Open Thread Friday (Plus Friday Funny)

Many of you have probably seen this before but here's a link to funny answers by kids to test questions.

Open Thread - what's on your mind?


seattle citizen said…
Speaking of funny student stories, did you hear how the student answered when the teacher asked her to use these words in a sentence?
seattle said…
I posted this under the audit thread but will repost here where it is more appropriate:

Thanks to SPS mom for posting the following:

"Here is a description of the grant from the US Dept. of Education:
PR/Award #: S330C090065
Award Amount: $697,117
Grantee: Seattle Public Schools (WA)
Contact: Robert Vaughan

Seattle Public Schools (SPS) will increase student enrollment and success in Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses in four high schools and three middle schools. Two of the high schools will focus primarily on the expansion of AP courses, while the remaining two high schools will focus on enhancing their implementation of the IB Diploma Program. All seven schools will work to implement foreign language programs in Chinese and Japanese. The project will align instruction and curricula from middle to high school to create articulated course pathways, provide academic coaches to enhance teachers' content knowledge, and provide academic and social supports to low-income students with the potential to succeed in advanced academic coursework. SPS will provide teachers at the high schools with four types of sustained professional development, including instructional coaching in English, math, and science; dedicated time for collaborative planning, peer observations of instruction; and attendance at AP or IB workshops."

The grant was awarded to schools that have 40% or higher FRL (not sure if this was a requirement of the grant or an SPS decision?)

It was granted to SPS in July 2009.

It is going to Sealth and Ingraham to strengthen their IB program, and 2 of their feeder middle schools (including Hamilton which will be way below 40% FRL with the change in demographics due to the NSAP, the addition of APP, and discontinued busing from S. Seattle).

It is also going to RBHS and Cleveland to strengthen their AP offerings, and 2 of their feeder middle schools.

First of all I doubt that STEM will be over 40% FRL this year. Second, STEM doesn't offer AP classes.

Very interesting.
seattle citizen said…
"Defeat of deduct went over defense before detail!"

wsnorth said…
That's great about the grant for IB and AP, and particularly increased language options, too! I hope the grantees are flexible and the district doesn't botch it!
zb said…
Did anyone else read the article in the NYtimes about the charter school audit? It was an interesting contrast to the SPS audit.

In it they cited trips to the Carribean.
wsnorth said…
Does anyone have info on sib's enrollment at the high school or middle school level? Since we are not hearing anything, I wonder if they mostly all got in, even Garfield?
seattle citizen said…
zb, which article in the NYT are you referring to?
ZB, I read that and I'll put up a thread soon.
Shannon said…
I guess what I am wondering about is how staffing will work out over summer when numbers are still uncertain and some schools have large gaps between budgeted figures and currently assigned numbers.

Also, does anyone know whether parents get results from this WASL replacement test? Is it ever reported individually or not?
seattle citizen said…
HSPE scores for current 12th graders should be available to schools next week. I imagine the rest of the scores will be available in July.
I don't believe the scores are reported to parents via mail or anything, but the scores are available at schools (any teacher can access these scores for all students in their school on the Source. I believe they are available to parents on the Source, also. If not, they should be.)
seattle citizen said…
So I had to GOOGLE the NY Times article about a charter school audit that found massive mis-spending of money on Caribbean trips and fat management packages. Here's an interesting quote from the article:
"many charter schools have spent money in questionable ways and have experienced significant conflicts of interest. "

hmmm...conflicts of interest, hmmmm...Why does that sound familiar?

here's the article:
seattle citizen said…
another wowzer from the article:
"[New York State]Charter schools, for example, are not specifically prohibited by state law from hiring their own board members or employees as consultants. While the state comptroller’s office — the state government’s fiscal watchdog — can audit public schools, it is prohibited by a court ruling from examining charter schools."
Wha...? The Comptoller can audit publics but is "prohibited by a court ruling" from auditing publicly financed charter school spending?!
I smell a rat, or maybe a few.
seattle citizen said…
Ah, and here's the crux of the problem:
"Last year, the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, ruled that charter schools were in effect independent contractors and beyond the comptroller’s reach."

So a "school" contracts (charters) with the district. All the school has to do is produce adequate high-stakes test scores and they can spend taxpayer money any ol' way they want, carte blanche.

It's in the charter.

That's why I'm mystified by how people think there will be MORE "accountability" by splitting schools off from the district, either through charters or through other quasi-public ventures. There will either be less accountability (and knowing human nature, more partying in the Caribbean) or there will be a more difficult task for the district in designing evaluation systems for a range of schools operating under a range of contracted parameters, rather than just the regular ol' public schools' policies and procedures.

Why am I not surprised that public money is being sucked out of schools for trips to the Caribbean, paying oneself 400,000 a year rent, naming oneself superintendent and awarding oneself a raise....

