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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sundquist Says "System shows signs of improving"

The West Seattle Herald ran an interview with Director Steve Sundquist where he says some pretty interesting things.   (They will be running interviews with challengers Marty McLaren, Joy Anderson and Nick Esparza soon.)   The Herald made one mistake (I believe) which was to only list the other incumbents running and not their challengers. 
Update:  I just want to point out that the article mentions the other incumbents by name and position.  I called the West Seattle Herald editor to ask if they were going to interview all those candidates and challengers.  He said no, just the ones in West Seattle (which is fine). 

I did point out to him that it was unfair to note the other incumbents and their position numbers and then not mention any challengers.  He said he didn't see it that way.  Well, I see it as free advertising for incumbents. 

He should have put the names of everyone who is running if he was going to mention the incumbents.

Math
It's interesting because either he or the reporter brought up Marty McLaren's concerns around Discovery Math.  Here's what Steve said:

"It's not just about the textbook," countered Sundquist, who acknowledges that the scores are too low. "It's about the quality of instruction, and strategies principals and teachers are employing. I disagree with the notion that math is a trap door (to failure in school). John Boyd, longtime Chief Sealth principal has raised his math scores of his kids about 40 percent. That faculty has been significant supporters of Discovery Math. "

Well, as noted in another thread that Sealth stat is severely twisted.  But, once again, Steve is happy to parrot any stat that staff members give him.  That statement about "not the textbook" comes up later.

He goes on to talk about how great the math is going at Mercer and calls out McLaren.

"At Mercer Middle School on Beacon Hill, their MAP (Measure of Academic Progress) scores rose significantly this spring and they've been using a combination of the district's curriculum which Marty is objecting to, and to supplement that, a completely opposite kind of mathematics instruction called Saxon Math. It's not about 'one size fits all' and that if we simply switch to a different text book all our problems in mathematics instruction will go away.

He then goes onto talk about how Schmitz Park received a waiver to use Singapore math and there was one troubling statement that we should ALL remember for future use:

"Schmitz Park's faculty has a strong belief that they can be successful as a school with their kids using Singapore Math," he said. "They asked the School District to obtain a waver so instead of using the District text they could all use Singapore. the District granted the waver. I absolutely supported that. In fact, this year I was able to help convince the District to pay for those text books since that's their primary text books. They paid out of their discretionary income before. The District allows that as long as they deliver."

First things, first.  In the comments section, I said this:

Steve talks about Mercer and Schmitz Park and their good math results.    If we need a hybrid math, based on these results, why isn't that happening everywhere in the district?  Has he advocated for this in other schools since Discovery Math seems to be no good on its own?  Nope.

Also, Steve advocated for a school in his district to receive extra funding to buy extra textbooks?  Wow, I thought we didn't have money to replace basic texts at some schools and the district has money to fund a second math textbook at one school?  And how can other schools "deliver" if they aren't given waivers and extra textbooks?  Primary or not, I'll lay odds they have the Discovery Math textbooks as well at Schmitz Park.

On Pottergate:
Our experience with Maria Goodloe-Johnson and our Chief Financial Officer and having to terminate them was terribly difficult for the Board and community," 

I'm not sure what that means.  A hard decision?  It shouldn't have been.  Costly?  Well, duh.

"We were surprised, saddened and disgusted by what we found when the state auditor revealed that whole situation," he said. "And when we conducted our own private investigation to determine where the fault lay and it was clear that the oversight that our CFO and Maria had on management had been inadequate. 

But Steve, you knew in 2008, there were issues in the SBW.  You could have read the Sutor Report and didn't.  (Or rather in your own investigation, Patty Eakes took pains to NOT explain what each director knew and when he/she knew it.  So I have to go with what the timeline shows which is that each and every director could have known of the Sutor Report and didn't take the interest to find out what it was and read it.  And, there's the issue of Peter reading it and finding it "concerning" and yet, not telling other directors to read it.)

Also Sundquist waited 6 months to launch an investigation AFTER Potter was fired and AFTER the State Auditor had found the SBW program to be problematic.  Why the wait?

He then says:

"From a governance perspective I feel really good that the Board responded aggressively to a difficult situation," he said. "I accept responsibility that it happened on my watch and I am really disappointed about that. Having said that, there are a number of things happening in the school system which are very positive, including improvements to the governance system which are a byproduct of these difficult state audits and this experience. 

