Thursday, January 15, 2015

Senator Murray to Join Super Nyland to talk NCLB

From SPS Communications:

Press Conference Friday: U.S. Senator Patty Murray and Seattle Public Schools Superintendent to discuss “No Child Left Behind” Law
 
What:             U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland, will discuss the “No Child Left Behind” law tomorrow morning at Madrona K-8 school. Murray will address her ongoing efforts to fix and improve the legislation and Nyland will talk about NCLB challenges from an administrator’s perspective.

Murray will read to a 1st grade class, followed by the press conference.

Who:               Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)
                        Larry Nyland, Superintendent, Seattle Public Schools
                        Rachelle Moore, 1st grade teacher at Madrona Elementary
                        Madrona K-8 parents
                        Madrona K-8 Principal Mary McDaniel                          

When:             Friday, January 16, 2015                                                                               
                        10:30-11:30 a.m.

End of SPS Communication

Great article from PoliticoPro on this subject about how the Republican power base in Congress see NCLB.

Republicans are hatching an ambitious plan to rewrite No Child Left Behind this year — one that could end up dramatically rolling back the federal role in education and trigger national blowouts over standardized tests and teacher training.
The push to rewrite the country’s main K-12 education law will be “all about Congress taking a red pen and deleting” language, said Mike Petrilli, president of the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute and a former Education Department staffer.

Alexander spent December huddling with lawmakers, including Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the committee’s forthcoming ranking member, to begin hammering out a strategy for a bill that could clear the Senate’s 60-vote threshold. He’s said he wants a bill on the president’s desk before summer.

The Republicans also, as part of this rollback, want to push back on testing, also from PoliticoPro.

Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee is making reauthorization of the law one of his biggest priorities — and testing is expected to take center stage. He plans to tackle the issue during a hearing early in the new year. Under serious consideration: slashing the number of federally required tests or even doing away with them all together.
 
A bipartisan bill gaining momentum among lawmakers would give states grants to audit their testing regimes — and weed out unnecessary exams.

This political alliance is part of a larger nationwide movement, buoyed by a grass-roots crusade led by parents and teachers who reject the testing regimes that they say have come to dominate public schools for the past decade.

However, according to a recent NY Times article, Arne Duncan is still high on testing and thus, may be setting up a showdown over this issue.

In a speech on Monday to outline the administration’s priorities for a revision of No Child Left Behind, the signature Bush-era education law, Mr. Duncan said that “parents, teachers and students have both the right and the absolute need to know how much progress all students are making each year towards college- and career-readiness.”

Annual testing has become a point of contention in the often-bitter discussions about how best to improve public education.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting choice of a school site for this debate. It is underenrolled and has a history of problems. The issue of testing is so low on the richter scale, however, that it is a classic example of why such measures do not work in a school such as that. Why not Aki Kurose or South Shore which has had more turnover than an apple? And have a neighborhood in utter flux? Note the neighborhood Madrona is in and yet when attempts were made to turn it into such a school there was backlash by whom? The former principal now of Interagency Kaaren Andrews. Always some drama with that woman wherever she goes. I think she started her career at Blaine and was similar problems. And this curent principal is what the third since that exodus? Wow this is all PR over enigma over a latte. No child left behind but schools however.....

- drinking some tea

Anonymous said...

Bill Gates and friends better pump up those $$$ to Republicans.

Just more posturing and blather

DoYourJob

Anonymous said...

Wow. What a stupid choice of meeting spot. Ditto everything first commenter said. And then some.

DistrictWatcher

Anonymous said...

I hope she visits an extremely crowded school too.

Chris S

TechyMom said...

Madrona is having a bit of a renaissance. A fair number of affluent neighborhood parents have been choosing it since the new principal arrived 4 or 5 years ago. It's also being treated as a 'hidden gem' by parents of kids in the future Meany service area hoping to avoid crowded Washington, unproven Meany, and moving during middle school. It has an ALO, tiny classes, and a strong music program. Changing the principal made a big difference. If the story Murray wants to tell is turn-around, this might be very good choice.

Just Saying said...

Will Patty Murray be visiting a K class with 27 students and demand accountability?

Anonymous said...

At Drinking Some Tea,

Since Andrews exit at the school, Madrona had Thaxton as a principal for 3 years and now McDaniel in her 2nd year; she was previously the assistant principal.

-Over Seattle

Anonymous said...

NCLB is a failure. If Captain Kirk can trick it with its own logic, it should fire itself and self destruct to comply with its preprogrammed turnaround instructions.

-Nonamenocredit

Jon said...

That's very interesting about Madrona and the new principal. I hadn't heard that. It would be great to increase enrollment there. It's been badly under capacity for some time.

