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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Big Show Tonight on Seattle Channel

Update: that was interesting! (My husband attended and said it was less dull than when I watch School Board meetings on tv. His suggestion? Hire C.R. Douglas to moderate the School Board meetings and have voting on-line and in the audience for what is being discussed. It's a thought.) Here's the link if you missed it live. The poll/comments are still live as of this date.

It was a much smaller crowd than I thought because they had an intimate set-up. By my count, I'd say about 60 people. The audience was about one-fourth City Year students in their bright red jackets. They were attentive but I think some of what was being said went over their heads. (C.R. Douglas, the host, was asked before taping started, if the Seattle Channel got any of their money from the Gates Foundation. He said no. One City Year student asked what the significance of the question was.)

I knew who many people in the audience were. Besides the panel of Kathy Thompson (Curriculum and Instruction for SPS), Kay Smith-Blum, Olga Addae (SEA) and Lauren McGuire (now officially SCPTSA President). Steve Sundquist and Michael DeBell were there.

One thing that made it slightly less fun was that C.R. didn't ask people their name or affiliation. Thus, you had Liv Finne (from the Washington Policy Center), Sara Morris (head of the Alliance for Education), and Chris Korsmo (head of LEV) answering questions as if they were just regular folk (instead of insiders). There were a couple of people seated with Steve Sundquist who looked familiar but I couldn't put my finger on who they were (if you know, let me know).

I thought the set-up of the forum was good. They had taped segments interspersed with regular updates on what people were saying on-line and how they voted. The on-line people were pretty tough.

Highlights:
  • The focus was kept narrow: teachers contract, Strategic Plan, School Reports.
  • The first item to be voted on was SPS overall - Steve. S. gave it a B. Most wanted to give a grade for schools versus administration. When the vote was taken 16% F, 22%D,44%C and 18% B. There were no A's.
  • On the School Reports (taped segment), Michael said he had hoped for a B but gave them a C. One woman said she initially thought they would be good but that it seemed like information she already knew from her child's teacher. That got applause. Kay said they were amazing and transparent.
  • C.R. asked Kathy a question and the first thing she said was that Dr. Goodloe-Johnson had asked her to express her apology for not being about to be there. (Dr. G-J was not speaking in any of the taped segments; that was taken care of by Dr. Enfield.) It was like MGJ was hovering over the discussion but not part of it.
  • Lauren McGuire was articulate, funny and stated that while communications were going on between parents and the district, the feedback loop wasn't working well.
  • Olga Addae really did a great job in putting forth the SEA position which is the teacher in the classroom position and how progress is made there (not in this emphasis on data collection). There was a delicate tension between Kathy T. and Olga over whether teachers are "proscribed" what to teach and how to teach.
  • It was unfortunate but the School Reports segment scrolled the names of the schools that ranked high and those that ranked low. I know that must have been painful for those schools.
  • There were several teachers in the audience. One was from Aki Kurose. She said yes, they did poorly on the School Reports. But she pointed out that there were several issues around change for the testing and that changes affects lower-performing schools more.
  • While most of the on-line feedback was against the administration (bloated was a word used), there were several people who said the negative feedback was hindering the work.
  • Michael DeBell was very frank especially on the taped segments. When he was asked about the Strategic Plan there was a long pause and he said it wasn't valid any more. But he also said the Strategic Plan was being cut dramatically in this budget (I don't agree). He also mentioned alternative schools and expanding them. He also reference the Families and Education levy as something as a backup for what SPS can't fund. The problem with that is that the F&E levy is NOT there to supplant what the district stops paying for - that's just not how the City views it.
  • Kay said Mercer was doing well because of "common sense" things like expanded services and lots of one-on-one. C.R. asked if that was in the Strategic Plan and Kay said no. (I didn't know but apparently Mercer has a grant that allows a lot more to happen for the students there in the way of services.) Charlie pointed out that raising of scores at Mercer cannot just be attributed to what is happening there but ALSO to the elementary schools feeding into it.
  • Kay also said that SPS's administration had been as high as 9% of the budget and the national average is 6%. (The staff says they are about 7.4%.) Kay also talked about looking at successes and rolling them out to scale. That's not part of the Strategic Plan, either. Kay also said that the most important factor to student learning is "who is sitting next to you in the classroom". There was a ripple of disagreement in the crowd (and I also think this set off what was the most shocking comments of the night by Chris Korsmo).
  • A parent from the SE was very blunt. She said that people in her neighborhood are brown (she was African-American) and that they couldn't wait for the Strategic Plan to work much longer. I think she captured the feeling that while you have to give an initiative a chance, that if you don't see any progress, then the ability to change/correct course needs to happen. She asked for "turnaround action."
Chris Korsmo had the most astonishing, ranting and sneering comments of the evening. I will honestly say it was a little scary, she was almost foaming at the mouth (watch the video, it starts around minute 74).

She started by saying how she grew up on welfare and her father beating the stuff out of her every night. She said that if she had been listening to this room when she was 12 she would have probably committed suicide. (Yes, these were exact words.) She went on and on about how people in the room had said poor kids can't learn. Charlie shouted "Who said that?" as other murmured "no". She said, "Dude, a lot of you did." She just ranted about how kids come as they are to the classroom, we have to teach them, they don't have pause buttons as apparently people in the room thought they have and how "you" want this and that and 85,000 things.

I think she perceived the discussion as wanting the status quo which was not discussed, not promoted by anyone in the room. It's almost as if she walked in believing that she knew what every single person in the room thought and it was her job to call us all out. No one in the room said anything about how poor children learn or any kind of differences. I think the "you" at the end of her rant was directed at teachers.

It was disrespectful, hysterical and unbecoming someone who is the CEO of an education foundation. After that performance (and it can only be called that), I can never take her seriously as an education leader.

It was a worthy evening and I thought the Seattle Channel staff did a great job.

End of Update.

Tonight is the live Town Hall Seattle about SPS sponsored by Seattle Channel. It should make for good viewing as:
  • it's live (something I hadn't realized) - starts at 7 p.m. on Channel 21
  • features Olga Addae (SEA), Maria Goodloe-Johnson (SPS), Lauren McGuire (SCPTSA), and Kay Smith-Blum (School Board)
  • comes on the heels of the budget meeting
  • it is sold-out
Seattle Channel has a poll going at their website as well as an area for you to put in comments about SPS. So far the poll results look like this:
  • Overall grade for SPS - 0 A, 8.33% B, 66.% C, 25% D and 0 F.
  • If you could change one thing, what would it be? 66.% Adm, 11% Curriculum, 0 Principals, 0 Social Services, 11% teachers, 11% other
  • Does the district's move to align curriculums inhibit innovation in the classroom? Yes, 44%, No 22% and Unsure 33%
  • Based on what you know, do you support the district's 5-year Strategic Plan? Yes 11%, No 44%, unsure 44%
  • Most respondents are from North Seattle (44%) with South Seattle at 22%, West Seattle at 11% and Central Seattle 11% (other is 11%)
  • 100% of the respondents are white

102 comments:

Meg said...

I had a ticket, but my babysitting arrangements didn't work out. Anyone want mine?

anonymous said...

I hate these kinds of polls. It's tough for me to answer how I rate SPS because I give admin an F, but I give my kids school an A+. Wish they broke it down a bit better.

ParentofThree said...

I think when you see the grade SPS is getting next to one thing you would change the point is getting across.

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

I hope that central administration 'gets' it that if the white monied constituency isn't down with their central plans that something better change fast because that group is where the backing for reform has been coming. Time to get real.

Stu said...

white monied constituency

I always cringe when I see things like this . . it touches a nerve. Not the white thing, the "monied" thing.

