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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Every School a Quality School

There is increasing talk these days about making every school in the district a "quality" school. The New Student Assignment Plan has increased the frequency, volume, and urgency for this bumper sticker talk. But despite those increases, there has not been much increase in action or even understanding of the goal.

Everytime I hear someone spout this talk about "every school a quality school" I stop them immediately and ask them what they mean by that. What is a "quality school"? How will we know one? I pretty much tell them that if they cannot accurately define a quality school then they should just shut the hell up about it. I hate it when people use words without knowing what they mean.

So, for the record, I have my own idea about what is a quality school. It is a school where the students are taught - at a minimum - the core set of knowledge and skills that they should be taught at their grade level and they learn it. It's a school in which students working beyond grade level are appropriately challenged with more rigor, meaning accelerated lessons, more ambiguous ideas, more complex ideas, a wider range of contexts, or a deeper understanding of the ideas. It's a school were the students who are working below grade level are given the early and effective interventions they need to get to grade level. In short, students are taught at the frontier of the knowledge and skills and are brought at least to grade level. There are plenty of examples of such schools here in Seattle.

So beyond the bumper sticker talk, what is the District doing to make every school a quality school? I would say five primary efforts fall under this umbrella.

First, the curriculum alignment effort is an attempt to assure that every student is at least being taught the core curricular content (knowledge and skills). There are, of course, some serious problems with this effort. The first is that it is totally unenforcable and totally unenforced. Gee, after that do we have to mention any other problems with it? We do. Their enforcement efforts are completely back-asswards. Despite their claims to the contrary it comes down to someone poking their head into a classroom for twenty seconds to confirm that the teacher is on the right page of the textbook for that day. Real enforcement would require a sincere effort to determine what the teacher is teaching and what the students are learning. Let's remember that just because the teacher is teaching something doesn't mean that the students are learning it.

Second, the promise of an Advanced Learning Opportunity in every attendance area elementary school. The problems here are all well known. First, although 80% of neighborhood schools north of downtown have some advanced learning program, only about 25% of the schools south of downtown have one. So there's a little problem with equitable access and that problem will persist for years to come. Second, just because a school SAYS that they have an ALO doesn't mean anything. There is absolutely no quality assurance or accountability of any kind whatsoever. This is the ALO (and Spectrum and APP) version of expectations set at the district level that go unenforced and unfulfilled at the school or classroom level. Third, I don't really understand how and why the students no longer need those accelerated academic opportunities when they get to middle school, but there are no middle school ALOs.

Third, Response to Intervention is supposed to assure, from the district level, the early and effective intervention that students need. Again, lots of problems here starting with the usual one: unenforcable and unenforced. Second, nothing has been done to alter the reasons why students have not been getting these sorts of interventions until now. This is one of those weird disconnects in which the District leadership says something like "Okay, everybody, as of today we're going to start doing things the right way!" without ever taking a moment to learn why things haven't been done the right way all along. Are they living on an alternative dimension?

Fourth, the MAP tests are supposed to identify the gaps in instruction, the students who are ready for more challenge, and the students who need the interventions. The problem, and chant it along with me if you have learned the chorus, is that it is unenforcable and unenforced. There is no one who has to respond to the MAP test results as we would hope they (ideally) would, and there is no one who has to make sure that anyone responds to the MAP test results at all.

Fifth, the District presents the school score card. What a disaster. It is supposed to offer families some sort of report on the quality of the school but it doesn't speak to ANY of the items listed above. It doesn't speak to school quality at all. One of the main reasons that it doesn't is because the District has no working definition of school quality, let alone metrics, assessments or benchmarks. Although this school score card is supposed to be part of some sort of accountability or performance management system it contributes nothing to either the ability to enforce nor to the process of enforcement. It's a total waste - as is all of the rest of the performance management tripe - in the absence of any actual accountability - meaning objectively measurable outcomes, benchmarks, and CONSEQUENCES.

So, it's not as if the district is doing nothing about making every school a quality school. I want you all to know that they are paying this idea a tremendous amount of very detailed lip service. They have thrown a lot of money at ineffectual and disingenuous efforts which they can describe in great detail.

Take a lesson from my high school football coach. When you're going to tackle the man with the ball don't look at his feet or his shoulders or his head. He can use all of them to fake you out. Look at his belly button and tackle that. He isn't going anywhere without it.

