Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Tuesday Open Thread

Did you call Governor Inslee yet and request that he signs NO bills until the levy cliff bill (SHB 1059) is brought to the floor of the Senate for a vote?  If not, please get on that.  360-902-4111.

The Board is going to have a nearly three-hour Work Session on Wednesday all for the Superintendent's evaluation.   I get that the Superintendent's performance IS a big report card for the district but it hard to understand - with all that needs to be examined and done in this district - that it takes this amount of time.  He didn't get a contract extension again and I doubt that even if he does get a good review that you would see that change.

I learned that the union that represents classified staff, IUOE Local 609, has decided to not be part of the district's Classified Employee Week which runs from March 13-17th. From an e-mail to Dr. Nyland:
I’m afraid we will have to take a pass this year.  Our membership has been under a tremendous amount of pressure and abuse all year long and have been unable to find relief from your administration.
The issues are varied but the one constant has been a lack of support from Labor Relations to step up and partner with us to address issues that are recognized by both sides.
With this current climate we cannot in good conscience participate in Classified Appreciation Week activities with you. 
You may recall that there have been several findings via district investigations mostly against principals (see Emerson Elementary) who mistreated classified staff.  It seems a sad thing that the district has done so poorly in labor relations to the point that the union wants to withdraw from what should be a week to acknowledge the hard work of classified staff.   will celebrate its members without the superintendent.

Interesting poll results from Seattle Metropolitan magazine (and good for them with teasing out data points) called Who We Are.

27. Of the following, what is the number one issue facing Seattle today?

  • Rising cost of living 33.8%
  • Homelessness 29.4%
  • Rising property taxes 7.3%
  • Quality of public schools 7%
  • Traffic 6%
  • Crime 4.5%
  • Police overreach 2.9%
  • State government leadership 0.9%
  • Illegal immigration 0.6%
  • Taxes 0.5%
  • All of the above 2.2%
  • Prefer not to answer 3.5%
  • Other 1.4%
Looking closer: Those under 35 are more likely than those 35 and older to think the cost of living is the city’s most pressing issue (40.1% to 30%).
I'm a bit surprised at that ranking as I thought traffic would be near the top and with a higher percentage.

Stanford University made this announcementStanford Will Now Be Free To All Students From Families That Earn Less Than $125,000 Per Year.  As well,

Students whose families make less than $65,000 also won’t have to pay for room and board, which can run about another $14,100. That is really great news.  

For a reality check, we all know that tuition is only one piece of the financial need for attending college but it's sure a big break.
But Stanford isn’t the only place offering free tuition. Princeton offers free tuition to parents who make less than $120,000 and free room and board to those who make under $60,000. Harvard and Yale make tuition free for families who make less than $65,000, while Harvard asks those who make between that level and $150,000 to contribute between 0 and 10 percent of their income.
 What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

Great story on the ideology behind Trump, Bannon, Miller and apparently the Republican Party in general. It will take away your appetite.



alex said...

Called Inslee. Easy call to make & so important!

Anonymous said...

Here's a nice self-dealing scheme using school vouchers in Arizona: DeVos and Tax Credit Vouchers: Arizona Shows What Can Go Wrong.

--No DeVos

Anonymous said...

The next meeting of the HSC AC is tonight, Tuesday, March 7 at the Cascadia Library (Lincoln), 4400 Interlake Ave N. from 6:30-8:00 pm.

The agenda will include Kari Hanson, Director of Student Support Services who will discuss some new advisory and advocacy opportunities.


Dave said...


Please clarify that Local 609 did not "withdraw" from anything. All the union did was respectfully decline to escort Dr Nyland to schools as Local 609 has done for the last few years. Believe me, 609 celebrates classifieds!

Melissa Westbrook said...

Sorry, Dave, yes, I will.

alxdark said...

Yes. Best part of the day. :-)

Anonymous said...

Please tell me I'm not the only one who finds most of the Soup for Teacher posts insufferable.

Anonymous said...

Education town halls happening this weekend. Relevant locations and text from http://www.washingtonea.org/ourvoice/take-action/ which has a full list of the town halls for folks outside the Seattle area. Wear Red for Ed!


Education is a civil right, defined as the state’s paramount duty under Washington’s constitution, and affirmed by our state Supreme Court in the McCleary case. Time is running out to meet the McCleary promise. Join us in welcoming local area legislators in a conversation to support our students and our public schools.

Many of these events are organized by local WEA members, and parents from Washington's Paramount Duty, unless otherwise noted. All students, parents and public school supporters are invited.

