Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Thurgood Marshall waiver misstep

The Friday Memo of August 26 includes this FAQ sheet on the new Superintendent Procedure 2190SP and the waiver request from Thurgood Marshall for blended HCC/General Education social studies.

The FAQ sheet includes some strong points. Among them:


Question: When can schools submit a waiver?
• Now. Dr. Nyland signed the revised 2190 SP.

Question: Are changes to Superintendent Procedure 2190 in compliance with state law and Board policy 2190?
• Yes

It's pretty clear that the superintendent and staff are telling the Board that this is within their authority, that they think it's a good idea, that the community supports it, and that they are doing it. Discussion over.

Good for them. They are right on all of the facts and they make a solid case. Both the FAQs and the "Talking Points" are great -  until the very last bit, a bit that they didn't need to write and never should have written. They were doing so well and then, in the very last moment, they screwed the whole thing up.



Here's the last "Talking Point":
"The instruction materials and learning standards for Thurgood Marshall's HCC social studies class will maintain the rigor expected of all HCC services in SPS."

Ooooooh! What a shame! They stumbled at the finish line, smacked their head, and knocked themselves out.

First, they made a reference to the learning standards for Thurgood Marshall's HCC social studies. That's a problem because there are no learning standards for HCC. Remember that the District promised a curriculum (set of learning standards) for HCC when they split the program in 2009, but they never delivered and continue to refuse to deliver a curriculum or set of learning standards for HCC. I'm not a public relations professional, but I'm pretty sure that making reference to a false promise from the past in the context of a new false promise is not the way to earn people's trust.

Second, they promise to maintain the rigor. In order to do that they would have to
a) Have a measure of the current rigor
b) Make a measure of the future rigor, and
c) Take steps to improve the rigor if it has fallen.
If the class were one with a state proficiency test, like language arts or math, we might have some objective measure of the current and future level of "rigor", but there is no state elementary social studies assessment, so the whole suggestion is false. Again, this is no way to earn people's trust.

In truth, they have no assessment of the current rigor and they have no plans to assess the rigor going forward. So this statement is both a lie and a false promise in a second way.

Third, what if the rigor or the learning standards were not maintained? Is there something in the waiver application or the granting of the waiver that governs that contingency? No. This talking point, however, suggests that the experiment will be regarded as a failure and the waiver will be revoked if the blended class doesn't deliver instruction consistent with the (non-existent) learning standards or if the (not happening) assessment of rigor indicates a drop from the (non-existent) baseline. None of that is actually true - it couldn't be given the absence of standards or assessments - so the suggestion is also untrue. Again, a false promise wrapped up in wad of other false promises.

This talking point begs these questions:

  • What is are the learning standards for Thurgood Marshall's HCC social studies classes?
  • How is it different from the learning standards for Fairmount Park and Cascadia's HCC social studies classes?
  • What is the current rigor expected in all HCC services in Seattle Public Schools?
  • How will Thurgood Marshall measure the learning standards and rigor to confirm that they have been maintained?
  • What is the current measure of the learning standards and rigor in Thurgood Marshall's HCC social studies classes?
  • What would be the consequence of a persistent drop in the learning standards and rigor as measured?
It was a foolish thing to say. Not only because it is so obviously packed with lies upon lies and insincere promises on top of insincere promises, but also because it is completely unnecessary.

The easier path would have been to remove social studies from the list of disciplines with accelerated curriculum in HCC in the Superintendent's procedure.

Seattle Public Schools uses verbal and quantitative cognitive ability and reading and math achievement to determine eligibility for HC services. Consequently, the program doesn't have to offer an accelerated curriculum outside those disciplines. HC students don't get accelerated curriculum in art, PE, music, drama, or world languages. There is little reason to presume that they should get accelerated curriculum in social studies. The Board Policy doesn't require it. The policy doesn't require HC services in every discipline, but the old Superintendent's Procedure promised it in "language arts, social studies, mathematics, and science".

It would have been a lot easiest to simply strike the words "social studies" from that list. Then Thurgood Marshall wouldn't need a waiver to blend social studies class, just as they don't need a waiver to blend art, PE, or music.

It would also be a procedure that better reflects the truth - there are no accelerated learning standards for social studies (despite the claims of the "Talking Points"). HC students are not getting social studies "two years ahead". If they were, then HCC students would take the 8th grade Washington State History class in the 6th grade, and HCC students would take the first two years of high school social studies in middle school, and we know that doesn't happen. The very fact that social studies could be blended at Thurgood Marshall is further evidence of the absence of an accelerated curriculum.

I really like the idea of blended social studies at Thurgood Marshall, but it's hard to support the school and the district in their effort when they botch it like this.

62 comments:

Liza Rankin said...

At the school board meeting last week, the board made it pretty clear that although they supported the idea for TM in theory, there wasn't enough clarity around policy. They pointed to the fact that curriculum for HCC and ALO is "clear as mud."

Charlie Mas said...

