Wednesday, June 11, 2014

And I Mean This Sincerely

There are a number of people who are very worked up about the School Board's recent decision to adopt Math in Focus as the instructional materials for K-5 math. A lot of the opposition has been expressed as outrage that the Board did not follow the expert recommendation of the Materials Advisory Committee. Is that really the beef? Really?

I find it very difficult to accept this claim as sincere from people who, as far as I can tell, have never expressed any similar outrage when other advisory committee recommendations have been ignored. I have been watching the District very closely for about 14 years and I have almost never seen the leadership implement the recommendations of an advisory committee. Almost never. So why would people - who never seemed to mind this failure before - suddenly become incensed this time? I can't say, but I can say that I don't believe that they are really upset about what they claim to be upset about. They are not really upset about the rejection of the recommendation.

Now, I am the very first to discourage conjecture about the motivations of others. I frequently and loudly advise against it. I strive to avoid it myself. But in this case I cannot. I need someone - anyone - who claims to be upset with the choice because it was not the committee's recommendation (not because they prefer enVision over Math in Focus or because they prefer the staff over the Board or because they prefer the Carr, Martin-Morris, Blanford faction over the Peters, Peaslee, Patu, McLaren faction) to prove to me that they were as strident when other committee recommendations were not implemented. Otherwise, I cannot accept the claim in this case. I must conclude that the real source of the upset is something else.

Where were you when the recommendations from a long line of Disproportionality Task Forces were neglected? Where were you when the District walked away from the CACIEE recommendations? Where were you when the District chose to ignore the recommendations from nearly every single advisory committee they have ever assembled? Moss-Adams, Highly Capable Review, School Family Partnership, etc., etc. etc.

I can tell you where I was. My outrage at their failure to adopt those recommendations are archived here on this blog. Here's a good one about the CACIEE recommendations.

So here's the really funny thing. From Melissa's reporting on the C & I Committee meeting I learned that Director Blanford claimed to be upset over the failure to follow the committee's recommendation. I wrote him an email in which I told him that I shared that outrage and encouraged him to follow up on all of the other advisory committee recommendations that have not been implemented, starting with the various "Close the Gap" advisory committees and task forces. From his response - yes, he responded - it appears that he thought my message was written with a sarcastic tone, but I meant it sincerely. Funny, huh? I'm the one who really is sincerely upset about the District's habit of ignoring recommendations from committees, but it is my sincerity that is not believed by people who are using that as a false flag.

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

Charlie -

During the 14 years you've been following the district (or even longer) how many times has the Board not followed the recommendation of a textbook adoption/ curriculum choice advisory committee?

To my knowledge, none, until last week. But I haven't been following the district as long as you.

Central Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

Why is a textbook adoption different from other committee adoptions?

Po3 said...

I am pretty convinced that Envision was ordered prior to the vote, to me it is the only reason to explain the complete insanity that has ensued since last Wed.

Anonymous said...

As a member of the MAC, I felt like the District gave us (collectively in the room) a false impression of our power throughout, implying at many points that the Board somehow "had" to follow our recommendations. This probably led to teachers on the MAC giving an impression that it was a done deal to their principals and/or communities, especially between the MAC recommendation and the Board vote.

Whether this was intentional or just wishful thinking on the District's part, I don't know.

The District was also masterful in the write-up process. They essentially took all the evidence of lack of consensus out. Someone reading this report would say "hey, this report is a slam dunk for Envision, the whole MAC thought so". So there was surprise (and hurt I think!) when several MAC members showed up at the Board to say, "it wasn't consensus at all".

-stat MAC guy

Po3 said...

and also...who paid for the 11 schools to pilot Envision? My estimate is that this is 16% of all elementary and K8s were using this curriculum this year.

This percentage is even higher when you back out schools with waivers who would never be asked to pilot a curriculum.



Po3 said...

and also...who paid for the 11 schools to pilot Envision? My estimate is that this is 16% of all elementary and K8s were using this curriculum this year.

