Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Seattle School District Updates: Teachers to Walk out May 19th

Update on the teacher walkout:
I heard SEA prez Jonathan Knapp on KUOW during the noon hour.  He said that it should be about 5,000 teachers.  They will be having rallies in front of high schools in the morning (I'll try to get details) with teachers busing downtown for a rally (not sure of the location but I'd guess JSCEE).

Two main issues:
Will schools be closed on May 19th?  I will try to get an answer.  KUOW said they had asked the district but no answer yet (ditto for me).

Will a day extra be tacked on at the end of the year if schools do close?  Probably.  Again, I will verify this today.

end of update

The Times is reporting that the SEA voted to strike on Tuesday, May 19th. 

Some districts' teachers have already walked while there are still at least five others in the wings with three more to walk on Friday.

While I understand the teachers' frustrations with the Legislature, I'm not sure I agree with the walkout.  If it was done in coordination with other unions on one day at the Legislature, it might have some punch.  But this way, I think it loses any punch it might have had. And I don't think legislators will even be paying attention.

Seattle Education blog is reporting that Nova High School had 100% of BOTH 10th and 11th graders opting out of the SBAC.  (I'm not sure how many that is in actual numbers - maybe 100?)

After researching the Common Core Standards and much deliberation by parents and students, parents opted their students out of the SBAC and the remaining students refused to take the test.
There was zero participation on the first day of the SBAC testing for Nova High School.

I know what you may be asking; so how will those 10th graders graduate?  Nova is known for its smart, off-the-grid students - I'm sure every single one of them will find a way.

Apparently comedian Steve Harvey was at Garfield entertaining students (and apparently lecturing girls on their sex appeal and to protect it).  Why was he there?  I don't know.

Message from district Communications on test results (red mine):

I have to smile as the district says the state is still making "scoring decisions" about 10th grade scores so those scores will not be available "immediately."  Well, it would be nice if someone would shake a leg as those students need to know.

As well, the district is going to use the math scores for math placement.  I'm not sure that's what SBAC was developed to do.

Dear Seattle Public Schools family,

We want to update you on how you will receive scores for your student’s spring state assessments in reading, writing and math. We expect to receive results sooner this year because the assessments are now taken online. In previous years, families did not receive state test scores until late summer. With the new Smarter Balanced assessments, we anticipate being able to provide a printed version of the state-generated score report in early summer.
How scores will be communicated
  • For most families, schools will send score reports with final report cards in June – or in a separate mailing if the school tested late and scores are not available by then.
  • Scores will not be posted electronically to The Source until fall.
  • The state plans to provide a somewhat more detailed score report later in the summer; your school principal can provide information at that time about accessing it.
  • Third-grade Level 1 reading only: Families of some third-graders will receive one score earlier. If a third-grader’s reading score places him or her in Level 1, the state requires the school to offer more reading support right away to help the student be more successful in fourth grade. School staff will contact these families as soon as those results are available.
  • 10th grade only: Sophomores take only the English language arts portion of the assessment, to be used as a state graduation requirement. Because the state remains in the process of making decisions about those scoring levels, those score reports will not immediately be available. We will update those families when we know more.
A look at scoring
Not only are the assessments new, but also the scoring approach is different. While the state will continue to place scores within four levels, the Smarter Balanced levels cannot be directly compared to previous state scoring levels, for several reasons:
More rigor. Students are simply doing more challenging work under Washington’s newly adopted College and Career Readiness Standards (Common Core). Achievement levels may be lower at first, but that’s because the bar is higher.
A different scoring approach.  While the previous state tests presented a fixed set of questions, the Smarter Balanced assessments are “adaptive.” Questions become easier or more challenging depending on each student’s answers, so the level of difficulty factors into the score – a more accurate way to measure performance and growth.
A new baseline. It is early in this process. Our teachers and students are still adjusting to new standards and expectations, and this simply takes time. For this reason, educators will view this year’s scores as a new baseline from which future progress would be measured. As such, we will alter scoring expectations for opportunities such as math placement.
How scores will be used
We don’t view your child’s scoring level as “passing” or “failing.” Rather, we see the scores as one way (among several) to help us determine which resources and supports are needed. Unlike previous tests, Smarter Balanced breaks down scores by “claims” and “targets” – or specific categories – by district, school and even classroom. This allows principals and teachers to use the results in their planning. For example, if your student “does not meet state standards” (Levels 1 or 2), school staff can use details from the report to determine where the student may need more support or where lesson plans may need adjusting. If your student is above grade level, staff can see where the student may need more challenges.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

I support the teachers.

