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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It's Snow Quiet

Ever notice in Seattle how quiet it gets when it snows especially within a neighborhood? Few cars and just the sound of your feet stomping through the snow? I really like that.

But see, there's also another kind of quiet. The calm before the storm. I recognize this void, this lack of sound.

I recognize this because, deja vu, I've been through it before. Does anyone remember Joseph Olchefske? He was full of hot air (although admittedly he could be charming). He had a Board that was wrapped around his little finger with the notable exception of Mary Bass. They were an upright Board, professionals and solid citizens. They didn't listen to Mary and even ostracized Mary on the Board. It was painful to watch but the powers that be just tisk-tisked about how Mary didn't "work" with the rest of the Board. And indeed, she voted no on Olchefske's last budget even though she couldn't quite explain what the problem was. (It was buried.)

But it came to light and the district had lost $32M and the rest is history.

I had been thinking of this and then I received a copy of the explanation that Dr. Goodloe-Johnson is trying to sell on the 17% issue. (Printed at the end of this thread.) I think in a way that she and her powers around her think that if they blah, blah, blah enough and actually provide an explanation that everyone will go "Oh, I get it. Thanks" and just go on their way. That providing an explanation lets them off the hook.

The explanation?

In a nutshell, that college readiness can be defined in multiple ways. (They do say both the minimum to graduate from high school and the minimum to apply to college. But kids, those are probably two different things and just because you graduated from high school doesn't mean you are ready for college and yet there you are.) And, they just didn't explain their thinking correctly (at least that's what I think they are saying).

At the time we calculated that 17% of our students graduated from SPS college and career ready, we used a very aggressive standard to determine the percent of SPS students that were college ready based on our understanding of what is needed to be admitted and succeed in college, not simply the minimum requirements to apply.

What "aggressive standard"? It's clearly one that Brad made up because he left C students out entirely. So whose standard was it?

The closest they get to being wrong is this:

In retrospect, this review should have been accelerated and we should have been more proactive, both internally with staff and externally with key stakeholders, when the original statistic was held back in 2009 and was under further review. In addition, we should have been clearer that this represented a standard more rigorous than the minimum HECB requirements.

There's no apology to either parents, teachers or the community groups using their misunderstood figure. There's no telling us that this is an isolated event. They are saying they just did not explain it well or clearly.

No they didn't. They lied and they knew they were lying. Enough said. I honestly don't know how much more people need. Apparently Michael DeBell is trying to save face as well. I like Michael so I will follow the adage "If you can't say anything nice...."

Keep count, keep track because it only seems to be getting worse. The house of cards is starting to teeter. It's just a matter of what wind blows it over.

Dear Seattle Public Schools Community,

In 2008, Seattle Public Schools (SPS) published a conservative data point aimed at determining the percent of students that graduate from SPS ready for a 4-year college. This specific data point is complex and one that districts across the state and the country grapple with as they try to quantify college and career ready. College readiness measures can be defined in multiple ways: the minimum requirements necessary to graduate high school, minimum requirements necessary to apply to a 4-year college, minimum requirements to successfully enroll in a college or university or meeting the necessary requirements to succeed in and graduate from college.

At the time we calculated that 17% of our students graduated from SPS college and career ready, we used a very aggressive standard to determine the percent of SPS students that were college ready based on our understanding of what is needed to be admitted and succeed in college, not simply the minimum requirements to apply. (i.e. graduating high school in four years, successful completion of four years of mathematics, successful completion of three years of science and earning a letter grade of "B" or higher in each of their core classes.

This specific data point sparked significant public dialogue. In 2009, we chose not to include this statistic in the initial release of the district scorecard because we wanted to review it further; we publicly announced it was under review. In 2010, after additional research and discussion, we revised the statistic on the district scorecard using reduced math and science requirements as well as a reduction in the minimum core GPA from a letter grade of "B" to a "C" that are more in line with the Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board (HECB) minimum requirements to apply to college. Further, at the 11/17/2010 board workshop, the district stated that the statistic changed and provided an explanation.

In retrospect, this review should have been accelerated and we should have been more proactive, both internally with staff and externally with key stakeholders, when the original statistic was held back in 2009 and was under further review. In addition, we should have been clearer that this represented a standard more rigorous than the minimum HECB requirements.

Our five-year strategic plan, Excellence for All, explicitly calls out ambitious and aggressive goals for our students because as a district we believe that all of our students can meet these standards. The primary purpose of the plan is to shine a light on an array of student achievement data so that the community could have a conversation about the progress of our students and so that we could collectively act on it. We thought then, and continue to believe now, that it is critical to communicate measures related to high school readiness for college and careers. This measure was of one of ten measures focusing on high school test results and college and career readiness. We have rigorously evaluated this measure and determined, for accountability purposes, that it is more appropriate to align our measure with the more common definition of the minimum entrance requirements as defined by the Washington HECB.

The efforts in which we are engaged are critical to the success of our students. We envision a school system in which all of our students graduate from high school, meet the requirements for, and are successful in, college and are career ready. We remain confident that we will achieve these goals. We also look forward to further communication and discussion on the district scorecard and school reports at our upcoming regional meetings <http://www.seattleschools.org/area/news/1011/20101105_Regional_Meetings_School_Reports.pdf> , co-sponsored by the Seattle Council PTSA. The first meeting is scheduled for November 29. I also encourage you to email me directly at superintendent@seattleschools.org <mailto:superintendent@seattleschools.org> if you have any additional questions or concerns.


70 comments:

The First Arnold said...

According to Sundquist (Nov. 17th board meeting), it appears board members are working with community members to support a Harlem type Charter School.

I believe the District and board's goal is to institute Charter Schools within SPS.

In an attempt to further the charter movement, I suspect this board will brush the latest fiasco under the rug. Even, if the district has misrepresented facts to the public.

Mark my words.

dan dempsey said...

MGJ thanks so much for 6 paragraphs of Blah, Blah, Blah.

Here is what you needed to say:

November 23, 2010

Dear Students, Parents, and others in the Seattle Community,

I misled the Public by publishing fraudulent information on page 11 of my Strategic Plan on June 4, 2008.