This percentage is even higher when you back out schools with waivers who would never be asked to pilot a curriculum.

Anonymous said...

I would have to agree - why is the adoption of a particular textbook MORE important than the work of many of the other advisory committees?? Seriously that is a fascinating distinction.

What this whole debacle means to me is that SPS needs to rethink it's advisory process, to be unquestionably clear on what a committee is working towards - is it a concrete decision or a recommendation that may or may not be acted upon by the deciding body.

I do think promises were made behind the scenes that clearly should not have been. But that doesn't change the question of why THIS situation is being treated so very differently.

reader47

Anonymous said...

Melissa -

First off, do you know the answer to my question? Is it none as far as you know?

To answer your question, when there is a curriculum adoption, there is a clear choice that must be made between competing products and a choice will get made because something needs to be chosen for the classroom. The committee's recommendation is simple and easy to implement. For the Board, action is required and the action is very straightforward. Pick a product and have Staff order it.

Most other advisory committees recommendations are more complicated/complex/nuanced and are harder to implement and have no requirement /expectation that their implementation will happen quickly. They often affect other buildings, enrollment, programs, etc. And to be clear, I don't think it's a good thing that more committtee's recommendations aren't implemented, but it seems pretty obvious that they are different beasts and past boards have treated them as such.

I'm just suggesting that this is one legitimate, non-conspiracy-based reason why parents/teachers/principals might have been shocked or upset about the last day amendment process used by the Board.

Central Mom

Anonymous said...

I did write to the board to express my frustration with their decision to adopt a different curriculum than the recommended curriculum. I have not done that before, because this is the first time a new curriculum has been adopted since my children started school. My understanding is that both Math in Focus and enVision are pretty good, but it was not good governance by the board. If a majority of the board did not want the recommended curriculum, they should have given the staff specific reasons why not, and then rejected the recommendation and asked the staff to come back with a different recommendation that met whatever requirements they felt enVision did not meet.

- YJA

Anonymous said...

I should also say, that the hurt over whether the MAC "decision" was respected (on one side) was equal to the hurt that was expressed by some commenters here and elsewhere, that the MAC somehow "didn't take into account public input".

This was really hurtful to me personally, who spend at least 12 solid hours reading every response we had access to, and more time talking to my own school community, and finding very insightful input that helped my thinking and quite a few MAC discussions.

The fact is, there was no public consensus if you looked at the community input data honestly, as data.
There were some insightful reviews that recommended all three programs, then a lot of noisy advocacy.

While I respect advocacy, the right place for that was the board meeting, where it was indeed heard. The MAC was in no position to judge, given the obvious split in opinions, whether a self-selecting survey was meaningful. But to say the MAC "payed no attention" etc. is fundamentally untrue and hurtful to those of us who spent so much time and concern on it.

-stat MAC guy

Linh-Co said...

I have doubts about "11" schools using enVision. We know of 3-5 from public disclosure of waivers, yet 11 came up at the June 4 Board meeting.

I think this number could have been made up to make it seem more schools wanted enVision. Maybe Shauna Heath surveyed the schools and 11 were interested, but I highly doubt that there are 11 schools currently using it.

Linh-Co said...

I have doubts about "11" schools using enVision. We know of 3-5 from public disclosure of waivers, yet 11 came up at the June 4 Board meeting.

I think this number could have been made up to make it seem more schools wanted enVision. Maybe Shauna Heath surveyed the schools and 11 were interested, but I highly doubt that there are 11 schools currently using it.

Anonymous said...

Central Mom:

The MAC's recommendation only seems "straightforward" because the District packaged it that way.

It was a sausage-making committee, with plenty of dissent and nuance. Which is fine, but the District tried to hide that from the Board.

-stat MAC guy

Anonymous said...

