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Friday, February 12, 2010

Here and There

A roundup of news tidbits, big and small.
  • Mayor McGinn didn't get his levy ballot in on-time (some kind of mix-up or put in the wrong box). So his vote never registered. Big whoops on his part.
  • Peter Maier has his monthly community meeting tomorrow, the 13th, from 10:30-noon at the Bethany Community Church at 1156 N. 80th.
  • Lawton has a new principal (yet another mid-year principal change). From the Magnolia Voice blog:
    "Beverly Raines has taken a family leave of absence for the remainder of the school year. Kathy Bledsoe started this week as interim principal and will remain at the school for the rest of the year. Bledsoe is no stranger to Magnolia, having been the principal at Blaine for seven years. She retired from the Seattle School District two years ago. This was Raines first year at Lawton and prior to coming to the school she filed a lawsuit against Seattle Public Schools, accusing the district of discrimination based on age and sex."
  • The district has announced the date for the Family and Community Engagement Symposium they started last year. It's on April 24th so save the date (no other details available).
  • From SPS School Beat: Twelve Seattle Public School students from four high schools have been accepted to participate in the first phase of Washington Aerospace Scholars for 2009-10. The students are among 247 juniors from across the state who have been accepted into program. Very exciting stuff; these students do a distance learning project with NASA-designed curriculum and then some of the students will go to a summer residency session to work with engineers and scientists.
  • More good news: Highland Park Elementary students raised over $1,000 in 4 days for Hatiti earthquake relief (80% of the Highland Park students are free/reduced lunch students). Good for them.
  • Championship yo-yo players will compete on Saturday, Feb. 20th at Seattle Center, Center House Main State from 11 am to 6 pm. Might be something to take the kids to over the Winter Break.
  • The Alliance for Education has found a new director. She is Sara Morris, a former director of Marketing and P.R. for the OVP Venture Partners. She also served as a consultant for SPS by "leading large-scale, interdisciplinary projects that moved diverse groups of people toward common objectives." No idea what that means or when she did it. She is also Board President for the Technology Access Foundation. She will start on March 1. They are also having their annual community breakfast on April 28. Want to see all the movers and shakers in one place? This is it.
  • I don't know about Hale but the Roosevelt Language Arts department has been mandated by the district to offer an Advanced Placement course in LA. (They currently offer none.) They are trying to figure out how to integrate an AP course, either Composition or Literature, into their existing LA program. They are expected to enact the change for next school year.

28 comments:

West Seattle said...

Basketball game between WSHS and RBHS was ended before the game was over due a fight . Police were called.

http://westseattleblog.com/2010/02/melee-shortens-boys-basketball-game-at-west-seattle-high-school

Melissa Westbrook said...

Also from that story: "Patrick talked with WSHS principal Bruce Bivins as the gym was clearing; he said, “The students acted correctly – (but) the actions of hotheaded adults” are what resulted in the melee."

What is it about sports that makes people lose it sometimes?

ArchStanton said...

Shameless plug:

In an earlier thread, I was inspired by Dan Dempsey and gavroche to create some images for fun. I have since refined them and used them to create some merchandise at cafepress. I will send all profits to the Seattle Math Group to help defray their legal costs. (FYI: they haven't endorsed this - it's just my project)

The first bit of swag is at nofuzzymath

I've got another that is more specific to the Discovering math case, but I'm trying to answer a legal question before I promote it.

seattle said...

Hale ONLY offers AP LA for 11th and 12th grade. All Hale 11th and 12th grade students take AP LA - it is mandatory (not sure I agree with this but it is how it is). This is not a result of the new LA curriculum alignment, they have been doing it this way for a couple of years.

SSDemp said...

Everyone see the posting on Publicola today about MGJ and conflict of interest?

If not, all should. Odds are its the tip of the iceberg.

dan dempsey said...

MGJ slammed on Publicola

HERE

WenD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
WenD said...

Dan, Here's some quotes from the Josh Feit story on MG-J and a conflict in the MAP contract. (She took a seat on the NWEA board two years ago. They provide MAP to the district.)

"In the public documents describing the contract, including a May 2009 memorandum to all Seattle principals outlining the decision to go with NWEA’s program, Goodloe-Johnson did not disclose her position with NWEA."

Debell is quoted, and sounds unconcerned:

"DeBell says the board disclosed all their potential conflicts at its first meeting this year, “partially in response” to Goodloe-Johnson’s belated disclosure about her position on NWEA’s board. The board governs and watchdogs itself, DeBell says, when it comes to protocol around potential conflicts."

gavroche said...

More on MGJ's conflict of interest....