Latest revision of SP2190 now reads like this:

"Highly Capable Cohort (HCC) service model is self-contained in Grades 1-5 in ELA, math, science, and social studies. A formal waiver to allow flexible grouping of Gen Ed., AL and HC students for social studies may be requested by HC Cohort elementary schools. For purposes surrounding program implementation fidelity, the waiver process must outline procedures supporting an annual review process. This review of program effectiveness will be anchored in evaluation components that incorporate the analysis of baseline, progress and summative data, progress monitoring practices and a formal review of performance results aligned to initial, specified outcomes conducted at the building level. The waiver process must include principal, staff, community, and district representative input. The HC Cohort service model is also self-contained in most core subjects in Grades 6-8. For 9th grade students who are enrolled in the 8th grade HC Cohort will be assigned to attend an accelerated AP pathway at Garfield or they may submit a School Choice form to attend an accelerated IB pathway at Ingraham.
Placement at Ingraham is subject to space availability."



Yeah. It would have been A LOT easier to just take out social studies.

On the other hand, the waiver process appears to make an effort to keep those promises that I didn't think could possibly be kept.

See, the problem is that there is no baseline, progress, summative data, program monitoring practices, or formal review of performance results, so I don't know how in the world any school could get a waiver.

The description of the waiver process is longer and more detailed than the description of anything else in the Program Design section of the procedure. The Program Design section, by the way, fails to meet the requirement by the Policy to provide a description of the programs.

Anonymous said...

Let's step back a few years. There was an elementary APP LA/SS curriculum based on standard units covered each year. To my knowledge it wasn't written down, but carried along by teachers year to year (by some of the same long time teachers that will be involved in the TM change).

In middle school, HCC LA/SS covered 2 years of world history, then a combined US history/WA state history in 8th. Prior to the splits, middle school LA/SS was a block class and had some common texts (both LA and SS) at a more advanced reading level than the most recently adopted SS texts. With the splits, teachers were left with no materials - the SS texts are out of print, and the district did not adopt any HCC specific texts in the most recent materials adoption. The high school LA adoption, which happened around the same time as the splits, created a situation where middle school APP/HCC LA was not supposed to cover titles on the high school list, even though APP classes had been reading some of the texts for years. Fast forward to the HCC split to JAMS, and C&I tells schools they are to follow grade level standards for HCC LA/SS.

On top of all that, fewer classes are taught by teachers with any experience with APP/HCC. The APP curriculum that existed was kept alive by the teachers, not the district. As the teachers left and retired, and the program expanded, the curriculum morphed into something even less defined. The 2007 APP program review presaged some of these changes in a quote from a middle school administrator: "Because the program is now housed in one place, the APP curriculum is entirely dependent on one teacher."

To recap - no common texts, few teachers to keep the curriculum going, and little to no acceleration. In light of the changes and program neglect over the past few years, eliminating HC SS does not seem far off, even though SS has been a core part of APP/HCC.

-st

Anonymous said...

Seriously. How much HCC energy do people have?

reader

Anonymous said...

Wow. What do you have against Thurgood Marshall? Why are you jumping all over them?

- needaclue

Charlie Mas said...

@needaclue, to whom is your comment directed?

If to me, I have nothing against Thurgood Marshall. Why must you try to make policy discussion into something personal? It's not about what or who I like or don't like; it's about the School District conducting their business in an honest and transparent way and keeping faith with a community. Expecting people to follow the rules is not a sign that I dislike them, and I expect the people I like to follow the rules as well. How odd that you think it's otherwise.

It appears that I have to re-state it, but I support the blended social studies class at Thurgood Marshall. I think that, if done well, it would be wonderful. Of course, if done poorly it would be a nightmare.

Anonymous said...

The invalid testing that includes retests and lack of local norms has over-qualified many, many students who shouldn't be in the program and has exclluded many others who should. That's why some local districts use a 1% CoGAt--in order to choose the actual students in that demographic who should be in the program. Some of those student in general ed should be in HC and many in HC should be in gen. ed.

Until that is dealth with, the rest of it, like program delivery, is like trying to put lipstick on a pig.

FWIW

Charlie Mas said...

All of these problems can be sourced back to Dr. Goodloe Johnson.

1) Her decision to split APP.

2) Her decision to put south-end APP at Thurgood Marshall - in direct opposition to the recommendation by the expert reviewers and ignoring the lessons learned at Madrona.

3) Her decision to leave north-end APP at Lowell, south of the Ship Canal.

4) Her decision to put a general education program at Lowell, ignoring the lesson learned at Madrona.

5) Her refusal to deliver the promised curriculum concurrent with the split.

6) Her decision to allow the degradation of Spectrum.

7) Her tolerance - in fact encouragement - of ALO in name only.

Anonymous said...

Testing represents a massive per student cost for the district. Why should the district continue to spend all the money on testing when the program has no standards of service and no curriculum to offer the identified students?

-SPSParent

Anonymous said...