Anonymous said...

McDaniel was appointed interim principal after Thaxton who has an interesting reputation and was immediately sent to the further most southern elementary school in the district. The other VP was a man who had a degree from a mail order school. They have a new VP now after the last one left to go to South Shore which has had its own set of issues and my understanding was on lock down today due to a shooting. That corner is quite a corner.

Madrona is not a school as the techy mom describes in the least. They have no SPED only Subs in that area, empty room after empty room and a library only open part time. There has been turnover and new teacher after new with only one or two there with any experience. So please tell me why that school was chosen again.

- Drinking some tea

Anonymous said...

It's obvious, drinking some tea, that US Senator Patty Murray and Superintendent Larry Nyland are complete idiots and soulless automatons. Why else would they choose such an obviously flawed pit as Madrona Elementary to host a press conference?

Please enlighten us with something other than "all PR over enigma over latte" because I'm too stupid to know what that even means.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

Here is the original story which explains the Madrona connection

http://blogs.seattletimes.com/educationlab/2014/10/09/teacher-residency-patty-murray-dave-reichert/

- drinking some tea

Craig Montgomery said...

It's a press conference, not a debate. I'd be surprised if they take questions from the public, but I'm going to try.

I'm in my first year as a parent at Madrona, and it seems like a palace compared to a lot of the crap sandwiches I read about on this blog!

Anonymous said...

Why is Madrona such a poor choice? Because it is not a success story.

The old kids of color are gone. That's not a turnaround. That's a displacement. The kids there now were gerrymandered in by the new school assignment plan. They largely didn't choose it. Their school TT Minor was closed under mass community protest. If academic success is now at Madrona, it is probably correlated to the new cohort of families of means who were no longer reluctant to attend once the old cohort left, since the old principal made it clear she did not care to serve children of families of means.

So at Marona we've got families who didn't want or couldn't be with the old cohort and we've got families forced by enrollment to attend. The facility is still mostly empty, does not offer strong services to non-gen-ed kids and has a history of teacher turnover.

If you want to talk about current families trying to make a go of it, fine. Glad that there may eventually be a strong school there. No doubt this is because of community efforts not downtown efforts.

If this press conference is going to highlight multiple decades of failed central administration "help" in our schools, Madrona is a poster child. If it is meant to talk about a success, it is the height of district hypocrisy and laughable that Nyland and his administration would choose it for a Murray press conference.

DistrictWatcher

DistrictWatcher

Craig Montgomery said...

DistrictWatcher,

Did you even read the article? The press conference is about changes to NCLB, not the success or lack thereof at Madrona.

But since you've gone there--
Spend a minute on the playground and you'd see how ridiculous it is to say "kids of color are gone," (where else would the neighborhood kids go?) and if you think the expanded assignment area fits the definition of "gerrymandering" in any way, I don't know what to tell you. If you have an under-enrolled school and overcrowded schools around it (Stevens in this case) isn't that the thing to do?

Anonymous said...

@ Craig Montgomery. Oh, I read the article. But your question shows a lack of drilling into NCLB, which boils down to judging whether schools are failing or not, based on an unrealistic and harmful set of criteria.

Ask yourself, why would Nyland's team pick Madrona. Would a school super pick a failing school for a photo opportunity with our senior federal legislator? No. A school super would not. (S)he would pick a success story. Any effort to prop Madrona up as an SPS success story is not credible. I refer to SPS history, not the efforts of the community to do the right thing for its students.

I also did not say kids of color are gone. I said the old cohort of kids of color is gone. That cohort came largely from south Seattle and into Renton. Replacing one cohort with another is a trick out of the Corporate Reformies book that alert parents here and throughout the US are now calling out when we see it.

This blog's veteran readers know that the bait and switch cohort replacement is one of Charlie's favorite criticisms of schools claiming improvement who are in reality just shoving the old chairs below deck.


DistrictWatcher

Craig Montgomery said...

Okay, then everyone's old cohort is gone since the district went back to neighborhood schools.

We don't know who picked Madrona, but there's a link a few posts above that may explain it. Where would you have them do the press conference?

I'm a newbie here, but I am totally anti-corporate reform, testing, NCLB, loss of lunch/recess time, etc.

Anonymous said...

@ Craig. I appreciate the attempt to engage. But as you say you are a newbie I must point out that your 'ok everyone's cohort is gone since we have gone back to neighborhood schools' is not true either.

Natural cohorts were most broken up when SPS closed schools through an epic close to $100 million failure to listen to the community. Cohorts were broken up when SPS downtown has continued to not plan adequately for growth. Cohorts have been broken up when SPS downtown has placed programs and replaced programs like so many 3 card monte tricks because they cannot define a roadmap for most programs for 5 minutes let alone 5 years.

