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Friday, August 13, 2010

Open Thread: Sharpen Those Pencils

Open Thread Friday; what's new and different?

Also, the district needs to find someone(s) to write the rebuttal for the voters pamphlet for the upcoming supplemental levy. Please let me know at sss.westbrook@gamail.com. You must be willing to sign your name.

65 comments:

dan dempsey said...

In legal action today at the Superior Court comes the motion for summary judgment brought by the appellants in regard to the Board's New Technology Network contract approval on 2-3-2010.

That was the approval where the Board approved a contract that they failed to read. The contract was nothing like the Action Report they had been selling the public.

The District was so far off the mark that shortly after the appeal for NTN#1 was filed on 3-5-10, the District filed a new introductory item on 3-17-10 and approved the $800,000 NTN (re-written and this time actually read) contract on 4-7-10 (NTN#2).

This (NTN#1) is being heard at 11:00 AM in Judge Middaugh's court room.

As usual the District ignored the requirement of RCW 28A 645.020 to provide "Certified Correct" filings to the appellants and to the court.

Will Judge Middaugh follow Judge Inveen's lead and ignore the requirements of state laws in making decisions?

Little wonder the Auditor found the Board failing to enforce state laws .... When Superior Court Judges do not care about state law why should the Board or the Superintendent bother with laws either?

Charlie Mas said...

Near as I can figure, the supplemental levy is to pay for SERVE. Is that right?

If I were to write the statement in opposition to the levy, I think I would start with the fact that it is the State's responsibility to fund education and they won't take that responsibility if we cover for them - this was Greg Nickel's arugment against the latte tax for schools.

I would add the deep suspicion that this "temporary" tax would become permanent.

I would definitely mention the audits and the general mismanagement (or non-management) of the District. The audit provides ample evidence.

Then I would move on to how misguided SERVE is.

I would finally make some reference to how the District plays games with pots of money, withholding Title I and LAP funds to pay for pet projects, shifting funds from capital project to capital project.

I would definitely draw the contract between the way that the District claims to have tight budgets for teachers and schools, but freely spends on consultants and coaches.

Sahila said...

Charlie - you've just written the statement - why dont you just sign it and put it out there?

I would co-sign but I am not a voter...

or ask the shadow school board people to put it out there?

Anonymous said...

I think a rebuttal would have more effect with SSSB as part of the byline...

Sahila said...

I've put that idea to a couple of members of the group... we'll see ...

Joan NE said...

Does anyone else think having
S3B's name associated with an anti-levy (SERVE) statement is helpful? Just curious.

Sahila said...

Joan - just do it....

put out an email saying you're working on it and if no one objects, its going out in 48 hours... call for anyone wanting to have input to contact you within 12 hours and then go for it...

Dorothy Neville said...

I am not good at writing a first draft, but would be interested in helping craft the message for the voter's pamphlet and would be pleased to attach my name. When is it due? Any thoughts on getting together at a coffee shop or something to hash it out?

How does the other part work, where each side gets to comment on the other side's position?

Sahila said...

Maybe Dorothy, Charlie and Joan could get together and create something (Charlie's piece here is a very good basic foundation) and then circulate it for signatures?

Of maybe only three signatures are enough???

If you want help editing/proofing the final statement I'm offering my services there...

Melissa Westbrook said...

Sorry, they want a "committee" of up to three people (but you could be representing a group). We need those names today and the statement is due by Wednesday the 18th by 4:30 p.m.

The supplemental levy's first year was accounted for with (off the top of my head) math books, music instruction, things they say they have no money for. However, they were suspiciously silent for the other years. SERVE will take - what? $1M a year? - to implement. That wouldn't be all the levy but you have to ask yourself if it's worth it.

No one has signed up at my e-mail address. So will it be Charlie, Dorothy and who? I've done it in the past and no, I don't support this levy so I am willing.

I just need to know soon.

another mom said...

The particulars for the levy are on the District's website:

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/board/09-10agendas/070710agenda/levyreport.pdf

There is CYA language in the board resolution that includes expenditures related to current contract negotiations. Those dollar amounts could not be determined because contract negotiations were not wrapped-up. My guess is that the ballot measure will be worded in a way that allows them to shift the money to other projects if necessary.

The Superintendent's version of the teacher evaluation would be a new expense, but the campaign will undoubtedly aim to tug at the heartstrings of folks. What you don't want music, or math texts, etc. I have heard it all before and of course the you must want to hurt children refrain will be front and center.

Anonymous said...

I'm wiling to sign on to the committee.
ken berry
ONAOKO1@comcast.net
ph: 206 762 5823

Dorothy Neville said...

They need names today! Yikes. Yes, I answered here rather than your email because I didn't mind being public.

So how about we have three names, but we call ourselves a committee. Then we can have a FB page or something where folks can join the committee, that way anyone can be public with their disapproval of this.

