Friday, January 20, 2012

Open Thread Friday

As has been noted in other threads, there is a steady drumbeat of "keep Dr. Enfield."  Crosscut unleashed a particularly unworthy piece this week (insulting Directors Smith-Blum and Patu as well as casting suspicion on Directors McLaren and Peaslee). 

Now we have an op-ed from a Seattle Schools parent (and Stand supporter) that gives a whole list of reasons why keeping Dr. Enfield would be a good idea and the Board should be working on this. 

First, the op-ed piece is not entirely truthful (the author says the survey shows parents want her) and second, what did I miss? 

She said she wouldn't participate in a search.  She waited weeks after the election and THEN said she was leaving.  What did anyone do or have time to do to drive her away?  It would seem Dr. Enfield has to make a decision, not the Board. 

I have told readers, if you feel as this parent  does, please go advocate to the Board. But I sincerely believe her mind is made up.  I am fairly sure we will find out she had another job in the wings after she leaves. 

But this continuing whining about how bad the newly-constituted Board will be needs to stop.  I know these seven people and I continue to believe they will work together, collaboratively to make this district better. 

I have communicated with some of them that if they want to take on the task of finding a new superintendent themselves, I have faith they will do the job well.  If they want community help, just ask and I will be glad to post any notice at this blog. 

We need to move on.

What's on your mind?

20 comments:

John said...

I have to admit when I started reading this post I had to check the date, maybe there was a technical glitch. I don't get that Times editorial. Unless I missed something, she said she doesn't want the job. I think she's be a decent Supe, but doesn't that end it?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Maybe Michael has seen movement in her position. I don't know. But when a public figure says he/she has made a decision about staying or leaving, publicly, don't you take them at their word?

I'm not sure what I would think if she came out and said, "I've changed my mind."

Anonymous said...

I find it highly improper for DeBelle to playing this out in the press. WTF!? And he admonishes the other board members not to do this!

Mr. Ed

Anonymous said...

I am troubled by people saying this is such a dysfunctional district that no one can succeed here. There is a feeling that if only Seattle was more supportive, our administrators could do their work.

My opinion is the opposite. I think many are fed up with administrators who do not listen to the public. Enfield expanded the discovery math textbooks, against the advice of many math pros and parents. She showed poor judgment in the firing of the Ingraham principal and drew protests from parents. The habit of moving principals around for no apparent reason has created unnecessary turmoil for schools and families.

I am hopeful this new board can select an administrator who promotes better academics and stability at schools. The ed reform folks have their own priorities, but these are mine.

S parent

Anonymous said...

This "We need to keep Enfield" song that's being covered everywhere in the media makes me want play Marvin Gaye's, Inner City Blues, over and over:

"...Makes me wanna holler, the way they do my life...Makes me wanna holler, throw up both my hands..."

Susan Enfield has made a real difference in the classroom?...Give me a break.

If one thinks TFA in our classrooms will solve, "the achievement gap," unless you think her handling of the Martin Floe firing/rehiring was a brilliant stroke of listening and valuing community input, unless you think MAP is the most brilliant assessment tool since IQ tests for predicting adult success, unless you think giving downtown management new titles and new raises will increase the quality of supervisors' performances, unless you think transfering Bree Dessault to the SE region schools as an effective tool for "struggling" SE schools...then one's support of Enfield makes logical sense.

Otherwise, from my point of view in the classroom, Susan Enfield is a "Happy Face" pasted on the Maria Goodloe-Johnson icon representing EdDeform.

ken berry, SpEdIA Van Asselt@AAA

Anonymous said...

Early last week Nova had a PTSA meeting with guests from PFLAG- Parents, Friends and Families of Lesbians and Gays. They shared some of their 30+ year history and brought resources (in English and Spanish) on a range of issues important to LGBTQ students, families and the wider community. They outlined their programs- including monthly meetings, presentations available to health classes/teachers/nurses, tools for safe schools and strong allies and more.

