Monday, May 16, 2011

Kate Martin - Candidate in District II

Kate Martin has announced her candidacy for the School Board in District II. Sherry Carr currently occupies that seat.

Ms Martin is frequent commenter on this blog. She has been following the District closely for about six years.

You can read a large body of her work on Seattle schools and public education at www.theseattlejournal.com

From her press release:
Kate Martin would like to see the District do more of what works, less of what doesn't, and put more of its scarce resources directly in the classrooms rather than layers of administration, excessive high stakes standardized tests and other areas that do not benefit students. She would like to see the District engage proven strategies more and ideological aspirations less. She thinks that all students need and deserve a personal learning plan (Individualized Education Program) and that schools, students and their families need to build stronger relationships in order to collaborate and work from the same playbook to ensure student success. Martin is interested in seeing the City of Seattle and Seattle Public Schools expand their collaborative efforts to make facilities work harder and smarter year-round for the benefit of kids and communities and believes that all children need and deserve Safe Routes to Schools.

We welcome Ms Martin to the election and wish her well. She will have my support.

113 comments:

basically said...

Kate you are my district. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR RUNNING. I have had it with Carr. You have my support as well. I will put your sign in my yard, let us know when to get them! (planning ahead)

Greg Linden said...

Does she have a website yet? I couldn't seem to find one.

emeraldkity said...

I think Kate Martin will be fantastic.
I worked with her @ Summit K-12 for years & she is also an effective long time community activist in the Greenwood neighborhood.
She is smart, gutsy & her heart is in the right place.

Peon said...

Ms. Martin has been an activist in this district for a long time. And I agree with emeraldkity that Kate is gutsy and her heart is in the right place. She is very passionate and opinionated about many issues, and I applaud her for that.

While her strong opinions work well on the activist front, I'm not so sure that they will work well for her as a board director? She is so passionate and opinionated about what believes in that she can be very inflexible, and unable to consider other ideas, opinions, or differing views. I think that her strong opinions could get in the way of her doing her job as a board director, where her paramount duty would be to represent the views of her constituents - which may differ greatly from her own personal views. In a situation like that I am not confident that she would be able to set her own views aside to represent her community the way she should.

I'm not a huge fan of Carr's either. But I do think Carr has grown in the last year, and is finally finding her voice, and growing a back bone. And she has some on the job training now, which goes a long way (IMO). Unless another strong candidate decides to run, I'll be (reluctantly) supporting Carr.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"She is so passionate and opinionated about what believes in that she can be very inflexible, and unable to consider other ideas, opinions, or differing views."

Could you tell how you know this with such certainty?

Peon said...

This is just my opinion Melissa. Kate has been an activist for many years, and as such has been in the public eye. And I have personally had a couple of dealings with her. Others may have very different experiences and opinions than I, and I hope they will share too.

How about you Melissa? What do you think of Kate's candidacy?

Charlie Mas said...

I think that we can rely on Ms Martin, if elected, to conduct herself as a Director should. While activists are supposed to take a hard stand, Directors need to work more cooperatively within the system and accept compromises.

There is no reason to believe that she will behave the same in the Director role as she has behaved in the activist role, just as each of us behaves differently at home, at work, at church, at play, and in bars. We adjust our demeanor, actions, and communication style to match our various roles.

I have no doubt that Ms Martin will conduct herself appropriately as a Board Director.

I wish I could say the same for the current Board Directors.

Bruce Taylor said...

If it isn't a violation of etiquette, could I ask what handle Ms. Martin posts under on this board?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Kate, to her credit, posts under her own name.

mirmac1 said...

Kate,

You've got MY vote! I'll be sending you a check.

Peon said...

Have a look at this SSS post by Kate Martin, and make sure and read all of the comments. It gives a bit of insight on where I was coming from in my post above.

http://saveseattleschools.blogspo
t.com/2007/12/seattle-times
-letters-to-editor.html

Po3 said...

Two down, two to go! When is the filing deadline?

Joan NE said...

I have met Kate a few times, have exchanged information and opinions with her via email. I am very impressed with her. She thinks at lightning speed on her feet, a skill which is possibly an imperative in a public official. She analyzes data critically, bases her evalautions on the best data she is able to access, etc.

I am very impressed with her ability to integrate and synthesize large amounts of information to arrive at practical and research-based decisions.

I am certain she will not tolerate district officials using shoddy cherry picked research to support their recomendations.

I am very happy she has decided to run.

If we do not depose at least one of the four incumbents, the business backed block will maintain their hegemony, and continue to push through unpopular, counterproductive reforms that serve business interests more than children.

I am heartened by the Sacramento example. Through boots-on-the-ground grassroots organizing, parents there were able to overcome the business-backed incumbents. The new board voted to keep TFA out of Sacramento.

basically said...

Sorry Sherry Carr, you may have SLIGHTLY improved over the last 6 months, but it is too little, and about four years too late for me.

Jan said...

It is great to see a new candidate. Here are my thoughts:

1. On Sherry: I agree that there have been glimmers of change in Sherry's willingness to confront issues, push back against District recalcitrance, etc. But it has hardly been overwhelming, and the timing suggests that it may all be part of a reelection strategy, after which she will whip her rubber stamp back out and go back to sleep. Any support I could give Sherry's campaign would be very reluctant.

2. On Kate: from her statement, it seems to me that she has the issues nailed (I realize of course, this is entirely personal to me -- but I sure like her positions). Given that we KNOW Sherry can woefully underperform, I don't have any problem giving someone whose major reported failing seems to be that -- in a activist role -- she is passionate and can be stubborn -- a shot. I particularly like the possibility that a combination of intelligence, quick wit, and unhappiness with the status quo might lead to fewer meetings where the Board timidly swallows non-answers, or bad answers to questions, retreats lamblike at the first "I'll get back to you on that" response, with no follow through. And, I think if there was a little more line-in-the-sand drawing by ONE director, it might embolden DeBell to be more insistent on answers, results, etc. as well.

The Board demanded that the budget preserve as many resources as possible at the school level. Did it happen? No. Downtown just "reassigned" a bunch of coaches, who NEVER see kids, to schools, claimed they had cut 80 positions, a majority of the Board seems to have ignored Meg's evidence to the contrary, and on we go.

My biggest concern, frankly, is that I hate to lose a good activist, in order to get a better board member (this by the way is why I have never joined the chorus asking Melissa to run -- what she does is so valuable already. As for Charlie, I feel the same way, but the idea of a board member remembering the promises, and asking at each meeting how they were being fulfilled, and when, and what the community engagement had been, and how that had been reflected in the decisionmaking -- well, it was just too wonderful to contemplate, so I was (reluctantly) willing to see Charlie try to leave activist land for director land.)

