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Friday, October 15, 2010

Open Thread Friday

Got your ballot? Don't forget to vote. (But I did learn an interesting figure about voting in Seattle, at least so far for mail-in. It seems that about 18% of people mail in their ballots in the final week. Maybe not so unusual or bad but it sure might be worth campaigning until the end.)

I see by the Board calendar that there's just one director community meeting tomorrow:

Michael DeBell - Caffe Appasionato, 4001 21st Avenue W. from 9-11 a.m.

Then, Peter Maier is having another one on Tuesday the 19th from 10-11:30 am at the Lake City Public Library, 12501 28th Ave NE.

162 comments:

rugles said...

Does anyone do the Pledge of Allegiance anymore?

My kids at Montlake don't know what it is.

Bird said...

My kid does not do it at JSIS. I'm fine with that.

Elizabeth said...

Yup — our elementary school does the pledge at their school-wide meeting every week. I don't like it. Seems like most parents in the back of the meeting abstain, but the kids definitely do it. I thought it was required or something. Flag-raising ceremonies are required by each school, right? I heard it was linked to federal funding or something... true or false?

ParentofThree said...

Wondering if anybody was successful in getting highschool credits for classes taken in middle school.

Maureen said...

In 20 combined years of Seattle public schools (2 kids), we've only had one teacher (2nd grade) who had them do the Pledge of Allegiance. The principal would try to lead it once a year at the awards assembly and it was sort of embarassing to watch the kids stumble through it (I wish that the principal would skip it-not that the teachers teach it.)

Our custodian raises the flag, no ceremony that I know of (but it is raised and lowered every day-maybe that's required?). I vaguely remember one year when a teacher tried to institute a flag ceremony with the kids (maybe that same 2nd grade teacher?), but it didn't stick.

Maureen said...

I'm curious about what non core classes are covered at the various K-5s. In another post, a parent was shocked that their District provided art and music teachers might only be 1/2 time. I didn't know that SPS actually paid for art and music at all. That made the "providing materials for K-5 music" part of the levy really confusing to me.

I thought about it and decided that each school must get to decide how to cover their 'electives' (actually to cover planning time for the classroom teachers-I think it's called PCP time or something?). Our school has PE for every K-5 kid everyday. The PE teachers are paid for with District money. We also have one period of art per week and singing in K-2 (then optional choir for 3-5), but all of that is paid for by parent fundraising.

So for us,

District paid:
PE every day
Art none
Music none

What about at your school?

Charlie Mas said...

The art and music at elementary schools may be among the "academic assurances". It's hard to know because I have never seen a list of the academic assurances.

Regarding high school credit for middle school classes, I got a letter from the Board's admin that it has been referred to Susan Enfield. No word since then. I'm not sure about the source of the delay.

SP said...

Apparently Janette Blanford has been in charge of the Grading Policy implementations.
3 memos have been posted online, one on middle school and one on high school issues, plus a combo FAQ sheet.
http://www.seattleschools.org/area/instructserv/
secondarygrading.xml

The short answer- The policy is effective Sept. 2010 with NO classes retroactive for earning MS credits for HS. This even applies to the 2-yr world language classes, so this year's 8th graders are out of luck- they will be offered only 0.5 credit which is worthless in the college application's eyes.

Check out the HS memo also- it clearly states that the new weighted grading policy (1.0 extra GPA credit for AP/IB classes and 0.5 extra GPA for honors classes) will ONLY be used to determine class rank only and will not affect a student's official GPA. This is different than what was announced when the policy was being proposed- one of the selling points was that the bump up would help encourage kids to take a more difficult class, knowing that their GPA would not suffer as much.

SP said...

Also, not all Middle School teachers have HS teaching certificates, so apparently the District is going to have to ask the Board for waivers this year so all the middle school kids can qualify if they take high school level classes for credit.

Jessica said...

I think McGilvra does the pledge every morning. Thurgood Marshall once a week.

Dorothy Neville said...

Maureen, I think you are right that the PCP funds are what guides art and music. Depending on the size of the school, there may be discretionary choices there. One must provide a certain amount of PE, and beyond that, the district may pay for some to fulfill PCP requirements.

Seattle Parent?, or whoever it was at the Tuesday Audit meeting. I am sorry I didn't get a chance to say hi. Mel was my ride and she needed to leave. I wanted to ask your opinion about the meeting, something in particular. If you are willing, please drop me an email, my address is on my blogger profile.

ParentofThree said...

Ok, so students in middle school this year can be eligable to earn high school credits - ONLY if the middle school teacher is also certified high school teacher?

I hope that is not the next barrier they are putting in the students pathway!

dan dempsey said...

No Confidence in Spokane over Admin salaries.

dan dempsey said...

RCW 28A.230.140
United States flag — Procurement, display, exercises — National anthem.

The board of directors of every school district shall
cause a United States flag being in good condition to be displayed during school hours upon or near every public school plant, except during inclement weather. They shall cause appropriate flag exercises to be held in each classroom at the beginning of the school day, and in every school at the opening of all school assemblies, at which exercises those pupils so desiring shall recite the following salute to the flag: "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all". Students not reciting the pledge shall maintain a respectful silence. The salute to the flag or the national anthem shall be rendered immediately preceding interschool events when feasible.


Just another violation for the State Auditor to report.

Seems pretty clear to me:
"in each classroom at the beginning of the school day"

Then again so does RCW 28A 645.020:
Within twenty days of service of the notice of appeal, the school board, at its expense, or the school official, at such official's expense, shall file the complete transcript of the evidence and the papers and exhibits relating to the decision for which a complaint has been filed. Such filings shall be certified to be correct.

The School Board was not held to accountability by three Superior Court judges to provide a certified correct record of evidence relating to Appealed Board decisions. Anyone care to try for accountability on "Pledge of Allegiance"?

I suggest starting with the school principal for a school wide change.

G said...

Can someone explain why it would be logical to give high school credit for a class taught in middle school by a teacher not certified to teach a high school biology class? Freshman parents who have kids that have taken biology at WMS and HMS last year have consistently reported (in conversation) that the curriculum and instruction was weak and they are supplementing their 9th graders with remedial biology. Biology at Garfield is taught by amazing high school teachers, the best of the best. I just don't understand why high school credit should be given to middle school students being taught by middle school school teachers, especially when the result does not produce equivalent course knowledge.

Charlie Mas said...

If the District delays high school credit for yet another year I'm going straight to the Board. Enough of this crap. They have already delayed for two years. This was supposed to have been handled long ago. Michael Tolley, when he was Director of High Schools, promised no more delays.

Charlie Mas said...

G, the courses are supposed to be the same - thanks to curriculum alignment - and the teachers should have a secondary certification.

BettyR said...

I received this from a friend today via Facebook;
Hale High School news:
1. The World Affairs Council of Seattle announced that Erin Lynch, Hale HS teacher, is the recipient of its 2010 World Educator Award.

ParentofThree said...

G - It is state law to award middle schoolers credit for high school classes taken in middle school. SPS has been in violation of this law for years!

As to the students being tutored in science, I think that is probably the exception, not the rule.

Patrick said...

My daughter says they don't say the Pledge of Allegiance now, but they did at her previous school. Personally, I'm fine with them skipping it.

Anonymous said...

All McClure Middle schoolers say the pledge of Allegiance every day. It comes piped in through the intercomm first thing in the morning.

Not sure they all put their hands over their hearts though.

McClure family

another mom said...

FAQ's that have come out of the coffe chats with Supertendent are now posted on the Superintend's page of the District website.

The responses look pretty generic and formulaic,and I don't know if they actually respond to direct questions or not. I have not attended any of these sessions.

Maggie Hooks said...

Can anyone point me to information on the NCLB? Levels 1-5? We were told at the PTSA meeting that Orca has been designated a Level 1 school. I noticed mention of Level 1 schools in the agreement between SPS and the teachers, but can't find it anywhere else.

Anonymous said...

Melissa – you said in another thread that the elementary funding is for choir not instrumental? At my kids elementary the district was paying for a teacher for 1 day/week music (orchestra) teacher for 4th and 5th grades. This was when the school was classified as Title 1. Now that the school is not Title 1 the district will only fund for a half-day teacher which means that 20-30 4th graders did not get into music class. There are obviously some 4th grade parents that are very upset about this. So my question is as far as the district paying for orchestra music instruction at the elementary level – what is the district norm? I think the parents at my school are assuming that all 4th and 5th graders in the district are getting orchestra instruction, but with the state of the budget this just does not seem likely.

-yumpears

wseadawg said...

Hmmmm. It disappoints me that people don't know the pledge of allegiance and don't think it's important. Aside from the legitimate "under God" compulsion that people have a right to not say, I think we demean ourselves and those upon whose shoulders we stand by acting too cool, too sophisticated, or "above" saluting a "paltry" flag. I may not like a lot about my government at times, but I respect the right I have to blog without government spooks kidnapping me in the middle of the night and making me disappear.

My kids say it, and say it proudly. It's the idea of America and the Constitution we swear to that allows us to speak out against our government and petition it for redress (sue) under the rule of law when we don't like what it's doing. Sure, there is much to complain about, and I won't say "love it or leave it," but like the army doctors who took in the woman in Afghanistan who's brutal Taliban husband had just cut off her nose and ears (and her own uncle had refused to help her) most people in this country are good people trying to do the right thing. Money and power corrupt, lack enough of either to threaten or oppress. Look how proud Canadians, Mexicans and the British are of their flags.

Granted, I'm not a fan of compulsory salutes and pledges of allegiance, but I think the kids should know it and be able to recite it, just not everyday by compulsion.

wseadawg said...