Profiteers, all of them, the very worst kind: Ripping off children.
dan dempsey said…
Please understand:

ala Enron the "Smartest Boys in the room" figure out how to transfer large sums to their benefit in every way imaginable. (Ghandi and Mother Teresa are not their models of success)

Race to the Top and ESSB 6696 are items that will facilitate this "Smart Boys" theft.

One need look no further than the State's (via OSPI ) School Improvement Grants to Seattle Schools of $2.1 million to Hawthone, West Seattle elementary, and Cleveland for evidence of dollars expended without any real plan likely to bring about improvement.

Note: PD3 under the direction of Dr. James King at UW spent $1 million NSF dollars over 5 years and accomplished little to nothing in terms of measurable student growth. It fulfilled the UW goal of bringing in grant $$$ to UW so good enough.

The fact that Cleveland high school students were subjected to an unmonitored three year math whole school experiment (fall 2006 - spring 2009) that was a complete disaster I cannot explain. Perhaps SPS's Art Mabbott could tell us what happened there as he was involved in this in a leadership role from the very beginning.

Same BS is now continuing with "Complex Instruction" brought to us by the UW and Project Based Learning purchased via NTN contract etc. ( note NTN decision is under legal appeal)

Results don't matter it is all about doing what the SMART TEAM wants done.

That SMART TEAM tribe is still winning (the control of programs, materials and instructional approaches) as results do not matter in the SPS.

Time to jettison "Broad Foundation" and a lot more if any effective and efficient instructional practices are ever expected in math or in many other areas in the SPS.

There is a rally being organized for 5:30 on 6-2-2010 before the school board meeting at the JSCEE in regard to the Superintendent's continuing incompetence.
Will her incompetence be part of the Board's evaluation? I fail to understand why the topic is whether she will receive bonuses and/or have her contract extended. It seems the discussion should focus on whether she should be fired with cause or not.

Look up Core Knowledge movement via E.D. Hirsch for a suitable alternative ==> teaching academic content to students.

John Hattie's Visible Learning an analysis of 800- meta analyses lets us know using data what practices actually work. The SPS remains enamored of doing what does not work. I guess Hattie's look at 83 million students worldwide just won't cut it with SPS experts.

If you think we do not have a Math instructional problem look HERE..
dan dempsey said…
On Friday, I watched and listened to the appeal of School closures (Briggs et al.) in Judge Inveen's court room. There will be a written decision given on Tuesday 6-1-2010. I am looking for the SPS to lose.

My guess is this will be remanded back to the school board with an admonition to make decisions that comply with state law RCW 28A 645.020 so they can be appealed. This was not a legal closure as the Board continually fails to make decisions in a way that can be defended on appeal due to the ongoing lack of a correct administrative record. Without a correct administrative record that can be referenced by appellants there is no way to show that a decision was arbitrary and capricious.

If this is in fact Inveen's ruling, then New Student Assignment Plan appeal will likely also be found successful as well and NSAP will get remanded back to the Board as well. There were only three folks in the audience at the court hearing. These are my opinions from what I saw and I am neither a judge nor a lawyer. Thus wait until Tuesday for a real written decision.

Note I had ZERO to do with the above legal action.
StepJ said…
Thank you for the update Mr. Dempsey.

I thought May 27 was the hearing date for your filed Writ of Mandamus? I checked your blog and this for an update on the other items. Is there any news to report other than the ruling regarding the NSAP?
dan dempsey said…
StepJ ...

The phone hearing before the Supreme Court commissioner (5-27-2010) was that the filing of a Writ of Mandamus in regard to school district decisions so longer applies as the law was changed sometime ago to allow for discretionary appeals of decisions to the Supreme Court (thus no need for the Writ of Mandamus).

Thus the Supreme Court commissioner is also examining requests for Discretionary appeals in several SPS cases. I believe there were also motions for consolidation to provide "Judicial Efficiency" as all these cases are resting on the same foundation put forth in Inveen's court.

Judge Laura Inveen's written ruling (6-1-2010) on the School Closures will certainly come before the Supreme Court Commissioner's ruling.

The argument is the same for without a correct administrative record as required by law it is impossible to construct an argument that a school board decision was arbitrary and capricious. The school district through interrogatories has clearly shown they did not fulfill the requirements of RCW 28A 645.020 nor do they make any attempt to provide a correct administrative record of the evidence used by the board in making decisions... because they do not keep one.

The real kicker was when Judge Middaugh granted Ron English's request for a time extension in the NTN appeal filed 3-5-2010 so that the district could assemble an administrative record. The Supreme Court commissioner is looking at that one also.
wsnorth said…
"Is there any news to report other than the ruling regarding the NSAP?"

I must have missed something, sorry, is there news on the NSAP ruling? A more arbitrary and capricious thing I've never seen!
dan dempsey said…
WS North,

The next ruling will come on 6-1-2010... in regard to school closures. Briggs et al.

The NSAP has been appealed on the same grounds as the rest of this SPS mess.

If Inveen rules that the complete disregard exhibited by the SPS in regard to RCW 28A 645.020 means the SPS lose the Briggs School Closure appeal then the same will likely apply to every appealed decision. Every one of these could be remanded back to the School Board as none were done legally.

