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Friday, March 05, 2010

NTN Huh? of the Day

This from my public disclosure request for the signed NTN contract:

I wanted to provide you with an update regarding your request for an electronic copy of the finalized New Technology Network (NTN) contract. This contract has not been finalized between NTN and SPS. We anticipate finalizing and signing the contract as soon as all required documentation is completed. As soon as the contract has been signed by both parties, we will send you a final version.

I had wondered aloud in another thread about issues other than staffing ones that I had raised in a previous thread. Maybe those will be addressed. I think I have some work to do on an e-mail to the Board this weekend in anticipation of the signing of the contract. What "soon" means, I don't know.

I know that the one at the website was labeled "draft" but as Charlie has pointed out, it was published 2 days before the vote. How much could have changed? So, as of now, they have NOT signed any contract with NTN (or so this e-mail would lead me to believe). Interesting, no?

11 comments:

Charlie Mas said...

So now we learn that the Board didn't even see a final draft of the contract. How can they approve a contract that hasn't been finalized? What is the meaning of their approval of the contract?

seattle citizen said...

OT - The Alliance for Education (which I believe used to support children, educators and schools) is now officially an arm of the reformistas. They have posted and sent out a "survey" to ascertain what people want to see in the upcoming contract negotiations. The questions are all worded to support "reform" goals. There's nothing about teaching, it's all about destroying teachers.
The last part asks you to name the top two things you want to see prioritized in negotiations. You HAVE to select two. I tried to select just one (longer planning time for elementary) but was told I had to select two. All the others were about destroying the union.
So survey takers are forced to slect things that they don't like, and those things will become fodder for the Alliance to say, "this is what people want!"

The whole survey is designed to get the answers they want, which thyey'll use later.

By the way, what DOES the Alliance have to do with negoiations? Are they the publicity arm for management?

What a load of...carp. It's apparent that the Alliance has been hijacked by "the movement": "Those crappy teachers!"

boycott this organization, they're out to get your teachers.

dan dempsey said...

Mr. Mas,
This raises an interesting question. The last day to appeal the decision on the approval of the $800,000 contract with NTN was today March 5th, 2010. By law any school board decision can be appealed within 30 days.

Today I filed an appeal of the approval of the NTN contract.

Wow so what did I appeal?

I thought I appealed the decision to approve the contract on the website: draft of Feb 2, 2010 voted on Feb 3.

So they voted to approve a contract that has yet to be negotiated. Huh? is right. Doesn't the negotiation usually happen and get formalized before the vote?

What goes on in the bizarre minds of this Staff and Board?

I am so confused.

Let me get this straight....
They approve "THE" contract on Feb. 3, 2010....and I start writing an appeal that eventually is 30+ pages.

I find an attorney.
I pay a filing fee of $230 at 1PM this afternoon.

I walk up the hill on Yesler to ABC legal messenger service and pay $120 to have the SPS served this afternoon......

The SPS then pulls a Gilda Radner
"Oh ... Nevermind"


Can anyone explain this to me?

Josh Hayes said...

Yeah, Dan, you're out 350 bucks. :-\

Seriously, I've grown used to complete balls-up-ness from the good folks at SPS Central, but this whole thing has raised them to a level I was unaware even existed. Maybe the Olympics got their juices flowing or something, and they decided they should try to mess something up on a truly internationally-awful level.

I had given some thought to sending my son (9th grade in 2011/12, thank goodness) to STEM, but I can't see any way that's going to happen. Nova, here we come, I hope.

owlhouse said...

Related to Sea Citizen's O/T, I was digging around at the Alliance site today- and found what Charlie often asks for, a "definition" of quality teachers/teaching. Many of the standards resonate for me- subject mastery, cultural relevance, real world application, collaboration w/ families and teachers, creating respectful classroom environments...

And then I took the survey. Granted, it is a product of A4E, but wow, it is anything but a neutral means of gathering community thoughts/input on how to best support teaching and learning.
From the compensation pg-

1- Seattle needs to redesign salary schedule, eliminating coursework incentives and reallocating pay to target the district's challenges and priorities.

2- Seattle needs to redouble its efforts to initiate differential pay, as attempted by current superintendent in the latest contract negotiation.

Strongly agree, somewhat agree, neutral...

There are also pages on "Transfer and Assignment", "Work day"...

The "Developing effective Teachers and Exiting Ineffective Teachers" page has includes:

2- Student academic growth data should be the preponderant criterion of a teacher's evaluation and include objective measures.

The survey ends with a page of possible priorities to address in the upcoming contact negotiations between SPS and SEA. Nothing here to empower teachers or support innovation in the classroom- just a number of ways to cut salaries and security, increase hours, and possibly link teacher evaluations to student performance.

If this is the influence of A4E's new director, it's a shame. This is a confrontational approach, ripe with anti-teacher bias and no suggestions for meaningful, community-based solutions to our school and education challenges.