Over the years, I've watched as the administration and non-APP families have taken shot after shot at the APP program and the usual point of attack is how the North, White, Rich families get everything in this district.

We're white, and we happen to live in the north end, but would give anything to be "monied," so we could drop everything and go to a private school. We have such lack of faith in this district, and especially this administration, that we once discussed selling our house and moving to an apartment so that we could afford tuition at a private school. (We were offered financial aid at one of the schools but still wouldn't be able to afford it.)

White doesn't mean money!
North doesn't mean money!

I know this is a little off topic, and I also know what you're saying about the reform movement. (Though, sometimes I think reformers just want change and aren't always that astute about change means or how to effectively implement it.)

Just a sore spot . . .after all these years.

stu

Anonymous said...

It's a sore spot for us too Stu, we are white ( well mostly) we live in the north end. We are certainly not monied. We are 400.00 over the cut off for FRL. But we are engaged parents who pay attention. Limit crap TV and crap food. We pay taxes. I am tired of it some how being a sin to live north of the ship canal. Would our opinions be less suspect if we took our working class butts to the south end? Or would we then be gentrifiers and suspect for that?

SLP

Olliesdad said...

How is it possible that 100% of those polled were white? Are you kidding? I am so mad about this I can't even continue with this post. They couldn't find ANY people of color to poll in good old enlightened Seattle? NOT A ONE TO BE SURVEYED????????????

Anonymous said...

Wow -- MGJ chickened out and was a no show.

A viewer

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm the token hispanic...

Che

Anonymous said...

MGJ didn't show up why? I missed the excuse.

- No fear -

Jet City mom said...

Guess M G-J is finally getting some common sense.
Some good comments by the way.
But the person in charge of curriculum was sad- she was the most animated when she talked about Early childhood ed ( which is her background)


No good explanations about why admin is so top heavy-
" but we are all so busy!"

Chickens running around with their heads cut off look pretty busy too!

kanne said...

I took the online survey at the website and it showed the demographic results as 75% white.

KG said...

MGJ cannot handle the heat and is use to only agreement in her corner, and she is not commited enough as she was probably at Nordstrom getiing a facial.

Anonymous said...

MGJ was also a no show at the budget meeting yesterday, health reason cited. So before we comment further, maybe want to wait and see what is up. And I am not a supporter of MGJ, but think a little respect is in due order, for the moment.

Po3

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

The announcer said that MGJ couldn't be on the show tonight due to her having surgery, so please, everyone stop. Fault her for what she has done in SPS, but not for missing a meeting due to a health concern.

Next: Olliesdad asked how can it be that 100% of the people polled where white? He said "they couldn't find any people of color? He was so mad he couldn't finish his post. Well, Olliesdad, the poll was online and available to all, everyone, anyone. It was a public poll. Tickets to the show were also free, and available to all, on a first come first served basis. So exactly who are you mad at??

Jet City mom said...

I can imagine emergency surgery is pretty scary for M G-J & her family- wishing her a speedy recovery.
& suggesting she might not want to watch the replay of town hall until she recovers.

ws1 said...

Northies you should be glad you have the schools you do! You can always move to Shoreline if North Seattle is not homogeneous enough for you.

The APP/non thing is just a red herring - that is, what 47,000 non APP students and 600 APP? Even if it cost twice as much to transport and educate an APP student, that is a drop in the bucket.

However, it is indisputable that the North has 4 directors for 4 high schools, while those of us in the Southwest and Southeast have 1 director each for 2 high schools. The power will always follow the political influence and the (relative) money.

In West Seattle, I think we'd be happy to rewind the calendar a few years and just be left alone!

anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jet City mom said...

However, it is indisputable that the North has 4 directors for 4 high schools, while those of us in the Southwest and Southeast have 1 director each for 2 high schools. The power will always follow the political influence and the (relative) money.

wait- so you are saying the school board has power & influence?


I delved further into your comment & I agree with you.

Patu covers the region of 22 schools
Sundquist has 17 schools.
Then it drops to Maier with 14 schools, Carr with 12-
then even farther to DeBell, Martin-Morris & Smith-Blum each only having 10 schools in their districts.

I think the representation should be more even.
I have found directors to be accessible, & not limited by region, but I wonder if the most challenged neighborhoods could be better served by a director who is not spread so thin.

dan dempsey said...

EmeraldKity,

Interesting point about directors and # of schools covered. I wonder how that breaks out in terms of Students per Director District?

Is it time for redistricting?

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

emeraldkity, I think bbb was talking about ed directors, not school board directors.

Either way though, I think you have to look at number of students, not just the number of schools.

SE Seattle has 3 high schools. RBHS, has under 400 students enrolled. Cleveland, has 729. Franklin has 1295 students. That's a total of 2400 students in all 3 SE Seattle schools.

West Seattle has 2 high schools. There are 1036 students at Sealth and 1012 students at West Seattle HS, for a total of 2047.

Meanwhile in north seattle
Roosevelt has 1678 students, Ballard has 1604, Hale has 1117, and Ingraham has 963. For a total 5032 students.

If you look at number of students the way the directors are assigned looks more even.

dan dempsey said...

Guppy,

Thanks for the leg work on the numbers.

Dorothy Neville said...

For the record, Chris Korsmo's slightly hysterical assertion notwithstanding, (she must have forgotten her big girl panties) no one there said that poor kids couldn't learn.

As a matter of fact, that's what the fuss is about with the strategic plan, isn't it? See the goal of the strategic plan was to eliminate the achievement gap. But It Has Not Made a Dent. That's why we are not happy with the direction of the district and its expensive strategies -- they are not working to increase achievement of poor and minority students. If we felt that poor and minority students could not learn, then why would we say the strategic plan is a failure? We would instead say anything is doomed to fail so let's stop trying to find a better path.

dan dempsey said...

Here is the link to the 90 minute video of 2/10/2011

Eric M said...

The final poll numbers are gone (I hope, Melissa or Charlie, that you can recover them.) They were much more representative than the early numbers reported on the first post on this thread. I think anyone could agree they were very damning for Central Administration.

Not the cheap part of what Central Administration calls Central Administration, the gardeners and maintenance workers they're offering up for layoffs, but the LEADERSHIP.

That's where the finger is pointing.

As usual, none of those people managed to show up at this meeting.

dan dempsey said...

Pretty clear that Sundquist is the President and Running for re-election as he gives the District a "B".

Collecting data at a cost of tens of millions of dollars, finding out that the District is moving in the opposite direction of its stated goals.

Steve says a district goal is greater equity and access. The exact opposite is occurring, yet he gives the District a "B". Perhaps he needs to look at the collected data.

What is being done with the data?

Oh right ... use data to punish teachers was the plan, but MGJ had to somewhat modify that plan to get a contract signed with teachers.

DeBell sees the rapid move to centralization as destructive. I see the move to centralization as completely misguided as it fails to understand how an effective and efficient instructional process actually works in classrooms.

Unfortunately the STATE is currently on track for national centralization, which will be another disaster.

Just like the Billionaire Boys driving the direction of the Seattle Schools. Steve S. is a big fan of corporate philanthropy. That means instead of asking for donations for the funding needed to assist in providing services that fit into an organized well researched plan; instead Seattle under poor leadership has ricocheted as it incoherently rushes to collect corporate carrots. This gets no "B" from me.

HB 1891 needs to get out of committee to delay entry into the Common Core State Standards.

At the moment (as in right now) Sharon Tamiko Santos, who is the Chair of the House Ed committee needs a phone call. Urging her to get HB 1891 out of her committee so that it gets a hearing.

This bill deserves a hearing.