FWIW-

Can you please provide a with a link showing the percentage of "over-qualified" students in HCC in Seattle? Since you keep repeating this claim, I trust that you have information to back it up. I would especially like to see proof of this: [HCC has} "many, many students who shouldn't be in the program."

I don't want the links you have already posted ad nauseam on what you claim proves a national problem because those do not prove it's a local problem.

-porcupine

Anonymous said...

Charlie hit the nail on the head IMO. The program has been destroyed by these policies. We saw the great programs in place in the early days (inclusive Spectrum with trained teachers and regular reports) and also the erosion (students required to teach each other math, state laws flouted to maximize class size). But now, why bother.

-SPSParent.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, I think one thing is clear - whether you like the program, think it's too large, the test is invalid, whatever - it's not clear and coherent program. My opinion is that nothing should change until the policy and procedures are clearly laid out and enacted across all schools.

Charlie Mas said...

The Superintendent's procedure is not out of compliance with the Board policy by allowing blended HCC/general education elementary social studies classes at Thurgood Marshall. The policy says: "A self-contained cohort option is available in grades 1-8." If it is not a violation of the policy for the 6-8 portion to be self-contained less than half the day, then it can't be a violation for the 1-5 portion to be self-contained for less than the whole day.

The Superintendent's procedure is, however, out of compliance with the Board policy because the policy says: "The Superintendent is authorized to develop procedures consistent with state guidelines regarding referral, evaluation, and identification of Highly Capable students in order to implement this policy. The procedures will describe the programs and services available to students identified as Highly Capable as well as to those identified as Advanced Learners."
But the Superintendent's policy does not, in fact, describe the programs and services. The appropriate description would be a curriculum.

The Board can take some steps to fix the problems by

1) Directing the Superintendent to implement a written, taught, and tested curriculum for Highly Capable students and Advanced Learners. You know, like the District promised to do in 2009. If the Board really cared about the level of trust between the District and the community, they would do more to require the District to be trustworthy. Good thing he just hired Dr. Kinoshita; it's his job.

2) Direct the Superintendent to conduct evaluations of all Advanced Learning programs to determine the extent to which they teach to the appropriate curriculum. You know, like Shauna Heath promised she would do three years ago. He doesn't have to wait until the curriculum is written, he can assess for any instruction beyond Standards.

3) Write a clear, enforceable policy for Highly Capable and Advanced Learning programs and services. This would be a policy that requires a written, taught, and tested curriculum - one that is designed for advanced learners, not just the general education curriculum one or two years ahead. This would be a policy that requires all schools to identify and serve all students capable of working beyond Standards, whether they are in an advanced learning program or not. One that requires an annual report on the quality and efficacy of each school's program or services and calls for direct and immediate action when programs are inadequate. The policy does not, however, have to dictate delivery models.

That would be a good start.

Anonymous said...

MGJ is dead Charlie. I blamed her for a lot of things (school closures), but dismantling APP? I thought Spectrum demise started more under Enfield with Lawton. I remember asking why spectrum wasn't better addressed and represented when we had the AL committees (weren't you a part of that, Charlie? You might have a better take). Anyway MGJ came in when we were in a recession and facing budget shortfalls. This is rehashing bad memories. But I always thought the APP community since we were better organized could have done more when spectrum was being hit. I remember this discussion came up and some said there was going to be a run to APP by spectrum students.

IPP/APP/HCC/G&T or whatever acronym you want, was going to change anyway. Davidson, NAGC, and other national G&T groups were recognizing the need to expand outreach and open up opportunities to groups underserved by these programs. Some of their suggestions could have led to better program starting with a curriculum, but it's SPS. All we got was a name change, stuffed schools and splits.

People wax over the old Lowell APP. It was something despite imperfections (lack of curriculum). Ironically, its very success and quality was the 'unicorn' parents want and went in search of. Its small size allowed for its success. Now we got popularity, growing pain and dilution.

reader

Melissa Westbrook said...

Reader, having a narrative history is not "rehashing bad memories." Dr. Goodloe-Johnson is dead (and RIP) but yes, she was the one who came in with the idea of having every program examined. We paid for a consultant to come in and yet she only considered APP, not the entire program. She didn't do a single thing this consultant said would be effective. It is worth noting this history.

Yes, it would have been nice if APP had risen up for Spectrum but that didn't happen.
And what did come to pass? More kids in APP who no longer had Spectrum.

Anonymous said...

"In some school systems, the characteristics of the student population differ markedly from those of a national sample of school-aged children. When national norms are used in these districts, the scores of students on both achievement and ability tests are likely to be skewed toward the high or low extremes of the score distribution. For example, some schools draw the major part of their student body from homes where the parental levels of education are very high. In schools like these, scores based on national norms for both achievement and ability tests are likely to cluster in the above-average range so that only limited discriminations can be made in the relative standings of students. In such schools, local percentile norms,which can be ordered as a special scoring service, provide a useful addition to national norms for making educational decisions."

