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Saturday, November 15, 2008

No plan for Aki Kurose, AAA

All schools in Step 5 of sanctions under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) elements of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) are required - by federal law - to either close or reconstitute. All schools in Step 5 this year were in Step 4 last year. Schools in Step 4 are required - by federal law - to develop their plans for either closure or reconstitution in case they enter Step 5. For more detailed information about NCLB sanctions, please see this document from the OSPI web site.

Here's what it says:

Step Four

In this step, school districts are required to undertake "school restructuring." The district has one year to prepare a restructuring plan with an implementation timeline for schools in this step. The plan must be implemented the following year if the school does not make AYP again and enters Step Five.

The restructuring plan needs to include at least one of the following three actions:
• Replace school staff, which may include the school principal, who are relevant to the school's inability to meet standards;
• Enter into a contract with an entity with a demonstrated record of effectiveness, to operate the school; or
• Implement other restructuring activities that are consistent with the principles of restructuring.

The district must provide technical assistance that emphasizes (a) the importance of improving instruction by using strategies grounded in scientifically-based research so that all students achieve proficiency in the core academic subjects of reading and mathematics, and (b) the importance of analyzing and applying data in decision-making. The district must also continue to offer public school choice and supplemental educational services to all eligible students.



In Seattle, two schools were in Step 4 last year and entered Step 5 this year: Aki Kurose Middle School and The African-American Academy. These schools are under federal mandate to either close or reconstitute THIS YEAR. Last year, these schools were under federal mandate to develop plans for their closure or reconstitution. Neither school complied with the law last year, and neither school is complying with the law this year. I asked Seattle Public Schools to provide me with copies of the plans the schools developed last year and was told that their School Transformation Plans, now called Continuous School Improvement Plans, were the plans. These plans are only recently completed. I have read them, and neither of the schools' plans represent any effort towards re-constitution, let alone closure.

Both plans make only a single passing reference to the federal requirement in which they write:

Throughout school year 2008/09, we will be working with our ID and the SI Department to refine and implement a major restructuring plan in accordance with No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirements.


Other than this one sentence, disconnected from the rest of the plan, there is nothing resembling or referring to any restructuring at all. Nothing. By no measure can these plans be regarded as compliant with the federal law.

So what happens now? Who is responsible for enforcing NCLB? The federal Department of Education? The State Superintendent of Public Instruction? The Board of Directors of Seattle Public Schools? The Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools? Someone is supposed to enforce this law, and they have some work to do because these two schools - and the District - failed/refused to comply with the sanctions put on them last year in Step 4 by not writing restructuring plans and are failing/refusing to comply with the sanctions put on them this year by not closing or restructuring.

This is grimly serious. The District is putting all of their federal funding at jeopardy. Even more of a concern, failure to address failing schools represents a failure to assist the students enrolled in them.

15 comments:

Denise Gonzalez-Walker said...

Here's something I found on Craigslist while browsing jobs... wasn't there something on the Board Agenda about a contract with Sylvan? Could this be part of the NCLB-required plan?

********************

URGENT!! Part Time Tutors Needed! (Seattle)
Reply to: job-918188144@craigslist.org [?]
Date: 2008-11-13, 5:09PM PST


This is a fantastic opportunity to help struggling students in low-income Seattle schools.

Enthusiastic teacher-tutors are needed for an after school intervention program in math and reading.

Ace it! Tutoring (powered by Sylvan Learning) is a leading provider of supplementary education services, in compliance with the No Child Left Behind Act. We will be providing after school (extended day) tutoring/instruction to low income students who attend the schools listed below. We are recruiting teachers to work 2-3 hours per week, depending upon school needs. It is recommended that teachers live near the schools at which they teach.

Our program is self-contained: lessons are scripted, training and all materials are provided, and there is a minimum of preparation, grading, and record-keeping. Instruction is in small groups, no more than 4-8 students per teacher, and students are grouped by ability. Your skills are vital to bring the material to life.

Instruction will begin in early December and continue into March. A second term will begin in early March, at some schools, and continue through May.

We are accepting resumes with cover letters now. In your cover letter, you MUST indicate your ability and experience in teaching math or reading. Please also indicate the school site at which you would be able to teach.

Requirements:
A commitment to a permanent schedule and to be on-site 10 minutes prior to the start of instruction;
Experience teaching reading or math in a small group setting;
An upbeat and infectious enthusiasm for learning; and
A passion for helping low income, academically struggling students reach their potential.
A bachelor’s degree. A teaching certificate is not required but strongly preferred.

Schools:
African American Academy
Aki Kurose Middle School
Hawthorne Elementary School
Madrona K-8 School




* Location: Seattle
* Compensation: $18-$20/hour
* This is a part-time job.
* Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
* Please, no phone calls about this job!
* Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

PostingID: 918188144

SolvayGirl said...

So who's paying for this? The District?

anonymous said...

These are for profit private companies that are taking advantage of the NCLB mandated tutoring for low income students attending a step 3,4, or 5 school. The tutoring services submit their bill directly to the government for reimbursement. They charge fees comparable with private tutoring (up to $45 hour per hour per student), however the students generally receive low quality group tutoring. It is not personal or tailored to individual children, rather it is very scripted, worksheet type material, with little to no instruction. The tutors are not required to meet any standards or even have experience, the tutoring service merely needs to have one accredited teacher to oversee the whole program. They are not monitored, and simply have to fill out the necessary forms, get parent signatures, tutor the child (without any supervision or quality control), and bill the government. They love to hire teachers who can use a little extra money, because their is a lot of competition between the tutoring providers, and teachers help them recruit students into their programs. In my experience they are a bit slimy and just out to make a buck via NCLB. I wish there were a high quality tutoring option for these children who need it so much.