Feit claims SPS paid NWEA* only $370,000.

*(Northwest Evaluation Association: the enterprise that makes and sells MAP tests, and whose board Supt. Goodloe-Johnson joined in Sept. 2008: http://www.seattleschools.org/area/news/sbnews/nwea_board.doc)

If so, then why did the Superintendent and District earmark $4.3 million more for MAP testing in the latest levy that just passed?

Where's THAT money going? To NWEA? Or does it cost that much to administer the tests?

(See Melissa's BTA levy post: http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2010/01/bta-iii-list.html)

Incidentally -- the above press release about MGJ joining NWEA is posted on the Seattle School District Web site. So why didn't DeBell et al know that MGJ was on the NWEA board? Doesn't the Board read SPS's own site? Or wasn't that info posted on SPS's site until MGJ fessed up?

Curiouser and curiouser.

WV is too rich! Could this be a clue to who's really running SPS? -- bullyz

gavroche said...

A few more questions about MAP:

Has anyone evaluated the value and accuracy of the MAP tests?

Is that the best use of $4.3 million taxpayer dollars during an economic crisis?

(Raise your hand if you would rather see the money spent on more teachers and decreasing class sizes.)

Is this the best use of our kids' time? (They are being tested three times a year, even in kindergarten.)

Despite DeBell's ethical nonchalance, here's where the conflict of interest really matters: How likely is it that SPS will ever objectively and fairly evaluate this expenditure as long as its superintendent is connected to the company that sells the district the test?

Melissa Westbrook said...

So hilarious. I did a post at Publicola about this story and how we all had talked about it awhile back (as well as MGJ's position on a Broad board - say that fast three times) here. Josh Feit at Publicola claims he talked to several people who know this district (because I complained that if he kept up here - or even checked - he'd find us talking about these issues). He claims he knows about the Broad Foundation but was only doing the MAP story. If she's doing the same thing in two places, wouldn't that show a pattern? So wouldn't that just add to the story? I guess not.

What's really hilarious is how all these so-called journalists want me (and probably Charlie) to post info on their stories, find them people to interview and then not keep up with what we are working on. Sorry, I'm not doing anyone's work for them. If there's something I think will help people here or that is of interest, I will, of course, post it. But if they're journalists, go out and do the work like Charlie and me (and we aren't journalists and we don't get paid).

What passes for journalism in this town, geez.

dan dempsey said...

Melissa good for you. Not doing anyone's work for them.

I decided that someone needed to do the work of researching NTN schools since no one at the district was doing so. You would think that with the Central Office expansion documented by Meg Diaz that there would be enough labor to actually investigate the NTN schools academic performance using real data collected from actual state tests.

No such luck. I guess that internet is just to hard to use.

Anyway I did the work and submitted all the relevant data and to no one's surprise the four directors who voted for the NTN contract clearly dismissed it as relevant data from me, which they apparently never use.

It was a virtual replay of the "Discovering Series" May 6, 2009 math decision making process for Sunquist, Carr, and Maier.
As Yogi Berra says "It was "Deja Vu" all over again."

Well from documents filed in the math lawsuit we know the directors did not use any data from the public on which to make the math adoption decision.

so a few questions remain:

A.. Will the district re-examine the adoption decision as Judge Spector directed and this time carefully consider all the evidence? Including examining the 300 pages that Marty tells me she submitted to the court.

B.. Will they approve the adoption of the Mathematically Unsound "Discovering Series" again?

Remember TEAM McLaren had a problem with the result not just the process.

C.. Will they reject the "Discovering Series" and put another adoption committee together to do it right this time?

D.. Will TEAM McLaren wander off looking for a "Pro Bono" attorney to take the district into Federal Court on Civil Rights violations because of their k-8 instructional Materials and thrust for inquiry math?

Remember that TERC/Investigations produced ever widening achievement gaps and Everyday Math enlarged those big gaps even larger over its first two years in use.

E.. Will Dan figure out a plan to appeal the Feb. 3 NTN contract decision on or before March 5th the 30th day? Would that have an effect on open enrollment sign-ups at the Cleveland NTN STEM option school?

F.. If an appeal of the Feb 4 decision happens, will the district submit all the information to the court including the information from the public, which should have factored in to the decision?

G.. If the NTN contract is appealed will the Judge conclude that no director who examined all the evidence could have approved the NTN contract? if so what then?

Time will tell as always.

dan dempsey said...

Given this HERE.

One might think that TEAM McLaren might be in search of a "Pro Bono" attorney. Ya Neva Know now do ya.

dan dempsey said...