CogAT Web Reporting Score Interpretation Guide - HMH Assessments

FWIW

Anonymous said...

FWIW-

I am assuming your last post is in response to a post left earlier.

Just to note, that is not Seattle-specific and it does not prove that there is that issue here. I also note the use of the squishy words like "some" and "likely" in that quote.

You forgot to answer the other two questions posed: Can you please provide a with a link showing the percentage of "over-qualified" students in HCC in Seattle? Since you keep repeating this claim, I trust that you have information to back it up. I would especially like to see proof of this: [HCC has} "many, many students who shouldn't be in the program."

Porcupine

Anonymous said...

So ... no waiver YET for TM right? No changes in the upcoming school year right? I wish the school would clarify this.

Wondering parent

don't discriminate against HC students said...

Yeah I am wondering too wondering parent.

Charlie I can't believe your revisionist history. MGJ didn't propose Lowell as the north APP site. She wanted the north APP site to be TM for all those north of the ship canal. South of the ship canal including Capitol Hill would drive past TM to Hawthorne another high % FRL school. The north then sold out the south when they got to remain at Lowell.

The primary recommendation of the consultants was to not mix low SES with HC students; which was completely ignored.

This was the start of a blatant war against highly successful tracked programs. The rest of course is spot on.

APP dad

Anonymous said...

Any school where a "hot zone" exists involves an overly identified area since the students are being compared to a national norm and not their demographic peers (which is how the biases for prior educational experience and advantages are factored into scoring). I have posted links before, and they were also posted on the HCC blog where the same issue was addressed.

http://www.google.co.jp/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjeq6j1ue3OAhULpY8KHRhiCb0QFggcMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fnrcgt.uconn.edu%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2Fsites%2F953%2F2015%2F04%2Frm05216.pdf&usg=AFQjCNHnfpqUxshP6iNkoz-rvSqVWLZovA&sig2=PfOMplKHE_-cD1QowrLbYw&bvm=bv.131669213,d.c2I

APP Dad--"highly successful tracked program" for some...

FWIW

on topic said...

fwiw = off topic post constantly. why are they so rude? this is not about identification it is about delivery and the boards ability to oversee that the delivery is truly being achieved.

that said we are arguing about the way tp should come off the roll (over or under) when the toilet is overflowing. procedures mean nothing when they aren't followed. honors for non-switching to honors for all to meet those procedures in name only is what we get when we head down that road.

oh and reader i have never as a parent with over 20 combined kid years of experience with AL APP HCC have never had a small class size and have had many years at lowell with large classes that were also split grades something that would never happen in a neighborhood school.

no caps

Anonymous said...

honors-for-none switched to honors-for-all. sorry


no caps

Watching said...

"Can you please provide a with a link showing the percentage of "over-qualified" students in HCC in Seattle? Since you keep repeating this claim, I trust that you have information to back it up. I would especially like to see proof of this: [HCC has} "many, many students who shouldn't be in the program."

I am waiting FWIW to provide actual numbers, too. I would like the amount of students in Garfield that fall in 98th percentile and 95th percentile.

Reserving advanced learning for the top !%, as FWIW suggests, is absurd.



Bitter Lake said...

FWIW,

The point you make about "hotspots" is interesting. It does seem strange that schools with 30,40 even 50% of students testing into AL and HC that the HC kids need to bail out because their needs aren't being met.I think there is a cache about HCC, I don't even think it's better for most kids. The district is doing these kids a disservice by letting their parents put them in such a socially restrictive environment.

Anonymous said...

Oh, it's not 1% for all groups. It's 1% like they do in eastside schools for children of highly educated parents who have a head start. Lohman makes clear that ability is not fixed, and measuring students who have been highly prepared by the same norms as those who haven't produces statistically biased scores.

Add to that the fact that SPS allows retesting outside of the CogAT (which can be taken as many times as desired)--statistically invalid by any measure.

Of course, this doesn't even begin to address all of the test prep, which David Lohman himself acknowledges is rampant.

For "numbers" you can reference the heat map. I'm not going to do the math for you, but the clusters make it clear that there is a huge issue with over-identification and under-identification in this district.

Heatmap_HCC_Elig_68.pdf


FWIW

Anonymous said...

get on topic please. or are you just trolling. charlie has enough here for us to talk about.

no caps

Charlie Mas said...

@APP Dad,

You are correct that the original proposals were different. I was writing about the final decisions.

And while Dr. Goodloe-Johnson is no longer with us, her decisions are. Most of them have been undone in the past few years. The schools she closed either were or will be re-opened. But this one - placing south-end elementary APP at Thurgood Marshall - remains. She was the Superintendent who was directed to deliver a curriculum for APP concurrent with the split, yet refused to do so. She oversaw the degradation of Spectrum, which started with the removal of self-contained from the definition of the program. And she directed the proliferation of ALO in name only by insisting that schools in the southeast claim to offer a program even if they didn't.

Anonymous said...

