Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Tuesday Open Thread

Scratch art by Ava Code-Williams
Two SPS students were named Regional Award winners at the Regional High School Art Show that is sponsored by the Puget Sound Educational Service District.  Those students are Ava Code-Williams from Garfield and Huo Xian Wu from Franklin.  I love Code-Williams' haunting "You have your mother's eyes." 

In a battle of the titans, the state boys basketball title went to Garfield who beat Rainier Beach High School, 64-51 last weekend.  Congrats to Garfield and a good effort by all.  (RBHS had beat Garfield for the Metro title but Garfield turned the tables on them in the state finals.)

SPS was also awarded a 2014 Gold Star by Governor Inslee for getting students signed up for the College Bound Scholarship program.  SPS signed up 100% of eligible 8th graders. 

Yesterday was the Curriculum and Instruction Committee meeting.  I wasn't able to go but I know that Director Peters was going to try to get the SBAC issue on the agenda (as she was told to do at the Board meeting).  I don't know if she was successful. 

I note that League of Education Voters (and other groups like the faux Our Schools group) are heavily pushing pre-K.  This is fine except that LEV was one of the plaintiffs on McCleary which is about K-12.  Anyone watching public education in this state can see that there is now this movement to include pre-K AND higher ed in McCleary.  

I do believe in the continuum of pre-k to higher ed but I also believe that since it is K-12 that is the state's primary job (and the state constitution), that the follow-thru needs to be there first. 

What's on your mind?

65 comments:

Watching said...

"This is fine except that LEV was one of the plaintiffs on McCleary which is about K-12."

I agree, Melissa.

Schools are holding budget meetings and supports, at our school, will be taken from homeless children.

Lots of joy within the House in Olympia over prek, though.

I look forward to "watching" the C&I agenda.

Carolyn Leith said...

Last chance to see Common Core State Standards: What are they and why should I care?”

March 16th

6-7:45 PM
Douglas-Truth Library
2300 E. Yesler Way
Seattle, WA 98122

Steve said...

An article in Bloomberg about the percentage of Teach for America teachers who plan to leave their jobs at the end of the current year and the profession. Much higher than compared with non-TfA teachers. Pretty damning...

Anonymous said...

Any school's teachers other than Hale and Schmitz Park speaking publicly about testing? I've got kids in a couple different schools and haven't heard a positive comment about the tests from teachers yet, so why the silence? No offense teachers but it seems passive aggressive to hate something but rely on parents to carry the protest water. Teachers are supposed to be the experts right? Are district politics so draconian that teachers think they'll lose jobs by speaking up? Or is it that maybe the test isn't all that bad and teachers are just grumbling about change? I'm

genuinely curious

Anonymous said...

Perhaps once schools start administering the tests, there will be more reason for action (or not). Schmitz Park's letter came off as "hey, we can't come right out and say it, but it'd be great if you'd consider opting out, because parents have more power than teachers (who don't want to put their jobs on the line)."

waiting&watching

Anonymous said...

Genuinely Curious,

I have to disagree with your contention that it's "passive aggressive for teachers to hate on [Common Core testing] but rely on parents to carry the protest water." Parents face zero repercussions for opting their children out of testing - while teachers in many buildings (it depends on the admin team) will put their evaluation scores* at risk by refusing to do something that is considered a core job function. And the anti-CC-testing movement will never get off the ground if its only members are teachers.

Leaving aside those practical considerations for a moment, I would also argue that you, as a parent, have the responsibility to fight for the educational needs of children. You can't pin that responsibility on someone else.

-Parent&Teacher

*What part of a teacher's evaluation is tied to administering testing, you ask? Criterion 8, which requires teachers to show "professionalism" and gives an "unsatisfactory" rating to teachers who "willfully rejects
school district regulations."

See:

http://tpep-wa.org/wp-content/uploads/Danielson-at-a-glance.pdf

http://tpep-wa.org/wp-content/uploads/Danielson-Rubrics-by-criteria-ca.pdf

Anonymous said...

I'm curious as well. We've heard nothing in our elem school from teachers, other than assessments can be useful tools. I think they're towing the line, but I wish there were more transparency so parents could help if teachers needed the advocates.
Curious.