At any rate, welcome to the fray, Kate -- and good luck. At this point, I don't know much, but based on what little I DO know, you have my support. I am thrilled that you are running!

Stu said...

I'm not a huge fan of Carr's either. But I do think Carr has grown in the last year

As evidenced by the rubber-stamping of everything that comes her way, regardless of the lack of REQUIRED public input.

I'm sorry, I'm tired of waiting for people to grow into a job that is so heavily invested in the day-to-day care of our students. Is she better than she was? She'd almost have to be. That said, that doesn't make her good at the job just comfortable in it.

Perhaps it'll take Ms. Martin some time to get her "sea legs" as well but at least she won't be starting from a position of "everything the staff says is true" and "wouldn't it be fun to reform everything for the sake of reform." Maybe a little obstinence would be good thing on the board. Maybe someone who'll say "I won't vote for something if you haven't presented the facts in the time necessary" before agreeing to everything would be a good thing for the district.

Ms. Martin has my respect and full support and, if we have any hope of stopping some of the "reform for reform sake" movement, we need to replace as many of the current directors as possible.

stu

mirmac1 said...

For you Facebookies, here's Kate's page:

For the rest of us squares, here's her website:

Maureen said...

I know that Charlie said before that Ms. Martin posts here under her own name, but I don't remember reading anything from her for years. Has she used a pseudonym more recently?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 1:28 --
From earlier statements Kate made on Kate has not been a supporter of advanced learning programs, based on comments she has made on this blog. She feels they they are racist and elitist.
-- APP parent

Peon said...
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Peon said...
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Dems fightin words said...

"We all know they'll do just fine."

Hopefully a Board member would support the learning of all students, including advanced learners.

Charlie Mas said...

I don't fear Board Directors who don't support Advanced Learning. I've never seen any other kind.

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Susan said...

AP should be open to all students who want it. If they can't meet the requirements then they suffere the consequences but they should all be given the chance. Nathan Hale, I believe allows everyone to try AP.

spsshare said...

Really disappointing to hear that from Kate Martin, especially the last part saying we should just leave affluent kids behind.

Public schools should be for all the children of Seattle. When you try to make it serve only the poor and say everyone else can go elsewhere, they do. That's why Seattle has one of the worst participation rates in public schools of any major city in the country. Only 70% of children in Seattle go to our public schools compared to the norm of 80-90%.

When you drive out the middle class, you drive out those with resources, and you doom the public schools to only hold those that have no choice and cannot escape. Wide participation in our public schools is necessary for their success.

Lori said...

"If the identification process is not improved to insure that students are properly included, the program will continue to skew toward students from higher income families. This is what needs to be fixed, not the desire to serve students who are advanced learners."

While MAP testing has many detractors, remember that the district is now using fall MAP scores to identify students for further testing who might not have been identified any other way. This is exactly what we should want: an objective tool to increase access to testing as opposed to the purely self-selected, opt-in system we have now.

I think it will be very interesting to see how many letters the district sends out recommending that families consider the fall testing, how many families take them up on the offer, and how many ultimately test into Spectrum or APP. I'm not sure we'll ever see those numbers as parents, but I do think it's great that the district is using objective data to try to cast a wider net for testing.

(that said, I'm completely opposed to using MAP as a barrier, which is also what they are doing, but that's another story)

Jan said...

I agree with Charlie. While I don't like Ms Martin's views on accelerated learning, I can't think of a time when it has enjoyed much support. If I could get her commitment to voting AGAINST all the strategic plan elements that merely dream up ways to siphon money from classrooms and into the pockets of consultants and coaches, and FOR voting for actual board governance and a smidge of community engagement, I can live with the APP/gifted disconnect.

Second, to Anonymous who posted the following:
"One interesting fact, 46% of all APP students this year were in the program after appealing the district process for inclusion. This means in most cases that their parents had the financial means to have them privately tested. There are many who do not. If the identification process is not improved to insure that students are properly included, the program will continue to skew toward students from higher income families. This is what needs to be fixed, not the desire to serve students who are advanced learners.

And for the record, I don't think students who are not properly challenged do "just fine". I think they frequently get bored and give up." [End of Anonymous's post]

1. If you are going to make good comments (and imo, these are, please please sign something at the bottom -- ANYthing -- Hickety Pickety My Black Hen will do nicely--so your thoughts don't get deleted.

2. You are right on both counts. The screening system that requires small, distractible kids to go sit in a big group test for 2 or 3 hours on a Saturday morning is very flawed, and misses a lot of kids (others are missed by the whole testing paradigm, but that is another, longer post). ONLY those who can then afford private one-on-one testing (which, by the way, is completely valid, assuming a reputable tester --and would also pick up lots of OTHER qualified kids, but they can't afford the tests) get an evaluation based on legitimate data. We owe our highly gifted kids much better than this.

2. And your 2nd point was also right on. There is LOTS of data suggesting very poor educational outcomes for highly gifted kids forced year after year into classes that do not meet their needs.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't there a poster by the name of "Kate Martin" that was banned from this blog because of imflammatory comments? Or was that a different "Kate"?

Just wondering

Anonymous said...

How many who will criticize Kate Martin for publicly stating something which they find uncomfortable - for what she says, or how she says it, or a combination of both -

how many of those critical of Kate Martin EVER say anything PUBLICLY which makes others uncomfortable, AND moves the debate?

how many of those critical of Kate Martin complain that public figures don't say anything meaningful and complain public figures are slick?

If you disagree with her, say why.

If the disagreement is too important to you, vote for which ever rubber stamp she's running against, or - run yourself?

She hit the nail on the head, and I'll check her name off on the ballot.

Be Honest,Be Bold - But Don't Upset Anyone!

Chris S. said...

We need a date on that Kate Martin letter. As I recall, it wasn't exactly yesterday. Perhaps before MGJ came to the district and declared war on the bright, unusual, and affluent. Not to mention everyone else.

Greg Linden said...

Maybe Kate Martin can clarify her comments and her position on APP, AP courses, and alternative schools in general. I wrote her an e-mail to ask her to elaborate.

Po3 said...

As a white affluent voter, it does not appear that Ms. Martin will represent my students on the board. And she cannot have my vote until she convinces me otherwise.

Anonymous said...

I actually read the SSS posting containg parts of Ms. Martin's letter and the comments posted about it. It was a good discussion, much of it centered on cognitive and achievement testing bias (meaning there are cultural and racial biases in the testing that affect kids of color, non-English speakers, and poor kids). I don't intend to rehash that debate, but in that context, I did not find Ms. Martin's comments that inflammatory. It is a controversial topic anyway.