Charlie plays the blame-game with Maria Goodloe-Johnson? That's a joke. The APP program loved itself to death. And that is completely predictable. When everybody's above average, way way above average, and nobody wants to be in a club that would have them, the conflicting goals of exclusionism/privilege and accessibility are going to meet up somewhere. Are we really supposed to fit 7% of the district's population in 1 building? That was MGJ's big crime? Huh? And now - we're supposed to believe that all sorts of policies and other crimes like - "no curriculum" or "equitable access" are really attributable to her? Charlie says over and over, all over the internet, it's all about the cohort which means segregation and exclusion. The cohort is defined by who is NOT there. APP, we were told, was the big leagues. Spectrum was the minor league training ground. His kid started in the minors and moved up, under his direct tutelage because he had to homeschool for math. So long as his kids get (got) to hang with the right people, education was great in Seattle. Unfortunately, so many people agree with him that EVERYBODY wants to hang out with the right people. Remember, there's no HCC/APP curriculum or direction - so your peers are all you're getting! That is what Charlie said over and over again. That was THE reason to have self-contained programs. The cohort alone. BUT (MGJ's crime) - she couldn't put them all of the deserving kids in 1 building??? That's a tall order! Fit the entirety of the good people, the capable ones, all in one building. An off the cuff estimate moving forward - 60,000 students by 2020. 8% conservative HCC growth 5,600 students. 3,000 elementary. Was Lowell elementary really supposed to house 3,000 highly gifted kids along with the disabled students so dearly loved by HCC? Sooner or later, a split was inevitable. And if 10% of the students become HCC. (with the explosion in growth, sky's the limit, so who knows)



Irony

Charlie Mas said...

Thurgood Marshall has not yet submitted their application for a waiver and the superintendent has not yet approved it.

I don't know how long either of those things will take but, given the waiver requirements listed in the latest version of the Superintendent Procedures, I don't think it will be this month.

Here are the waiver requirements from the latest version of the procedure:

"Highly Capable Cohort (HCC) service model is self-contained in Grades 1-5 in ELA, math, science, and social studies. A formal waiver to allow flexible grouping of Gen Ed., AL and HC students for social studies may be requested by HC Cohort elementary schools. For purposes surrounding program implementation fidelity, the waiver process must outline procedures supporting an annual review process. This review of program effectiveness will be anchored in evaluation components that incorporate the analysis of baseline, progress and summative data, progress monitoring practices and a formal review of performance results aligned to initial, specified outcomes conducted at the building level. The waiver process must include principal, staff, community, and district representative input."


Here's a note of interest: the principal has told the Board that the HCC social studies at Thurgood Marshall is not accelerated or enhanced in any way - it's just the regular grade-level curriculum. So I guess there won't be any problem maintaining the rigor after blending the classes.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thanks for that rant, Irony. But not so helpful to the discussion.

I will point out that another late superintendent, John Stanford, warned against co-housing APP as it was an abject failure at the old Madrona. MGJ didn't listen. Is it a failure at TM? No but clearly something isn't working or they wouldn't be actively changing it. And despite asking, I can't seem to find out if the number of APP students of color at TM has gone up. You'd think you would see that happen.

The program needs coherency and clarity before changes happen willy-nilly at schools. But then again, the district let Spectrum go so why not HCC?

Anonymous said...

Typical Melissa. Everything you disagree with is a rant. But, substance of the comment is disregarded. Blaming a woman long-dead for the green and narcissism of one group of parents when she can't defend herself, nary a peep.

Irony

Anonymous said...

Irony-

The "substance" of your post is ignored because what you posted is ridiculous and shows you don't have much knowledge about the HCC program. You don't seem to understand that HCC is not an elementary only program. You said: "Are we really supposed to fit 7% of the district's population in 1 building?" Designated HCC kids are in grades 1-12 and are not all in elementary. HCC kids have NEVER been placed solely in one building.

HCC now is mostly about the cohort. You seem to take this fact to meant that this is what parents want. I believe that I can speak for 99%+ of HCC parents and say that is not what parents want. Most parents want their kids to be challenged at school and be pushed to achieve at their level. Parents have been pushing for an HCC curricula for years for a reason.

My child was at Lowell during the first split done by MGJ. I blame her, as well as the school board at the time, for the weakening of the HCC program. Just because you are dead does not mean that the damage you caused disappears.

boring

Melissa Westbrook said...

No, that's not true but you added nothing to the discussion. It is absolutely within anyone's right to talk about a public official's work whether they have passed or not. She hear this criticism when alive and did defend her work.

Anonymous said...

For perspective, SPS enrollment in 2006-07 was around 46,100. Last year it was 53,343 - a 16% increase in enrollment over that time period. Seattle home prices also continue to rise, from a peak of $500,000 in 2007 to $666,500 as recently as June 2016 - a 33% increase. The growth in APP/HCC is not just a matter of SPS changing Spectrum and locating an elementary cohort in the north (which both had significant impacts on HCC enrollment), but a reflection of the growth and changing demographics in and around Seattle. Since 2006-07, the %FRL in SPS has decreased from 41% to 36%, %Black/AA has decreased from 21% to 16%, and %White has increased from 42% to 47%.