Melissa Westbrook said...

This is a place where you'd think PTA and the union would unite and present that united front.

But National PTA cannot love this stuff enough (and get roundly called out here:http://curmudgucation.blogspot.com/2015/03/pta-believes-in-unicorns.html

I believe the head of SEA may have spoken out in support of Peters/Patu's amendment at the last Board meeting. (That's my recollection from listening to it.)

Anonymous said...

I was hoping this week we'd get down to brass tacks on the test choices people are actually making instead of talking in theory.

What I did was ask my students' teachers a couple weeks ago off the record around what they think about the test in general and for my students in particular. The teachers were more than happy to share.

I guess I wasn't really surprised at the answer I got which is that they hate the time the tests take from class, they're worried about how they will impact many students and they don't put much stock in the results. I also strongly got the we have to tow the line message from them. That really bothers me. I want teachers to be able to speak their mind and as a parent I can make my mind up from there.

Thanks for covering this on the blog.

SavvyVoter

Anonymous said...

I have just found out that my middle school child spent yesterday afternoon taking practice SBAC tests on a lap top - for some reason, the test is going to be given on a laptop, with no mouse, rather than on the regular PCs that they have always done any computerized testing on. The teachers realize that many kids don't know how to use a touch-pad, and are trying at least give them a chance to learn how it works. My daughter says she asked WHY they were using laptops, and was told that "they" said it is how the test is meant to be given - unclear if "they" is they school administration, (perhaps in an effort to get everyone through the tests in a more timely manner?) or the district, or what. I have to ask whether my younger kids will be using the regular computers or not. But given that the test involves a lot of dragging & dropping, split screens, etc., having a touch-pad rather than a mouse would seem to be an immediate disadvantage. hard to focus properly on the problem when you have to think so hard about making the computer do what it should. The smaller monitor size is an issue as well, with the split screens and "notepad" windows used for some problems. My daughter mentioned the graph paper "notepad" that they had to draw on for some of the math problems was difficult to read/ count squares on because it was too small.

Are other schools going to be using laptops for this testing? I wasn't really worried about opting out, but now I am thinking about it!

Mom of 4

Anonymous said...

I have spoken to a few teachers at my daughter's school who are against SBAC, wish parents were more informed, and are scared of their principal.

Law Gal

Anonymous said...

My elementary age daughter has taken the Amplify test at least twice, with a third time coming up. She has not seen her scores and the scores are not posted on the Source. This makes me suspect that the results are so terrible that parents would be freaked out by the results. My child has previously passed with high levels all portions of the MSP. The lack of "feedback" she has received from Amplify has caused her to worry how well she might/might not do on the SBAC.

Are the Admin and the Board ready to answer for the results of this test once parents, who might feel a bit duped about the nature of the test, finally get to see them? The mama bears and papa bears might not be very happy.
-mama bear

Anonymous said...

Is this part of their plan to develop "grit and perseverance" in students? My child reported getting a headache from reading the small print on the Amplify tests given on a laptop, but did eventually find a way to increase the print size (independent of instructions). We haven't gotten results of the Amplify tests. Is it by request only?

waiting&watching

Anonymous said...

@ Mom of 4

I suspect that there aren't enough PCs with mouses at your child's school... at least not enough to test all the kids.

The School Board voted in December to buy more lap tops to support the SBAC. These were recently delivered to schools. There has been very little time for kids to practice on them, because they weren't purchased until December, and, from what I heard, they had to be inventoried and set up by the District before getting to schools.

My kid's elementary school received some of the new laptops. We don't have the space or the resources to set up a self-contained computer lab, so the kids will be doing the tests in the classrooms, using about a 50:50 mix of old lap tops and the new lap tops.

Since the battery life has been so unpredictable with our old lap tops, the school has bought power strips and extension cords, so that at least the lap tops can be plugged in, instead of relying on the laptop batteries.

Our school building is old, and we have been told that it is at electrical capacity, due to the addition of portables. I am crossing my fingers that there is enough power in the grid to support SBAC testing.

I wasn't able to attend any of the "Technology Vision" meetings, but I am curious if any of the logistics of computer-based testing were discussed?

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

Non-English-speaking families do not have translations of the testing regimen plans.