(We could call ourselves the Committee for Responsible Education Expenditure Priorities. Maybe not :) )

Music and math texts? Yeah, right. What math texts? You mean the ones they already voted for and approved the expenditure on?

Can we make it clear that the district is relying on the levy for SERVE, which does not provide smaller classes or teacher's aides or any other direct help for the classroom but does include three highly paid central staffers.

Anonymous said...

I would become part of the "committee." I think many teachers would. It could be called Educators Against Goodloe-Johnson's Levy. I'm imagining wearing a button all fall that reads "I've never voted against a school levy, but I will this time."

hschinske said...

On another topic: http://www.myballard.com/2010/08/13/ballard-schools-receive-money-for-energy-efficiency/

Helen Schinske

Maureen said...

Re Helen's post: Ballard High School will receive $749,000 to retrofit lighting and replace the HVAC system and controls.

BHS is practically brand new. Wouldn't it have made more sense to use that $ for a school that will be upgraded but not completely rebuilt? (Viewlands and Whitman also are getting $ and that makes sense to me.) Do we know who applied for the grant (SPS vs. someone in Ballard)?

kprugman said...

Been educating myself about MAP and the NWEA. Reading the published "memoirs" of a retired Portland administrator who worked with Kingsbury (BS Psychology from Ohio State) - He probably knows some of the Houston group that now resides in Kalamazoo. No millionaire views of the Pacific Ocean over there.

I'm trying to imagine myself talking to parents about their kids map score - Some of these crackpots sound like Roy Pea. I had a psychology professor once upon a time (his name was Thorndike) who brayed to his students he could design any multiple choice test as difficult as he wanted.

This is a 'real' conversation I pasted below from Portland. I can't fathom why I would ever want to be a teacher, if my students inevitably got reduced to being a number.

"On 9/22/09, Becky wrote:
> My daughter just particpated in MAP test (NWEA) from
> school, does any one know math 245 is in which percentile
> for a 5th grader?
>

> Beck "Did she get a 245 on math? That's amazing for 5th grade.

I teach 5th and for the beginning of the year 5th graders should be at a 212 for math and by the end of 5th grade they should have a 220.
My highest kid scored a 232 on math. The end of 11th grade is 241 so that's an awesome score.

kprugman said...

If you don't enjoy being a number, then know thy enemy...

www.lasecfp.org/Downloads/RTI/RTI_plan.ppt

I especially was gladdened they used Heartland High School as their example of a happy school.

This presentation courtesy of Illinois DOE. Googled SW and NWEA. Arne + NWEA = Race to the bottom.

kprugman said...

Statistically, MAP teachers appear to be so accurate at measuring students (within ppm) that they might also be calibrated to measure the thermal energies of individual molecules from their coffee cups. Such is the state of mathematics in Portland and now Seattle.

NWEA can now answer complex questions like - Does adding creamer make my coffee smarter?

kprugman said...

Here's measurable improvement.

Seattle dropout rates were reduced by 10% in four years from 43%(2006) to 33%(2010).

Is this a true measure of progress?

How is it possible that a hs senior can finish three years (108 weeks) of hs math in 6 weeks. Has that person truly learned what the state says he learned, making him a super genius OR is the state just passing that person through an institution.

Before you think about college, take a placement test and see where you stand. Don't waste money on a college education if you can't pass a basic algebra class. Go to adult school (its free).

Test reform has turned public education into a large intestine and teachers into statistical proctologists.

All we want are better textbooks, not public policy that argues for more lobotomies.

hschinske said...

kprugman, I don't see what's so reductive about that conversation. (link ) The child did get a really excellent math score for her age. That's one data point that could be valuable. No one said, okay, that's it, that's all we need to know, now she has an automatic in to Caltech. They just said hey, cool, that's quite a high score, consider doing A, B, or C. What on earth is wrong with that?

We *often* hear just one data point about a kid -- is it so different to hear that someone else's kid got a high score on an out-of-level math test than to hear that they went to State in track, or won a chess tournament, or starred in a school play we'll never see?

Thorndike, by the way, was one of the original authors of the test that eventually became the CogAT.

Helen Schinske

hschinske said...

Sorry, link didn't work. http://teachers.net/mentors/fifth-grade/topic26261/9.22.09.20.41.47.html

or http://tinyurl.com/2678h8a

Helen Schinske

Dorothy Neville said...

"The supplemental levy's first year was accounted for with (off the top of my head) math books, music instruction, things they say they have no money for."

I just read the resolution and the above does not seem accurate to me based on my reading of it.

The resolution says that the levy will support *curricular alignment* in K5 music and other subjects, sciences and middle school LA. It says nothing about funding Music, just that they want to spend this year doing curricular alignment so that there are music books in elementary schools by 2011 (fidelity of instruction?). There is nothing about supporting music teachers.