We appreciated their presentation as well as the Q and A session. PFLAG are working to connect with other parent/family/school communities, sharing resources on eduction, support and advocacy for the LGBTQ community and the public at large.

Learn more about their programs and organization at:
www.seattle-pflag.org

~nora

Anonymous said...

I think I remember reading that Enfield was going to make a statement of some sort soon. This was several weeks ago. At the time she made the "I will be a superintendent" comment. Has she disclosed her plans? Did she ever make that statement?

northender

Anonymous said...

The whispering started nearly two years ago that MGJ had told principals to rid each building of 2-3 senior teachers.

I frequently hear talk of record numbers of experienced (expensive) teachers being harassed into probation or leaving the district.

Is there anyone interested (NOT SEA) in investigating the stats on this?

Urban Legend

Anonymous said...

Urban Legend: A principal recently told me that they are using the Danielson against "seasoned" teachers. At my school, a senior teacher is being harassed and is on the fast track out. It is clear to all of us that she is being targeted. But we don't know what to do. We're hoping the union has some defense for her. I'm absolutely against keeping poor teachers. She is not a poor teacher. She is a targeted teacher.

Disheartened

Anonymous said...

Disheartened-

I have heard the same story many times.

I also feel powerless to do anything and it appears that SEA is as well.

I wonder if parents will notice their students' teachers disappearing.

I wonder why no one investigates and exposes.

Urban Legend

Anonymous said...

New teachers are also being targeted with little support to help them improve.
-PT

dan dempsey said...

New Topic:
SB 6375 Creating the math performance incentive program.
Sponsors:
Senators Kilmer, Tom, Harper, Hatfield, Brown, Frockt, McAuliffe
=========================

I see SB 6375 as doing harm rather than good.

More emphasis on "innovative" apparently because leaders are unaware there are known practices that work. .... When uncertain or in doubt run in circles scream and shout innovative.

Notice the State Board of Education Math Advisory Panel stopped meeting because of lack of funds ...... so now comes the poorly crafted SB 6375. I always suspected that the SBE Math Panel was stopped from continuing because bureaucrats did not like the "answers and thoughts" coming from the panel. [[note: OSPI math director, Greta Bornemann, ignored the SBE finding of "Discovering" as mathematically unsound ... when speaking to the Seattle School Board for 10 minutes immediately before it voted 4-3 to adopt "Discovering". The OSPI end of course Algebra testing showed "Discovering Algebra" to be an extreme under performer in Seattle, Everett, Highline, and Bethel]]

SB 6375 will incentivize administrative coercion & corruption towards teacher grade inflation. I find SB 6375 to be insulting to math teachers as it just proposes tossing money at an unanalyzed problem. It seems that the money will make those lazy educators try harder.

The SBE Math Advisory Panel was disbanded and apparently intelligent thought was abandoned as well.
=========================

Instead of acknowledging that math is a k-12 problem with specific identifiable causes...... SB 6375 wants to toss money round for better High School test results. ... SB 6375 will incentivize administrative coercion & corruption.

wondering said...

I'd be interested to know what people consider "targeting" of teachers.

Does this just mean principals are actually doing their job and reviewing the performance of teachers that have incited numerous complaints from students and parents, with documentation (complaints of which other teachers may not be aware)?

We have encountered some kind, thoughtful teachers that seem to genuinely care about their students, yet even with a few years of experience, some still have serious shortcomings in the classroom. Some issues we've seen over the years: unusually high absence rates (with rotating subs), serious lack of organization, lack of content knowledge for subjects they are teaching, ignoring state standards and the year's curriculum, incoherent instructions, unprofessional behavior with parents, the list goes on.

In what cases do teachers just need more support, and in what cases is it best they are counseled to seek employment elsewhere?

The Danielson framework seems to outline basic expectations, but is it being used in an unreasonable manner? The first link makes it seem like a reasonable framework, but NY's description makes it seem unwieldy. How is SPS using it?

http://www.andrews.edu/~rjo/Artifacts/Danielson's%20Framework%20for%20Professional%20Practice%20web.pdf

And in more detail here (from NY):

http://usny.nysed.gov/rttt/teachers-leaders/practicerubrics/Docs/Teachscape_Rubric.pdf

Anonymous said...