I have worked with poor families in Alabama, coal-mining W. Virginia and now in South Seattle, and I can see where exposure to maintstream America, books, and the digital media would give some people an advantage in testing.

I am not a Ms. Martin supporter by the way. I am waiting to hear more from her directly before I decide who I will vote for.

A reader

Maureen said...

Has Sherry Carr ever gone on record as supportive of APP? (Not that I recall.) She may be, but just because someone doesn't address your issue, don't assume they support your point of view.

Peon said...
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Peon said...
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Peon said...

"Wasn't there a poster by the name of "Kate Martin" that was banned from this blog because of imflammatory comments? Or was that a different "Kate"?"

No, it wasn't this blog. It was the CPPS blog that she was banned from. While I don't like blogs that pick and choose who can post, or pick and choose what comments get posted, I must say that I understood why Ms. Martin was banned from the CPPS blog. She was extremely uncivil at times, very aggressive, and accusatory. Just not the type of person I would like to see representing me on the board. And that does't mean that I support Sherry Carr, as I'm not thrilled with her either (though I do think she has made some progress in the last year, and has some "experience" under her belt now). I sure hope there is a 3rd (or could I dream, 4th) candidate to consider!

Charlie Mas said...

Here's Sherry Carr's record on APP and advanced learning in general:

She voted to split elementary APP.

She has repeatedly approved the location of north-end elementary APP south of the Ship Canal.

She did nothing when the superintendent failed (refused) to keep the promises made to APP students and families at the time of the split.

She did nothing when the superintendent failed (refused) to review the Highly Capable Students Program policy as the Board voted to direct her to do on January 29, 2009.

She has allowed Spectrum capacity in the northeast to be too small to meet the demand.

She has allowed Spectrum programs in the southeast to be inequitable to programs in the north.

She has failed to enforce the Spectrum model or to direct the Superintendent to do so.

She has failed to require a report to the Board on the effectiveness of advanced learning programs (as required by policy).

She has allowed schools to maintain ALOs in name only to deceive families and dilute program effectiveness.

She has allowed Roosevelt to eliminate European History AP for sophomores.

She allowed the District to defer granting credit to students who took high school classes in middle school.

She has taken every step possible to weaken advanced learning and has never taken a single step to strengthen it. And she has done it all without ever once speaking about any of it. She resolutely has no opinion about advanced learning.

I would rather have an opponent who can articulate their opposition than someone who claims to be a friend, acts like an enemy, and never explains anything.

Charlie Mas said...

This blog, to the best of my knowledge, has never banned anyone.

We couldn't. They would always have the option of commenting anonymously with a new psuedonym.

Anonymous said...

Yeah! That's right. They could always comment anonymously with an assumed name.

- Also Charlie Mas

Melissa Westbrook said...

Susan, AP is not APP. AP is Advanced Placement courses and those courses are available to all students at all high schools.

To the best of my knowledge, we have never banned anyone from this blog.

I'm with Charlie; I've never seen any Board member advocate in any real way for Advanced Learning. While I wouldn't agree with Kate on that point, I would also state I don't agree with any Board member on all points.

Anonymous said...
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mirmac1 said...

I would agree with Kate on that point. Namely, as a "high achiever" before there was APP and strictly middle-class, I somehow found a way through SPS into Ivy League.

I've spent thousands on my child's private testing; not for APP, but for special education. Not many could swing that and a mortgage at the same time.

I believe that exclusion for APP and Spectrum is not much different than exclusion for special education. In other words, I believe it's wrong.

I support Kate because I have seen her work assiduously for a better education system for all, not for the ed reform agenda and their "external stakeholders".

spsshare said...

Seems to me there is a broader question here, whether Kate Martin thinks public schools should focus primarily on children in poverty or whether she thinks our public schools should serve all the children of Seattle. Personally, I think trying to serve only the poor would destroy our public schools, since without the support of the middle class, schools will be starved of the resources needed to succeed. But I would like to hear what Kate Martin thinks.

Peon said...

Here is some insight into how Kate Martin feels about advanced learning, and white people. This letter and Charlie's opinion afterward were posted on this blog several years ago.

This letter to the editor by Kate Martin appeared in today's Seattle Times:

"Bootstrap's on the other foot

The problem [of racial disparity] continues after APP into AP (Advanced Placement) high-school classes, another club for white, affluent families.

At least 55 percent of Roosevelt students need a level playing field that children in AP with stay-at-home/"hovercraft"-parents/Laurelhurst-privilege don't think a freaking minute about.

And that's one of the Seattle Public Schools' poster-child schools, Roosevelt. I'm at a boiling point.

I am not anti-APP or anti-AP. I am for opportunities for all and if we have only enough dough to fund one program, I want it to be for the kids falling through the cracks, as I believe the others will do fine in general with their notably larger variety of options.

Ideally, I want individual learning plans and high levels of achievement for each in their own way but, like I said, given that apparently everyone cannot be served, I'll help the most vulnerable first and leave the affluent kids "behind." We all know they'll do just fine.

— Kate Martin, mother of two sons at Roosevelt High School, Seattle

The perspective voiced here reflects a popular sentiment in Seattle.
It is tragically misinformed and misguided.

It refers, unfairly, to APP and AP as a "club for white, affluent families".
While Ms Martin claims that she is "not anti-APP or anti-AP" her other statements belie that claim.

Likewise, she claims to be "for opportunities for all", but then selects a class of students who should not have an opportunity.

It's a good thing that we don't only have enough dough to fund one program. There are hundreds of millions of dollars dedicated to meeting the needs of underprivileged students and $350,000 in state grant money that is spent on APP. AP runs on self-help dollars.

This gives some insight into Kate Martin's

Ms Martin presumes, incorrectly, that "everyone cannot be served" and presumes, incorrectly, that the affluent students will be just fine if they are abandoned by the District.

Peon said...

Kate Martin is also a proud member of the Seattle Shadow School Board - a radical watchdog group that includes Sahila and JoanNE. They are radically anti reform, anti private partnerships, anti standardized testing, and they have file appeals against the district.

I would welcome an activist on the school board (think Brita, Charlie(I wish), Melissa (I wish), but I do not want a radical like Kate on the board.

I posted this earlier in the Kate Martin thread that was eaten when blogger went down, and I'll repeat. I have found Kate to be very opinionated, and inflexible in her views. Completely unable to even consider another side or opinion other than her own. That's fine in the role of activist. But I'm not convinced (and I could be wrong) that someone that feels so strongly about her own views would be able to set those views aside and represent her constituents views when they differed from hers.

Anonymous said...

