I spoke to someone last night and it reminded me of one of my greatest frustrations with Seattle Public Schools.
I have been a school district activist for about 11 years. For all of that time the District's stated number one goal and priority has been to close the Academic Achievement Gap. Ask anyone in the district leadership what their primary goal or highest priority is and that will be named.
So where is the plan to achieve that goal? There is none. They have never made one.
What kind of organization - business, sports, government, non-profit, cultural, whatever - sets a goal, swears commitment to that goal, but never makes any kind of plan to achieve it? That's simply not credible.
If the District were ever to write a plan to close the Academic Achievement Gap, they would do it by bringing every student up to Standards. And the only reasonable way to do that would be to identify every student who was working below Standards and give them the support they need to reach Standards. Yet, astonishingly, Seattle Public Schools doesn't do that. Why not?
Why doesn't the community get in front of these people every day and demand that they develop and implement a plan to close the Academic Achievement Gap? If this is the District's highest priority, then why is it the first thing the District cuts from the budget? Summer school - cut. Elementary school counselors - cut. Interventions - never funded in the first place. Required interventions for struggling students - cut from the promotion/retention policy.
We don't have a district-wide assurance of early and effective interventions for students working below grade level. How can that be? What could possibly be a higher priority than that?
Calls for a specific plan to close the gap and calls for interventions needs a permanent spot at the top of the list of all of our demands.