Here are her numbers and email:

(360) 786-7944 (Olympia) and/or (206) 587-5549 her district office and tell her you want a hearing on HB 1891.

santos.sharontomiko@leg.wa.gov

=============

The report I have from the house Ed committee is that in regard to an HB 1443 amendment to delay the CCSS:

Every Republican on the House Ed committee voted for Anderson's delay of the CCSS in HB1443.... Every single Democrat voted against the delay....

Rep. Santos is a Democrat and has been a fabulous advocate for education in the past. HB 1891 needs a hearing.

HB 1891 <== Text of Bill is HERE

Speechless said...

I believe these might be the last numbers:

What overall grade would you give Seattle Public Schools?
A 3.21%
B 20.51%
C 39.1%
D 30.13%
F 7.05%

Other than funding, if you could change one thing in the Seattle Public Schools, what would it be?
Administration 70.71%
Curriculum 10%
Principals 5%
Social Services 2.86%
Teachers 5.71%
Other 5.71%

Speechless said...

(cont.)
Will the new contract improve student performance?
Yes 14.69%
No 60.14%
Unsure 25.17%

Does the district's move to align curriculums inhibit innovation in the classroom?
Yes 69.63%
No 18.52%
Unsure 11.85%

Based on what you know, do you support the district's 5 year strategic plan?
Yes 11.19%
No 73.13%
Unsure 15.67%

Speechless said...

What is your affiliation with Seattle Public Schools?
Children currently enrolled 49.62%
Children formerly enrolled or will soon be enrolled 16.03%
Student 0.76%
Employee 29.01%
I live in Seattle but send my children to private school 4.58%

Where do you live?
North Seattle 48.48%
South Seattle 12.88%
West Seattle 12.12%
Central Seattle 16.67%
King County 3.79%
Other 6.06%

How old are you?
12-18 0%
19-25 6.98%
26-30 2.33%
31-40 25.58%
41-50 35.66%
50+ 29.46%

Please indicate which of the following you consider yourself to be:
American Indian or Alaskan Native 0%
Asian or Pacific Islander 8.4%
Black or African-American (not of Hispanic origin) 4.58%
Hispanic 11.45%
White (not of Hispanic Origin) 75.57%

Maureen said...

Thanks Speechless, was the total number of respondants reported anywhere?

zb said...

"Either way though, I think you have to look at number of students, not just the number of schools. "


Well, but not just the number of students in the schools at this point in time. The school board members should represent the students who aren't currently enrolled in the schools, too. And, they also represent the people, the taxpayers, the business folks, and others who care about the schools.

I'd like to see more about how the school board districts are drawn. The local + general elections have always felt a bit strange to me.

Chris S. said...

I'd like to thank Lauren McGuire for being a different kind of PTSA president - one that acknowledges the parents she interacts with have a variety of opinions, rather than on that acts as an RTTT cheerleader while purporting to represent the "community."

wseadawg said...

Excellent point Stu. Every neighborhood has pockets of wealth and poverty around here. Even Bellevue! There's a lot of broad-brushing born of "small i" ignorance around here. My guess is that better than half of South End folks couldn't find Ingraham or Hale without a map, nor could many North folk find RB or Sealth. We often think we know our city better than we do, but as pointed out in the Times yesterday, 1/3 of all homes in Seatle have negative equity balances. So much for the wealthy white North!

We really need to stop buying into the local, divide and conquer, North vs. South, politicking that keeps us at each others throats while the powers that be go on fleecing us. Having lived in all areas of this city, and having friends in all corners of it, I'm happy to say that most people N/S/E or W don't buy into the N/S divide. But politicians, including our beloved Board, and especially the hacks at JSCEE will do all they can to manufacture and exploit those divisions as they troll for votes and support for controversial pet programs.

Who hasn't witnessed the forked-tongue of Board members when they say two different things to parents in Ballard vs the Rainier Valley? I've seen it a million times. And they all do it.

Take heart Olliesdad: It's Sempre Fi for any and all parents & students in SPS. Don't get scammed into thinking your kid suffers because some other kid across town is scamming your benefits and opportunities. SPS thrives on getting parents, especially those in the SE, to buy into that theory, which provides a convenient scapegoat to mask their incompetence and dirty deeds. It's gone on for decades.

Jet City mom said...

We really need to stop buying into the local, divide and conquer, North vs. South, politicking that keeps us at each others throats while the powers that be go on fleecing us

Agree
I also wondered if the school board was who was meant, but as I could not find info about what admin director positions were regional- I went with what I could find.

However, since apparently the population numbers are similar in the regions despite that numbers of buildings are different- what should we do about that?

I also feel that being that a school board member is usually more accessible ( although not always as much as hoped), than admin is to the public.
While the numbers of students may be similar through regions, knowing each school history, having a relationship with the principals and the parents will take much more time & energy with a larger number of schools.

I still think the board positions should represent similar numbers of schools as families who would never dream of going to JSEE, may attend a community coffee hour or chat with the board member at a school potluck.
That might be something to look at as a way to help families feel more empowered.

I also am sick to death of assumptions that if I live north of the ship canal I am ( fill in the blank)- particulary when the assumption is by someone who has more formal education & a larger income than I do.

I feel that some regional newspapers/blogs emphasize geographical differences- to what end?
Is it helping them achieve their goals?

What would they say if all school volunteers, fundraisers & charities that are staffed by those who live north of the ship canal stopped going south? Would that help them any?

Jet City mom said...

For the record, Chris Korsmo's slightly hysterical assertion notwithstanding, (she must have forgotten her big girl panties) no one there said that poor kids couldn't learn.

That was really odd- & why did they let her go on...& on...?

Too much reality television?

Speechless said...

I couldn't find the total number of respondents anywhere Maureen.

ParentofThree said...

Just watched the video and was simply amazed at the common thoughts parents expressed about the state of SPS. I also have to give DeBell a nod for his honesty, but will want to see that concern show up when important votes come up related to the stratigic plan.

The only thing I felt was odd was why did they not have any footage interviewing MGJ? Did she decline requests to be interviewed as part of the pre-show set up?

gavroche said...

emeraldkity said...

For the record, Chris Korsmo's slightly hysterical assertion notwithstanding, (she must have forgotten her big girl panties) no one there said that poor kids couldn't learn.

That was really odd- & why did they let her go on...& on...?


Maybe because Korsmo is with the League of Education Voters, and they are big players in this town when it comes to education and promoting corporate ed reform. (LEV also gets significant funding from the Gates Foundation.)

But I agree, Korsmo kind of lost it. (At around minute 74 of the tape.)

gavroche said...

I also agree that it was strange that Supt. Goodloe-Johnson didn't show up and was not even interviewed in the pre-taped segments.

She's been a no-show at a number of potentially heated public forums. Wonder why that is......

cascade said...

Wow. Chris Korsmo leader of LEV did a huge disservice to LEV last night, which usually seems less hysterical than Stand On the Children.

If Korsmo's hostile outburst in the middle of a session where everyone else with varied opinions managed to act like adults was the true face of LEV, then, um, thanks but no thanks to that organization.

Charlie Mas said...

After that demonstration, is there anyone - anyone - who will take Chris Korsmo seriously about anything ever again?

Wow! What a career-limiting move!

Every bit of it was a bewildering disgrace. She was frothing.

And when the audience contradicted her, she only got worse.

That said, she put forward one of the most commonly spouted false arguments in support of Ed Reform, the presumption that anyone who opposes Ed Reform supports the status quo. That's simply false. No one is satisfied with the status quo. Opponents of Ed Reform just support a different set of solutions - a set of solutions that support students and address the root causes of the opportunity gap.

ParentofThree said...

That crazy lady was the LEV rep. Woah.....


MGJ is recovering for surgery and do not fault her for being a no-show. But would like to know if she was asked to be interviewed and declined?

cascade said...

I did not explain my white/monied comment well. Of course north of ship canal does not = white/monied.