THIS test is bad, horrible, ridiculous.

And, it is WAY TOO LONG.

So, it has got to go.

If a 1 day teacher strike is part of the PROCESS in ditching it, so be it. We can't be sheep. Sheep get led to the slaughter.

Yes, a strike is a hardship on families. But this test is a resource drain, pointless, and a hardship on some students. The tide must turn, but it won't turn all on its own.

Opted out

Rah Rah said...

The amount of nonsense that comes out of the John Stanford center is palapable.

Not one word that 3rd graders are being tested before the end of the year.

Not one word that 10th graders are being tested on 11th grade content.

Not one word that SBAC will fail 90% of 3rd grade English Language Learners. I guess this falls into the "new baseline" category.

'Unlike previous tests, Smarter Balanced breaks down scores by “claims” and “targets” – or specific categories" Really? What about MAP testing?



The district can get SBAC onto the web. Where are Amplify results?

Anonymous said...

I disagree, Melissa. We already have uncoordinated walk-outs with teachers in different districts striking on different days. I agree that there would be more impact if they all walked out on the same day, but different days is far better than no gesture at all. If there's a rally we can get to that day, we'll be there supporting our teachers.

-flibbertigibbet

Anonymous said...

It's not a walkout over SBAC it's to dramatize their request that state lawmakers fully fund a voter-approved initiative that would lower the number of students per class.

So they worry about wasting time on SBAC, but have no problem walking out and depriving students of a full day of instruction? This is ridiculous and will not help.

--Michael

dan dempsey said...

Huh???

Why not support the teachers?

What would the legislature notice?

The legislature has spent years failing to notice intense traffic congestion, the state constitution, and the McCleary decision from the WA Supreme Court.

The legislators need a lot more things to not notice. Rolling school strikes seem as good as any.

The legislature had no difficulty ignoring their own legislation that required Randy Dorn to submit a full report on the impact of Common Core State Standards adoption by January 1, 2011 ... he was 30 days late. No problem they did not care. As these folks do not ever notice much that impacts the general populace as they are apparently focused on big political donors needs.

Where is that constitutional amendment limiting campaign contributions.??... that these folks would notice.

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that this is an "enough is enough" rolling walkout.
Lack of funding, large class sizes,
ridiculous mandates testing and mandates and, yes, evaluations tied to standardized test scores.

Can't "support" it? Seriously?
You've got to be kidding. Echoes of Charlie when he was against the MAP protest at Garfield.

--enough already

Anonymous said...

The infographic on the district website about the "Top Ten Reasons" we switched to SBAC assessments says that "Results are available for individual students in 3 weeks!"

I have a third grade student who slogged through this test during the first week of April. Parents should be getting scores from schools as soon as they are available, not only for the students who scored a 1.

From the district's website, we were led to believe that we would get the scores while my student was still in her third grade classroom. That's why the tests are so superior! They would magically help her teacher THIS YEAR identify where she needed additional lessons! Now we are lucky if the scores make it on the last day of school with the report cards?

Also, are they planning on using these results for advanced learning now? I've heard they are.

Sham.

Anonymous said...

Do students have to make this day up at the end of the year?

- Go Sounders

Anonymous said...

I support the teachers in their decision on this. It's a good way to remind the legislature of one of the key reasons they are in special session. Add on top of that the additional burdens being dumped on teachers with SBAC testing, push for using test scores in teacher performance, capacity issues, lack of a COLA, etc. I am glad to see them standing up. I am not sure what other means they have? They could of course strike in the fall or during the next CBA negotiation....

-Fedmomof2

Anonymous said...

How dare the district make SBAC the newest 'gateway' for advanced learning. 1) It is not what the test is meant to measure.
2) No competent district decides, after a test is already administered, to put it to a new use. Not one competent district does this. None. Nada. Zip.
3) And those MAP scores were for?...And those Amplify scores were for? And, and, and?
4) Back to SBAC what's happened to the assurance that fast turnaround of scores is a big new benefit to this test? Getting scores at the end of the school year is not one bit different than getting them over the summer. Same 'who cares' for teachers and students who will have all moved onto the new year.