Later on in the part where they say they are still negotiating the Excellence For All bit, they say "Excellent instruction in every classroom and strong leadership at every school are key to improving achievement for all students, as are creating or enhancing programs such as elementary art and music. Because the district is currently negotiating contracts with both our Teacher and Principal unions, we are unable to offer specifics of what that might mean at this time. However, we hope that as negotiations move forward and come to a successful close, we will be able to add specific elements."

So that line about creating and/or enhancing elementary music and art that might happen in subsequent years is a straightforward tease/lie, since they intend to use this money for SERVE. There is absolutely nothing in this resolution, no promises at all that the money will directly enhance the student experience. Except maybe for 9th grade science, is anyone clamoring for new books/curricular alignment in these subjects? "Due to the severe funding shortfall for 2010-2011, the difficult decision was made to delay this work for 9th grade Physical Science, 11th grade Chemistry, 12th grade Physics, Social Studies for grades 9-12, Language Arts for grades 6-8, and Music for grades K-5, pending approval of a supplemental levy."

Sahila said...

Seattle teacher Jesse Hagopian published in TruthOut...

http://www.truth-out.org/re-hire-teachers-and-retire-chancellor-teaching-dc-public-schools62230

see here for some of the undesirable effects of the frenzy to implement the tests, tests and more tests agenda...

http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/editorials/stories/2010/08/14/testing-push-creates-pressure-to-cheat.html?sid=101

and the case of the disappearing improvements in test scores:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/29/education/29scores.html

Why would we want the super to do this to our kids and teachers?

kprugman said...

Thorndike has a grandson - he teaches psychology at WWU. He's one of Flora's Midwest conservative imports from Minnesota (1970). Now that I think of it, I guess Flora regretted that decision the most, he was pretty naive then in thinking all people thought alike or could in some way be intrinsically motivated by an idea like humanism.

Kamalla: What kind of riot was it?

Jerry: Turns out that the School of Ethnic Studies, faculty and students all together, had taken over Old Main, our central building. They let me in when I got there, but they were not polite to me at all. Truly, I was working very hard not to succumb to my desire to punch one or two of them right in the
face! They were calling me a bloody racist! Holy Hell, we were the only University in the region that even had an Ethnic Studies School back then and I was one of the main reasons for that being the case! I was really insulted, blazing furious in fact, but I managed to control myself and I finally convinced everyone to go into a classroom and talk it out.

Once there, I asked them to list all their grievances on the blackboard, which they did. Most of the items on the list were too general and vague, having more to do with the politics of the day than with anything I could
practically address. However, they had one very concrete complaint as well. They were upset because the School of Ethnic Studies had not been allocated any new professors that term.

Now I knew that there was a simple formula that the University used when deciding how many new professors any given Program, Department or School deserved. So I immediately called the relevant official, got him out of bed, and as soon as he arrived, I had him calculate this formula on that blackboard, with all the protesters watching.

Lo and behold, they were right!

Kamalla: You mean they had deserved a new professor?"

Jerry: Actually they deserved two! The University had passed them over, and denied them two new positions in the School of Ethnic Studies! They had a real complaint!

Kamalla: How had that happened?

Jerry: I have come to understand that there are many, many closet bigots in this world. These closet bigots say all the right words and if they get caught they insist that it was just a mistake. That was what had happened. There was this little 'mistake' which resulted in the School of Ethnic Studies not getting their fair share of faculty.


If the noon temperature of San Diego is always between 65 and 70 during the year, than what does that tell you about the climate in San Diego other than you might want to live there?

If the range of math scores on a test over six years falls between 212 and 241 (the years where we see the steepest declines in learning) then what kind of a test are we really using?

MAP sounds more like an IQ test and that is the opposite of where education was moving 30 years ago. NWEA and Bergerson are a natural fit.

If you believe IQ tests are good for something then I'm wasting my time.

Dr. Flora was one of the best teachers I ever had and he was always aware of a darker dimension that existed in education.

Dr. Thorndike was an idiot then and still is. To prove it, I let my dog choose the answers on his tests using a pencil in his mouth and I still aced his class. Thorndike complained that I slobbered on my tests. Too bad Thorny wasn't sitting above the armadillo cage in old main.

kprugman said...

This describes exactly what teachers at my school are going through and its got the entire school up in arms. I post all the evaluations up on my wall so everyone can try to read what the adminstrators are writing when I'm being observed. Thanks Sahila for the link.

SERVE and IMPACT might as well be the same thing. Its all the rage in our district, but they didn't bother to put it into our contract because teachers would have voted it down. We worked for a year without a contract. As Dan says - Its preferred over striking. Let the Department of Labor officials step in and make a ruling.

They riffed about 100 teachers but all except around 10 returned to work during the first week.

"Under IMPACT, all teachers are supposed to receive five 30-minute classroom observations during the school year that account for 40 percent of a teacher's evaluation, three by a school administrator and two by an outside "master educator" with a background in the instructor's subject.