Graduates meeting High School credit requirement for four-years colleges = 17%

I shall attempt to continue to try to deceive you, especially in regard to the 17% matter. Just read my 6 paragraphs if you have any doubt.

I have the Board in my "Back Pocket" and a contract with three more years to run.

Go away and stop bothering me. I find public testimonies an annoyance and school activism distasteful.

Everyone Accountable,

Maria Goodloe-Johnson, PhD.

dan dempsey said...

Not so quiet anymore...

Check this.

"The Goodloe-Johnson Strategic Plan, p. 11 on Schools Matter.

There is going to be one really large bump in any rug the District tries to sweep this issue under.

dan dempsey said...

Melissa,

Where did you find this 6 paragraph letter from MGJ?

Thanks,

Dan

ParentofThree said...

Here's some more "stats" touted by the supe in her 2009 Excellence for All Report to the Community.

This past year, despite a very turbulent economy, we have worked hard to close our budget shortfall and strengthen the fi scal health of our district for the future. We have made tough decisions that will allow us to:
:: Cut $4 million in administrative expenses.
:: Save $50 million over five years in capital and operating
expenses by closing fi ve schools.
:: Save more than $2 million by standardizing bus arrival and
departure times.


The last one made me really LOL...as we are STILL waiting that report! And I know the $50 mill savings by closing schools, is sort of right. Should have been will spend $50 million opening schools in just one year alone, but hey, whose counting!

Melissa Westbrook said...

Dan, it was forwarded to me.

Also, page 4 of the report you cite:

"We will work within our means. We will only commit to those things for which we have resources."

Explain TFA. Explain STEM. Where do we have the extra resources for these things (or better yet, what is getting left behind)?

another mom said...

This will be in the ST soon. All hands are on deck doing damage control. Dr. G-J's letter has a very corporate tone. Give an explanation without admission of any misleading or an attempt to mislead. Throw in some stats maybe a few facts and then talk about the higher purpose of it all. No apologies, no mea culpas. It makes me wretch.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Another Mom, you're right and you remind me that I forgot to put something in the thread.

Good job, Strategies 360.

ParentofThree said...

One other thing. Aren't these stats the benchmarks that MGJ could earn merit pay?

There is another stat that is bothering me. Only 16% of students were taking AP exams. That also seems low.

Dorothy Neville said...

" In 2009,[...] we publicly announced it was under review."

Does anyone have proof of this? That's what I would like to know. Heidi Bennett used the statistic in September 2010. When asked, Sharon Rodgers did not mention a public announcement of review, but pointed to the 2008 report.

Linda Shaw also points out that Brad erred in not counting all the math courses, as he misunderstood CTE courses. So there is more going on than simply using a more aggressive standard.

Recall that Brad was nonplussed when he calculated that the black white achievement gap persisted when income was factored out. He does not know enough about statistics, he does not know enough about education. He sat on the PSAT data for over a year. It wasn't the board that got him to create a report, it was a citizen open record request. And the report he created was cursory.

According to his FB/LinkedIn profiles, his first degree was in "European Intellectual History." Also has an MBA from Indiana U in marketing and finance and an MA from U of Michigan B-School. Two B-school masters degrees?

And SPS is the longest he has been employed in any job.

10/93 to 8/96 Financial analyst for Ford.
9/98 to 10/02 principal consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers
10/02 to 7/03 principal consultant for IBM

6/06 to present SPS

wseadawg said...

Got it.

So next time I tell a lie, I won't really be "lying," but "aggressively" telling the truth.

Charlie Mas said...

It's nice that the Superintendent provides an accurate definition for the number today, but the problem isn't that they used an aggressive standard but that they claimed it represented the minimum for entry when they now acknowledge that it represented their minimum for success.

They lied. Then and Now. There is no escaping it.

owlhouse said...

I'm less interested in considering all the possible calculations that might have led to the 17% figure then about the massive communication failures between SPS HQ and our high schools. Wouldn't you think that principals, counselors and teachers would have enough anecdotal data to refute those numbers? Did anyone from Mr. Bernatek's team check in with folks on the ground? Did anyone from the schools report that the number seemed way off? I understand the appeal of data in a vacuum but the straight puzzle master approach is so incomplete as to essentially invalidate the findings.

MGJ says "At the time we calculated that 17% of our students graduated from SPS college and career ready..." So wait. Now the 17% is to account for career readiness too? I've always wondered how we define career ready. Did Mr B get to invent his own defination?

Personally, I find the most telling piece of the whole story is not MGJ's inability to admit wrongdoing, but the absence of vision. We do not hear from her or the district any advocacy for citizenship, ingenuity, leadership, compassion... as end goals for our students. Nothing inspirational or even meaningful in her "We envision a school system in which all of our students graduate from high school, meet the requirements for, and are successful in, college and are career ready."

I guess our whole job is to get them to college or working. Why bother with an extra line about the importance of civic engagement or creative problem solving abilities? Schools should only concern themselves with measurable qualities.

Anonymous said...

Ok, but could someone tell me why it was to her advantage to report 17%? Seems to me that it only makes her & the entire system look bad. Was there anything to gain?

Thanks,
JA K-8 Mom

Worried... said...

Funny how it seems no one ever chased down that 32 mil.

dan dempsey said...

Owlhouse....

When schools live in fear of central administrative reprisals...

It could be a case of Don't Ask and Don't tell.

Note the RIFing of counselors etc.
better to duck than stand up given the administrative circumstances under the current regime.

ConcernedSPSParent said...

Simply put if they lie to us and
put out an artificially low number
and don't get caught they can then
reveal a wonderful new number which
validates all their own efforts.
It's a shell game. The South East Initiative was a complete failure
and yet the Superintendent still
says it was a success. Have the Broad, sorry Board ever stood up
to that 'misrepresentation'?.
It's really revealing to me that
DeBell and Maria are now
saying the meaningless 17% number
was holding us to a higher
standard. Do they think another
level of lies brings them respect?
What effect did the 17%
meaningless number have in enabling
reform minded organizations to
further their own agenda?.
It seems quite clear to me the
district has been caught in a lie,
the Board have been caught allowing
the lie; so it's time to lie some
more in the hope they will appear
to be doing 'right by us'. A lie
is a lie and it brings contempt
for those responsible for it.