Non-English speaking families do not know their students do not have to take this test.

Further, the use of the word 'refuse' instead of 'not take' in official district English material is culturally loaded. For many of our South End communities, refusal of the government equates to dire personal safety ramifications.

Yo SPS this ain't equity. It's racial discrimination.

Southie

Anonymous said...

Alert, Alert!!!

Levy "BTA" is coming up. District is starting up the roadshows now.

BUT, Charles Wright has his fingerprints all over this. He wants $ for tech so that he can support Ed reform. Ed reform hinges on DATA, and loads of standardized tests, and that takes computers and a beefed up tech department and a gaggle of new staff for Mark Teoh.

Not stuff for actual children that teachers need, like, for instance, classrooms, (yes, we are out of those), or turf fields so that kids can play year round (our grass fields get locked off because they are too muddy half the year), or new boilers for classrooms that have no heat...

Don't be fooled. If 100% of this levy is NOT aimed at kids and true priorities, be prepared to consider NO voting. SPS can always bring the levy back on the ballot in 6 months. Without Charles Wright's tech goodies.

WASTE NOT

Anonymous said...

Agree, Southie,
Can someone do some translation for the families who need the information in a language they can read? If so, can the choice of loaded language be clarified in the process of translation?
ELL is impacted more severely than most since they most likely didn't pass the 10th grade HSPE, had to retake sections of the test (if not all sections)in February and more this month. They missed class time for the retakes, and to take the SBAC takes away from their learning disproportionately. They need the class time MORE and losing more time than native speakers. How can we, as a community, empower these families? (This is a request for a plan, not a complaint.)
-enough4all

Anonymous said...

We just got our notice of when my 3rd grader is scheduled to take the SBAC - 5 half days of testing/2 for math and 3 for Eng/LA. starting 3/31. My child also told me they are going to practice on the computers in a couple weeks. I looked at the practice test online and find it confusing, so I'm really curious to see how this plays out. I personally feel very sorry for my 3rd grader's teacher and the position she is put in with this testing.

Haven't heard any testing schedule for my older kids yet.

NE Seattle Mom of 3

Anonymous said...

Has anyone noticed how correspondence from SPS switched from "to the parent/guardian of Name, Last Name" to the name of the father?
It's completely inconsequential, but it really bothers me.

-Ticked

Po3 said...

Southie-

Excellent points.

I will add that most parents across the district don't have testing regimen plans.

There is no mention of any SBAC testing on the district calendar.

I checked four high schools:

Garfield: SBAC ELA testing
Roosevelt:11th grade testing
Ballard: HSPE makeup and AP exams
Franklin: HSPE makeup and AP exams

Three Middle schools:

Aki: No testing listed
WMS: No testing listed
McClure: No testing listed

Three Elems
Whittier: No testing listed
Beacon Hill: No testing listed (can't say I blame them tho LOL)
Coe - ditto


Point is that w/ the exception of GHS, SBAC is not on any school calendars, so impossible to get on any parents radar.

I do not believe there will be widespread opting out, which will result in widespread technology failures and student test failures across the district. And the district simply has no plan to deal with all these failures.

(oh and laptops, simply precious!)

mirmac1 said...

genuinely curious,

One thing to remember - Amplify scores are not on the Source. Start asking your teachers about the scores. Maybe they will open up more.

mirmac1 said...

My email to the Board:

Dear Directors,

The School Board must be prepared to take responsibility for the harm that the flawed Smarter-Balanced assessments will have on our children. Is this how Seattle Schools views equity; labeling our children as failures?

9 in 10 children who utilize special education services will fail the SBAC tests

"The failure rate is projected to be significantly higher for children who utilize special education services, children who aren’t fluent in the English Language and children who face economic and social challenges. The SBAC testing organization’s own report projects that 9 in 10 special education students and English Language Learners will be labeled failures when the tests are completed."

Please use our students' time and funding more wisely so that they may have more academics and less tests. Put more effort and care into providing our students the services they need to overcome that which they struggle with the most. Not tests. For as long as I can remember, there has been no time the Board hasn't given a new test the green light.

