Monday, November 11, 2013

District Scorecard

The Board will conduct a work session to discuss the District Scorecard on Wednesday, the 13th, starting at 4:30pm.

Here is a link to the scorecard. You will notice that while the district made positive annual change on 20 of the 23 measures for Academic Growth and Student Outcomes, and has seen positive change over the baseline on 21 of the 23 measures, the District has met only 1 of the 23 targets for 2013.

Let me say that again. Of the 23 measures of academic progress on the District Scorecard, the District has met the 2013 targets on one of them. Oddly, the scorecard reports having met none of them. The goal that the District met was 60% of 6th graders passing all classes, and the result for 2013 was 61%. That goal was reached. Funny that they didn't notice.

This data is supposed to be used to hold District staff accountable. We will see, on Wednesday, what accountability looks like in Seattle Public Schools.

There is an operations data dashboard as well and the District didn't meet many of the annual targets on that one, but they did meet a couple.

There were some near misses on the District Scorecard.

3rd graders exceeding standard on the state reading test - 49%, Target: 50%
7th graders exceeding standard on the state math test - 46%, Target: 50%
First-time 9th graders earning sufficient credits - 88%, Target: 90%
Students graduating in 6 years or fewer - 81%, Target: 85%

Some of the worst misses were:
Free/Reduced Lunch students proficient on the state reading test - 62%, Target: 83%
ELL students who met/exceeded typical growth on state reading test - 52%, Target: 80%
Repeat 9th graders earning sufficient credits - 25%, Target: 75%

We continue to do worst with the students we have failed the most.


Anonymous said...

So dump Mr. Tolley? Is that accountability? Or wait, I know this game: why don't they lower the standards! That way they can congratulate themselves about getting everyone to meet standards! Or how about target Advanced Learning, and call it names, all in 'code', of course. If that isn't the biggest dodge, I don't know what is. The disproportionality of participation in Advanced Learning is NOT the disease, it is the symptom! Close the achievement gap and the proportions will right themselves.

The kernel of truth the Mann occupiers have got right: talk is cheap, DO more, deliver results.

Apologies to Bill Gates, but, class sizes matter. Academic performance in middle school has its roots in elementary school, and children who've been disadvantaged due to ecomic stress have needs that are not adequately being addressed by SPS. Their potential and greatness is equal, but the needs are not equal.They need more. They need it to succeed. To be scaffolded to catch up. Intensive nurturing to catch up to peers who've had 30 million more words by age 3. That obviously has nothing to do with SPS, but the point is, these are all of our children, and when they enter public school, they are ours to take care of.

Again, this is not about laying blame. This is not about laying blame at parents. This is not about laying blame at the schools. It's about getting honest. Getting really honest. The truth is, equal looks like different class sizes for different k5 buildings. I believe in teachers. I believe in the power of education. And I believe to harvest that power, and make a difference in the lives of these vulnerable children, to have an impact in impoverished communities, public schools must deliver excellence. And that begins with small class sizes in high FR&L schools so that individual students get one-on-one time with adults who can teach & mentor to nurture their innate potential.

Then, they will succeed. Yes, hiring Teachers of Color is critical. SPS is trying to recruit, but so are other Districts, so that will take a while.

But, funneling operating dollars to buildings so that they could have class sizes of 15 is the one thing that hasn't been tried. That is why I am profoundly disappointed in Mr. Tolley. He looks at the same facts we all look at, and decides to study Advanced Learning and push for 'differentiation', meanwhile, buildings are more and more bypassing him and his department altogether, picking their own math materials, getting grammar programs, etc.

That's the part that makes this all so, so sad. And I haven't even touched on Special Ed.

SPS hit 1 out of 23 learning targets. Who wants to bet all they really do with this abysmal performance is dial up the rhetoric about how bad Advanced Learning is? The ultimate political football, but the sad truth is, that disrupting AL will do NOTHING to disrupt to school-to-prison pipeline!!

Director Patu ran a small group at a high school, she knows that committed educators who care deeply about individual students is the "secret" to helping young people reach their potential. Perhaps she could explain this to Mr. Tolley?

Education is not a zero-sum game. But, money is. Those two truisms are NOT in conflict, but people try to make them in conflict all the time.

