Thursday, December 09, 2010

Insincere Apology for False Statistic

Yesterday Dr. Goodloe-Johnson gave her unapologetic apology for the false statistic about Seattle Public School graduates who met the entrance requirements for a four-year college. She only did it because the Board Executive Committee forced her to do it. It wasn't much of an apology - sort of "we should have told more people that we were changing the number" instead of what it should have been: "sorry we were deceptive".

Here's her fake apology.

Look hard. If you can find the word "sorry" or "apologize" in there, let me know. I couldn't find it. This is not, in fact an apology at all. If anything, she seems angry at the people who quoted the number for not attending a Board work session in which the change in the number was mentioned.

She continues to pretend that the number was poorly explained instead of an intentional effort to mislead.

In these ancillary notes to the official "apology" we finally see an actual apology. However, she continues to pretend it was a miscommunication instead of a lie. She apologizes for the "confusion" - sort of "I'm sorry you're such an idiot."


Melissa Westbrook said...

I'll bet the apology to the elected officials will be better than this one. (I'm pretty sure she'll be sending a different letter as that was what she was directed to do.)

I pointed this out last night. I also said that DeBell said the general public should be able to read the School Reports and discern what is being communicated. I warned them that Charlie had found something and were they following up.

This is nothing. It's scary when someone can't admit he or she is wrong.

seattle said...

Melissa how do you know for sure that it was a deliberate lie? Maybe it was a mistake? Poor judgement? Lack of oversight (of Bernatek)?

What proof do you have that it was an outright deliberate lie? I'm not saying it wasn't a lie, I'm not sure, I just want to know what you base this accusation on?

Jet City mom said...

Just looking at the numbers of students taking AP or IB exams & at the number of students enrolled in Running Start is an indication that the number was way off.

Of course unless those @ the JSCEE don't do math.


Jet City mom said...

I guess I still am dumb-
cause while MGJ cites these as requirements ( in her opinion) to be successful in college-

(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)

They are beyond what UW- Seattle admissions considers requirements, as you can apply with three years of math not four and two years of science, not three

They also are satisfied with any passing grade in academic subjects.
In general, you must attain at minimum a passing grade (including 'D') to satisfy a college academic distribution requirement.

However a CRITICAL piece that must have slipped MGJ mind ( ? ) is that they DO REQUIRE TWO YEARS OF LANGUAGE for college application- as do all other 4 year schools in Washington.

Perhaps if she is actually interested in college prep for students she should make sure all the basic requirements for application are covered at the high school level- before she starts pushing for more than the basics in other subjects.

Or does she just misunderstand it?

Charlie Mas said...

seattle, it was an out-and-out lie. Here's how and why:

The number was reported as graduates meeting the credit requirements for entrance to a four-year college, but the criteria for the calculation was an invented one by a District staff person which exceeded the credit requirements for entrance to a four-year college. Instead, they used a set of credit requirements that, in their own estimation, would indicate that a graduate would be likely to succeed in college.

These are two VERY different things.

A lie is when you say one thing when you know that another thing is true. They said that the number reflected those who met entrance requirements, but they knew it was something else.

Charlie Mas said...

And they are still doing it.

The "Students making gains on state tests" is not what they say it is.

Also, the count of advanced learners is wrong.

They know that these numbers are wrong. They know that they are mischaracterizing these numbers. They are lying about these numbers.

Yet, despite this apology and this talk about lessons learned or their sincerity, they are still doing it.

Kathy said...

Pertaining to the 17% figure; Seattle Times Reports:

" Mayor Norm Rice used it in arguing for changes he wanted to see in Seattle's new teachers contract."

Feeling sorry our teachers.

Josh Hayes said...

Charlie writes:

"but the criteria for the calculation was an invented one by a District staff person which exceeded the credit requirements for entrance to a four-year college."


Charlie, criterion was, or criteria were. Not "criteria was". Ugh.


On the larger point, however, surely nobody was surprised at her non-apology apology, right? WV says it would have required that she have read more scilitt.

Josh Hayes said...

And emeraldkity is right on - the language requirement is standard, obvious, and not met by an awful lot of SPS grads. Yikes!

mirmac1 said...

Where's Norm Rice's apology?

Central Mom said...

Where's Norm Rice's apology?

Indeed. Reuven Carlyle has been vocal and comprehensive in issuing apologies in using that stat for advocacy at the state and local level.

Rice would show some leadership integrity in doing the same.

Charlie Mas said...

Do not expect leadership or integrity from Norm Rice.

And I am sorry for my subject/verb agreement failure and will endeavor to do better in future. Thank you for the correction, Josh.

Maureen said...

From one of the letters linked to above:

We are responding to community feedback and sharing what we learn together about how to improve the way we measure and report on our progress.
Examples include:
􀂃 Adjusting the language for the student gains measure to be clear that this is a measure of gains relative to students’ academic peers
􀂃 Updating and expanding frequently asked questions on our website for the school reports and district website.
􀂃 Providing additional forms of information as needed to staff, families, and communities to help better understand the data in the school reports.
􀂃 Preparing our community for changes in how we report on advanced learning, based in part on their feedback with suggestions for improvement.