The SPS could be on their way to a Giant 0 for many ... Here are the possible coming losses..

1).. SPS appeal of Spector math decision in appellate court.

2).. Briggs school closures.
3).. additional appellant closure case
4).. NSAP #1
5).. NSAP #2 another appellants' case
6).. NTN contract of 2-3-2010 (sorry we did not read the contract) Stafne representing Anderson et al.
7).. NTN contract of 4-7-2010 (the redo do over)
Still Anderson et al. but this one filed Pro Se.

The SPS simply disregards the law. That is about as arbitrary as you can get.

The SPS finds the law burdensome and so it is not followed. Since they do not keep an accurate administrative record in regard to Board decisions.. no one is willing to certify what gets sent to the court as certified correct.... Could it be that perjury might be a career stopper?

Gee is the Superintendent accountable for this circus??.... She is the secretary of the school board.

Note School Board gets ample egg on face as well.

There were several items that were to be brought up in each of these cases but since the district fails to provide the certified correct transcript of the record.... there is no document source to argue a case from....

Time to fire Ikeda the SPS General Counsel.
grousefinder said…
Go to Harium's Blog and comment about the Superintendent's Evaluation.

Harium says: "Each year as part of the school board's responsibility preforms an evaluation to the superintendent based on a list of set goals in specific areas. The evaluation is based on a 4 point scale. Each board member, through a facilitator does the evaluation and the results are compiled into a aggregate score in each area. The results of the evaluation will be read into the public record in the board public meeting. As always the public can provide input to the board as any time."
Anonymous said…
The film "Race to Nowhere":

will be shown on Friday, June 18th, 2010, 6-9pm at
West Seattle High School Theater
3000 California Ave, Southwest, Seattle, WA 98116

There will be a discussion with the director after the showing of the film.

It's a great film and the best part is that there will be no charge to view the film.

To register, go to:
Dan, I thought the district DID get rid of Gary Ikeda. No?
Dorothy Neville said…
Fascinating video about work, incentives, what makes us tick. If schools want to model the business world, perhaps this is how...
Anonymous said…
On Wednesday, the staff at Ballard High School issueed a vote of no confidence to the SEA.

To see the statement issued to SEA from the Ballard High School staff, check out:
udubgrad said…
News Flash: Ballard High School staff took a "no-confidence vote" regarding the Seattle School District Superintendent on Wednesday May 26 and it was approved by a landslide. They cite a whole laundry list of grievances like lack of communication, the Broad Foundation connection, conflict of interests regarding the NWEA (MAP test), diversion of monies to pet projects, resegregation of schools, arbitrary closing and opening schools at great cost, mismanagement regarding the Native American program, etc. It mentions her absence when union members signed up to testify at the March meeting and that silly fictional story she read for teacher appreciation week where she seemed so unaware of true Seattle stories.
Too bad board members have allowed all this to transpire under their noses without corrections.
dan dempsey said…
In keeping with the Funny Friday theme... I offer this under Funny Peculiar and Pathetic from about two years ago...

On 8-24-2008 the "Supe" addresses the Alliance.

She begins at 12:30

Claims to be a lifelong teacher but seems she taught for two years and became a lifelong administrator.

We have an amazing and dedicated teaching and principal core.

How can we not provide an excellent education for all of our children?

By 2012 I plan to be here. Passing
seventh grade math standard will go from 53% to 80%.

Solid foundation is critical to long term success.

Three pillars are given at 23:30....

We will focus on math and science.
{Focus on this and the Spector decision}

We will support schools that are struggling and use data to drive improvement.

Note: bad mouths VAX and talks about lots of updating and stream lining systems... We will align budget to match our priorities.
We will "Only Commit" to what we can do well.

{Well ... seems that she cannot even report on the myriad of plans much less do them well or fund them adequately.}

Align our budget to match our priorities. {Keeps spending even with huge deficits}

{Not over commit eh? Cleveland STEM? $11 million for academic coaches for teachers? and expensive NWEA MAP testing for clearly performance management only .. Formative Assessment focused on the individual child NO WAY ==> look HERE.}

Prioritized ..measurable .. transparent .. and build on our strengths remain focused. Focused on the Children (???)

"Remember I am not going anywhere."
{ I suggest we work to send her away.}

Together We Can !!!

Make a sign... do your part on 6-2-2010 rally at 5:30 and Board meeting at 6:00

One thing that is clearly an unfunded non-priority is RCW 28A 645.020
dan dempsey said…

At the last Board meeting Gary Ikeda was there.. same as usual.

Maybe he will be leaving someday but not as of last Board meeting.
Sahila said…
Finnish school students consistently perform at the top of the international table in math and reading, despite fewer hours in school and not starting until they are around 7 years old... why is this?
Stu said…
The next ruling will come on 6-1-2010... in regard to school closures. Briggs et al.


What happened? Is there an opinion?


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