Peon - your skills at misconstruing and misunderstanding and misrepresenting are ... something else.

Try to not excerpt too much of what someone says when you want to twist what someone says so far out of whack.

As far as those radical watchdog groups go - to keep them and people like ... commies! from getting under my bed and then jumping me at night, I make sure that there is no room under my bed by stock piling ammunition there! Try it! You'll sleep better!

Scared of Scary Radicals

mirmac1 said...

Eeek, I'm a member the Seattle Shadow School Board. OMG, I'm radically against corporatist Ed Reform. Time to get smeared I guess.

I join Kate, JoanNE, and Sahila in speaking out against the twisted mess that MGJ and the current majority of the school board have made of our district.

See you at the next Board committee or legislative meeting. I'll be the one chucking molotov cocktails.

Charlie Mas said...

So, to repeat, people behave differently when in different roles. A person who, as an activist, presents as a bomb-throwing radical will present differently as a Board Director. Consider Brita Butler-Wall as a prime example.

The activist job requires extreme actions and statements. The Director job requires collaboration and gentler persuasion. People know the difference and respond appropriately.

the other Kate said...

I am Kate Martin and I am not the Kate Martin running for School Board. I may have made those comments about APP/Spectrum being for affluent, white kids because I was still upset that my child hadn't tested in. There are two Kates on this blog!

The other Kate said...

Okay, I'm not Kate Martin but I was making a point. How can we condemn Kate based on her comments on this blog? I have used this blog to work through my ideas and have actually blogged one opinion and then, the following week based on other bloggers, changed my mind and did a 180 degree turn. It is unfair to use this open forum that is purely for discourse to condemn. With Shirely Carr, we know exactly how she feels and votes and it is completely as an Ed. Reformer. She voted in favor of giving MGJ a $280,000 raise for G-d's sake. And don't trust the detractors of Kate posting under anonymous, there are Carr supporters/friends twisting the truth as I have just done.

The other Kate said...

I mean "Sherry" not "Shirley"--I just had a little beer and am tired....

Anonymous said...

Peon, you illustrate one of the reasons no one wants to run for school board. The reason we get masters of the "Seattle polite" that are unable to vote their conscience on anything. Eliminate everyone who's ever shot their mouth off, and who is left? Could you at least cool it til after the filing deadline?

-gatch

Chris S. said...

I was going to ask Peon for a date for Kate Martin's letter, since she knows her so well, especially since her post implied it was "today," but I decided to look it up for myself.
"Originally published Friday, December 14, 2007."
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2004069763_frilets14.html

This was around the time of the APP audit, and in response to a story by the Times highlighting charge of racism against the APP program.

There. That's context.

Anonymous said...

Dammit Chris S., I was hoping for an unmitigated hatchet job. Geez, ruin my fun...

grumpy

Chris S. said...

Also, OMG, Ms Martin is with S3B! My spin would be that perhaps it's a credit to S3B that after exploring, and failing, at several attempts to change the direction of the district, a candidate comes forward from their midst. This is growth. Thank goodness somebody has the commitment to do something rather than snark about on this blog!

And can we acknowledge the possibility of growth here? Peon thinks Ms Carr has "grown" - like yeah, she voted NO once when Charlie correctly informed her that what she was voting on was not in fact available for review - yet Ms Martin is always and forever an inflexible activist.

Chris S. said...

ps: Grumpy, how'd I do?

Anonymous said...

#!$%&*%$?}~!!

grumpy

Peon said...
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Peon said...

Whoa, Chris S., slow down. You pounced to fast. Re-read my post. It clearly stated that Kate's letter was dated a few years ago.

"Here is some insight into how Kate Martin feels about advanced learning, and white people. This letter and Charlie's opinion afterward were posted on this blog several years ago."

Anonymous said...

Hey, Peon did state that the quote was from "several years ago". More context would have been helpful but you guys aren't doing Kate any favors with all the snark. A little more shading on the issue would be helpful. Questioning how a school board candidate would communicate with a wide variety of folks is a legitimate issue.

Kate seems to have some history about how she communicates. I wouldn't say that means that she can't have strong or impassioned views, but as voter I want to know more.


And I agree with Greg Linden who asked Kate directly to state her current stance on Advanced Learning.

Just wondering

mirmac1 said...

"Questioning how a school board candidate would communicate with a wide variety of folks is a legitimate issue."

Just wondering, Is that how you've read this thread? I've read race-baiting, class-warfare, McCarthy-ism. Ugh, time for a shower! Compared to the alternative, Kate Martin is a breath of fresh air. Unless you like the smarmy Steve Sundquist method of communication.

Lori said...

I guess I don't see where the supposed context changes things much. So the letter was written in 2007 when charges of racism and elitism surrounding APP were bandied about in the press. The letter certainly seems to support that position and urges the district to exclude highly capable children from further consideration by the district because they have a "notably large variety of other options" and will do fine anyway. (What other options is she talking about anyway? And what research says they do fine? I'm familiar with the research to the contrary).

I'm sorry, I still find this divisive and offensive and clearly reflecting a complete lack of awareness of the needs of gifted children. I'm with Greg and Just Wondering; if Ms. Martin wants to be a serious candidate, she needs to clarify her beliefs about which children are deserving of an appropriate education, and which, if any, are not.

dan dempsey said...

Dear Peon,

The following is 100% from me and based on what I have observed.

Say What ??? you said..."Kate Martin is also a proud member of the Seattle Shadow School Board - a radical watchdog group that includes Sahila and JoanNE. They are radically anti reform, anti private partnerships, anti standardized testing, and they have file appeals against the district. "

Please get your facts straight and define radical.

(1) S 3B is not against Standardized testing. All S3B members that I know are against high stakes testing, which has been revealed to be largely counter-productive and increases cheating and fraud.

(2) I think JoanNE is quite a fan of testing as a way of learning about what is happening. She possesses a masters degree in a scientific field.

(3) Private Partnerships??? I assume you mean corporate philanthropy as mechanism to drive district decision-making. NWEA/MAP, TfA, NTN at Cleveland, and host of other decisions that were approved, all of these were influenced by Corporate Philanthropic interests. The fact is that the evidence showed these were poor decisions before they were made. Carr, Sundquist, and Maier regularly ignore evidence in their decision-making. High School math adoption was a classic example of Ms. Carr's ineptitude.

(4) Hummm.... filing appeals against the district. Last I checked "appeals" were one of the few avenues available to resist blatant Board and Central Administration lunacy.

(5) So what positives are coming from Ed reform. Looking at return on investment or any other method of analysis I fail to see any reason to support the current reform push.

To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data.