Why change the entire process? It worked. Read the state law, consider who is given what authority, and who is ultimately responsible and accountable. The committee gave us vetted materials and eliminated weaker selections. They then did a deeper, second level review on 3 strong curricula and gave their recommendation, within the metrics provided to them by the IMC. The MAC's work getting the adoption process to that point was priceless and we should all commend them for it. But the ultimately responsible Board must make the best choice they can, by law.

What's unbelievable here is the collective ignorance about basic civics. I guess it shouldn't surprise me at all in the "process over substance" city, but to say the MAC's work was "all in vain" or asking "Why even have a committee(?)" is so melodramatic and intellectually dishonest, I can only include that those not happy with the decision haven't processed their seven stages yet.

As is true of absolutely any process on earth, if you put garbage in, garbage comes out. The key will always be how best to insulate the process from interference so people's free thoughts and choices aren't influenced and compromised.

Throwing the whole process out is Tea Party-like logic, and cuts off the nose to spite the face. It's just plain ignorant and silly.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

stat-MAC guy,
Sorry if I wasn't clear. I don't mean to suggest that textbook committee recommendations are easy to make or don't involve a lot of work or debate. I'm just saying that by the time the recommendation is given to the board, it is easy for the board to understand. Pick product X.

Central mom

Anonymous said...

WSDWG:

On "Civics lessons": From the beginning, the District had a clear message for us: "We don't want a repeat of 7 years ago, so the Board, the District, everyone, is putting strong store in the MAC recommendation over a political solution."

It was implied that the MAC had a stronger mandate than typical committees might, due to fears of a repeat; I came away from an early meeting believing (wrongly) that the Board had already agreed to be bound by the MAC.

-stat MAC guy

Anonymous said...

Central Mom:

No, we're talking about the same thing. "Pick Product X" wasn't even straightforward. There were discussions on exactly what consumables were needed, how much training, how we would need to set aside funds for supplementing a gap in Product X (and ALL of them had gaps, somewhere).

And that completely whitewashes the fact that the MAC report SHOULD note the level of dissent, etc. in the decision. The MAC should have produced a very different product than it did, but the district took control of that. Other than the results of a vote (incompletely reported) I don't personally think that the recommendation is a product of the MAC, but rather a report from the District, using some technical results from the MAC (of course, many of my fellow MAC members disagree here).

While I personally thought either curriculum would be fine (I didn't end up with a strong favorite), I think the Board was willing to look at the details (and their comments captured a lot of what the Report was missing). They transparently said "thank you, but we're making a political decision" and I think that respects the MAC's work much more than District repackaging did.

-stat MAC guy

Anonymous said...

@stateMACguy: That opens another 7 year old can of worms. But the trite use of "political solution" casts aspersions from the start. Board's vote. It's what they do. And not always unanimously.

It bothers me that the IMC mislead the MAC into believing the Board was bound by it. That right there polluted the process they were trying to keep clean. I'd rather you have felt that your job was to do your best, but know that it's the ultimately the Board's call. If, for no other reason than, you know, it's the Law.

This Board has stuck it's neck out, and is willing to risk being held accountable on the Math. I'm grateful and thankful for the MAC members for getting us two or three curricula that all would agree will greatly improve our math. People can feel disappointed, but they should not be discouraged. The process has checks and balances and it ultimately worked by getting us much better math. WSDWG

mirmac1 said...

The curriculum adoption committees are explicitly called out in the RCW, where many others are not. The RCW does NOT require the Board to accept the recommendation. I expect this legislation was to take price out of the equation, much like there is legislation precluding consideration of price when selecting certain professional services. We see how well that worked....

Anonymous said...

@statMACguy: I previously posted links to a pdf file created by OSPI in 2008 that explains material adoption processes. Within that document is a discussion about "consensus" and why it's so important to try to build it and how "consensus" or "unanimity" makes such a strong statement to the public. In reading it, however, it's rather creepy how it elevates "consensus" to this ultimate goal, which crushes dissent and differing opinions like they're bad things. Very Stepford Wives or Zombie-like when you think about it. And that's not being dramatic. Policy makers clearly think the impression of consensus is worth more than accurately representing dissent.