I hate it when I hit my touchpad with my thumb and delete words.

"Most people" lack enough power or money to oppress.

Grrrr.

none1111 said...

Here's an Open Thread Friday topic.

During the recent Hamilton open house, the principal presented a chart with numbers showing off the great improvement in test scores last year (over the previous year). But of course there was no mention of the fact that 200+ APP kids moved into the building last year!

This would be an easy thing to just ignore, because the details of the scores really shouldn't be that important. But I wanted to point out to others who, like myself, predicted that distribution of APP kids test scores would be used to tout false advances in achievement, looks like we were right.

To be fair, it wasn't a huge part of his presentation, but it was brought up and touted. Keep an eye out for this kind of stuff as the administration continues to attempt to justify their capricious moves.

Charlie Mas said...

Maggie Hooks asked about NCLB.

Here's a reference.

In short, a school that fails to make AYP for two years in a row falls into Step 1 of School Improvement under NCLB. If the school fails to make AYP the following year, the school would advance to Step 2. As the school continues to fail to make AYP they can go on to Steps 3, 4, and 5. Each year that the school makes AYP, they go down one Step, from 2 to 1 to out. There are specific sanctions at each step. Step 5 is the last step for schools that persistently fail to make AYP.

For the feds, step 1 is better than step 5 but it would be better not to be in any step at all.

By the way, schools in step 5 are supposed to be closed, or transformed. However there is no definition of transformed and there is no enforcement. You may be surprised to know that Aki Kurose has been transformed.

The District has its own way of assessing school quality that is based exclusively on test scores. The student peformance on tests can be rated as low, medium, or high. The District will also rate the student test score growth as low, medium, or high. See the graph on slide 29 of this presentation. Schools with low performance and low growth are ranked as Level 1. Schools with low or medium performance with low or medium growth will be ranked in Level 2. The scale continues up to schools with high performance that get ranked into Level 5.

So, for the District, every school is in some level and the higher the number the better.

Schools in level 1 and 2 get more money to fix their problems but the District decides how that money will be spent. Schools in level 4 and 5 get less money but the school gets to decide how they will spend the money.

The Level 1 ranking for ORCA is from the District, not from the state or federal government and it has nothing to do with NCLB.

another mom said...

@ Maggie Hooks,
I found this on a website that explains NCLB.
"Consequences of not meeting AYP
For Schools Receiving Title I Fund

Level 1 Alert
School shall notify parents, prepare and implement a school plan and consult with district and department regarding reasons for not meeting AYP and to receive technical assistance."

All I saw was Level 2 and up mentioned in the contract. Maybe I was not looking in the right places. It is a dense document.

Sahila said...

my son has four nationalities and passports - which country should he pledge allegiance to?

a world without borders, flags or anthems

I dont want him saying a pledge of allegiance at this age... he doesnt know what he's promising... its brainwashing...

seattle citizen said...

none1111,
This is a discussion we've had before: How does the district (and the feds, for that matter) measure "improvement" (or lack thereof) in entire schools when it can't (or doesn't) account for the variables, the flux?
This is just another example of the flawed policy of looking at entire schools as "good" or "failing" when, in fact, it's the individual students therein that we should be paying attention to.
Look at what happened at Thurgood Marshall: Bring in APP (and no disrespect to those parents: They were vocal about the problem) and lo and behold the school isn't "Title One" anymore, it's magic! So while many of the students there still had struggles, the school was now "successful" (or it was assumed that it would BE successful) because a larger proportion of the students were not free/reduced lunch.

It's crazy. It's what drives me crazy about the "failing school" claims. What if people look at Hamilton as so "successful" now, because of mere test scores, while some of the same students who struggled there before still struggle there? Or not even the same students, but a new batch who have struggles but hey, Hamilton is "successful" so we can just move on to some other school that is "unsuccessful" and serve THOSE students because Hamilton is fine, thank you!

There are struggling students all over the district, but you'd never know it by the "failing school" rhetoric.

Maggie Hooks said...

Thanks for the info. P.29 of the presentation shows the criteria for the levels. Apparently the elementary grades of Orca are considered level 3 but the middle school is level 1 so the entire school is subject to the improvement measures that go along with that. This was communicated in an off-hand way at the PTSA meeting, without any real explanation. I came home and googled and searched the district website to no avail...

Syd said...

Why are MAP scores not in the assessment pages of each student on the The Source?

hschinske said...

I would have no problem at all with some sort of general patriotic statement, such as "We honor our flag and the country for which it stands ..." What disturbs me is the idea of small children being made to promise something that they may not fully understand. It makes it sound as if they would be committing treason if they decided to take citizenship in another country when they grew up. I think formal pledges should be for adults, and should actually mean something, a true responsibility, not just vague patriotic thoughts. But I have nothing at all against teaching things like patriotic songs about the ideals of our country, its being a beautiful place, etc.

Helen Schinske

Maureen said...

Charlie, Thanks for that link. Do you know if the data underlying it available somewhere? It seems odd to me that the(trend is that)the highest performing schools also have the highest growth. Maybe I'm misunderstanding the measures?

wsnorth said...

I suppose a person should have some kind of allegiance to the country they live in, though I feel mine waning some times.

The one I think is pretty ridiculous is "My Country 'Tis of Thee".

GreyWatch said...

@none1111

Not sure if we were at the same Hamilton events or not. At curriculum night last week, the principal showed test numbers, however, he did comment that last years numbers included APP. He also said the scores still show significant improvement when they took the APP out of the mix. Granted, he didn't show that set of data, but sounds like they are looking at this stuff and not attempting to make false claims.

seattle citizen said...

I note this from the District & School Data Rollout School Board Workshop that charlie linked to in an earlier comment:

Intended Impact of School Performance Framework:
For students, families and the community – Greater transparency around goals and outcomes/performance;
Clear areas of focus for every school with targeted supports from the district

For district staff – Clear performance expectations;
Targeted supports to help meet those expectations; Prescribed set of actions based on performance and need

For the community – Transparency and accountability around performance goals

For partners – Alignment of efforts toward common student achievement goals

Who are the "partners" that the School Performance Framework will have an "impact on"?
Broad? Alliance? TFA? Gates? Our Schools?

hmmm...

I also like how they throw a short notice about the superintendent's eval in, tucked into "Upcoming work." Evidently, the superintendent's evaluation is part of the performance framework:

"Upcoming Work:
􀂾
Release of District Scorecard, School Reports, segmentation & survey results
􀂾
Superintendent’s evaluation
􀂾
2011-12 district priority setting

seattle citizen said...

That's good to hear, GreyWatch, that Hamilton, when showing the data, noted the inclusion of APP. At least that's starting to "drill down," to use a district favorite, to the individual students and their successes and needs.

Word verifier thinks that might be a woend

seattle citizen said...

This is interesting, from the roll-out plans for the School Reports - three upcoming events. I wonder who the "100+ parents and community leaders" are who will be at the event with the superintendent on Nov. 9th?


Superintendent’s State of the District Address (Nov. 9th, p.m. SPS plans: ~100+ parents and community leaders to outline the current state of the district, the road ahead, and School Reports.

School Board Presentation on District Scorecard & School Reports (Nov. 17th)

School Report regional community meetings (mid-Nov through mid-Dec)

5 regional community meetings co-sponsored by PTSA and CAO/ED/Principals to build understanding of School Reports, MAP and improvement strategies.

seattle said...

Greywatch you can go to the schools annual report and go to the WASL section. It breaks down WASL scores by regular, Spectrum, and APP students.

They don't have 2009 posted yet, but keep an eye out they should be posted soon.

Here is the link

http://www.seattleschools.org
/area/siso/test/schoolpages
/105.xml

Melissa Westbrook said...

I think the thing about the pledge (as well as the national anthem) is how very few countries do either. (They certainly don't make the anthem pro forma at their sports games.)

I think the "under God" thing throws a lot of people off but I don't know who decides when it gets said in SPS.

They start every Board meeting with the pledge. It used to be funny because a SE end leader, Don Alexander, used to (loudly) echo "and justice for all!"

Anonymous said...

Here is the list of federally failing schools under NCLB. Orca, is a lackluster, "step 3" failing school. Given the very few number of students who pass the WASL there, nobody should expect great shakes from it. It's right up there with West Seattle Elementary in terms of performance. But, since they're all about "valuing diversity" instead of education, nobody seems to care. The curious thing is how we never hear anything about Orca, and its poor performance. Back when we had AAA, right down the street from Orca... there way nothing but tears over the AAA performance, but nary a peep about Orca.

SPS observer

Megan Mc said...

Maggie,
This page is a good starting point for NCLB
http://www.seattleschools.org/area/schoolimprove/index.dxml

seattle citizen said...

I just watched the series premiere of a new NBC show called School Pride. It's like Extreme Makeover, Home Edition (where needy people get new homes built in a week) except it's about public schools. Students send in videos, and a school is chosen. A team goes in, rallies volunteers from the community, and the school gets a serious renovation in ten days.

I don't know what to think about this show: It seemed to be about the physical plant, and it was great to see this MS in Compton, Enterprise, get a fixed up. But the science classroom became the "Microsoft Science and Technology Lab, the sports field the..."Starting Line Sports Field" or some such (Starting Line is a sports clothing maker) and....and...one room became the "People Magazine Reading Room."

Eeek!

The show seems to be about getting the community in to fix up schools, but why are schools needing the community to fix them up?