"What is unproductive, even immoral, is to promote the notion that we can increase academic achievement without recognizing that the greatest barriers to academic success are poverty, language challenges and a failure to provide the extra or special educational services that individual child need in order to grow and prosper." jonathanpelto.com

The board's refusal to engage with teachers and parents on this issue is unconscionable and against Board Policy 4000. Simply acknowledging that parents may send emails is not what the policy requires. Shutting down debate or discussion before it even starts is even more objectionable. Am I to trust that the board will educate itself on the defects of these tests? Did the Work Session raise these issues? I was there and it did not.

I expect that the School Board will mount a vigorous discussion and analysis of the efficacy and implementation of SBAC tests, BEFORE inflicting them upon our most vulnerable children. Until then, I will continue to urge parents to opt-out of testing.

mirmac1 said...

There are links to SBAC's disaggregated data in both the Peters/Patu Resolution and the SBAR included in last week's board agenda.

NW mom said...

Ticked, yes I did, especially since the father of my child is at a different address from me. Now I get all the correspondence addressed to his name but at my address. I'm lucky it still gets delivered to me.

Anonymous said...

ah ... 'the union' & J. Knapp's love of being the inside player - see the Nov. installment of Mr. Nyland and the complete lack of input sought by SEA "leadership" before leadership was joining the hallelujah choir singing Mr. Nyland's praises.

On Monday 2 Mar. there was some anti-SBAC thing introduced to the SEA Board of Director meeting - it was ruled out of order? Well - minutes are NOT available, ever, in our phony 'democratic' organization, so, who knows exactly what happened. On Fri., after 2:00 p.m. there came the email from J. Knapp with the agenda for the 5:00 p.m. Mon. 9 Mar. meeting of the SEA, (RA) and the agenda had a very tepid anti-SBAC New Business Item (NBI) attached.

Given there aren't any mechanisms for knowing about these NBI's, other than taking your time to go to SEA headquarters for the BOD agendaless - wandering - meandering meetings, SEA members would have 3 days to discuss this NBI ... well, if they read their email before leaving for the weekend, didn't already have obligations for the weekend, and didn't have jobs to do on Monday!

The Fri. NBI version did not have the phrase "opt-out" in it. It had no mention of the school board proposal by Directors Patu and Peters. It had some stirring whereas-ie thing-ies and a call to write letters to members and have 2 meetings. On Monday at around 10:00 a.m. an updated agenda was sent out & there was a new version of the NBI, and it had reference to the Peters / Patu proposal.

Given how members are kept in the dark and fed poo with respect to what is happening outside their buildings, who knows how the RA voted on Monday the 9th on the NBI. Given how the competing cliques of the SEA are given to incessantly dropping Last! Minute!! Crises!!! on the heads and into the laps of regular ol' working SEA members, the regular 'ol working SEA members tend to be ignorers of the latest poo-storms, and have probably ignored this latest chapter of

IrrelevantResolutions

Anonymous said...

Can someone give a single good reason why we can't have a consistent school calendar from year to year and why it can't be confirmed until almost the end of the school year each year.
That is not how the real world operates. Most of us have jobs and need to give advance notice and fit in with other employees vacation requests if we want to use the school breaks for family vacations - how What about booking flights/accomodation? What about scheduling out-of town visitors or family? What if the teenagers what to pick up some work over the break?
How do teachers plan around it - surely most of them have family or other work obligations or way to plan for vacations too?
How on earth can anyone plan when we have to wait until May or June or whatever to find out when the school holidays will be and even if there will be a Feb holiday or not each year (whats up with that changing each year)?
Why does it have to be renegotiated every freaking year (can't they figure out a few years at a time and lock it in)?
Why can't they at least start the process earlier so we can have a calendar out at a reasonable time?

Exasperated

Anonymous said...

5th graders taking math SBAC practice tests (2014):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZgb46Jm4Oo

It's kind of grainy, but interesting to get a glimpse into what kind of challenges students might face when trying to enter answers.

-parent

Anonymous said...