However, some teachers never received the full five evaluations because some of the master teachers hired to do those jobs quit. Moreover, educators have questioned the scoring criteria for the evaluations of teachers. During the 30-minute observation, usually unannounced, a teacher is supposed to demonstrate 22 different specified teaching elements.

As Washington Post blogger Valerie Strauss pointed out, "What teacher demonstrates 22 teaching elements - some of which are not particularly related - in 30 minutes? Suppose a teacher takes 30 minutes to introduce new material and doesn't have time to show...Oh well. Bad evaluation."

Another 50 percent of the teacher's IMPACT score is calculated - in a process designed to turn students into a commodity with a specific worth on the education market - by what they actually call "value added" improvement in scores on the District of Columbia Comprehensive Assessment System, or DC CAS. As Strauss astutely notes, "Judging teachers on the test scores of their students is all the rage in school reform these days - thanks so much, Education Secretary Arne Duncan .... "

and lets add the NWEA.

Voting for Dorn didn't change a thing.

hschinske said...

"If the range of math scores on a test over six years falls between 212 and 241 (the years where we see the steepest declines in learning) then what kind of a test are we really using?"

You don't have the data to determine the answer. A range of possible standard scores tells you ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WHATSOEVER. It's nothing but notation. They could have called the levels pink, blue, green, or Able, Baker, Charlie.

Helen Schinske

another mom said...

The district now has five fun facts -cue David Lettermen- about SERVE now posted on their website. What I find really interesting is nowhere in their PR is any mention of how much this will all cost except to implement they need a November levy. Also, I wonder how often this kind of stuff is going to be posted?

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/laborrelations/20100813_SERVE_FastFacts.pdf

kprugman said...

The range of math scores is quoted from grade 5 teacher:

"Beginning of grade 5 is 212. The end of grade 11 is 241."

If that's not reductionism, then what is?

It would be interesting to give the MAP test to a group of children from Singapore and then compare both groups.

But that will never happen - you can swim in the pot, so long as you don't try to tip it over....

kprugman said...

"That's one data point that could have value."

Value for who? Arne Duncan or Grade 5 Teacher or the Mother.

I hate to play the villian, but we know less with this bit of information than we knew before.

From a policy-making perspective we're probably better off not knowing whether somebody's fifth grader performs better on a test than an average eleventh grader.

kprugman said...

In one sense, Arne and the NWEA are telling everyone where to look for the pot of gold only its in somebody's classroom or an overcrowded North-side school. Turning students into nomads looking for an education isn't a very sound policy. If I were a closet bigot, I'd say it was a brilliant idea.

kprugman said...

Something else I forgot to add - MAP executives also do consulting for KIPP and Duncan via the Kingsbury Center in P'land.

I think they should combine both reform groups and call themselves 'Stand and Fight for Children'. That would really confuse voters.

hschinske said...

"From a policy-making perspective we're probably better off not knowing whether somebody's fifth grader performs better on a test than an average eleventh grader."

Really? How so? Why would such a score not be valuable as a red flag that the student should be assessed further, to see if she needs much more advanced math classes than she would otherwise get? How would that be anything other than beneficial all around?

I'm not just speaking hypothetically; I've known a number of students who've benefited from out-of-level testing and consequently qualifying for much more advanced math courses. One hit well over 700 on the math SAT in, I think, fourth grade. Now, if the MAP in particular is too erratic to be of any use in that situation, that's another matter, but you seem to be against the use of *any* such test.

"The range of math scores is quoted from grade 5 teacher:

"Beginning of grade 5 is 212. The end of grade 11 is 241."

If that's not reductionism, then what is?"

Um -- it's the answer to the question the teacher had been asked. The teacher wasn't asked "Please define my child as a number." The teacher was asked to give the context of a particular score -- what the NUMBER meant, not what the CHILD meant. If she'd asked a doctor what the number she'd been given for her child's cholesterol level meant, she would have gotten a very similar answer (here's the average range, your child's cholesterol tested above/below ...). That wouldn't mean that either the mother or the doctor was reducing the child to a number.

Helen Schinske

kprugman said...

Well for one, the state already provides funding for gifted students and we have tools in place that identify those students. We generally recognize that these students will succeed despite what their teachers may do to them. Why should we use the MAP test when we already have tests that identify those studens.

It is equally disturbing when schools fail to serve those kids, even after they have been identified. By law, GATE students cannot fail classes and they can't be dropped from the program. But educators often make judgements without ever bothering to read the laws.

kprugman said...

Second the test program makes assumptions during the testing session that allows the program to adapt to the way the student answers questions. We do not how the information was packaged, so it could be reduced to a number - is MAP a diagnostic tool for teachers or a tool for making comparisons between schools, teachers, or between students?