An interesting segment was when the main Team guy found a room full of supplies at the school. Teachers had been asking principal for supplies, and I guess they hadn't been getting them. So Team Leader guy asks Principal, aren't these bought with taxpayer money? Why aren't they in the classroom? Principal waffles. It made me think of SPS: Teachers are asking for resources, good buildings, asking downtown, where's the money for these things? Downtown, sitting on a roomful of money, shrugs...

So Team Leader gets an interview with The Ahnold, Gov. Schwartzeneger (sp?) and asks the Ahnold, what's up? Why are schools bad? Ahnold says, well, we know some schools are failing and some are doing very well...helLO! He asked why schools are bad, meaning physical plant, and you go off on "failing schools"? So teh failing schools are due to physical plant? No, he goes on, there are a lot of issues....teacher quality....labor...But Ahnold loves that the community is coming to the rescue! He even comes to the grand re-opening and gives a couple of his movie lines and congratulates the volunteerism.

So why are NBC, Gates (there was a prominent Bing commercial), Obama (he had and education ad on it, too) People, Starting Line all putting on this show?

I think it's to show that the community shouldn't expect anything from government, they should welcome companies in ("Microsoft" was painted above the door...inside...of the classroom...) and, with Ahnold's comment, don't count on Labor.



Next Friday they go to Baton Rouge.

Josh Hayes said...

Haven't seen anyone else posting this from the Washington Post, but I'll try to include a live link to the story titled "Study of Montgomery County schools shows benefits of economic integration":

Story here.

The conclusion of the study, apparently, is that kids from highly impoverished schools, when given the chance to go to more affluent schools - wait for it -

Do better.

Wow, what a shock.

none1111 said...

GreyWatch said: "Not sure if we were at the same Hamilton events or not. At curriculum night last week,"

I wonder if it was a different event. Some of us in the audience were quietly snickering about it, so I don't think we missed any drill-down. Or maybe he brought up details later in his presentation or in a discussion afterward?

Maybe someone talked with him about it in the interim. In any case, that's good news that at least one event it was being discussed more forthrightly.

Laurie said...

Syd asked, "Why are MAP scores not in the assessment pages of each student on the The Source?" According to the information provided to school staff, SPS plans to have Winter and Spring MAP scores on Source. Fall scores will be mailed home for all kids; after that they'll be mailed home only for elementary. So if it goes as planned, the scores, for whatever they're worth, will be more accessible than they are now (for staff too; the NWEA reports website we have to use now is not user-friendly).

Laurie Amster-Burton

Aunty Broad said...

Teachers report to aunty that posting MAP scores to the SPS website has not been forthcoming because, according to SPS administration, softwares are not compatible,

so the scores will have to be entered BY HAND. Are you friggin' kidding me? Who bought this?

Oh. Right.

Another obvious reason, as if another was required, why the MAP test is a ridiculous and expensive p-o-s.

Aunty has a little movie of 2 little bears talking about the CRAP, er, I mean MAP test here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTJiXu_5NZs

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, the principal at Hamilton said at the PTA meeting that the MAP software wasn't compatible with the Source so they were working on how to get those student scores on The Source for parents to access.

This was in answer to the question of if the MAP scores would be on the Source. That this wasn't found out before we bought MAP is puzzling. (It's also BS because we get "sold" that this is a great test, will help teachers and parents and yet, here's where we're at.

another mom said...

Most here are probably tired of WFSuperman, but Teacherken (Daily Kos) has finally seen it and reviewed. It is long diary but worth reading.

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/10/16/910716/-This-teacher-reacts-to-seeing-Waiting-for-Superman

Jet City mom said...

Anonymous @8:53 posted

Orca, is a lackluster, "step 3" failing school. Given the very few number of students who pass the WASL there, nobody should expect great shakes from it. It's right up there with West Seattle Elementary in terms of performance. But, since they're all about "valuing diversity" instead of education, nobody seems to care. The curious thing is how we never hear anything about Orca, and its poor performance.

This is intervention needed for Step 3.

Did not make AYP after being in Step 2. In addition to offering public school choice and supplemental services, the school must take corrective action.

However- there are 13 schools in Step 5.
No listed intervention for Step 5- but this is the intervention for Step 4.

Did not make AYP after being in Step 3. In addition to offering public school choice and supplemental services and taking corrective action, the school must plan for alternative governance.

I found it interesting that a historically underenrolled school like Rainier Beach is only in Step 2- whereas some of our most overenrolled schools are in Step 5.

From the OSPI web site- schools in Step 5.

Washington middle school
West seattle high school
Madrona k-8
Madison middle school
Ingraham high school
Hawthorne elementary
Hamilton international
Garfield high school
Franklin high school
Cleveland high school
Chief stealth high school
AS#1 K-8 school
Aki Kurose middle school

seattle citizen said...

Heck, Garfield is in Step 5, Ballard in Step 4....must be very, very bad schools.

Don't forget that if just ONE CELL of maybe 20-25 doesn't make AYP, the entire school is considered to not be making AYP, and could eventually be restructured.

So, if one group of students doesn't progress, the entire school is dysfunctional?

Huh?

'tis true. Garfield is in Step Five.

"Failing schools" my...foot.

Close Garfield! Restructure it! Get rid of the principal! Oh, wait, that only happens if it's a Title One school, a poor school...Restructure the poor schools! Even is there is a lot of success, one or more "groups" (?!) is failing! Replace the staff! Don't look at the individual failures and successes, privatize the whole lot! It's the teachers' fault! Make the district pay for private Tutors for EVERYBODY (Kumon will appreciate it)!

bah. dang reformers.

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

Yes, SC, is right, only one category need not meet AYP under NCLB. The categories are broken down by race, special education, low income, and ELL.

Garfield is in step 5 but only for black, and low income students.

You can see what step/s a school is in and in what categories here:

http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us

Once on this page:

click Seattle schools in the drop down menu. Then click go.

click Garfield in the drop down menu. Then click go.

Then click AYP (which is a tab no the drop down menu)

seattle said...

emeraldkity it is true that RBHS is only in step two.

However if you look at the OSPI website that I listed in the last post, you will see that under proficiency, 6 categories were evaluated, and RBHS met proficiency in only one of those categories, low income. That means that a large percent of kids at RBHS are not meeting proficiency goals for the school.

They did much better in the participation categories.

ParentofThree said...

Is anybody interested in a look at the new SPS website, complete with a student plugged into a computer, probably taking MAPS.

http://district.seattleschools.org/modules/cms/pages.phtml?pageid=198857&sessionid=7c78943fab30c073698be8128f2a03f8&t

Anonymous said...

Emerald-Kity, NCLB doesn't require any sanctions unless a school receives Title 1 funds. And, the only middle schools getting Title-1 funds are Aki and Madrona. Anybody assigned to Orca, chose it.(Unless they were in special ed, of course, in which case they were forced there.) So, even if Orca were Title-1, the sanction would be: "pick another school", which was always an option for anybody who wants out.


The fact that one category can drag a whole school down is actually a good part of NCLB. It means districts can't just hide behind students who would have done well anyway. They've got to actually try to address their problems. And that is an improvement.

SPS Observer

Ride the bus said...

Did anyone else get a letter from Transportation encouraging their child to take the bus during the ridership count week?

According to the letter, the State reimbursement for an APP student is approximately $3,500 vs. $350 for non-APP students.

Here's the part that confused me: "If your student does not normally ride, it is like writing a check to the District for $3,500 to support your classrooms just by riding during this week. Please do your part to help return more money back into the classroom by maximizing how many APP students ride the bus."

Doesn't this particular reimbursement from the State go to offset Transportation costs, not classroom costs? And doesn't the money go into a general transportion fund to support ALL ridership, not just APP ridership?

peonypower said...

Just want to post that the initial high school science alignment document was sent out to staff on Friday, and that Dr. Enfield will be presenting it to the board at this Wednesday's meeting.

It states that only these 4 courses will count towards the 2 year science requirement; Physical science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and IB or AP science courses. There is an opportunity for a school to apply for "validation" if the course aligns with one of the above 4, which seems like a way to help the marine science program at Garfield. However this validation process has a lengthy list of what the school must provide and nothing about how it will be evaluated. Frankly if your course is multidisciplinary how can you fit it into one box? This means that all other classes will not count for science credit. They will be electives. I suggest that if anyone is concerned about how this will impact programs you go to the board meeting and get on the list for public testimony. I know I plan to.

hschinske said...

Ride the bus, yeah, I got that letter. In addition to your points, which are good ones that I hadn't thought of, it seemed to me they were in effect asking us to cheat the feds. It's one thing if you ride the bus *part of the time* and you're asked to make a point of doing so that week, but to be asked to ride the bus if you *normally don't do so* ... that seems a bit much.

Helen Schinske

Lori said...

I'm with Helen. I was surprised to see that the district would actually put into writing that they want folks who don't normally ride the bus to ride it this upcoming week to maximize what the state pays to transport APP kids to school.

Plus, I don't understand why it actually matters. There is a set cost for each bus, whether it picks up all 48 kids on its route or only 24 of them. It still has to make the stops and drive hither and yon.

Teachermom said...

"Yes, the principal at Hamilton said at the PTA meeting that the MAP software wasn't compatible with the Source so they were working on how to get those student scores on The Source for parents to access.

This was in answer to the question of if the MAP scores would be on the Source. That this wasn't found out before we bought MAP is puzzling. (It's also BS because we get "sold" that this is a great test, will help teachers and parents and yet, here's where we're at."

The real reason the scores are not on the Source is that staff have not been trained in how to explain the scores to parents, let alone use them in any meaningful way in the classroom. Another new thing thrown out there before staff is trained......but trust us, it will be really meaningful at some point, really......

Syd said...