Dorothy Neville said...

Worried, the Moss Adams report found most of it, but never found 9 million.

JA mom. Remember, this figure was from a year before she arrived. It was extra proof of how very very terrible the district was and that she should have carte blanche to control all the money and charge forth like a bull in a china shop to fix it. The terrible shock of it helped sway private donors and helped sway the ed-reform agenda of scapegoating the teachers and bringing in TfA. After all, if we are in such a horrible shape with our graduates, surely TfA stars with their five weeks of training would be an improvement and certainly could not be worse.

I just cannot believe how many people accepted it without questioning it. I first remember hearing it in September, and within a week we were discussing it here. Seattle Parent found the BERC website and we all dismissed the 17% as just one more lie.

What I am troubled with is that we didn't do anything with this. Why not? We discussed it, researched it and concluded it was false. Why didn't we pursue it further? In hindsight it sure seems like a scandal and seems to have cost Brad his job (although, do we have proof of that yet?). Are we just so used to being lied to, to having the PTB ignore us that we just went oh well, and on our merry way?

Central Mom said...

In retrospect, this review should have been accelerated and we should have been more proactive, both internally with staff and externally with key stakeholders...

1) Is "key stakeholders" supposed to be a delicate nod to people like Ramona Hattendorf head of PTSA and Norm Rice, former mayor and current head of The Seattle Foundation? Both fine citizens used this data to rally their respective constituencies on efforts the Central Administration has deemed important. And I imagine they both feel a bit chagrined today for doing so. If I were these "key stakeholders" I'd expect a specific, in-person apology.

2) Who exactly ARE the district's "key external stakeholders." I think that definition would be very interesting. I'd like to see it officially explained from the District's side. I'd like to see that definition written down on official paper.

owlhouse said...

JA K-8 Mom-
I think there's a pretty comprehensive "reformers" wish list of gains made w/ the help of the 17% lie. Once the situation is so dire- we're really in an emergency situation. Time for radical shifts, and no time to review the facts or engage the public. I'd tie the whole 17%gate to:

-new testing products- MAP (teachers must have them to better evaluate needs, it's urgent!)
-aligned curriculum (teacher are failing! we must give them scripts)
-merit pay (teachers are failing, maybe they'll be better if we bribe w/ a few bucks?!?!)
-teacher evals tied to student performance (we have to find out who is failing the other 83% of our kids!)
-close schools, cut transit (we're hemorrhaging! we can't afford the luxury of meeting students needs w/ alternatives/choice/moderate capacity)
-Core 24 (quick, send the lobbyists, we're failing, we need more classes!)
-TFA (Can't you see our teachers suck?!? Bring in the fresh faces, stat)
-Levy $, grants (SOS! The kids are drowning, they'll never make it, send $$$)

The list goes on.

In no way am I dismissive of the very real need to improve our system. But the multiple breeches of trust make it near impossible for the communities best able to identify challenges and solutions (families, students, teachers, bldg admin) to work with the institution steering the ship (SPS).

Turns out, the sky is not falling. We are holding steady, and need to move forward from here.

dan dempsey said...

Dorothy,

What difference would it have made if the 17% number was pursued earlier?

If the Times does not write about it, it never happened.

We have an accumulated mass of misfeasance, malfeasance, gross misdemeanors, audit findings, violations of Oath of Office, and now a likely Class C felony and it merits a big "So What" in terms of action.

I think more work on 17% earlier would have made no difference at all.

dan dempsey said...

Great list Owlhouse....

Do Not forget the need to hurry and implement the NSAP ASAP and the expensive poorly analyzed "all ahead full spending" New Tech Network contract for Cleveland STEM, to make the NSAP work as planned.

As Betty Patu explained ... she proposed waiting at least a year to analyze what is going on before proceeding.

If there is one thing the Board and MGJ cannot tolerate, it is a calm careful analysis of the evidence related to the situation.

Sue said...

I just have a request of Melissa and Charlie: can you just label every post related to information coming from the district under your handy "bullshit" label ? Might make things easier!

owlhouse said...

Dan-
I know. I understand the need of schools (and staff) to keep their heads down, not draw attention. I'm just raising the point that we lose a lot when we can't rely on our schools' experience and expertise to inform our research and practices.

Melissa Westbrook said...

JA K-8 Mom, I don't know if you mean how it was found out. (Did someone report this to Linda Shaw and the Truth Needle? I didn't.)

Or did you mean how it benefited her to have such a figure? Well, as the wonderful Meg Diaz reports, the Strategic report had said by 2012-2013, the number should be up to 40% so if you started at 17% and got it to 45% plus (where it was anyway), you look like, well, Superman.

kid not like the others said...

de bell sounded a little unsure as he was speaking w/ schram. when i heard his explanation of the situation after reading on this blog that he was a lon skeptic, i knew the cover up had begun-

so, who went 'off script'?

ConcernedSPSParent said...

Precisely Mellisa, the district
intentionally low-balled the number
'lied' and now they are just great!.
So sad DeBell has no backbone....

SP said...

Dorothy- "why didn't we pursue it further?"

Good question & that's why I like this blog, as someone else pointed out, we all are following our own issues, but here we can share that knowlegdge and it helps us with the bigger picture.

You won't believe the timing of this, but the 17% college ready has really bugged me in my high school issues, since I first saw it at a district Strategic Meeting, Jan. 2008. I knew from the BERC report that the state ave. was 48%, so something must have been off, but time to follow all these issues runs thin with priorities taking over.

I finally read the District scorecard last month someone mentioned here, from 2008-09 with the College ready data removed "TBD pending due to further review and completion of HS alignment work". That caught my attention.

Then the new district scorecard came out, with totally new rates 44-49% and 80% goal instead of the 40% previously. Something completely changed- Believe it or not, as soon as I could at 10:30am this Sunday 21st (12 hrs. before the Times story was posted, and completely without any knowledge of it in the works), I sent a detailed email to the Strategic Plan lead listed on the SPS website asking how this could happen?