I meant that the current super. has a local base of power. That base is downtown civic people, big grant givers -- Alliance, Gates -- and Big Ed Reform PACs like Stand for the Children. Look at the organizations. They are mostly white and they are mostly affluent. They also mostly live North in the city. But if other voices within the same group of demographics -white and nort-h came out so strongly AGAINST the super's plans, then she has Big Problems.

anonymous said...

emeraldkity, here is a link to the SPS org chart, which shows the 5 ed directors. Not sure if bbbb was talking about ed directors or school board directors?

http://www.seattleschools.org
/area/m_aboutus/spsorgchart.pdf

Pitting north against south is not productive in any way. If you take the time to look and have an open mind, you will find that inequities exist all across this district.

RBHS is the smallest high school in the district, with under 400 students, yet it is the only high school in the district that has two principals.

Many South Seattle schools have extended day, and extended yellow bus service. No north end schools get that.

Each and every student that graduates from Sealth, Cleveland, and RBHS receives an automatic 1 year scholarship to South Seattle Community College, regardless of their financial need, GPA, or test scores. There is nothing even remotely close to that happening up North.

All of the SPS option high schools are located south of the ship canal. Yup, it's true. STEM, NOVA, and Center are all south of the ship canal. None, not even one, is up north. And do note that Center and NOVA are two of the highest performing high schools in the district.

Speaking of STEM, they are implementing their 1:1 student laptop program. Evey 9th and 10th grade student at STEM will receive their own laptop to keep, and take home with them, for the entire school year. They are the only school in the district that does this. And they are in SE Seattle.

And Garfield, which is also south of the ship canal, offers many more honors and AP classes than any other high school in the entire district.

Just some things to think about next time you find yourself feeling like the north end gets it all. We really don't.

Charlie Mas said...

I'm going to admit, to my shame, that I felt a little bit of schadenfreude at Chris Korsmo's meltdown.

Her explosive fail was amusing and gratifying to me. I know, I know. It's petty and mean, but there it is. As I regularly remind folks, I'm not a nice man. This moment confirmed it once again.

I will also admit that I started the chorus of "No one said that" that spurred her to new heights of bespittled madness.

I'm a total rat bastard who shouldn't be allowed in public, but at least I can maintain a civil discourse.

Contrast Ms Korsmo's outburst (someone HAS to YouTube that so it can go viral) with the urgent call made minutes later by the woman from southeast Seattle who called upon the District leadership to act with urgency to improve academic outcomes for students in her neighborhood.

I can't wait to see some mention of the event on the LEV web site.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Charlie, she won't say a word about it but I predict it will get out.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Doh! It wasn't Kay's remarks that set Chris K. off - it was more likely Charlie's (not to place blame but as a correction from me).

Charlie said, at about minute 60, that if teacher quality is so important, if you switched teachers at Aki Kurose and Eckstein, did anyone think that those schools' test scores would flip to reflect that change?

It is a great point and he was asked why those scores wouldn't change. Charlie carefully talked about what students bring in preparedness to the classroom (no mention of being poor). He said why isn't anyone asking about root causes. He was followed by a teacher from West Seattle who teaches Special Ed and she asked for more help for struggling student especially poor ones. She asked for better school lunches for students.

I think Chris heard this as "poor kids can't learn".

Anonymous said...

Korsmo performance = Epic Fail for LEV's cause.

Like a lot of the people there. Cannot support the org anymore if Korsmo is in charge.

-skeptical-

Anonymous said...

Sort of akin to my feelings about the Super and the rest of the SPS central admin.

-skeptical-

SPS Alumna and Mom said...

Wow, I didn't know who Chris Korsmo was while I was watching. Thanks for that.

I am an SPS parent, married to an SPS teacher, but I have to say I thought the administration was unfairly vilified last night. I wish that people would focus on specific criticisms (as the authors of this blog generally do) rather than just calling them "bloated" and giving them poor grades. It bothered me that so many people referred to pockets of excellence at schools and talked about the need to replicate best practices, but then slammed administration. By what mechanism do they think these best practices will be replicated? Isn't that what central administration is/should be for? I have to say, I believe in alignment, for all the reasons that Dr. Enfield mentioned. And I thought the moderator did a great job!

Dorothy Neville said...

The message I got was that Chris Korsmo is still caught up in her childhood issues and that clouds her judgment, her ability to see all perspectives, to think rationally about the variety of issues affecting kids and learning. Her passion for her career could very well stem from her family of origin issues. That said, her lack of ability to separate her own story (get some therapy, chica) from her work means she really does LEV a disservice by being their CEO and spokesperson.

Ironically of course, she was blaming her childhood trauma on her dad, not on her teachers or school. Message I would wish she could take from that: teachers cannot be miracle workers on their own. Smaller class sizes, respectful and safe environment for teaching and learning, AND wrap around services to identify and help kids in crisis are ALL needed. LEV and Stand For Children's narrow focus on blaming teachers grossly misses the point.

Jet City mom said...

Chris Korsmo is letting her baggage get in the way of being an effective advocate- which isn't unheard of- but we don't have time for that.

I see LEV is having their anniversary breakfast next month at the Westin on the 18th- could be a hoot!

Iv'e known people who have used plain circumstances as a channel to build connections & who haven't devolved into being an ideologue for instance, Felice Yeskel, who founded the Stonewall Center in 1985 & co founded Class Action. http://www.classism.org/

So far nothing on the LEV website explaining her melt down.

Maybe they thought no one was watching?

Melissa Westbrook said...

SPS Alumna, how many specifics do you want?

- we have (and have had) a larger central adm than the national/regional average for years. Money not the in the classroom

- $500M backlog in maintenance and we're cutting maintenance back to "emergency incidents" only

- Strategic Plan - very expensive, very top-heavy, few good outcomes

-SE Initiative - failure, waste of money

- a number of good things happening in schools were mentioned last night - Mercer, for example - is that part of the Strategic Plan? No.

Read thru this blog; we have plenty of specifics.

joanna said...

This experience was more interesting than I anticipated. I appreciated the comments by Michael DeBell, Olga Addae, and others regarding the importance of the school communities. It takes really leadership to ensure that there is the trust and respect among the families, communities, teachers, principals, and others in the school to build strong schools. Although I am not sure if I can forgive Michael, the public servant, for neither asking tougher questions earlier nor responding to those who were. He must have known better. I am not sure that most families are getting what they need to feel good about our schools. No one teacher will save the world or a child without considerable support.

I wish I had taken a breath and given some examples of what I meant by politics getting in the way of what may be a good plan on paper. People are so difficult. One is the fight over math curriculum. There was a better choice that would have also been more well supported by the community. Maria Goodloe-Johnson seemed to make this decision due to personal connections and a personal agenda not related to delivering a good education to students. The controversy and chaos also distracted all from other many important efforts that need attention. The implementation of the new student assignment plan was neither transparent nor done with sincere community or family engagement. The result has been that many communities have been thrown into chaos, and many families do not feel any control or trust in what has been planned for them. Access to schools for family involvement was a good argument for this type of plan. Has the plan increased this access and involvement? Is there a plan to measure that? Family involvement is an often forgotten #1 ingredient for student success. Transportation savings was the other, right? How much have we saved? Was transportation breaking the budget? Opening and closing schools so quickly is very costly. How much has it cost us? Is there any real savings? And, of course, is anyone examining the general impact on the students and the communities in which the children live?

Others are following the budget and how it is presented, hmm. Often organizations come with money and influence into the the District with considerable resources to lobby for and spin their missions. Some can do good. Many can do good if they are managed well by the District. Often though these organizations have a political or personal agenda, which is not transparent and may not represent the over arching values of many in the District. They may push certain programs that are not sustainable and will result in destabilization of either the District or at least some of the schools. Where you have humans there will always be politics, I know. Nonetheless, creating trust and a sense of common empowerment is important if we really care about all the kids.