When the District tells you that they are going to do something, don't look at the budgets, or the presentations, or listen to the happy talk. They can use all of them to fake you out. Look for the elements that are enforceable and are enforced and look at how the enforcement is done. That will tell you what is really going to happen. If the district enforces the curricular alignment by checking page numbers, then that's how it is going to happen. If the district doesn't enforce quality in advanced learning, or responses to interventions, or MAP testing, then they aren't going to happen. If the score cards don't tell anything and don't matter then they will be meaningless.

So I'm here with both the good news and the bad news. The good news is that the District knows exactly what they have to do in order to make every school a quality school. The good news is that they have identified all of the initiatives and programs to make it happen. The bad news is that it is all a fake because there is no real muscle behind any of it. If they don't alter any of the reasons that these things don't happen everywhere already, then they won't alter the outcome that these things don't happen everywhere. Right now, their entire enforcement consists exclusively of empty threats that everyone knows are empty. It's kind of pathetic, like a parent who threatens to punish their incorrigible children but never does. As parents we all know that you'll never get away with that.

39 comments:

reader said...

Third, I don't really understand how and why the students no longer need those accelerated academic opportunities when they get to middle school, but there are no middle school ALOs.

ALO's in most schools are test-in, and require spectrum or APP students. So, those kids will have options in middle school since you don't lose your eligibility for spectrum or APP if you park yourself in an ALO. What's the problem (at least from the middle school placement perspective)?

Third, Response to Intervention is supposed to assure, from the district level, the early and effective intervention that students need.

I sat through a very lengthy RTI district slideshow presented by staff. No it isn't in every school. No there is no "district level". Supposedly it has been piloted in 7 schools for 6 months. But, nobody could really say 1 thing about what it really is.. except that that it was very systematic, and that it was part of the triangle on in the slideshow. How can it be systematic if nobody knows what a single intervention actually looks like as implemented at any school? From what I could see... RTI is a slideshow.

The 7 schools included Montlake, McClure, and I can't remember which other schools.

Charlie Mas said...

reader reports that "ALO's in most schools are test-in, and require spectrum or APP students."

ALOs are specifically NOT supposed to be test-in programs.

From the FAQs on the NSAP:
"Are there any changes to the Advanced Learning Opportunity (ALO) program under this plan?

Yes. ALO programs encourage schools to better accommodate students who are working above their grade levels. We will offer them in every elementary school, and make them available to all students enrolled in the school(emphasis added). We anticipate that it will take several years to have ALO programs in place throughout the District."

The whole idea of ALOs was that any student who accepted the challenge could get the challenge. Any gate-keeping beyond self-selection is absolutely contrary to the idea of the programs.

Anonymous said...

I would add to your list that a quality school is a safe school. A safe school is one in which basic maintenance issues are addressed in a timely fashion and students feel safe as they walk through the halls and sit in their classrooms.

This district lacks a comprehensive vision. Everything seems to be piecemeal with fancy jargon and a pathological dependence on powerpoint presentations to try to weave everything together. No one at the district sees the whole child, the whole school, the whole district. If they did, the definition of a quality school would not be so elusive.

reader said...

Any gate-keeping beyond self-selection is absolutely contrary to the idea of the programs.

Any yet, the criteria exist. At lots of school it includes other criteria too... like "independence" levels.

Anonymous said...

Great post. Excellent points. However, I think it is a lot simpler than that! Parents know which are the "quality" schools. Those are the ones with wait lists and above average test scores. The district knows too. These are the same schools with insanely drawn boundaries (i.e. cut off two blocks from the school, extending 2 miles in the other direction) in the NSAP. The district's version of "parity" seems to be to try to bring down the good schools, rather than learn from the strong programs and try to build up the struggling ones.

dan dempsey said...

To have a quality school requires effective modes of instruction. Since the district refuses to choose from the best proven instructional materials and techniques in mathematics, quality school math is NOT available.

There are several important documents that the SPS chooses to ignore.

The proposed purchase of $800,000 of services from the New Technology Network for Cleveland STEM will be another expensive lemon.

here is the math scoop from two NTN demonstration schools in CA:
==================
New Tech High in Sacramento
...
For the last 5 years freshman enrollment has been at 102 (+/- 7 students)
California has End of Course testing and EOC is coming to WA.

In 2009 80% of Algebra Students scored at Below Basic or Far Below Basic, the worst performance in the 6 years of Algebra testing. 6% scored above basic.