Jet City mom said...

I totally agree with polyanna.
slimy.

As my daughter has learning challenges, but her IEP was meaningless, we searched for private tutoring and had great difficulty finding something that was affordable and effective.
Sylvan was the worst we tried- the one we stayed with the longest ( over two years) was Kumon, mostly because the woman who ran it- in greenwood, was flexible enough to take my daughters issues into account-and gave her one on one help.

anonymous said...

Ace it! is not Sylvan, but they do use portions of the Sylvan curriculum. There are hundreds of these tutoring providers that use all different methods that have sprouted up since NCLB. They all compete with each other.

They pay their tutors between $10-20 per hour no matter how many students they have in their group, and then turn around and bill the government up to $45 PER STUDENT student per hour. .

The fact is that any low family that is eligible for NCLB tutoring can request individual one on one tutoring, and these companies MUST provide it, but they never tell the families that, because it is way less profitable for them to provide one on one tutoring than medium to large group tutoring. Most of the families are non English speaking and low income and just don't know their rites, and these companies do take full advantage of that.

dan dempsey said...

Charlie,

I find this to be a continually recurring problem... you said:
Even more of a concern, failure to address failing schools represents a failure to assist the students enrolled in them.

I interviewed for a position at AAA teaching math. During my interview I told the principal Chris Carter that the data showed that Everday Math and Connected Math Project were terrible curricular choices for AAA students. He informed me that AAA would be using Everyday Math and Connected Math. He never called me back to inform me that I was not going to be hired for the math position at AAA (but I figured it out).

[of interest is that the AAA brochure mentioned Everyday Math but not Singapore math]

The Achievement gap in math for African American Students has ballooned over the last decade and the SPS response is to ignore the problem.

SPS do not follow board policies nor it now appears Federal Laws. This school board is entirely superflous, how can the Superintendent have received a raise and a contract extention given the situation?

Failure to assist students is rampant (no big deal in the SPS).
This failure is centered at the administrative level.

dan dempsey said...

The question now becomes is there any enforcement when a district fails to follow the law?

I guess the SPS is figuring there is no enforcement.

Charlie Mas said...

I wrote to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction asking who is responsible for enforcing the sanctions under No Child Left Behind.

I got a funny answer; it's the District. The District is responsible for ensuring that the Step 5 buildings develop a restructuring plan during the year that they are in Step 4.

Apparently the Bush administration's commitment to self-regulation extends beyond the financial services sector and includes public K-12 education as well.

As Dr. Phil would say "How's that working out for you?"

AutismMom said...

You think OSPI will solve something? OSPI is like a big, grown up SPS. For students with disabilities, OSPI complaints, the legitimate ones, always up with the same ruling: have another IEP. Even when the old IEP's are ignored... even when the district has failed to even conduct an IEP... its "have another IEP a certain date". I even know of one case where the district even failed to bother to conduct the "remedy IEP" by the sanctioned date. Again, no sanction. The only good part of an OSPI complaint is that it requires the district to come up with about 40 pages in legal documents. Some small consolation.

Charlie Mas said...

The next step, I guess, is the federal government. I'll have to figure out how to contact someone in the Department of Education.

dan dempsey said...

Charlie,

Best of luck in trying to get these people to follow the law, the school board policies, or the math standards, or even their own grade level expectations.

We clearly are in the wild west where there is no law for some.

Maybe next time someone (fall of 2009) will win a school board director post that thinks these items should not be ignored.

Until then ... chaotic direction seems guaranteed in many areas.

Maureen said...

Charlie, the Dept of Ed might have its hands full with California.

From a 10/13 New York Times article:


“Lots of schools are no longer going to be able to meet the law’s requirements,” Dr. Cardullo said. His study predicted that virtually every elementary school in California would fall short of the federal law’s expectations before 2014.


http://www.nytimes.com/2008
/10/13/education/13child.html

AutismMom said...

Actually, OSPI has already had it's hands slapped by OCR (the office of civil rights) for not taking action on civil rights issues against students with disabilities. Here's a finding against OSPI. This finding sets up an OSPI oversight committee, to begin this December, to ensure that OSPI is doing it's job. In this case, the Shoreline school district refused to serve disabled students living in a Shoreline residential center (Fircrest)... Because, ahhh well, they didn't want to. Shoreline really doesn't do a good job for everyone. OSPI let it go on and on... and never did anything. This legal case forced Shoreline to provide services, AND forced has placed greater scrutiny on OSPI.

Back to Aki Kurose... surely this oversight committee could be encouraged to force OSPI to take some action on behalf of students attending level 5 failing schools, which are out of compliance with NCLB. Especially, if it constitutes a civil rights violation against minorities or disabled students, since those are the groups the oversight committee is designed to support.

Maureen said...

Does anyone know if the tutoring money follows the kids who withdraw from the failing schools and enroll in schools that are making AYP?

Charlie Mas said...

Students who leave the schools under sanctions lose the tutoring.