Perhaps if we can listen to each other and meet around many of the issues, Seattle families and citizens will be able to organize and able to advocate for their schools, communities, and all of Seattle.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well said, Joanna. Thank you.

Josh Hayes said...

Early poll results copied from the original post:

"If you could change one thing, what would it be? 66.% Adm, 11% Curriculum, 0 Principals, 0 Social Services, 11% teachers, 11% otherDoes the district's move to align curriculums inhibit innovation in the classroom? Yes, 44%, No 22% and Unsure 33%Based on what you know, do you support the district's 5-year Strategic Plan? Yes 11%, No 44%, unsure 44%Most respondents are from North Seattle (44%) with South Seattle at 22%, West Seattle at 11% and Central Seattle 11% (other is 11%)100% of the respondents are white..."

Note that all the responses, in every category, are multiples of 11%, which suggests that at this point in the poll the number of respondents was exactly nine people (producing 11% per respondent). Not exactly a thundering turnout, and probably the final results would be different, but don't panic that the first nine respondents were white.

It is a little dismaying that the racial makeup of poll respondents does not in any way match up with the racial makeup of SPS students, even in the final poll results given later in this thread.

Chris S. said...

Well, no one else has made this particular snark, so I will. Steve Sundquist gave them/himself a B. Was anyone else thinking of a former mayor?

Hey Charlie, I thought you were well spoken, coherent, and somewhat less um...trash-talking than your reputation.

Also, I have been wondering if Channel 21 will receive pressure to not re-broadcast that show too much. Gotta go to school, but I'll be back with a conversation I overheard last night, sitting on the Chris-Korsmo side of the room.

Sahila said...

@Chris... in light of those comments you heard, you might be pleased to know I've been posting the video on various blogs and facebook pages around the country....

;-)

ParentofThree said...

"But she pointed out that there were several issues around change for the testing and that changes affects lower-performing schools more"

I thought this was one of the most valid points made last night and also one of the biggest problems with the School Reports as they only show 2 years of data. That "snapshot" look doesn't give a sense as to what is really happening in the school over time. For example, three years ago math test scores at my school were in the 90s. Enter EDM, and after one year test scores droped to 72%, the next year roase to 78%.

On the School Report is looks like this school is making great gains with the new math program. But in reality we are still down 12% pre-EDM, when the school had the ability to select textbooks that obviously worked really well for this school.

I was glad the Aki teacher spoke up, I know those School Report arent telling the real story at my school and now know that they aren't telling the real story at Aki...and probably aren't telling the real story at the "high ranking" schools like Blaine either!

Chris S. said...

OK, I don't know who it was sitting behind me, but I didn't recognize them as district employees. Maybe they are some of the mysterious MGJ supporters we hear about.

Anyway, when the program ended they said "wow, a lot of misinformation floating around" and "Thank God it's only Channel 21." I almost asked what misinformation they were referring to but I had a long walk back to my car.

I did take it as confirmation of my feeling that WE, we being the parents and teachers - those who REALLY have a stake in student success - WE controlled the message this time.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Chris, I absolutely thought the same thing and I think it was one reason why Chris Korsmo went off. I think she said in the room and listened and just got more upset over what she heard. That was probably the most free and best forum for SPS parents in years.

Anonymous said...

I have a couple of thoughts about Korsmo.

First she is under a lot of pressure right now to get as much ed-reform legislation through as she possibly can. Every e-mail newsletter she puts out right now is about how we should all call our reps to push through some pretty awful legislation. LEV has hosted in the last several months all the ed reform stars from Barth to Johnson to Ben Austin and his parent trigger and soon Wendy Kopp of TFA.

This is her big moment now, the confluence of all that she has worked for, but folks aren't buying it. It was made clear to her last night.

Another thing about Korsmo is that she has always been the way she is in terms of her behavior. Her unattractive behavior last night was not surprising to me or out of character for her.

I have had the unpleasant experience of sitting in front of her in board meetings when she has felt compelled to voice her viewpoints even though the timing was inappropriate and the veracity of her delivery was unnecessary.

Anyway, she lost it because she is seeing the writing on the wall and it is not reflecting the messaging that she has been working on steadily over the last year or two.

It will be interesting to see if Gates provides additional funding to LEV after last night's performance.

Maureen said...

It actually made me sad to hear her outburst. Unless she was acting, and I don't think she was, she heard a group of people who care about education all saying that they (we) don't think people like her can learn. She has probably gone through her whole life thinking that she has heard this, and there are probably a significant number of kids in our schools right now who think they hear that being said. It may be that when we say that some kids need support, she hears us saying we don't think they can learn. I don't know exactly what we could do to help those kids (and Ms. Korsmo) actually hear what it is we are really saying. (Which , in my case at least, is that all kids can learn, but they begin at different points and they have different levels of support in their lives and we need to take that into account.) I suppose it's possible that she thinks we should offer no extra support to any child and that is what is meant by 'high expectations' of all kids. But I would need to hear that from her directly to believe it.

Charlie Mas said...

I just watched the video and Chris Korsmo didn't appear nearly as raving on the video as she did in real life.

Greg said...

SPS Alumna said, "So many people ... talked about the need to replicate best practices, but then slammed administration. By what mechanism do they think these best practices will be replicated? Isn't that what central administration is/should be for?"

Teachers and principals at different schools talk to each other and can easily choose to replicate good ideas. There is no need for a large, hierarchical central administration. There is no need for a central administration that enforces compliance to their decisions rather than one that provides support for decisions made by each school.

You asked, what is central administration for? Ultimately, it should be for what all of the school budget is for, maximizing the learning opportunities of the children in Seattle Public Schools. Central administration has no special place in the budget. It should exist at the minimum size necessary to help educate the children of Seattle.

The point is not to attack central administration. The point is that these cuts have to come from somewhere, and minimizing the impact on the classrooms and the kids should be our primary objective in choosing what to cut. From the budget documents, it is obvious that central administration is large in Seattle (at 9% of budget compared to the norm of 6%) and it should be equally obvious that cuts there would have less of a classroom impact than cutting teachers or support.

Jan said...

I wish I had been there for the "real life" version, then -- because the video seemed pretty off-base and unhinged to me!

Maureen, I appreciate your post, and your opinions are always informed and valuable -- but I have to say, a "bent" childhood often forms a distorted and harmful prism through which to view reality as an adult. I am less sad than alarmed. That someone who is at the helm of a major education policy group could be so ideologically "bent" as to interpret the comments in the room to all mean everyone was saying "poor kids can't learn" is very disturbing. Of course poor kids can learn (happens all the time). But all kids will learn less (and poor ones will bear the brunt of it -- as their parents cant haul them off to Kumon, or hire tutors, or bail for private school) if the actions taken by the District squander dwindling resources (time and money), drain enthusiasm, time and energy from teachers, and utterly fail to correctly perceive, evaluate, and make solid progress on the many real problems that the District faces.

Also -- WHILE we are addressing problems at Ingraham, RBHS, etc., it is NOT ok to be simultaneously creating other problems at Lowell (by splitting APP but failing to send the north part north), RHS (by eliminating English options and AP Euro History), Eckstein, Bryant and others by ridiculous overcrowding, Ballard and Garfield (by - pick your poison -- overcrowding, elimination of the Montessori preschool, threatened elimination of stellar science courses, etc.).

We need to spend what little money and time and energy we have on site-based solutions that work. It's darn hard to fight the educational battles if, with the other hand, you have to fend off District ridiculousness like Discovery Math, science and LA alignment, etc. The Strategic Plan, the wasted money on the NWEA contract, all the hoorah and money spent on stuff to facilitate teacher firings, all of the joy-killing standardization -- the weeks and weeks of library-killing testing that no one uses --it all needs to go!