I urge others to review the discussions themselves, and realize how undemocratic those thoughts really are, and how it fosters false propaganda upon the public by burying dissent. WSDWG

Anonymous said...

There are too many people in the education bureaucracy. Teachers are needed, principals are marginal, and the people in "headquarters" are non-essential. Sadly, the "non-essential" staff make all of the decisions...or so they thought. Usually unions provide checkss and balances, but since SEA is a union on paper only, "headquarters" has had free reign in SPS for years.

Reality check...new board and checks and balances. Any teacher who finds this threatening is as foolish as the ones who re-elected Jonathan Knapp.

--meant sincerely

Anonymous said...

Actually Mirmac1, the statutes were revised and expanded after the Reagan years when parents were demanding more input on curricula. In Kentucky, that meant banning Catcher in the Rye, while in Washington, it meant keeping it. It was part of the "local control" push by Conservatives, some who wanted more religion in schools, etc.

It's ironic that local control today is what we on the Left are fighting for, tooth and nail. But the statutory history shows it was about community and parental input on the front end, along with developing a complaint and hearing process before School Boards for parents who objected to materials they felt were inappropriate, but which were discovered on the back end, after adoptions. WSDWG

Anonymous said...

I'm not saying it was illegal for the Board to go against the recommendation. That isn't the question.

Charlie didn't think there was a legitimate reason for people to be upset that the board went against the MAC recommendation since Boards have been ignoring committee recommendations with regularity for many years. He asked if anyone could provide a reason.

I suggested that people might be upset/shocked with the boards actions because historically, boards have voted for the textbook/curriculum committee recommendations every single time, as far as I know. It is not surprising that given that history, people may have had a legitimate expectation.

Central Mom





Anonymous said...

WSDWG:

I agree. I'm personally very pleased that the Board took a clear, transparent, informed political stand on a single curriculum, leaving no room for error on who is "responsible" (i.e. the people up for election).

I actually think this is more important than whether Envision or MiF was picked in the end. Personally, I thought the only disaster on the table was the dual adoption.

During the MAC, there were a lot of mixed messages on detailed legal stuff from the District, from how much mandate we had been granted to what we were allowed to do. I tend to think that the IMC was in the mode of genuinely trying to keep the committee "clean" through messy legal waters, sometimes erring of course. The great thing about a transparent and documented Board vote is that we don't have to wonder about "process tainting" really.

-stat MAC guy

Moving On said...

False flag= the district is spending .63% of the annual budget on math.

It is important to remember that the committee recommended both InMath and EnVision. There are people wanting to make political hay out of this expenditure.

Moving On said...

It is also important to remember that the price of InMath continues to be negotiated.

BTW...a few short months ago, these same individuals..at executive levels were asking the board for a raise. At that point, and maybe I have alzheimers, but I don't remember them yowling about the impact these raises would have on other projects. Maybe I missed something....;)

Just Saying said...

"they should have given the staff specific reasons why not, "

YjA, The board had an extensive discussion regarding the math adoption. You might want to watch videos.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Stat Mac guy, thanks for that. I think one thing that IS being left out is what you state - the votes between the two math curricula were close AND the Board DID choose one of the top three. Not a big mystery.


Central Mom, right off hand, I don't know. But a couple to consider. One, this business of the work of any committee or taskforce - what they do, what they get to see, what gets done with their work - seems to change with the wind.

Also, see my paragraph to Stat guy. If you don't like the process, change the law or elect new people.

"My understanding is that both Math in Focus and enVision are pretty good, but it was not good governance by the board."

And you know this how? What was not good governance or what rule did the Board fail to follow? Keep in mind that the Board had legal counsel every step of the way and if they were doing something wrong, that would have changed.