If we want a better "report card" for SPS, then we have to allocate our education investment dollars in ways that will 'deliver the most bang for the buck'.

Education is an investment, a moral imperative, not a cost. But, if we don't invest wisely, then we as a society will have to pick up the costs of a burgeoning justice system. And that doesn't even count the more compelling and tragic costs of wasted human potential and lives.

Mr. Tolley, Mr. Banda, step up. Be honest & use your power to make a difference. Don't focus your energy to reengineer anything other than things that are bleeding, because that is a waste of your time and young peoples' lives.

-do better

Lynn said...

do better,

I agree that to meet these goals, the district would have to drastically cut class sizes. Are you suggesting this is something that is possible? Where could we cut costs? This is a problem only the legislature can solve.

Lynn said...

OK, I thought of an area of nonessential spending. The state counts five hours per day as full-time enrollment for grades 4 - 12. High school graduation requires only 20 credits (increasing to 21 for the class of 2017.) Our district requires 21 credits, but provides 24. Why not charge a fee for that additional 6th period class and waive the fee for students who qualify for free meals?

Julie said...

Can we also ask the state and federal for more funding? Can we also ask the tax payers to chip in? Washington spends one of the lowest amounts on their children's education compared to other states. I always wondered why that is.

I don't believe simply throwing money at education is going to solve anything - I've seen enough instances where it gets wasted on wrong things and never at the essential problems. However, if money was raised for specific programs/agenda such as early education and - as "do better" suggests - intensive support/nurturing of children from crisis/poor families, I think it would definitely make impact on education disparity.

I agree, if every child was given the same environmental support, we wouldn't be seeing such disparity in educational success. Cognitive and learning potential is same in all children. I've read an article in NY Times about Toxic Stress what it does to children and it was tragic. We can do better and money will make a difference on this one. Let's find it. Why doesn't Bill Gates spend money on this instead of charter schools promotion? With limited resources, if we are going to throw money on anything, let's throw money on prevention and early intervention NOW. Triaging later in the game has lot less chance of success.

Eric B said...

Julie, more funding from the state the heart of the McCleary decision. WA has one of the strongest constitutional requirements to fund basic education, and the WA Supreme Court recently told the Legislature to actually comply. Theoretically, they have until 2017 or so to actually do it, although the SC will review progress every year. Over the next couple of years, we should see the state funding 6 hours of middle and high school, plus a whole laundry list of other stuff. Whether it happens is another question, though. If the SC is unhappy with progress, they could theoretically throw out the Legislature's passed budget. I think they would be unlikely to do that without a lot of warning, though.

Lori said...

Following on Eric's post, I recently heard Tom Ahearne, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs in the McCleary case, talk about where we are today with making "steady, real, and measurable" progress toward "ample funding" by 2018, per the ruling.

Basically, we are nowhere near following the court's ruling, and he is urging the court to issue a firm warning to Olympia now.

Some of things we are supposed to be working toward are full-day Kindergarten for all, K-3 class sizes of 17 (!), and full funding for highly capable programs by the 2017-2018 school year. Think about that for a minute. We don't have enough classrooms NOW and we have up to 30 kids/class in them. How many new buildings would be needed to have 17 kids/class for K-3, district wide?!

I couldn't find a video of the talk I heard, but here is a similar talk Mr. Ahearne gave to the WEA in May 2013 on this topic:

And here is a written response to the 2013 budget, showing the many ways the state is failing to live up to McCleary:

I find the list of possible remedies quite interesting (see pages 44-46). I like this one in particular: prohibit any funding of an unconstitutional education system (put bluntly: shut down the school system unless the constitutional violation is stopped)

A few people I've mentioned that to have scoffed, but we're engaged in outrageous brinkmanship politics at the federal level, so why not? Who'd have thought the Republicans would shut down the government over health care a few years ago? But they did. Maybe the threat of shutting down the state's schools and making legislators explain that to parents will get their attention.

Anonymous said...

Hey Lori,

Speaking of off the mark funding while failing to meet the Constitutional requirement to adequately fund schools.... have a look at the testing that will take place for "Common Core" from SBAC. -- (gotta get all the hardware in place etc.)