Lets say it were aligned with the national core standards. Would its ability to predict student achievement also apply to students interested in learning science or engineering? As with everything else in education, the design and implementation of national standards has been politicized and is deeply flawed.

Most hs students enrolling in college are not prepared for college level math classes.

kprugman said...

The MAP Score is relevent if you are interested in how your students rate using a minimum standard, not a competent standard.

The parent wants to know will my child be prepared for college when they graduate from hs. The MAP score answers the wrong question.

Most hs graduates aren't prepared for success in college. A diploma only means they graduated from hs. And in the US, that seems enough for Americans and the colleges of education.

kprugman said...

Dan, we shouldn't worry, judges are always given to understand that district officials are overworked and underpaid. Educators and board members are entitled to make mistakes and overlook the laws that cost taxpayers sometimes millions. Its only money and its the children that they love and look after who really matter and that they care about. Really./

kprugman said...

"One hit well over 700 on the math SAT in, I think, fourth grade."

By chance, was this kid learning with Everyday Math?

Testing, like education research, like Arne and Obama, all have serious issues with credibility. We stopped believing in reform about the time Clinton got elected and guess what? Its still here and kids arne't any smarter.

The public is willing to listen to reason, but these days superintendents are about as popular as investment bankers. Take that one in Oklahoma City, he's doing time for embezzling.

Superintendents are paid salaries to lie and basically protect their jobs. I'd rather go start a revolution than nurse an ulcer.

kprugman said...

Americans can pretend to be Wendy and believe in Peter Pan, but it won't help them build roads and bridges and real stuff that people need.

The things we don't need, but buy anyway will stay the same in price; but the things we will need, but don't buy will continue going up in price. Education is a commodity - not a right.

Dorothy Neville said...

Some more questions about SERVE that just occurred to me. What about parents opting kids out of testing? That's legal right now -- it's a parent's right to opt their child out of the test. The only place with teeth is the 10th grade WASL/equivalent for graduation. Where does this right come from? Is it federal or state level?

With the MAP being used to evaluate teachers will this mean that parents will lose that right to opt out? There are sometimes very good reasons to opt out.

If parents don't lose the right to opt out, how does that affect the teacher's "score"? Will some parents be strongly swayed not to opt out while other parents get the hint that they should opt out? Wouldn't a sympathetic teacher talk to the parents and say "Yes, your child does suffer from anxiety, frustrating for her and you, isn't it? Now while we are working on this test anxiety issue, I think it would be better for her to opt out of the MAP this year, don't you?"

And then there's FERPA which I thought meant that parents have the right to see their child's actual scored test. Remember how the WASL folks hadn't figured on that and tried to block it but FERPA is federal and overruled them? Now this MAP test does not allow parents to see their child's test and see how they answered, does it? Has anyone challenged MAP on those grounds?

And how is this all going to play out at the same time there is to be more inclusion for special ed and ELL students (which best practices says is the way to go, provided you have sufficient aides which we will not have due to budget woes.)

kprugman said...

If its always sunny on August 13, should all couples be told that they have to plan their weddings on that day? That's what I mean by making effective policy. What if it rains? Do we get to blame the fact that it rained on the Justice of the Peace?

kprugman said...

If you haven't got any aides then your union files a complaint with the department of labor and waits for an investigation. And then the district has a certain amount of time to respond to the complaint. At least that's what I've been told. Meanwhile you duck, hold on, and keep smiling. The entire evaluation process being proposed is bogus. Too bad you can't unvote bonds.

kprugman said...

If you haven't got any aides then your union files a complaint with the department of labor and waits for an investigation. And then the district has a certain amount of time to respond to the complaint. At least that's what I've been told. Meanwhile you duck, hold on, and keep smiling. The entire evaluation process being proposed is bogus. Too bad you can't unvote bonds.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know moreabout FERPA and seeing actual test/ answers?

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Moose said...

Here's the thing: MAP results will not be used to qualify students for Spectrum/APP Advanced Learning opportunities (according to the District), yet the District finds it perfectly acceptable to propose using MAP results to evaluate teachers.

Except that this test IS being used in part to qualify for advanced learning opportunities. My Spectrum child is being placed in a non-Spectrum math class for 6th grade based on the 5th grade MAP scores. (All other data points/testing/recommendations qualify the child for advanced work.)


As usual, the District says one thing, and does another!

Unknown said...

The Seattle Times is at it again. They never give up. The article pretends to be balanced and show both sides of the issue, but the slant is pretty apparent.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2012625322_teachercontract15m.html

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Well for one, the state already provides funding for gifted students and we have tools in place that identify those students. We generally recognize that these students will succeed despite what their teachers may do to them."

The state funding only applies to APP students in SPS. Further, the "tool" in place is a test that parents have to sign their child up to take. So you can miss many kids even if the teacher can see it. That last sentence? What does that mean? Gifted students will always be okay? Because if that's what it means then it's wrong. Teen gifted students have one highest rates of suicide. Gifted kids do NOT always do well.