I couldn't believe my eyes when I read Melissa's post about the Times article. But as Dorothy pointed out, most of it was already covered in the Nov.17th Board Powerpoint and somehow I hadn't come across it. That's why this blog is so incredible, with so many people's knowledge and updates going on all the time. Thank you for all your hard work
(and I promise to report back when/if the district answers my email!)

Sahila said...

Snow quiet... the quiet before the storm...

SO WHAT IS THE SEATTLE COMMUNITY OF PARENTS AND TEACHERS GOING TO DO ABOUT THIS?

HOW MUCH MORE ARE YOU GOING TO TAKE?

HOW MUCH MORE ARE YOU GOING TO LET MGJ AND THE BOARD AND BROAD AND GATES GET AWAY WITH?

HOW MUCH MORE PROOF DO YOU NEED THAT WE AND OUR CHILDREN ARE MERE PAWNS IN A GAME TO PRIVATISE/TURN OVER PUBLIC EDUCATION IN THIS CITY TO THE DEFORMERS?

HOW MUCH PROOF DO YOU NEED THAT THEY'LL DO ANYTHING NECESSARY TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN, INCLUDING LYING, CHEATING AND STEALING?

WHAT ACTION ARE YOU GOING TO TAKE?

karyn king said...

WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST, SAHILA? Stop shouting and propose something constructive. We've tried lawsuits and recall...some of us can't do anything while this regime is in power or we will be fired.

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

Seek and you shall find, Dorothy. Better grab a barf bag. You're gonna need it.

Murdoch Buys Educational Technology Company

Some quote from the article linked above"

(The ARIS contracts -- worth tens of millions of dollars -- and the contracts the New York City Education Department has issued for its School of One program were apparently negotiated rather than competitively bid.)

After Klein's announcement, News Corp. officials told the New York Times that Klein would advise Murdoch on a number of initiatives, including "developing business strategies for the emerging educational marketplace."

Murdoch, chairman and chief operating officer of News Corp., has taken a keen interest in education reform lately, investing in Teach for America and some charter schools.


"When it comes to K through 12 education," Murdoch said in a statement about the Wireless Generation purchase, "we see a $500 billion sector in the U.S. alone that is waiting desperately to be transformed by big breakthroughs that extend the reach of great teaching."

But ultimately, the loyalty of for-profit companies is to the bottom line and investors, not necessarily to the general good of public schools and kids. And they get their return on investment with public money.

When business people decide to get into the education world in a big way, their support for specific reform measures has to be seen through the prism of money-making opportunities, not what research says works best for kids.


It's all about the kids. Right.

StepJ said...

I don't know.

I was not here during the Olchefske era. While I might wish the outcome might be the same - a resignation from realization of dereliction of duty - I don't suspect it will be the same.

There seems to be more of the high stakes poker bravado in the works vs. downright good intention and integrity. With the latter you resign when you really muck up. With the former you put on your Botox face of, "who me" and steam forward.

I think it is the pushing forces behind the scenes that make a difference this time around.

I don't think the Superintendent will even consider resigning because of mere lack of integrity.

I think the majority of the School Board might be bothered by the public display of dirty laundry -- only because it has been displayed publicly -- but will likely just kind of pretend it is a tempest in a teapot vs. a whole herd of elephant plop.

It kinda seems like the gig was all over once they one by one started referring to her as Maria. (Just kinda noticed that was the turning point when attending Board Director Community meetings.)

I don't even think the majority of School Board members even care if they will be elected again. Giving little weight to even that public threat.

I just don't see this Superintendent flinching because of school failures, public outcry, or anything really -- unless or until she is told from high above she needs to move on, or legal authorities physically remove her from office.

IvyLeagueMom said...

I am not sure how many of the Gang of Four will be running for re-election, but I heard that Sunquist is under the delusion that he will be President of the Board in the next cycle.

Is there any way that the recall appeal can be amended with this information? Sounds like INTENT to me.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Okay, a couple of suggestions.

One, could you please send an e-mail to whoever is your school's parent newsletter and let them know about this blog? Charlie and I have been busy (and lax) on getting the word out and I meet people all the time who don't know this exists. If you want me to, I'll write a blurb you can submit.

I think all SPS parents, whether they want to read every day or occasionally, want someplace to get information and ask a question. With more voices, more outlooks and more solutions and maybe more solidarity towards a more accountable, transparent district.

Two, now's not the time to let up on the Board. And you know what? You don't even have to argue about who is right or covering up. You only need say, "I am frustrated and disappointed and tired of hearing bad things reported about our district. What are you doing to get this district on an even keel?" and even more to the point, "What did you said to the Superintendent about this issue?" If you ask them the question that is directly about accountability, it might be harder to dodge.

Three, forget the Board. Write your state legislator. Tell him or her you are tired, tired, tired of this. Ask him/her to put the pressure on the Board that parents alone can't. Ditto the City Council. No matter whose governance it is, no one in the city wants to hear bad things about our district. They can make their unhappiness known to the Board. Give them the shove/leverage they need. The Board's constiuents are THEIR constiuents.

dan dempsey said...

So what can be done?

Here are a few suggestions:


(1) Alert 5 Seattle residents about the true extent and nature of this problem. Most residents are clueless on the MGJ "Broad sponsored" debacle.

(2) Write your Seattle Area state legislators every time there is another SPS fiasco.

(3) I will do my best that as soon as issues are out of litigation to press the Governor's Office and/or the SAO to get the AG's office to investigate MGJ's acts of apparently misleading public officials (a gross misdemeanor) and apparently forging an action report (a Class C felony). Gross Misdemeanors can result in jail time. Maximum penalty for a Class C felony is 8 years.

4. Investigating an appeal, of the recall sufficiency failure on Thursday 11-18-10, to the WA Supreme Court.

5. I will be contacting several state legislators about needs for changes in legislation.

A... Campaign finance campaign limitations for school board members. Why is mayor $700 / individual : state legislator $1600 / individual : and school board unlimited?

B... Why is the RCW 28A 645.020 essentially meaningless?

C... How did intent ever get into Recall Sufficiency, when there is no mention of intent in the actual legislation? The legislature needs to remove "intent" from being a factor in recall sufficiency as "intent" does not appear in the written legislation.