While I am in favor of less tests and less time spent preparing for tests and all the other reasons given, it sort of galls me that in objecting to the test, all of the sudden the argument comes up about SPED students, as in they're going to fail. Well, yes, and so are gen ed students. Lots of them. So what's the difference? I really hate that when there are good and valid reasons that parents should opt out of testing for all kids, somehow the flag of SPED momentarily gets raised, as if anyone really cares that a bunch of kids who failed before are going to fail again. Acting as if the kids are failures is part of the game that is played and if we keep playing the game of objecting to tests because our poor sped kids are going to fail, we are paying the dues of those who think our kids are failures.

Opt your kid out if you want, because you have very good reasons. But please don't pretend to waive the pity party flag for students with disabilities because they'll fail.

If all the kids in the opportunity gap opt out of the tests, that will make this district look great. There are very good reasons for kids with disabilities to take this test, including highlighting the continuing failure of this district to educate them.

GL

Melissa Westbrook said...

Mom of 4, it's pretty wrong to not tell parents in advance how their child will be tested. At least the parent could reassure the child that it's okay to ask for help if they don't know what to do.

Also, how's that going to be for kids who DO know what they are doing to be busily attacking the test and other kids are struggling with the technology? Not so good for self-esteem.

Good points all, Southie.

Yes, Waste Not, BTA IV meetings ARE coming up and yes, BTA seems very technology oriented (if you looked at the Work Session presentation). Sorry, that is NOT what BTA is for and I hope the Board pushes back hard.

"Can someone do some translation for the families who need the information in a language they can read?"

Enough for All, yes, "someone" could and that would be the district. It is NOT the job of communities to do the work of the district. Not for the "data" the district so dearly wants.

Ticked, that seems odd because some kids are in the care of a guardian who may or may not be their parent.



Anonymous said...

NW Mom, I find that unbelievable.

A friend explained to me that it is because there is a change in who sends out the mail, I didn't quite understand whether it was outsourced or a consequence of new IT/software.

-Ticked

NW Mom said...

Well it's really happening, even if you don't believe me. My kid is graduating this year and things are addressed to him with her name under his and my address (where she lives 75% of the time). They're still getting to my house, so I'm not really inclined to make the effort to change things. Not sure that would make a difference anyway...

Rah Rah said...

Superintendent Nancy Coogan on SBAC:

http://www.tukwilareporter.com/opinion/292720171.html?fb_action_ids=10206023916539637&fb_action_types=og.comments&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%5B798468756890709%5D&action_type_map=%5B%22og.comments%22%5D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D

Anonymous said...

Two responses from a teacher:
1. Yes, teachers have been told in more than one building that they will be written up if they say much about SBAC. I know one that already was.

2. Yes, the Amplify scores are terrible. Whole grades not having more than a few that pass. And they also include written responses that teachers are supposed to grade themselves. I know of no teacher who had bothered.

Please check out the practice tests. Aside from poorly vetted questions, there are some that are just wrong.

Silence is not consent.

Anonymous said...

Any news about the Mr. English paid administrative leave?

What triggered the separation between Mr. English and his employer, Seattle School District?

Is he just the fall guy?

What exactly is the accusation of misconduct about? He's pretty smart, hard to believe he failed to comply with major procedural protocols. What else could get someone axed?

?English

Anonymous said...

Yes, parents, we are BEGGING you to speak up, on behalf of ALL kids. My kids are going to be tested in the regular classroom (filled with distractions)on laptops with no mouse because the computer lab will be booked solid for testing.

And yes, at the request of leadership, I'm already squandering instructional time to practice typing.

I can't imagine I will learn anything about them that I don't already know from grading their HW and quizzes.

Over the years I have been told directly at every school I've worked in NOT to mention/encourage opting out, whether for MAP, MSP, Amplify, or now SBAC.

And for this topic I don't feel safe to sign my

regular moniker

Anonymous said...

If schools are administering Amplify and parents don't know it, that's BS. If schools are administering Amplify without notice to parents, that is BS. If the Amplify scores are not available and explained to students and families that is double BS. If schools staff doesn't bother to grade student work in Amplify, after students have been forced to take a repetitive test without prior notification that is BS in triplicate.

Sounds like the biggest thing we're getting out of SBAC testing is the realization many of our students have already been overtested via Amplify.

DistrictWatcher

Anonymous said...

Who is in charge of providing Amplify data to parents? Teachers? The school? It would be nice to know who to contact. I will make a mental note to opt out, or "refuse," Amplify testing at the beginning of next school year.

