She Says We Have It

Reading thru the comments of another thread, I noticed that there is this talk of accountability by the Superintendent. I got interviewed for a segment for the Seattle Channel's City Inside/Out program. (I thought it was to be a show on the levies but they devoted only 5 minutes to levy discussion.) What it ended up being was a discussion with former School Board member Dick Lilly, Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson and Seattle Council PTSA President, Ramona Hattendorf about the state of SPS schools. Both Mr. Lilly and Dr. G-J had a couple of whopping good statements.

As I stated previously, Mr. Lilly said that if a student takes a class and takes the state assessment test, he or she should graduate. Basically, seat time = diploma, no matter the grade.

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson said (in reference to a question on the state of the schools),

"We have accountability in place." but that it would take time to show improvement.

So now you know. We have accountability in place for this district in how our students and schools are doing. Myself, I believe that is strictly on paper but I think she believes if she says it out loud then it's true.


dan dempsey said…
In regard to the High School Math adoption the Superintendent asked us to hold her accountable. So lets see it happen.

Her wonderful recommendation was rejected in court in Seattle on Thursday and in Olympia on Friday.
MGJ presented no empirical evidence of success in recommending the NTN contract and the gang of four had the opportunity to look at a great deal of empirical evidence (but it did not come from staff) that NTN schools produce poor results.

I think we need to hold all these folks accountable. Isn't that what MG-J wants. ... Is there any place that happens other than court? ....hmmm where is the mechanism for that accountability perhaps MGJ can clue us in on that.
wsnorth said…
Everyone accountable... except for the people who came up with the school closure (and re-opening) plans, new assignment plan, program placement, deferred maintenance, and choice of math books.
deteechur said…
I doubt MG-J voted for the Palin ticket in 2008, but, it sounds like MG-J has her own version of the Alaskan Palm Pilot?
Maureen said…
At about 18.00 on the tape, MGJ says to close the achievement gap......"we have to have extended learning time"

Ok, so how are we doing that? Madrona and Aki have extended days, Cleveland STEM will have an extra period for kids to catch up. But what about the (say) 15% of kids at any random school who aren't meeting standard? What does it mean for them to have "extended learning time?" Are we adding late buses for those kids so they can stay late for tutoring (no)? Are we adding Saturday school (no)? Or is the plan to just corall all of those kids into a few low performing schools that offer "extended learning time?"
GreyWatch said…
Personally, during the younger years, I think the extended learning time can be counterproductive. I know it was for my child who in kindergarten was identified as "underperforming for how bright he is."

I hope the extended day at Madrona at least means the kids now have time for recess.

Great op-ed on the subject:
Jet City mom said…
Personally, during the younger years, I think the extended learning time can be counterproductive. I know it was for my child who in kindergarten was identified as "underperforming for how bright he is."

Hear, Hear.
My oldest attended UCDS- because it was fun. The only quizzes they had were math and spelling, a few times a month.
Very big on play- something that stuck in my mind was Halloween. The older kids made a Haunted House for the younger- but kids were not allowed to bring costumes from home, they made their own from the remnant barrel.
I had my own tradition of doing their face paint every year. It was a blast!

The kids who need " extra learning time" need time to play as much or more.
Coming early and staying later is not making the best use of their learning ability- too tired I expect on either end of the day.
Better, to make the learning more memorable by making it more enjoyable.
Maureen said…
I worry about the kids who are 'pulled out' constantly to spend time in the resource room or to complete their homework. I have seen it most in 2nd-5th grades. Those kids spend more time on basic learning, but from my observation, miss out on science/social studies/PE and recess and are generally removed from the flow of the classroom. I think they would benefit more from an extended day (with a break for snack and running around outside).

I agree that very young kids just need time to play and interact.

I think the most effective intervention is to make sure that poor kids have access to continued learning over school breaks so they are less likely to lose ground.
Charlie Mas said…
I went to one of the "coffee with the superintendent" things, the one at Hamilton, and I specifically asked her to cite an example of accountability.

She told me that the accountability would come when the performance management was in place. And not before.

Since the performance management is not yet in place, I don't see how she can claim that the accountability is yet in place.
dan dempsey said…
Hey Charlie,

Figure it out. It is written on the SPS letterhead "Everyone Accountable".

