Thursday, May 15, 2008

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson on KUOW'S The Conversation Today at 1 p.m.

Heads up! If you have burning questions for Dr. Goodloe-Johnson, on any topic, she's appearing on the NPR show, The Conversation today at 1 p.m. (that's 94.9 FM).

You can e-mail a question in advance to conversation@kuow.org.

You can also leave it on voicemail at 206-221-3663.

Or call in live, at 543-5869 or 800-289-5869.


anonymous said...

I listened to part of the show this afternoon. The questions asked were great, and echoed a lot of concerns I see posted on this and other blogs. I found MGJ to be directed, and confident, but I found her answers to be broad, and lacking details or specifics. She used the phrase "we are working on that" and "we are aware of that" so many times, it scared me. It wouldn't be so bad if she followed the phrase with specifics....what specifically are you "working on"? How long will it take? Who is working on it?

I found her to be almost curt - with many one line answers. I also sensed the "just trust us, we know what we're doing" attitude. She is definitely strong, and seems confident that she can get the job done. And I think she can. I guess I am just looking for something tangible at this point - instead a lot of "we're working on that's"

old salt said...

She came across as condescending & dismissive. She did not answer the questions, some of which I would have really liked to hear her address. Clearly, parents calling KUOW are not her constituency.

LouiseM said...

I listened very carefully to the interview and I found the MGJ answered every single question with as much information as she needed to. No she's not Seattle Nice and didn't use flowery language many like to hear sometimes--which I happen to appreciate because it's about time we have someone who can just get right to the point.

She had to get clarification on a few of the questions because the callers talked too long or didn't really ask a clearly distinguishable question.

She answered the question about changing start time exactly how she should--research shows that it's better to have later start time, but the choices Seattle has made about transportation has made that impossible now and that has been back burnered. That shows me she has her priorities straight.

How I see her is someone who is coming in and cutting through the bull that we've all been putting up with for decades. No she doesn't have ALL the answers, but she seems to be on the right path--at least she has teams actually working on stuff instead of just talking about it.

We have to remember that she's dealing with decades of essentially abuse/neglect of our children and it's going to take a lot longer than a year to clean it up!

Charlie Mas said...

Two different callers asked about access to accelerated curriculum on a self-selected basis. Maybe she didn't get the question the first time it was asked - which seems odd - but she deliberately chose not to answer it forthrightly the second time it was asked.

Other than those two questions, however, I thought she was forthright, on target, and on message.

She did correctly identify the source of the district's decay as unregulated site-based decision making and the absence of district-level infrastructure.

I was delighted that she spoke about the need for interventions for struggling students PreK through 12.

I was very pleased to hear her description of the work of the Special Education Executive Director. That was very helpful.

She sounds tight and defensive on the radio - this time and in previous interviews. It's much different from the strong, confident voice she had at the Alliance for Education breakfast. I think the host contributed to that by trying to ask "gotcha" questions from the start. He kind of poisoned the well.

Hot tip to Guy Nelson - don't play "gotcha" if you don't know your facts.

LouiseM said...

Good call Charlie. Guy Nelson was terrible. It was definitely clear that he had no clue what he was talking about. He really should have been asking her strategic questions to help encourage folks who have been waiting for change, instead of acting like he was doing a 60 Minute expose!

old salt said...

I agree that Guy Nelson did not do a good job. He doesn't know enough.

I wanted to hear her answer the questions about replacing spectrum with self-selected honors classes.

I wanted to hear her address principal retention. Several principals that I have talked with feel under siege as the system changes, with no support from their ed directors.

She was asked where is the earned autonomy for schools that currently have high outcomes and are being negatively affected by loss of site-based management. She answered with a definition of earned autonomy.

old salt said...

I also thought it was disingenuous to blame BLTs for the difference in the amount of nursing time and not mention the large difference in discretionary funds. Some BLTs do not have enough discretionary funds to pay for full-time nursing even if that were all they funded.

Charlie Mas said...

Actually, it's a shame that the superintendent didn't answer the question of access to acceleration without testing because the answer could have been pretty good.

The answer that I think people would most like to hear - certainly the one that I would most like to hear - would be that she will switch Spectrum to self-selected eligibility. Unfortunately, that answer just isn't on the menu right now.

The next answer that she could have given would have been to mention ALOs which provide students with access to advanced curricula on a self-selected basis outside of Spectrum programs. Of course, there is some serious question about the quality and efficacy of these programs, but she could have addressed that with promises of accountability.

The answer that she tried to give - at least after listen to it repeatedly the answer that I think she was trying to give - was that all students should have access to accelerated curricula in every general education class in the district. This is a greater myth than the ALOs and should not have been mentioned as it makes her appear ridiculous. She might as well tell us about the tooth fairy.

I wonder if she would like another try with that question.

dan dempsey said...


Speaking about the tooth fairy you can put differentiated instruction in math class under your pillow and likely wake up with an ugly toad and warts in the morning.

There is so much that the national math panel had to say about what we are told are best practices in math that are when viewed through the lens of relevant data just pure 100% baloney.

I still want to know what our $2+_ million annually going into math coaching is returning in the way of results and in fact what coaching advice they are giving and why this advice is any more relevant than dog poop in the kennel for producing improvement in math Class.

A lot of this has relevance for any program that is viewed as accelerated or for the gifted in math. The idealogical math nonsense in these programs is likely even worse than in the regular program.

reader said...

