Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tuesday Open Thread

Looks like someone's trying to revive the reviled Inbloom (the $100M public education data cloud that Gates created) by making a kinder, gentler one.  I, along with some other student data privacy advocates, see this as much less threatening than InBloom but I would have to see all the particulars before I could say it was okay.  From Washington Monthly:

Koedinger launched LearnSphere earlier this year with the hope of making it easier and faster for researchers to analyze big datasets — mostly student keyboard clicks —  in order to test educational theories and boost learning outcomes from elementary school to college. 

“In some ways, it’s a deep philosophical difference,” Koedinger said. “We are not looking that much at collecting demographic data and certainly not any kind of record information. Those are the things that tend to be particularly sensitive.”

No student names, no addresses, no zip codes, no social security numbers, he says. No race, family income or special education designations. “The student identifier column, even if yours is already anonymized, we re-anonymize it automatically,” he added. 

Unlike inBloom, which wanted public school districts to use its servers to store student information, Koedinger has no plans to store school records and doesn’t anticipate that school officials will upload anything to his virtual warehouse of data. Instead, he wants education researchers and software developers to upload their data.  Those who want to share data can upload it to one of the sites that LearnSphere is managing, or they can keep it on their own server and control who gets access to it. The goal is to build something called a “distributed infrastructure,” which allows researchers access to data on someone else’s computer. 

I happened to drive past the Wilson-Pacific site the other day.  Every building is down save one.  It's pretty interesting seeing them dig up all around the remaining three houses on the block including Licton Springs.  And, it appears Capital Projects has put up a solar panel structure at one corner of  site, presumably for electricity use.  Good for them.

You may have heard the news story about two 14-year old boys who are missing after their parents gave them permission to take a 19-foot boat out into the Atlantic ocean to fish.  Their overturned boat has been found but no sign of the boys.  It is unlikely the boys, as experienced fishermen and boaters, would have been wearing their lifejackets.  The hope is that they were able to realize the danger and to have put them on and are floating around somewhere.

One question (from the Washington Post via the Today show) burning up social media:

Why were the teenagers, Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, allowed to take a 19-foot, single-engine boat onto the Atlantic Ocean without adult supervision in the first place?

Naturally, this is the kind of accident could have happened to adults who are experts as well.  But here's what former Coast Guard safety expert who now does rescues and investigates accidents had to say:

He said teenagers can spend years on the water and still be emotionally and mentally unprepared to deal with emergency situations. Asked whether teenagers should be allowed to go boating offshore without supervision, he said parents should consider the question very carefully.

“I would rephrase the question,” he told The Post on Monday. “They should ask: Should I send a teenager who has no experience with crisis out into the largest wilderness in the world, completely surrounded on all sides by something that will kill them if they get in it?

“Then the answer becomes obvious: No.”

Do you struggle with giving your teens the chance to explore and test their abilities to react to new situations?

What's on your mind?


dan dempsey said...

Koedinger co-founded Carnegie Learning - selling Cognitive Tutor for Math.
Part of the online learning cash bonanza for vendors.

Anonymous said...

SBAC results?

Tic toc
Tic toc


Melissa Westbrook said...

OSPI is having a press conference on August 17th to announce the SBAC results. I may be inspired to drive down to Olympia for this.

Anonymous said...

How long after the 17th do you think it will be before schools and parents have the results?
And in your opinion, will teachers find the data useful?


mirmac1 said...

Guess who Stand for Children has as their keynote speaker for their upcoming "Changing the Odds" luncheon ($100/ticket): the one and only former New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein - now chief executive officer of Amplify, part of Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp. Amplify's website calls Klein "is an education visionary and proven leader of change"

Melissa Westbrook said...

That says A LOT about Stand.

Waiting, Wondering, I would hope the results would be released at the same time for teachers and parents.

I cannot know for certain what teachers will think but it's a new test, entirely taken on computers (some of them computers new to the school or iPads) and some of the test may not have been covered in class.