APP busing subsidizes the entire transportation system - not a lot, but enough to make an impact. It is the reason they offer one way transportation to HS APP (And yes, I think it is a program): one way is enough to qualify for the entire amount.

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

isn't the Source a DIY web portal thingy created by the district? so far everything has had to have individual programs to link up with the Source. no surprises. be ready for tons of glitches.

hschinske said...

I suppose teachers must not be allowed to input assessment data, then? Because I can't believe adding six numbers per student to Source each year would be that big a deal, especially if you're in there recording grades and such all the time anyway.

Also, the MAP software can spit out results in a tab-delimited file; can the Source really not import such a common format?

Helen Schinske

WenD said...

@Dan re: Spokane no confidence: The comments are worth a read. Isn't Spokane the district that had the dust-up a few years ago during WASL testing? A student was followed into the bathroom by the principal and admonished for not finishing her test. The principal had been in the classroom, looking at answer sheets while the teacher stood by. The principal was defended by the sup and the district, and stayed at this particular school. Not sure if the family sued or if there was more to the story. Spokane, BTW, is a rat's nest of police/county atty/sheriff corruption. Are the schools in on this game? Even the Spokane Nordstrom garage is corrupt. (I shouldn't jest. A few years ago, a woman died when part of the garage collapsed and her car fell. Scandal involving the developer/family that owns the local media and most of downtown.)

Sorry, got OT, but I wonder about the value of principals having unions. While I believe teachers need the bargaining power, do principals need it as well?

karyn king said...

@ Helen "...I can't believe adding six numbers per student to Source each year would be that big a deal..."

When you have 150 students per day as many secondary teachers do, that's a lot of data entry on top of what they need to do daily. Why should they have to make up for the district's mistake in buying a test that wouldn't fit our system?

hschinske said...

Oh, of course it would be silly to have to redo the data entry. But if *all* the middle school teachers worked on it, not just the math and LA teachers, it would be only 32 per teacher. Say everyone puts in the data for their first-period class.

My point was not really to say that the teachers should have any further burden, but to illustrate what a small amount of data we're really talking about here, adding a further level of ridiculousness to the district's claim of not being able to get it onto the Source.

Helen Schinske

Josh Hayes said...

I am informed that MAP results are not just a small set of numbers, but rather, purport to break out sub-topics and sub-assessments in a given area -- for example, let's say my kid got a 250 on the math MAP. This is not the only number the MAP generates in the math area. The hope is that the test will allow math teachers to tailor lesson plans to the needs of the individual kids, and apparently, the test claims to provide that level of fine-grained reporting.

This is what I've been told; I'm not a teacher at SPS so I don't know whether it's true or not.

Aunty Broad said...

After mulling it over, I suspect that perhaps another reason (maybe a better reason, maybe the real reason) MAP scores aren't on the SOURCE is because across most of our student population, SCORES WENT DOWN!!!!! Best, perhaps, not to let that cat out of the bag.

Yep, the MAP test last year showed our kids in general were getting stupider. As far as I know, all schools, all grades. Yes, some kids had improving scores, but that was not the general trend, at least at the school my kids go to, according to the test administrator.

Or, as an alternate explanation, it's a really poor instrument for measuring student progress.

Especially when students aren't graded for their performance, so have no incentive for performing. And it's boring, especially when you take it for the 3rd time. And it's given right after lunch, and you have to poop, and you can't go to the bathroom until you finish. And maybe you're in kindergarten, and have never used a computer before, and it's hella confusing. And the kid next to you is crying. Or picking the answers that give the funniest sounds on the computer. Or you're in high school and your entire class has a secret pledge to screw up the results, just cuz it's stickin' it to the man without consequences.

Unbelievable that the Supe wanted to use the MAP to directly evaluate teachers. Just unbelievable, and unforgivable.

seattle said...

"Yep, the MAP test last year showed our kids in general were getting stupider. As far as I know, all schools, all grades"

And how would you know this Aunty, if the district wide MAP scores are not published publicly?

Unknown said...

Is there an "I'm voting NO on the levy" facebook page to publicize the reasons for this action?

Unknown said...

Josh, you are absolutely right. One number would be completely meaningless. For a sample student report, go here and then scroll down about halfway.
http://tinyurl.com/23dwodz

Charlie Mas said...

There is a "No on the levy" blog.

seattle said...

"my son has four nationalities and passports - which country should he pledge allegiance to?"

He can pledge allegiance to which ever country he chooses, but he should certainly not object to the Pledge of Allegiance to The United States of America being recited in the United States.

Think of the scenario reversed. If you moved to Germany, would you expect a German classroom to stop reciting the German national anthem or pledge because you were there? That would be absurd wouldn't it?

Syd said...

I believe, although I would have to go back and find it, that the district did publish the district scores in aggregate. As well, if you asked, your child's teacher could give you the score. I did ask. I was given a printout of my child's scores which included how he preformed against the district as a whole.
The scores include 5 or 6 scores under each assessment. So for instance my first graders' algebraic score was lower than all his other math scores.
My HS students reports were sent home. Same printout.
FYI, the younger child's scores went up. The elder child's scores went down. Fortunately, the time spent on the test was included. At the beginning of the year, the elder child spent almost an hour on the test. He scored 4 points lower in Spring, but took less than 10 minutes to complete the test.
I don't mind the testing, but I do think there are disadvantages to taking it three times in one year.

Dorothy Neville said...

There is a Seattle Teachers Against the Levy 2010 that you can [like]. And now there's a NO on the Seattle School Supplemental Levy group you can join. Both on Facebook.

hschinske said...

I didn't think anyone was expecting to have the full MAP report on Source, just the overall scores, as with the WASL.

Helen Schinske

ParentofThree said...

I don't think the main point here is whether the teacher should or could post MAPS scores to the Source.

The point is that somebody downtown missed that our system was incompatible with the MAPS system before bringing a $4 million no-bid contract to the board. AND they want voters to approve a levy that pours more money into this test.

To turn the conversation to the teachers distracts from the real issue here. And also unwittingly fuels the "blame the teacher" reformist argument.

hschinske said...

The point is that somebody downtown missed that our system was incompatible with the MAPS

And my point is that their claim that that is so is probably rubbish. Moreover, if the Source really is so badly put together that it can't import a plain old tab-delimited file, I'm not surprised that people downtown never expected such a ridiculous state of affairs.

Helen Schinske

Aunty Broad said...

Anonymom:

as I wrote:

"Yes, some kids had improving scores (on the MAP test), but that was not the general trend, at least at the school my kids go to, according to the test administrator."

So I found this out, as I said, by talking to someone who was in charge of administering the test at my kids' school. That person has first hand knowledge of their school, and second hand knowledge of other schools.

That, ma'am, is a reasonable source. Sorry.

Lori said...

as to the assertion that MAP scores went down district-wide, maybe it would be helpful if people posted what they actually do know for their child's grade level.

For example, the report I got for my first grader last year says:

Math:
Fall 2009: district average RIT=164
Spring 2010: district average RIT=182

Reading:
Fall 2009: district average RIT=162
Spring 2010: district average RIT=177

So, for first graders, average RIT score increased, and if you look at "typical growth" based on the national norms, the average growth for these students was greater than typical growth (reported as only 7 for Math and 5 for Reading).

Sahila said...

@Anonymom... I just teach him not to say any pledge and that anthems and flags and pledges are mechanisms for controlling people and causing separation, and for giving over their critical thinking skills and personal responsibility for their choices and actions to 'group think'...

@ Josh... there is a report I used to post a lot that compared the various testing products on the market, and MAP was adjudged to be useless in giving teachers useful data on individual students, so that they could differentiate instruction.... I think this is it:
Which One is “Just Right”? What Every Educator Should Know About Formative Assessment Systems

and remember - Brad Bernatek acknowledged MAP was never designed to be used to evaluate teachers... so remind me - why did the District buy this boondoggle? Could it be that the ONLY reason was because MGJ sat on the board of NWEA - the sellers of MAP?

From Merriam-Webster:
Definition of BOONDOGGLE
1: a braided cord worn by Boy Scouts as a neckerchief slide, hatband, or ornament
2: a wasteful or impractical project or activity often involving graft
— boondoggle intransitive verb
— boon·dog·gler\-g(ə-)lər\ noun
Examples of BOONDOGGLE

1. Critics say the dam is a complete boondoggle—over budget, behind schedule, and unnecessary.

Origin of BOONDOGGLE
coined by Robert H. Link †1957 American scoutmaster
First Known Use: 1929

Dorothy Neville said...

Teachers, any comments about this RTI guy, Pat Quinn? Anyone been to his seminar? There's one in Seattle next weekend.

seattle citizen said...

SPS Observer said,
"that one category can drag a whole school down is actually a good part of NCLB. It means districts can't just hide behind students who would have done well anyway. They've got to actually try to address their problems. And that is an improvement."

Hmmm...so if the district DOESN'T fix the problems that maybe just one group of twenty in the school is having, one cell, then the whole school should be restructured by the feds? So SPS could stand back and say, well, we can't fix it, or just NOT fix the problem, and then the feds can come in and sell it off to an education management company, fire the staff, and this is good for the successful students in that building how?

Truly Scrumptious said...

I don't pledge allegiance to the country I was born in (and I don't have my child do it) because there may very well be a point in time where my country will do something that makes me break that allegiance. I'm not makin' any promises to blindly support the country.

And it's pretty meaningless to children. They can't even keep allegiances to their favorite superhero.....

seattle citizen said...

Coincidentally, the New York Times Book Review in today's Sunday edition has a review of a new book: The History of the Pledge of Allegience, by Geoffrey Owen and Peter Mayer.