I do believe that Ms. Martin understands that huge premise, whereas Ms. Carr does not. Hopefully that will be Good enough for most folks to vote for Ms. Martin. Check Sherry Carr's record.

dan dempsey said...

Like several above I await a clarification from Ms. Martin on gifted education as to what her current stance is on that matter.

none1111 said...

At first I was thrilled to hear that Sherry officially has an opponent this fall. But I'm not so sure about that any more. I don't think people change their views significantly over time, and what I've gone back and re-read recently, especially about advanced learning issues from Kate makes me cringe.

Charlie's comment about people's behavior changing when they're in different roles certainly has some truth, but I think it's mostly useful to get us all thinking critically, not to pretend that people will completely change their character or natural inclinations. Mostly they'll just alter what they say and emphasize in public. Then they vote their conscience.

I echo Peon's desire for another candidate. Neither of the current candidates appeal to me at this point.

Charlie Mas said...

And Sherry Carr has been such a staunch supporter of advanced learning?

Peon said...

No, Charlie, Sherry Carr has not been a staunch supporter of advanced learning. But Kate, takes it a step further, in that she appears anti-advanced learning, anti white people, and anti middle class. She also has a very aggressive and demeaning way of communicating. So much so that she was banned from the CPPS blog. As far as I know (and I could be wrong, so please correct me if I am) she is the only person that CPPS ever banned.

These quotes from Kate say a lot:

"I'll help the most vulnerable first and leave the affluent kids "behind." "

"AP high-school classes, another club for white, affluent families."

"Children in AP with stay-at-home/"hovercraft"-parents/Laurelhurst-privilege".

"if we have only enough dough to fund one program, I want it to be for the kids falling through the cracks, as I believe the others will do fine"

I just can't vote for anyone who has made these types of statements.

I really hope there is a 3rd candidate.

Charlie Mas said...

I have always thought that one of the toughest jobs in the world would be to head a labor union.

You have to get your membership all riled up and politically active, usually with some pretty extreme language. You have to portray the management as demons in human form. You work to get the rank and file all angry and upset and demanding. You want to have them chanting "NO COMPROMISE!! NO COMPROMISE!!" outside the negotiations.

Then you have to go into a meeting with management, connect with them as people, and reach a compromise.

Then you have to come out of that meeting and sell the compromise to the rabid mob you created, the ones yelling "NO COMPROMISE!!"

It can't be fun.

Activists use incendiary language. They have to. People with management responsibility who need to balance diverse interests use gentle language. They have to.

If you are concerned about Ms Martin's past statements about advanced learning, I suggest that you ask her what she would do about advanced learning if she were elected to the Board. I suggest that you ask her about her past statements.

Let's not sit around and make conjecture. Let's ask.

Anonymous said...

Earlier in this thread, Greg Linden
posted that he emailed Kate to ask her to elaborate her position on advanced learning. I hope Kate will reply to Greg and/or this blog. I agree, better to obtain first hand information.

Just Wondering

Peon said...
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Chris S. said...
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Peon said...

Fair enough. I have emailed Ms. Martin and am awaiting a reply. With her permission, I'll post her response.

Dear Ms. Martin,

I recently re-read your letter to the editor of the Seattle Times, dated December 2007, where you made a few statements about advanced learning, that I would like to clarify your position on. Below are the four quotes in question.

"I'll help the most vulnerable first and leave the affluent kids "behind." "

"AP high-school classes, another club for white, affluent families."

"Children in AP with stay-at-home/"hovercraft"-parents/Laurelhurst-privilege".

"if we have only enough dough to fund one program, I want it to be for the kids falling through the cracks, as I believe the others will do fine"

If you are elected to the school board would you still hold the belief that advanced learners, students from middle class, affluent, and white families, will be fine on their own, or have you changed that view and believe that all children in the district must be served? Do you still feel that AP classes (though open to all) are a club for white, affluent families? And if so, would you be able to support rigorous AP, IB, Bio tech, STEM, and other advanced opportunities for all students throughout the district, including those from middle class and white families? What is your description of "kids falling through the cracks"? Are you referring only to low income, minority students who have fallen behind? Or are you referring to all students, including middle class, white, special ed, and advanced learners whose needs are not being met?

Lastly, there has been a lively discussion on the SSS blog, where I have offered to post your reply to this inquiry if you give me permission to do so. May I post your responses?

Thank you!

Chris S. said...

OK Peon, fair enough. Let me suggest you are clearer about your attributions - what part of the text is you and what you are pasting.

You say:
"This letter and Charlie's opinion afterward were posted on this blog several years ago.

This letter to the editor by Kate Martin appeared in today's Seattle Times:"

Then there is an open quote, the letter, then some stuff after it where the author is ???

Please clarify.

I realize you have some other evidence against Ms Martin but your posts feel a bit like a smear campaign.

After all, I have written a letter to the Times in the last few years that I deeply, deeply regret - feel hook-line-and-sinker for Andrew K's editorial. If someone used that to judge my position now they would be about 180 degrees off.

I prefer to wait until 2011 Kate speaks.

Peon said...

"This letter to the editor by Kate Martin appeared in today's Seattle Times:"

This is a direct quote from the post on this blog, dated, December 17, 2007, that I copied and pasted.

Sorry if it was confusing to you but I clearly said the letter to the editor was written several years ago.

"This letter and Charlie's opinion afterward were posted on this blog several years ago." I (Peon) wrote this.

Is it clear now?

mirmac1 said...

My guess is "falling through the cracks" would cover the majority of children. Certainly special education K-2 youngsters in ICS who are not provided the supports they need. Certainly many children from single-parent households where the parent barely has time to work, make dinner, clean house AND help with homework. Then there are children of all races who don't get three squares because of tight finances. Or latchkey kids. I think I'll stop there.

Obviously Peon's got an axe to grind, calling Kate " anti-advanced learning, anti white people, and anti middle class". That's a funny thing to call a very smart, middle-class white woman.

Sounds as if the vote were held today it would 100-1. Thank you to those who withhold judgement based on moldy quotes. I did a little research myself. It's obvious to me Kate wrote an impassioned letter, much like the letters I would write about George Bush : )

In my research, I also found these from a 2007 Seattle Times article regarding the lack of sidewalks in North Seattle!

""I have a sidewalk because I live south of 85th," explains Kate Martin, a Greenwood community leader. "North of 85th was sort of like Hooverville."

"A 100-year plan for implementing sidewalks is not acceptable," said Martin, who calls the amount of money allocated for sidewalks "a joke."


OMG, Kate Martin is anti-Hoovervilles, anti-100 year plans, and anti-jokes!