Student 'gains' and advanced learning. SOmeone has been listening to Charlie!

dan dempsey said...

If the Superintendent, who had been on the job for one year at the time she wrote the 17% number, actually thought that only 17% of SPS graduates met the minimum credit requirements to enter a four year college, then she should be immediately fired for knowing next to nothing about the District. After an entire year of being here, she wrote her Strategic Plan "Excellence for All" based on her knowledge. She definitely knew that 17% was a lie.

This was an enormous whopper of a lie then and it is still an enormous lie ... Misunderstanding = NO WAY.

Now let us move on to the packaging of the 66% lie:

(1).. 66% of students making gains in math and reading from grade 4 to grade 5.... and
(2).. 66% of students making gains in math and reading from grade 6 to grade 8 ... and
(3).. 66% of English Language Learners making gains on the State reading test from grade 6 to grade 8.

Then lets go look at the Forgery in producing the 3-12-2010 Action Report for the NTN contract.

The Superintendent is a prevaricator who regularly prevaricates and the Board does nothing to stop her.

Look at the explanations several directors give in explaining their votes ... They often ignore the truth and stretch what little truth they do use.

Truth is a rare commodity at the JSCEE and often not really valued but rather avoided.

To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data.

MGJ is too busy manipulating data in disguising the relevant data
to ever make enough effective decisions to significantly impact student learning in a positive way.

Look at the mess she has made and some Board members seem to be participants in a conspiracy rather than Directors.

The Job of School Director
is to Direct the Superintendent.

SP said...

Josh & emeraldkitty,
The district did include 2 yrs. World Language in their 17% calculation (as required correctly by the HECB), as well in their revised system from the 11/17/10 work session. From the presentation, 72% of the 2009-10 HS graduates met the 2 yr. WL requirement (I find that really hard to believe actually).

The ironic thing is that the WA State Board of Ed wrestled with this higher bar that the HECB set several years ago for WA public schools, as apparently it is not a standard requirement for public schools in other states.

That is why I know several kids who did not do well in World Language (2 years of poor middle school WL classes, and not prepared for 2nd year level at HS) who ended up being accepted to out-of-state universities without that requirement!

dan dempsey said...

My goodness still lying on Dec 8:

To recap,
• Seattle Public Schools published a college readiness measure in our strategic plan and
the definition was not clear.

The definition was perfectly clear:
The percentage of SPS graduates that satisfy the minimum credit requirements to enter a four year college.

The unclear part is why we are being asked to accept more lies and forgeries from this lady. The School Board is apparently in someone's pocket. Why has MGJ not been fired?

Really does anyone believe any of this crap?

Jet City mom said...

The district did include 2 yrs. World Language in their 17% calculation (as required correctly by the HECB)

Interesting that MGJ doesn't mention foreign language at all in her "apology".

It is true that some colleges do not require two years of language- ( I wouldn't know which ones as all the ones to which my kids applied required two yrs min)
however, as our state schools do require it & as cost would be a huge hurdle for families to fund out of state universities, for the district to spend money so students can exceed math/science requirements, yet if they want to go to a 4yr. college they have to go out of state?, is inefficient at best.

I don't consider middle school language to generally take the place of high school lang.
If a student takes the first year in high school, they should be on track to take a second year of the same lang- provided the school has enough teachers. Just as if they take one year of high school math, they should be on track to take a second year, isn't that how it works?

We aren't the only district to want better accountability for our money

Meg said...

I'm not delighted with her apology.

That said, what would the current Superintendent have had to say for any of us to be satisfied? Or has she gone too far - and too often - down the road on spin and half-truths for any apology to count at this point?

wseadawg said...

Charlie: My read is exactly like yours.

Seattle: A mistake is honest. A lie is not. A mistake is done in good faith. A lie is told in bad faith. A mistake bears no intent to deceive. A lie is told to deliberately deceive. That's what they did.

A mistake was not "made" by some person or thing detached from Bernatek and Goodloe Johnson. They lied. They lied over and over, and they let others repeat their lie.

The knew the truth, but they did not tell it. They lied to manufacture a false crisis and to grease the skids for their agenda.

In my eyes, MGJ has blown her last chance to come clean, admit her guilt, and ask for forgiveness. Instead, once again, she shrugs off her corruption as somebody else's problem and/or a simple mistake.

I've had it with her "Let them eat cake" attitude and her bald-faced lies, as once again, given the opportunity to act like a sincere person and responsible adult, she instead flips the middle finger to the community while subtly feigning victimhood and martyrdom.

She is incapable of receiving the message or the lesson. She needs to resign or be terminated.

It's time to start recruiting a new SI folks. This one is done.

wseadawg said...


Jet City mom said...