Here's part of it:

Frances Bellamy (author of pledge) "came up with a statement of what he later called “intelligent patriotism,” designed to counteract some of the nation’s most divisive and ­reactionary impulses.

His original salute to the flag was just 23 words: “I pledge allegiance to my flag and to the republic for which it stands — one nation indivisible — with liberty and justice for all.” Even so, it contained a subtle political message. Amid the heightened class conflict of the Gilded Age, the phrase “liberty and justice for all” was an idealist’s demand as well as a patriotic affirmation. So, too, was the idea of “one nation indivisible.” Just a generation removed from the Civil War, divided over the new immigrants pouring in from Eastern and Southern Europe, Americans of the era could not take their country’s stability for granted. Bellamy hoped his pledge would bind them together in a celebration of the nation’s traditions "

seattle said...

"So I found this out, as I said, by talking to someone who was in charge of administering the test at my kids' school. That person has first hand knowledge of their school, and second hand knowledge of other schools. "

So Aunty you found this out from talking to "someone" (no name), with second hand knowledge of "other" (unnamed) schools.

Do they have "second hand" knowledge of every child's MAP test scores in every school in the district? Because your sweeping statement indicated they did: "Yep, the MAP test last year showed our kids in general were getting stupider. As far as I know, all schools, all grades. "

Until you come up with some official data that is publicly available , or identify or source, it ain't reliable ma'am. Sorry.

seattle citizen said...

which begs the question, Anonymom, where IS the report that shows how students did on last year's MAP tests, fall, winter, spring? NOt identifying students by name, of course, but a general report that looks at how many went up, how many went down, etc.

Good question.

hschinske said...

one nation indivisible

And, of course, someone was just dumb enough to break that phrase up. It makes no more sense than taking "great big country" and editing it to "great, under God, big country."

Helen Schinske

seattle citizen said...

Went looking for a report on MAP results, didn't find it, but found this interesting look at Value Added Data on the SPS Research and Eval webpage:

Research, Evaluation and Assessment (REA)


Understanding Value Added Data in Seattle

Value Added data measures educator effectiveness in growing students. There is no penalty for the educator (individually or in a team ) on students' previous academic achievement. Therefore, value added looks at the growth that student groups make from the end of one year to the end of the subsequent year. The data has been standardized to a baseline achievement level established in 1999. Essentially, every year thereafter the growth of a cohort is measured in respect to this initial 1999 baseline. The 'status quo' growth is identified as maintaining the cohort's position relative to the baseline group. A longitudinal report shows a total school's progress over time. Schools have also been provided a report which is appropriate to use for diagnostic purposes. This report shows growth of students broken down into four quartiles in each discipline measured.

Value Added data is derived from the scale scores of the standardized achievement tests previously administered within the district. There is no additional testing necessary in order to determine value added information. The traditional test data is received within the district, the files must then be merged, program descriptors must be identified, and finally the files are sent to Dr. Bill Sanders of SAS in Cary, NC. Dr. Sanders developed the value added model that we use and does the actual 'number crunching'. Once that process is complete the data is returned to the Value Added Team of Seattle Public Schools for reports to be printed. These reports are then disseminated to each of the local schools and provided on the website. Both a color version and a black and white version of all reports have been posted on the Seattle Public Schools? website so that interested parties can choose the format which best suits their needs.

The Value Added Team is always eager to help individuals better understand this data and how it can be used to improve learning opportunities for students. Currently a series of data courses are being offered and training sessions can be scheduled for groups of educators within the district. To find out more about these opportunities, please contact Laura Hopkins at 206-252-0142.

If you are interested in learning more about the Value Added Model click below.

The Tennessee Value Added Assessment System (TVAAS) (outside link)

Value Added Training [link]

seattle citizen said...

The only data I could find that has been published by SPS regarding MAP results is here, in CAO Enfield's Update: MAP Implementation - presented by Jessica de Barros and Brad Bernetek, April 2010

The only data is a chart showing Percent of Students Meeting Typical Growth, in Slide 11

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link on MAP. There is an interesting note on slide 10 that mentions they are working on a standard for "accelerated" growth, as opposed to "typical" growth. This could be why some parents were discouraged from opting out of the test...

SPS parent

Bird said...

which begs the question, Anonymom, where IS the report that shows how students did on last year's MAP tests, fall, winter, spring? NOt identifying students by name, of course, but a general report that looks at how many went up, how many went down, etc.

It's here -- Map Data for 2010

Average scores went up in all grades fall to spring.

seattle said...

Ouch, Aunty. It looks like your anonymous source that heard from someone second hand was unreliable.

Anonymous said...

Yes SC, it is a huge improvement that the district and other districts have to actually be measured based on the scores of EVERYBODY. Yes, if a school is to be restructured, it should be because it was unable to meet a group of student's needs. Schools absolutely should be obligated to work for all their students. That definitely has not always been the case. So far, the "restructuring" ballyhooing has been nothing but paranoia. The feds haven't done a thing, to any school, anywhere. The schools that we think MIGHT be MOST in need of restructuring, aren't even Title 1. It isn't NCLB that is going to force restructuring on them. The district will do that under its own authority, or not, as it decides. So, what's the big deal? Ranier Beach, Cleveland High School(previously)... the worst of the worst, perhaps, and they are under threat of absolutely nothing. I think it's worthwhile to point out that entire groups of students in other schools are also failing, or failing to make AYP. It shines the light.

SPS observer

seattle citizen said...

@Bird - good find. Interesting data. If it is to be believed, the average growth rates seem to match what NWEA says might occur (fifteen-twenty RIT points in earlier years, four-six or so in later years)

Of course, the AVERAGE growth could have gone up if some students had huge leaps upward and some students declined...so it's hard to tell exactly what went on, but on average we apparently saw expected growth.

Of course, the cynic in me looks for possible negatives - how do even know the data is real?

But anyway, FROM the charts, average growth rose. I was suprised to less of an "achievement gap" when measured by MAP compared to when measured by WASL...interesting... Lots of interesting data there.

Aunty Broad said...

I, for one, am not going to burn sources just for your edification, Anonymom. And this would be a burn. Very dangerous for a test adminstrator to go against the MAP right now.

Believe as you like, it's all the same to me.

seattle citizen said...

@SPS Observer -
"Yes, if a school is to be restructured, it should be because it was unable to meet a group of student's needs. Schools absolutely should be obligated to work for all their students."

Wny? Why not find out why that group, or, better, those individuals aren't doing well and fix THAT? For instance, if ninety percent of a building is doing just fine, why on earth would we destroy that in order to address the needs of the ten percent who were struggling?! That is not to say that we shouldn't change ANYTHING, but the way I'm reading your comment, you would have us destroy everything and start afresh, because SOME students weren't successful.

That's absurd. Fix the problems, don't reconfigure the whole thing. This is the problem with "reform": It destroys the village in order to save it. It takes the failure of the few (teachers, students....) and uses that to paint the whole building as "failing" when of course no such thing is happening. Then it proposes replacing the whole school program, replacing all teachers, in order to effect change for those that are struggling.

That's just absurd. It's throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Aunty Broad said...

Hmm. I am interested in the report, and take your point, but am still inclined to be skeptical, because
a) of the anecdotal reports I received
b) my general mistrust, based on recent experience, that anyone working for the Superintendent can count anything. (See the state audit)
c) My own kids' scores going down over the year.
d) Many students' personal reports of not taking the test even remotely seriously.
e) and why would they, if they're not accountable for their scores?

I do promise to recheck with my source and get his take on this report.

seattle said...
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Lassen said...

So I'm reading your comments on this blog -- "Average scores went up in all grades fall to spring....from the charts, average growth rose. ...interesting... Lots of interesting data there."

Be careful, people. I am surprised how eager you are to accept the very limited "data" presented in that link provided by Bird. (Not to blame Bird -- it was presented by Bernatek) . I have rarely seen such a simplistic presentation of data. Even if you accept the data as legit, the issue is not RIT scores rising but "expected growth." Anyway, I am suspect of any test that shows its results in comparison to ITSELF rather than an outside comparison, particularly a test run for profit (even if NWEA is "non-profit -- the CEO gets a nice salary). If I were the CEO of a test-making company like NWEA, you bet I would create a test that shows kids' positive progress. Everyone likes a success story and this means more business for my testing company.

I have seen this in action in reading tests inside the school -- an expensive program comes in and shows that, after using that program, kids made astounding progress as tested by that company! Surprise, surprise! And the contract with the company and test is renewed because it must be working, right?

Sorry to be a cynic, but I think it is only intelligent and our responsibility to be so -- remember Weapons of Mass Destruction? Remember the "data" presented in spiffy graphs and pictures of weapons factories to prove a thesis? When data is presented by people with an ulterior motive, it can be used to prove anything.

Please, please be your usual intelligent, skeptical selves. Don't believe the hype, particulary when presented on an overly simplistic powerpoint slide using metrics provided by the test company itself. If you indeed care about a one-hour multiple choice test that kids take three times a year as a measure of anything (which I don't, by the way) at least demand independently confirmed data.

seattle said...
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seattle said...
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seattle said...
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seattle said...

Lassen, the district has provided data on MAP testing. If you have information to show that their data is manipulated or skewed in some way then by all means please provide it. I'm all eyes and ears. But unless you have some verifiable information to prove that the data the district provided is wrong, then I can't buy into your unfounded accusations. I will assume that this you are just fabricating hypothetical situations based on nothing but your own imagination.

Lassen said...