Responded aggressively?  What else could you do, Steve with the press beating down the door to cover this situation?  I said this in the comments:

The big question here is - what will you do differently going forward if you accept responsibility for your lack of oversight?

He claims the "difficult" audits are the reason they are overhauling the governance policies and that's not true.  Brita Butler-Wall, former school director, stated in another thread that her Board had already started this work and yes, it was going on before the bad audits.  I don't know why he counts this as a "byproduct" of the audits.

Community Meetings
"In my three and a half years I have held over 50 community meetings twice a month,.."

I agree that Steve has probably had more community meetings than any director in recent history.  And that's great but if the listening is not used to guide his decisions, well, then it's just polite listening.  Does he use that input to guide his decisions?   There's not a lot of evidence it has.

38 comments:

Kathy said...

KUOW will conduct interviews with District 1 candidates this Tuesday at 9:30.

Be sure to tune in.

mirmac1 said...

I bet Strategies 360 or the SPS "Executive Director of Communications" (>$145K/yr) wrote out these talking points for him.

Anonymous said...

They ran an piece on Marty McLaren last week.

http://www.westseattleherald.com/2011/07/16/news/school-board-candidate-marty-mclaren-links-30-per

Trying said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

They already ran a piece on Marty McLaren.

http://www.westseattleherald.com/2011/07/16/news/school-board-candidate-marty-mclaren-links-30-per

-West Seattlite

Melissa Westbrook said...

I looks like I misread that so I'll have to go and read what their interview with McLaren said.

Michael H said...

I’m only taking issue with a part of your post, not all of it.

Where to start? OK, I agree with you that it should not have been a hard decision for the Board to send MGJ packing (same with the CFO). I agree that Peter’s actions are troubling in that he didn’t say anything to anyone else or demand some answers, action, and accountability as a result of the Sutor Report. I have no love for either Steve or Peter and don’t care to see them re-elected. Having said that, though, I feel compelled to take issue with some of the “facts” you put forth in your post:

1. “But Steve, you knew in 2008, there were issues in the SBW. You could have read the Sutor Report and didn't.”

Here you are conflating two issues. The RSBDP and the Small Works Roster are two separate things. The Sutor Report did NOT cover the RSBDP. It was about the Small (Public) Works Roster contracting process allowed by state law (RCW 34.09.155). Reading the Sutor Group Report would not have alerted anyone to the specific issues the auditors found in the small business development program. It would have revealed to the reader that Potter was sloppy, didn’t care about fair contracting, and didn’t care about following the law or district policy when it came to awarding small public works contracts. Anyone who came to that conclusion should have, properly, questioned the remaining aspects of Potter’s work or assigned responsibilities such as the RSBDP. If they had done that, they would have found all this crap earlier. Realistically, instead of just questioning his other assigned responsibilities, they should have just fired Potter at that time. Which raises a somewhat un-related question: Why is it so hard for the district to fire employees? What are they such chicken-(censored)s when it comes to that? But, I digress.

Another reason I believe you are conflating the issues is that you use the term SBW, without explaining what it means. I can only presume that you mean Small Business Works. There is no such thing, and there was no such thing. Small Works contracts are a legal avenue of contracting. The District’s business development program (RSBDP) was also legal (I haven’t seen anything that says it wasn’t legal - which is much different that saying it wasn’t appropriate for a school district to be engaged in this activity – it wasn’t appropriate in my opinion), but the guy they had running it, from everything I’ve read, was a jerk, and was rotten as all-get-out.

So you may ask, “Who cares? You know what I mean. It’s no big deal”. If you’re going to write about it, then excruciating details matter. Conflating separate issues is misleading and can lead one to believe that the article (or post) was written to make a political point instead of trying to clarify things, or trying to set the record straight. The Stranger ran a recent article doing just that about Peter (and got most of the facts wrong – probably on purpose). Of course, if this version of the facts is just your opinion, well by all means have at it – just tell us that is your intention ahead of time. At least Charlie tells us that he makes up facts that suit his beliefs (in the absence of other facts).
(to be continued)

Michael H said...

