Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Education Reform Survey

(Update: spoke to OSPI. The survey is live only thru tomorrow (Thanksgiving). Apparently it was live for a couple of weeks but strange that Charlie or I didn't see it elsewhere sooner. Still waiting to see who wrote it and who paid for it. Apparently this is in response to RTTT.)

Thanks to an alert reader, we bring you this story from the Seattle P-I which will lead you to a survey from the OSPI on Education Reform.

Here is your chance to answer: Great idea or Greatest idea?


wseadawg said...

Okay. That survey is a worthless P.O.S., except for a Pro-Reformer. Rank all our tilted, reform-slanted ideas from 1 to 10, after you fully pledge yourself as a member of the reform movement by taking the survey in the first place.

Who wrote it? What are their affiliations? Who benefits? Who paid for it? (Better not be me!)

Charlie Mas said...

Here's an interesting option on this survey:

You don't have to include all of the goals or strategies in the rankings. You can leave some out.

Melissa Westbrook said...

First, I did like the layout and being able to move things around and, as Charlie points out, leave things out.

Second, I took it and put all this ed reform stuff at the bottom and put interventions and early help at the top.

But yes, who wrote it and who is paying for it are good questions.

Jet City mom said...

it adds a lot to be able to add comments-because some of the priorities- are broader than I would intend.
it is long though- I hope more people find out about it.

dan dempsey said...

I wrote a lot of detailed comments and skipped most of the propaganda sections.

Kathy said...

Similar to the SPS survey, it is best to use the comment box.

SPS survey did not allow skipping questions. Inadvertently, one would support Ed. Reform measures without realizing it. i.e Do you want an excellent teacher in every class? Of course, everyone would say "yes", thereby agreeing to Ed. Reform initiatives.

uxolo said...

IMPORTANT: if you want to leave something BLANK because you do not want to rank it - you can,
for example, if you do not want life in the SPS to be governed by ALIGNED standards you can not rank that (no stars) and not do the priority 1-4 box, then put a note in the comment/suggestion box.

LouiseM said...

But yes, who wrote it and who is paying for it are good questions.

I just took the survey and all the details are on the opening page. Who, why, what they'll do with the info.

Did folks miss that?

Chris S. said...

LouiseM, is says who is "involved." It didn't say who designed the survey of who, if anyone, got paid.

In the absence of other information, I would guess it's the education lobbyists, STAND and LEV who drove the content.

But hell, if they'll pay for full day K, I won't complain.

LouiseM said...

I guess I'm not as skeptical. If it's driven by the state, I assume OSPI paid for it with whatever dollars they have for this kind of stuff.

There are education reform actions that are state driven. Not everything comes from private entities like LEV and STAND.

Our school systems need help and I for one am glad the state is actually taking some initiative on their own.

wseadawg said...

LouiseM: I appreciate your sentiments, but aren't you putting up a straw man? Who here isn't in favor of the State stepping up efforts to help kids?

It's the means, not the goal, people are suspicious of and skeptical about.

Granted it takes a lot of skill to make a truly objective survey, but the pro- Ed Reform slant of this one is pretty apparent. Nice that they've already answered for us and merely ask us to rank them.

Where's the opposing view represented? Oops!

Chris S. said...

They'll find the opposing view in the comment boxes :)

LouiseM said...

They have to start somewhere. If they did an open "what do you think we need to fix/change" they'd get almost as many suggestion as people responding. The fact that they leave plenty of room to add more items tells me they are interested in input.

I just think that when you lead, you have to show something and not do the typical "I'll listen to everybody and try to make everybody happy" because you get exactly what we have--a state that no matter what the issue is, can't get things handled because of the process.

Again, I'm happy the state is taking initiative here. I'll participate and add my input when asked and will make a trip to Olympia if necessary to voice my opinion.

Anonymous said...

GOAL: All Washington students will enter kindergarten prepared for success in school and life
Response: What about safe neighborhoods, quality jobs with decent salaries, adequate healthcare and nutrition, neonatal support services, library services, police & fire protection that respects and engages local citizens, etc?Who is collecting this information?
Ensure that what is taught, expected, and assessed in preK-grade 3 is closely coordinated (i.e., align standards, assessment, instructional, and programmatic practices)
Response: Alignment and assessment shouldn't even be considered as priorities. Giving children the opportunities to engage with other children, other adults, that encourages them to explore and be creative is far more important.
GOAL: All Washington students compete in mathematics and science nationally and internationally.
Response: Why does anyone accept, without question, that "Competing on the Global Stage" in any subject should be the driving force for educating children? It's the worst way to inspire learning in children. Did Bill Gates & Paul Allen get excited about computer programming because they knew it would prepare them to compete on the world stage? Read Yong Zhao's, Catching up or Leading the Way. Singapore and China consider their education systems in great need of renovation. Why? Their students are prepared to ace int'l science & math tests, but lack the key skills to succeed in the global business environment. As McKinsey & Co pointed out a few years ago for Chinese graduates. Do we want to base success on passing tests? Or, would it make more sense to check how well these students were doing as adults, several years later. A large, longitudinal study at UCLA found that one of the best determinants for success as an adult was a student's exposure to the arts from 8th-12th grades.
Briefly describe any expected results you believe are missing from this particular goal area. (Strategies for increasing participation and performance in STEM subjects)
Response: Wow! The Fun, the Challenge, the Creative Inspiration, the Sharing of Ideas seems to have escaped out the back emergency exit of this yellow bus.
GOAL: All Washington students attain high academic standards regardless of race, ethnicity, income or gender
Response: Where's all the money for this coming from?
GOAL: All Washington students attain high academic standards regardless of race, ethnicity, income or gender
Response: Again, Where's all the money for this coming from?
ken berry

Chris S. said...

