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Monday, May 16, 2011

Still Not Clear on the Reasoning for the Floe Firing

Been doing research and while I keep diving, the water is still murky.

What have I learned?

Yes, Ingraham is at Level 5 under NCLB.  
Yes, Ingraham has not met AYP for 6 straight years. 

BUT, Franklin and Ingraham have the exact same record for the past 6 years.  Three years at Level 5, then 4, 3, 2 after that.  Both have failed to make AYP for the last six years.

(To note, the steadiest school in the district is The Center School which has only missed AYP once in the last six years and has never been higher than Level 1.)

What is equally troubling is that there has been a steady decline, across the board at nearly every high school.  We have six high schools at Level 5.

We had just one school in the last three years meeting AYP.  Just one in three years.  The decline starts around 2004-2005 and I have to wonder what happened that so many schools just started a downward trend.

Back to Ingraham.  Thanks to several commenters (including ITK and Reluctant Poster), I found out that under NCLB, sanctionsDON'T kick in unless you are a Title 1 school.  No SPS high schools take Title 1 money.  

So, to be clear, the district cannot hide behind saying "Ingraham's a Level 5 school so we are mandated to do something."  They are not, not at the state level nor the federal level.   They are making this choice on their own.  (Which is fine but they can't hide behind any alleged mandate. This also begs the question of why other schools in these dire straits are not facing the same thing.) 

Additionally, as I may have stated before, Board policy and the RCW are in conflict.  Board policy says the Board handles appeals but the RCW (28A.405.310) says that a hearing examiner is appointed after being picked by both sides.   There is a pre-hearing conference followed by the hearing (within 10 days after the conference).  A ruling would come 10 days after the hearing.

What would be great (but I don't think will happen) is that Principal Floe could request an open hearing.  That would be very interesting and illuminating.

24 comments:

anonymous said...

I just looked up some data on the 4 N Seattle high schools:

Ingraham is in step 5, but met AYP in all categories except math proficiency for black, spec ed, and low income students, and for reading for special ed.

Ballard is in step 4 and met AYP in all areas except math proficiency for spec ed, low income, and Hispanic students. They didn't have enough black students to consider.

Roosevelt is in step 2 and met AYP in all areas expect proficiency in reading for spec ed and black students, and spec ed, black, and low income students in math.

Hale is in step 2 and met AYP in all categories except reading proficiency for special ed and math proficiency for low income, special ed, and black students.

All of these schools fare pretty similarly to me. What could it have been with Floe?

MapleLeafer said...

The Center School has an easier time with NCLB because of it's size - you need a certain number of students in a category in order for it to be triggered under NCLB and my suspicion is that the Center School doesn't have enough students in a number of the categories hence they don't get counted.

dan dempsey said...

So let us take a look at the percentage of each high schools population on free and Reduced meals in 2005-6 and in 2009-10 as well as its White student population. .. and the change from 2006 to 2010.

............ 2006 ..... 2010
................. FR Meals .......... change
Center S. ::: 11.4 ::: 18.8 :::...::: 7.4
Roosevelt ::: 21.6 ::: 21.8 :::...::: 0.2
Nova ... ::: 15.3 ::: 24.4 :::...::: 9.1
Ballard ::: 23.9 ::: 25.2 :::...::: 1.3
Hale ... ::: 17.9 :::25.6 :::...::: 7.7
Garfield ::: 22.9 ::: 36 :::...::: 13.1
W. Seattle ::: 32.1 ::: 48 :::...::: 15.9
ingraham ::: 43.2 ::: 56.3 :::...::: 13.1
C. Sealth ::: 59.7 ::: 58.4 :::...::: -1.3
Franklin ::: 44.9 ::: 64.5 :::...::: 19.6
Cleveland ::: 66.8 ::: 72.5 :::...::: 5.7
Ranier B. ::: 64.5 ::: 73.2 :::...::: 8.7


white
Nova 72.7 73.4 0.7
Center S. 76.1 70.8 -5.3
Ballard 62.3 67.2 4.9
Roosevelt 58.7 61.6 2.9
Hale 61.5 59.5 -2
Garfield 43.1 39.8 -3.3
W. Seattle 46.8 39.3 -7.5
ingraham 36.5 31 -5.5
C. Sealth 24.7 30.2 5.5
Ranier B. 6.6 9.4 2.8
Cleveland 7.9 5.7 -2.2
Franklin 10.2 4.9 -5.3
2006 2010 change