2. “Or rather in your own investigation, Patty Eakes took pains to NOT explain what each director knew and when he/she knew it.”

How do you know that she “took pains” to not explain what each director knew?? You make it sound as though it was a conspiracy, and that the report was crafted to deflect attention from the Board. You seem to have glossed-over the scope and purpose of the report. Let me help you:

“The SPS Board retained us to investigate these allegations and to determine management’s role, if any, in the suspect RSBDP activities. We were also asked to investigate to what extent management was aware of the RSBDP activities and how management responded to those activities. Finally, we were asked to identify management failures or systemic issues that allowed Potter to engage in the actions that led to the SAO investigation.”

As you can see, the scope of the report was about determining who in management knew about any suspect RSBDP activities. I would argue that Patty Eakes went beyond that scope (a good thing in this case) when she touched on “School Board Members’ Knowledge of and Involvement in the RSBDP”. I concede that the section on the Board’s knowledge of the Sutor report doesn’t mention Peter’s knowledge of the report, but couldn’t that be because he didn’t mention to the investigator. Couldn’t it? That seems plausible given that nobody else knew about Peter’s knowledge until the meeting where they fired MGJ.

3. “Also Sundquist waited 6 months to launch an investigation AFTER Potter was fired and AFTER the State Auditor had found the SBW program to be problematic. Why the wait?”

There you go with the SBW again (no such thing). But, more importantly, where are you getting 6 months from? I read the timeline in the auditor’s report. It says that Potter resigned voluntarily at the beginning of June 2010, and then had a personal service contract that was cancelled in late June 2010 when he refused to return the $35K. It then says that the investigation began in August 2010. That is 2 months. And, given that you may be referring to that business about using capital monies for the program instead of general fund monies, which only adds one month to the timeline (that report was issued in May 2010), then it is at most 3 months.

If you are referring to the Eakes investigation, both Sundquist and Noel Treat have said publicly that the Board became aware of the seriousness of what the auditors were finding in December 2010. That huge document the Times published back in March showing the auditor’s internal notes on their investigation shows that the auditor’s met with management, not with the Board. This suggests that management was not updating the Board as the investigation was occurring. So it is not credible for you to suggest that Sundquist knew about the seriousness early enough that he should have called for the investigation earlier. Of course, there are conspiracy theories about this, but those theories take away from any credibility those suggestions may be seeking.

I enjoy reading this blog and enjoy seeing that sometimes you raise issues that should receive broader attention from the Times and other sources of news. But I don’t like seeing inaccurate statements of fact in support of criticism – either deserved or undeserved.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Okay, Michael, you make some good points. I interchanged SBW with the RSBDP. I probably shouldn't have done that.

What I am referring to is that Harium and Steve were both alerted in 2008 that the district had hired a vendor who was not licensed and had, in fact, allowed workers with no background checks to be at schools when children were present. That should have tipped them off a little.

What did The Stranger get wrong?

Is the School Board not management? Because I consider them elected management.

As far as the Eakes report, I didn't mean it to sound like a conspiracy but it's a little puzzling given the School Board has oversight and that each director was not asked about their personal oversight.

As far as timing:

- Harium and Steve knew there were issues as early as 2008.
- Peter had read the Sutor report and did nothing to alert his fellow Board members (or at least nothing we know about).
- They all had knowledge of the Sutor Report and apparently no one read it.
- Silas was out in June 2010 and the Board knew what he had done. Then in late June 2010, the terrible audit came out with reference to the issue of using capital money for a General Fund purpose. That was a HUGE tipoff and one I acted on repeatedly to warn the Board (as did others). That no one did anything and waited for the Auditor's investigation before they started their own shows the lack of seriousness about their oversight role. What more did those 7 people need - a bat signal? Where was their intellectual curiosity?

June to December 2010 - six months.

dan dempsey said...

Really ... System shows signs of improving. Is Steve talking academically?

Steve needs to be a lot more specific.

From the WS Herald:

SS =>"We are somewhat unique among countries in that we want all of our kids to be successful,"

... "Not every nation is trying to get all kids to a certain level of college entry aptitude in all subjects."

