It's a doozy.
The first head of the Alliance, Sue Tupper (who coincidentally ran the No on 1240 campaign for the WEA), said this:
"When the organization started, there was great sensitivity to
needing to take the cues from the school district, rather than coming up
with an agenda and then imposing that agenda on the school district,"
I get some air time and then comes in Sara Morris, the current head of the Alliance.
When the district introduced its memorandum of understanding with
the Alliance for school board approval last May, local education
activist and blogger Melissa Westbrook challenged the official language during
public testimony. "The Alliance is not part of the district," Westbrook
told the board. "The wording in one paragraph is that 'the district
remains on track with our goals.' The district is supposed to be on
track with Alliance’s goals? No. It’s the other way around."
for Education President and CEO Sara Morris says the organization does
support the district's goals. The Alliance can just differ on how to
achieve them. "Really our work is to be what's known as the 'critical
friend' of the district," Morris said.
Well, as I pointed out, it's awfully strange the that wording was "our" goals but it meant the Alliance.
She also seems to claim the last teachers contract outcome was a result of their efforts (which, by the way, should go to the entire Our Schools group but you can see that the Alliance was and is the true front for them).
Then she lays it out:
Morris says she’d like the district to consider the way the charter school company Rocketship Education teaches
students--by throwing out the conventional student-teacher
ratio. "They’re doing some really incredible things, like having 40 or
50 children in a lab at a computer doing math, with a roaming tutor who
can provide support as needed. That then allows them the flexibility to
have six- and eight-student reading groups," Morris said.
What she leaves out is an actual teacher in the room. Big savings of a "tutor" over a teacher.
What is fascinating is the part that follows this section:
Asked for her take on the Rocketship teaching model, Seattle School
Board President Kay Smith-Blum was initially dismissive. "I don’t think
anybody’s talking about putting 50 kids in a classroom," Smith-Blum said
in an interview.
One week after that interview, the Alliance for Education sent out invitations to its annual fundraising breakfast. The featured guest speaker is scheduled to be the CEO of Rocketship Education.
in a follow-up email, Smith-Blum said she thinks schools "need to
explore new delivery models" like the Rocketship approach.
C'mon Kay - you just became President of the Board and they already got you to drink the Kool-aid?
FYI, Rocketship is an incredibly small and new charter group. Their results are good but almost too small to be taken seriously.
National Education Policy Center Publications
Editor and University of Colorado Boulder Education Professor Alex
Molnar says business organizations like the Alliance for Education
rarely have independently peer-reviewed research behind the education
reforms they promote, like the Rocketship model. "They’re very, very
hard-nosed with regard to results when they talk about teachers, schools
and so on. But they’re very, very mushy when they talk about the
evidence that supports what it is they’re proposing," Molnar said.
But why worry about REAL evidence, right, Sara?
When asked whether she seeks out peer-reviewed research in shaping the
Alliance for Education agenda, Morris cited what she called "ample
empirical evidence to suggest the status quo" is failing many students.
Here's the Alliance's/Our Schools "wish list" for the new teacher contract.
The new superintendent says he’ll consider the Alliance’s wish list, but
that he’ll only make reforms that make sense for the district.
I wish he had added "and I welcome other ideas and thoughts from ALL of Seattle."