Looking at change in OSPI annual testing over the last three years .... Franklin is doing something right... they have a smaller white population and more on free and reduced lunch ... but their scores have improved...

In math the "Franklin" secret is likely keeping the UW away. The UW CoE math help at Cleveland and RBHS corresponded with horrible math results at Cleveland and RBHS.

Maureen said...

So is it true that the deadline for notifying principals that they would not be rehired was May 15th? Are there indications that any more principals have been fired? I thought one possibility was that Mr. Floe would be one of many and that he was told first so that we would all get the message that popularity had nothing to do with principal evals.

dan dempsey said...

What is really not clear is how decisions are made in this school district.

One thing for sure ... rarely do decisions have anything to do with evidence.

CAO Enfield's proposals rarely had any correct evidence behind them. Her two Action Reports on the $800,000 New tech contract for Cleveland were both incredibly flawed and filled with incorrect statements.

Remember CAO Enfield and Sundquist and Martin-Morris flew south to look at STEM school New Tech Sacramento and when they walked in found out it was NOT a STEM school.

There were no NTN STEM schools in California ... I do not think she ever figured that one out. ... but that state of repeated confusion was apparently "good enough" to make her interim Superintendent. Her confused decision-making is continuing ... this is nothing new.

"Still NOT Clear on the reasoning for anything in the SPS"

Anonymous said...

Would normally be May 15, but if the state's budget isn't done, it gets put off until June 15 by law.

Tranisme

Charlie Mas said...

Wow! A lot of high schools all across the District are doing just as poorly as Ingraham. It looks like the problem is bigger than just one school. I think the high school Director should be fired. If the problem is deeper than high schools (and it is) then maybe the CAO or the Superintendent should be held accountable for these dreadful outcomes.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
1Doc1000 said...

The bureaucrats in headquarters protecting turf and maintaining the status quo expend time and energy to keep it unclear and hard to assess in order to escape scrutiny and accountability.

The Director of High Schools needs to be held accountable as do all of the area directors not doing their jobs. Evaluate the CSIP's each principal is required to complete yearly; the one Ms. Westbrook reviewed for Ingraham was unimpressive and I would be willing to bet this could be said of many across the district.

Due to the delay in adopting a state budget in Olympia, Dr. Enfield has been allowed some breathing room before it becomes public what, if any, substantial moves has she made to increase accountability throughout the district.

Apply pressure to members of the Board of Directors, maintain high levels of scrutiny regarding actions from headquarters and any PR pieces that may come from the Times. With dwindling resources and far too many millions of dollars lost and at risk, we must bring an end to business as usual and refuse to accept the status quo.

Anonymous said...

1Doc1000,

There is no "Director of High Schools." It is done by geography now, with each Exec Director having two of the comprehensive high schools.

Inowah

Jan said...

Posts like this distress me, because by focusing on a comparison of NCLB results across schools, it makes it look as though the statistics are meaningful or relevant, and NCLB statistics are not. It is like when we used to argue WASL results among schools. It was such a dreadful test, it was meaningless for many students who could not comprehend poorly and ambigously written questions, or whose answers were "scored" by drunk manatees (or so it would seem).

I suspect the point of this post may have simply been -- ok, if you want to argue test scores, look at all these other schools, with similar scores, whose principals have NOT been fired. But -- to a reader, when you base an argument on statistics, the implication is that the statistics MEAN something -- or the point of the argument would fail.

But in the case of NCLB AYP -- the statistics stand for little or nothing -- even Obama admits they are flawed.