MGJ just got confused.

Me I am also confused. (as it is 5 AM)
This district keeps on getting more and more bloated on the administrative end ... but is apparently unable to provide any empirical research to the school board when decisions are made.

It seems to me if there was what I think of as accountability, then MGJ would be leaving town, but that is likely just my opinion.
hschinske said…
"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Helen Schinske
wseadawg said…
Charlie: That is beautiful! It will come when PM is in place.

Sheesh! In Charleston her excuse was that she put the plan together, but it didn't work because the voters didn't fund it. Nothing is ever her fault, ergo, "Accountability" remains a myth.

Remember: This is the woman who gave herself an "A" last year but only hit 20% of her own performance goals at bonus time. Should we be shocked at the gulf that exists between the rhetoric and reality? I don't think so. The John Stanford silo remains unhinged from the real world.
Karrie said…


LOL! One of my favorite movie quotes, very appropriate here.

gavroche said…
"I don't think I have any failures. I think I have lessons." -- Maria Goodloe-Johnson

(in response to the question from reporter Diette Courrégé: "What's your biggest failure?")


Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson speaks candidly before departure
By Diette Courrégé
The Post and Courier
Thursday, June 14, 2007
gavroche said…
More food for thought:

(Hmm, which kind of Superintendent does Seattle have?)

Two Types of Superintendent
Posted: 09 Feb 2010 06:59 AM PST
(by Diane Ravitch who writes a regular insightful exchange with Deborah Maier about education at:

Dear Deborah,

As I watch events across the nation, I have concluded that district leadership today falls into one of two varieties.

On one hand is the traditional superintendent, who believes that he is responsible for the schools and students in his care. He visits the schools often and consults frequently with mid-level superintendents to make sure that the schools get the resources they need. When a school is in trouble, he sends in a team of experienced educators to assess its needs and devise a plan to help the staff. If the school continues to struggle, he works harder to try to solve the problems. He may decide to remove the principal and shake up the staff. He is relentless in trying to get the school to function well. This superintendent believes that he will be judged by his efforts to help the neediest of the students and schools.

On the other hand is the new breed of reform superintendent. Whether he (or she) was a business executive, an education entrepreneur, or a lawyer, he is steeped in a business mindset. He wants results. He surrounds himself with business school graduates, lawyers, marketing consultants, and public relations staff. He focuses on management, organization, budgeting, and data-driven decision-making. He shows little or no interest in curriculum and instruction, about which he knows very little. He is certain that the way to reform the schools is to "incent" the workforce. He believes that accountability, with rewards and sanctions, makes the world go round. He plans to "drive" change through the system by being a tough manager, awarding merit pay to teachers and principals, closing struggling schools, and opening new schools and charter schools, all the while using data as his guide. He believes that the schools he oversees are like a stock portfolio; it is his job not to fix them but to pick winners and losers. The winners get extra money, and the losers are thrown out of the portfolio. When addressing the business community, he speaks proudly of his plan to give maximum autonomy to school principals, thus absolving himself of any responsibility for the performance of the schools, and then sits back to manage his portfolio. If a school fails, he is fast to close it. The failure is not his fault, but the fault of the principal and the teachers.

(contd on next post)
gavroche said…
(contd from previous post)

You can see why the reform superintendent would love the Race to the Top. It incorporates all the principles that he loves. Charter schools, accountability, merit pay, school closings, data-driven decision-making. It is the same mindset, the same belief in rewards and sanctions that we have seen in NCLB, taken to a higher level with a pot of gold containing almost $5 billion at the end of the rainbow. (I read a blog a few days ago, forget which one, that refers to RTTT as "dash to the cash.")

Now, the problem with the reform superintendent is that he usually knows very little about schooling and education. He focuses on organization and strategic planning and so on, but is in the dark about what happens in the classroom. This is why he relies so much on data. Numbers don't lie, do they?