And when we went back to neighborhood schools the cohorts most broken up there were those communities who were not able to voice their objections to how boundaries were drawn or to give alternate suggestions to how to keep natural cohorts together. Who were these neighborhoods with lesser voices? Look for communities of poverty and you will mostly find your answer.

Where should SPS pick a press conference regarding NCLB? Someplace that has a plurality of cultures, with Caucasian being less than the majority. Someplace that is made up of close to half or more of the families at free-reduced lunch status. Someplace where at least some of the families of students do not speak English as a first language. Someplace that has all these conditions but still demonstrates a strong, creative learning environment, a nondysfunctional administration-staff dynamic, a school that reaches out to families and most of all a school where kids are safe, welcome and learning to the best of their abilities. There are schools like that in the district, led by really good educators who overcome the crap dished out by Downtown and the clueless Feds year after year. I applaud those schools. A photo-op at Madrona engineered by Nyland and Co? No applause.

DistrictWatcher

Anonymous said...

@ Craig. I appreciate the attempt to engage. But as you say you are a newbie I must point out that your 'ok everyone's cohort is gone since we have gone back to neighborhood schools' is not true either.

Natural cohorts were most broken up when SPS closed schools through an epic close to $100 million failure to listen to the community. Cohorts were broken up when SPS downtown has continued to not plan adequately for growth. Cohorts have been broken up when SPS downtown has placed programs and replaced programs like so many 3 card monte tricks because they cannot define a roadmap for most programs for 5 minutes let alone 5 years.

And when we went back to neighborhood schools the cohorts most broken up there were those communities who were not able to voice their objections to how boundaries were drawn or to give alternate suggestions to how to keep natural cohorts together. Who were these neighborhoods with lesser voices? Look for communities of poverty and you will mostly find your answer.

Where should SPS pick a press conference regarding NCLB? Someplace that has a plurality of cultures, with Caucasian being less than the majority. Someplace that is made up of close to half or more of the families at free-reduced lunch status. Someplace where at least some of the families of students do not speak English as a first language. Someplace that has all these conditions but still demonstrates a strong, creative learning environment, a nondysfunctional administration-staff dynamic, a school that reaches out to families and most of all a school where kids are safe, welcome and learning to the best of their abilities. There are schools like that in the district, led by really good educators who overcome the crap dished out by Downtown and the clueless Feds year after year. I applaud those schools. A photo-op at Madrona engineered by Nyland and Co? No applause.

DistrictWatcher

Craig Montgomery said...

"Someplace that has a plurality of cultures, with Caucasian being less than the majority. Someplace that is made up of close to half or more of the families at free-reduced lunch status. Someplace where at least some of the families of students do not speak English as a first language. Someplace that has all these conditions but still demonstrates a strong, creative learning environment, a nondysfunctional administration-staff dynamic, a school that reaches out to families and most of all a school where kids are safe, welcome and learning to the best of their abilities. "

You just described Madrona K-8 in 2015. :)

Craig Montgomery said...

If Madrona's old cohort extended down into South Seattle and all the way to the Renton border, (past how many other schools?) that seems pretty gerrymandered to me. :) Sorry, couldn't resist.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, I could think of one good reason to pick Madrona - if you wanted to announce the major importance of Duncan/Obama's pre-k push and that Madrona was getting a new preschool.

It's one of the few places that could fit one.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Montgomery I admire your faith and support of Madrona. Have you been in all the classrooms? Can you or do you volunteer there? Have you gone to the Middle School portion of the school? Have you spoken to the staff, I believe there is only one staff member who has been there for years and can provide a thorough oral history of the school. What about this acclaimed music program? How long has it been in existence? When was the teacher hired? What about the SPED program? The reading program? Who are the Administrators and how long were they there and are they planning to stay for the long haul. How about the teaching staff and their long term goals and history?

It is easy to say the MEME when it comes to anything anymore. If it affects only you and yours then what does it matter right? There is a cohort of kids there and they may not even live in the neighborhood so how do they get to school?

Lots of questions that need to be answered. This has been a school in transition a long time. Why so long?

- drinking some tea

Anonymous said...

Madrona had been a choice school for a long time. And where have middle school parents chosen to go? TOPS K-8 choice school. That is why Madrona's middle school is empty. The ones who stayed at Madrona largely were from families who didn't know how to navigate the system or didn't care to.

Don't expect that pattern to change until Madrona proves there's a reason to select it for middle school. It's a chicken or egg problem and since SPS has never seen fit to put a program at Madrona that would interest middle school parents with enrollment choices, I doubt the situation will change anytime soon.