Check the "lean more" section at the bottom of the page...
href="http://www.alliance4ed.org/community/teacherquality.htm

dan dempsey said...

Oh yes..... The district now has 20 days to submit all the evidence to the court on which the decision of Feb. 3 was based.

This should be interesting as it appears no one knows what the decision on February 3 actually was ... but at least we will have all the evidence on which the decision was based.... Isn't that reassuring?

..... maybe in the next 20 days the board can figure out what they approved so they can provide evidence on which the decision was based .... what was the decision again ... seems everyone forgot to make a decision. But it was a 4-2 vote we know that.
===============================

Now on to Part II

Everyone held accountable.

So who should be held accountable?

It seems this fiasco has one principal author = the secretary of the school board Superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson.

Is she ever held accountable for any of her frequent blunders?

dan dempsey said...

Josh ... This could be the best $350 ever spent. We get to see all the evidence that they used to approve this vote to approve an $800,000 contract ..... was any contract part of the evidence?

===========================
===========================

Evidence who cares about that?

Listen to MGJ explain the reason for the SPS appealing the Spector decision on the "Discovering Math"

--------
The part she fails to mention is that the board is expected to make a decision using all the available evidence. The communications, data, etc. submitted by the public are part of the evidence ..... just not the evidence the board chooses to use. The board based their decision on 1100 pages of material. Marty McLaren went through all 1100 pages and made a table of contents. There were ZERO pages from the public...... This means the board is operating outside the law.

Judge Spector I believe could have invalidated the entire approval right there. There was No need to go any further.

The Plaintiffs provided 300 pages of material that was sent to the board and not used by the board (this is not the plaintiffs' job and surely they did not retrieve it all from the public) So what does the district do with these submissions by the public?

The judge said reviewing the entire administrative record, which would include the 300 pages that the plaintiffs submitted to the court.

It appears that MGJ thinks that excluding public information is OK as long as the district does a couple other things correctly.

No wonder she was not going to be rehired in Charleston.

Charlie Mas said...

I would give this appeal a better chance of success than I would have given the high school textbook adoption appeal.

It comes down to this: the Board approved a contract they had not read. How in the world could they claim to have made a prudent decision about the contract if they didn't read it?

Yes, they were told about the contract, but they weren't told the truth about the contract. As late as the evening of the vote they were told that the school (one school) would have a maximum enrollment of 1,000 while the contract clearly sets the maximum enrollment of the two schools at 900.

Moreover, we now learn that the final terms of the contract have not yet been negotiated. Consequently, what, exactly, did the Board approve? They approved something other than the final draft of the contract. The final contract LACKS BOARD APPROVAL.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I wouldn't blame the new director of the A4Ed; she just got there. I haven't had a chance to look at the survey but it seems very problematic.

I agree with Charlie. After the math adoption case and as the NTN contract proceeded in a less than clear fashion, I thought that it would lose in court as well. As I mentioned before, staff used, as an example of another place they looked for NTN services to George Lucas' education foundation. That is complete and utter BS - they are not doing the same work, at all, as NTN so to compare them is ridiculous but did the Board challenge that? No. I found an institute where their mission is to help guide districts on creating STEM programs. Did the district consult these people? No.

I do not believe the district or Board can prove due diligence. And now that we find that they approved something that wasn't signed makes it even more problematic for them.

Next step: I'll see what the Board has to say.

seattle citizen said...

Melissa, SOMEONE pulled the trigger on launching the survey. If we are to not blame the new directors for this highly suspect survey, who do we blame? Her predecessor? That person is gone, and the new director has been in place for at least a couple of weeks now.
She either okayed this, or someone just went ahead and launched it (Broad? Gates? SPS?)
I hope that word gets out that this is a blatant attempt to sway the public against edcuators just negotiations begin. Whatever the Alliance is, it ain't an unbiased supporter of public schools. If it were, the survey would have included a balance of "prioritie," such as lower class sizes, more support in the form of IAs, saving the elementary counselors etc. But no: teachers shoulsd work longer, under more stringent control, with fewer safeguards against arbitrary lay-off (displaced teachers, displaced through no fault of their own, are given a year to land somewhere else then they're cut loose. What a way to clean house of all those pesky "dinosaurs"!)....this is a hit against teachers and nothing more.

dan dempsey said...

Press Release now available:

$800,000 New Tech contract appealed

Education activists are challenging Seattle Public Schools' plan to pay New Technology Network (NTN) $800,000 over the next three years to provide curricular support for the new STEM high school in the Cleveland building. The School Board approved the contract at their February 3 meeting, but state law allows aggrieved citizens 30 days to appeal School Board decisions to Superior Court. The appeal, filed on March 5, contends that the Board failed to adequately review the decision.

More at the Link....

Big thanks to C. Mas