Big news for Steve this "Having the Kids be Successful at a certain level of college entry aptitude in all subjects" is not happening under his watch. He spent three years ignoring the School Board's Promotion/ Non-Promotion policies that required effective and efficient interventions for struggling students and normally non-promotion for those unable to reach grade level expectations after receiving these interventions.

Then the Board, after never following the policy and never providing the required interventions, decided to change the policy to one that matched the "fact that SPS does very little for struggling students" and made it new policy.

Somehow both Sherry and Steve see an improved governance structure... me I am definitely missing the evidence of this improved governance structure.


"Our experience with Maria Goodloe-Johnson and our Chief Financial Officer and having to terminate them was terribly difficult for the Board and community," Sunduist recalled. They were voted out March 2. .... This was not as difficult as if the Board had given the public more than 22 hours notice of this action.

For if the Board had given two or three weeks notice of this..... then all the reasons that MGJ should have been fired with cause would have come to light ... and that would have been really embarrassing for the Directors. .... Easier to just give away the money than have questions surface about directors' responsibilities.

... There was a period in the winter when we were so consumed with that scandal I wasn't clear if I wanted to run again. I feel I came out of it successfully and with some renewed energy. Huhh????

Successfully??? Spin it again for me. I fail to find a bar that could be used to measure this as a success.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's true that the SWR program was separate from the SBDP and, for that matter, the Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Program. And that seems to be part of the problem that the Sutor Group found with the SWR--it wasn't separate enough from the SBDP/HUB (love those acronyms!). This is from the Sutor Group's Summary of Observations:

"2. The SWR program invited quotes (and therefore awarded contracts) from contractors, giving preferences to those contractors participating in the Small Business Development Program (SBDP) or being a Historically Underutilized Business (HUB)."

"3. There was an inherent conflict of interest between SBDP/HUB and the SWR programs due to the fact that they are being administered by the same staff."

"7. The level of deficiencies found during our review of the SWR program results in the conclusion that changes should be made with respect to the administration and staff procedures of the SWR program, including separation of the administration and management of the SWR program from the SBDP/HUB program."

While it is true that the the Sutor Group report was intended to focus on the SWR program, the report does say that its "contracting activities are managed primarily by the HUBs (Historically Underutilized Business) Program. The Program encompasses a broad range of activities related to business deevelopment and training of HUBs firms. The review is not intended to assess these activities, except as they interact with the small works contracting activities."

Peter Maier said that he read the Sutor Group report and was concerned. However, he didn't follow up on the matter because he trusted Fred Stephens' word that he would take care of it. He also seemed to think that the superintendent would handle the problem because she'd mentioned the report in her weekly email to the Board. In short, he trusted but didn't verify. He claims he was deceived, but he could only have been deceived about the activities of the SBDP if he'd actually asked questions.

In addition, he should have contacted the other Board directors and shared information with them. If he was so concerned, why did he keep the report to himself? Why didn't he consult his more experienced colleagues on the Board?

The real problem with Peter Maier is that his handling of the Sutor Group report fits a pattern of poor oversight. He has a long record of placing too much trust in staff--to the point of dismissing the concerns of people who contradict staff findings. This hasn't stopped, and it indicates that Peter Maier simply isn't capable of learning how to manage his responsibilities as a Board director.

DWE

Michael H said...

"Harium and Steve knew there were issues as early as 2008. - I agree that they should have known about issues with Potter as early as 2008. But apparently they didn't since they either don't read the newspapers and/or didn't get a briefing on the Sutor report. According to Eakes' report, the Board did not get a briefing, only a mention in the Friday update.

- Peter had read the Sutor report and did nothing to alert his fellow Board members (or at least nothing we know about). Agreed.

- They all had knowledge of the Sutor Report and apparently no one read it. - Only if you count the Friday update as having knowledge. See Eakes' report.

- Silas was out in June 2010 and the Board knew what he had done. Then in late June 2010, the terrible audit came out with reference to the issue of using capital money for a General Fund purpose. That was a HUGE tipoff and one I acted on repeatedly to warn the Board (as did others). That no one did anything and waited for the Auditor's investigation before they started their own shows the lack of seriousness about their oversight role. What more did those 7 people need - a bat signal? Where was their intellectual curiosity? - There is nothing to indicate in either the auditor's report or Eakes' report that the Board knew what Potter had done as far back as June 2010. Yes, teh july audit was (and should have been) a huge tip-off to the Board.