Anonymom -- It is not district data, even though a district person presented it -- it is NWEA, test-maker data. I am not saying it is skewed nor am I making unfounded accusations. I am simply saying a healthy skepticism is in order. Is that a problem? Just because a person doesn't accept data at face value doesn't mean they are fabricating hypothetical situations based on their own imaginings. Wow. That kind of personal attack is so odd. I guess the alternative is to accept everything a powerpoint tells us at face value for fear that someone might think I am imagining things if I don't. Sorry -- that's something I am not willing to do and I will continue to speak up for getting more information before accepting what I'm told. And I won't take it personally. This is too important an intellectual debate to get insulted and go home.

seattle said...

Aunty said:
"a) of the anecdotal reports I received
b) my general mistrust, based on recent experience, that anyone working for the Superintendent can count anything. (See the state audit)
c) My own kids' scores going down over the year.
d) Many students' personal reports of not taking the test even remotely seriously.
e) and why would they, if they're not accountable for their scores?"

This is a bunch of nothing Aunty. Just hot air. YOUR thoughts. YOUR mistrust. YOUR opinions. YOUR own kids test scores dropping.

No data. No reports. Nothing factual. At all.

Supplemented by "anecdotal reports" (IE unfounded, and unproven)

Aunty please. Make all the statements that you want to but qualify them by saying that they are just your opinion. It's irresponsible to make sweeping statements like "MAP scores dropped district wide", and "kids got stupider this year", and " it happened in all schools and all grades" and state them as fact with absolutely zero information or data to back them up. Just say it is merely your opinion, and then we can take it for what it's worth.

seattle said...

" I guess the alternative is to accept everything a powerpoint tells us at face value "

No not at all. But if you are going to challenge something then you should have some data or information to back up your position.

seattle citizen said...

Anonymom, I gotta go with Lassen and Aunty in some respects, here.

Aunty is offering qaulitiative data - her comments, her observations, her perspective. You are free not to believe it, just as anyone is free not to believe the NWEA data presented by Bernatek. You seem awfully eager to accept NWEA at face vvalue yet dismiss Aunty's qualitative data. What sort of validation do you have for the NWEA data? None.

All of this information, Aunty's, NWEA's, Bernatek's pretty graphs made from NWEA's...all is "data" with some "proofiness (see another thread) that might lend credence...

Me? I worry that the NWEA data is not qualitative enough, it doesn't have any sort of narrative, it is broad-stroke and, so far, isn't showing us the raw data. I want to see the actual student-by-student rise/fall (sans names, of course) for every student. I want more of Aunty's observations to help me understand perceptions.

For instance, in the CAO Report of April (see earlier comment, Bernatek and de Barros report that:
"[in]Sharing Results With Families

Successes
• Teachers learned about MAP quickly and most shared information
with families
• Teachers and principals have been trained on how to talk to families
about MAP results
• Teachers report an increase in feeling prepared to talk to families about MAP (from 44% in fall to 55% in winter)

From what I'VE heard, these three claims are wildly exaggerated. They are numbers, they are "data," but I fear that they are wildly optimistic. Can I prove it? No. But from what I've heard...

You can chose not to believe me, you can believe the "data" above, but...believe me, it's wrong.

Skepticism is definitely the order of the day when dealing with "reform" data: It's almost always skewed.

seattle said...

So un-skew it, SC. Provide your own data to prove the NWEA data wrong.

"I've heard" is fine, and definitely has a place in the conversation. But please qualify it as what it is, here say. And state that it is your opinion.

seattle citizen said...

anonymom, it's ALL hearsay, until raw data is provided, authenticated, and analyzed. Data without interpretation is meaningless, and we are the interpreters. I look at NWEA data and wonder what their motives are, which is what I should do. I look at Aunty's observations and reports and wonder what HER motives are, which is as it should be.

I don't have to provide counterdata to dispute NWEA's in order not to fully believe it. I don't have to believe it until it is proven that I shouldn't.

I'm not quite sure how you want to interpret or analyze data, but I choose to use my own intelligence, my own "knowledge" (understanding that it could be wrong, or biased, or incomplete...)

We can only make decisions based on what we see. What I see is that MGJ was a graduate of the Broad Foundation. I see that they want to massively reform the entire educational system. I see that they rely on "data" to sell their product. I see that MGJ was on the board of NWEA, who wants to sell THEIR product to SPS and others, and it is in her interest and NWEA's to have their product show "success."

Until they show me "data" that I can believe is useful, I just have an enormous amount of skepticism. Frankly, I believe Aunty's first-hand and second-hand reports more than I believe NWEA, the superintendent's data manager (Broadie Brad Bernatek) or the Broad Foundation. At least Aunty's reporters are reporting on real children, instead of abstract data points that might or might not be valid.

Dorothy Neville said...

The two slide shows are fascinating and don't really tell me much but lead to all sorts of questions.

Why is the percent meeting typical growth not shown for K2? Why is the graph for Fall-Winter so different from Fall-Spring? Why are the breakouts by ethnic group on average RIT Score and not on any sort of growth? Which average RIT score, why doesn't the graph say which of the three? Why did first graders do so much better than national norms? What's this about the 2008 correlation? How many students took MAP in Spring 2008?

Anonymous said...

SC: For instance, if ninety percent of a building is doing just fine, why on earth would we destroy that in order to address the needs of the ten percent who were struggling?! That is not to say that we shouldn't change ANYTHING, but the way I'm reading your comment, you would have us destroy everything and start afresh, because SOME students weren't successful.


Are you illiterate? Who said anything about "destroying everything".? Not me. A school which fails a large subgroup (small subgroups don't count, remember?) should be listed as "failing". Poof simple.

Nobody's saying anything about the consequence. In fact, the only consequences mandated by NCLB are totally, and completely reasonble. If and only if the school receives Titl1 funds: School choice to leave that school (is that horrible? isn't that what you've advocated for all along anyway?) And/or tutoring if you are FRL (who could argue with that either?) As to "school restructuring"... doesn't that just mean "get a new principal"? Aren't practically all the schools getting a new principal every year anyway? What could be so horrible about that "oh so drastic consequence" as getting another new principal? Whoopdee do.

SC. Get a clue. Better yet, get some reading instruction from a highly qualified instructor.

SPS observer.

suep. said...

Anonymom or Anonymous or whoever doubted or dismissed Aunty and others re the MAP test:

I also have it from a solid source that district-wide, MAP test scores went down in the winter. This was attributed to the post-holiday slump that also occurs when kids return to school after summer break.

I also have numerous direct and secondhand reports about the faults and flaws and frustrations of the MAP test. So, Anonymous or Anonymom (I've lost track who said what), I think Aunty and others' experiences and input are a valid part of the bigger picture that we should consider.

I have also learned directly from the district's MAP test administrators, Bernatek and DeBarros, what some of the shortcomings of the MAP test are, so this is not hearsay or anyone's 'imagination.'

Why are you defending the MAP test by the way? Do you think that it's worth the $4.3 million plus the district is spending on it? Wouldn't you rather see that money spent in the classrooms? I know I would.

--sue p.

wseadawg said...

Re: Pledge of Allegiance & Brainwashing.

Only if you don't teach your kids what it is, what it means, and why its said. I think kids should know it and understand it, and my kids say it because they are both in Scouts, where we, as parents, teach the kids what it means. Nobody is brainwashing anybody. Give me a break.

My kids also see people burning the US flag, sometimes here in the US, as a protest. Do as you wish with your kid, but I think its worthwhile to teach your kids why people do the things they do, and how it began. Understanding the origins and how people see things differently is part of learning how to navigate the world, isn't it.

I don't think every Christian who prays is as pious as a saint, nor do I think everyone who says the POA is hyper-patriotic or brainwashed.

The president pledges to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Shouldn't our kids know what that means?

seattle said...
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seattle said...

"Why are you defending the MAP test by the way?"

I have never defended the MAP test. Go back and read everything that I wrote. I challenged Aunty's statement that kids were "getting stupider", and that "this year scores went down for all kids in all schools."

I've asked Aunty for some evidence to back that up. Is that unreasonable?

Unnamed sources, unnamed administrators, and a little birdie telling her so, don't count as evidence.

Anonymous said...

And now we are going to use this MAP test to evaluate a teacher's performance?

This is shaky ground particularly since Brad Bernatek himself said that the MAP was not designed to be used to evaluate teachers.

And before you ask Anonymom, he said it in a meeting that I was in with three other parents.

If everyone wants the data, contact Brad Bernatek and ask him for it.

We do have a right to the information. Better yet, request a meeting with him and DeBarros like we did.

Get your answers from the "expert" who has been paid an abundant amount of money to be responsible for the MAP and its' implementation.

Sit right across the table from him as we did and ask your questions.

Anonymous said...

Assuming of course, that you don't mind losing your anonymity.

seattle said...
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Chris S. said...

Heck, the NWEA web site says the MAP designed only to "inform teaching" That is much different than evaluating teaching.

And I have submitted requests for NWEA's "reliability and validity data," which I have heard referenced but have not been able to find, thru several routes.

And thanks to Lassen for the reality-check. In many cases (New York, Texas, Chicago?) test score gains turn out to be due to....the test.

seattle said...

Um, Dora, why would I need to contact Brad Bernatek? His report on Srping 2010 MAP results for SPS is right here:

http://www.seattleschools.org
/area/board/09-10agendas/060210
agenda/mappresentation.pdf

(Thanks to Bird for providing the report)

Mr. Bernatek's report shows that average scores went up from fall 2009 to Spring 2010 in both math and reading in SPS. So Aunty's claim that "across most of our student population, SCORES WENT DOWN" and "The MAP test last year showed our kids in general were getting stupider. As far as I know, all schools, all grades." does not appear to be true.

Anonymous said...