These are perilous times for the future of the Republic.

The Oligarchs need a formidable opposition. We do not have much money so we had best have numbers. Please arm your Seattle neighbors with the Truth.

Sahila said...

@Karyn...

get out on the streets... embarrass the superintendent and board... picket HQ every day for weeks and weeks on end...

file complaints/lawsuits in every available arena

report unsafe buildings to the relevant authorities - most school buildings will fail code, especially the overcrowded ones...

daily media coverage... which will go national

force her to resign...

or the board to sack her...


plenty to do...

you think your jobs are safe and secure now? You kid yourself...
get a backbone and a voice... dont leave it to the handful who have been trying to do this for 2 years - the ones you wouldnt believe, the ones you all scoffed at...

teachers and parents - together... and if your union wont work with parents, then abandon your union and do it yourself...

Sahila said...

http://sahilachangebringer.blogspot.com/2010/11/wake-up-already.html

and this is what we are condemning many of our young people to - more and more of them with "reform" - not because they are not good students but because we wont give them room to find their passion, and there is nowhere for them to go in the world after school...
http://sahilachangebringer.blogspot.com/2010/11/wake-up-and-take-ride-on-big-jet-plane.html

and thats thanks to MGJ's puppet masters, who have been working on this intensively for the past decade and really, since the late 50s...

You want this for our kids? Well that's what we're getting... all this stuff about college and career ready is utter garbage...

there are no jobs.... there is 25% unemployment/underemployment in this country and it wont get better - ever - under this system... we're being feed a lie and we are forcing our kids to buy into the lie... wake up already....

wseadawg said...

Seek and you shall find, Dorothy. Better grab a barf bag. You're gonna need it.

Murdoch Buys Educational Technology Company

Some quote from the article linked above"

(The ARIS contracts -- worth tens of millions of dollars -- and the contracts the New York City Education Department has issued for its School of One program were apparently negotiated rather than competitively bid.)

After Klein's announcement, News Corp. officials told the New York Times that Klein would advise Murdoch on a number of initiatives, including "developing business strategies for the emerging educational marketplace."

Murdoch, chairman and chief operating officer of News Corp., has taken a keen interest in education reform lately, investing in Teach for America and some charter schools.

"When it comes to K through 12 education," Murdoch said in a statement about the Wireless Generation purchase, "we see a $500 billion sector in the U.S. alone that is waiting desperately to be transformed by big breakthroughs that extend the reach of great teaching."

But ultimately, the loyalty of for-profit companies is to the bottom line and investors, not necessarily to the general good of public schools and kids. And they get their return on investment with public money.

When business people decide to get into the education world in a big way, their support for specific reform measures has to be seen through the prism of money-making opportunities, not what research says works best for kids.


It's all about the kids. Right.

karyn king said...

@ Sahila "get a backbone and a voice... dont leave it to the handful who have been trying to do this for 2 years - the ones you wouldnt believe, the ones you all scoffed at..."

There are many fronts in this battle. Parents on this blog have done great things;Teachers have been fighting for 2 years, too. In the classroom, in meetings, in living rooms around the city we are pushing back, while trying to educate (not just train) our city's yound people.

We voted no confidence in MGJ and there was a deafening silence from the larger community (not those on this blog).

So, we are in this together. We plan to heighten our efforts. Thanks to all for your suggestions. We will spread them around.

Reading this blog everyday keeps me hopeful we can turn this boat around.

dan dempsey said...

MW said:
"With more voices, more outlooks and more solutions and maybe more solidarity towards a more accountable, transparent district."

Yes ... Solidarity

Lech Walesa used Solidarity in Poland against overwhelming odds. He began at the Gdansk ship yards and look what was accomplished.

We don't need a Nobel Prize, but this will be just as significant if not more so for Seattle. Solidarity can turn the direction of education in Seattle to evidence based decision-making to support the academic advancement of children to enable far more children to lead successful fulfilling lives...

uxolo said...

I'm with you, Sue on the b.s. label.

Absolutely, it is time to write short, frequent emails to the Board.

Maybe we chip in for an ad in the newspaper to promote this blog?

Anonymous said...

The First Arnold,

It will not be possible for them to sweep the latest fiasco under the rug.

This thing has gone nationwide.

Jim Horn with Schools Matters picked up the story and then it got picked up from him to Substance News.

From there and our own blogs and with our connections around the country, this is now everywhere.

Maybe the Broad can find Brad a nice, quiet desk job someplace.

See:

Lies about high schools' 'ready for college' rate helped end desegregation plan! Seattle scandal: Broad Foundation guy in Seattle falsified data, caused scandal

ParentofThree said...

Here's a question nobody has asked.

What is that stat now?

I think that since they started with this formula, it is only fair that they provide "key stakeholders" with an updated number. By just letting them "change" the formula they get away with not being held to this "higher standard" they set for themselves.

Sahila said...

I posted it on Miseducation Nation, which has 453 "likes" from all over the country...

Its gone on:
Parents Across America,
SOS Million Teacher March,
Support Public Schools,
Uniting 4 Kids,
Parents and Kids Against Standardised Testing...

cant remember if I put it on the AFT and NEA pages... might have run out of time...

and I know many of those places reposted it to their own networks...

The word is out...

Everyone who's watching ed deform in the country knows all about MGJ/Bernatek/Broad/Gates/CFO Kennedy, LEV, A4E, S4C, OSC, the PTSA... some of us have been spreading the word for a long time now...

Its only a matter of time before it hits the ed pages of the Washington and Huffington Posts... and maybe then TV...

Now is a very good time to do public protest...

klh said...

The First Arnold - I've heard something similar via the rumor-mill about some sort of "wrap around" program that is being funded by Gates. Don't know much more than that.

On the general posts here - Although removing the board in an election is still too far off to make me happy - might as well start asking for candidates again. Is there anyone out there who could/would run?

I would love to put in time and whatever $$ I could to support a candidate who would remind the reformers that these are still our kids, and that there are citizens who would like the data thoughtfully analyzed to come up with potential solutions, rather than just support for their preconceived notions.

another mom said...