For the last 4 years sophomore enrollment has been at 93 (+/- 9 students)

In 2009 69% of Geometry Students scored at Below Basic or Far Below Basic.
9% scored above basic.

For the last 3 years junior enrollment has been at 72 (+/- 6 students)

In 2009 94% of Advanced Algebra students scored at Below Basic or Far Below Basic.
2% scored above basic.

=====================
LA School of Global Studies
...

Global data is based on the three years reported since it opened.
9th grade enrollment has been around 100.
10 grade enrollment has been slightly less.
11th grade enrollment at 93 and 92.
The 2009 11th grade enrollment was 88% the size of the 9th grade two years earlier.

In 2009 57% of the Algebra students scored at Below Basic or Far Below Basic, this statistic has improved each year. 12% scored above basic.

In 2007 the opening year Geometry students had their best showing. The last two years are significantly worse than 2007.

In 2008 94% of the Geometry students scored at Below Basic or Far Below Basic,
with none scoring above basic.
In 2009 84% of the Geometry students scored at Below Basic or Far Below Basic,
with 12% scoring above basic.

In Advanced Algebra, as in Geometry, it appears that the longer the school has been open the worse the students score.

In 2009 82% of Algebra II students scored at Below Basic or Far Below Basic,
with 3% scoring above basic.

Moose said...

Is ALO going to come with $ from the district next year? (I doubt it, but would love to be surprised.) Right now the schools do it on their own dime, which usually means it is funded by the PTA and there is gatekeeping criteria being applied.

whittier07 said...

I met a parent from a Queen Anne school that told me their PTA wrote a check for $150K in order to have a fully implemented ALO ... can't imagine too many PTAs have that kind of money after already paying for arts, drama, music, nursing, librarian, etc.

southend girl said...

But reader, if every middle school offers Spectrum, what good does having ALO status do? We all know that Spectrum programs are extremely uneven school to school. Like the ALO, many are in name only and essentially meaningless. There are no standards - right?

Charlie, thanks for this excellent post that makes me want to bang my head against the wall.

Melissa Westbrook said...

PTA paying for an ALO? What! That's crazy talk. Pay for something the district advertises it does? Man, has this thing gone off the rails.

Lori said...

apparently, some schools have hired a "gifted education" teacher to do "pull-outs" as part of their ALO and that has been funded thru the PTA at certain elementary schools. The district did not require those schools to spend this money or hire the staff; that was just the way those schools chose to structure their program. Every school with an ALO gets to develop its own approach, but the district has to certify the program before it begins.

If your school is in the process of starting an ALO for 2010/2011 school year and you have questions or concerns, now's your chance to speak up and help during the development phase.

whittier07 said...

Of course the PTA didn't have to pay for the ALO teachers but if we're talking about quality, small group accelerated learning sure beats take home worksheets.

One plus of all these community meetings has been hearing what's happening in other schools AND the pressure parents are feeling to fund what they consider to be the basics of a quality education (arts, music, advanced curriculum). At a few schools, parents are feeling like they're EXPECTED to fundraise a certain amount - one parent told me $1,000. At a public school - YIKES!

Dana said...

Like Dan, I have been very concerned about effective modes of instruction for math, but I have also recently become concerned about how language arts is being taught at the middle school level.

I was told by a LA teacher today that the Writers Workshop curriculum now used in middle schools does not teach grammar or vocabulary through direct instruction; instead, kids are expected to pick up this knowledge on their own as they read and write. The teacher also explained that Writers Workshop explicitly prohibits teachers from giving students any written feedback (other than numerical grades) on their writing assignments. I can see that excessive and/or negative criticism can really hinder kids' writing, but isn't this approach taking things too far?

How can kids improve their writing (both in content and in conventions/grammar) if they aren't given feedback? Doesn't this set up the same scenario that seems to be operating with math, wherein kids who have access to resources at home (tutoring, parents who can provide supplementation) are likely to do well, but kids who don't have those resources are more likely to flounder?

dan dempsey said...

Dana,

You make this sound like the two decade old fiasco of whole language for reading. Phonics got tossed and things went to hell in a handbasket.

Is writing headed down the same path?

dan dempsey said...

reader reported:
"How can it be systematic if nobody knows what a single intervention actually looks like as implemented at any school? From what I could see... RTI is a slideshow."


Excellent questions.
On the brighter side instead of the usual smoke and mirrors ,,, you got a slideshow.

