Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Open Thread Tuesday

I thought I would open it up in case anyone had attended the Curriculum and Instruction Committee meeting yesterday or Dr. Enfield's coffee chat this morning. 

24 comments:

Disappointed said...

I was pretty disappointed with the "coffee chat." It should have been called "networking opportunity for Seattle education groups."

The first two questions I got when I walked in the door were:
1) Did you RSVP?
2) What group are you with?

Not, "ARE you with a group," but "WHICH ONE are you with?" I wonder what was the breakdown of group members versus plain vanilla parents/community. I'll bet the parents were out numbered 3 to 1.

Maybe my expectations were off, especially since I hadn't noticed it was sponsored by A4E. I was expecting a 10-15 minute talk about her priorities, her strategies for improving public engagement and public trust, and areas where she felt public input would be especially valuable. But, we didn't get any of that. We got a story about her grandma and a kudos to everyone for being there and networking.

IMHO, it wasn't public engagement, it was a forum for lobbying. I wish I could have that hour of my life back.

But, I did have a brief conversation with Chuck from A4E, who expressed his deep sadness that MGJ and Kennedy are no longer with us.

Charlie Mas said...

What a grave, grave disappointment.

This is what happens when you abdicate your community engagement to the Alliance for Education, an organization that is generally opposed to authentic community engagement.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Now I wish I had gone.

Po3 said...

SPS has become a PR spin machine and it is taking away from the real works that needs to be done, educating children.

Mum o 2 said...

Reading these comments I feel a little better. I attended this am and was expecting a format similar to our school's Principal's Coffees. I was there early and chatted with Ms Enfield right away. I didn't realize that was my chance to bend her ear!
So yes. Kindof a wasted hour.
She did impress me by immediately recognizing my sons school and assuring me that our recent high turnover rate on principal would cease - well that she hoped it would cease.

Feel like vomiting said...

Did anyone ask for a forensic audit of HQ operations and finance?

A4E's comment sickens me. Did anyone notice lack of fiscal responsibility?

Charlie Mas said...

If you attended this event and you were disappointed with the format and function, then you should write to both the Board and the superintendent and express your disappointment to them.

Be specific. Say what you expected and why you expected it. Say what you experienced. Say why and how you were disappointed, and suggest ways that the format and function of these events can be corrected in the future.

Be sure to include your view of the role fulfilled by the Alliance for Education.

Charlie Mas said...

Here is how the "Coffee with the Superintendent" events were described in the Priorities document:

"I commit to meeting with, and listening to, students, staff, principals, families, School Board members, elected leaders and our community. Listed below are just some of the upcoming opportunities for all of us to engage in conversations to make sure every student receives an excellent education." (emphasis added)

Did she use this as an opportunity to listen? Were there conversations?

Disappointed said...

I would say it provided "opportunities for all of us to engage in conversations" - it seemed to be a great networking opportunity and a gathering of the education community as a whole. There were a lot of conversations going on, but I'm not familiar enough with the Seattle education crowd to assess how good the mingling was. It seemed to be productive. I think any of the regular contributors to this blog would have love it. It was kind of an education happy hour.

However, that's not why I was there. As for "meeting with, and listening to, students, staff, principals, families, School Board members, elected leaders and our community," my feeling was that, of the 50-70 people there, the education groups were overrepresented.

Like Mum02 said, there were good opportunities to talk with the superintendent on a 1-on-1 basis, which is great if you have a pet cause or specific question. But, I think that seems to be the point of the Thursday open-office hours. I was hoping this would be more of a group dialog/guided discussion about directions/priorities. Sure, this was an opportunity to get 2 minutes of the Super's ear, but it seems disconnected to me that one wouldn't know what the person before or after would say to her. A good warmup for speed dating.

And, I suppose, this was a giant leap for SPS engagement

By the way, Enfield also made a big point of saying she is going to clear up more room in her schedule for additional open office time.

Maggie Hooks said...

I wrote a longer comment and blogger ate it...