To me, you really can't judge for at least three years. But I'm not a teacher.

Anonymous said...

How will the teachers from last year use the data from kids they no longer teach? What a joke.

open ears

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have the latest PRR log from the district?

SPS parent

mirmac1 said...

You can get it by asking sps

Anonymous said...

The solar panel on the SE corner of the WilPac property powers a surveillance camera.

A local

Michael Rice said...

Waiting/Wondering asked: How long after the 17th do you think it will be before schools and parents have the results?
And in your opinion, will teachers find the data useful?

As a math teacher, I have never found any data I have gotten on these state sponsored high stakes exams of any use. They don't tell me anything that I did not already know about my students. I'm their teacher, I already know who knows how to solve a quadratic and who does not, for example.

dan dempsey said...

The only value I found from WASL was how our school scored from year to year by using differentials from state passing averages. The WASL math test was lousy.

The MSP while a better test is exactly as Mike Rice says... you don't learn much about your students.

Districts are flushing away $$$$ on testing, because the testing does not help teachers teach.

Teachers have had pointlessly increased workloads. Lots of busy work that does ZERO to improve instruction.

I actually learned more about my students from ITBS than the expensive new stuff.
Iowa Test of Basic Skills. ... The supposed measuring of conceptual understanding via standardized testing is a scam.

dan dempsey said...

NY Times has an update on Mayoral Control of NYC schools.

Groups That Back Bloomberg’s Education Agenda Enjoy Success in Albany

Former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has been out of office for a year and a half, but his influence over New York schools is practically as strong as ever.

A group devoted to continuing his education agenda and founded in part by his longtime schools chancellor, has become one of the most powerful forces in Albany by pouring millions into lobbying and adroitly exploiting rivalries in state politics.

The organization, StudentsFirstNY, and another group with a similar focus called Families for Excellent Schools have formed a counterweight to teachers’ unions, long among the top spenders in the state capital. This year alone, the groups saw major elements of their platforms come to pass, such as tying teacher evaluations more closely to test scores, adding hurdles to earning tenure and increasing the number of charter schools, measures all unpopular with the unions.

..... The groups have delivered a drumbeat of attacks on Mr. de Blasio’s education policies, in television advertisements, rallies where parents upbraid the mayor for not confronting what they call an education crisis, and weekly, or at times daily, emails to reporters. Amid this onslaught, Mr. Cuomo and the Senate delivered a rebuke to the mayor this year by agreeing to only a one-year extension of mayoral control of city schools. (By contrast, Mr. Bloomberg, a political independent, was initially given control for seven years, then received a renewal for six.)

Josh Hayes said...

I ran across this from another source, but this, THIS, is why I got into teaching.

For the MONEY, yo! (From Key and Peele; seriously, This is hilarious.

Anonymous said...

That's so funny. A teacher with a BMW?

open ears

Joe Wolf said...

Photo post (public) from my Facebook on the conservation of the murals at Wilson-Pacific.


Anonymous said...

The Mayor just backed off up-zoning all single family zones. He blamed the media for the controversy. He seems oblivious to impacts the current pace of development has had on those of us who live in Seattle's neighborhoods. The infrastructure needs some time to catch up. And of course that includes schools.

Longtime Lurker

Josh Hayes said...

Thanks for those pics, Joe. I'd like to share them with the Licton Springs facebook groups, if that's okay with you! Shoot me an email, josh dot hayes at q dot com.

I live only a couple of blocks from Licton Springs, and it is amazing watching the care put into keeping those paintings safe. Kudos to everyone involved.

Joe Wolf said...

Josh - sure thing.

Josh Hayes said...

Anybody else getting robocalled by "Ready Washington", who seem to be big fans of common core, smarter balanced testing, and all that? Their computer apparently is threatening to call me back tomorrow at 7 about something. It's like the computer KNEW I got hired to teach!