The SPS is a consumer of products pushed by corporate sales folks. Unfortunately the people making decisions will believe almost anything. They do not need to know what anything looks like nor do they need to see proof that this stuff they are about to buy works.

Get ready for our next enormous flop.... the New Technology Network services and the resulting STEM school mess.

Charlie Mas said...

Honestly, I don't know whether to take heart because the District knows what it will take to heal their system and they have it all mapped out, planned, manned and funded, or to be particularly discouraged because despite that knowledge, planning, and funding they are only creating the appearance of taking action and not really doing anything positive.

I'm often left to wonder which people within the district are so naive that they think the plans will be effective and which are so disingenuous that they continue to promise and promote plans that they know will not be effective. It is often difficult to distinguish the foolish from the wicked.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I absolutely agreed and was just thinking this yesterday. Dr. Goodloe-Johnson can't possibly believe she can pull this all off - not with this district. The question is does the Board?

ParentofThree said...

First, I do not believe that any school cut a check for $150K for an ALO program, I think it's an urban legend.

Second, Writer's workshop is reform LA and as bad as reform math. I have been through it and can say that while it does get students excited about writing (mostly essays about their pets) it lacks spelling, grammar, sentence construction, even teaches a weird method to creating an outline. (Draw a big box, then little boxes, then fill them in.)

Also WW is mostly peer reviews, teachers rarely grade papers and mark up with red pencil, like we all remember. In WW presentations those who have "drunk the kool-aid" will tell you that students don't respond to red pencil markup. They assume (incorrectly) that all teacher comments are "bad." They fail to acknowledge that a teacher is also the only person who can say, "This is a great paragraph, well organized and fully supported with facts." Middle schoolers just do not have that kind on lens when "peer editing" papers.

I have been doing private math for over three years and we are heading towards Running Start to finish up, I will also be adding some English tutoring. At this point, I send my students to school for socialization, an elective here and there. Math and now English are both home based education.

Unknown said...

Dana, I have seen Writer's Workshop in Action for the past 5 years with my own daughters, and I can assure you that it's an incredible program. I'd rather my kids be passionate and inspired writers, then watch them memorize lists and rules and describe writing as a boring chore to be avoided at all costs. Amazingly, they do seem to imbibe the rules eventually, and their spelling does improve. And the rules, themselves, are not as hard and fast as some of us like to pretend. For example, I just started a sentence with "and" and the earth did not quake.

I'm sure some families will prefer a more traditional approach. We've already had the "reading" wars. We're now well into the "math" wars. I suppose its time to begin the "writing" wars.

SPS mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SPS mom said...

Our experience with Readers and Writers Workshop has been similar to SPSMom's. It does seem like the Language Arts equivalent of the reform math.

Our kids are tired of writing very personal "small moments" and are not getting much in the way of formal grammar or writing instruction. Some teachers will still add traditional grammar instruction, spelling, etc., but you can't count on it. Kids are told to "write what they know," and we have not seen much in the way of objective report writing. Papers are returned with no corrections on spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. Our child's supply list included a purple pen for corrections.

That said, I think it is useful in the early grades to get kids writing, but by 3rd or 4th grade there needs to be some more formal and explicit instruction. I was surprised to find out it continues through middle school.

dan dempsey said...

Nuthall from New Zealand wrote a classic: The Secret Lives of Learners. He spent an enormous among of time researching and observing .... and discovered
80% of student feedback to each other is wrong. Consider what that means for peer advice and peer editing.

I am speaker #10 tonight. Three minutes on why the quality school idea cannot happen. The district is incapable of analyzing what works and what does not. Wait until you see how bad the STEM motion provided by the district is. These folks are so far out of touch with both research and reality. This is really embarrassing that people are salaried to turn out complete bunk and try to get it past the school board.

Brita Butler-Wall said it all, the day before the Everyday Math adoption: "We choose to trust our hired professionals." A decade of bad choices and lousy results and she said we choose to trust our hired professionals.

Will this board buy a giant lemon in the form of $800,000 worth of New Technology Network services?

I do think that what Rosie says has merit. Enthusiasm for writing can really get things rolling ... It is not like trying to learn to read without instruction. Kathleen Vasquez has a much better handle on writing than anyone downtown has on math.

seattle said...

Totally agree with the critique on Writers Workshop. It is not well rounded.

