Wednesday, October 05, 2011

School Board Meeting - October 5, 2011

The first school board meeting of this month looks boring, but it reveals a few interesting nuggets for those willing to dig a little deeper.

Not a lot of folks are signed up to speak (come on down!), but I see that six of them will address their remarks to the conditional certificate action item. I also notice that among the speakers are Don Alexander, Roscoe Bass, and Rickie Malone - all in a row. That should provide some fireworks.

This ordeal for the board will be followed by a review of the Native American Education Program that tells a very sad story. The program appears to be in near total disarray. That's not going to be a lot of laughs. Let's remember that this program was a focus of the past two audits and has also been the topic of some scathing board testimony.

Our next nugget comes with the approval of an application for a conditional certificate for one more Teach for America corps member, Daniel Calderon, who will teach bilingual education at Rainier Beach High School. I didn't even know that was a class. Interestingly, Mr. Calderon passed the West E for Bilingual Education, Elementary Education Subtest 1, Elementary Education Subtest 2, and English Language Learners. Can he teach in a high school or only in an elementary school? Can he teach in a high school but only in an bilingual program? He ain't teaching math or science, that's for sure.

The board will also introduce and vote on a resolution in support of changes to No Child Left Behind. I don't know why this has to be introduced and voted on in the same meeting, but the Board no longer has a policy against that, so why not? Why did the Board remove that the policy that restricted introduction and action on motions at the same meeting? I don't know. They never talked about it. The Board Action Report says that "Introduction and Action on the same date are recommended as in the best interest of the district." but it doesn't say why.

Among the introduction items is the (overdue) renewal of the NWEA Contract Subscription for the MAP test. The District will be spending about $500,000 on MAP this year. There was a lot of confusion about whether or not to test kindergarteners, about whether or not to test 9th graders, and whether to test twice or three times a year. For me, the really icky part of the Board Action Report is this:
We do not recommend discontinuing this subscription because the District does not have another K-9 assessment system that can be readily or easily put into place to provide student results regularly in math and reading. Moreover, MAP is now part of the teacher evaluation system as defined by the collective bargaining agreement and the District does not have another assessment system that can provide the systemic and multi-year data that will be used for this purpose.
The teacher evaluation is now one of the prime reasons for continuing MAP even though MAP is not designed for this purpose. The tail is now officially wagging the dog.

By the way, the MSP provides the district with student results regularly in math and reading in grades 3-10. There are other assessments that work just fine for grades K-2, 11, and 12 if we decide that we need them.

I think it is worth noting that - once again - none of the motions before the Board have any authentic community engagement done around them. The public is 0 for 10 - shut out again. This board and the district leadership have completely abandoned any effort at community engagement. They have even abandoned the illusion of it. I really like this new emphasis on openness, transparency, engagement and responsiveness. It's so much more professional and less political than the way we were neglected and excluded in the past.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

The teacher evaluation is now one of the prime reasons for continuing MAP even though MAP is not designed for this purpose. The tail is now officially wagging the dog.

This is outrageous. Absolutely outrageous.

-skeptical-

PS Even MAP's originators say the test is not valid at the K-2 level. Are teachers and parents such sheep that no one else is outraged?

dan dempsey said...

About the submission of a request for conditional certification....."TfA"

When a district submits the form applying for conditional certification, a claim is made that the district has met the requirements of the WAC in making the request.

It is very clear that the District does not meet the requirements specified in WAC 181-79A-231.

It seems that because the State Officials only check to see the form has been submitted before sending out the certificates, the Directors supposedly believe that the District is in compliance.

Sorry Directors... granting approval for a district employee to sign and submit an application form without checking for the district's compliance, hardly puts the district in compliance.

Once again the educationally disadvantaged learners get the short end of the stick .... your school board at work avoiding requirements thus continuing the district's failure to serve students. ----

This is outrageous. Absolutely outrageous.
Is anyone else outraged?

Charlie Mas said...

Here's the weird thing about WAC 181-79A-231: it's a law that no one is charged with enforcing.

I believe that the OSPI and the PESB say that the Board is supposed to assure compliance with the law. How is that self-policing working out?

I suppose that someone (with standing) could appeal the board decision - as any board decision can be appealed - to the Superior Court. The violation of the WAC could be the basis for the appeal.

Good luck to anyone who would try such a thing.

Dorothy Neville said...