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is spending a colossal bundle ... which will have little positive impact on instruction. Not to mention that districts have unfunded obligations as well. So why is this being funded rather than adequately funding schools?

The k-7 Common Core Math Standards are quite good (at least when compared to grades 8 thru high school CC math standards --- these HS Math Standards will not make any student STEM ready or competitive at a selective university.)

Keep in mind that SBAC has Dr. Joe Wilhoft as its executive director (of WASL fame). I would be looking for SBAC to largely aim at testing the "Standards for Mathematical Practice" rather than the standards themselves. -- Look for another WASL like fiasco.

Meanwhile -- NO Progress on funding schools adequately.

The Supreme Court booted this one from the get go. At the time of the original McCleary ruling the State had had the funding plan for 2018 full funding in place for two years and had gone backward rather than forward. Why would the Supremes figure a bill that had done nothing for two years would suddenly work? ... and sure enough it is NOT working now.

-- Dan Dempsey

mirmac1 said...

I seem to recall hearing that the State Legislature was able to pass tax bennies for Boeing, but not money for those relying on public transit nor, I expect, funding for education. Need I say more....

Anonymous said...


The constitution does not mention public transportation or Boeing but does mention the common schools as the paramount duty of the state.... So What?

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

I am always skeptical about score cards etc. Particularly as this one had its founding with MGJ's 5-year plan.

Here is what I see at grades 3 and 4:

Looking at SPS and State in 08-09 School year and comparing with 12-13 school year.

Reading from 08-09 to 12-13
proficient was +8 above state in 08-09 and is now +6 in 12-13

exceeds in 08-09 was +16 and in 12-13 is now +7

Math in 08-09 was +8 proficient above state and in 12-13 is now +6

Exceeds std in Math was +10 above state in 08-09 and in 12-13 is now +9.5 above state.

MGJ put forth absurd goals and had no idea what she was talking about most of the time.... ditto for Carla Santorno.

Note: with the Everyday Math adoption came an increase in instruction time... and very little to show for the PD etc. .... check the data above for grade 4 math results from 08-09 to 12-13 vs. state.

The reading is from grade 3 results.

-- Dan Dempsey

usually the powers that be ... really have no interest in accountability.

-- to improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data..... and some accountability would be nice .. especially for those who continually ignore relevant data in decision making.

Anonymous said...

When Carla Santorno sold the Board on Everyday Math she stated that the achievement gap in math would be eliminated in 5 years. (Incredible claim on her part with zero data to back it up) ... It was all going to happen with Fidelity of Implementation and appropriate PD and increased instructional time on Math..... so how has it gone for Black students in Elementary schools in math in Seattle.

Looking at grades 3, 4, and 5 in 2008-09 and in 2012-13 SPS Black student scores compared with [All Students in state] and (the gap).

Grade 3
Proficient 43.2
[66.3] (-23.1)
Exceeds Std 12.1 [34.6] (-15.8)

Proficient 44.7
[65.3] (-20.6)
Exceeds std 10.9 [27.7] (-16.8)

Grade 4
Proficient 29.1
[52.3] (-23.2)
Exceeds std 15.2 [31.9] (-16.7)

Proficient 40.8
[62.5] -21.7
Exceeds std 13.1 [32.5] -19.4

Grade 5
Proficient 42.3
[61.9] -18.6
Exceeds std 21.2 [40.9] -19.7

Proficient 37.2
[62.7] -25.2
Exceeds std 7.4 [26.8] -19.4


Enfield and Tolley only perpetuated the ill effects of Santorno's disastrous Math selection. So shouldn't Tolley get to be a Superintendent somewhere ... ??

-- Dan Dempsey

Just Saying said...

At most companies in Seattle, if you missed all of your annual performance goals, you'd either be fired or well on your way to getting fired.

Anonymous said...

Here are Tacoma's results for comparison

Grade 3
Proficient 40.0 [66.3] (-26.3)
Exceeds Std 7.5 [34.6] (-27.1)

Proficient 40.5 [65.3] (-24.8)
Exceeds std 11.2 [27.7] (-16.5)

Grade 4
Proficient 23.4 [52.3] (-28.9)
Exceeds std 10.4 [31.9] (-21.5)

Proficient 38.5 [62.5] (-24.0)
Exceeds std 11.1 [32.5] (-21.4)

Grade 5
Proficient 39.9 [61.9] -22.0
Exceeds std 20.8 [40.9] -21.1

Proficient 40.9 [62.7] (-21.8)
Exceeds std 10.1 [26.8] (-16.7)

While Seattle's Black students generally score a bit better in State math testing than Tacoma's Black students..... That is NOT the case for Grade 5 in 2012-13.