-overtested

Anonymous said...

Ask your teacher for the Amplify results. They have results and they should be able to walk you through them. Ask your teacher/principal/administration a lot of questions. Based on everything I'm hearing and have researched, we are opting out of SBAC. Also, our teacher has been told NOT to offer any opinion or discuss SBAC. Just wrong!
-Testing Overload

Anonymous said...

In response to Southie above.

SPS will never go out of its way to notify parents that their children don't have to test.

Multiple language notification? ROFLMAO.

Surely you understand that the poor kids from English as a Second Language have to fail this test. As well, some of the middle class white kids have to fail too.

There can be no sales of test prep software and materials which is exactly what Amplify is,if they don't fail the test.

There can be no Corp Reform 'solutions' like privitization, charters and vouchers if they don't fail the test.

There can be no reason to market TFA if they don't fail the test.

There can be no way to evaluate teachers if they don't fail the test this year in record numbers. How will politicians chart 'year over year' growth in performance if kids don't start in the test pit of despair?

This is not hyperbole. The creators of the test say that most kids are going to tank it. Tie that to the sales projections for Rupert Murdoch's Amplify, for the Pearson testing behemoth, and for the DFER-type edupreneurs salivating over 'growth potential' for their ideas and you'll get about as outraged as I was during the Goodloe-Johnson Reign of Terror.

DistrictWatcher

Watching said...


House Ed Committee this AM (Tuesday, 3/10/15) - Achievement Index; SBAC

http://www.tvw.org/index.php?option=com_tvwplayer&eventID=2015030095

Discussion regarding high school cut scores in relation to msp, proficiency and college ready begins at minute 26.

SBAC is intended to align state and federal systems.

State Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos counters and calls federal system "dysfunctional". She chooses her words carefully and discusses federal system of "rewards", but fails short of calling out system of federal "punishments".

Very good article regarding SBAC and concerns regarding SBAC. Great quote:

" It is not about the content of the standards, which would be objectionable even if written by Aristotle and refined by Shakespeare. Rather, the point is that, unless stopped now, the federal government will not stop short of finding in Common Core a pretext for becoming a national school board"

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/george-will-immigration-and-common-core-stand-in-jeb-bushs-way/2014/12/26/622035a8-8ba6-11e4-8ff4-fb93129c9c8b_story.html

For the above reasons, I remain deeply concerned about the agenda behind SBAC and Common Core.

Anonymous said...

We asked our child's teacher for Amplify results, but have not gotten them yet and the teacher didn't seem to know whether or not she was supposed to share them. I know parents have a right to their child's educational records, including Amplify scores, but I don't know who is in charge of releasing the data. Is it just a matter of printing a report?

-overtested

Melissa Westbrook said...

Oh Overtested, in a simple paragraph, you ask a big question:

What right do YOU have to see your child's data?

But understand, your child generated that data for the district. The district owns it and yes, they get to decide when and how much you see.

That so many of you know your child took this test and would like to see the results (and yet can't get a straight answer on it) tells me a lot.

Anonymous said...

For those opting out and stating a reason for doing so on the opt-out (aka "refusal") form, what reason are you putting down? Perhaps many of us could put the same, brief reason to help unify our disapproval of SPS administering it and using language ("refusal", "consequences") to discourage opting out.

It feels like SPS is using fear-based bullying tactics to discourage opting out.

-- Zero Tolerance Bullying Policy

Anonymous said...

According to FERPA, and the school district policy, schools have 45 days (business days or calendar days?) to comply with requests for education records. Request your child's Amplify results now, before the end of the school year.

ticktock

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that link, Watching. I had suspected that all the angst over the "40% failure" rate might be based on some misunderstanding of how the SBAC-developed cut points would be used in WA, and to clearly see that the State Bd of Ed (SBE) is planning to set different cut points for HS proficiency was a big help. Since the SBE is planning to set the proficiency cut points so that, at least in these early years, approximately the same percentage of kids meet the graduation requirement as do now, the cut points themselves are not really the cause for alarm that people seem to think. Different words and numbers, but essentially the same results.