Aghast

Anonymous said...

How dare the district make SBAC the newest 'gateway' for advanced learning. 1) It is not what the test is meant to measure.
2) No competent district decides, after a test is already administered, to put it to a new use. Not one competent district does this. None. Nada. Zip.
3) And those MAP scores were for?...And those Amplify scores were for? And, and, and?
4) Back to SBAC what's happened to the assurance that fast turnaround of scores is a big new benefit to this test? Getting scores at the end of the school year is not one bit different than getting them over the summer. Same 'who cares' for teachers and students who will have all moved onto the new year.

Aghast

Anonymous said...

I support the teachers!

-Parent

Anonymous said...

According to at least one news story, yes, the students would have to make up the day. I support the need to make a statement - how else does one draw attention to a problem?

reader47

Anonymous said...

As usual, NOVA in its quiet way sets the standard. Notice that not just the 11th grade but also the 10th grade said no to SBAC. The principal at NOVA is stellar and so are the kids who go there. Too many parents are offput by the 'alt' vibe and 'alt' class set up at the school, and shudder to think that their kid would attend but NOVA annually turns out very well spoken, thoughtful, prepared students. They don't do 'fit into a jello mold of a teenager to be successful as a kid or as a student' at NOVA and that is to its utmost credit. SPS Central grits its teeth and deals with its existence. In reality, it is one of the most impressive schools in the district. This stand, in my book, makes it even more so. You go NOVA and keep standing strong and unapologetic.

Signed:

***Big fan***

Anonymous said...

Where is the letter that the SBA is going to be used for Advanced Learning placement? Do current HCC students have to take the test to stay in?
NEmom

Melissa Westbrook said...

NE Mom, the letter in the thread says this:

"For this reason, educators will view this year’s scores as a new baseline from which future progress would be measured. As such, we will alter scoring expectations for opportunities such as math placement."

I think some are extrapolating that means SBAC scores will be used for HCC placement.

Anonymous said...

More money in classrooms and less money in testing seem to be flip sides of the same coin. Shouldn't a strike address both?
I opted my 2nd grader out of the Spring MAP test after his teacher told me, "His Fall MAP scores are not very high so there is no way he could be eligible for Advanced Learning. I'm not qualified to interpret these private results you have (98% math/reading/cog). In addition, his inattentive behavior is a behavioral problem, not an academic problem."
While I support a better public school, it seems that (sadly) many of the teachers themselves have drunk the Kool-Aid. My experience has been that about 50% "get it" and 50% don't. Perhaps a student walk-out, district wide, with 50,000 dissatisfied parents would be more effective? Give us working parents ample warning and we'll use a vacation day to get a day off work, making it happen.
SE Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

SE Parent, you are talking my language.

I think it would be INCREDIBLY useful if parents walked out with their kids (and if the effort was led by the PTA).

But, time after time, parents don't show up.

I always wonder why parents miss the key point that unions get - there is power in numbers.

Anonymous said...

District's first message on the action told parents the wrong last day of school. I just found a correction -it's now Tuesday the 16th- in my email.

Doh. Highly paid downtown right hand, meet your highly paid downtown left hand.

DistrictWatcher

Ed said...

Other employees wont join them because they lose pay when they "walk out" and potentially fired.

Anonymous said...

In addition, his inattentive behavior is a behavioral problem, not an academic problem.

And people ask why the neighborhood school just doesn't work for some students...aack. The behavior problem may be directly linked to a lack of academic challenge.

Anonymous said...

Does the Legislature really give two toots about teachers walking out? How does this work as a message or threat? Maybe it would have been more effective to coordinate a statewide walkout with a huge rally in Olympia. I just don't see this as being effective.

--Purina Cat Chow

Melissa Westbrook said...

I heard that there is a bill in the Legislature to not pay teachers who strike. Don't much else.

Anonymous said...

My experience with NOVA students has been that like everything, it isn't for everyone. Have a highly motivated student who can plan out what they want? Then NOVA is a great fit. Have a kid that is a slacker by nature? Not such a good fit. Some kids need more structure and others need less. I am glad NOVA exists but I have also seen several kids flunk out.

HP