Yep, my kid is getting stupider. There's a data point. That's how the MAP worked out for us. I asked that my kid be exempted, but they gave it anyway.

Parent of Stupider Kid

Melissa Westbrook said...

"But if you are going to challenge something then you should have some data or information to back up your position."

I will just quietly point out that Charlie and I have tried to keep our integrity and the integrity of this blog by seeking out and finding data. But we have both said, many times, that while you are only as good as your data, it is ALSO true that you are only as good as the data you get from the district.

That the district will

- stall
- not give complete data
- or give old data

is something that has happened to me many times. It is frustrating because you don't know what to think and you don't want to go off half cocked and yet you have waited and waited for the info you requested.

I would agree with Anonymom that second-hand sources (no matter how great) are as good as hard data but a Powerpoint from a staff member is no hard data.

The First Arnold said...

As long as I can remember, there have always been limitations with tests.

Met a 3rd grade teacher this weekend. A particular 3rd grade student's MAP test score revealed this child was at an 11th grade level, but in class, couldn't read 6th grade text.

Yet, if the Levy passes, the District is poised to spend millions and millions of dollars to set up computer infrastructure to correlate student test to teacher evaluation.

Complete waste of money. Vote NO on the Levy

dan dempsey said...

In regard to Step 5 AYP restructuring:

In many cases I find it to be a pointless non-productive penalty.


See the following two high schools (very high poverty) that quickly attained AYP step 5.

Note their Math and Science scores ... if AYP required restructuring helped them or State assistance helped them in either Math or Science please tell me how.

Toppenish High

White Swan High

Toppenish had a competent principal, who had come from Castle Rock. Note scores at Castle Rock from 2001 to 2004 in grade 10 and compare with earlier scores in grade 7.

So AYP sacked the principal and he became admin ... today he is Superintendent of the School District on San Juan Island.

AYP does identify problems but unfortunately does not present effective solutions ... especially in high poverty areas.

When a district has difficulty in retaining and attracting a high quality staff, .... does it really make sense to fire half the staff and replace the principal?

==========

I see MAP as pointless expensive numbers that give little or no indication of where effective interventions would need to be provided to individual children.

The lack of thoughtful consideration to developing an effective overall plan for improvement in the SPS borders on criminal. (Auditor's report)

========
Both the NTN contract and the MAP contract were expensive and largely indicative of the misguided direction (non-leadership) coming from both MGJ and her favorite four directors.

Bird said...
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Bird said...

The thing I find the most intersting about Bernatek's presentation is the "Equivalent Percentile" graphs by grade and ethnicity.

From this graph it appears that the average first grade white MAP score is higher than the 85% threshold that the district has set for scheduling cognitve testing. This isn't true for any other group, and for some other groups the average percentile is so low, I imagine a very small number of students in those groups hitting that threshold.

I would think this would be disastrous for diversity in the advanced learning program, although, admittedly, I don't know what the effects of the old system were. Maybe these results are no worse.

At first grade, I have to wonder whether this achievement threshold makes any sense as a barrier to cognitive testing.

Achievement in first grade would, I would guess, have less to do with a kid's potential to move ahead quickly in school than how much kids have been introduced to academic matierials prior to entering school.

Anonymous said...

I completely disagree with using MAP for any threshold entry to programs or for any reason at all at the K-2 level.

It is a waste of time. Ask your favorite K2 teacher what they think.

Who wants to start an organized movement to direct this wasted time to more classroom direct assessment at the K-2 level.

Miffed in Magnolia

ParentofThree said...

While we are on the subject of data coming from the district, any report on savings from transportation changes for the 2008/09 school year, which ended almost four months ago?

Anonymous said...

All I can say is in Magnolia, we've got so many busses it's impossible to see ANY possibility of cost savings. I've seen busses going to Hay/Coe, Lawton/Blaine, McClure (of course).. 2 for each of these, Garfield (wow, still?), Hamilton, Tops, Salmon Bay, lots of short busses, Indian Heritage school. That's pretty much the way it always was. And now, it's no different. Where's the savings?

Magnolia Resident

wseadawg said...

Using the MAP as a screening device for Advanced Learning makes it a per se high-stakes test. It is not a test designed to identify advanced learners, and should not, in any cases be used in that way. Should kids who score highly on it be informed of their scores and encouraged to undergo further testing? Certainly. Why not? I see no harm in that. But to do the inverse is a completely inappropriate use of the test, and is likely foreclosing the identification of, and opportunity for, many, many advanced learners.

seattle said...
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Unknown said...

I look forward to reading the history of th POA. I'm pretty sure the phrase "under god" was added in the 50's to help identify those nasty Commies who would refuse to say the words.

I think it's wise to pet schools and principals and school boards decide when and if to say the pledge, regardless of what the law says.

seattle said...

I think anonymous is right. For elementary a kid can still go to any school in their attendance area and as long as they live more than 1.0 mile from the school they get transportation, so it's not much different than the old SAP. Plus elementary students get transportation to k-8's and option schools in their service area. That's a lot of transportation.

Based on my address an elementary age kid would be eligible for transportation to a total of 8 elementary and option schools. My MS child would be eligible for transportation to a total of 4 middle schools. Eckstein, Hamilton if they are in APP, Jane Addams, and AS1.

Can't imagine we have any savings, and I'm with parentofthree - I want to see some reports.

Bird said...

It is not a test designed to identify advanced learners

It's not?

I have doubts about how MAP is being used in regard to access to advanced learning programs, but I don't think I'd say it's not a test designed to identify advanced learners.

...maybe it's not a test solely to designed to identify advanced learners.

ParentofThree said...

I looked at the MAP slideshow and frankly I had more questions then anwsers. First, what is the Fall benchmark by grade, what is the Spring benchmark by grade? Why in the upper grades, 6th onward does it look like students do not make much progress on this test from Fall to Spring?

Slide 5: % of Students Meeting Typical Growth from Fall 09 to Spring 10 by Grade.
Indicates that 8 grade showed a 60% increase in students meeting typical growth from Fall to Spring. Then why when I go back to slides 3 and 4 do I see nearly flat bars for this grade? Doesn't tie out.

Slide 8- is it telling me that Whites nationally drop nearly 20 points for math from grades 1 - 8. And Native Americans are the only group that shows improvement from grades 1-8? Same with reading.

What is happening here? Test fatigue?

From the NWEA Parent toolkit:

"RIT scores range from about 150 to 300. Students typically start at the 150-190 level in the third grade and progress to the 240-300 level by high school."

SPS students look good in 3rd grade, but by highschool, they are very low (220) and not making any progression.

What does this tell SPS?

Anonymous said...

New topic -

What are parent experiences in dealing with conflicts with particular teachers? Have you found the principal supportive in helping work out solutions? Or have you been made to feel you are the only one with a problem (when you know other parents are also voicing the same complaints)?

A parent

Anonymous said...

It's not like they're using the MAP test unreasonably for advanced learning. 85% is more than reasonable. It's actually generous. To demonstrate need for a special "advanced" program, you should be, well, "ahead". And, even if a kid is super-smart, if they aren't academically ahead, or inclined, or motivated to be ahead, then there's no need to test them for an inappropriate program. You could do then cognitive test first, and put a cut-off on a cognitive level for continuing on to the academic testing. But, why should they do it that way? They're already doing the MAP testing to test academic achievement.

Magnolia resident.

Charlie Mas said...

A really smart kid would be ahead in their academics IF they were exposed to advanced stuff. Even smart people can't know what they have not been taught.

This is why Spectrum Young Scholars didn't have an academic achievement requirement for students in primary grades, just a cognitive ability requirement. It allowed eligibility in the program for bright students who didn't have the privilege of exposure to academic work beyond grade level.

Bird said...

Slide 8- is it telling me that Whites nationally drop nearly 20 points for math from grades 1 - 8. And Native Americans are the only group that shows improvement from grades 1-8? Same with reading.

It's important to remember that this isn't a picture of what happens to a student as they move across the grades.

It's just a snapshot of how students in each grade performed going at one point of time.

The students in grade 8 and 9 are different students from the ones in grades 1 and 2.

I wonder about the Native American rise. It'd be nice to think that this is due to some great improvement for individual students in that category, but it could just be that the make-up of the category has changed over time.

The Supreme Court struck down SPS's use of a racial tie breaker in school assignments back in 2007. It may have been adventageous to students to be categorized as a minority prior to that. Identifying yourself as Native American may have helped you secure a seat in a school of your choice. Perhaps the category is more broadly representative of the general population for older kids because of this.

This is highly speculative. I don't really know if this is why the testing results show such a dramatic lift in later grades, but it illustrates just one way such an apparent trend could exist without being representive of an actual improvement for individual students.

Likewise, I would guess the MAP norming data would be skewed in later grades by dropouts. This may change the make up of the populations both in the norming group and in the Seattle data, making any supposition of trends for individual students suspect.

Also "typical growth" ranges get smaller on the MAP in higher grades. This explains the confusion over the high rate of students meeting "typical growth" vs. the apparently small gains in the later grades.

Anonymous said...

If you need a good laugh today, check the Daily Show where Lewis Black did a piece on education crisis.

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-october-5-2010/back-in-black---education-crisis

The best bit was the commentary on Tony Danza's foray into teaching (a new reality show). He decided to try "teaching" High School English after undergoing one summer of training. Given the plan for TAF, can we get "Teaching for the Stars" as well?

Laughing for my sanity in SPS

Melissa Westbrook said...

I saw that when it aired. I can't believe that every Tom, Dick and Tony think that they can be great teachers.

seattle citizen said...