Po3, your question is a good one and I suddenly remember something I read in one e-mail that I didn't get and now it makes me wonder what was truly going on. Let's see what I find out.

Curious said...

Trying to summarize here:
1. Who had final say over the MAC participants? Based on what I've read it was the District, not the Board.
2. Who set expectations around whether the MAC's recommendation would be "binding" or "advisory"? Sounds to me like it was the District, not the Board.
3. Who provided criteria for the MAC and what specifically were they evaluating? Who excluded the criteria around evidence based on benchmarking on standardized tests? Who weighted Common Core? Sounds like the District, not the Board?
4. Who gave instructions on what the final output of the MAC findings should be? Should they issue a single recommendation vs. 3 with pros/cons? Sounds like the District, not the Board?
5. Who told the MAC about what sources of data they could use to make their decision? Were there constraints? Were they told or precluded from surveying teachers? Principals? 4 year and Community College math teachers? Parents? National experts? Were they told to exclude studies that were financed by or sponsored by publishing companies with a financial stake in the outcomes? What limitations/boundaries were given and by whom? Was it the District or the Board?

In summary, what expectations did the Board set or input did the Board provide to the MAC?

If the MAC was an extension of the District's thinking then all results are sadly tainted and the chain of every hard working member of that committee was being yanked. I'm sorry for that. But having considered applying for it, I also have to say I knew how politically and ideologically charged this would be and opted NOT to participate in such an effort.

@Stat mac guy...I'd love to hear your POV.

Charlie Mas said...

Central Mom, you don't need to look any further than the last elementary math textbook adoption. The advisory committee recommended one thing, the district staff recommended EveryDay Math, and the Board chose EveryDay Math instead of the materials recommended by the committee.

Charlie Mas said...

As for the most recent math materials adoption, that was the high school adoption. Perhaps you remember how contentious that was? There was certainly a lot of legitimate doubt about whether the Board would approve the committee recommended materials. At the time the discussion was about whether the materials only supported constructivist instruction; there was no particular concern over going against the committee's recommendation.

Anonymous said...

Ok Curious, you asked for it! My views only, of course.

> 1. Who had final say over the MAC participants?

The District, but there were complaints and threats of FOIA after they threw out a lot of potential members, so more were added. I don't know if the board got involved here.

> 2. Who set expectations around whether the MAC's recommendation would be "binding" or "advisory"?

Relatively late, a District lawyer told us in no uncertain terms that it was advisory from a strictly legal standpoint. But there was a perception that the Board would "stand behind" the MAC decision. This came both from the District, and from Board members on the C&I committee. I can't say it was purposefully misleading. Many MAC members took "stand behind" to mean "vote for no matter what".

> 3. Who provided criteria for the MAC?

We came to consensus early between the MAC and the District, that evaluating against Common Core was our most important work. Our scoring system was highly geared towards that criterion.

It's important to note that this worked very well in fact to get it down to the top 3. Adam Dysart did a very strong job on providing nationwide materials that had been used to evaluate Common Core, and we spend a tremendous amount of time working on the methodology. I firmly believe it was sound.

4. Who gave instructions on what the final MAC output should be?

District. In fact, we were told that a majority opinion would be drafted and shared with the MAC for editing, but also that any dissenting reports would be included. This turned out to be wrong, the district took the result, wrote the report, and sent it to the board without MAC review. This is one reason several dissenting letters were sent by MAC members separately.

> 5. Who told the MAC about what sources of data they could use to make their decision?

Except for not speaking to vendors, there were no limits on what we could do personally. I talked to teachers and PTSA at my home school, for example, and many did. It was encouraged.

On research, many MAC members independently sought out national research and shared it with the group, there were good discussions on whether the studies were biased, etc.

We were blocked on using "full committee time" on several things in the name of "fairness". For example, we couldn't invite current in-district Teachers using MiF and Envision to give us their views on how it was working for Seattle specifically, because "it's not fair to Go Math who doesn't have anyone using it". The District was extremely sensitive to any vendor being able to say (or sue because) anything was unfair.