It's Melissa's argument -- so it is really for Melissa to say what underlying assumptions about the data are appropriate. But in MY opinion, ALL arguments of school quality based on AYP data are total BS. The statute needs to go away (or its funding does) -- or both. And the feds (who have plenty on their plates that is truly federal in nature) need to stay OUT of the running of schools, and return control and decision-making to the local (and to some degree state) level. Whether wittingly or unwittingly, they have become total pawns of the corporate, ed reform crowd.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Jan, I was just trying to view thru a possible district lens. What is it they see at Ingraham that is so troubling? And, the fact that they cannot hide behind the NCLB skirt and say they "have" to do something because it's mandated.

I am NO fan of NCLB.

Anonymous said...

What do I think? Floe an alum of Western WA Univ. Dusseault's an Ivy Leaguer, as many TFA-ers are. (Although very few ambitious, dedicated TFA folks are ambitious or dedicated enough to tough it out in the classroom. Hmmm...One would think if they were that awesome....Hmmm...

Bottom Line: With his inferior social class and inferior education credentials, he never stood a chance under the thumb of a Hah-vud alum. Hey didn't Enfield do a stint at Harvard too? Maybe she and Bree....? No...no...of course not. They're professionals.

Um, yes, social class and lofty credentials have everything to do with what's happening in Ed Reform today. No, you won't see an Ivy Leaguer stick around in the classroom for more than a year or two. But do a 2 year stint in TFA, then go to work for some Ed Reform advocacy group, charter chain, Political Action Committee or Reform-oriented PAC like Stand for Children or a think tank like NCTQ? Absolutely. Followed by a six figure job in a district somewhere, with authority over teachers and principals who's jobs you are virtually clueless about? Happens everyday in Ed Reform land.

That's who the Ed Reformers are, and that's what Ed Reform is all about. Money and Power.

Please, Ed Reformers, tell me again how it's "all about the kids" and not about the 250 to 500k per year your "non-profit" CEO's are sucking from the public trough. I'm all ears.

WSEADAWG

Chris S. said...

We should be hearing from the district again soon, no? They were meeting with Ingraham community members yesterday and today, as I recall.

Did anyone at the district mention AYP/NCLB? IIRC, it was Melissa's hypothesis as a possible explanation - a very good one - and I was relieved to see it disproved by the Title 1 caveat.

The last I recall hearing from Enfield was that the Times misquoted her on test scores being the primary factor.

Actually this thread is a good advertisement for the inappropriateness of NCLB.

One more thing - a poster on another thread said that if Floe were fired "for cause" (e.g. seriously inappropriate behavior) he'd be out by now, so he must have been fired "for performance." Can anyone corroborate that knowledge or elaborate?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Chris, I don't have any knowledge but if he were fired for cause, we'd likely know that. That Floe has adamantly said no on that issue leads me to believe it's performance based.

Ingraham is not doing well by its minority students. But again, almost no high school is so it is a systemic problem. Are we now to expect ALL these principals to be fired?

I still believe there is definitely a human element involved; meaning, I think it was a clash between the Ex Director and the principal. Either it was over sticking to the program, alignment, whatever but Martin stood up for his teachers and Bree didn't like it.

If this stands and they move Bree to the SE, well, that should be some good theater.

I don't believe it has anything to do with where anyone went to college (although I do think TFAers tend to think they are smarter than the average bear).

wseadawg said...

Okay MW, I'll meet you half way, in agreeing the TFA & Ed Reform crowd think they are smarter than the average bear. And maybe they are. They just don't stick around the classrooms very long, while claiming expertise and presuming authority to tell career teachers how it's done.

Now, read this blog post from the Executive Director of DEFR (Democrats for Education Reform) Hey NYSED: He's Just Not That Into You and this one from Debora Maier (pen-pal of Diane Ravitch) Here's Why They Don't Listen.