Wondering-

When we talk about targeted teachers we are talking about teachers whose students consistently meet standards.
These teacher know their content areas, have positive feedback from parent and students and support diverse students with a great variety of meaningful activities.
Teachers are being hammered with things like requirements to turn on the lights as soon as soon finished with the projector, write long and detailed lesson plans so that principals who have no teaching experience can understand them.
The list goes on. Like you I believe there are a minority of teachers who have profound issues. That may be part of the group that is being targeted.
However, that is not the majority who are on the fast track to unemployment.

Urban Legend

Anonymous said...

Wondering:
When I say "targeted," I'm talking veteran teachers. Older teachers who are higher on the salary scale and know their rights. Teachers who have experience and knowledge and when told to jump still ask why rather than how high. Newer teachers don't question. And, believe me, with all the non-experts telling teachers how to teach, a lot of questions need to be asked. Teachers learn by teaching.

To answer your question thoroughly would take a thesis. I filled a page and a half before giving up.

Two main points: SSD supplies the curriculum, not the teacher. It takes time to learn to teach a curriculum. I agree that teachers should not be teaching outside their field of expertise.

Principals who have never taught, only taught in middle or high school, only taught as specialists and never generalists, shouldn't be evaluating or even principaling in schools outside their expertise.

Most teachers know if their building houses a bad teacher. Fortunately, there are few of them. Get good principals who know good teaching - not the norm in Seattle Schools - and you will have fewer poor teachers. In our case, it is a matter of targeting a personality rather than poor teaching.

Danielson is a simplistic and over-rated very expensive moneymaker for Ms. Danielson. Nothing more. Danielson is smart. She has produced a video series that will make her rich and may give those inexperienced principals some common sense understanding of some good teaching strategies. The series is thin on substance.

Finally, very small class size for at-risk high-povery schools with predictable routines, a culture of kindness and social skills reinforced as part of the curriculum will do more to erase the achievement gap than anything else I can think of. For some children, school is the only calm and safe place they know.

Disheartened

seattle citizen said...

Here's part of ex-teacher Chris Eide's testimony about the charter bill. He's got some gall calling himself a practicing teacher, since he quit after just a couple of years. (He says that his "board [of which he is a member], is comprised entirely of educators of all levels of seniority..." He also says that his board is "very active in their union," which is a hoot, as his and the charter industry's main goal is to bust unions.
He says that,
"...The leadership, the love of learning, the level of parent engagement and respect for educators that we saw in high-performing charter schools was different than anything we had seen in a traditional public school. These schools are alive and the excitement is contagious."

Way to show respect to your fellow educators, Chris: Call their schools dead and boring.

Way to climb the Big Ed ladder, Chris.

InvestInEducation said...

New possible topic, an article by an economist in the New York Times points to a new study that indicates that "states that rank low on the Index of Child Well-Being are those less willing to tax adults to invest in children":

http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/23/the-best-states-to-grow-up-in/

suep. said...

Did Eide really say that? If he claimed that parent involvement in traditional public schools is less significant or less energized than that at charters, that, quite simply, is a lie.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Eide is a self-promoter. And he's very gifted at appearing sincere and likable. I wouldn't put stock in much he says.

Why is it these TFA people always want to be in education but hardly ever stay in the classroom? I forgot - there's real money to be made telling everyone else what to do.

Anonymous said...

Where are teachers/schools on teaching cursive?

A case is being made to add cursive writing to the Common Core State Standards.

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2012/01/should_cursive_and_handwriting.html

I'm of the opionion that 1) cursive helps students write faster, which makes taking notes and getting ideas on paper more effortless, and 2) knowing cursive is necessary in order to read anything from primary source documents to letters from Grandma.

Cursive hasn't been taught in our younger child's classes, though our older child had several teachers that did cursive practice. Guess who has better handwriting?

parent