June to December 2010 - six months." - Got it.

As far as what is meant by the term "management". The Board is not considered management because they hire management. I can relate to the concept of "elected management", but that is not how the term is used in this context. So, no, the Board is not management. They are the "governing body". I went to the auditor's exit meeting in June. I remember them telling the Board that they met with management throughout the audit. Why would they tell the Board that if the Board is management? Wouldn't the Board know if the auditor's had met with them during the audit? Anyways, as mentioned above, the Board is not management.

As for the Stranger, they made a similar mistake saying that the small works roster was an off-shoot of the SBDP. The small works roster existed before HUBS and SBDP. And the writer also conflates the Sutor Report, and Peter's knowledge of it, with the SBDP. Again, two separate programs.

The HUBS program was not the same as the SBDP, but it was a pre-cursor. HUBS was Potter's attempt to steer contracts to certain minorities and his method of side-stepping laws on bidding. The SBDP was about holding classes (ok - we all know it was about getting contracts to Potter's buddies) to improve contractor skills so they could bid on public works projects.

So, despite our disagreements, keep up the good work!

Melissa Westbrook said...

Michael, either I'm not being clear or you don't get it - Harium and Steve talked to a union official about a problem with a vendor in 2008. They clearly knew there were problems before the Sutor Report or the audit. This can be proven. Why they didn't follow up, I don't know.

The Friday update. Again, if I were a Board member, my curiosity would be raised by the Friday update, not by a newspaper report, but by the Sutor Report. I would say, "What the heck is that?" Apparently, no one did and Peter knew what it was but also said nothing (at least that's what we are told).

I agree that the timeline and the scope of the different projects needs to be clarified. Fred Stephens himself limited the scope of the Sutor Report. Fred is very much the key to both Pottergate and the sale of the MLK, Jr. building. Problem is, he was gone before anyone thought to sit him down and ask him questions. (And it seems he knew something was up as he was busy asking Gary Locke for a job months before.)

Anonymous said...

Melissa:

Always be absolutely certain before you make these statements:

"Also, Steve advocated for a school in his district [Schmitz] to receive extra funding to buy extra textbooks? Wow, I thought we didn't have money to replace basic texts at some schools and the district has money to fund a second math textbook at one school?"

The funds are not "extra." That is absolutely incorrect. They are the funds that would otherwise be paid for EDM consumables to Schmitz Park. It is money that is in the District budget already, but has been carried over each year for Schmitz Park since they do not use EDM consumables. They have paid for their own Singapore Math consumables. Now, the school is getting money already in budget for math textbooks...money that is earmarked for math consumables (just different ones than the rest of the District uses).

As for Sundquist's claim: "In fact, this year I was able to help convince the District to pay for those text books [Singapore] since that's their primary text books."

This is a case of Steve taking credit for the work of others. The people who led the campaign to get Schmitz Park's EDM funds released to the school lobbied Sundquist, but he was not involved in the decision making process. That came from District personnel, with Sundquist acquiescing only after the deal was fait accompli. Steve was approached many times to support the Singapore Math program at Schmitz Park. Each time he ignored those who approached him.

And...I don't think you ought to bet on this one: "Primary or not, I'll lay odds they have the Discovery Math textbooks as well at Schmitz Park."

No...there are no Discovery textbooks (zilch) at Schmitz Park. Nor are there EDM textbooks. There is one math text book used and that is Singapore Math.

Signed - EDM IS a Failure

Anonymous said...

The following comment was posted by Ivan W. on the West Seattle Herald article:

My daughter got straight As in ninth and tenth grade math using the Discovering Math curriculum. When she applied for Running Start she failed the Compass Math test by a wide margin. Turned out she hadn't learned a thing, even though she was an A student and had studied math diligently. At North Seattle Community College for Running Start, she had to take three "bonehead" math courses, none of which were for transferable college credit, and all of which I had to pay for, before she could get into the college credit math course.

I asked Steve Sundquist if he regretted his decision to vote to adopt Discovering Math. He said he did not. I know for a fact that I am far from the only SPS parent to mention this to Steve. It is unconscionable for him to support this program in the face of story after story that parallels my daughter's.