-big picture

Charlie Mas said...

@Irony,

The mistake was not splitting the program. As Irony notes, it was too big for a single building. When half of the middle school program had to move out of Washington to make room after Meany closed, I supported that. The "crime" if anyone wants to call it that, was in failing to implement the curriculum, which was part of the split plan. Along with the advanced learning community, I have been consistently calling for the curriculum ever since.

The lack of a curriculum is directly attributable to Dr. Goodloe-Johnson. She decided that no APP curriculum would be written.

I'm not sure what Irony is referencing by "Equitable Access". It could mean the revised program placement policy, which happened after Dr. Goodloe-Johnson was fired and which I did not associate with her. Or it could just mean students having equitable access to programs, which, again, I did not associate with Dr. Goodloe-Johnson either.

The program became all about the cohort when nothing else was assured. If the curriculum were assured then it would no longer be about the cohort. And, for the record, the cohort is about who is in the room, not about who is NOT in the room. The cluster model, if done as designed, would provide enough of a cohort for advanced learners without a self-contained classroom.

On a more personal level, I homeschooled one of my children in math for one year in the eighth grade long after she had joined APP. Neither of my children chose to attend Garfield with their APP classmates. One went to NOVA and one to Chief Sealth, so this idea that my advocacy was driven by my wish to keep my children in exclusive schools or classes is false and baseless.

Irony is right, as I wrote. The reason that the cohort was so important was that there was no curriculum. Were there a curriculum, as I have agitated for, the cohort would fade in importance. And isn't that what Irony would also like to see?

The irony here is that people who appear to be disagreeing don't actually disagree. A program that is nothing more than the cohort isn't much of a program and it puts the emphasis on the cohort - who is in and who is out. A program that's about the curriculum still requires some peers, but what happens in the classroom becomes the focus instead of who is in the classroom.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, in years past, you've vocally advocated for retention of the segregation for app - because the cohort alone was worth it. Odd, now you appear to back pedal from that. Melissa, my comment simply adds the rejection of blame for the program ills on a dead public servant. It's absurd to blame an inevitable split on her. Charlie talks out of both sides of his mouth. His first complaint above was the split. Not her fault. Not bad.

Irony

Charlie Mas said...

Yes, Irony, I have advocated for the retention of the cohort. And if you had read any of those strong words I wrote in support of the cohort you will see that I wrote that the cohort had value when there was nothing else to the program. Now, if there were a curriculum, then the need for the cohort and my advocacy for the cohort would both have been significantly diminished. If you failed to see that my support for the cohort was entirely within the context of the absence of any other effective element for the program, then you must have done so through willful blindness.

I'm not back pedaling from anything. You're misrepresenting my view.

The split was not inevitable. The first middle school split was driven by the closure of Meany, which was a decision by Dr. Goodloe-Johnson. The first elementary school split was driven by Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's decision to add a general education cohort at Lowell. Additional splits became necessary following the growth of the program, which was the direct result of two factors, both of which were set in motion by Dr. Goodloe-Johnson as well: siting APP north of the Ship Canal and dismantling Spectrum.

I don't spend a lot of time "blaming" Dr. Goodloe-Johnson for the ills of the district or APP. I did it in one comment on this thread. In that comment I was very specific about how her decisions contributed to today's problems.

Do you want to deny that she decided to split APP?
Do you want to deny that she decided to put south-end APP at Thurgood Marshall?
Do you want to deny that she decided to leave north-end APP at Lowell?
Do you want to deny that she decided to put a general education program at Lowell?
Do you want to deny that she decided to refuse to deliver the promised curriculum?
Do you want to deny that she decided to allow the degradation of Spectrum?
Do you want to deny that she tolerated ALO in name only?

Did she not do all these things? It wasn't anyone else. Have not all of these decisions contributed to the problems we see in the program today? They definitely have.

Let's not overweight Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's role in creating these problems, but let's not deny it either.

Anonymous said...

MGJ also brought MT to SPS from Charleston. He's still with us.

Anonymous said...

For reference:

Closer to 10% of students are qualified for HC. 7% participate in HCC.

The state average is 4.7% participation in HC, including eastside schools like Bellevue.


FWIW

Anonymous said...

"Degradation of Spectrum"

Charlie, you recently had a post about the inequities in Spectrum and how it should be dismantled. Your wording here makes it sound like it was something worth preserving, even though I anticipate you will say that you meant that MGJ wasn't doing her job.

Words matter, right?

FWIW

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

Charlie is correct in saying that MGJ- may she rest in peace- placed a advanced learning program in Thurgood Marshall. In doing so, the FRL numbers decreased and the school was no longer eligible for Title 1 funding. As you can imagine, the community was upset.

Watching said...

Placing APP in TM decreased Title 1 funds and communities were immediately pitted against each other. Those were not good times.