There were only 2 other people I met who identified themselves as parents. I spoke briefly with SE twice and felt she was engaged and respectful and seemed to take in what I was saying. I mingled to see who else was there and what they were up to. The low mark of my mingling was Jennifer Vranek from Education First. She scoffed at MGJ's dismissal as an overreaction and justified that assessment by pointing out that Olchefske "lost" more money. I have the impression she regularly scoffs at people who disagree with her. She and Linda Shaw seem quite chummy. Linda Shaw did not ask me any questions.

Jan said...

I wasn't there to be disappointed, so I guess I am still trying to be hopeful. It has been so long since there has been much engagement that it doesn't surprise me that not every meeting/engagement is successful. I agree with Charlie's suggestion -- give them feedback. Hopefully with some good stuff (not inauthentic icky stuff, but whatever good we see) along with suggestions for what might have improved it. Maybe, part of the problem with this morning's meeting was just labelling. If SE wanted a big "mixer" where various ed groups, parents, etc. could all get together and mingle in a semi structured way -- well, why not. But parents would have gone with different expectations and agendas (or not gone, if that isn't what they wanted).

Some "out there" are hopeless. Educating them and giving feedback is irrelevant, because they know exactly what they are doing, and exactly what they want, and they frankly aren't interested in listening to anyone or deviating from their plan (MGJ was clearly in this camp). Others, and I am hoping SE and at least 4 directors are in this crowd -- along with some of the ed reform peripherals who still genuinely want to help -- I think are willing to listen and learn from parents, taxpayers, "non-connected" folks, as long as we are constructive and direct about telling them what we want, how we perceive their efforts, etc.

Some downtown only want to talk to the special interest groups. Others, I suspect, have been in the habit of calling that "community engagement" so long that they truly don't see the difference.

Maureen said...

I would have gone if I knew all of the Ed Orgs would have reps there. I would have liked to hear them talk with each other. I got the impression it was just going to be the Alliance corraling parents past the Superintendent.

Were there people there from the city? I'm interested in the community schools initiative I believe they are backing. What about Seattle U and their work with Gatzert etc.? Were they represented?

kellie said...

I was there. It was a lot education groups but I also recognized over a dozen parents that I see regularly at district type meetings.

The format was a little strange as it really was quite cocktail hour mingling.

I was there very early so I got a full 5 minutes with Susan and I found it very much worth my time. I have met Susan about a dozen times and she always asks how my student is doing. I find that quite refreshing.

I am hopeful that this polite question is actually indicative of a focus on students because I find that she actually listens to my answer and my concerns about support making its way to the classroom.

FWIW, I did not RSVP and they let me in.

Bird said...

She scoffed at MGJ's dismissal as an overreaction and justified that assessment by pointing out that Olchefske "lost" more money.

I've heard this "logic" elsewhere as well -- as though 35 million is now the free ride limit.

Amusing. Appalling.

Charlie Mas said...

We really need to push back against the popular perception that Dr. Goodloe-Johnson was fired for the funds squandered by Mr. Potter and the RSBDP. That's not the case.

She was fired because she tried to cover it up. She was fired because it was the last in a long chain of lies and deceptions she had told the Board. The Board, sick of her constant stream of lies, realized that they no longer can any faith in anything she told them. They realized that the District could not function that way, so she had to go.

She wasn't fired for lax management and total failure of internal controls in a single program. She was fired for three years of lies and broken promises.

Anonymous said...

olschefke was in trouble for creative 'booking' of expenses vs. expenditures. the $35 mil was never there, which means it was never lost.
-just sayin'

Melissa Westbrook said...

I concur with Charlie and I will make time to make sure that any reports/articles/interviews about her firing are the complete picture. She needs to stand on her entire record and no revisionist history is going to stand. Not from Dr. Goodloe-Johnson, not from the Broad Foundation, no one. That some in Seattle are trying to peddle this is troubling (so soon after the fact). Individuals are certainly entitled to their opinions (as I am about Mr. Sisley) but organizations need to be more circumspect.

dan dempsey said...

Wednesday 9:30 AM Pierce County Superior Court Recall Sufficiency Hearing for Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn. The honorable Judge Beverly grant presiding.