Yes, the cut points may rise over time--but it sounds like that will largely be in response to anticipated increases in scores over time, as kids become more familiar with the test and have more years of experience with the new CCSS. To the extent that any eventual increases in the cut scores required for HS proficiency reflect actual increases in the education attained in our schools, that would be a good thing, right? But in my mind the "levels" associated with SBAC are essentially meaningless, aside from the ability to test out of remedial college classes if you score 3 or higher. Then again, given how hard it apparently will be to score 3+ anyway, most of the kids who do so would likely not be worried about having to take such classes in the first place.

I still have a lot of problems with the test itself and all the test prep--and any test that requires both practice tests AND training tests is a red flag to me--but I don't think the "failure rates" argument is a huge area for concern, in and of itself. There may be disproportionate impact on certain groups, but it's hard to say at this point exactly how the yet-to-be-determined SBE cut points for HS proficiency (TBD in Jul/Aug, after HSPE results are in) will impact the percentage of any subgroup meeting the new requirement. This will be something to watch closely--unless of course we can abandon this test sooner rather than later!

HIMSmom

PS - The references to "failure rates" with grades 3-8 seem silly to me. The levels really don't mean anything. We have levels now with the MSP--do people really tell their kids they "failed" if they score at level 2 on that???

Lynn said...

According to the Early Learning Department webpage, there are still open seats in Bailey Gatzert's Pre-K classroom. Watching the board meeting where this was authorized, you'd have guessed families were lining up to get in. I wonder what this tells us about the city's preschool program?

The Gates Foundation must be irritated. They're paying for the classroom and won't get as much data as they'd anticipated.

Anonymous said...

The references to "failure rates" with grades 3-8 seem silly to me. The levels really don't mean anything. We have levels now with the MSP--do people really tell their kids they "failed" if they score at level 2 on that???

HIMS mom you must live in a media-free cave. YES, parents and kids themselves see themselves as failing when they scores 2s and 1s. The media refers to that failure too. Do you not see headlines filled with the failure of public schools? The articles are using the high stakes testing as the base point for that moniker.

Perception is reality. The perception of failure is reality. The SBAC and PARCC are poison in that regard.

DistrictWatcher

Anonymous said...

DistrictWatcher, no cave here. Yes, the media can spin this, but parents seem to be buying it hook, line and sinker. Changing the test and resetting the levels does not suddenly make more kids (or any kids) failures, so parents need to stop conveying the message that it does. A better approach would be to say the test is crap, the levels are only rough guides of where kids stand, and kids this year are not any less educated than last year, regardless of whatever BS numbers the test makers came up with. In other words, change the perception to match the reality, rather than letting a misperception of the test and results shape what people think is the reality. Parents seem to be fixating on the levels, when in reality we may never get to the point where level 3 is required of anyone. But you're absolutely right--the media and politicians will cry "failure" any chance they get. Can we at least not call these kids failures here, amongst the informed?

HIMSmom

Melissa Westbrook said...

Lynn, that is VERY interesting about B-G preschool.

Watching said...

"But in my mind the "levels" associated with SBAC are essentially meaningless..."

You might want to consider the individual(s) that sit on the State Board of Education. What makes them qualified and competent to determine cut scores? Is the individual that works as Chief Deputy Assessor for King County competent to determine cut scores?

What about the former Seattle School Board member that was kicked out of office for failing to oversee district operations? Is he competent to determine cut scores?

Take note: Some of these individuals are closely tied to the Gates Foundation. Do these individuals support agendas that are tied to the Gates Foundation?

Here are the individuals on the State Board of Education.

http://www.sbe.wa.gov/boardmembers.php#.VQDP1pU5Dug

Anonymous said...

Watching, the SBE doesn't do the work to determine the cut scores. OSPI and their on-staff and/or contracted psyshometricians do that work. I believe Ben Rarick stated that in the House Ed Committee work session segment you linked to above.

OSPI does the psychometric analysis and submits that analysis and its recommendations to the SBE for adoption. SBE then officially adopts the cut scores or "thresholds" based upon OSPI's analysis and recommendations.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

Anyone have a sense of the timeline for the proposal to split the district? We are house shopping and I am trying to incorporate "risk that district will split" into my calculus (eg, I have a kid who will be at Garfield based on APP/our current residence as of now, but if we move to the north end and the district splits, I guess would have to move programs, which isn't the end of the world but is something to throw into the real estate hopper).