We were allowed to make direct
formal inquiries to vendors provided we asked all vendors the same thing. Cost info came that way.

Community input was thorny. I think that the process was made worse by the (some of) the blogosphere, and poisoned the public input where it didn't need to be poisoned. So there's mistakes on both sides!

> In summary, what expectations did the Board set or input did the Board provide to the MAC?

The Board wanted a single clear choice. Oops!

Let me be clear, I don't think that even the PERFECT PROCESS would have fixed the fact that the MAC, like the community as a whole, split fundamentally on very philosophical lines, depending on where they stood on common core and education as a whole. I think all MAC members came to their individual vote for reasonable and sensible reasons that differed, but were not forced. So I don't think anything would have avoided a split decision and ultimately political vote.

That said, while the District gave the MAC plenty of room and freedom to deliberate, they took control at a couple key moments (membership selection, final report writing) where they tried to bring things to a "consensus" report, and failed.

-stat MAC guy

Anonymous said...

stat MAC guy: Thanks! Fascinating thoughts and insights.

Charlie and Central Mom -- the discussion you raise is an interesting one. While I note and agree with Charlie's frustrations with the Board's refusal, over the years, to follow recommendations (though not with Charlie's intensity), I think Central mom has a good point -- when the recommendation boils down to "here are our top 3 or 4, and of those, we recommend that you pick X" -- it IS a different "adoption trajectory" than, for example, the failed adoption of the CACIEE (boy, was THAT a depressing post to revisit). So although they both seem the same -- (and maybe, legitimately, should both be judged the same), it is possible to see how various constituencies (the public, principals, etc.) could view them as qualitatively distinct.

That being said -- I do think that the staff misled the MAC if they stated, or inferred, that the Board had to adopt their recommendation, or that it was a slam dunk. And I think that the staff misled (maybe not with bad intent -- maybe just with the misguided idea that they had to present consensus, whether it was real or not) the Board and the public to the extent they attempted to present envision as having been more broadly supported than it was (and I wonder if some of the Board majority's willingness to look beyond the recommendation came from their understanding that the degree of consensus was overstated). Looking at some of the principals' strong-arming of staff in the days after the vote (the "we have to get to a consensus on this" meetings), one thing that would be really useful in the future would be more honesty, and less manipulation, in the collection of input from different groups. It bugs me to no end when Board members lecture each other (or the ST lectures them, or the staff or (in the bad old days MGJ or A4E)lectures the board on how important it is that they look like a unified group. I get not fighting in public. And not bad-mouthing people, and being respectful. But none of that precludes honesty and forthrightness. I am tired of feeling like I am being fed regurgitated, half-digested, fake consensus, instead of people's honest, good-faith, genuine best efforts at problem solving. (I was especially tired of it with the old board -- where some people were being told to get along at all costs -- while others subtly (or not so subtly) stabbed them in the back in meetings and interviews. How Kay Smith Blum kept her composure sometimes, I will never know.)

Jan

#BS said...

Get ready for the Alliance for Education to launch an attack for political gain.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Stat math guy, could you please write to me?

sss.westbrook@gmail.com

I have a question that I'm looking into and I'd like to know if you know about it.

Anonymous said...

Re: Po3's wondering which schools are piloting Envision:

Lafayette in West Seattle is piloting Envision in a few classrooms, and was last academic year (2012-2013 school year), too. I'm not sure who paid for it, perhaps some PTA funds that go for teacher training went for trainings, I can't be sure. But we didn't fund books. I don't believe there was a waiver, there was certainly no community-scale input on whether to initially pilot Envision or not. I learned of the piloting last year at PTA meetings, we considered piloting as a way to move away from EDM. Last year we evaluated several alternatives, had pub. reps come and present to us, had other schools' PTAs tell us of their selection and waiver process. The process seemed to fizzle out after a while, a buzz arose in the air that EDM was probably on its way out and why would we spring for something that would likely be replaced the next year (something new that wouldn't be EDM). And we got a new principal this academic year that seems to be embracing some of the MiF principles. [Shauna Heath started last academic year as principal until she left us to join the district leadership...but that is another story.] At the time I guess I didn't give the fact that Envisions was already at our school much thought. I was glad to hear we were piloting something/anything that wasn't EDM. In retrospect, when I think about the daunting challenge of the effort and luck it takes to get a waiver, I'm curious how Envisions was already there, last academic year.

Happy to be rid of EDM, and glad it is MiF we are moving to. Time to change things at the middle and high schools.

Can I just add that, although to some MiF isn't perhaps aligned enough to common core, I don't think that matters as much as having a high quality text and approach. Let's get our kids prepared as best we can for college, for vocational training, for post-high school jobs, starting a business, for whatever life holds for them when they leave SPS. I see cc as a standards fad. Wait long enough, and a new set of standards will emerge that are claimed to be "better."

WS dad

Anonymous said...

Stat Math Guy:

1. How many of the "11" enVision Math Schools were represented on the MAC? How did they vote?

2. How many Singapore Math schools were represented on the MAC?

3. How many former MAC members from the previous adoption that voted for EDM were on the MAC? This one could make you sick, though I only know of three.

4. How many advanced science or math degrees were represented on the MAC?

5. How many teachers with expertise in the Singapore Math system were on the MAC (One!)?

This MAC was just as bad as the last one. Screened for a predetermined outcome. You can suggest unanimity all you want, but the jury was rigged before the process started (just like last time). Adam Dysart did the screening. He had his marching orders. 'Get enVision adopeted, even if you have to cheat.'

Deja Vu

curious said...

@ Stat Mac Guy

Thank you for taking the time to answer so completely.

@deja vu
It seems like a stretch to say that this MAC was worse than the other. While I agree that the selection of the members and the District presenting the findings without presenting the dissents was not good (and reason for questioning the recommendations) the last one resulted in law suit where a judge found the District egregious in their lack of process and rationale. I think they are different for that reason. You can debate whether the Common Core is the right criteria (I agree with the others that it should not be primary) but based on what Stat Mac guy says there was rigor in determining whether these programs did align. I don't think hyperbole helps our case (and to be clear I'm 100% for MiF and reject the criteria used for selection. Missing in my mind was evidence of efficacy when assessing closing of performance gaps and raising scores.

StringCheese said...

@StatMACguy,
While I am glad to hear that independent research and conversations were encouraged, if the research (benchmarking of similar districts for example) is not given any weight in the scores that determine the outcome, then it is moot. I imagine it gave people a greater sense of independence in the process than there really was. Healthy discussion is allowed as long as it doesn't mess with what the district determines are the factors with weight.

I have stated all along that I have been saddened that some MAC members seem to take the Board decision so personally. For me, it has never been a question of whether or not the MAC did what they were charged to do. Clearly they did and were faithful to the process set before them. The process, from its heavy weight on CCSS, lack of benchmarking, and repeated talk about cost (which is not to be a factor by state law -- the MAC should have been denied this information at every turn -- any effort to dismiss cost concerns after the info was out there is not possible, pink elephant) was flawed at best and rigged at worst.

Thank you for your service on the MAC. In the end I believe that the best curriculum for all of our children going forward, regardless of whatever happens with CCSS over the years, was approved by the Board.

Sarah said...

Melissa,

Are you able to provide the names of the 11 schools that piloted EnVision?

Disgusted said...

A lot of inconsistent messages. In the future, these committee meetings should be taped.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Sarah, I am working on that. Actually, I have a lot of questions so I look forward to hearing the answers.

n said...