Anonymous said...

Communities were pitted at Lowell for many years before the split. Special ed was supposed to be cancelled there to make room for the growing APP program. This idea was scrapped when special ed families pointed out that Lowell had multimillion dollar building enhancements, and otherwise threw a fit. Yes APP at 10% of enrollment, or 7%, or 5%, or even 2% cannot fit iton 1 building. And it can't fit in a building with additions for special education. 2% of 40,000 students is 2,000. And half of that (the elementary half) is 1,000, which is still too big for Lowell. That means a split is inevitable.

Meany never housed APP. Washington did. And that has the same numbers problem that elementary does. As is, there's no room for many special education programs at Washington - which is supposed to be comprehensive. Notably. There's no Access program at Washington because there are so many HCC students.

Since you asked, I deny your claim that this problem is the fault of MGJ, if there is a problem at all. Is there a problem? Some students may not be getting the absolute 100% best education that they could possibly have. Is that a problem? The problem, if it exists, is really parents insisting on a special cohort that excludes lots of people, but not really liking the cohort once they get it.

Irony

Melissa Westbrook said...

Irony, I will say to you what I say to everyone who uses false terminology like "excludes." The program does not exclude anyone.

If the test is not a good one, that's on the district. If the district is not doing the enough/right kind of outreach, that's on the district. If principals are not talking to parents about this program, that's on the district.

But the program, as it is set up, is open to everyone. That's not exclusion.

Anonymous said...

Is UW exclusive? No, it's open to anyone.
Is Lakeside exclusive? No, it's open to anyone.
Is the U.S. Senate exclusive? No,it's open to anyone.
Is Queen Anne exclusive? No, it's open to anyone.
Is anything exclusive? No, not by Melissa's definition.

sarco

Anonymous said...


MGJ did not have to split Lowell when she did. She only did it to boost the the test scores at Hawthorne and TM both heavy FRL schools (also reducing percentages the next year of Title I). This is just one tactic in her over all strategic battle against tracked programs.

She was fired because she didn't listen to anyone including the brilliant numbers folks warning against closing building.

Irony is not one of those brilliant number parents and their representation of the historical split of Lowell and WMS is so wrong and prejudiced that it is easy to read one sentence and stop.

Thank you for keep it to one moniker Irony.

Grateful

Anonymous said...



Oops spoke too soon. The difference Irony is that the Senate, Lakeside and UW use subjective criterion primarily for "enrollment."

SPS for SpEd, ELL, FRL and HC all use objective criterion. But again this is about delivery and not selection. Get on topic.

Not grateful

Anonymous said...

The US senate uses votes, a subjective measurement, so it is open to all just like HC. Privilege and money and connections and race and gender have nothing to with any political office. They are all non-exclusive.

And we see representative numbers of women and minorities in the Senate, right? Just like in HC, right?

sarco

Anonymous said...

oops, I mean objective.

I guess slavery was objectively a bad thing and its residual effect is also subjective and therefore irrelevant to the discussion. Any past injustice or their effects are also subjective and therefore have zero effect on the demographic imbalance of HCC.

sarco

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Is UW exclusive? No, it's open to anyone.
Is Lakeside exclusive? No, it's open to anyone.
Is the U.S. Senate exclusive? No,it's open to anyone.
Is Queen Anne exclusive? No, it's open to anyone.
Is anything exclusive? No, not by Melissa's definition."

UW - anyone can apply. It's a public university.
Lakeside - ditto but only if you have money and connections
U.S. Senate - exclusive because you have to be a certain age and have money
Queen Anne - if you have the money, you can live there

This is all kind of silly.

Anonymous said...

I can't seem to get those two words straigt, I guess I'm objectively not capable.

sarco

Anonymous said...

Votes are subjective based on what people feel about one candidate verses another. Not test. Sophist much? I would go with dyslexic-ish and OFF TOPIC but if you say so sarco, you do seem a touch objectively not capable.

not grateful

Anonymous said...

From the National Association for Gifted Children (caps mine):

"Tests often EXCLUDE underserved gifted students who are English Language Learners (ELLs), disabled, or from minority or low-income backgrounds. An identification strategy that includes multiple assessments—both objective and subjective—is the best way to ensure no gifted learner is overlooked."

SPS uses tests as the main entry point. Therefore, these students are EXCLUDED from the program, which is why the demographics are so skewed in favor of a particular demographic.

From the same site:

"Test norms should reflect the local demographic, not only national norms (important for districts with a greater number of individuals from minority or ethnic groups). In some cases, it is important to review subscores, as twice-exceptional students can be overlooked if only using a general score."

https://www.nagc.org/resources-publications/gifted-education-practices/identification/tests-assessments

FWIW

Anonymous said...

off topic = fwiw. too much to talk about so you completely ignore the topic.


Weak


Anonymous said...

Right on sarco, and fwiw.

As a person who "adds nothing to the discussion", I seem to have plenty of people discussing things.