9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Shoreline Center
18560 1st Ave NE, Shoreline, WA 98155

1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Seattle First Baptist Church - Legislator Hosted Town Hall
1111 Harvard Ave, Seattle WA 98122
People are encouraged to meet at 12:30 for a pre-meeting education rally

10 a.m. to Noon
Rainier Beach Community Center - Legislator Hosted Town Hall
8825 Rainier Ave., S., Seattle WA 98118
People are encouraged to meet at 9:30 for a pre-meeting education rally

11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Erickson Lodge - Legislator Hosted Town Hall
2245 NW 57th St. Seattle WA 98107
People are encouraged to meet at 10:30 for a pre-meeting education rally

Linh-Co said...

Dear Families,
Seattle Public Schools (SPS) is beginning the process for evaluating new instructional materials for Grades 6-8 mathematics. The goal of this process is to adopt the best instructional materials available. In order to do that, it is critical to collect input from community members and educators to help inform the review and selection process. Therefore, please take this survey and tell us what you think is important in choosing new teaching materials for mathematics in grades 6-8.
Your input will be used by a committee of parents, community members, and SPS educators as they work together to recommend which new teaching materials should be adopted by Seattle Public Schools. The survey will close at midnight March 19. To learn more, visit the math adoption webpage.
Thank you,
Anna Box
Mathematics Program Manager

Here's the link to the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GLMFYB7

dan dempsey said...

Ed Week reports on American Indian students in both low density and high density schools.

This article also contains a link to a 30 page study.
National Indian Education Study 2015

in that study can be found NAEP scores for Indian students

Reading 2007 - 2015 (change)
grade 4
nation => 204 - 204 (+0)
WA state => 204 - 196 (-8)

grade 8
nation => 247 - 252 (+5)
WA state => 251 - 251 (+0)

grade 4
nation => 228 - 227 (-1)
WA state=> 226 - 216 (-10)

grade 8
nation => 264 - 266 (+2)
WA state=> 264 - 263 (-1)


dan dempsey said...

Notice that in the above changes in NAEP scores for American Indian/ Alaska Native students
WA State score changes were worse than Nation changes 4 out of 4 times.

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

Two questions:

1) Any idea when the 2017-2018 calendar will be approved? Trying to plan out the summer and figure out when the first day of school will be.

2) Why am I getting a survey on middle school math materials? I feel like the district has been down the math curriculum selection path again and again (and with plenty of churn and controversy), and I'm confused about why they are gathering info from the community right now. Also, the survey is a mess. It's impossible to check more than one thing for a question that asks me to "check all that apply," and I don't know how parents are supposed to know what region they reside in (for example, what is the "central" region?).


dan dempsey said...

Dear Flummoxed,

Try this for k-8 Math...
Not too late to install this for grades 6 through 8


dan dempsey said...


Thanks for the link to the Middle School Math Survey Link.

Not surprisingly it reveals a strong tilt toward project based learning, which has been a colossal failure for math instruction at the k-12 level for average students and especially detrimental for disadvantaged learners.

It is right in line with what OSPI math guru Greta Bornemann has been selling for years and what OSPI continues to push. See the following from OSPI.

Students Explain What is Important to their Mathematics Learning

In this new video from YouCubed, mindset math in their own words! Don’t miss these inspiring clips from kids whose math beliefs and achievement were transformed after just 18 days of lessons with Youcubed.

Another wonderful story on making kids feel good ... but where is the data to indicate improvement?

Did no one learn anything from the Terry Bergeson years?

Looking at the Survey, Ms. Box has apparently adopted the same OSPI math gospel of the last several decades.


The survey is not particularly well constructed...

"Abundance of algorithms, facts, examples and procedures"

Last time I checked there were four standard algorithms. One for each of the four basic operations of arithmetic. Is Ms. Box an advocate for lots more algorithms beyond these four? (Please not that chaos again.)

I spent today constructing a spreadsheet to examine both Statewide results and SPS results on annual state testing in Math and Reading for various population groups.

Since the use of Smarter Balanced in Spring 2015 and Spring 2016 it is interesting that opportunity gaps are usually growing not shrinking.

Having spent time teaching in schools with many "disadvantaged learners" in several western states, I find the rhetoric of those expressing concern for minorities and the disadvantaged while pushing materials, which have repeatedly been shown not to work reprehensible.

2016 SBA pass rates in Seattle
Math grade 4
White 78%
AI/AN 50%
Hispanic 46.8%
Black 38.8%

Math grade 8
White 72.3%
AI/AN 28.5%
Hispanic 46.8%
Black 34.1%

So in 8th grade approximately 1 in 3 Black students currently passes the 8th grade Math SBA but almost all head to high school. Yet we still get the same defective leadership from OSPI and SPS math central.

Linh-Co said...