The AG's Defense Brief and my response are at the bottom on this page.

Charlie Mas said...

Tom Payzant was trying to peddle the story that Dr. Goodloe-Johnson was fired for the frauds committed in the RSBDP. That was not the case. Not at all.

Don't ever, ever, ever let anyone spread that misconception.

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson was fired for a long train of lies and deceptions including (but not limited to):

* Only 17% of graduates college eligible

* Colorado Growth Model nonsense

* Number of teacher coaches

* Money spent on teacher coaches

* FTE cuts in central administration

* Certified letters sent to teachers

* Different budgets for the Board and the OSPI

* Community engagement activities

* Changes in the WSS

* Budgets for Strategic Plan initiatives

* Shifting capital budgets

* Savings from closures

* The need for closures

* Intentional overcrowding at Garfield

* APP split for no purpose

* NTN contract misrepresentations

* STEM budget

* Retirement party with carving station

* Capital projects out of control

* Popular opposition on a wide variety of fronts: math instruction, Ingraham, Denny/Sealth, teacher coaches, cuts to schools, and more

* 2009 Audit findings that were not addressed

* 2010 Audit finding surprises

* And much, much more

Think about this: six months after the audit findings were made public, the Board ordered the investigation into the RSBDP and asked the county prosecutor to investigate as well. Why didn't the superintendent do those things, and why didn't she do them before December? What steps - if any - did either the Superintendent or Mr. Kennedy take in the wake of the audit findings regarding the RSBDP? Other than talking about firing the internal auditor, what did they do? Nothing.

seattle citizen said...

Was doing some research on Marc Sternberg, a Deputy Supt of NYC who stiffed a charter that didn't want standardized tests and took KIPP instead for the school.

Found that Sternberg was TFA, no big surprise.

Also found he attended the New Schools Summit 2010 Participants List

It's the mother lode of Reformers, the people who are destroying public schools. Check it out, hunnerts and hunnerts of 'em...Yikes! This "Reform" thing is a big business, indeed.

Seattle-Ed2010 said...

I agree with Charlie that Pottergate was merely the final straw with Goodloe-Johnson.

Here are a few more reminders of Goodloe-Johnson's record in Seattle:

The True Legacy of Seattle’s Fired (Broad Academy) Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson

Ten + Reasons Why the Seattle Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Marie Goodloe-Johnson, Should Be Fired With Cause

“Fear of Reprisal” – the Poisonous Culture in the Seattle School District under Supt. Goodloe-Johnson

--Sue p.

Stu said...

Change of topic . . it is an open thread, after all.

Music Aid Northwest has come up with a fundraising program to fund music in the schools. They're trying to get a "Music Matters" license plate for Washington State, with all proceeds going to music education. It's a great way to raise funds WITHOUT additional taxes or levies. They need help getting the Senate to take it up -- it passed the house -- and have a web site at MusicPlates.org

stu

Dora Taylor said...

So the Alliance, instead of providing an honest and open opportunity for engagement with parents and Enfield, created a diffusion of ed reform nonsense to cloud Enfield's vision. I honestly thought that the Alliance would have learned some humility and honesty along the way but I was wrong.

Those folks backing the Alliance want one thing and one thing only, the privatization of our schools and a lot of profit to show for it.

They should be ashamed.

Lisa said...

Not sure if anyone is still reading this Open Thread, but I have a question about MSP testing. My 5th grade daughter brought home a practice test. In it was a story with questions to follow. The story was a "letter to the editor" by a student protesting the requirement to wear uniforms at her school. The question said: This story demonstrates that it is what's on the inside that counts, not what is on the outside. List two details that support this.

Problem is, in my daughter's opinion and mine, too, the story demonstrated the opposite of that statement. I think the RIGHT answer would be for her to challenge the question. But if the goal is to do well on the test, what is the best strategy? I told her what I thought was right, and how to suss out clues to what answer they are looking for even if she thinks the whole thing is bogus. Do you think she would get points for a non-bogus answer? How are these tests scored?