"two or three curricula..." - Go Math was lousy math. I don't know why it wasn't thrown out because Go Math was sent out to buildings as well and given a leg up by doing that. Except it didn't end up being a leg up because at our school most of us hated it.

We had Go Math in our building and people were using it. I'm sure other schools also received it. I wonder that no one else has mentioned that. Probably because in the end it wasn't an issue.

I, too, am interested in knowing how eleven schools could be piloting enVision.

Anonymous said...

@StringCheese: You state that cost was not a factor for the MAC to consider "by state law." I didn't see that specifically prohibited, although it makes sense.

Can you point me to it, by chance?

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

@StringCheese: You state that cost was not a factor for the MAC to consider "by state law." I didn't see that specifically prohibited, although it makes sense.

Can you point me to it, by chance?

WSDWG

Charlie Mas said...

I don't regard any advisory committees to be qualitatively different from any other advisory committees.

However, if you were going to pick out one advisory committee as the top one with the most urgent mission on the most critical concern with the most qualified people and the highest profile, surely it would have to be the CACIEE.

And if the District is going to ignore the recommendations from the CACIEE, as they did, and as they ignore the recommendations from every other advisory committee, then I don't see how anyone can muster indignation over how the Board's choice of K-5 math materials didn't follow the recommendation of the MAC.

The MAC was an advisory committee, not a deciding committee. The Board decides. I'm sorry if anyone told you any different and you were foolish enough to believe them.

Anonymous said...

@deja vu: Perfect example of the blogosphere hyperbole I was talking about, that hurt the public input process for us on the MAC - thx!

@StringCheese: Cost was one of those messy and manipulative things. Some of the MAC members asked if we were allowed to see, or if we were expected to consider, the price. The District OK'd it, and gave us a price for each program. Single number without breakdown.

This came in the last week or so of deliberations. Fact that MiF was "above the allocation". When this became a point of discussion, the District quickly clarified that we "shouldn't consider cost." But we had the info, and it undoubtedly influenced votes. Just one more irregularity there.

If there was one grand irregularity, it was simply TIME - very rushed. The MAC wanted to go down several roads (benchmarking, others) but "time" was always a factor. The District used time well there.

@Charlie: Wasn't fooled or hurt myself - deal with too many ignored committee reports in my day job for that to bother me - but was explaining why some MAC members may have been misled and/or upset.

-stat MAC guy

Anonymous said...

Sorry, what was the CACIEE?

-curious

mirmac1 said...

The directive to NOT consider cost is in the Board Policy,

* Enable teachers to implement the district’s curriculum
* Provide an effective basic education, including providing materials and/or support to help students outside of the instructional day, as appropriate
* Insure flexibility and clarity sufficient to meet the special needs of individuals and groups
* Meet applicable standards as a minimum level of rigor
* Provide a coherent instructional sequence and stimulate student growth in conceptual thinking and factual knowledge
* Be easily understood by students, taking into consideration the varied instructional needs, abilities, interests, and maturity levels of the students served
* Be based on best practices and research including benchmarking from similar districts and other sources
* Have a common baseline while ensuring that different learning and teaching styles are represented
* Provide sufficient variety so as to present opposing views of controversial issues in order that students may develop the skills of critical analysis and informed decision making
* Be culturally relevant to represent the diversity of students and contribute to the development of understanding issues of gender, ethnic, cultural, occupational and religious groups
* Reflect community expectations and values


..as required by RCW 28A.320.230

" Recommendation of instructional materials shall be by the district's instructional materials committee in accordance with district policy. Approval or disapproval shall be by the local school district's board of directors."

Indirect, but still gets ya there.

Anonymous said...

Mirmac1: Do you happen to have the # of that policy? 2015? 2020?

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

@statMACguy: So, staff said, essentially, "We can't afford MIF. Now go and choose, but forget we said that."

Talk about un-ringing the bell.

WSDWG

mirmac1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mirmac1 said...

That is 2015.

This explains why Tolley and Heath had to backtracked their talk about $$s