Dan is correct. The survey didn't ask if direct instruction was important, but had several on project-based, and constructivist inquiries.

dan dempsey said...

Alternative Schools: Are Districts ‘Gaming’ the System?
EWA Radio: Episode 112

Heather Vogell of ProPublica discusses a new investigation into how districts utilize their alternative schools — campuses set up to handle struggling and troubled students. ProPublica concluded that by reassigning students unlikely to graduate out of mainstream classrooms, some traditional high schools were “hiding” their true dropout numbers, and boosting their own ratings within their state’s accountability system.

Have accountability pressures on schools and districts influenced the spread of alternative programs?

dan dempsey said...

Linh-Co said...
Dan is correct. The survey didn't ask if direct instruction was important, but had several on project-based, and constructivist inquiries.

YUP... this is typical SPS bias ... looks like the Math Manager's instructional materials preference .... determined the survey questions.

Typical SPS public engagement - please sign up so we can tell you what to think. Same decision-making structure as always.

dan dempsey said...

I really need to once again call out SPS central office math folks
for allowing the ongoing math disaster at Orca to continue.
Algebra for all in 8th grade is NOT working for all,
yet the plan in the CSIP is to keep on going this direction.

2016 SBA passing percentage
8th grade ELA District
White : 79.4
Black : 40.7
8th grade ELA Orca
White : 75 (gap 4.4 with White district students)
Black : 41.6 (no gap with Black district students)

8th grade Math District
White : 72.3
Black : 34.1
8th grade Math Orca
White : 62.5 (gap 9.8 with White district students)
Black : 8.6 (gap 25.5 with Black district students)

dan dempsey said...

Interesting fact...

Found on Soap Lake Schools website

Public School Choice (PSC) Due to the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) being replaced by Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Public School Choice has been removed as a consequence of school improvement under Title 1A.

dan dempsey said...

the cost of funding k-12 education

A Seattle Times LIVEWIRE event
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Light refreshments beginning at 6 p.m.
Event begins at 6:30 p.m.
University of Washington, Kane Hall
Seattle, WA 98105

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to understand how 8th graders at Orca are accelerated to algebra. I've frequently heard schools recommend skipping 8th as the best place to bump ahead a grade in math. If that's the case, perhaps kids are missing specific 8th grade math concepts and aren't floundering in algebra. My experience w the 8th grade SBAC is that it tightly aligns with 8th grade math curriculum and 8th grade math covers graphing and probability units that aren't introduced in earlier grades or revisited in algebra. It could be fairly easy to not earn a passing score and yet still have a strong (enough) understanding of algebra. I don't know, I'm just wondering...

--could be?

dan dempsey said...

Dear Could Be,

If you look at the SBAC for grade 7 in 2015 HERE, you will see that it was completely inappropriate to only offer Algebra in 8th grade. 35% of cohort scored at level 1 in grade 7. The 2016 lousy 8th grade math results for that cohort were entirely predictable, given the inappropriate class many were placed in. If you read the CSIP, you will see that the administration has the mistaken belief that without Algebra in 8th grade a student will not be college bound. Thus Orca only offers Algebra at the 8th grade level.

Many of these students were not being accelerated. They were misplaced and being neglected by a confused negligent school administration. When students are incorrectly placed in Algebra an additional math support class has repeatedly been shown to be insufficient. (Orca is now demonstrating that each year.) {It is like the Zone of Proximal Development ZPD theory. Throw a non-swimmer in deep enough water and they are likely to drown.}

You can find the CSIP HERE

Anonymous said...

Interesting--there are actually more level 1 and level 4 scorers in 8th grade. Disappointing... Thanks for the info!

--could be?

dan dempsey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dan dempsey said...

Could be,

Yes it is really disappointing when the cohort in grade 7 in 2015 had 35% at level 1.

Then placing all 8th grade in Algebra raised the level 1 to 45% of cohort in 2016.

As I said, it has been repeatedly demonstrated that placing students into an Algebra class, when it is far above their zone of proximal development, does not work.

It is typical of the SPS to continue actions that do not bring success.
Tacoma has demonstrated that placing all 8th graders in Algebra does not work.
So Seattle does the same.
Looking at the Questionnaire for the coming Middle School Math adoption reveals that SPS Math Central has a philosophical bias unconnected to reality which defeats a factual analysis.

dj said...

The next meeting of the HSC AC is tonight, Tuesday, March 7 at the Cascadia Library (Lincoln), 4400 Interlake Ave N. from 6:30-8:00 pm.

Note appreciated, but could you (or anyone else) post the upcoming meeting dates for April, May and June if there is a June meeting? It's very unlikely that posting only 1 1/2 hours before the meeting will catch many eyes. Thanks.