Well, yes, they do. A major front-page story in The New York Times on February 6 described a major study conducted by criminologists who found that the numbers do lie. More than 100 retired, high-ranking police officers in New York City told them that intense pressure to produce improved crime statistics had led to manipulation of the data. For the past 15 years or so, the city boasted that its data system, known as CompStat, had brought about a major reduction in crime. But the survey said that the data system had encouraged supervisors and precinct commanders to relabel crimes to less serious offenses. The data mattered more than truth. Some, for example, would scout eBay and other Web sites to find values for stolen items that would reduce the complaint from a grand larceny (over $1,000 in value) to a misdemeanor. There were reports of officers who persuaded crime victims not to file a complaint or to change their accounts so that a crime's seriousness could be downgraded.

This is not only a major scandal, it is a validation once again of Campbell's Law, which holds that: "The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decisionmaking, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor."

Anyone who wants to learn more about Campbell's law and how it applies to education should read Richard Rothstein's Grading Education and Daniel Koretz's Measuring Up. Or Google Rothstein's "Holding Accountability to Account," if you want to see what happens when data becomes our most important goal.

For just as the police officers felt compelled to game the system to meet the demands of CompStat, so educators are now gaming the system to meet the demands of NCLB. Some states have dumbed down their tests; some have rigged the scores to produce greater numbers of "proficient" students. Some districts have narrowed their curriculum and have replaced instruction with intensive test-prep. Some schools of choice exclude low-performing students. All in the service of making the numbers, making AYP, looking good rather than doing well.

Anyone who thinks that these methods will produce first-class education for our nation's children is either a fool or is fooling himself.

Chris S. said…
OT: We heard pay for K is going to be administered by the district. We find they are charging slightly more but we are currently but we'll be getting 0.5 less FTE??? How much is central keeping for administration?
What's the math for you school?
Maureen said…
Melissa, can we please have a pay for K thread when you get a chance?
dan dempsey said…

I greatly enjoyed the reading comprehension test.

My pick is we have Superintendent B
not Superintendent A.

How did I do?

It must be pass fail as either I got a 100% or a 0% ... but I expect a bonus either way.

dan dempsey said…
We are nowhere even close to accountability. The first step toward accountability is to make initial decisions using evidence ... TEAM MGJ fails miserably at that and so does the school board.

Look no further than the NTN contract fiasco.

Think of accountability as scoring in Baseball ... these runners have yet to leave the batters box in the quest for accountability in fact they could be asleep in the on-deck circle.
gavroche said…
Maybe related to MGJ accountability or maybe OT, but the Principal Shuffle continues with this news:

Lawton gets new principal
February 11th, 2010 ·

Lawton Elementary School has a new principal. 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. In a letter to parents Bledsoe said:

“I am happy to return to the principal role especially at Lawton and I look forward to working with staff and parents to continue the great work being done for our children. I am getting to know the staff and students and am gathering information on all the issues that are important to this school. It is difficult to have a change in leadership midyear but I am confident that we will come together to do what is in the best interest of our children.”

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.

Rumor is, MGJ was trying to squeeze Raines out by moving her against her will from Brighton to Lawton last year. Mission accomplished, I guess.

Meanwhile, two other elementary schools in the QA/Magnolia cluster are still principal-less for the 2010-11 school year, even though open enrollment approaches.

Supt. MGJ has yet to announce replacements for the two principals she yanked from Coe and John Hay last month to re-start Old Hay (as "Queen Anne Elementary") and the to-be-reopened Sandpoint.

Also -- the District's unilateral and unexplained plan to make QA Elem a Montessori when the community asked for international, is now in limbo as well, leaving the school with no discernible identity or appeal.

Hard to know what would make people choose that option. If they don't, QA/Mag schools will remain as overcrowded as ever.

Sometimes you gotta wonder if the District wants the SAP to work or not.
Charlie Mas said…
Ms Raines was one year from retirement when she was moved from Brighton to Lawton. This leave of absence essentially allows her to start her retirement now with pay through the end of the school year - just as she would have received if she had been allowed to remain at Brighton.

By moving Ms Raines - a principal one year from retirement - to Lawton this year, the District created extra turmoil and turnover in leadership at the school. Now, with Ms Raines leave of absence, that turmoil and turnover is increased further. The District invited it all by putting Ms Raines there in the first place instead of a long-term permanent principal.

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