Not to be a concern troll but, I am hesitant to write my local legislators. I don't want to give them an excuse to write and pass legislation that would empower the mayor or governor or OSPI to assume control of the District. Local contol via elected school board members is important to me. Anyway,just something that I have been thinking about and would appreciate any one else's thoughts.

BTW, no response from any school board member from my email about the 17% lie. Has anyone received a reply yet?

The First Arnold said...

Dora,

I am becoming concerned about DeBell.

I'm interested in hearing DeBell with Shram.

DeBell sits on the Alliance's Board which promotes ed. reform. Then, DeBell responded to the audit with MGJ "is sorry".

Now, it appears DeBell says the board should hold itself more accountable. At some point, the board should trust district numbers. What is he hiding?

The First Arnold said...

Khl,

I agree. Elections aren't close enough.

Lots of time to damage the district.

Chris S. said...

The first Arnold: Yes, the board *should* be able to trust the staff to provide accurate information. There is a good case for extensive housecleaning here. I have been going 'round to board members to make sure data presented 6 years ago about the cost of infrastructure to support portables at Thornton Creek is made available now that this is again being proposed/decided. My point being, there are myriad examples of inaccurate/incomplete information, resulting in widespread mistrust of district staff. Even if the board would listen and look at citizen-provided data that would help. They are slowly seeming to be more willing to look at it.

Sahila said...

Karin - 393 parents signed an online petition of no confidence in MGJ - I presented those signatures to the Board - and there were two surveys that also said parents overwhelmingly had no confidence in her, plus a vote on a local neighbourhood blog (not scientific either) which had 70% of people voting no confidence in her...

There wasnt a deafening silence from parents/the community as such - more a failure to build a bridge to get the two communities - parents and teachers - together...

Until recently, we have had noluck in getting any dialogue happening with the union, except with the SEE caucus...

And as we have come to realise, the PTSA at its organisational level here in the city - has climbed on board with the deformists, so has been useless in representing parents concerns, in fact has thwarted parent attempts to protest/deal with these issues...

We need to bypass these obstacles and work together...

Braessae said...

I agree, ParentofThree -- bogus though the number was, I would love to see how MGJ's team does in moving the needle on that particular dial.

Actually (and this is probably off topic) but you know what I would REALLY love to see? Charlie's old idea -- of boycotting the tests -- but taken to the next level. Not only massive refusal to take the tests in the lower grades -- but a huge, District wide decision at the high school level to refuse to take the HSPE. Yes, I know -- the kids can't graduate without it. But really -- what would they do if all those kids came up with a highly targeted campaign, and just said, no HSPE until:

1. The District drops its standardization quest and restores the schools'/teachers right to develop and offer sophisticated and complex curricula.

2. The District passes an audit with no more than the state average for exceptions.

3. The District restores funding to schools by reducing central office expenses to no more than the state average (with coaches, curriculum development counted as central, not school, expense).

4. The Board agrees to enforce Board policies, including but not limited to program placement policies, alternate school policies, board policies regarding community involvement and the placement of items on the board agenda for discussion/approval.

5. I always get sort of antsy when Sahila gets out her bugle and starts pushing for action -- because it's not a comfortable space for me, though she has a point. But part of my discomfort is a sense that it is hard to act in ways that count. They have the Board votes (4 at least - maybe 5); they have an endless supply of money. Since they have dropped all pretense of community input, they have a closed loop in terms of access to decisionmakers. They have MGJ and she has packed upper District management with like minded people to implement decisions. Parents have tried to lobby the Board -- and they (with Kay and Betty being the notable exceptions) don't want to listen. We tried to shut off funds in the nicest, least painful way -- the supplemental levy -- and lost. I am not about to break windows and burn cars. So -- what else is there? Well -- all of their plans require "cooperating output" -- i.e. the test scores -- all that "raw data" that they manage, and mischaracterize, and use to drive their agenda. What if the data producers (those would be the kids) simply took their ball and went home?

I am sure I am missing any number of things that could/should be on the wish list above -- Charlie and Melissa are both much better than I am at keeping track of and prioritizing broken promises. But at this point in time, while having the younger kids boycott the test does little more than screw up the numbers and make the central office fidget -- having the BIG kids say -- no play!, and we'll put our graduation status on the line to raise the ante -- well, THAT would get attention, and not just MGJ's and the Board's. And if the elementary/middle school kids want to back them up by massively opting out of MAP and MSP, so much the better!

Melissa Westbrook said...

Another Mom, writing my legislators is chance I'm going to take. I can't keep waiting for the School Board to do their jobs. Sometimes people need cold water splashed in their faces.

No, I haven't heard back from one Board member. (Yes, I know the holidays are upon us and how convenient.)

Sahila said...

rolling boycotts of schools around the district... teachers and parents... school by school, or reference area by reference area... one day off on a rotating roster... and keep it up...

empty school buses going around with no kids at stops...

buildings opened in the mornings with no kids/teachers turning up...

we call our kids in sick, staff call in sick...

we organise daycare for kids whose parents have to work...

tell the district we dont stop this until things change... and we get to say how they change...

lots of media attention...

file complaints with building code people about the portables, lack of safe labs, lack of toilets, too mnay kids in classrooms/lunch halls etc...

mossie bite the board into action... death by a thousand cuts...

dan dempsey said...

I tried to find a podcast or transcript of the Schram - DeBell conversation.

I came up empty.

Could someone pursue this and if successful, send what you find to me.

I will post it at the Math Underground.

dempsey_dan@yahoo.com

gavroche said...

@Anonymous Braessae 11/24/10 1:38 PM

I second the idea of all our kids boycotting all the tests. It could be the only thing that gets the District to listen to us.

By the way, does everyone realize that the MAP test is being given again as early as Dec. 13?

The Spring test isn't being given until May/June. That means, for some kids, there will be only a 2 month interval between the Fall and Winter MAP tests, and as much as a 5-6 month interval between the Winter and Spring MAP tests.

Such inconsistent testing intervals doesn't sound very precise or methodical to me.

I wonder if the District is trying to avoid the post-Winter Break slump that apparently affected last year's Winter MAP test.

Or is this another instance of rigging the numbers somehow.....?