That's why I support Marty McLaren for School Board, and why I hope that everyone who reads this will also.


The texts do matter. After numerous teachers with the same materials - EDM and CMP in our case - we have come to the conclusion that our children will only learn math well if we teach it at home with traditional texts and supplements. I only wish we had started sooner...

Even "good" teachers forced to work with ineffective materials are going to have limited success.

fed up parent

Anonymous said...

"As for the Stranger, they made a similar mistake saying that the small works roster was an off-shoot of the SBDP. The small works roster existed before HUBS and SBDP. And the writer also conflates the Sutor Report, and Peter's knowledge of it, with the SBDP. Again, two separate programs."

Again, I note that one of the Sutor Group's key observations was that SWR program and the SBDP/HUB programs weren't separate enough. They were very explicit about this. In effect, Silas Potter & Co had conflated the programs.

DWE

SPS parent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissa Westbrook said...

Steve called them "textbooks" which are not the same as consumables (to my understanding). I'm following what Steve said.

I need to know how you have your information. Are you a parent or staff member?

Schmitz Park never got the EDM textbooks? That would mean at some point when EDM was adopted the district already knew that Schmitz Park wouldn't be using it?

And now they have Singapore textbooks? (You said they do but you also said they had Singapore consumables.)

And, in addition, each school has to have new consumables each year and Schmitz Park, using Singapore, got Singapore consumables?

If I have it wrong, I want to correct it but I need to understand why Steve would have said textbooks.

SPS parent said...

Our child's experience differs from Ivan W. Our child took regular 9th and 10th grade math using Discovering, and CMP in middle school before that. Got decent grades (As and Bs), and aced the compass test for running start this summer. Without tutors, Sylvan, or any other help. I think there is more to learning than simply the text your high school uses. I'm not a big fan of Discovering, and would have preferred a more traditional text myself. But I wouldn't wholly blame your child's failing the compass test on Discovering. Especially when plenty of SPS students passed the compass test this year. I think a lot has to do with how your child learns and how he/she takes tests. Learning is not a one size fits all endeavor, though that's how we choose to measure it.

SPS parent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
SPS parent said...

When my kids were in elementary school (a couple of years ago) they received EDM workbooks, not EDM textbooks. Big difference. Workbooks are thin and paperback. Kids write in them and work in them, and they are theirs to keep at the end of the school year. Kids in SPS don't receive actual math "textbooks" until high school (Discovery).

Our elementary school received a new set of EDM "workbooks" each year. I doubt the district would continue to buy and send Schmitz Park EDM workbooks every year if they weren't being used.

It makes sense that the district would allow the school to spend their earmarked workbook dollars on Singapore instead of EDM materials.

Anonymous said...

Melissa:

As to this: "Steve called them "textbooks" which are not the same as consumables (to my understanding). I'm following what Steve said." -- The Singapore textbooks are already paid for at Schmitz. They last 3-5 years with occasional replacement for damage because they are soft covers. Workbooks are consumables. They must be replaced each year for both EDM and Singapore Math. They are now both budgeted items for the District. Steve generally does not know what he is talking about when it comes to the topic of Singapore Math. And, he cannot take credit for acquiring funding for consumables. He resisted it until it was a done deal. Now he wants to own it.

To this: "I need to know how you have your information. Are you a parent or staff member?" Anonymous, as it will remain. Sorry.

And about this: "Schmitz Park never got the EDM textbooks? That would mean at some point when EDM was adopted the district already knew that Schmitz Park wouldn't be using it?" -- No and yes...the way it worked is this. The District sent EDM textbooks to Schmitz Park. However, the school had already purchased an entire set of Singapore Math books and consumables the previous year (at great expense). The EDM books were returned to the district (along with the EDM consumables). This was decided before Sundquist was elected and done by a previous principal at SP. Carla Santorno gave verbal approval of the Singapore program until the written waiver was granted. This all took place during the EDM Math adoption process with full knowledge of the District math leaders. You will recall that the Seattle Math program is supposed to be EDM (70%) and Singapore Math (30%). Schmitz Park was the unspoken test school. District leaders even visited classrooms to observe the program being taught. The problem is that it was too successful and proved that EDM was the wrong choice.