Thank you Kate for working so hard to get safe sidewalks for children walking to school.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Look, I think you are being too hard on Peon and others who don't like Kate's previous statement on Advanced Learning. To be fair to all:

1) let's wait and hear from the candidate and view it through that lens. Kate can explain her position more clearly than in a short letter to an editor. (But Charlie is right; activism calls for strong wording and if you want your letter to the editor published, give 'em something they can chew on.)

2) Everyone is entitled to their opinion on why they will or will not vote for anyone. Period.

I will say, though, that you will not find any perfect candidate and certainly no one who has ever truly support Advanced Learning. Silence and no action is almost as bad as not supporting it openly.

Peon said...
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Peon said...

Here is Kate Martin's reply to my email. While I don't agree with everything she says, she makes some valid points, and I appreciate her sharing her views so candidly. I think the letter is honest and sincere, and I appreciate how promptly she replied, and that she is willing to let me post it here. Based on this letter I will be reconsidering my views of Kate and will look forward to hearing more from her in the months to come. It is a long letter so I will have to split it into a couple of posts.

Hi,

Thanks for the opportunity to not have to live by what I said in 2007. I actually have quite a different take now that I’ve seen the cycle completed with my own kids and the circle of kids around me and now that I’ve listened far and wide and done a fair amount of research and writing about this over the last few years. Less uninformed emotional ranting and more informed emotionally controlled communication has become my mantra. I think most people who know me would agree that I’ve come a long way. I’ve published a number of articles by others (some by me) on the magazine I’ve been developing over the last year (volunteer work) and that’s a good reference for where I’m at: http://www.theseattlejournal.com

That said, my opinion is constantly in motion as I gather more facts (harder to find that it should be), but I do think I’m reaching a more mature level with my viewpoints on education and as a person in general.

Children arrive at school at various levels of preparedness for various reasons. I believe we need to distribute our resources to all kids equitably. As much as I have compassion for the most unprepared kids, I do not believe that it is fair or productive to put inequitable levels of our resources there. I’d go as far as to say the things we are doing for the lower end of the achievement spectrum are ineffective for the most part. The money that we do invest in children needs to meet them wherever they are and the earlier the better. I clearly believe we need to serve all students and that public education in Seattle should be attractive to all parents and kids wherever they’re at or coming from. Improvements in curriculum would also be a nice place to put some money, but we can talk about that more another time.

Peon said...

I favor looking into the idea of an IEP type of process for all kids where kids and parents work with a team to figure out what the best education plan is for their kid and then they monitor and adjust that plan constantly. Our country has been pretty successful with SPED and IEP’s and I think it may be time to expand the program to all kids. Who doesn’t need a education plan that’s specific to them? I’d like each child’s gifts and deficits to be addressed - not only their academic / literacy skills, but their social and emotional development / skills as well. There’s so many behavioral issues bogging down the kids and the classrooms. I think it’s like mental health. We’re finally starting to talk about it and we need to do more in that area. Education needs to include those areas at home and in school. With the IEP scenario, SPED kids start meeting with the team as early as age 3. That makes sense to me. (I think Granger High School has a hint of some of that going and to a lesser extent Everett and Tukwila).

I don’t want kids to have to possess multiple talents / gifts in order to fully cultivate whichever one or ones they have and I don’t want them to need to have profound deficits in order to get attention to remediate them. In a lot of cases a teacher could address varying levels of challenge with differentiated instruction (more work needed there), but at a certain point, somebody’s little Einstein or Mozart or whoever isn’t going to get what they need by differentiated instruction. I would like many of the advanced learning opportunities to be more fluid, organic, automatic and inclusive of all kids who qualify and less based on the firewalls and gatekeepers of applications, deadlines, and multiple subject areas. Additionally, there’s some disassociation that is occurring with low achieving students creating “a solidarity of failure” which is super unfortunate. That fluidity of appropriate challenge levels is essential there. The less it calls out the groups the better to subdue that effect until such time as we can cultivate a city-wide (country-wide) education ethic that all groups can embrace and get some more kids from lower socio-economic classes better prepared for school who want to go to the head of the class.

However, there are lots of really gifted kids in a variety of areas and I want to make sure they get what they need to keep on their trajectory into the stratosphere of academic achievement. That means special programs for them and I support that. I know there’s been a lot of disgruntled folks about splitting APP and other advanced programs around town. I don’t have a position on that yet, but I do hope we have programs for advanced kids geographically distributed so as not to be a hardship being so far away from kids’ homes as to make them unattractive to families, especially immigrants who can have fears about that kind of thing.

Peon said...
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mirmac1 said...

Nuff said. : )

none1111 said...

Peon,

I'm glad to see you wrote a letter to Ms. Martin to ask for some clarity regarding her statements. But when you phrase things like this: If you are elected to the school board would you still hold the belief that advanced learners, students from middle class, affluent, and white families, will be fine on their own, or have you changed that view and believe that all children in the district must be served? that's really a loaded question.

What will her answer be? Of course she'll say that ALL children must be served, from top to bottom. Because that's what candidates running for office must say.

I don't know how much I'll be swayed by quotes written by a candidate. I think the quotes you find before someone is running for office are more likely to be from the heart.

That said, it's certainly possible that she could find a way to temper her gut reactions and work to truly serve all kids. And I'm not disagreeing that one needs to be provocative as an activist. But it's still troubling to read those kinds of things, and I'm not willing to give her a free pass just because she says something different now, when she's running for office. I will be looking for consistency, and attempting to read between the lines over the next few months.

And I still would like to see another candidate.

none1111 said...

Yeah, what Melissa said: I will say, though, that you will not find any perfect candidate and certainly no one who has ever truly support Advanced Learning. Silence and no action is almost as bad as not supporting it openly.

Although I will say here that KaySB does support advanced learning, including APP. She is the first Board member that I'm aware of over many years now, that I would say that about.

As for others, the range has been from neutral and uninterested to outright hostile. And I'm happy to support neutral and uninterested over hostile.

none1111 said...

Well look what snuck in already while I was writing the previous posts!

That's a pretty good reply (although you might want to edit your name out?). It's a measured, thoughtful response that covers a lot of ground.

I hope there are several opportunities to meet directly with the candidates this year, and while I still believe that candidates must write responses like this, I will try to keep an open mind moving forward.

hschinske said...

I will say, though, that you will not find any perfect candidate and certainly no one who has ever truly supported Advanced Learning.

What, not even Charlie? ;-)

Helen Schinske

Melissa Westbrook said...

"I know it can be great depending on the school and the teacher, but I also know that some of the kids from AP math here in SPS have had to do remedial math in college."