Maybe it's a question for Mr. Bernatek.

kid not like the others said...

i agree w/ dora. what are they (including SEA for me) hiding? what is in it for them?

email schram, let him know what is up and ask him for it, or a recording of the show.

Lucille said...

From DeBell's web page:

"How do we know if our public schools are succeeding? If test scores go up, graduation rates improve, enrollment increases, prestigious awards are won? All these things are happening, but impressions and news coverage are often stubbornly critical. The Gates Foundation is backing our Strategic Plan with money and brainpower, and Seattle Schools is increasingly seen as a leader at national conventions."

The First Arnold said...

So, Debell extends MGJ's contract despite the audit. Debell wanted "direction"

Then, Debell says MGJ was "sorry" for not disclosing her NWEA contract.

Now, we hear Debell has spoken with Schram and is taking responsibility for 17% figure.

DeBell sits on the Alliance for Ed. board promoting ed-reform. What about representing his constituents. Not going to happen.

The Ethics Officer reports to MGJ and DeBell.

Now, we see his web-page "impressions and news coverage are often stubbornly critical. The Gates Foundation is backing our Strategic Plan with money and brainpower"

Does anyone else see anything wrong with this?

dan dempsey said...

Hey check out how that MGJ letter of Nov. 23, is framed on the News Page HERE.

College and Career Readiness of Seattle Public Schools Graduates

In 2008, Seattle Public Schools (SPS) published a conservative data point aimed at determining the percent of students that graduate from SPS ready for a 4-year college. This specific data point is complex and one that districts across the state and the country grapple with as they try to quantify college and career ready.


{{Do all Districts across the state and country misrepresent data like the Seattle Central Administration does?}}

College readiness measures can be defined in multiple ways: the minimum requirements necessary to graduate high school, minimum requirements necessary to apply to a 4-year college, minimum requirements to successfully enroll in a college or university or meeting the necessary requirements to succeed in and graduate from college.

{{However when the Superintendent stated in her Strategic Plan on June 4, 2008: "Graduates meeting High School credit requirement for four-years colleges = 17%". She was lying and defrauding the Public.}}

For additional information, please review this letter to the community from Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson. The letter describes the process of agreeing on the current definition of the measure and sets this topic in the context of our goal of all SPS students graduating ready for college and career.

So does agreeing on the current measure ... retroactively make that the measure on June, 4, 2008 and following. NO WAY!! NO WAY!!

The "Superintendent" takes lying to a whole new level
and the Board is apparently inert or endorsing her fraudulent behavior.

==============
Count on an appeal to the WA Supreme Court on the RECALL Sufficiency Hearing decision of Nov. 18, 2010.

There was intent on the part of the four directors to ignore evidence presented by the public in decision-making. This is clear in the declarations submitted to the court on 11-17-10.

The law specifies that it is the Board's responsibility to file a correct transcript within 20 days of an appeal. The idea that it is someone else's job is very hollow. The Board has no procedures in place to bring about the production of a "certified" correct transcript in 20 days. This seems like ongoing intent to violate RCW 28A 645.020.

This RCW says "ZERO" about intent. How can "Case Law" become a bizarre perversion of the public's right to remove these four Seattle School Directors?

================
BIG "MO" is changing.
It is time to bring a lot more heat.

dan dempsey said...

Hey check out how that MGJ letter of Nov. 23, is framed on the News Page HERE.

College and Career Readiness of Seattle Public Schools Graduates

In 2008, Seattle Public Schools (SPS) published a conservative data point aimed at determining the percent of students that graduate from SPS ready for a 4-year college. This specific data point is complex and one that districts across the state and the country grapple with as they try to quantify college and career ready.


{{Do all Districts across the state and country misrepresent data like the Seattle Central Administration does?}}

College readiness measures can be defined in multiple ways: the minimum requirements necessary to graduate high school, minimum requirements necessary to apply to a 4-year college, minimum requirements to successfully enroll in a college or university or meeting the necessary requirements to succeed in and graduate from college.

{{However when the Superintendent stated in her Strategic Plan on June 4, 2008: "Graduates meeting High School credit requirement for four-years colleges = 17%". She was lying and defrauding the Public.}}

For additional information, please review this letter to the community from Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson. The letter describes the process of agreeing on the current definition of the measure and sets this topic in the context of our goal of all SPS students graduating ready for college and career.

So does agreeing on the current measure ... retroactively make that the measure on June, 4, 2008 and following. NO WAY!! NO WAY!!

The "Superintendent" takes lying to a whole new level
and the Board is apparently inert or endorsing her fraudulent behavior.

==============
Count on an appeal to the WA Supreme Court on the RECALL Sufficiency Hearing decision of Nov. 18, 2010.

There was intent on the part of the four directors to ignore evidence presented by the public in decision-making. This is clear in the declarations submitted to the court on 11-17-10.

The law specifies that it is the Board's responsibility to file a correct transcript within 20 days of an appeal. The idea that it is someone else's job is very hollow. The Board has no procedures in place to bring about the production of a "certified" correct transcript in 20 days. This seems like ongoing intent to violate RCW 28A 645.020.

This RCW says "ZERO" about intent. How can "Case Law" become a bizarre perversion of the public's right to remove these four Seattle School Directors?

================
BIG "MO" is changing.
It is time to bring a lot more heat.

dan dempsey said...

How pathetic is the following?

"The Gates Foundation is backing our Strategic Plan with money and brainpower, and Seattle Schools is increasingly seen as a leader at national conventions."

Note:
Hopefully only in Education can an incredible lack of results be ignored so that the SPS can be increasingly seen as a leader at national conventions.

Results DO NOT count.

The goals met in the Strategic Plan could hardly be worse. Yet, Director DeBell believes the SPS is increasingly seen as a national leader.

The Public Relations and Spin machine is supposed to keep everyone happy with the ongoing failure to produce significant academic improvements.

When you cannot deliver a Steak ... sell the Smoke.

The Board buys increasingly larger amounts of Smoke but the Public rejects the Smoke.

dan dempsey said...

In the School Board as an organization, we see a majority of directors have chosen to essentially ignore:

(0) Holding any "Top" Central Office Administrator accountable.