Joy Anderson and her daughter just did a fun demonstration of capacity management in West Seattle. Watch for the video. Public testimony number 14.

peonypower said...

nowhere in the contract does it designate that the MAP test will be the metric, only that two different tests will be used to measure growth. The district could and should have either used existing tests (Iowa basic skills, dra, etc. and the msp or hsp. The arguement for Map now is that there will be 2 years of "data" at the end of this year that can be used in evaluations. Of course this data is unreliable and and should never have been part of the contract.
wv calls this cyakedge

Dorothy Neville said...

I pointed out in public testimony that the personnel report has errors in it, yet they just left it in the consent agenda and approved in unanimously. Does no one care about the accuracy of the mundane operations of the district? Should the personnel report with known errors be summarily approved?

Anonymous said...

The TFA member Mr. Calderon was supposed to be teaching Spanish at RBHS. I don't see a Spanish or a secondary endorsement there. Is the ELL endorsement k-12? If so then he could teach that. But not any high school classes.

-Curious

dan dempsey said...

""Introduction and Action on the same date are recommended as in the best interest of the district." but it doesn't say why.""

Why Why ?? that is easy... because the District has no interest in public engagement nor public input.

It is in the best interests of the community not to be wasting time on testimonies that the Board will ignore.... thus intro/action in one meeting ... much more efficient.

StopTFA said...

My understanding is that the West-E Bilingual exam covers areas such as:

demonstrating knowledge of major stages of first- and second-language acquisition (e.g., silent period, early production stage) and major concepts associated with first- and second-language acquisition (e.g., interlanguage, fossilization, language transfer) demonstrating knowledge of the integrated nature of cognitive development and language

development involved in learning more than one language (e.g., the development of critical thinking skills, metalinguistic knowledge, and metacognition; the storage and retrieval of information in the brain) and identifying strategies for applying this knowledge to promote bilingual education students' language development

recognizing the role of basic interpersonal communication skills (BICS) and cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP) in first- and second-language acquisition and how to apply this knowledge to promote bilingual education students' development of both social and academic language skills in English and the second language of instruction

Interesting, in that I understand he will be a Spanish teacher at RBHS. That would require the World Languages West E/

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the community at RBHS will be notified that they have a TFA member rather than a fully trained teacher leading their children? Or do you think it will be assumed that students there deserve a second class education and no notification, parental engagement, or opt-out option will be available? What is the process for a student with a TFA member in the classroom? Do they get a fully informed choice?

-Curious

StopTFA said...

Here's a sample letter a parent may submit:

Sample Parent Letter

It would seem Mr. Calderon did not take and pass the appropriate West E test if, in fact he is a Spanish teacher and not ELL.

He is an "out of field" teacher which is another area regulated by NCLB. States are to reduce the placement of "out of field" teachers in high poverty/high minority schools.

dan dempsey said...

Charlie wrote:

"Here's the weird thing about WAC 181-79A-231: it's a law that no one is charged with enforcing.

I believe that the OSPI and the PESB say that the Board is supposed to assure compliance with the law. How is that self-policing working out?"


==============
Next is a LINK=>
http://www.school-truth.com/TFA_PESB.pdf

To a 12 page .pdf

It appears that the entire TfA situation was an inside job to bring TfA into WA State. Jennifer Wallace ->The Executive Director of the PESB, and TfA employees Lee McGoldrick, and Janis Ortega were discussing how to get TfA into WA state as early as December of 2009 (according to this record see page 7).

The PESB is supposed to be applying WAC 181-79A-231. Instead in December of 2009, PESB's Wallace is discussing strategies and rationalizations for not applying the WAC as written. She writes to to Laura Gooding, Debbie Culwell and David Kinnunen.

Here is what Wallace wrote on page 7 at Friday Dec 11, 2009 at 9:59 AM, PESB Executive Director Ms. Jennifer Wallace writes:

Let's try this- see if you can sign on to this statement ----
Because the WAC is relatively broad "circumstances warrant" - OSPI Cert doesn't have criteria that speaks to acceptable versus unacceptable "circumstances" -- so as long as the district presents rationale, you have no grounds for denial.
True?
Also - can either you or Debbie recall ever denying a conditional cert application based on rationale viewed as inadequate?
The district could be the clock hour provider right?

===========
So above we see the executive director of the PESB a regulatory body ... discussing how to avoid regulating.
===========

In other documents at SPS_Leaks you will find that these discussions involved a lot more folks than just the ones I named above.

dan dempsey said...