-- Dan Dempsey

Julie said...

So, what can be done?

Anonymous said...

Just Saying said...

"At most companies in Seattle, if you missed all of your annual performance goals, you'd either be fired or well on your way to getting fired."

Education Administrators are big on "Aspirational Goals".

Those are goals we aspire towards but have no bearing on reality.

These aspirational goals can hardly be viewed as annual performance goals.... There are no realistic performance goals in the SPS.

--- As I said: To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data .. This never happens in the SPS.

If this nation or this district wanted to improve instruction ... the Common Core State Standards and all the testing would not be the place to start. (One size fits all centralized planning is ridiculous.) John Hattie in "Visible Learning for Teachers" shows how to improve achievement by doing what works.

Empowering teachers and giving them tools to meet challenges that they see at their schools has been shown to be the most effective way to increase achievement ... so naturally Ed USA and Gates F do the exact opposite.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Julie said...

So, what can be done?

Let teachers teach, give them the tools and responsibility to make achievement happen.

A recent well controlled study showed that at the middle school level when "high performing" teachers elected to move to poorer performing schools they had ZERO impact. (They were given $10,000 per year and committed to two years.)

The same deal did show improvement at the elementary school level.

Now consider the following data as it relates to Aki Kurose and Mercer in Math.

State Math testing at grade 5 and grade 8 ... percent of students at level 1 : well below standard in 08-09, 10-11, and 2012-13

grade 5 :: 09 - 11- 13 test years
White 13.7 - 13.9 - 12.5
All 19.1 - 18.6 - 16.5
Black 32.9 - 35.9 - 30.1
These are State of WA results

grade 8 :: 09 - 11- 13 test years
White 19.6 - 20.7 - 20.8
All 24.8 - 25.6 - 25.7
Black 44.3 - 44.0 - 45.4
These are State of WA results

Now consider results from AKI and MERCER for Black 8th grade students

grade 8 :: 09 - 11- 13 test years
AKI K 47.5 - 56.3 - 44.3
MERCER 48.8 - 37.1 - 27.1

When Everyday Math was adopted the SEA teachers' Union backed a plan to rate teachers evaluations partially by student test score improvement. This was absurd. The sample size for a teacher's class load is too small for statistical validity and they had to use Everyday Math. -- But the union leadership did not care. (and the Board was clueless under MGJ's spell.)

So Julie to improve things give teachers more freedom and hold the faculty collectively responsible for what happens at their school.

Lord knows the AKI principal certainly has not been responsible for improving math.... yet she took TFA teachers to impress the district office is my guess. She certainly has encouraged rampant grade inflation as the School Report card stat for several years has shown an extremely large number of AKI 8th graders ready for high school math despite the 8th grade math results.

2011-2012 AKI school report card said 90% of 8th graders were leaving AKI ready for high school math --- In State testing in 2011-2012 51.6% of All Aki students scored at level 1 ... well below basic. What a bad joke and yet who in administration is ever held accountable?

-- Dan Dempsey

mirmac1 said...

Dan, just pointing out how do-nothing legislators seem to move mountains for Boeing, not kids.

Anonymous said...

Mirmac1, I get it.

Boeing has $$$ and paid lobbying professionals and kids do not.

When kids are involved ...Boeing $$$$ trump the state constitution.

When the Supreme Court ruled that it was OK to violate the State Constitution until 2018, it was apparent that kids were at best second class citizens.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Do I understand the post correctly? SPS got a point even though 39% of kids are not passing at least one class?

If you were to poll everyone on this blog about what the core issue was that allows Bellevue's schools to outperform ours, which issue would get the receive the most votes?

If there was one core issue that a substantial portion of people on this blog agreed to tackle together first, we would probably be pretty effective.
I’d like to be part of a district-wide long term strategy and can't figure out where to start. Has there already been a poll taken? If so where can view the results?

