, do you read me?)
And at about 20 times the cost of counselors. Great.

We'd do better to borrow and emulate what Renton and Everett are doing, rather than trying to impose a template on SE Seattle that has only provided mixed results, at best, in other states. But I won't hold my breath. I completely understand where "Seattle" is at, and I cannot blame he or she one bit.

I do wonder, as MW suggests, whether the most recent failings have been deliberately allowed to make Charters that much more appealing to SE parents? I wouldn't put anything past this district's administration.

And as for Rhee? After watching her recent appearance on CNN with Parker & Spitzer, I'd revise my earlier comments and call her a blatant lying, misleading, alarmist ideologue who cannot accept responsibility for her own failures, nor ever admit she's wrong about anything. She is terribly phony, habitually dishonest and insincere, and ultimately engaged in a PR Campaign to protect her "brand" as a tough new centurion Ed Reformer.

No wonder she stunk as a teacher! She never figured out that great teachers don't teach for the money, and that competition is the antithesis of collaboration. Ridiculous.