Kids write tons of persnoal narratives, but never write an essay and do not do book reports or any other type of structured writing. This puts them at a huge disadvantage in HS, where they are expected to know how to write a 5 paragraph essay. Is this an example of the aligned curriculum the district is moving toward?

The other problem with Writers Workshop is a lack of teaching grammar, punctuation, spelling, conventions. None. Nada. They don't philosophically believe in it. Your child can turn in a paper without capitol letters, incomplete sentences, mispelled words......and as long as it is "creative" and "interesting" they will get a good grade.

Somehow kids are supposed to just discover grammar and punctuation through their writing, without any guidance or instruction from the teacher.

Eckstein has dumped writers workshop and got a waiver from the district to use their own curriculum. Every teacher that I have talked to have confided that they think it stinks.

Dorothy Neville said...

Yikes. My kid escaped Writers Workshop because he homeschooled middle school humanities. He took a couple EPGY writing classes and I gave him other assignments.

Yet, it appears his HS LA teachers drank some of that WW reform koolaid because in two years at Roosevelt he never ever got any writing feedback from a teacher. Even the vaulted "cornerstones" were only peer reviewed.

High school, where GPA matters, peer review counted in grading. Peer reviewing counted as part of your grade. So if you were absent --- like with a contagious disease --- you got docked for missing the opportunity to peer review your fellow student. (With the vague promise that sometime in the future there would be opportunities for extra credit.)

And yet, even with this, the *quality* of the peer review wasn't addressed or considered in grading decisions.

(elementary school was Lowell APP and his writing instruction there was abysmal. Again, no feedback and some terrible instruction to boot. They've adopted something since then, maybe WW, I am not sure.)

Lori said...

So the current pedagogy, if you will, is that there are no rules in life? Get to your answer however you want to? Just be creative?

The common thread connecting math and writing is that there are known rules that need to be followed to be correct. That's what I like about both subjects, but apparently, I'm a dinosaur!

I guess if the times tables are too difficult to learn and rote memorization is out, why am I surprised to be hearing that grammar and sentence structure rules are also out?

So those of you with older kids: are you telling me that there are no lectures about dangling participles or how to appropriately connect two independent clauses? No one teaching them the difference between "who" and "whom" or "that" and "which"? Is this what I have to look forward to in later years?

Fortunately, I own a lot of red pens, and I'm not afraid to use them. If no one else edits my daughter's work when she's older, I will.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Just keep in mind, Lori. You can homeschool in one subject. I did, Dorothy did. It's not fun but you may find you need to do it.

seattle said...

Glad you have some extra red pens Lori and that you are prepared to use them! You will be needing them.

I have heard from many parents, and it was my personal experience, that by middle school it becomes a power struggle to use your red pens at home. Your kids think you are crazy and they fight it. After all they are doing everything that their teachers are telling them to do, everything that is expected of them, and getting good grades to boot. It's hard for them to understand why you are marking up their paper and having them focus on such nonsensical things such as grammar and punctuation....when they got an A on the assignment.

It gets better in HS, at least at my sons HS, but still plenty of room for improvement. In HS, kids move on to writing essays, and more formal and structured writing assignments. Not a whole lot of grammar and punctuation taught though...ironically teachers expect that kids learned this in elementary and MS.

Curriculum alignment at its very best!

ParentofThree said...

"Somehow kids are supposed to just discover grammar and punctuation through their writing, without any guidance or instruction from the teacher."


Yep, just like kids are supposed to "discover" algorithms in math.

I even saw in the last School Beat that a middle school was hosting a Writers Workshop workshop. Remember the math workshops when they tried to convince parents that the lattice method for multiplication was so spiffy!

Bottom line, if a curriculum is so great then you will see the results in your students work. If you have to hold a workshop to convince the parents the curriculum is great, well then there is a problem.

Dorothy Neville said...

6th grade, I handed my son "On Writing Well" by Zinsser. He liked it and took it to school (Eckstein) to read while waiting for science class to begin. His lab partner noticed and commented, "Hey, that's cheating!"

I am sure there was a bit of silliness in the comment, but still.

whittier07 said...

No urban legend ... I was told that they use the $150k to hire two full-time teachers to work on their ALO. The parent that told me this was on the school's PTA board and would have no reason to exaggerate.

EDM, WW and new this year our school is using Reader's Workshop. My K-kid's class is now doing 10 minutes of silent reading each day ... they are supposed to work up to 20 minutes. Kind of cute but kind of worrisome since the majority of the class can't read yet.

