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Friday, November 26, 2010

You Spin Me Right Round

In the P-I from the AP, an article about how great it is that Seattle is 'fessing up and releasing so much useful data. I might have to let this reporter know of this great irony about data in our district. Some choice quotes and see if you get the direction the quotes are pointing to (please, do not read when drinking; you might do a spit take):

One of the authors of the report done by the Center for Reinventing Education:

"I think the district really deserves some credit for day-lighting their data," said the lead researcher on the report, Christine Campbell. "I really would love for Seattle to use this as a chance to really do something."

Really do something? I wonder what CRE can mean given that 90% of their work is around charters.

The district:

District spokeswoman Patti Spencer said the district has been targeting schools with extra help and guidance throughout this research process and some of the schools exhibiting the most growth were those getting the most help.

"We feel that this is just a really critical step forward for us and for the community to publish this information," she said. "When we focus our attention and the community's attention on data that is easy to understand and accessible...we know that performance will improve."

Wait a minute, so help me out. How is it that the schools with the most growth are those getting the most help? Because Aki Kurose was getting a lot of help and didn't move at all. Which schools is she talking about? Good question for Monday.

Also, they just published this info so how did things improve from releasing it?

Campbell, who lives in Seattle's south end, encouraged the community to not be overly patient about seeing progress in the most needy schools.

"We have to really set a short time frame on what it looks like to have turnaround there," she said.

In sharing this information with the public, Seattle is following a trend started by Denver about four years. Other big districts like Los Angeles and New York spread the idea and now others around the nation are joining the movement at a progressively faster pace.

Short time frame? Joining the movement? What code is that?

In addition to giving the general public more information about how their local school is doing and where it falls within the district, Campbell speculated this may also be the first time Seattle Public Schools has looked at student and school information in this way.

Some people were grouchy about the district spending money to analyze data and come to conclusions that nearly everyone knew, Campbell said, but it's important for the district to move beyond hearsay and into real information to direct its next moves.

Grouchy? Who was grouchy? (Wondering minds want to know because honestly, I don't know who they are talking about.) Show us accurate data and we might be more enthused but grouchy? And why didn't this reporter go out and find these so-called grouchy people?

Move beyond hearsay - oh you mean like actually listening to parents who told the district for YEARS to expect a kindergarten surge.

More curiosities.

Both South Park's Concord International Elementary School and Beacon Hill's Mercer Middle School have demographics similar to the 13 schools doing the poorest, but they dramatically outscore them in both absolute achievement and growth.

Spencer said both schools have excellent leaders, extra dollars and a district-directed plan for improvement.

"I think that's really good news for Seattle. There are places right here that we need to look at and see what's going on," Campbell said.

I would like to know what Mercer is doing but I think Concord is doing better because they have a foreign immersion program (which probably gave them a more solid parent base to back up what is happening at school). I should go back and see their scores before the program change and after.

Also, that second paragraph puzzles me. A lot of schools have more dollars so what's the issue and don't schools that are not on target for NCLB all have district-directed plans for improvement?

The last paragraph also puzzles me because we have had successful schools that never get duplicated for their ability to attract parents and make a successful school. So now the district is finally going to try to duplicate successes?

Nice spin from both CRE and the district.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

The truth is what you want the public to believe.

A UW Education "Expert"

Chris S. said...

I confess be being grouchy about the shiny new school reports. I don't find them one bit more useful than the old black and white reports, and given how much hype they've received, I wonder what they cost.

The correlation between "segment" and %FRL is 95%. I quick glance at the outliers highlighted APP, special ed, and ELL populations.

Chris S. said...

IIRC, it might be Mercer where Dr. Enfield said they were "supplementing" extensively ...with Saxon. Yep, I found it in my notes, it's true.

dan dempsey said...

Seems with the Spin put on this ... it came from the Center for Reinventing the Truth

dan dempsey said...

"District spokeswoman Patti Spencer said the district has been targeting schools with extra help and guidance throughout this research process and some of the schools exhibiting the most growth were those getting the most help."

Please name those schools.

Cleveland and RBHS got significant "great" faux help from UW in math and went backwards.

ttln said...

i believe my building has brought in saxon to use in our math intervention classes (middle school level).
i saw the materials in one of our AP's office.

Charlie Mas said...

I find it absolutely hilarious that anyone would give Seattle Public Schools credit for their transparency and honesty.

I'm still laughing about that.

Here is a story about how the District is so honest about their data, coming just a week after a story about how the District lies about their data.

Of course, neither story is particularly timely - they are both about old reports - but this report is well-timed (for the District's reputation).

How convenient.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I wrote a letter to the editor of the PI and the reporter who wrote this article. Let's see if I get a response.

I basically said that it was fine that CRE and the district wanted to be rah-rah over these school reports but that the reporter didn't do her job when she didn't seek out the other side (and let the "grouchy" people remark pass unchallenged).

dan dempsey said...

More on BIG TIME .... SPINNING..

Here is a little debunking of some Pro-TfA spin provided on TfA Approval night.

Here is what the research document stated:

"On this question, studies indicate that the students of novice TFA teachers perform significantly less well in reading and mathematics than those of credentialed beginning teachers."

Here is Director Carr's interesting selection from that document:

"One of the research documents said: If you are looking to close the achievement gap, it is important to invest strategically in evidence based "reform options". I believe that we are doing that through the work in our strategic plan."

Question:
Did someone else prepare that selection for Director Carr to parrot?

Did Director Carr or any of the Directors read even the summary of the peer reviewed study referenced by Director Carr?

Arbitrary and Capricious decision making is rampant for this Board.

Evidence remains unwanted and unused.

dan dempsey said...

Speaking of Spin....

Here is a piece on the Pointless Waiting for the spinners of deception to halt ongoing deception.

dan dempsey said...

Correction in regard to the June 2010 paper by Helig ...

The paper included analysis of peer reviewed studies but the paper itself was not to the best of my knowledge peer reviewed.

I stand by my assertion that Director Carr's TfA statement was based on blatant Cherry-Picking and NOT focused on disclosing the truth to the Public.

Sahila said...

Well, we're at the final step of full implementation of the deform agenda here in Seattle...

and there seems (so far) to be no consequences for telling lies, manipulating data, covert agreements etc, all supposedly done for the good of our kids and in our name...

What now?


political-and-social-apathy

mirmac1 said...

So CRPE or CREEP, as I like to think of it, says this is just so wonderful and parents should be grateful. But the *#@@%*%^ weren't made for us. Look at their intro

here

The "transparency" is intended for foundation "partners" who are most interested in charters and cheap teacher ranks. Since the founders of foundations don't send their kids to public schools they think the rest of us are in decaying urban centers who suffer in inferior warehouses devoid of learning. If you ask parents, the majority of us know our public schools and our teachers are precious and hardworking, despite the daily abuse heaped by "reformers".