Disqus

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Student Learning Committee

I caught the end of the Student Learning Committee this evening and heard a bit of the discussion on the Program Placement Policy that is in development.

The Policy may be teamed with a procedure, but it might not. The Board may simply leave the details to the Superintendent. The Policy will require that programs be equitably distributed across the district, the programs be placed close to the students' homes, that communities and stakeholders be engaged regarding program placements, that there be some analysis of impacts, and that the placement serve District-wide academic goals. Every program placement proposal - regardless of source - must meet the same criteria for acceptance.

The struggle here is between the need for central control to provide equitable access and the history of local control. For example, if the District decides that a school should have a Spectrum program is it okay for the principal at the school to reject it? On the other hand, if a school wants a Spectrum program but the new program would split a cohort into pieces too small to form viable programs, should the District allow it? There are a number of ALO programs north of downtown, but very few of them south of Downtown. Can the District compel a school to form one to provide equitable access to ALOs?

Beyond that, what if the programs are poorly administered or starved of resources? There is no program quality review, no real accountability there. What if the school or the District tries to launch a program, but it just doesn't take off?

Most program placement decisions are about special education and bilingual programs. How will the District prevent the concentration of these programs if the populations are concentrated?

Lots of questions. The staff has been given the goals of the Policy and will take the first swipe at writing it.

2 comments:

Melissa Westbrook said...

Good stuff, Charlie. Your sentence,

"The struggle here is between the need for central control to provide equitable access and the history of local control."

could be phased as "for central control to provide direction and the history of local control."

I think you see this played out at AAA where the district clearly, for whatever reason, took a hands off role on the school. Even though it was created as a Seattle Public school, its creation was controlled by outside community and the district dropped the ball. And, when things aren't working, how to determine what really went wrong and who didn't do their job?

That need for oversight of programs is key. What is the need we are filling in creating this program? Is there a district need or does this community want it? How long does a program get before the district truly intervenes? If the district had such oversight in place, they would be able to better determine what works or is needed. If you create a program, is it forever?

Anonymous said...

I love that ten minutes or less at a meeting makes someone an authority on what happened.