Looks to me like perhaps Ms. Wallace is involved in a conspiracy.

From wikipedia:

Conspiracy (civil), an agreement between persons to deceive, mislead, or defraud others of their legal rights, or to gain an unfair advantage

Conspiracy (crime), an agreement between persons to break the law in the future, in some cases having committed an act to further that agreement

If hatching a plan to circumvent the application of WAC 181-79A-231 in December 2009 and then implementing the plan at a later date is not a conspiracy.... it should at least be good enough to be dismissed from your employment.

Note... a lot more folks than just Ms. Wallace were involved in this game to bring TfA to WA State. Levels of involvement varied. You can find Susan Enfield on some emails posted at SPS_Leaks.

I think this will be a fine place for the State Auditor's Office to go digging.

If the future stuff like this needs to cease. This could all be so much simpler, if the voters of Seattle would wake up and NOT reelect any of the current school directors running for reelection. ...

StopTFA said...

Wallace plays innocent with FW teachers as well. And it would seem that the president of the Federal Way Education Association is more interested in keeping Sally McClean at FWPS updated than looking out for the interests of his membership....

Wallace wears her ignorant "regulator" hat

dan dempsey said...

Video for 10-5-2011
School Board meeting is here=>

http://www.seattlechannel.org/videos/video.asp?ID=5977

dan dempsey said...

From minute 97:00 to minute 103:00 watch the BOARD COMPLETELY IGNORE any discussion of the need for compliance with WAC 181-79A-231.

Elected officials are obligated through their oath of office to support the constitution and laws of the USA and WA state.

It is clear that the directors do not wish to go anywhere near a discussion of the Achievement Gap that involves a careful review of all options for closing the achievement gaps.

Carol Simmons said...

I testified at the Board meeting last night against the hiring of TFA recruits. It was disturbing to me that the Rainier Beach H.S. school based hiring committee selected a TFA recruit to be hired to teach Spanish. I spoke with a parent after the meeting who said that he was the better candidate.

Of course the Board would have voted to hire TFA recruits anyway (with the exception of Director Patu who abstained) but this action taken by the school was certainly noted and stated by the Board.

dan dempsey said...

It is particularly interesting that the Board refuses to talk about compliance with the WAC. ... certainly no interest in answering any of Carol Simmons' questions.

Could someone give us a rundown on the TfA corp members that the district has sent applications for conditional certification? I think there are 6.

Did a broadening of the hiring pool actually take place when analyzed by who was actually hired?

We heard about broadening the pool for Math and Science expertise as well as more non-white teachers.

Did that happen?

One thing that did not happen was any interest on the part of directors in discussing the WAC that governs their actions.

Jan said...

peonypower said: The arguement for Map now is that there will be 2 years of "data" at the end of this year that can be used in evaluations. Of course this data is unreliable and and should never have been part of the contract.

Boy, are you right. In fact at last night's board meeting (I caught a small portion on tv), the man testifying in support of the continued use of MAP as it is currently being used, cited exactly that criteria -- "now, we have all this useful year to year data (and of course for any new test, they would have to start over). At one point, they disparaged the fact that high schoolers have had 3 different tests over the past 3 years -- WASL, HSPE, and now EOC. As though consistent scores were the holy grail, without regard to (a) what they cost in time or money; (b) what they measure (or don't) and (c) whether they have any validity when used as the District uses them. He would talk about the "high variability" in kindergarten grades from one side of his mouth -- and then, from the other, laud the year to year consistency, and the new ability to "identify gifted learners" (another thing that I think the test is not valid for). It became apparent that logical consistency was not forthcoming. This was a "throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks" presentation, and unfortunately, with this board, way too much sticks.

dan dempsey said...

Stop TfA at

10/5/11 9:34 PM wrote:
"Interesting, in that I understand he will be a Spanish teacher at RBHS. That would require the World Languages West E/"

---------
From WAC 181-79A-231:

(b) Conditional certificates are issued......
if one of the following conditions is verified:

(i) The applicant is highly qualified and experienced in the subject matter to be taught ""and"" has unusual distinction or exceptional talent which is able to be demonstrated through public records of accomplishments and/or awards;

"or"

(ii) No person with regular teacher certification in the endorsement area is available as verified by the district or educational service district superintendent or approved private school administrator, or circumstances warrant consideration of issuance of a conditional certificate.