Then, tell me what you think about the Executive Director of DEMOCRATS FOR EDUCATION REFORM IS OPENLY AND PUBLICLY UNION-BASHING, while at the same time defending a PRO-PRIVATIZATION REFORMER, chiefly because of his Ivy League credentials.

These problems run deeper than we think.

wseadawg said...

And just to be clear: Union-bashing is teacher bashing. Without teachers, you have no teachers' union. Unions, like SPS Central Admin, have their dead weight, incompetence, and practices that frustrate their mission for sure. But like Corporations or Charters, they are not, and cannot be, inherently evil despite so much media blasting to the contrary, because saying "the union" is the same thing as saying "a group of teachers bargaining for their rights together, while supporting each other." Where is the evil?

It isn't the structure of the entity that makes it evil. It's how it operates, so let's keep our eye on the ball instead of saying "we have to burn the union down to save teaching." Pretty dramatic. How about just solving the problems, like we teach our children every day?

Unfortunately, helped along by Ed Reformer rhetoric, "union" has become "the Devil" in public discourse. Fortunately, like anything else, facts have a way of trumping the rhetoric - eventually.

Twain once said "A lie can travel half way around the world before the truth has its boots on." That is what we are seeing in current Ed Reform: Propaganda that says teachers are the cause of all failures, and head-to-head competition for a shrinking slice of the pie is the answer to all of our woes. When they get hungry enough, they'll work harder for even less. What'r they gonna do? Starve?

Anonymous said...

From Harium's Sat. mtg:

The Ingraham principal has until Wed. to file and appeal and it's out of the Board's hands at this point.

Jan said...

Wseadog said:
And just to be clear: Union-bashing is teacher bashing. Without teachers, you have no teachers' union. Unions, like SPS Central Admin, have their dead weight, incompetence, and practices that frustrate their mission for sure. But like Corporations or Charters, they are not, and cannot be, inherently evil despite so much media blasting to the contrary, because saying "the union" is the same thing as saying "a group of teachers bargaining for their rights together, while supporting each other.

Hmmm. Can't say I agree.

You have changed my mind on things before -- so maybe you will on this too -- but you haven't got me on this one yet. Your argument would be like saying --
"School board bashing is like taxpaper/parent bashing" because we elected them.

Well, I for one am not up for being bashed because of the actions of the gang of four. When large groups (all teachers, all taxpayers, etc.) give control and power to smaller groups, the "power corrupts" principle comes into play. I smelled a rat when MGJ came, right away, based on stuff she said. But I think LOTS of people (including me) had NO CLUE a majority of this board came for the purpose of implementing ed reform. And thousands of voters (who don't read things like this blog, Ravitch's stuff, etc.) STILL don't get it.

There are LOTS of union members who dislike their unions, think they are in it for their own power, fat salaries, etc. There are LOTS of union members who wish they didn't have to belong to their unions -- but they lost that particular election.

I do NOT think unions are inherently "evil" or the "devil" or whatever, but I also don't buy the argument "who us? Oh, we're just a kindly bunch of kid-loving teachers, who sort of, aw shucks, got together so as to sort of talk about our salaries in a group." I have seen employers browbeaten and manhandled by the SIEU too often not to understand that unions can be just as power hungry and craven (and proud of it) as some of the employers they claim to fight against.

There are times when unions are absolutely necessary, and there are things I am grateful that unions achieved. But union bash I will, when unions, like school administrations, or national ed reformers, or whatever, stand between kids and the best possible educations (which in my mind, includes the best possible teachers) we can, with limited dollars, provide for them.

Anonymous said...

Jan: Teachers I know don't have the time to organize outside the union and fight every management decision one-at-a-time. For those great teachers, the union is not a crutch, but the occasional necessary evil or necessary backup to keep management to its word.

Remember: There are always two parties to any union contract. If you're complaining, complain to the management that agreed to the terms.

What you're identifying is not a problem of "the union." It is a problem with the persons in charge, individual members who abuse the process, unscrupulous union lawyers, etc. Those are all things that can and should be fixed or dare I say "reformed," but do not represent, nor are they indicative of the normal role the union plays in the life of your everyday teacher.