SolvayGirl said...

It sounds like Writers Workshop will only reinforce our tweens/teens' belief that all communication should be distilled down into as few characters as possible (texting and tweeting).

As a writer and editor, I am convinced of the need for grammatical structure. A misplaced comma or clause can completely alter the meaning of a sentence. Without the rules of grammar and punctuation, no one will be held accountable for what they write because they can just say, "That's not what I meant."

Our HS students need to write essays as part of their college application process. We need to make sure they have the skills to compete.

Loosened structure is fine in the early grades, when you want children to write freely and be uninhibited, but by 4th grade, they need to learn—gasp—the rules and how to apply them to make sure others can understand what they write.

They need to learn how to support an argument or make a point. They need to learn how to use research without plagiarizing. They need to learn how to structure a report or essay.

My daughter learned all of these things in the independent middle school she attended. I had no idea her public school peers were not getting similar instruction.

Dana said...

I could be wrong, but my guess is that a lot of SPS parents don’t realize what is (or is not) happening with LA in middle school.

I am a pretty involved parent, but I mistakenly made the assumption that grammar, vocabulary, expository writing, etc. would be part of the standard middle school curriculum. The syllabi for all of my daughter’s classes are pretty vague, so they have not been a good source of information.

It wasn’t until my daughter expressed frustration over receiving no feedback on her first writing assignment (and asked specifically to home-school in LA) that I started realizing that something was amiss.

I couldn’t find any information about WW on the district or school website. How are parents to know what is (or is not) being taught?

Dana said...

Ann said, "Eckstein has dumped writers workshop and got a waiver from the district to use their own curriculum. Every teacher that I have talked to have confided that they think it stinks."

The Eckstein teacher I spoke with yesterday mentioned that Eckstein would start incorporating a little bit of grammar here and there, but she was clear that they would still be using WW as the foundation of their writing curriculum. I'm confused!

seattle said...

When we toured Eckstein a couple of years ago the LA teacher we spoke with on the tour told us that because their WASL scores were so high the district granted them a waiver from using WW, although he said that they still did use some of the "good" parts of WW. Maybe in their move toward LA standardization the district won't grant waivers anymore? Maybe Eckstein had to go back to using it?? If so, what a shame.

ttln said...

i teach ww. i bleed over papers (in colors other than red). i do direct instruction on p.o.s, irregular verbs, clauses-adjective, adverb, so far- make them memorize lists of words, AND teach them to write about topics that they care about- with thesis statements and relevent support ordered in a logical manner. i was a middle school pilot teacher for ww.
i don't get how ww has evolved into all these restricted and restrictive permutations i keep reading about. what is so cool about ww is its freedom to meet kids' needs in a multitude of engaging ways.
what the heck happened? who is in charge of this mess?

seattle said...

ttln was it in humor that you didn't capitalize the first letters in your sentences when writing about teaching grammar and punctuation in WW?

ttln said...

OMG! Yes! I am so up tight about the rules that I cringe as I allow the texting conventions into my posts. I actually have to practice breaking rules via the text speak conventions so that I can make their errors in my demo text for WW.
Perhaps the reason other schools are rigidly applying these supposed WW 'rules' is because it is easier than doing what I do. I am a bit OCD marking papers. Each takes me 45 minutes to mark, comment on, and score on a standards/GLE based rubric. There are few As in my classes- even for my AG/AHG kids. Beause I spend so much time on each paper, I don't hand them back (kids just throw the work on the floor or in the trash). Rather, I keep them in folders in my room. Their scores are posted on the Source. If they want to see their work, they know where to find it.
If there are glitches in this post, it is due to the tech. My touch screen doesn't catch all of the strokes on my palm. It is irksome.

Dorothy Neville said...

ttln, I taught high school near Chicago in the late 1980s. I heard the head investigator for Chicago Math Project speak several times. He said wonderful things. The research was spot on and the conclusions made great sense. The proposed organization for a brand new middle school curriculum was amazing and very necessary.

So then I left teaching, got married, had a kid, started reading parenting groups complaining about math. I've seen it for myself, from my son's experience and from tutoring.

I ask myself the same question: What happened? How did such a great idea go so wrong?

seattle said...

ttln how do your students learn and grow if you don't return their papers/work after you spend 45 minutes grading them and making notes on them? Don't they need your feedback to improve? Isn't that part of teaching?

Still not buying WW, sorry.