Really, Kate? I honestly find that hard to believe if the kid passed the class. I can't believe any AP teacher could hold their head up if they passed a kid in an AP math class who needed remedial math in college.

spsshare said...

I am quite pleased with Kate Martin's reply. Seems heartfelt, honest, and admits the 2007 letter was written in anger and overly harsh.

Kate Martin makes it clear that she supports public schools for all, but adds that she is particular concerned about children in poverty and students who are struggling, which certainly is reasonable and something I think most people support.

Peon, thanks for writing her and posting her reply.

Charlie Mas said...

Actually, there were folks who didn't like my positions on Advanced Learning because I advocate self-selected access to Spectrum.

I say we save the testing for APP, but allow access to Spectrum for anyone who wants to try it. I advocate Spectrum programs with clear exit criteria, but liberal entrance criteria.

A lot of folks don't like that idea. I thought it would be good for APP because it would allow the district to spend less on testing and more on curriculum. I thought it would be good for Spectrum students because it would expand the peer group and recognize motivation and hard work as much as talent. Any student who can do the work should have the opportunity to do it.

Anonymous said...

grumble grumble, thanks Peon.

grumpy

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting portions of Ms. Martin's original letter and the response - as the parent of several kids in the APP program, her positions, even if they have changed somewhat, concern and disappoint me -

-signed, parent

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting KM's response.

Past comments still raise a red flag, as well as suggestions that kids do Running Start in senior year.

I thought the point of having the APP program was so kids didn't have to go to college at the young age of 16. They could be served academically while still having a somewhat normal high school experience.

Skeptical

zed said...

Is this blog mainly for parents of students in APP? I don’t follow it too closely, but whenever I do it seems to be filled with comments by APP parents.

Peon said...
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Peon said...
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Peon said...

So I have had some time to think about Kate Martin's reply and here is what I think.

Pros:

Kate says that her "opinion is constantly in motion". I take this to be a positive as it implies that she is open and flexible. That's good news to me since one of my concerns was that she was not so flexible.

Kate says that she wants advance opportunities to be more fluid, organic, automatic, and inclusive. I agree with her. While I think testing for APP is appropriate, I think, like Charlie, that Spectrum should be open to all who want to try it.

Kate says that she wants advanced opportunities to be spread out geographically and equitably across the city so as not to be a hardship on any families. I agree.

Cons:

Kate would like to see a model where every student has an IEP. That sounds great but I can't see it working in reality with the state of our economy. There is just no money tom implement something like this. We don't even have high school college and career counselors anymore. We're riffing teachers, and cut summer and night school.

Kate appears to be somewhat uniformed on AP. She says the quality of the class depends on the teacher, and that she's heard that kids taking AP math have to take remedial math when they get to college. I don't think this is true, but if anyone has any stats to prove me wrong, I'd be interested in seeing them. AP classes follow the national AP curriculum, and kids take the national AP tests. It's pretty standardized.

Kate suggests that she'd like to see more advanced kids move to community college in their senior year or even younger. I disagree with this. I think our public schools should serve all of our students, including advanced learners. Leave Running Start as an option for those students who truly need or want it, but lets not make it what's expected of kids who simply want to take some advanced classes.

Kate recommends all students "catch up to college level in remedial classes at running start" ??? Huh? First of all not all kids are college bound (by choice, not per societal restraints). Second of all it is not the community college systems job to bring SPS kids up to speed. That is the job of SPS, and SPS should be accountable for that.

As I said I will look forward to hearing more from Kate in the months to come, as her campaign takes off. I think this was a good start to a conversation and I am glad to have had the dialogue with her.

Joan NE said...

One of my children is enrolled in APP. It is true that APP has a disproportionately low prescence of FRPL ("Title I")students. I am not bothered that Kate may not support APP.

I do not hold this against Kate, for three reasons.

1. I know that Kate is able to revise her positions when she has good reason to: When high quality data and strong arguments are persuasive.

2. I am hopeful that I can persuade Kate that the entire system of schools is stronger, and serves ALL children better when students are appropriately placed in to programs. I know for certain that some of the students in the APP program NEED to be in that program, whether for academic and/or social reasons. There are kids in APP that will not be successful outside of gifted classrooms, and would likely be disruptive in non-gifted classrooms.

3. I am not a person who wants to make a judgment based on narrow personal interests. I may not agree with Kate on the particularity of APP, but I agree with her on the big picture.

BTW: In so far as my views equate with S3B, I wish to state that I am not opposed to standardized tests. I value the data provided by standardized tests, provided that data is high quality and can help to guide improvements to the sytem. I am strongly opposed to attaching high stakes to standardized tests. There is compelling research to show why this practice is misguided. High stakes testing is one of the pillars of Ed Reform. This is partly why I am opposed to ed reform.

MAPsucks said...

Joan, you crazy radical, you!

Peon said...

part 3 of Kate Martin's letter

re-posted, from earlier.

The AP classes issue is something I need to gain more knowledge about. I know it can be great depending on the school and the teacher, but I also know that some of the kids from AP math here in SPS have had to do remedial math in college. There’s a disconnect between grades and skills in math and other subjects and I’d like cleared up. The rigor of AP needs to be real and held to the standards of authentic AP levels. There’s a PR aspect to the number of kids who enroll in AP classes that’s unfortunate. In order to be listed in national publications as a great school, a lot of stuff happens to make sure there’s high enrollment in those AP classes and sometimes that seems to be dumbing down the classes. In some cases, I’d rather see the whiz kid go ahead and move onto college for their senior year (or earlier) into early admission programs as I myself did at 16 years old.

I do carry some chips on my shoulders as we probably all do and I’m working on them. I have a mixed race family and have been married to my wonderful husband, José, a Mexican immigrant, for over 20 years. 75% of my nieces and nephews dropped out of Seattle Public Schools. When my niece Patricia could not read a Peter Rabbit board book in 4th grade, her teacher said she was reading at grade level. What we call grade level is a question I have. When parents get test results that say their kid is at grade level or they get report cards that look okay, they go back to work thinking everything is fine. I’ve seen it often. That’s a problem. My younger son is just finishing 3 quarters of remedial math at North Seattle Community College in the Running Start program. That cost me a whopping $2,000 in tuition and books because Running Start doesn’t cover remedial classes. It wasn’t until I homeschooled him in 6th grade that I fully understood how behind he was in math. His grades to that point certainly gave me no indication. I’m glad he didn’t stay at Roosevelt failing math classes. I recommend to every kid to consider catching up to college level in remedial classes at Running Start (if they can scratch up the money). It’s a far better use of their time. Now my son is ready to hit the deck running in college. My other son stumbled last year at North, but he recovered and he is in the Calculus series there now and I’m behind him 1000% percent. Go, Steb! (A kid among many kids labeled as not college bound.)