SPS Observer: I guess you felt you had to call me "illiterate" because I said that the idea that schools should be restructured due to the failings of just some students and/or some teachers was "absurd." Maybe I had it coming to me. Seems harsh...

At any rate, I stand by my argument: It appears that you believe an entire schools should be labeled "failing"
(and perhaps sanctioned) because some students/teachers aren't successful. To me, this just doesn't make sense, especially when there is good stuff going on in the school that might be threatened by the principal or half the teachers being pulled out.

However, I think I understand more fully your point, that the school should receive notice that some of its students aren't successful. I agree. But I disagree with the strategy available in federal law and in the strategy available in the new contract, for example, that allows the district to identify "failing schools" and insert changes. I'm not against changes, I'm against arbitrary changes that sweep broadly and indiscriminately: While the district is looking at the "failures" in a school, is it also looking at the successes, protecting them and trying to scale them up within the building? If not, then it could at least do the least harm by identifying the "failures," working with them, and not tear into successful aspects of the school.

ParentofThree said...

"Or have you been made to feel you are the only one with a problem (when you know other parents are also voicing the same complaints)?"

Yep, I have had that experience, I think it is a principal management tactic taught in Dealing with Parents 101.

Anonymous said...

No SC, I called you illiterate because you are unable to read with comprehension. Nobody said anything about destroying schools, did they? (Underline it in the text, if you come to that phrase or reference.) You seem so bent in your opinions that your reading ability is impacted. Yes, it's useful to shine a light on the fact that some schools aren't performing well for ALL students. Unlike my school experience, teachers now actually TRY to teach many more students. Previously, nobody really cared if entire groups did absolutely nothing in school. This relatively new effort on reaching most students is a result of NCLB, and that is a good thing. Is it perfect? No. It's also useful to require some options for students in those schools: go to another school, have a tutor. There doesn't seem to be ANY true penalty of note, and none too onerous. Drastic changes you mention, like removing half the teachers, weren't imposed by the federal government, or by NCLB statute. Districts themselves chose that course of action, on their own. You mention "removing the principal" as some bad consequence of NCLB. But the district does that to everyone, all the time, for no reason discernible outside itself. It's not a particular consequence or punishment, evidently. And, Seattle isn't alone. Principal tenure in a school is short in most urban districts.

You seem to take personal offense at the terms used in the act, and not to be able to move past the terminology. Failing school. Is it going to hurt somebody's feelings? Does it cause bad things to happen to a school? Does it make you NOT want to attend a certain school? You wouldn't want your kid at Garfield, for example, because it is a "failing school"? Very few people have any idea about which schools are failing, which aren't, or what it means. It simply doesn't even register. Most people are able to understand that a label is only 1 small part of something, and have learned to consider other things as well. Also a good thing.

--SPS Observer

seattle said...
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seattle said...

SC is defensive because he is a teacher and a union man. He does not share the perspective of a parent.

Anonymous is right when he says that for years nobody did anything about bad schools. Those schools - and they were schools - were left to flounder with little, if any, intervention or assistance. Kids who were failing were tracked into remedial classes, shuffled into alternative programs for failing students, and they were encouraged to drop out.

Now with NCLB at least there is some accountability. A light is being shined on low performing schools, and the district has to offer families other school options and tutors. It's not much, but it is a start and it's better than it was before NCLB.

Maureen said...

SPS Observer or others: as a point of clarification, am I right in thinking that only members of the subgroup identified as 'failing' are eligible for free tutoring and placement at/transportation to a school that is not failing in their subcategory? (Or does everyone at the school qualify for those?)

Does anyone know how many kids are getting outside tutoring as a result of NCLB? (Craigslist is full of ads for NCLB tutors, so it seems like it must be quite a few.)

Stu said...

Subject change for this open thread.

Just read, with a certain amount of digust, the Seattle Times report Garfield teams on probation until September 2012 and was surpised to see the severity of the punishment. There must be more, A LOT MORE, to this story if they're not only punishing the football team but all other Garfield sports as well.

Anyone know the truth . . . I try not get my news from the Times.

stu

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

Hibiscus said...
SC is defensive because he is a teacher and a union man. He does not share the perspective of a parent. (...) Now with NCLB at least there is some accountability. A light is being shined on low performing schools, and the district has to offer families other school options and tutors. It's not much, but it is a start and it's better than it was before NCLB.


I'm a parent and I agree with SC 99% of the time, so to imply that teachers and parents have necessarily different values and goals is just your opinion. Btw, how do you know that SC isn't a parent too?

NCLB has been a disaster. The "light" it has shone has been a punitive interrogation "light" that depicts most all schools, teachers, principals and kids as failures. It has basically set up parameters in which most every school is deemed failing.

How convenient for the privatizers who can then say 'the entire system is broken and needs to be handed over to us!' (to profit from). For starters, that is a lie. The entire system is not broken. There are inspired, successful and popular programs and schools in our nation's public school system, and there are weak ones.

At this point, the punitive and ineffective nature of NCLB has been so discredited that I am surprised that anyone would support it.

What in the 10 years or so of its existence has NCLB actually accomplished? If it has been so successful, why then are the reformites declaring our schools are still in a state of "crisis" (as indicated by the apocalyptic tenor of "Waiting for Superman" and other reform-pushing packaging).

Of course we as a nation should care about any schools in which the kids are struggling. But to close these kids' schools completely, fire the staff, or "reconstitute" the schools has been shown not to help. In fact, it is very destructive. All it does is create a huge amount of upheaval in the lives of some of our most disadvantaged kids.

There has to be a middle ground.

Ed reformers want to take an ax to our schools when the solutions require more insightful long-term investments that aren't flashy or high tech.

Here's an idea for the ed reformers -- Let's borrow from the medical profession and live by this: "First, do no harm." Leave the schools that are thriving alone. (Sounds obvious, but "reformers" like our own Goodloe-Johnson are not doing that.) Study what positive innovations already exist organically within our public schools, and replicate them -- instead of outsourcing the district's responsibilities to a charter franchise middleman like KIPP or Green Dot (whose CEOs are coming to town, btw, compliments of LEV and Gates and the usual suspects who are itching to privatize our schools).

Ditch all the mindless testing and instead invest in what actually helps the kids -- smaller class sizes, stable environment, inspired curriculum, safe and clean school facilities. Some kids may also need wraparound social services. Those aren't inexpensive, but if this district would only stop throwing away money at questionable distractions like the $4.3 million MAP test and instead spend that money on services for the neediest kids and an inspired curriculum for all kids, I guarantee we would see all our schools strengthened and we'd see happier, more academically successful, kids.

As for "accountability" with NCLB, if you mean the culture of fear in which schools are forced to obsess over test scores and test scores only, or districts are forced to fire perfectly good principals just because NCLB mandates that somebody's head has got to roll, or schools are closed and sold off to private charter franchises -- then you and I have very different definitions of the term.

NCLB is a failure, as is Obama's continuation and variation of it (RTTT).

--sue p.

seattle said...
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seattle said...

"What in the 10 years or so of its existence has NCLB actually accomplished"

A) Public disclosure, and accountability. Schools have to disclose their test scores now. They didn't have to do that before NCLB
B) Failing, title I schools, have to offer students a transfer to a higher performing school, and tutoring.
C) Districts can no longer ignore failing schools. They must take steps to improve them. They may be weak steps, but they are steps none the less.

"But to close these kids' schools completely, fire the staff, or "reconstitute" the schools has been shown not to help."

Can you show an example of this happening in SPS? The closest I've seen is STEM placed at Cleveland (with no principal or staff change), and some principal shuffling (they get moved around but not fired) at a couple of other schools.

"Ditch all the mindless testing and instead invest in what actually helps the kids -- smaller class sizes, stable environment, inspired curriculum, safe and clean school facilities"

I don't disagree with you. All of the things you mention are great. I however think test scores do play an important role. Not the solo role, but an important role. As a parent I want some type of measure of my students academic progress, compared district wide. In fact I'd like to see my kids academic progress measured against students nationally. I want to know our district, and my kids school, is competitive.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Hibiscus, that IS the major failure of NCLB that we cannot compare students nationally. If Bush had been serious about knowing how American students are doing, we would have one national test that all districts give (developed by a blue-ribbon panel, blah, blah). Instead, we have 50 and we have no way of knowing how kids really do state to state.

Melissa Westbrook said...

A Parent, yes, I've seen this.

Look, you MUST be your child's advocate because honestly, no one else is. Teachers circle the wagons, principals protect teachers (in order to protect themselves) and there's your child.

I think most teachers are willing to listen if there is a concern but the minute you ask if maybe there is something they might be willing to consider to do, that flies out the door.

Also, never go to a school meeting alone because you will rarely meet with anyone there alone. The teacher will have a counselor or principal for backup so YOU bring backup (even if it is just a friend who listens to the discussion). Do NOT let them drag your child in unless it was previously agreed to. It is very hard on a kid to get called to the office and face down a room of adults.

Document your meetings, e-mails, phone calls. You may need it later.

And when they tell you they "never" heard this before, you can be sure they have.

I appreciate teachers and principals but just as they protect their jobs, you have to protect your child.

seattle said...
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seattle said...

Yes, A Parent, Melissa is spot on. I'll echo what she said. Document any and every meeting, especially a SIT. Bring your husband/wife or a witness whenever possible and don't allow your child to attend the meeting even if requested. Expect the principal to protect the teacher at all costs, and to deny there is, or has ever been any problem. Also expect the Principal to deny having ever heard your issue or complaint from any other parent before. It's to bad that it has to be this way, and I don't understand how we got to this point, but it is what it is, and you have to be your child's advocate.