Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Tuesday Open Thread

No meetings this week for SPS nor any director community meetings.

However, the All-City Band Jam is happening in West Seattle.  From the West Seattle blog:
Please join us on Friday, July 29th at the Southwest Athletic Complex (2801 SW Thistle) for Band Jam. This has become an annual event showcasing several bands that perform in the Seafair Torchlight Parade. Band Jam gives people the opportunity to see the bands perform in a concert setting on the football field.
This is a non-competitive event sponsored by the Seattle Schools All-City Band.
Doors will open at 5:30 pm, with music starting at 6:30 pm. Admission is free. Come hungry! Concession stands will be open on site with the proceeds benefiting Seattle Schools All-City Band. We hope to see you there.
From Social Equality Educators:
Rally in solidarity with teachers and education activist in Oaxaca, Mexico who have been killed, jailed, repressed for opposing corporate education reform!

When: Wednesday, July 27th, 4:00—6:00pm

Where: Rally at the Mexican Consulate in Seattle: 2132 3rd Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

Facebook page with details: https://www.facebook.com/events/205365026531530/
While some newspaper support Superintendent Randy Dorn's lawsuit, the Everett Herald does not.
The Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing for Sept. 7, asking lawmakers to defend their plan to develop a plan to satisfy the McCleary decision. Dorn should withdraw his lawsuit and take the advice of his attorney general and allow that process to proceed.
Did you see First Lady Michelle Obama's speech last night? Because it was aimed at how we support the children of our country.  It was fantastic and uplifting.
"And as my daughters prepare to set out into the world, I want a leader who is worthy of that truth, a leader who is worthy of my girls' promise and all our kids' promise, a leader who will be guided every day by the love and hope and impossibly big dreams that we all have for our children."
Does taking AP courses in high school prepare you for college-level work? Maybe not.  From The Atlantic:
The pair looked at thousands of high-school and college transcripts using the National Educational Longitudinal Study, a nationally representative survey of about 25,000 students that began in 1988.

They found that, when they controlled for things like race, gender, socioeconomic background, and standardized-test scores, the courses that students took in high school had very little impact on college grades.

The authors argue that while their research might sound dire, in reality, it might present an opportunity to bring more creativity and innovation to high-school instruction. Maybe a focus on non-cognitive skills, teamwork, or technical education would better prepare kids for college than a focus on mastering content they’ll soon forget, they posit. That shouldn’t mean eliminating all content, they clarify, but it should ease concerns that scaling back on drilling content to test new pedagogies will hurt kids.
 What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

Following the money: - our kids for sale:


$4.625 Trillion, The Global Privatization Of Education And Who Is Behind It?

Frank Adamson Ph.D. is with the Stanford Graduate School Of Education/Stanford Center For Opportunity Police in Education (SCOPE) where he is a Senior Policy and Research Analyst. At this meeting he reports on the global privatization of education and who is behind it.


Anonymous said...

The College Board Advanced Placement exams were not originally intended to prepare a student for college. They are essentially a credentialing system that certifies that a student has mastered a body of work, which in most cases corresponds to a typical first-year college course. Then the student can attend a college which gives credit for AP exams, and skip taking the first-year courses, allowing the student to save tuition money by graduating sooner, or, alternatively, to take additional upper-level courses.

AP classes in the high school were added later, as a means of helping students pass the exams. The college board recommends material that should be covered in these classes, but AP teachers can teach whatever they think is most important. Some do a good job of teaching the content, some do a good job of teaching college readiness skills, some do not. In most cases the goal is still mainly exam preparation.

Some colleges use AP exam scores in their admissions decisions. Some people think of AP classes as a "program" for "gifted" students, which they are not designed to be, although particular teachers may choose to teach them that way. Some people think of AP classes as a "college preparatory program", which they are not, although such a program could be designed to include them. These are all uses that lie outside the primary purpose of AP.


Interesting said...

Jami Lund on Dorn's Lawsuit:

"Only the outgoing SPI who doesn't need to heed the political pressure is in a position to call out the elephant in the room: union negotiators are swiping money from children's materials, facilities and services for *their* priority of adult pay in violation of RCW 28A.400.200. Anyone close to the funding system knows there is a hole in the funding bucket as long as finite levy funds are drained to just make payroll. Return to the ban on local bargaining of wage and salary."

Anonymous said...

Really and truly. AP and IB are products sold to us by companies/entities: The College Board and International Baccalaureate Organization. In the case of College Board in particular - these are giant testing consortiums masquerading as "not-for-profit". Much like PARCC. All this psuedorigor, for the sake of more testing. Did anybody ever take a class "Survey of World History" in college? Did it cover every bit of World History, in a year or semester, or ever. Standardized blech.

been there

Anonymous said...