It’s been hard at times to see the filtering that can occur seemingly according to your last name which in my kids’ case is Chavez-Martin. That assumptions that a kid isn’t college bound... Calling it good if they passed the WASL... Which teachers your kid gets... and more. I think there’s much more families could be doing to prepare their kids for school and nurture them once there and I think there’s many more things the district can be doing to individually connect families and their kids’ to personalized education plans. The 400:1 counselor to student ratio isn’t going to cut it. At Granger it’s 20:1 and they meet with parents 3x a year (mostly Latinos) on the education plan and they get 100% participation.

I better head to work. I thank you for your inquiry. Please continue to ask me more questions. I would appreciate it you could post it. As you can imagine, this is a time when I’m trying to cover a lot of bases and be in a lot of places and still do my day job. I hope I can be judged on the things I’m saying and the things I’m doing now and not every mistake I’ve made in the past.

Sincerely,

-Kate Martin

Jan said...

Bravo Peon! Your initial willingness to publicly challenge Kate's old published position, to defend your challenge, and then to write to Kate and post her reply has resulted in one of the most interesting, informative threads in a long time.

WV says it was "claci!"

And -- on APP stuff:
I totally agree with Charlie that Spectrum (and the ALOs, which I thought WERE supposed to be self selecting) should be self selecting. LOTS of kids who may test too low are spectrum qualified because the tests are not infallible. And LOTS of kids, by hard work and caring, can perform just fine "one year ahead" of grade level, regardless of where they test.

APP on the other hand, takes everything ABOVE that, from the kid who is JUST above Spectrum level -- to Einstein and beyond. This is NOT an appropriate group for self selection (with which I think Charlie agrees, probably), though I think the current testing procedure fails to identify all of the right kids for the program -- and I think that having private testing be the main catchall for appeal is pretty discriminatory.

Finally -- I think running start is no solution for most APP kids. As much as folks malign the "cohort" label at Garfield, these kids do best when surrounded (and pushed, and challenged) by other similarly bright kids. It is also why some APP-level kids may be failing or doing very badly in "regular" classes, and then blossom into high achievers when finally placed in APP classes.

Anonymous said...

zed,

they're always hovering...

grumpy

zed said...

Jan: “--to Einstein and beyond.” That could be the APP motto. Anyway, Einstein was mostly home-schooled.

Putting aside my APP sour grapes, I really want to ask the parents here a question.

Peon writes:
"Kate would like to see a model where every student has an IEP. That sounds great but I can't see it working in reality with the state of our economy. There is just no money tom implement something like this. We don't even have high school college and career counselors anymore. We're riffing teachers, and cut summer and night school.”

Why do we accept this “no money” situation? Why do we bicker about whether we should support AP for all kids or shunt them into Running Start, whether Einsteins or Forrest Gumps are more worthy of having their needs met?

The problem is - THE problem is - that we have NO MONEY. There IS money out there, but we don’t have it.

Can we public school parents store our minor differences in a little box - like a time capsule we can dig up one wonderful day when we have made our government pay what it actually costs to educate American children in the 21st century? It makes me sad to the point of despair to see parents fighting over scraps instead of storming the barricades and making one of the richest countries in the history of the world pony up for our kids and for its future.

I know you all do good work, following things so closely. But, I just... I just sort of can’t stand it anymore.

Peon said...

"Kate would like to see a model where every student has an IEP. That sounds great but I can't see it working in reality with the state of our economy. There is just no money tom implement something like this. We don't even have high school college and career counselors anymore. We're riffing teachers, and cut summer and night school. "

I put this in my cons column above because it's not financially feasible, but honestly it should be in the pros column. I think it is a brilliant idea and would love to see us be able to move toward a model like this, where students were treated more like the individuals that they are.

Anonymous said...

My friends who teach math & science at UW have watched their kids take AP calc AB/Bc. They say that they are not as demanding as classes they would get at university.

A math teacher at my child's high school says that the kids can not pass the AP math classes without their graphing calculators. He says that many colleges don't allow graphing calculators in their placement tests or their calculus classes.

I don't have stats but that is enough evidence for me to make my kids learn to do problems without the graphing calculator & not assume they will skip out of a college calculus class because they take 2 years of AP calc in high school.

parent

Jan said...

zed -- More, please! I sort of feel like I got my hand slapped, and I have a feeling maybe it was justified -- but I can't tell what you want, exactly.

What I thought we were debating was the merits of Kate Martin -- as a school board director candidate. This is something that I get to vote on (I think) in the general election next November. Having watched certain members of the current board take what little money is left and squander it (in my opinion) on MAP, Stem software platforms, Executive Directors for regions -- some of whom seem unqualified for their position, more than a hundred "coaches," all of whom take up teacher time, and none of whom are, if I understand it correctly, allowed to work directly with kids (which is the whole point of school, I thought), I want to see if we can get directors who will allocate the few pennies in the jar differently -- and better.

I agree that there is too little money. I vote FOR levies (except the supplemental one last fall), I voted to keep the candy tax, I voted to let the legislature pass new taxes with a majority (what a concept). I vote for every state politician who I think will better fund education (that 'paramount duty thing', right?)

I lost most of those votes. So, what do we do? At this point, what is there to do, except try NOT to give what little money we have to a bunch of consultants, coaches, and for-profit publishers of bad (see Discovery Math) materials? If I am crashing around in the bushes, unable to see the forest for the trees, boy, would I like to know it. What more/different should I be doing?

Jan said...

And Peon -- while I am not sure a "true" IEP could work, I do think that an IEP-like process that personally evaluates each kid, in light of their strengths, weaknesses, goals, etc. would be really great. This is really just targeted intervention -- which we already need and should be doing for all kids who are behind in one area or another. What I like about Kate's suggestion, though, is that it recognizes that many kids who are not overtly failing could also benefit from having someone evaluate their educational needs and goals on a personal level. Sort of silly to dream about, in a world where stuff is being cut and dropped -- but without at least the vision, we can't even work in that direction. (And, I also like it because I suspect that this approach is the absolute antidote to what I perceive to be the evils of standardization/alignment -- as currently practiced by the SSD.)

Anonymous said...

I like your last 2 posts Jan. I realize it is not feasible to expect an "IEP" for every child in school. How about using a PIP? My new word this week.

Maybe we can get a "PIP" like folder that follows that child through his/her schooling years. The "PIP" can be a roadmap and involve parents, student, and teachers.

This will give all those Executive Directors something to do: writing up PIP for all the students.

-PS parent