Anonymous, I appreciate your comments but in fairness (no anonymous posts), I'm deleting them. Please choose a name and try again.

Dorothy Neville said...

"Anonymous, I appreciate your comments but in fairness (no anonymous posts), I'm deleting them. Please choose a name and try again."

Melissa, once again. Either change the blog's settings to require a log in identity or STFU. It is wholly unacceptable to allow anonymous comments in the blog settings and then delete them because "they are not allowed". Many of the latest anonymous comments have been valuable, on target and useful perspectives.

Dorothy Neville said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

So, MAP was not used to qualify students during the yearly Advanced Learning testing in the Fall, yet unbeknownst to parents the Winter MAP was used for 6th grade math placement - meaning that the math placement was not based on an exam related to what was taught in class. Is this correct?

If the MAP does not necessarily test for mastery of grade level content, but - because of it's adaptive design - it tests for exposure to higher level content, then it follows that a student strictly following the District curriculum (EDM and CMP) may not score as well as students that have had exposure to math outside of school.

It's difficult to believe that being in Spectrum and performing well in class may not be enough to qualify for Spectrum level math in middle school. Were there non-Spectrum students that qualified for a Spectrum level math class, based on MAP scores?

To add to the math discussion, someone posted this on Harium's blog prior to it being shut down:

I talked to Anna-Maria about the decrease in math offerings. She told me that they want to decrease the high school AP math offerings to 2 years, so they need to decrease the middle school math offerings to 2 years of high school math.

That is decreasing rigor, not increasing it.

If schools can not offer rigor because they don't have enough kids in the class to justify a teacher, then they need to make it easier for kids to access alternatives.

Instead, families are being told that there is no choice. There is a ceiling to math options for kids.


- Li

Lori said...

During last year's round of testing for giftedness, the district's letter to parents said that the MAP scores would be used to assess math and reading proficiency in conjunction with the CogAt that is done for IQ (or whatever test it is that is given each fall to groups of students). They still ended up calling some kids back for additional testing in those subject areas, suggesting that they didn't use MAP scores, but I know the letter said that they would. FWIW.

I also know that many families used MAP scores as part of their appeal for APP; our principal was encouraging families to request MAP results to submit because apparently they are only available at the school level, and the ALO office cannot go on-line and access any student's results themselves. Or at least that's what was said at one of our coffee chats last year. I find it a little hard to believe, but then again, if the district is only interested in aggregate data, maybe it's true that downtown cannot pull up your child's scores individually.

Finally, I want to reiterate Melissa's exception to the comment that gifted kids will generally succeed in life, despite what happens to them in school. Gifted underachievement is a well-known problem - if you bore a child day after day in school, they can tune out and stop trying at all. There is no guarantee that a gifted child will grow into a productive and successful adult. This is why many parents work hard to make sure their gifted child's needs are met. I wish I remember where I first read this quote, but it's true that "doing well is not the same as doing your best." We do a huge dis-service to gifted youth when we settle for seeing them do well but not challenging them to do their best.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the Advanced Learning office had originally stated that the MAP test would be used for Spectrum/APP placement, but was later told by the District that MAP scores would not be used for such purposes. Who knows what will happen for the upcoming testing cycle.

It would have saved the AL office time and money, yet it is questionable whether this would have been a fair placement tool.

My own child mentioned accidentally pressing "enter" a few times (inadvertently submitting wrong answers that couldn't be undone) when using the arrow keys to scroll through the test answers (the touch pad on the laptop was too hard to manipulate and a mouse was not provided). And this could be used to prevent admission to advanced math classes?

On the flip side - In terms of identifying students for further testing, especially those students whose parents would have not otherwise considered testing, MAP seems like an ideal tool.

-Li

kprugman said...

From reading the above comments, just the decisions being made regarding placement and testing of students are arbitrary and discriminatory -it would be regardless what placement test got used. The results, if used against teachers would be equally true.

If performance pay were unilaterally, integrated into evaluations you will find the most qualified and experienced teachers will leave in droves.

Might does not make right.

Chris S. said...

Parting shot about serve:

Dan Dempsey sent me several articles from the Summer 2010 Educational Horizons, and this one “Teacher Accountability and the Pathology of Domination,” by Gary K. Clabaugh from LaSalle University, really stimulated my thinking. In particular, I read the second section below, (Accountability without Authority) and I thought “Of course! It’s organizational change 101.” Since I know about organizational change from the business world, having participated in organizational change in the business world, and I know that reformers are always touting the practices of the business world, I thought I would delve into my memory to examine this particular best practice of the business world that the reformers are ignoring.