Not that your argument is too anecdotal, but such events happen at one end of the bell curve or the other. Outliers or extremes. Yes, they do happen. But when my principal says "bad teachers" are "less than 5% district-wide" based on her opinion and discussions with other principals, then I don't see the "protecting bad teachers" problem as the primary cause of academic failures in the district.

But tell that to Stand for Children or The Seattle Times - neither of which have ever taken a pro-union or pro-teacher position on anything - and they just cover their ears and say "la-la-la-la-la...unions bad...free-market good.. la-la-la-la-la."

If people were fair and didn't over-reach, we wouldn't have unions. They aren't, so we do.

You might want to watch Matewan or Harlan County USA, two excellent films about unions that shed a lot of light on why they are necessary, despite their warts.

WSEADAWG

Anonymous said...

And one more thing Jan. Most union contract negotiations in this day and age always focus on money and benefits, while almost no attention is paid to modifying procedures to stop current union procedural abuses BY BOTH SIDES.

I know for a fact that not just the unions, but cities and school districts as well, hire expensive lawyers who then make a lot of money dragging out cases and procedures, milking the public golden goose as long as they can. There is ZERO incentive for them to resolve matters quickly, and this is a huge part of the problem with union grievance matters taking too long.

Whenever there is a very solvable problem that for no apparent reason persists in perpetuity, you can almost presume somebody making a lot of money off the process wants to keep it that way. It is quite often the case for a corporate lawyer to bill tens of thousands of dollars to a city or school district, only to ultimately lose the case, then blame "the process" for his own greed or incompetence. Happens all the time.

Anecdotally, I have personally witnessed my own child's teacher push back against a belligerent administrator for "interfering with a student's instructional time," which, without her union membership and knowledge of the union contract, she would not have been able to do, and likely would have been reprimanded for. So I've seen first-hand how the union has helped educate kids by stopping needless, unwarranted interference from a power-tripping administrator.

Many people own guns, but pray they never have to use them on another human being. I see the union and contract in a similar light.

WSEADAWG

Anonymous said...

Lastly Jan: I'm not out to change your mind; just inform or broaden your perspective.

I will say, however, that we should probably both agree that "the union" is too often the convenient scapegoat or a distraction for people who simply aren't doing their jobs satisfactorily. By the time the union becomes involved, many opportunities to resolve problems amicably were overlooked or wasted because too many people let their egos get in the way of reasonable compromise. I've seen this even from teachers and principals I otherwise loved. It seems to be a very undesirable, yet prominent human trait.

Bastante! WSEADAWG

Jan said...

Wseadog: good points all. I haven't seen either movie (but I will, since you recommended them), and I do DEFINITELY agree that unions often become an unfair scapegoat. And, while I have been appalled at certain SEIU actions, I have personally seen a union come to the aid of an injured, unjustly terminated employee (in the marine industry) in circumstances where management's behavior was beyond scandalous.

Anonymous said...

There's too much entrenchment in too many union contract negotiations, and way, way too many negotiable terms and conditions wind up not being negotiated because there just isn't time with strikes looming, and pay and benefits always being top priority. Look how MGJ's bold move of inserting her SERVE proposal into the negotiations at the last minute to try to make the teachers blink absolutely destroyed SEA's faith in her, adding many hands to the already likely "no confidence vote."

Sorry, but if this union contract bites the district in the a$$, we know who to blame for much of it. How can anyone deal with such a cynical bully like that? And an absolutely DUMB negotiator too. Ridiculous.

Whatever problems bedeviling the union are should be talked about now in order to be dealt with later. But everyone's so busy trying to work and teach under increasing burdens from useless testing, overcrowding, opening schools, closing schools, transportation changes & budget cuts, is it any wonder so many badly needed changes and improvements to our labor agreements never get done?

When can we take a breath and think for a minute, instead of constantly running in circles?

WSEADAWG