It's not Madrona's fault. And who at Madrona would be at fault anyhow? The staff and student turnover has historically been early and often. I agree that the fault lies with SPS administrators. Good luck to Mr. Montgomery's family as they try to make Madrona work. Many others have tried and failed.

Nyland and Murray appearing there is kind of creepy in an Orwellian way: "Things Will Improve."

Mid-Capitol Hill

TechyMom said...

I have a 5th grader at McGilvra, so middle school choice is very much a topic of conversation in my circle of friends at the moment.

What I hear around the neighborhood about Madrona is most mostly good. That is vastly different than what I heard around the neighborhood when we were picking a kindergarten. Some of the same people who listed 10 schools on their open choice forms and applied to private school, are now considering choosing Madrona over Washington/Meany. Some of that, I'm sure, is trying to avoid crowded Washington + move in 8th grade + totally unknown Meany. TOPS usually only has 5 or 6 openings at 6th grade. Last year the wait list was around 60 kids.

Whether my neighbors are right about Madrona's program, I really don't know. I do think this change neighborhood reputation is interesting.

Craig Montgomery said...

I haven't been in all the classrooms, but I have spent time with the principal and our teachers, and we do volunteer and support the school and classroom. Two years ago we toured the school with Principal Thaxton, saw a lot of the classrooms and students, and couldn't see any reason not to go there.

I'm aware of the school's history and all the issues with SPS, believe me. But we live in the neighborhood and chose to attend and support our neighborhood school. Is that wrong? Isn't that what we need everyone to do on an individual basis if we want things to improve? And not just for our own kids, but all kids.

Anonymous said...

Craig,

Thank you for speaking about Madrona. Schools can change culture quickly, based on changes in teachers or leaders. Those who have no direct recent experience as Madrona parents might be wise to take their own assumptions with a grain of salt....

Teacher

Anonymous said...

Regarding Madrona K-8 middle school, I would love for parents to just come and see....don't rely on internet chatter, especially, anonymous posts. Madrona middle school is small, so small it is a family, and the benefits of that have been amazing. I have had all of children attend. They then move on to Garfield and excel in AP and honor classes doing tremendous things. PLEASE, when you read negative things, come and visit for yourself. Ignore the folks who think they know.

Lastly, turnover in staff in the middle school is not accurate, the core teachers have been together a couple of years. I'm always amazed at playground reputation regarding Madrona! We should be embarrassed to throw around stereotypes of what we think a school is like. It is a special place that delivers.

Ann D said...

I don't know why folks like to slam on Madeona K8 so much here, particularly when they haven't had first hand experience there, especially recently. I can't imagine this level of dissing to be okay for any school in the district. Why perpetuate gossip and continue to make folks feel like their neighborhood assignment school is bad?

Lynn said...

Here are the Washington State School Report Cards for Madrona and Aki Kurose.

Take a look at the middle school test scores and the FARMs levels.

I don't like to see a building with so many empty seats when other schools are overcrowded. I am especially irritated when that school is over-staffed. (6 FTE for 92 middle school students!) Turning Madrona into a K-5 would save over $250,000.

Anonymous said...

Lynn, I agree with you. Madrona would be better served as a K-5 with great money spent on building a SPED program to rival any in the area or some other program that is missing in the other schools in the area. Not everything needs to be spectrum or APP.

The middle school has staff with less than 5 years experience, that is an age that regardless needs some gray hairs there. It is is an utter waste of money and energy when Meany comes in.

As for the gentleman who toured the school with the principal two years ago, uh Thaxton is now at Emerson and hasn't been there in two years. The house Admins have since that time changed twice. There are empty rooms everywhere. Did they actually hire a full time SPED teacher? Is the Music teacher full time or a Sub? Who is the reading teacher? There used to be one full time. Is there any art program? Tech program? Many K-8s have those PT staffed but in the curriculum.

The numbers speak for themselves. Sure people can have great kids and great success but there are more kids there than yours. Look at the big picture. I think that is why the other posters are saying look at the playground as it shows the entire school population and either that is sad as its is small group when a middle school and elementary fill a small ground. The secondary ground is not even used. Back in the day the adjacent to the kindergarten was.

And the teachers are all well meaning as all teachers should be but they are only one variable in a large equation. They are not the problem nor the solution on their own.

Each K-8 have their own dynamic and composition but when you look at a school the size of Aki also underpopulated and under served and with reputation issues, then down the road a K-8 South Shore with all the money and yet equal problems. Or what about Orca? Did anyone mention that is another school that seems to be under the radar? Why?

You wonder why this is so hard to resolve. Moving the chess pieces around is not serving the community its just moving the pieces.

- Drinking Some Tea