=============

Again the requirement for a careful review under the circumstances warrant provision have not been met.
////
So why was an application submitted by the District to OSPI for conditional certification?

dan dempsey said...

"This was a "throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks" presentation, and unfortunately, with this board, way too much sticks."

More like everything sticks ... legal or not ... reasonable or not .... affordable or not. ... with This Board.

Reelect no one.

dan dempsey said...

And about MAP ...
Michael DeBell is concerned about the efficacy of the MAP testing .... see if his concern goes anywhere.

StopTFA said...

oh jeez, I just heard the sleek new surrogate cathy thompson say they're "re-imagining how they provide services to all schools" and that the "new transformative redesign of curriculum and instruction" will blah blah yadda yadda. If lip service could close the achievement gap, students in our high poverty/high minority schools would be contending for Nobel Prizes.

The folks downtown think if they "re-imagine" a multi-tiered system of supports, that'll make it happen. Meanwhile, they'll chase monochromatic rainbows and pale moonbeams like Tim Schlosser who, as TFA's Manager of Leadership and incidental Teaching, is, in their eyes, more expert in successful strategies than UW scholars and our very own experienced teachers. Steve Sundquist will be first in line to give him a high five for representing TFA's success in recruiting a diverse pool of candidates.

dan dempsey said...

Steve Sundquist from his comments about TfA and results being better than Seattle apparently refuses to read Helig and Jez: Teach For America: A False Promise

Why deal with reality when anecdotes provide a way out of accountability for decisions.... Steve what about the WAC?

What about answering questions raised in testimony?

Guess the outside legal service lawyers can answer the questions in superior court since the board refuses to answer.

Toss these folks out ASAP by voting.

Charlie Mas said...

The presentation on Native American Education is a prime example of what is so tragically wrong with the District leadership.

The Board members ask questions like: What, exactly, are the kids doing? Can you give me concrete examples? The district staff respond with abstract talk or measures of outcomes. The Board members, however, do not follow up and ask their question again.

Charlie Mas said...

Why don't they just put everything on the consent agenda?

dan dempsey said...

Back to that absence of a careful review.... of all other options for closing the achievement gaps.... neither Holly Ferguson nor the Board want to go near that.

Well apparently OSPI does not wish to go near the requirements of WAC 181-79A-231 either.

Here is short my letter to David Kinnunen on the matter.

dan dempsey said...

Longer letter to Dorn and Kinnunen HERE.

dan dempsey said...

Hey David, 10-8-2011

I have one more thought. Where does this idea that the application forms for conditional certification come in and that the applicant districts are applying the WAC requirements prior to submitting the application?

There is absolutely no evidence of that in Seattle. Reading the WAC I see no justification for that idea.

Ms. Jennifer Wallace seems to have seriously compromised herself with the following in regard to:

The "circumstances warrant" use of the achievement gap in obtaining conditional certificates.
---
Friday December 11, 2009 ... PESB Executive Director Jennifer Wallace writes:

Let's try this - see if you can sign on to this statement ---
Because the WAC is relatively broad "circumstance warrant" - OSPI Cert doesn't have criteria that speaks to acceptable versus unacceptable "circumstances" - so as long as the district presents the rationale, you have no grounds for denial. True?
Also -- can either you or Debbie recall ever denying a conditional cert application based on rationale viewed as inadequate?
----

So that was in December of 2009 ... then in Nov 2010 the Seattle district enters into an agreement with TfA ... apparently believing that "circumstances warrant" can fly this around WAC 181-79A-231 requirements.

Now you are looking at applications that seek conditional certification based on "circumstances warrant" and yet the required careful review of all other options to TfA for closing the achievement gaps was never conducted.

I just fail to see where the job of a regulatory agent is to blanket issue certificates without applying the WAC that governs the issuance of such certificates.

Can you explain this to me? I clearly do not understand.

Thanks,

Dan Dempsey

dan dempsey said...

The ongoing saga of trying to get regulators to regulate using the administrative code. It is a "SHALL" situation as in manditory. It is not a: Gee I wanna do this sorta situation.

A letter to OSPI's David Kinnunen on Holly Ferguson's (10-7-11) responses to Carol Simmons' questions (of 9-21-11) and how clear it is that the SPS's TfA applications do not meet the WAC requirements for the issuing of conditional certificates.

THE LETTER