I know of NO "makeover" program -- whether as silly as wardrobe makeovers to as major and serious as business makeovers - that does not start with an honest and wholehearted assessment of assets, as well as problems. MGJ NEVER did that here. She NEVER came in and evaluated the good stuff -- the music programs, the LA courses at Roosevelt, Nathan Hale's radio station, the Ballard academies, NOVA and the other alts -- and then said -- how do we build on this? How do we amplify/reproduce/presereve these? Nope. She just came in, revved up the "ed reform" chainsaw, and started clearcutting the forest.

It will be ironic indeed if what ultimately "saves" what is left of the "good" in Seattle Public Schools is a budget crisis.

seattle citizen said...

There is a big difference (a chasm, really) between replicating best practices around the district and importing a standardized set of "best practices" as preached by the Reform lobby.
Educators and others, parent/guardians, community members, etc, can share practice but that is counter to the model we are seeing nationally, where The Experts come along with a product that works with ALL students, right, and is basically the same for all students, and is not malleable nor modifiable. A flexible, adjustable (for EACH student, classroom, school...) curriculum is NOT what Reformers want: They want to direct, at a national level, all curriculum and assessment. This is totally counter to shared best practice that is locally adaptable and directed. "They" want each student to be some level of a data point and nothing more, and "they" are busy putting that cookie-cutter model of education in place.
Note the absence of most subjects in national discussion - talking about civics or art is way, way too complicated for the edu-industry: They need us all to be using the exact same "data" points so they can group students (by income, by race...) and thereby declare that "schools fail" so as to break the union, lower the cost of education, and perhaps eke a bit o' profit, ala' Blackwater, while they're at it.
THIS is what needs to be cut. Cut the MAP, TFA, alignment....these are drains on the classroom and disrupt true collaboration. These three items, and more, are non-collaborative, and merely "data" gatherers to compete in a race to the "top," which is represented, evidently, by high scores (it's almost like a video game!) on computerized, multiple choice questions on some sorts of generalized "Math," "Reading," and "Writing."

Melissa Westbrook said...

SC, I think you are exactly right. So much churn when we need basics. The basics of learning are reading, writing and math. Everything else expands from that.

seattle citizen said...

Melissa, reading, writing and math (aspects of each) are three of the primary components of education, yes. My point, tho', is that the centralized (now federally centralized through RTTT, and, to a lesser degree, NCLB) edu-industry Reformer have merely co-opted these things, without nuance, as their rallying cry to foist the "data-driven" mythology upon us. They have no interest in all the other aspects of education, that, while not as key as some aspects of reading, writing and math, are also necessary components of education.

"They" have gone TOO basic, in their reduction of education to these three data points ("400" in "Reading"; "17" in "Writing"; "400" in Math)

No nuance, all standardized and, they say, connected somehow to every other student's experience around the state, nay, the nation.

It's a game: Look over here, they tell us, here at this group's HSPE scores as we take away civics, take away, creative writing, take away history and art and, shoot, vitality! We must increase the Score! Don't pay attention to the moving van hauling away the globes and stage sets; we've got pacing guides and test prep!

Yes, basics, but only when they are embedded in the whole cosmos of a true education, with a variety of disciplines and classes, a variety of students, a variety of educators...NOT the "Read! Write! Do Math!" command and control of centralized Reformers.

seattle citizen said...

"The basics of learning are reading, writing and math. Everything else expands from that."

Everything expands, instead, from an individual's curiosity, communication, interpretation, analysis, comprehension....found in text, images, sounds, body language, mimicry...Yes, reading is important. But even more basic is sustaining a living and eager connection to the world. Yes, writing is important, but it is an offshoot of talking. Yes, math is important, but it is the child of conceptualization...

In civics we see statistics and math; in art we see image, concepts and symbols; in auto shop we hear discussion over failed CPUs as often as we write estimates for replacing oil filters.

"Math," "Reading," and "Writing" are NOT the basis from which all other aspects of education spring: Life is.

chunga said...

Wow, I'm just floored that it was Chris Korsmo, CEO of LEV, who came unhinged last night. Public meetings often have someone spout off nonsense about UFOs or something, and who everyone nods politely to and then promptly ignores. Bye-bye LEV!

Bruce Taylor said...

I just watched the video and Chris Korsmo didn't appear nearly as raving on the video as she did in real life.

She must have been one hell of a freakshow in person, then, because she went completely "what's the frequency, Kenneth?" on the TV broadcast.

ws1 said...

If I was one of you "North" constituents, I would suggest you just smile, nod and don't ask the district to do anything to "help".

Nova, Center School, and Garfield are really "Central" Seattle schools, not North or South (maybe you "Northies" should get out more often).

In West Seattle, our schools have been raped an pillaged, overcrowded and abused to pay for new schools in the North. Thanks, we don't mind sending our kids to dangerously overcrowded, obsolete schools so you can have newly re/opened ones that are seriously under-enrolled.

dan dempsey said...

Sundquist SAYS a "B"

WA Education Accountability is likely Impossible
without massive action from Citizens

Government officials are in favor of more government and administrators are in
favor of more administration, with no accountability for administration.

At the Town Hall meeting televised on 2-10-2011, Seattle School Board president, Steve Sundquist, gave the district an overall grade of “B” and the meeting’s focus was student achievement. Mr. President, check the data.

The pass rate for Seattle’s grade 10 Black students dropped to 12.5% in Spring 2010 as reported on the OSPI HSPE Math test.

That makes the Math Achievement Gap 55.6%. (White - Black)

More alarming is the performance of all recent high school graduates entering Seattle’s Community Colleges. Here are the percentages of those recent high school graduates enrolled in remedial classes for Fall 2009:

recent high school graduates enrolled in remedial pre-college courses..

North Seattle CC
English 51%
Math .... 66%

Central Seattle CC
English 31%
Math …. 69%

South Seattle CC
English 72%
Math …. 83%

NOTE: In 2010 after the $1.2 million adoption of "Discovering" the Black student Pass rate for Grade 10 Seattle Students on the MATH HSPE dropped to 12.5%. What will the District do win or lose in Appeals Court after the March 8, 2011 hearing?

For The Common Core State Standards Initiative, WA is planning on spending $183 million to kick the can further down the road. The first CCSS assessment will be Spring 2015.

OSPI, the SBE, and the Seattle Schools administration have done nothing to improve education for struggling students but they have increased the number of struggling students.

Government Officials whether elected, appointed, or employed have increasingly favored protection of their leaders at the expense of the citizens and the Constitution.

Prosecutors offices, Courts, and the Attorney General have often helped in this evasion by Government Officials of their responsibility to fulfill article IX of the State Constitution and the State’s Laws.

I believe, it is time for a citizen’s rally on the Capitol steps to get HB 1891 out of
committee and to get legislation to delay the adoption of the Common Core Standards
enacted as soon as possible.

The BUCK apparently never stops anywhere for these folks as they just keep on spending it *(even when they don't have a buck.)

===========
Odds and Ends
On December 11, 2010 in an emergency one-day session $208 million in Federal dollars, that had been directed to local school districts to help them deal with the damaging effects of recessionary pressures, was diverted into the General Fund. Rep. Pat Sullivan was quoted as saying: “We think it’s legal.”

Note there is apparently no mechanism to investigate felonies committed by Seattle School Administrators. The K.C. Prosecutor and the Governor and the Attorney General and the Seattle police ... each say its someone else's job

Rose M said...

It has long been the playground joke that MGJ wanted an easy way to close the achievement gap, so she made it a priority to destroy everything that individual schools were doing well. That was easier than helping students who were struggling.

