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Monday, April 04, 2011

TIF Contract Posted

I received notice that the TIF contract is now available for viewing (and is attached to the Board agenda item). In the motion itself there is some interesting wording like:

The ultimate outcome of TIF will be a dramatic improvement in student achievement. Specifically, SPS expects that over the next five years the district will see a reduction in the percentage of schools in the lowest two segments on our quantitative performance framework from 40% to 25%.

I like action wording but saying improvement will be dramatic seems pretty bold. Is that a guarantee because it sounds like it.

Exhibit A, Scope of Service, Background is interesting in that it is a lot of what the district ends up getting and not what students get.  To whit,
  • TIF "will position SPS as a strong regional model of how performance-based compensation systems can support teacher and principal professional growth and, in the process, improve student learning outcomes. "Note how improving student outcomes seems last after positioning SPS and professional growth.
  • they don't expect to see student growth outcomes until year 5. I don't expect overnight results but that's a long timeline.
I am baffled as to why this is late. Most of it is a series of bad copies of work that was available at least a month ago. (I didn't even think you could make copies look this bad anymore.)

Looking at the work I can only say, I hope it's work all this. It's a lot of tracking of teachers and principals and I hope the data really is worth something because we are paying staff at Central to work exclusively on this project. That's a lot of staff salaries for something that may or may not be visible in the classroom or contribute to academic outcomes for students.

16 comments:

Bird said...

They don't expect to see results till year 5, but when they do see results they expect to see dramatic improvement?

Seems like an extremely unlikely combination.

I wonder if there is anyone down at SPS hq that acutally believes this will happen.

Anonymous said...

Bold wording they'll never have to back up, I expect.

grumpy

Salander said...

Over the last two decades I have seen absolutely nothing that has come out of the central office that has improved student learning.
In fact, if the whole place fell into a sinkhole that might be the only thing that improves student learning.
For the most part school administrators and the corporations they support might mean well but they are nothing more than leeches bloodsucking education dollars for their own glory.
Teachers must try to succeed in spite of them and certainly not with their support.

hschinske said...

Do they have any evidence that TfA has ever achieved such dramatic results anywhere else? I doubt it.

I have occasionally suspected the district of making crappy copies on purpose, so that they are hard to quote from (that is, not only are they images rather than text, but they're images that are hard to OCR).

Helen Schinske

Po3 said...

Why wait five years. With MAP you can measure a student coming in the door in the Fall and again out the door in June. Based on the touted wonders of TfAers we should see gains from Sep-Jun.

Dorothy Neville said...

Helen, this is TIF, not TfA, but your question is still valid. Not only is there no indication that this sort of teacher incentive program has made ANY such improvements anywhere, our particular incentive program is a mess. Valid, reliable and transparent algorithm to measure student growth? Where is it? Research has shown that no such algorithm yet created is valid, reliable not to mention transparent.

Database linking students to teachers is not even available and will not be available until the Fall at best. So even if we come up with an algorithm of student growth, we cannot even backtest this model for evaluating teacher effectiveness.

Does anyone think that this new evaluation and incentive program will dramatically increase the number of highly qualified, highly effective teachers in high-poverty schools? If so, would they have dramatically different outcomes than the current teachers in those schools? Will it get us dramatically better principals?

Remember, of the grant money budgeted so far, 10% is going to grant management (salaries downtown), 4% to this contract, 64% to other salaries downtown and only 22% to stipends and STAR mentors.

hschinske said...

this is TIF, not TfA

Ack, sorry. Need coffee.

Helen Schinske

Charlie Mas said...

The central problem with the goal remains: it's stupid.

First, it is stupid to measure student achievement by school - that doesn't measure what the school is doing so much as it measures the general level of academic preparedness of the students in the school's neighborhoo.

Second, it is stupid to use a relative measure of growth, such as the Colorado Growth Model, instead of an absolute measure of student achievement growth. The students are not in a race with each other, they are all trying to meet and exceed the standards.

Anonymous said...

70% entering my room in the fall last year meeting or exceeding standard / 90% left that way in the spring.
My growth measure according to the district's formula rated my impact below average.
-i'm just saying

Anonymous said...

out in the real world it is so much easier.

pay megabucks to people with doctorates in mathematics to create financial things no one understands, wreck the economy with super duper ponzi schemes, pay your self a 7 figure bonus!

get the largest economy in the world to spend 50% more on health than any other economy, do not provide health to tens of millions, get a crooked AHIP-welfare bill passed, pay your self a 7 figure bonus!

rig the energy markets until a few weeks before the 2008 campaign season really gets going, STEAL billions and billions out of the economy, pay your self a 7 figure bonus!

run black ops fiascoes outta unaccountable black hole budgets, ship pallets of shrink wrapped u.s. currency on military planes to the middle east desert for the money to disappear into - and who knows what your bosses in their undisclosed locations will pocket!

be a manager in education, and, for decades, never really make any real progress on the real problems which WALK into your doors everyday, $ell the little bit of integrity, and or $oul, you might have had to low level privateers for ... peanut$! What a grim existence - you don't get to steal like the big boyz, you don't fix anything, and everyone would love to see you fired!