I just wonder if they're carpeting Seattle, or if my household is somehow special.

Josh Hayes said...

Their website, by the way, is www.readywa.org, which is apparently "powered by the ready Washington coalition". The list of participants can be found at their "about" tab; it's the usual suspects, pretty much.

Anonymous said...

No, but I received a call from Randy Dorn telling me I will receive another call tomorrow at 7:00PM for a live town hall meeting. I will be able to ask questions.

Any thoughts on what to ask him?


Anonymous said...

I've been getting the Ready WA robocalls. I keep trying to find a way to get a person instead, so I can sound off about their association with ed deform/anti-public school orgs like DFER, LEV, and Stand on Children. No luck so far.


Ready Washington Coalition

Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
Partnership for Learning
Stand for Children Washington
Washington STEM
Excellent Schools Now
Washington State PTA
Council of Presidents
State Board for Community and Technical Colleges
Department of Early Learning
League of Education Voters
Democrats for Education Reform
Puget Sound Educational Service District
Office of Education Ombudsman
State Board of Education
The Parents Union
College Spark Washington
Schools Out Washington
Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession
Washington Association of School Administrators
Washington Student Achievement Council
Washington State School Directors Association
Association of Washington School Principals
Washington Roundtable
Renton Technical College

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, Ready Washington is quite the group and pushing very hard on Common Core/SBAC. I still find it odd they have their Top Ten reasons why SBAC is so great and yet they've failed on probably the biggest issue - results released in a timely manner for teachers and parents.

Robert Cruickshank said...

State Rep. Chris Reykdal just announced that he is running for OSPI in 2016: http://www.chrisreykdal.com

mirmac1 said...

Lawmakers Just Put Sound Transit Into the Education Business

Watching said...

Someone has been singing- off as "watching" and it isn't me. Please get yourself a new handle.

Watching said...

Yes, I've also seen that Chris Rykdal is running for Office of Superintendent.

Reykdal stood-up, in the midst of loosing federal waiver/flexibility, and led the effort not to link test scores to teacher evaluations, and I believe he is a teacher. He works against charter schools and mayoral control of public education.

2000 students were at risk of not graduating because they did not pass the biology EOC. Reykdal proposed a bill to eliminate biology EOC as a graduation requirement, but his bill would have further embedded SBAC- not good. I want to hear Reykdal talk about the need to de-link from one of two testing monopolies. Will he? Reykdal is one of our strongest allies in Olympia, but I did become concerned when I saw an old campaign contribution from Stand for Children aka Stand on Children. Now that Reykdal is running for OSPI....I can only hope his need for campaign funding doesn't impact his decision making processes.

Watching said...

Correction: Someone has been signing off as "watching". Get a new handle.

Melissa Westbrook said...

MIrmac1 - what the heck? I don't get it.

mirmac1 said...

Sorry, just posting articles that seems to show that legislators FINALLY got the memo on development and its impact on schools.

Watching said...

Not so quick, mirimac. I found this in the Herald:

"Those dollars will go into a new Puget Sound taxpayer accountability account. They will be doled out to Snohomish, King and Pierce counties to distribute “for educational services to improve educational outcomes” in early learning, elementary and secondary schools...."


Why do I think "improve educational outcomes" relates to charter schools? Why didn't they say "provide buildings for increased capacity". I am also thinking of the HALA report related to placing charter schools in low income areas. Any chance Ed Murray is working with Olympia on this little project.

mirmac1 said...

No clue (real?)Watching. Like I said, posting articles on mainstream media so y'all can dig in.

Anonymous said...

Longtime lurker: maybe the threat to upzone single-family zones was an intentional distraction so the developers would get the upzone of urban villages and centers. My understanding is that there is already plenty of capacity under current zoning in those areas, so the upzone will be another bag of goodies for developers at the expense of neighborhood livability and affordability.