Further: "And now they have Singapore textbooks? (You said they do but you also said they had Singapore consumables.)" -- The Singapore Math Program has a total of four books for each grade. Two textbooks "A" and "B," and two workbooks "A" and "B." (Text 3A,3B and Workbook 3A,3B etc.) The textbooks are the California Standards Edition purchased several years ago. The workbooks come in fresh each year.

Again: "And, in addition, each school has to have new consumables each year and Schmitz Park, using Singapore, got Singapore consumables?" -- All elementary schools in Seattle have consumables as part of their math curriculum. They are a budgeted item. SP has until now paid for their own consumables. In the future SPS will pay for them, and I presume for textbook replacements (as needed). Saxon may be an exception up at North Beach if they choose to use text-only instruction.

Finally: "If I have it wrong, I want to correct it but I need to understand why Steve would have said textbooks." -- Steve has never seen a Singapore Math lesson, nor has he accepted an invitation to examine the program. He knows nothing about it except that Schmitz Park was #1 in the District and #3 in the state for its graduating students on the last reported MSP. He explains that away as an easy demographic. He knows that 70% of Schmitz Park students skip directly to 7th (6H) or 8th grade math, but he still won't come and find out why.

Signed - EDM IS a Failure

Anonymous said...

Please listen carefully to Peter Maier's own testimony about the SWR program and the SBDP here.

Peter Maier is careful to distinguish between the two programs, but he also says that Fred Stephens assured him that he would "keep careful watch on Mr. Potter and the program, and that the problems would be fixed." He also refers to the superintendent's Friday update and says he was left with "the understanding that the superintendent was aware of the problems and would see that they would be fixed." He then says that he now knows that the Board, the public and he was deceived.

So although Peter Maier distinguishes between the two programs, he also links them. He was clearly made aware of problems with Silas Potter and his SBDP. (The SWR program had already been taken away from Potter by the time Stephens talked to Peter Maier about the Sutor report.) He says that Stephens claimed that the problems would be fixed and he says that his "understanding" is that the superintendent would see to it that the problems would be fixed. He can't be referring to the SWR program because that was a moot point by the time of Stephens' assurance and the superintendent's update. What he's referring to when he says that he was deceived was the problems with Potter and his program (the SBDP).

Thus, it is crystal clear to me that the Sutor Group report, by Peter Maier's own admission, made him aware of problems with Silas Potter and the SBDP. Yet, he didn't follow up and he didn't even inform the other Board directors. It is entirely fair, in my view, to say that Maier bears personal and direct responsibility for the Pottergate scandal because, again by his own admission, he was aware of the problems with Potter and his program.

DWE

Melissa Westbrook said...

EDM is a Failure, thanks for that. I only asked about your knowledge based because another parent said this:

"Kids in SPS don't receive actual math "textbooks" until high school (Discovery)."

So you say they do and this parent says they don't. Maybe some schools don't allow the texts to go home? It is confusing.

It is disturbing that Steve is taking credit for something that several people here say he shouldn't be taking credit for.

Unfortunately Miss de la Fuente is out nearly the whole month of July so I will have to wait until she gets back in August to ask.

Charlie Mas said...

And when you contact Ms dela Fuente you'll have to do so at Chief Sealth International High School where she will be a math teacher. She is no longer the head of the math department.

Anonymous said...

Correct...some schools do not allow the EDM textbooks to go home. That is why parents cannot help their children with math worksheets.

EDM uses proprietary language in many lessons. Without the textbook, parents do not recognize the lesson objectives. With the textbook (at home) parents must read back several units to identify the core lesson objective on the worksheets (a spiraling nightmare). You can see the problem here...limited English or lack of time or understanding of EDM goals and the parent cannot help the child.

The District was warned about this (and other) EDM problem(s) in 2007 but ignored the warnings.

Signed - EDM IS a Failure

Anonymous said...

Charlie...is that for real about Ms dela Fuente?

If so, (and not snark), there is something very big afoot. What is it?

Signed - EDM IS a Failure

Dorothy Neville said...

"In short, he trusted but didn't verify. He claims he was deceived, but he could only have been deceived about the activities of the SBDP if he'd actually asked questions."

Absolutely perfect explanation and rebuttal of Peter's claim of deception.