It must be a special circle of hell and doublethink.

Sympathy For The Devil

StepJ said...

Any concentrated attention to a student produces results in a few months (personal experience) not five years!

Five years is more than an entire MS experience, more than entire HS experience, almost more than an entire Elementary experience.

I have been told repeatedly at Board Director Community meetings that you will just need to sacrifice your child for the greater good.

What a complete pile of crapitude. No child should be sacrificed at the altar of, 'We're just going to try this and see if it works.'

There are things that are known to work -- parent involvement, manageable class sizes, at least one person paying attention that cares and lets the student know they matter. (Parent, Teacher, Grandmother, Counselor….)
You can gain National fame by providing genuine results and benefits for students.

Why is any other method even considered?

klh said...

I skimmed through the contract that this was linked to, and it just seems to be a contract for assessment. Meaning - as far as I can tell - this contract is with the people who are trying to measure the results only.

Have to admit that I don't really know what the TIF program activities will be. What activities or programs are being instituted that the district believes will provide all the progress that the people in this contract are being hired to measure?

Thanks -

dan dempsey said...

WOW... only 5 years to see results from something that has proven to be totally ineffective elsewhere.... Well 5 years should be enough time for the usual suspects to make their getaway.

Is grant money covering 100% of the cost of this 5 year folly?


How did this TIF plan come into being?
Who pushed it?
Who voted for it on the Board?

Were the PTSA and the SEA going rah rah for this?

Charlie Mas said...

Beware of promises the District makes to be delivered in "3-5 years". Come time for delivery either no one who made the promise will still be in the job or they will have conveniently forgotten the promise.

When confronted with the old promise they will say "Oh that old promise. We changed direction since then." But they won't be able to tell you when the decision was made to abandon the promise or goal and they certainly won't be able to point to any announcement of the changed promise or goal.

Charlie Mas said...

Here are the problems with this motion:

1. The public has not had sufficient opportunity to read and thoughtfully review the contract, make comment on it to the Board Directors, and for the Board Directors to read and consider the comments.

2. The Board Directors have not had sufficient opportunity to read and thoughtfully review the contract.

3. When asked why such a straight-forward evaluation costs so much, Director Smith-Blum was told it was because the teacher and principal interviews were so in depth. When concerned that travel costs for an out-of-area firm added to the costs, Director Smith-Blum was told that West Ed would only make two trips to Seattle during the entire five year period. How can the interviews be so in depth if they aren't in person?

4. The Curriculum & Instruction Policy Committee reviewed this motion and recommended it to the full Board on February 28. How was that possible when the contract was still in negotiation as late as March 16? What, if anything, did the C & I Committee review and recommend?

5. Due to Spring Break, there won't be a second Board meeting in April. So if the Board defers action on this motion - as they should - they won't be able to vote on it until May. That leaves West Ed with precious little time to beat the Fed's deadline of June.

6. The timetable is not the Board's fault, and it certainly isn't the public's fault. This motion was supposed to have been introduced at the March 2 Board meeting for vote on the March 16 Board meeting. Why didn't it get on the agenda for March 2? Probably because the C & I Committee didn't meet until just two days before, February 28. But there was no timetable that would have been right since the contract was still in negotiation as late as March 16. The delay is entirely with the staff and their inability to finalize the contract terms before March 16.

Charlie Mas said...

If the Board does not vote on this contract before May, then there may not be time for WestEd to do a good job before the Fed deadline, although it appears to me that they have already described their methods as well as the Fed requires by June.

Like I tell my kids, if you can't do a good job, then do a bad job. The perfect is the enemy of the good.

What would be the tragedy if WestEd's submission by the deadline wasn't sufficient to meet federal guidelines? The fed would ask them to re-do them and give them some time to submit revised specs. By that time WestEd would be able to do a better job.

No tragedy.

Think of this, also: the staff, with their timing, not only hasn't afforded the Board the option to defer the contract approval, they haven't afforded the Board the option of rejecting the contract. The staff has put a gun to the Board's head and has removed any option other than voting approval of the motion. How is that okay?