ArchStanton thanks for thinking of Seattle Math Group. We are still planning on T-Shirts using your Arbitrary and Capricious design.

wseadawg said...

What is it about sports that makes people lose it sometimes?

Answer: Multi-million dollar contracts for "professional" athletes who have the privilege of playing games to earn a living, along with fans willing to pay several days wages to watch them play. With values like that to aspire to, who wouldn't fight to the death when Johnny takes a hard foul that might jeopardize his chances at the NBA someday.

Seriously, we all need to grow up when it comes to sports in this country.

Yeah, yeah, I know I step on toes when I say that, but I played sports my whole life, and it was a privilege, not a right, nor a sacrifice.

reader said...

Hmmm. So, let me get this straight. The TERC curriculum, which is maximally constructivist, produced an achievement gap. Then, we got EveryDay math, which is less constructivist and more balanced though still has some constructivism. The achievement gap with EDM is even worse than TERC! ???? What are we to make of it? Maybe it wasn't the constructivism? Maybe is was the conservatism? Maybe the judge is wrong. Maybe we need TERC back.

gavroche said...

The Supt's e-newsletter arrived in today's e-mail box with, among other items, this summary of the math decision (bold is mine):

Court's ruling on math materials

A King County judge issued a ruling on February 4 that directed the Seattle School Board to review its decision to use the Discovering Series of math materials for high school students. A group of community members had sued to stop the books from being used in high schools. Seattle Public Schools followed an extensive process in adopting the materials, which were thoroughly vetted by a diverse group, including mathematicians and teaching professionals. The Judge's finding that the School Board's decision was "arbitrary and capricious" was, therefore, surprising to the district and we are evaluating our next steps. Our job as professionals is to ensure that learning and teaching goes on for all of our students. We will continue to teach our students using the board-adopted materials, and we will continue to support our teachers with professional development in using instructional materials to meet the needs of their students.

Consistent with any materials adoption process, the School Board will receive updates on how the materials are working for our students. The School Board will hold a work session to hear an update this spring. The date for the work session will be posted here (http://www.seattleschools.org/area/board/agendadockets/09-10agendadocket.pdf) once it is scheduled.


Now, I would imagine that Dan might have a thing or two to say about the term "thoroughly vetted" and the "mathematicians" on the selection committee -- didn't the plaintiffs say there were none? Is the Supt. fibbing here?

Also, it sounds like the Supt. is ignoring the implications of the ruling and the concerns of parents and teachers and plans to use Discovering texts anyway, Judge Spector be damned.

Sounds like she thinks the solution to crappy math texts is more "professional development" -- i.e. teacher training.

It also sounds like the Supt. doesn't plan to even address the issue with the Board again until sometime in spring, which could be months away when school's nearly out for the year.

Arbitrary, capricious and arrogant?

gavroche said...

More Haiti fundraising news

On the good news front, Hay and Coe Elementaries and McClure Middle School in Queen Anne pulled together a rummage sale last weekend for Haiti and raised over $19,000.

It was a pretty amazing testament to people's generosity, especially considering the economy, the fact the sale was held on Super Bowl Sunday, and that prices on the items were determined by the buyers themselves, on a "let your conscience be your guide" basis.

The last time the community organized a mega-rummage sale like this was five years ago to raise money for the victims of the Banda Aceh tsunami. That brought in $10,000.

http://www.queenanneview.com/2010/02/08/qa-schools-raise-over-19k-at-haiti-rummage-sale/

dan dempsey said...

Maybe we need TERC back.

Currently it is the lowest performing program of Saxon, Math Expressions, Scott Foresman - Addison Wesley, and TERC/Investigations but then EDM likely decided not to play.

Reason enough for MGJ to demand TERC back I suppose.

Look HERE

and HERE

So despite being the most widely used elementary school series EDM was not in this study. It was a competitive process. It looks like #1 decided not to play.

Why mess up a good con, when it is working?

More on EDM HERE.

dan dempsey said...

Gavroche,

Thanks for the Newsletter heads up.

"Now, I would imagine that Dan might have a thing or two to say about the term "thoroughly vetted" and the "mathematicians" on the selection committee -- didn't the plaintiffs say there were none? Is the Supt. fibbing here?"

The Supt. never fibs. She is just completely uninformed about math as usual. Remember she wanted IMP the Interactive Math Program adopted in Spring 2008. IMP turned out to be the worst aligned math program of all with the New State Math Standards.

In addition to apparently believing the analysis of "Discovering" by non-mathematician OSPI's Dr. George Bright and UW mathematician Dr. James King (last published major math work in Early 1980s) the man behind Cleveland's failed three year IMP experiment, she is now touting the work of a stacked adoption committee.