It's pure arrogance to call access to more accelerated curriculum on a differentiated basis "tooth fairy tales". And what???? You consider working at a different paces to be "punishment" for those doing accelerated work???? It sounds like you have a motivation problem with your children. That too can be addressed without excluding others. You both are losing credibility. We can't just keep going along the segregated exclusivist path we are on now. Clearly the district won't do much more of that, and nor should they.

Charlie Mas said...

reader is certainly right that it is possible for differentiated instruction to be done right. However, that is not the typical case in Seattle Public Schools. We can all imagine fantasy classrooms where differentiation is done with grace, but few of us have actual experience with that. If reader has a different perspective, I'd love to hear it. I'd love to hear that differentiation occurs reliably in general education classrooms throughout the district.

reader wrote:"You consider working at a different paces to be "punishment" for those doing accelerated work???? "

Please don't make conjecture about what I consider. It is presumptuous and arrogant. I am a huge proponent of students working at different paces. I certainly do not regard working at different paces to be punishment at all - unless the teacher presents it in a way that is open to that interpretation. If you like, I can refer you to any number of people with children who experienced it in that way in Seattle Public Schools. Many of those families have since enrolled their children in an advanced learning program in response to such clumsy efforts at differentiation.

My children are motivated - and I want to keep them that way. But I cannot expect them to continue to be motivated if their lessons aren't challenging. My kids are no different from any other kids in this regard. If their teachers don't keep them challenged, they will find other interests.

I don't know if you read anything I write, but I don't know where you got the idea that I'm an advocate of a "segregated exclusivist path". I think any student who is ready and able to succeed with the Spectrum curriculum should have the opportunity to take it - no testing required. I don't find that exclusivist at all. As for segregated, I do think that students who are working on one set of lessons should be in a different class than students working on another set of lessons, but that is no more segregationist than having second grade classrooms that are separate from first grade classrooms and third grade classrooms. If it were practically possible for each student to be adequately served in a single classroom, then I would be totally okay with that. However, that has not been demonstrated to be the case.

I don't think that we should put the political priority of inclusiveness over the academic priority of delivering the appropriate lessons. That's my ordering of things. Schools do a lot of things, and academics is only one of them. I know that there are a lot of people who believe that school isn't primarily about academics, but I do not share that view. I believe that the other considerations are all subordinate to academics.

reader wrote: "Clearly the district won't do much more of that"

Please share with us why you think that the District won't be doing much more Spectrum. I hear just the opposite. I hear the Superintendent and the Board saying that access to Spectrum needs to be expanded, and that the size of the programs need to be expanded. They appear dissatisfied that students are found eligible for the program by the district but cannot find seats in the program at the schools. What evidence do you have that the District is moving away from Spectrum?

anonymous said...

Many schools offer differentiation in their classrooms, however it doesn't seem to be anywhere near as popular with parents as self contained accelerated classrooms are.

Spectrum always has a large WL.

Lowell's capacity has increased so much that they have outgrown their building.

Roosevelt offers the largest number of self contained AP classes and consequently has the largest H.S. WL in the district. Their neighbor Hale offers the inclusion model with "add on" honors and AP for kids that request it. They have no WL. In fact they have plenty of space - so much so that they accomodate many out of district Shoreline kids.

Garfield and Roosevelt offer the second and third highest number of self contained classrooms in the district and consequently they have the second and third highest wait lists in the district.

Charlie, is not alone in his thinking that self contained classrooms work better. Apparently so do masses of parents trying to get their students into the schools that offer them.

Personally, I like the Shoreline model where any child who wants the extra challenge of an honors class can take them. They are self contained but open to ANY student - no testing in. The only requirement is that the student maintain a grade of 75 or higher. There are also no wait lists, they just move teachers around each year depending on how many students choose honors. I hope that Dr. GJ takes a look at the Shoreline model!

anonymous said...

Oops I meant Garfield and BALLARD have the second and third highest number of self contained AP and honors classes, and have the second and third highest H.S. wait lists in the district

reader said...

As I recall racial segregation of the not-so-old south was exceedingly popular for white people too. And all the same arguments went around and around then too (I actually was there). "But we white people like it, and the black people like it. Everybody's right where they need to be, performing like they should. All the best schools are segregated and have wait list. It must be the best." Right?

reader said...

Actually, it Ad_Hoc who posted that little genius Ad_Hoc_Jr felt "punished" when asked to perform at his/her level, which was, presumably, higher than some others in the class.

On the one hand, you complain that the district "makes everyone add before anyone can multiply" (how many times have we heard that mantra?)... and yet, when given the opportunity to multiply ahead of the pack... well, you complain about that too. Because, no, that would be punishment and require the development of personal motivation. And poor little Ad_Hoc_Jr shouldn't have to do more than somebody else. Surely, one person being challenged shouldn't require that every other person be challenged with the exact same thing. When the kids get out into the real world... it will be differentiated, they will need the motivation to challenge themselves to their personal bests and more(not simply because they see someone else doing exactly what they're doing.) And it isn't easy.

If we're having a problem with differentiated instruction, and I believe it is a problem, then we have to address that problem. And if everybody can sign up for Spectrum, because everybody wants their kid to be in a challenging program... then they'll need differentiation in Spectrum.

anonyms said...

I do think that students who are working on one set of lessons should be in a different class than students working on another set of lessons, but that is no more segregationist than having second grade classrooms that are separate from first grade classrooms and third grade classrooms.

That's funny. Montlake has only multiaged, multigrade classrooms AND level 4 students with disabilities AND APP qualified students. All in one classroom. And we all know how horrible Montlake is, nobody chooses it. No academics there, because that wouldn't be possible. Maybe we should close it. It doesn't meet your idea of who should be in every class together.