As a parent, I am not at all enamored by AP courses, and how they have come to be synonymous with quality and rigor. They are like the fast food of academia - intended to stuff the maximum amount of learning calories down students' gullets in the minimum amount of time. And I really, really don't care for the standardized exams at the end of them, which purport to signal a student's "mastery" over the "material." So many intelligent, creative students simply don’t do well on these types of standardized tests, in which there is no room or space to demonstrate the merest glimmer of originality or out-of-the-box thinking.

Even the language the College Board uses to describe these courses is suspect, making the kind of grandiose, slick, salesman-pitchy type claims that should raise anyone’s alert radar, e.g.: “When admissions officers see “AP” on your transcript, they know that what you experienced in a particular class has prepared you well for the challenges of college,” “AP courses help you transform the subjects you’re enthusiastic about into a fulfilling future,” and “AP can transform what once seemed unattainable into something within reach” (https://apstudent.collegeboard.org/exploreap/the-rewards). I mean, yikes! It’s even possible to hear something sneakily “corporate” about this language, as if learning = material profit.

I’d take a talented, passionate teacher teaching the material in the way he or she chooses over an AP course any day of the week. I really do wish that high schools and colleges alike would reduce their reliance on these courses as a mark of fitness for college. The current mania for taking as many AP classes as possible has led to misery and stress for too many students – and worse, some very real tragedies. At the very least, I think every principal needs to step in at every single high school in the U.S. and put a cap on the number of AP classes a student is allowed to take. The colleges themselves should also stop harping on these classes as an important factor in their admissions, in the same way that so many have now decided to go SAT/ACT-optional. The AP craze has gone way out of control and is doing very real damage to young people’s lives. The only people who seem to be profiting are those distant, mysterious beings who sit at the College Board.

(sorry for the rant... :)

-current parent

Anonymous said...

My kid took 12 AP classes. It was such a big waste of time. The only thing demanding about the classes was the amount of time required for the survey courses like the history courses. Very little in the way of learning, deep thought, creativity or challenging ideas. My kid felt cheated & was so excited to find that college was nothing like that. I recommend that students avoid them if they can take classes with strong teachers that are not AP classes.

IB is quite different. Much more emphasis on developing how students think, creativity, wrestling with ideas instead of regurgitating information, proofs instead of calculations, evaluating methods of investigation instead of multiple choice. I think it should be a model for other classes.

-done it

Anonymous said...

I agree, done it! And the time required - the hours and hours of work for each and every one - is really unconscionable. I *wish* students could avoid them completely, but unfortunately, the very real fact is that colleges do look to see if students have taken "the most rigorous classes available to them at their school," etc. etc., - so that a glaring lack of APs on a student's transcript, especially in a high school that offers a full smorgasbord of them, would be a red flag (to some colleges).

In the current college admissions climate, picking and choosing one's AP classes very carefully, looking for the very best teachers teaching them, and NOT the ones who assign mountains of work in the name of AP, is probably the best way to go. That, and not choosing to do more than a very few, and only in a student's areas of special interest and strength. Never in an area in which a student is already struggling.

However, just the fact that saying this is necessary is a real shame. I agree, IB does seem better - and more writing-intensive, from the sound of it. But I'd still just take a great teacher teaching a class of his or her own design over either AP or IB... I'm just not sure anything standardized is a good thing, in the end. And I really do think that high schools, we parents, and colleges all need to collectively call for an end to the over-use (and abuse) of AP classes in today's high schools.

-current parent

Lynn said...

A one size fits all cap on AP classes makes no more sense than AP for all does. Yes, many high school teachers assign ridiculous amounts of busy work in AP classes (Truax). They're also a respite from unchallenging classes that move at too slow a pace and from the inanity of project based learning. IB classes might be preferable for some, but not for students for whom writing is difficult.

If colleges don't look at test scores or the rigor of classes taken, how will admission decisions be made? GPA is not an objective measure of college readiness. They should be looking at all of these factors - not to weed out students but to provide many ways for a student to demonstrate their skills.

Anonymous said...

I certainly hope there is some degree of separation from the National Enquirer here and that teachers are not allowed to be smeared on this blog, especially by name.

The post by Lynn that included the derogatory reference about a Garfield teacher with a name attached should be deleted.

Hopefully this won't be allowed and (hopefully) the poster will show more respect to the teachers of her child.


Anonymous said...

Isn't it funny. People who clamor for rigor and exclusion for their kids, no matter the cost - then turn around whine and complain about the rigor being "busywork". IF you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen. It shouldn't all be about what goes on the college app. Right on FWIW.


mirmac1 said...

My AP LA course was my favorite HS course of all time. I learned so much, and find some of these comments ridiculous!