Here are two sections from Clabaugh’s article:

School Management and Teacher Accountability
Also bear in mind that instructional impediments are not limited to non-school factors. What can or can’t be accomplished in the classroom is also greatly influenced by how well schools are managed. If those in authority decide to save money by building inhumanly large schools, teachers must live with the results. If penny-pinching leaves classrooms overcrowded, teachers must live with the results. If school board members wrangle while school buildings fall apart, teachers must live with the results. If school managers destroy morale by unnecessary impositions of authority, teachers must live with the results. If administrators select wretched textbooks or badly constructed instructional packages, teachers must live with the results. If school authorities fail to curb bullying or they allow disciplinary chaos, teachers must live with the results.

Accountability without Authority
In all such cases teachers are subject to the will of others. But in today’s “no excuses” reform environment they still are held to account when kids get “left behind.” In fact, if President Obama has his way on teacher incentive pay, they will take a hit in the wallet too.

Accountability unaccompanied by authority fuels frustration, generates feelings of futility, feeds resentment, and causes anxiety, worry, depression, and aggression—or ultimately, if the stress continues, a decline in performance. It also causes teachers to hold back information to preserve group cohesion, to refuse cooperation with the authorities, and to suppress dissent within their ranks. (“You’re either with us or against us.”) One researcher, Kenwyn Smith, describes this reaction formation as “the pathology of domination.” How is that going to improve our schools? Eventually accountability without authority leads to resignation and learned helplessness. Is that a recipe for making schools better?

--continued

Chris S. said...

Parting shot about serve:

Dan Dempsey sent me several articles from the Summer 2010 Educational Horizons, and this one “Teacher Accountability and the Pathology of Domination,” by Gary K. Clabaugh from LaSalle University, really stimulated my thinking. In particular, I read the second section below, (Accountability without Authority) and I thought “Of course! It’s organizational change 101.” Since I know about organizational change from the business world, having participated in organizational change in the business world, and I know that reformers are always touting the practices of the business world, I thought I would delve into my memory to examine this particular best practice of the business world that the reformers are ignoring.

Here are two sections from Clabaugh’s article:

School Management and Teacher Accountability
Also bear in mind that instructional impediments are not limited to non-school factors. What can or can’t be accomplished in the classroom is also greatly influenced by how well schools are managed. If those in authority decide to save money by building inhumanly large schools, teachers must live with the results. If penny-pinching leaves classrooms overcrowded, teachers must live with the results. If school board members wrangle while school buildings fall apart, teachers must live with the results. If school managers destroy morale by unnecessary impositions of authority, teachers must live with the results. If administrators select wretched textbooks or badly constructed instructional packages, teachers must live with the results. If school authorities fail to curb bullying or they allow disciplinary chaos, teachers must live with the results.

Accountability without Authority
In all such cases teachers are subject to the will of others. But in today’s “no excuses” reform environment they still are held to account when kids get “left behind.” In fact, if President Obama has his way on teacher incentive pay, they will take a hit in the wallet too.

Accountability unaccompanied by authority fuels frustration, generates feelings of futility, feeds resentment, and causes anxiety, worry, depression, and aggression—or ultimately, if the stress continues, a decline in performance. It also causes teachers to hold back information to preserve group cohesion, to refuse cooperation with the authorities, and to suppress dissent within their ranks. (“You’re either with us or against us.”) One researcher, Kenwyn Smith, describes this reaction formation as “the pathology of domination.” How is that going to improve our schools? Eventually accountability without authority leads to resignation and learned helplessness. Is that a recipe for making schools better?

--continued

Chris S. said...

Parting shot about serve:

Dan Dempsey sent me several articles from the Summer 2010 Educational Horizons, and this one “Teacher Accountability and the Pathology of Domination,” by Gary K. Clabaugh from LaSalle University, really stimulated my thinking. In particular, I read the second section below, (Accountability without Authority) and I thought “Of course! It’s organizational change 101.” Since I know about organizational change from the business world, having participated in organizational change in the business world, and I know that reformers are always touting the practices of the business world, I thought I would delve into my memory to examine this particular best practice of the business world that the reformers are ignoring.

Here are two sections from Clabaugh’s article:

School Management and Teacher Accountability
Also bear in mind that instructional impediments are not limited to non-school factors. What can or can’t be accomplished in the classroom is also greatly influenced by how well schools are managed. If those in authority decide to save money by building inhumanly large schools, teachers must live with the results. If penny-pinching leaves classrooms overcrowded, teachers must live with the results. If school board members wrangle while school buildings fall apart, teachers must live with the results. If school managers destroy morale by unnecessary impositions of authority, teachers must live with the results. If administrators select wretched textbooks or badly constructed instructional packages, teachers must live with the results. If school authorities fail to curb bullying or they allow disciplinary chaos, teachers must live with the results.

Accountability without Authority
In all such cases teachers are subject to the will of others. But in today’s “no excuses” reform environment they still are held to account when kids get “left behind.” In fact, if President Obama has his way on teacher incentive pay, they will take a hit in the wallet too.