--constant churn

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Watching said...

Senate Bill 5748 mandates the use of state test scores in teacher evaluations – a policy that has no basis in research and doesn’t do anything to help teachers or their students.

Last year, the Senate defeated a similar bill, but several Democrats flip-flopped this year and changed their votes. Without support from the following Democrats, SB 5748 would have failed:
•Annette Cleveland, Vancouver
•Mark Mullet, Issaquah
•Jamie Pedersen, Seattle
•David Frockt, Seattle
•Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Seattle
•Steve Hobbs, Lake Stevens
•Cyrus Habib, Bellevue

Let's watch and see what happens in the House and with Inslee. Shame on Seattle's Pederson, Frockt and Kohl-Welles.

Watching said...

(con't) Here are the individuals that voted NO:

Voting Nay: Senator Angel, Billig, Brown, Chase, Conway, Dansel, Darneille, Fraser, Hargrove, Hasegawa, Hatfield, Jayapal, Keiser, Liias, McAuliffe, McCoy, Nelson, Padden, Pearson, Ranker, Roach, Rolfes, Sheldon

Senators Rosemary McAuliffe, Steve Conway, Maralyn Chase, John McCoy, Christine Rolfes and Sharon Nelson all made passionate floor speeches opposing the bill. Several said SB 5748 is a distraction from what the Senate should actually be doing to help students.

“The solution is properly funding our schools,” said Sen. Sharon Nelson.

Watching said...

Constant Churn,

The bill to split the district has been in Rules since Feb. 20th. Some say the bill will die in Rules.

Josh Hayes said...

I am shocked that David Frockt voted for that hot mess of a bill. It's just impossible to understand. It doesn't work, it's never worked, studies show it doesn't work - let's vote for it!

What?

Here's hoping it goes to the House to die.

Anonymous said...

Folks: Pay heed to DistrictWatcher's words, as reiterated below. This is no conspiracy theory; it's a fact, proven many times over.

"There can be no sales of test prep software and materials which is exactly what Amplify is,if they don't fail the test.

There can be no Corp Reform 'solutions' like privitization, charters and vouchers if they don't fail the test.

There can be no reason to market TFA if they don't fail the test."

Amen, DistrictWatcher. AMEN!

They will sell us the air that we breathe someday when they can manage to buy enough politicians to vote it into law. And without an eternally vigilant fight by the average folk, they will succeed.

WSDWG

Anonymous said...

Well stated District Watcher. One thing to point out,

There can be no maintenance of social status quo, if minority kids and disabled kids don't fail the test. So, let's make sure that we give them a test they will fail. We aren't failing them to "make them better", or to provide better education. We're failing them to keep them down, to keep them in their "place". To prove that discrimination was the right thing all along. White people deserve more status and financial advantage, because they do better on our test. Eugenics.

HIMSMom, are you kidding? Are your kids in kindergarten? Teachers tell students all the time to "check the source", and the Fusion pages. Test info is all there. Every state test your kid took is there. And if they failed, it will appear brightly highlighted in red. Failure. Same as a failed grade. Your kid will definitely get the message.

Reader

mirmac1 said...

Lynn

Amen. They probably cut checks with the "not valid after 6 months". Because they know that SPS' REA will show "dramatic gains" for these children - much like their effusive praise for JSIS and McDonald. I happy that, at least, Eric Anderson recognized that these schools are basically no SpEd, no ELL, and no FRL zones.

This was pointed out quit effectively by Director Peters. Give her an Amen.

Anonymous said...

King5 is reporting that the city intends to seize Sisley properties and turn them into a park. http://www.king5.com/story/news/local/seattle/2015/03/12/seattle-slumlord-housing-roosevelt/70238296/

I hope the park will be the block in front of RHS.

-StepJ

Lori said...

Can they put portables in the park to expand Roosevelt's capacity? I'm not kidding.

Anonymous said...

I was driving by there today and was thinking the land those abandoned buildings are on would be a great location for a Roosevelt annex.

- North-end Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

Step J, the City Attorney is having a press conference right down the block from me on the Sisley issue. I will be there.

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