Charlie Mas said...

Taking credit for a successful effort that he opposed is typical for Mr. Sundquist. He often moves from blocking the bandwagon to jumping on it somewhere close to the finish line.

There are a few other examples including the dismissal of Dr. Goodloe-Johnson. He fully supported her right up to the day he voted to fire her. Of course, he did it in a way that gave her a $264,000 parting gift.

He opposed the move of Spectrum from West Seattle Elementary to Arbor Heights until it was a done deal, then he pretended like it was his idea.

I'm looking forward to his taking credit for the re-opening of Fairmount Park to ease the overcrowding at Lafayette and Schmitz Park - overcrowding that he helped to create and overcrowding that he has denied.

Anonymous said...

The April Personnel Report shows AMDLF as "separation" from Mathematics Curriculum Program Manager, effective 9/01/11.

a reader

Charlie Mas said...

EDM IS a Failure,

Ms dela Fuente's new job doesn't represent any big shifts. As part of the District's efforts to cut Central Staff they consolidated the math department head and the science department head into one position. Rather than apply for that job, Ms dela Fuente chose to return to the classroom, a job she loves. She seems to be very happy with the choice and I wish her nothing but happiness and success.

This may strike a lot of people as odd, but I have surprisingly good relationships with a lot of people on the District staff. I have always gotten along well with Ms dela Fuente and I genuinely like her and respect her. If she seemed out of touch with what was happening in the classrooms that is more a reflection of the District's structure than any personal or professional failing on her part.

She definitely contributed to two damaging myths.

1) That the textbooks don't drive the instruction. Of course they do. The EDM and CMP materials will not support direct instruction. The algorithms are not provided nor do the materials provide sufficent practice exercises.

2) That the poor math performance is attributable to poor quality of instruction. That conclusion is not the result of any analysis nor is it credible. Are we to believe that the difference in test scores between Eckstein and Aki Kurose is attributable to differences in quality of instruction? Would anyone believe that an exchange of teaching staffs between these two schools would result in high scores at Aki Kurose and low scores at Eckstein?

Anonymous said...

Re math books:

Our child had an EDM "reference book" at school, which we never saw, and one or two student Journals (workbooks) that came home at the end of the year. During the school year, the only materials we saw at home were the HW sheets and the "family letter" at the beginning of each unit.

For CMP2, there were individual softcover books for each unit that came home for HW, but were collected at the end of each unit (around 6 per year). There was no way to go back to previous units, but since the books contained little in the way of instruction or formulas, and there was no end-of-the-year cumulative test, it didn't seem to matter.

parent

BB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SPS Parent said...

Kids in SPS elementary and middle schools do not receive any math "textbooks" from the district. Of course schools using different materials like Saxon and Singapore can buy textbooks for their students themselves, as Schmitz park has apparently done "at a great cost to them". But they do not come from the district.

EDM does not provide any textbooks to students. They simply do not exist. The only EDM "textbook" is the lesson guide that the teacher receives.

@Parent, the student "reference" books that you are referring to are the workbooks. Some schools don't allow students to take the workbooks home, especially in the younger grades. Again, there are no EDM or CMP student "textbooks".

Anonymous said...

Our child had a hard bound "Student Reference Book," which was separate from the Student Journals (workbooks). I'm not sure what it contained, or how often it was used (it never came home), and I wouldn't call it a textbook in the traditional sense, but it was part of the EDM package of materials.

parent

Chris S. said...

Singapore math at Schmitz Park is funny thing for Sundquist to brag about. First, because it was in place before EDM adoptions (that's how they have gotten away with it) - which was B. S. (Before Sundquist.)

Second, and primarily, because Sundquist, with Martin-Morris on the C & I committee, actively prevented anyone else from getting this perq (redirect your portion of EDM-money to other math materials) by completely kowtowing to Cathy Thompson, Holly Ferguson and Dr. Enfield.

Disclaimer: I have no inside knowledge of the Schmitz situation other than what I heard at C & I meetings. Which, I realize, can be less-than-accurate.

Charlie Mas said...

I was at a lot of C & I meeetings and Steve Sundquist was no friend to schools who wanted to use materials other than the Board-adopted materials. He has been on that committee for four years; what opportunities did he create? None.