Clear cutting is right Jan.

Charlie Mas said...

@Bruce Taylor - oh, yeah. In person it was a lot more freaky and scary. She appeared to be on the edge of violence.

Rufus X said...

@Jan said She NEVER came in and evaluated the good stuff -- the music programs, the LA courses at Roosevelt, Nathan Hale's radio station, the Ballard academies, NOVA and the other alts -- and then said -- how do we build on this? How do we amplify/reproduce/presereve these? Nope. She just came in, revved up the "ed reform" chainsaw, and started clearcutting the forest

NAILED it, could not agree more.

Charlie Mas said...

I've been rolling the evening around in my head a bit and a curious thought has occurred to me.

CR started the evening by saying that he wanted to concentrate on student achievement - didn't want to talk about transportation or facilities or operational stuff.

But the two biggest topics of discussion were the Strategic Plan - which is a management plan, not an academic plan - and the Teacher Contract - which has nothing to do with student achievement either. So after saying that he wanted to focus on student achievement, we instead focus on two matters that are, at most, peripheral to student achievement.

seattle citizen said...

"Safety Net" and learning, Part I:

Right before MGJ came in, the hired out a "Safety Net Review." This review suggested changes that COULD have had some positive effect for struggling students (the question was, how does the district address the needs of students who are struggling in some regard.)
The proposed changes, right when the superintendent arrived, were to, first and foremost, address the individual needs of students BEFORE they "got into trouble": before they declined academically, before they therefore (or as a corollary) got suspended, expelled, or dropped out. The idea was to meet the needs of individual students.
Since then, this "response" to struggling students has been morphed into a monster data system. MAP, the "Dashboard," etc, DO allow a certain degree of identification of struggling students. But the prescription for helping these students, for keeping them in their schools by meeting their needs (the goal) has become mere data-crunching without the FTE to support this individualized attention. There ARE some new developmental (remedial) classes in, for instance, reading, to meet the needs of students who are behind. But what is needed is (as we've heard here before) a case-management system like in Everett, where FTE (actual people) is assigned to monitor and assist individual students. Instead of that, we have "differentiation," where regular classroom teachers are told to do all the identifying (someone higher up looks not at the individual student but at a data set and says, help this kid in the classroom!) and then adjust curriculum and instruction in the classroom to meet the needs of every student.
Bizarrely, "alignment" suggests every kid on the same page at the same time (no, not completely, but that's the general idea) while teachers are told that there are a variety of skill levels on any given target or strand that they must also address.

seattle citizen said...

"Safety Net" and Learning, Part II

Data data data, used to supposedly identify outliers (tho' without the human element the "data" is mere numbers, sometimes suspect) which is well and good, but without a systematic case management system the regular ed teachers are now tasked with these interventions.
"Differentiate! Call home! Feed the kid! Engage all students!"

This is a recipe for curriculum and instruction to be dumbed down, for high-level learners to get less time/instruction from their teachers as low-level students get attention to their needs; for low-level students (and I mean low level in some particular skill or knowledge, not generally; Much as some people cough-Korsmo-cough might like to spout that people just don't think poor people can learn, the fact is that some students excel at some things and some struggle at some things), low-level students sit dumbfounded as the higher-level lessons are given to the higher-level students.

They will tell you that "differentiation" will allow ALL students to move up (ignoring, for a moment, that what must happen, of course, is that students who are behind must be accelerated: they must move up not at the regular pace but must move up faster to catch up) but really what differentiation is is a foisting off on the classroom teacher all the peripheral supports (remedial, counseling, ELL, SpEd) that have been removed by a reducation in FTE for these things.

This is the second leg of the "Reform" cost-savings agenda (the first being to break the union to allow lower pay and the ability to get rid of teachers when they make "too much money"): It's CHEAPER to get rid of all that peripheral staff and just rely on classroom teachers to do it all.

But what we get is some students rising a bit, some students falling back, and the reduction of education, generally, from meeting ALL needs to a system that merely churns out standardized widgets.

Creativity? Not without a standardized data point to measure across the district, across the state, the nation..."Innovation" in the classroom? Not unless its directed at test prep. Heart? Passion? Individuality in students and educators? Nope; it's somehow not "competitive."

We'll be lying in this bed we've made in about fifteen years, when our children come of age, and it makes me sad.

Josh Hayes said...

[sarcasm]

Well, seattle citizen, that'll be true for the REGULAR ol' public schools, but the CHARTER schools will be great!

[/sarcasm]

Melissa Westbrook said...

"In West Seattle, our schools have been raped an pillaged, overcrowded and abused to pay for new schools in the North. Thanks, we don't mind sending our kids to dangerously overcrowded, obsolete schools so you can have newly re/opened ones that are seriously under-enrolled."

That's a lotta accusing but c'mon - the north didn't make these decisions. The district did. "So that you can..." supposes that this is what people wanted. I think the overcrowded schools wanted some relief but I think the numbers show that they don't want schools that no focus.

How do the reopened schools hurt West Seattle? I mean if you are talking about the capital money, join the club. There are buildings ALL over that are getting placed on the waitlist because of the 4 reopening buildings. A lot of schools have major maintenance issues.

So explain please how the north end has more and West Seattle got less. I'm not mad, just curious.

Megan Mc said...

@Jan said She NEVER came in and evaluated the good stuff -- the music programs, the LA courses at Roosevelt, Nathan Hale's radio station, the Ballard academies, NOVA and the other alts -- and then said -- how do we build on this? How do we amplify/reproduce/preserve these? Nope. She just came in, revved up the "ed reform" chainsaw, and started clear cutting the forest

Amen!

seattle citizen said...

Well, Megan Mc, one can't have those silly extras like music, acadamies, creative writing and alts...and remedial, counseling, ELL, SpEd, truancy, case management...if one is focusing purely on putting Quality Teachers "differentiating" and "including" in standardized Reading, Writing, Math and Science classrooms in order to make certain the Excelling Students and Quality Teachers raise themselves eight points up the HSPE scale or three steps up RIT ladder in order to a) graduate (after 10th grade: HSPE nothing matters) or b) stay employed, as a lack of movement on the RIT scale obviously signifies some profound inability to do as one's told.

You can't have variety, innovation, and outliers that aren't measureable and accountable. Case Management isn't quanitifable, so out it goes. Art knows no description, so it's out, too. Reading, Math and Science HSPE/MAP data is all that can be measured, then used to measure people.

wsnorth said...

@Melissa/West Seattle

Well, here is just a short list from the last few and next couple of years:

North:
3 new elementary schools
AP/APP at Ingraham
International elementary
Schools rated "4 or 5" = lots
BEX/BTA money = tons

West Seattle:
2 closed schools, 5 falling apart
Very few AP classes
Lip service to International (Sealth IB a notable, parent driven, exception)
Schools rated "4 or 5" a few
BEX/BTA = practically zero
Elementary schools with portables 50%

Of course we can't track the money going "from" one area "to" another, but it is pretty clear to any casual observer the 4 "North" directors vote as a block to get more money for their schools. Central is a sacred cow that gets what it wants, leaving Southeast and Southwest hanging out to dry. Even at that, a pang of guilt compels the district to throw an occasional bone to Southeast, but never West Seattle.

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

wsnorth isn't it time to stop pitting neighborhoods against each other?

I don't know much about W. Seattle, but an occasional bone to SE Seattle? Really?

STEM: A Core 24, project based learning school. Besides all of the money that went into the creation of STEM, all students their will also get their own laptops every year.

RBHS will now be an IB school.

South shore K-8 with it's private funding is the highest funded school in the entire school district

Many schools in SE Seattle have extended day, and get extended yellow bus service.

Beacon Hill and Concord are International Schools now.