-Downtown Dad

Anonymous said...

DownTown Dad,

In running numbers from state testing, when it comes to Low Income ztudents and Black students and many grade levels Bellevue does no better than Seattle.

Bellevue has a much lower percentage of students in these low scoring subgroups thus the All Students stat on state grade level testing is higher for B'vue than SPS.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Downtown Dad - you might check out the book The Good School

Ann D

Charlie Mas said...

Here's the thing: the District Scorecard is supposed to be an accountability tool.

We've got the tool. Where's the accountability?

Melissa Westbrook said...

What can be done?

- one, a clear focus on teaching and learning without all the focus on data gathering. I honestly believe they are losing the forest for the trees
- more PD for teachers on different ways to reach students of color
- smaller classes for high-risk, high-challenge students
- more parent engagement but that means that parents need to know that they are welcome as part of the process and need to let their children know they are going to be part of the process
- high expectations for all students along with expectations for behavior in the classroom.

That's just me.

Julie said...

So, we have some list of things that can be done but how do we actually carry them out? Is it all a wish list only or is it something we can actually accomplish?

Do we begin with talking to principals? Teachers? Board? Do we mobilize other parents? What are some concrete actions we can take?

Charlie Mas said...

The lines of authority and accountability in the District are poor at best.

The biggest breakdown lies in the mismatch between the amount of authority granted to principals and the amount of accountability applied to them.

Principals are granted a lot of authority in two ways. They have a lot of authority that is intentionally and specifically granted to them, but they also have a lot of authority that comes to them through lax supervision.

For example, principals are free to design their own advanced learning programs and to implement them as they see fit. The District does not insist that principals do anything specific - or, in fact, anything at all - when implementing advanced learning.

Principals has exercised a lot of authority over special education without anyone specifically or intentionally granting them that authority.

No one goes and checks the performance evaluations done by principals to confirm that they are fair and reasonable.

There are other breakdowns for sure. There's no real supervision of teachers to confirm that they are doing what they are supposed to be doing around IEPs, differentiation, or even covering the prescribed curriculum.
While professionals are supposed to be granted broad autonomy in the performance of their duties - and I absolutely support that - that autonomy and authority has to be matched with accountability.

It's a lot easier for management to cut the autonomy than to increase the supervision and accountability, so that's what they've done to teachers. They have yet to do anything of the kind to principals (let alone anyone else further up the line).

Anonymous said...

In response to Julie: “So, we have some list of things that can be done but how do we actually carry them out? Is it all a wish list only or is it something we can actually accomplish?”

It seems like a wish list to me at this point or at least an overwhelming list of issues. If there were a poll of people on this blog about the single core issue that is keeping us from giving our children the same quality education that those in Bellevue get, I would feel much more empowered to put energy towards that issue with the knowledge that for a set period of time that was the issue that the group was going to focused on solving.

For example if the poll came back saying that the core reason that Seattle’s children don’t get the same quality education as children in Bellevue was because Bellevue has a much lower percentage of students in low scoring subgroups (I’m not suggest this is correct, just paraphrasing Dan’s comment above) like children of color, then I would be happy to focus a significant portion of my surplus energy on that issue, knowing that once it’s solved we could move on to the next issue and start fixing the District’s core structural issues. Again, I’m not suggesting that I would put any less energy into my local issue, just that I have surplus energy (like a lot of people on this blog) and don’t want it to get wasted because I don’t know where to most effectively put it.

If the poll indeed said low performance of children of color was the single biggest problem parents think our district faces than I would be more inclined to spend time on that issue. And, when people petition Olympia to increase the amount of money designated for each of those students statewide (again, I know little about this issue maybe it’s already done, or unconstitutional) I would be much more likely to stand outside with a clipboard gathering signatures than I would be if it was the one of a million issue identified. Or perhaps as Melissa mentioned more PD for teachers on different ways to reach students of color, as long as a sub issue fell under the core issue identified, I’d be in.

Many organizations chose a core issues to focus on for a specified period of time because it’s effective. And if there was one blog post per month/week about that core issue, it would help keep the momentum going through the defined period of time.

-Downtown Dad

Anonymous said...

For the record - I think 91% (not 61%) of all sixth graders are passing all classes.

Downtown Dad