(1) The State Audit

(2) Their responsibility to put procedures in place to fulfill RCW 28A 645.020 (to provide a certified correct transcript within 20 days of an appeal of a School Board decision.)

(3) The fact that it is highly likely the Superintendent and CAO produced a forged 3-12-2010 NTN action Report to mislead both the Board and the Public.

(4) Some significant Evidence submitted to them to be used in decision-making.

(5) Evidence of tampering in the submission of evidence to the court in the NTN contract case.

(6) The Board's failure to read the NTN contract approved on 2-3-10.


Now after years of asking us to believe in fairy-tales, the request is we accept MGJ's latest work of fiction as Non-Fiction.

MGJ's explanatory letter of 11-23-2010 must surely be the last straw.

Does anyone believe that Directors can possibly be fulfilling their Oath of Office given the above listed negligence in buying-in to the preposterous?


I swear to support the Constitution and Laws of the United States and the Constitution and Laws of the State of Washington, and will to the best of my judgment, skill and ability, truly, faithfully, diligently and impartially perform the duties of the office of Seattle School Director.

Is anyone buying this?

I suppose if Recall and Discharge filing were made at the elections office. The response from each Director in Superior Court would be "I certainly did not intend to violate any laws, policies, or my oath of office".

Charlie Mas said...

Let's be perfectly clear.

It is true that there are a variety of ways of determining "the percent of students that graduate from SPS ready for a 4-year college", and there is surely a variety of criteria for setting the bar for that measure. I'm not going to question Mr. Bernatek's decision to set the criteria as he did. I'm not going to question what data he had to support that criteria. I'm not going to question whether his criteria was conservative or not.

It doesn't matter.

It doesn't matter because the statistic was not represented as the percentage of graduated who were "ready for college" or "ready to succeed in college" or "likely to complete college".

The statistic was presented as the percentage of students who met the entrance requirements for college.

About that there is little room for discussion or debate.

And, the District mis-represented that data.

All of their excuses and explanations cannot erase the fact that regardless of what they thought they were measuring, entrance requirements is what they said they were measuring. That was the lie and that remains the lie.

And now they compound their sin by refusing to admit it.

Pride - sinful pride - hubris - continues to be Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's tragic flaw. She absolutely refuses to admit error. She absolutely refuses to admit failure. She absolutely refuses to admit any mistakes.

Nothing frightens me more than people who cannot acknowledge their shortcomings or failures.

She terrifies me.

She can't admit any error in the direction of the math instruction, so we must continue down a wrong path.

She can't admit any failure in the Southeast Initiative, so the students at those schools must struggle on without the needed support.

Were I in charge of her communications, I would strongly encourage her to acknowledge failures. People can - and will - readily forgive failure - but they can't forgive it if you don't admit it.

dan dempsey said...

"People can - and will - readily forgive failure - but they can't forgive it if you don't admit it."

It becomes a whole different situation when the SPS lies about what happened, and expects the Public to have faith in SPS "decision-making" and "Transparency".

Consistent deception is not a trait acceptable to the majority of the Public...... or is it?

Where is the Seattle Times and/or other media on the MGJ Nov. 23, letter, which attempted to continue Public deception?

SP said...

MGJ's Nov. 23rd letter compounds the district's mistakes, misrepresenting what the original goal was as presented in the Strategic Plan document- "Graduates meeting high school credit requirements for four year college (%)", and also "Graduates meeting 4-year COLLEGE ENTRANCE reqs." in the 5/20/08 PowerPoint used for the School Board (as Board Introduction for the Strategic Plan) and also in community meetings.

There was more detail about this goal in the SP Appendix, page 4-
"Students that graduate with a Core GPA of at least 3.0 and meeting the minimum college admission standards for 2010 as defined by the Washington Higher Education Coordination Board." It goes on to list the number of specific credits required by the HECB, including 4 for Math & 3 for Science.

That is exactly where the mistakes started- in this Strategic Plan Appendix.

1st, they even got the HECB name wrong, "Coordination" Board, instead of the actual name, "Coordinating" Board. Minor details, but you'd think a 5yr Strategic Plan could get this right? Proof read & fact check?

2nd, the 3.0 GPA has definitely never been a HECB requirement- it's been (and still is) a lowly 2.0 GPA. This is outright incorrect. If it was an intentional difference by SPS, the Appendix definitely does not explain that the district chose to use a higher GPA than the HECB uses.

In fact, Michael Tolley was a Board Member on the CORE 24 High School Committee for more than 1 year where all of this was covered in detail, incl. the BERC group Transcript Study report presented, using the HECB's Minimum College Admission Standards in their state wide report finding of 48.5%. "The minimum HEC Board requirements were used because they provide a standard, measureable metric of comparison in Washington State." Isn't that rather clear? Tolley regularily reported back to Seattle's C&I Committee with findings & handouts from his involvement with the CORE 24 committee. Why would Seattle, during the same time, use any different standard for their Strategic Plan without explanation?

3rd, and most importantly,there is the clear and inexcusable mistake in the SP Appendix of listing the HECB min. credits as being 4 in Math & 3 in Science, when they actually have been (and still are) only 3 in Math & 2 in Science. This is NOT what MGJ's letter states, i.e. choosing "a higher standard", but rather just plain & simple a critical mistake which lowered the Seattle graduation rate to a mind-boggling 17%.

When this mistake was discovered (BTW- who was in the "additional research & discussion" group that MGJ's letter refers to? Tolley? Bernatek?), instead of trying to explain the differences (intentional or not), MGJ writes a spin that "we were using a very agressive standard..." This is just plain wrong.

And then she finishes the compounded cover-up with a classic line, "We have rigorously evaluated this measure and determined, for accountability purposes, that it is more appropriate to align our measure with the more common definition of the minimum entrance requirements as defined by the Washington HECB."
Funny, that is exactly the same original SPS standard that is listed in the Strategic Plan's Appendix on page 4!

SP said...
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SP said...
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SP said...
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SP said...

oops- sorry for the duplicate entries- at 1st it wouldn't post (too long?) and then when I went back, I could only delete 1 of 3 copies...sorry!