OhThe Irony

Anonymous said...

Oh we are so fooled... I'm wondering:

Is being on your local school board exclusive? Yep, thankfully.


Done OffTopicing

Anonymous said...

Done, what and who are you talking about? I'm not on the school board, and have never run for the school board. And mostly, I can use a spell checker. Perhaps you're talking about someone else.

Irony

Anonymous said...

Since CHarlie is so interested in special curriculum and accountability: What types of special ed curriculum do we insist on having for students with disabilities? Why doesn't he ask repeatedly, for that? Garbage Recycling for high school students? And maybe even advanced middle schoolers with disabilities? Is That something he thinks the board should investigate? What should middle school students in self-contained special education be learning? How do we monitor effectiveness of that? I don't see Charlie writing about that. What are the outcomes? It looks like ELL and special ed students aren't doing very well, doesn't that speak to problems in their education? What about ELL students? What are all those ELL teachers even doing? How do we know that are providing anything at all? Is that all about the cohort too? Should ELL be siphoned off to "immersion" programs? That doesn't seem fair to students who have already been immersed, but great for English speakers.

Where are the post on these topics? Instead, according to Charlie, more and more board time and policy time is supposed to be devoted to one group. No matter how minute the issue. Even if the policy simply means sitting with a racially mixed group for *gasp* social studies. What about the same standards for all these others?

Irony

Melissa Westbrook said...

I will end the conversation here but I will say that Charlie and I have - numerous times - spoken out about ELL and Sped and a whole host of issues around SPS. Anyone who reads this blog knows that. That many of you choose what you read is not something we can control.

Do Charlie and I have special interests? Yes but it's our blog. But we cover all things large and small.

Charlie Mas said...

It is tedious to have to answer such questions, but it is even more tedious being criticized for failing to answer them.

"What types of special ed curriculum do we insist on having for students with disabilities?"
No single curriculum for all but an IEP for each - as the law requires. I can't believe that you need me to tell you this.

"Why doesn't he ask repeatedly, for that?"
Are you seriously asking why I don't repeatedly ask the district to obey the law? Seriously?

"Garbage Recycling for high school students? And maybe even advanced middle schoolers with disabilities? Is That something he thinks the board should investigate?"
Yes. Thanks for asking.

"What should middle school students in self-contained special education be learning?"
Whatever their IEPs dictate, of course. Again, does anyone really have to ask this question?

"How do we monitor effectiveness of that? I don't see Charlie writing about that."
Really? You don't? You don't see me advocating for program evaluations? Please try to pay better attention.

"What are the outcomes? It looks like ELL and special ed students aren't doing very well, doesn't that speak to problems in their education? What about ELL students? What are all those ELL teachers even doing? How do we know that are providing anything at all?"
Thank you for joining me in calling for evaluations of all academic programs as required by Board Policy. You're late to the party, but we're happy to have your support.

"Is that all about the cohort too?"
No. It isn't. There isn't a cohort model for ELL. It is provided in all schools now. That change was made just a couple years ago. Didn't you hear about it?

"Should ELL be siphoned off to "immersion" programs? That doesn't seem fair to students who have already been immersed, but great for English speakers."
I haven't spoken to this. Are you presuming to assign to me a position on this question?

"Where are the post on these topics?"
Some of these are not legitimate topics, but ill-informed or mis-informed questions. As for the others, there are discussions of them on this blog. Where else do you see these topics discussed?

"Instead, according to Charlie, more and more board time and policy time is supposed to be devoted to one group. No matter how minute the issue. Even if the policy simply means sitting with a racially mixed group for *gasp* social studies."
Actually, no. A representative amount of Board time and policy time should be devoted to advanced learners. The Board has not actually given this group much attention historically. The Advanced Learning policy was updated in Phase I of the Policy Review project and was given almost no discussion. This population includes, as many have noted, a significant proportion of the District's student population. And who else should consider policy questions other than the Board.

"What about the same standards for all these others?" I have absolutely no idea what this question refers to, but all students should have learning standards. All students. Right now the general education and special education students have them. It is the advanced learners who do not.

Charlie Mas said...

Your questions, irony, are tedious and foolish. If you have something to say then say it. You can state it plainly. Do you think I focus too much on advanced learning? Then say so. Do you think I don't pay enough attention to Special Education or ELL? Then say so.

And then we can ask you "So what?" Am I under some obligation to grant proportionate column inches to each population? I don't think so. I write about the topics that I choose to write about and you read the posts that you choose to read about. If I don't write more about Special Education or ELL, it is probably because I don't pretend to be well informed about them. Unlike other folks, I don't write about topics that I don't know about.

You might as well ask where are the posts about Northgate Elementary? Why all the talk about Garfield? That school has received disproportionate attention in this blog. Oh my stars! The inequity! We need to have all groups represented proportionately in the blog!

If you don't think that special education or ELL or Addams Elementary have enough attention in this blog you are free to submit a guest post. No one is stopping you.