Thurgood Marshall has the APP program

Graham Hill is a Montessori.

Not to mention the millions funneled into the SE via the SE initiative.

That's a pretty big bone.

Jet City mom said...

Picking on Chris Korsmo has brought out the snark in me- ( plus I have been trying to fill out FAFSA/PROFILE forms & I need something to attack)

However- I can't remember the name of the school I was recently in for a community meeting- but it was gorgeous.

also.
Denny Middle school has one of the best principals in the district in Jeff Clark.( He was formerly @ Salmon Bay, they were very sad to see him go) They also are now recognized as an International School

Madison was remodeled 5 years ago & they have the Challenge advanced learning program for students. It was a School of Distinction in 2008 & won the Great Schools Award in 2009.

West Seattle also has Pathfinder K-8, an excellent alternative school for the region, something that isn't available in every neighborhood ( just try getting into Salmon Bay).

I think every area has it's challenges- but as a larger community we have to operate as a team.

If your area has challenges you don't feel are being addressed, get others in your local community to help you- but blaming the school communities who have been able to get more involvement- is a distraction from your goals.

Melissa Westbrook said...

3 new elementaries? - Okay, so there was severe overcrowding in the north. What should the district have done? I know there is now overcrowding in W.Seattle. You think nothing is going to be done there? Also "new" is not the building. The money being poured in is not going to make for great buildings. It just makes them usable.

There is AP at every single high school. If West Seattle doesn't have enough, fight back. They have 6 AP classes. (I do note that WSHS has a pretty strict policy about who gets in. I haven't seen this at other schools.) Sealth has less AP because it has IB.

BEX/BTA - no, it is not practically zero. The south end, as a whole, has gotten more BEX and BTA than the north. As an area, West Seattle has gotten more than North Seattle, NE Seattle, NW Seattle and Central under BEX.

Schools rated 4 or 5. Okay, how does that prove the north got more of anything? As for foreign language immersion, what about Concord and Denny and Sealth?

I'm not pitting anyone here but we do have to have our facts straight.

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

I'd invite wsnorth and bbbb to come check out some of our schools in north Seattle.

Come by and walk down a hallway at Eckstein during passing period. Watch what it looks like to move 1250 11-14 year olds at one time. It is pure chaos, and the principal has declared it "dangerous" and made new rules about passing periods. It is the largest MS in the state of WA., and has an entire portable wing that has been there for many years.

Come walk around Bryant. Watch the 3 lunch, and 4 recess, shifts in action. Walk into a 3rd grade classroom, with 33 kids, where you have to turn sideways to walk down the aisle between desks because they are so crowded together. Walk past the science lab and art room that are now classrooms, and watch music classes happen in the lunchroom.

Check out Roosevelt and Ballard too. See what high schools with almost 1700 kids looks like in action.

Talk to the families at Nathan Hale who children only have access to 7 AP classes, and no honors classes at all. Ask them about how their kids do all class assignments and homework in paper logbooks, and contrast that the what the students at STEM will get (a laptop for every student to keep all year).

Talk to the families at AS1 that have had to fend off the closure of their school 4 times now.

Talk to the families that have to bus their kids an hour each way, over the ship canal, to get elementary APP.

Check out the district seismic reports for Eckstein, Thornton Creek, and Salmon Bay, which are just a few of the old and dilapidated buildings in N Seattle that are not earthquake safe.

Talk to the Viewlands Elementary families whose kids were displaced when it was closed, and dispersed all over the north end, only to find out that MGJ made mistake and has to re open the building - just to late for their kids.

Every neighborhood has it's challenges. If you lived in the north, you might have a different perspective. Yes, our schools do perform well in the north (for the most part), but not due to a single thing the district does. They perform better because the north has more middle class families, that often have more time, energy and resources to volunteer in the schools, fundraise, and advocate for their children. And they often have the resources to supplement where the schools are weak (Kumon, tutors, etc.)

Jet City mom said...

The audience was about one-fourth City Year students in their bright red jackets.

That reminds me-
My oldest was in CityYear- but it is a program for 18-24 yr olds, & she had graduated high school.
She stayed in Seattle however & was a support with the homeless population @ B.F.Day, as well as at TAF.

I wasn't there so I don't know if it was over their heads, but I do know that they probably already had had a pretty long day.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I didn't mean they were able to understand the discussion because of course they could. I just meant there was some subtext (like asking if Gates Foundation supports Seattle Channel).

I really like what City Year and Americorps are doing.

nikki said...

SPS is so messed up. A superintendent who says she does not care about adult issues. Funny, because many of those adult issues has to do with the welfare of the students. Disturbing stories I have heard about students being allowed to skip classes and no consequences. Certain staff members addressing students as Mother F'ers in a joking manner and using profanity around students. Lawsuits being filed left and right against the district by their own employees and former employees. Questionable whether these lawsuits play a part in the districts budget problems.

Charlie Mas said...

Chris Korsmo has written about her experience at the City Club event on the League of Education Voters blog. Melissa commented on it and so did I. Now the blog post is closed to comments.

Her view of the event is interesting.

"At a City Club forum on education (mainly peppered with teacher association folks) person after person said we can't get kids ready because they're poor, black, brown, abused, homeless, the kid sitting next to them didn't do his homework (I don't make this stuff up), kids of color watch six or seven hours of t.v. a night (something I did not know…and if it were true, I'd have to ask, so what?) money, money, money. In the richest city in the state, a city that provides additional resources from the Families and Education levy, with the highest per-pupil dollar investment around, we can't do anything right now because, well, we just can't. I’m afraid I lost my mind a little bit at learning this. My apologies for taking it all a little too seriously. And for thinking that anyone who would shout you down was actually going to change their mind."

You know who said that we have to be patient and wait? Susan Enfield, Cathy Thompson, and Steve Sundquist. You know who expressed impatience? Everyone else.

Maybe Ms Korsmo needs to re-think her choice of friends.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"...poor, black, brown, abused, homeless.."

I want to again make it clear that students were not discussed in this specific manner. There were vague references to schools with more challenges like Aki Kurose. This business that people were saying those kids can't learn, can't be helped is complete and utter nonsense. I invite anyone to view the tape and tell me that was said.

I did point out to Ms.Korsmo that her behavior, in front of all those City Year students, was probably confusing to them and did not set a particularly good example of how anyone (no less the CEO of an education foundation) should behave at a public meeting.

another mom said...

Went over to the LEV Blog and read Chris Korsmo's account of the show. Her written description of the show -I watched it thanks for the links- was not even close to the reality of the tone of the show. What is interesting is that the moderator just let her blow. But really what could he have said?I think that it is a good thing her remarks stand alone. No surprise that the comments are now closed after Charlie and Melissa took her to task. The truth hurts and the behavior and comments of Ms Korsmo were completely inappropriate and a bit unhinged.

Dorothy Neville said...

And remember, Chris said that her DAD was her problem. She had terrible issues at HOME. She said that IF her teachers had been pessimistic of her abilities, she would have committed suicide. So follow her logic. Since she is alive and well, modus tollens tells us that her teachers were supportive! She had good teachers!

So why is she so dead set on blaming teachers for the ills of the world? If she had a decent albeit poor upbringing and horrible teachers, if she succeeded in spite of bad teachers instead of in spite of an abusive family --- why isn't she making that connection now?

Dorothy Neville said...

And by all this hoopla over Chris Korsmo's behavior, we are ignoring Liv Finne's push for changing RIF policies to something other than seniority. Well, IF the district is following the new CBA and PASS agreement, then we will NOT have any low performing teachers that need to be removed via a RIF, because we already will be remediating and removing them following due process.

So pushing to RIF on other factors than seniority says that you do not trust the district to follow the new evaluation system.