& How about a oversight committee made up of consumer advocates who will retrain me so I won't do it any more? ( & that I am paying out of my pocket from my travel/entertainment budget)

I also believe in Santa

Charlie Mas said...

I would be satisfied with:

"I lied. I'm sorry. I won't do it again."

Here's the funny thing. If she had said - and written - "I lied. I'm sorry. I won't do it again." That would be the end of it - unless she did it again. Because after she says this, what more could we possibly say?

wseadawg said...

Folks: They didn't just lie. They also CHEATED.

They lied to pull the wool over people's eyes, and took advantage of the lies by advancing their agenda on false premises, instead of its own merits. That's called CHEATING.

Let's not sugar-coat things and let them off the hook for the cheating either.

This is "just cause" for termination in any context.

Josh Hayes said...

Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but I think even the folks over at the Times are pretty irritated: the headline for the story (front page, below the fold) reads "Schools chief publicly apologizes for false figure".

Not for "error", or "mistake", but "false figure". Maybe it's just me, but "false" seems to carry with it more than a smackerel of intent, no?

Bird said...

Uh, isn't the apology a lie too?

She doesn't say in the apology that the problem was that the her "complex statistic" for "career and college ready" was given the mis-label. The statistic was misrepresented as students meeting 4 year entrance requirements. That was the problem -- not the complexity of the statistic, the "high" standards or the time spent "re-evaluating" the statistic.

I don't see that essential fact anywhere in this letter. Since this is the whole reason for the apology, this letter is nothing but pure FAIL.

The Board she send her back to try again until she gets it right.

Central Mom said...

It's the front page, Josh, that shows what the paper thinks. Front page = Big News.

Central Mom said...

And it is still prominent -- first few stories -- of the Times' online edition. Even though other stories are more recently posted. Again, that is judgment from the editors that this is an important story.

wseadawg said...

Bird: I think you're giving too much credit and getting stuck in the molasses they've thrown around the lie. It's all a smokescreen. Complex, BS. They knew exactly what the entrance requirements were in black and white. Then they generated a different number based on their own ideals, and subsequently, deliberately chose to use it, instead of the actual number, to sway public opinion. It was conscious, knowing, and corrupt. There's no explaining it away, and I'm not certain you are. But I don't think it warrants detailed analysis. That's playing the game on their turf & I'm not taking the bait. It's simple, not complex.

Anonymous said...

According to Grousefinder in comments from the Seattle Times:

The person that took the fall for her "mistake" (Brad Bernatek) has apparently been hired (that is, fired by the District, then hired) by the Gates Foundation. So, this guy will continue to do this Superintendent's dirty work; it's just that now he will be paid by someone else (and probably more).

That's the word on the street.

Bird said...


My post may have not been clear enough, but you and I agree.

The problem is simple. The district said only 17% of students met entrance requirements for 4 year colleges. That wasn't true. This is why people are angry.

MGJ's letter makes out that there was some problem involving the complexity of the statistic and the timeline for revising it ,but that wasn't the problem.

No one reading this letter without outside knowledge would even understand what happened.

That's what makes this letter lie #2.

wseadawg said...

Yup, Bird, I get it now. I wish I knew what it is that prevents people from acknowledging guilt when everyone and their mother knows they're guilty. It's as if MGJ's face would crack if she actually owned up to her role in this mess. But I won't hold my breath. I don't see it happening.

And this matter is going to hurt some Board members re-election chances if they let her off the hook at this point, as if this latest attempt suffices as atonement.

They'd be wise to make her own it now, unless they want to own it later.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Seattle, I didn't say in this comments thread yet it was a lie but yes, it was a lie.

The proof is what has now been stated:

Brad and MGJ and God knows who else knew that the 17% figure was not what people were taking to be. I'm sure MGJ sat and listened to a couple of public speeches by elected officials where this stat was used. She knew they didn't know it wasn't correct.

To allow others to use incorrect information when you know it is wrong is a lie. Or a coverup. Or manipulation of data.

Look, go read her letter and read how she brushes it off.

She's a liar.

seattle said...

Oops, sorry Melissa, my question was meant for Charlie, and Charlie answered earlier.

wsnorth said...

She/they lied lied lied throughout the whole NSAP/closure process, too, but apparently there is no remorse over that.

I was initially asleep at the wheel, trusting the system, like a lot of other folks in Seattle who put faith in their public institutions.

No more!! It makes me ill to think about being in the same room as these liars.

dan dempsey said...

This lie constitutes criminal fraud and what are the Directors doing about it .... apparently nothing.

If a Directors of a major corporation were aware that an employee they supervise was committing forgery and fraud, they substantively act to alert authorities or they too are guilty.

If a Director has a duty to fulfill and purposely avoids fulfilling it that most certainly is a violation of the Director's oath of office.

Looks like I need to send all seven directors a letter tomorrow alerting them to their duty. It is cheaper to file recall action #3 than appeal recall sufficiency ruling #2.

This is just unbelievable, what is the matter with this district?