Judge Spector was well aware the committee was stacked as it is in the 300 pages of evidence submitted by the plaintiffs.

Further more Drs. Wilson and Harel after an extensive review found the "Discovering Series" primary Core texts "mathematically unsound". UW's Dr. Jack Lee (rejected for Adoption Committee work -- likely knew too much about Geometry) found the Geometry text very unsuitable for teaching Geometry. King and Bright never reviewed the "Discovering" geometry text because it was so poorly aligned with state math standards.

Naturally the rarely ever informed about math MG-J recommended that Geometry text for adoption, because her Math Program Manager's well organized committee recommended it.

Bulletin: RESULTS MATTER !!!

The plaintiffs objected to the product "Discovering Series" produced by the poor process as well as the process.

MGJ must think this is still about process.

To paraphrase Forrest Gump:
"Clueless is as Clueless does"

dan dempsey said...

I should point out that Gavroche was referring to the 2-8-2010 edition of school beat and it included references to information released on Feb 4, 2010 the day of Judge Spector's ruling. It is now over a week later.

Judge Spector has sent the decision back to the Board for further consideration.

The next board meeting is on March 3. This will give Staff adequate time to lobby the board and write appropriate scripts for directors Maier, Carr, and Sundquist who the judge described by inference as doing what no reasonable person would do. Each voted for the adoption with insufficient evidence to do so.

Pretty easy to believe as on February 3, the day before the judge's ruling, they and Director Martin-Morris approved the NTN contract that no reasonable person would do either, if each used all the evidence to make that decision.

Whoa, some directors use all the evidence more than occasionally but all 7 directors using all the evidence on something involving math; now that would be a first.

Jet City mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

THe MAP tests are $13 per student. I don't know if that is per session (6 total per year 3 math, 3 English) or per student per year.

ParentofThree said...

"Schools followed an extensive process in adopting the materials, which were thoroughly vetted by a diverse group, including mathematicians and teaching professionals"

Just because you had a process doesn't mean it was a good process. And that is what MGJ doesn't get.

And to keep saying over and over, we had a process doesn't change the courts decision.


On another note, I have see nothing about the change in grandfathering transportation from 5-2 years. A lot of families just don't know that their childrens transportation will soon run out.

After seeing all that info in the and school beat I realized it is intentional. If they broadcast the change many families may flee back to their attendance schools - where there is not going to be enough room.

So shhhh don't tell anybody.

ArchStanton said...

dan dempsey said...

ArchStanton thanks for thinking of Seattle Math Group. We are still planning on T-Shirts using your Arbitrary and Capricious design.

Dan, check your email ;)

Unknown said...

So, if the goal is to get out information about education and our school district, and Publicola has a different audience than this blog (adding audience), why not give them as much information as we can in a way that they can hear it? If we are positive and solutions oriented, that makes us (and by association our arguments) seem rational. Do we have a marketing problem?

This town does have a hard time reporting on education. Let's not shoot them down every time anyone tries.

Melissa Westbrook said...

The backstory on Publicola is that they totally wasted my time on the levy issue with an intern who had no idea what she was doing and then they did not do a single article on it. Josh is not looking to illuminate education issues; he's looking for a hot story so that he can look like he found some breaking news story we all knew about months ago.

Most of the media care very little about education issues. I'm sorry but it's true.

Look folks. I do a lot of work to write for this blog as does Charlie. When I see how little effort folks in the media take to even understand what is happening in our schools (no less report on it), it bothers me.

So when I get e-mails from media asking me to tell them how to find something and then they don't return my e-mails/phone calls, well then, I reserve the right to say no.

Also, this blog is here for all to read. I kind of think sometimes it's on them to find the information rather than me to personally provide it to them.

wseadawg said...

ParentOfThree: I couldn't agree more. They either know exactly what they are doing, and keep bad news quiet, then release it on Friday, less than a week before the Board vote the following Wednesday. This is a Bush-Cheney trick, to keep stories out of the weekly 24 hour news cycle. Apparently not many of us read the Saturday paper. So most of us don't learn what the district is up to until Monday or Tuesday, and try to get ahold of a Board member then.

It's by design. If it's not by design, then SPS is rushing at the last minute and doesn't realize until the 11th hour that they can't do things like provide transportation for 5 years, and must cut it down to only 2. So they go "OOPS" and toss it into the box in friday afternoon.

It's either brilliant and devious manipulation of the Board, who still vote anyways, apparently intimidated by MGJ's glares, or it's pure incompetence.

Take your pick.