Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Math Adoption Updates

In case you didn't notice, the number of MAC members who filed their own opinions went up from 1 teacher to 3 more on the committee.

I believe there may be three certain votes against the adoption of enVision.   I think there could be a fourth vote but again, hard to discern.

My concern is not that some members of the Board will agree with the recommendation (or the process used to get to this point) but they will hear the eternal siren call of the staff "hurry up, gotta get it done, money will be lost."  It seems to work for some Board members every -single - time and I have to wonder why.

My hope is that if the Board goes along with the staff rec, that at least some of the Board will state that they will no longer accept work that is not objective and complete from staff within a stated timeframe on any future votes.

It appears that the principals group board (PASS) is supporting the recommendations of MAC.

The SCPTA board is taking a more nuanced view (no recommendation) but gives some suggestions/concerns about the process to the Board.

I note that neither group took a general membership vote; these letters came just from their boards.
The principals sent a letter on May 23rd stating (partial):

 For this reason, we urge you to meet the following implementation criteria to guide
your adoption decision: 

· Provide a clear, unified adoption decision that supports the recommendation of the Math
Adoption Committee; 

· Ensure strong, measurable adherence to the content and practice standards that constitute the Common Core State Standards; 

· Align instructional practice that supports systemic sharing of practice and professional development; 

· Provide principals and teachers the tools they need to structure the instructional program that meets the needs of their school community; 

· Provide strong accountability for achievement of each school’s C-SIP goals; 

· Support the authority of principals by providing a clear direction on curriculum implementation; 

· Establish financial sustainability and predictability that ensures the stability of resources and professional development; 

· Adhere to the District equity tool, as established by SB Policy #0030. 

The Principals’ Association of Seattle Schools does not support a dual adoption for a K-5 math curriculum. 

It's hard to know how they feel about the process and its outcomes.  It does sound like they are worried about being able to meet CCSS and getting the work done before the next school year.

I do take issue with them urging the Board to vote in a "unified" manner.  I don't think it is appropriate to use that kind of message (especially when I suspect they may have received a push from outside their group to say it).  

The SCPTSA said this (partial):

If the dual adoption amendment is approved by the full Board this Wednesday, principals will have to choose one of the two options not later than June 20, 2014. Each school may select only ONE curriculum to be implemented at their school and the adoption will be binding for a 7 year adoption cycle.

PTAs should be aware of these impending decisions and are encouraged to talk with their principal or the School Board ( about questions or concerns.

While the Seattle Council PTSA does not have a specific recommendation regarding the math adoption proposals up before the board, we do have strong concerns regarding two elements of the process.

First, we believe the committees making recommendations around curriculum should consider empirical results obtained by other districts, ideally comparable to Seattle in size and diversity. In this specific evaluation, we further believe that teacher input should have been solicited and considered, as several schools in Seattle use the curricula under evaluation.

Second, we continue to be concerned that the District's engagement of parents and communities in Seattle is severely inadequate and unrepresentative of our District. With roughly 50,000 students in Seattle Public Schools, and 27,000 in the K-5 program, comments by fewer than 150 parents does not constitute significant or representative family engagement, nor should it be portrayed as such. We thank those parents who did provide input, and will continue to call on parents throughout the District to provide their opinions.

Further, we call on the District, as we have in the past, to develop processes that successfully engage families and communities in gathering information and making decisions.


mirmac1 said...

PASS knows what side their bread's buttered.

Anonymous said...


That's the next giant task we need to undertake in this district: Principals. Whatever factory is spitting them out these days should be shut down. The great ones are godsends. The bad ones are shielded and protected like "made" mobsters. Given their pay grade, reforming that system needs to happen yesterday. It's a plague.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the proliferation of regional directors detracts from principal quality. I know some schools that have lost very talented building principals to these middle management roles, which I feel are only harmful to our district, even when occupied by people who once added a lot of good in their role as principal.

Some principals are certainly going to try to move up a career ladder and not want to stay in building management, but we don't have to offer such a long ladder here in Seattle.


Anonymous said...

Well, if the Staff and Legal is going to push HARD on the dual adoption proposal from the 2 Board members, it makes absolute sense to just go with 1, and that would be MIF.

Please, Directors Peters and McLaren, take courage, continue to push for the best possible instructional materials to teach math to 20,000+ kids for the next 7 years. PLEASE! In the name of excellence, in the name of equity... please choose the best.

No one text is going to be perfect, and, our district has a great deal of diversity, so that was why dual adoption (together with a waiver procedure) made sense, but, if Staff are going to be that recalcitrant that it must only be one, than, let it be the one that makes math the most accessible to the most students, yet, completely supports ALL students, whether high or low math achievers. And that would be MIF.



Did some photocopying for my kid's teacher, copying an instruction chapter from a Singapore text book and the corresponding worksheet chapter to make a package for each and every kid in the class. I don't think our principal knows this, so, I can't identify the school. The class has high achievers and low ELL population, but, this is the 'supplemental material' of choice. Go figure. Must be good stuff!

Anonymous said...

Will the board meeting be televised? Anyone know what channel?


A-mom said...

Channel 26 at 4:15.

Live feed link on this page from SPS

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link, A-mom! Just finished listening to a cogent, convincing argument on why MIF is better for kids who are not proficient in English!


Charlie Mas said...

I find it very odd that PASS would call for the Board to:

"Provide strong accountability for achievement of each school’s C-SIP goals"

Strong accountability... what would that look like? Would that mean firing principals who don't hit their goals?

From what I've seen, most of the CSIP goals are arbitrary. At most schools it is just a ten percentage point increase in the pass rates. I have never seen any rationale provided for a CSIP goal.