--continued

Chris S. said...

part2 of Clabaugh article:
Accountability without Authority
In all such cases teachers are subject to the will of others. But in today’s “no excuses” reform environment they still are held to account when kids get “left behind.” In fact, if President Obama has his way on teacher incentive pay, they will take a hit in the wallet too.

Accountability unaccompanied by authority fuels frustration, generates feelings of futility, feeds resentment, and causes anxiety, worry, depression, and aggression—or ultimately, if the stress continues, a decline in performance. It also causes teachers to hold back information to preserve group cohesion, to refuse cooperation with the authorities, and to suppress dissent within their ranks. (“You’re either with us or against us.”) One researcher, Kenwyn Smith, describes this reaction formation as “the pathology of domination.” How is that going to improve our schools? Eventually accountability without authority leads to resignation and learned helplessness. Is that a recipe for making schools better?


People say that teachers don’t want objective evaluation or accountability. People think teachers are afraid of being fired for not getting off their lazy arses. People don’t realize that teachers are psychologists to a much greater degree than the general public (it’s part of being a teacher, understanding how young people think and behave.) Teachers have a very accurate picture of accountability without authority in their minds, not least because they have already begun to live it.

I started remembering. When I was in a situation of accountability without authority (i.e. do what we tell you even if you know it will fail.) I did not fail and get fired. To make a long story short, I got miserable and demoralized and angry and, after a while, I quit. I am already hearing rumblings around the country, mostly stories from people whose friends or family members that are teachers that validate my experience. Many are miserable, and some are considering quitting.

Chris S. said...

part3:
I do not know how people from the business world can see this kind of practice and not see it as one of the most common mistakes in business management.

Now, to change the subject, this memory-dredging dovetailed nicely with a post by a teacher on this blog in which she described the timeline of her union membership in terms of her supervisory experiences. I can’t find it right now, but the bottom line was: she did not see any need for the union until she had a Bad Boss. That was very interesting for me because I feel the larger part of the reason I quit my job was the Bad Boss. (This is often related to accountability without authority since the former is either a practice or a definition of Bad Bosses – I could do some circular logic here like “Effective Teachers,” eh, Charlie?)

I began thinking of union membership as Bad-Boss insurance, and I began thinking everyone should have some form of it. After all, Bad-Boss syndrome can happen to anyone, anytime, and has serious health and financial consequences too – if you have no other options besides suffering and quitting. Reassignment is good if you can pull it off – and believe me I spent at least a year trying – but Bad-Boss syndrome often afflicts several layers of management at once. In my case, I came out okay, just a temporary decrease in income, but believe me it would have been worth many months of union dues, had I had that options.

So in conclusion, I can’t wait for the next union-basher to show up at the Times so I can let them have this train of thought. And if I was testifying Wednesday night, I would say “If SERVE is a practice brought to us from the private business world, it’s a spectacularly bad one, and I am surprised the board members can sit up there and pretend they don’t know it.

Dorothy Neville said...

I keep thinking of new issues vis a vis SERVE and HST to rate teachers in general.

There's the FERPA issue and the lack of a score sheet on the MAP, lack of ability for parents to view and appeal scores.

There's the unclearness on being able to opt out. Parents and students will lose that right?

There's the unclearness on how to calculate for income level, ELL status, disabilities (The Districts FIVE FAST FACTS about SERVE points out that that's TBD)

In upper grades, is testing really concentrated on math? When we still do not know what math kids learn in the classroom vs what they learn at home? Certainly many folks who are regulars here talk about teaching their children math at home. Won't that make you bitter? Get a poor math teacher and a poor curriculum, realize that for your child's sake you have to teach him yourself. Then see the child score well and make the teacher (and curriculum) look good.

My son had an LA teacher that he loathed. Positively hated. And he was not alone. If he could have deliberately bombed the WASL as retribution, he would have, even if it meant having to retake it later. I can even imagine groups of kids agreeing to such an action. How's that for student evaluations?

So is it really the case that the contract is going to have all of SERVE, all the burdens on the teachers definitely in place, but they only get the 1% raise contingent on the LEVY passing? Who would vote on such a contract?

Anonymous said...

Isn't SERVE opt in? So, it's for getting something extra, right?

Secondly, on the radio spot I heard... they would be factoring in ALL demographics: income, race, disability, ELL, migrant worker... everything into the calculation. How is that going to go over? If you teach a minority student, you won't have to teach them as much to get the bonus.... because less is expected already.

Sahila said...

Even if you opt in to SERVE, you dont get the extra money UNLESS the levy passes... what a con/joke...

Notice how the interview was not interactive - no questions, no challenges, no alternative points of view - just a PR piece... am surprised at KUOW - but then again, no because Broad and Teach for America have been advertising on the station lately... heard them twice yesterday...