Well, I was trying not to be an Alfie Kohn groupie, but too many comments have touched on issues examined in his recent blog post.

1) What does "ready to learn" mean in this context? Ready to sit still, shut up, and take a computerized assessment? Why are we engineering our children to fit our educational system rather than the other way around?

2) Noting the mission of university is to help those whe are already capable, rather than those who need it? Is this the best use of tax dollars?

Just makes for some interesting thinking.

IvyLeagueMom said...

I recall that during a conversation I had with one of the Civil Rights lawyers here at the Seattle Office of the Department of Education last year, I asked, "How bad does this District have to get before the Department of Education takes it over?" The lawyer's response, "They are getting close..."

This was in 2009.

Unknown said...

I'm a public school teacher, and it wasn't sent to me. It would have been easy to do an all-staff email at every school. This survey stinks to high heaven.

The First Arnold said...

Ivy League Mom,

Be careful what you ask for.

IvyLeagueMom said...

I am NOT asking for the DOE to take over, I was just curious as to how bad it had to be before they were to step in. I think they took over the Kent school district in the past, but I am not sure, I didn't live here then.

I am simply relaying some information. If we cannot figure out how to control our own District, apparently, it is a possible/likely consequence.

I also cringe at the thought of the Mayor's Office taking over.

And I NEVER say, "Well, it can't get any worse" because it always seems to.


Dorothy Neville said...

IvyLeagueMom. no need to apologize for relaying a conversation.

Remember that legislature must be involved to allow the mayor to take over. If there is one institution that the legislature trusts LESS than the Seattle School District, it is Seattle City Government. A small consolation.

My pie in the sky fantasy is a parent take over. I am envisioning a 60s style sit-in. No, a camp-in, bring your toothbrush and groceries. A coalition of us with math, statistics, database, software engineering and financial analysis skills barricade ourselves into the IT department in JSCEE and staying until we have done all the statistical analysis we have ever wanted. We can set up a twitter account and anyone can tweet us there top questions.

What was the "correct" figure Brad was looking for? Remember he missed some CTE courses and probably missed those who took advanced math in middle school, summer stretch or Running start. What was the corresponding percent for GPA of 2.5?
Break down the AP courses taken by electives vs required courses?
Compare PSAT scores by middle school attended (they were all using different math at the time)
What happened to Winter MAP scores?
We could set up an account with the college tracking to find out more on who starts but does not finish a two year degree, who starts and does finish a four year degree. How does that relate to the rubric Brad used? (even though he undercounted. THAT's what gets me. That he realized he undercounted and did not come clean. That's a different and worse sin than realizing your metric was imperfect.)
Where is all the money and how did it get spent?

kid not like the others said...

i have wondered the same thing, how bad does it have to get before there is an outside agency intervention? perhaps it's the 'heart of an auditor' in me, but lord! bad audit reports, undecipherable budgeting, shell games, constant cover-ups for decisions that ignore data and defy common sense, bold face lies... it this were private company, we could alert the irs or sec. as a public agency,what recourse do we have?

karyn king said...

What about the Attorney General? Isn't he the public's lawyer?

dan dempsey said...

Dear K.K.,

The AG's office normally defends public officials and often from the Public.

The only way to get the AG to act is with a request from

A.. A county prosecutor
(will not do anything with out a Police complaint and the Police will not file a complaint about school officials they refer you to the State Auditor)

B.. A request to investigate from the Office of the Governor.

C.. A request from the State Auditor but the State Auditor's Office only makes referrals based on significant findings.

Any complaints that are in anyway involved with current litigation will not be referred to the AG's office until the litigation has been concluded.

Pretty tough to get an action against a Superintendent for even a Class C Felony under this system.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Kid, your comment reminded me of why I get frustrated. If almost any other governmental entity had the reports/lack of achievement as the district, the public wouldn't take it. The City Council would be all over any department that behaved like this. When the Port Commission had their terrible audit, it was front page news.

OSPI is no kind of watchdog either. I'm not even sure they have watchdog status at the district except over grants.

But as I say, I feel that storm coming.

dan dempsey said...

In addition to frustration about accountability .....

include NSF/EHR the Darth Vader arm of the National Science Foundation .... Education and Human Resources.

When I tried to get some form of accountability for NSF/EHR spending in Math at UW to help SPS, YIKES ... I got this:

(1) NSF checks to see how the Project Director stated the money would be spent.

(2) A check is made to see if the money was spent as stated.

Note there is NO analysis of academic results.

I filed a complaint long ago with the Office of the Inspector General of the NSF and as might be expected nothing has happened as the investigation is still ongoing.

Yeah ... sure it is ... I'll believe most anything.

dan dempsey said...

It seems the Watch Dogs are good at watching and little else.