Friday, September 09, 2011

WA State PTSA Survey

This is a fairly quick survey and it was interesting to see what they are pushing this year.    It closes on September 18th.  The topics are:
  • early childhood learning
  • school zone signs
  • opportunity gap
  • charters
  • juvenile justice
  • highly capable
What is nice is that you do get to see how the survey is going at the end.  When I took it, there were some interesting results as far as charters.  About 32% of people ranked it very important/important, 33.5% were neutral and 34% said not important/insignificant.  If this survey is right, there's work for either side to win that group in the middle.

For highly capable, 68% said it was very important/important. 

Naturally, this is a small survey of a select group of people so not really valid results.


Anonymous said...

"Not important/Insignificant" is not the same as "a bad idea" or "something to work against". If I had designed the survey, I wouldn't know if the people in that third category are opposed to charters or just don't see it as a priority.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Surveyor, I thought that as well. You have to wonder because I know these are bright people who put this together so maybe that was the design.

none is jaded said...

Ditto the thought on possibility that it was by design. Are we just too jaded at this point?

You do need to click and read the descriptions to fully understand some of the questions. Still, perhaps the survey takers are paying better attention that we give them credit for, the charter schools question doesn't appear to have nearly the same support as any of the other questions.

Anonymous said...

I was most interested in the results of the teacher compensation question. It seems the majority want compensation based on test scores.

Solvay Girl

CT said...

Because most of the public is misinformed by market-based ideology promoted as "research", they think that test scores are a valid measure of a teacher's skill and worth. Perhaps if they did some reading - Larry Cuban's "Blackboard and the Bottom Line" or David Berliner's "Collateral Damage" or Daniel Koretz' "Measuring Up" , or Kate Rousmaniere's "City Teachers" or pretty much anything by Gerald Bracey, they might discover that not only have we been there done that SEVERAL times already in the American education system, but that it doesn't work. Too many out of school factors, too much focus on extrinsic motivators or pressure, etc.
But what do I know? I'm just a teacher, not a billionaire, thus I am too dumb to have any idea what is best for my profession or my students.

Anonymous said...

CT...you're preaching to the choir. I was just surprised to see a fairly high percentage in favor. Most everyone I know believes as you do. But, this appears to be a state-wide survey, so who knows what people outside Seattle think?

Solvay Girl

dan dempsey said...

Solvay Girl,

Thanks for the information on the Survey and your thinking about it.
Surveys are often the foundation for proposing nonsense.

As Richard Feynman, noble laureate said during the 1964 California high school math text book adoption: (I do not think WA uses nobel laureates in Physics on their math textbook adoptions)

If you want a solution to a problem get 5 true experts together. A panel of 1000 will produce very little of value.

YUP this survey will tell us what a bunch of people think after reading the Seattle Times etc. ... that hardly indicates a path worth pursuing.

Anonymous said...

Tomorrow, Sat, Sept 10 is the Seattle Council (region 6) Fall Leadership Conference. Recent bylaw changes require each PTSA to send a rep (or many) in order to remain "in good standing". At last year's training, Nova was one of the only schools to raise any questions/concerns re: WA PTSA's support of Common Core standards. (? is that what we're calling them?)

Unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts, Nova will have any one rep at this year's training. Any other vocal alt/progressive/anti-corporate reform folks planning to attend? Anyone in Region 6 able to help organize some kind of collaborative response to this proposed agenda?

WSPTA Region 6 Leadership Conference
8:30am-1:15pm a@ JSCEE


dan dempsey said...

And the BIG winner at 48% very important is the Opportunity Gap....

Here is the proposal

Opportunity Gap
Eliminate the state’s achievement gaps and create equitable opportunities for all children.

We will do this by working to implement policies and practices that:
• Set high expectations for every child and provide challenging and engaging curricula
(same stuff we've heard for a decade)

• Use data to ensure each child gets the academic intervention and support he or she needs.
(Yet the data about instructional practices and materials that have proven to be effective is ignored)

• Improve family engagement, cultural competence and home-school communication
(Without improved instructional programs this will be only marginally effective .. children from highly dysfunctional families will see little if any benefit from this.)

• Provide a positive learning climate and promote positive behavior intervention.
(Is this any different than what we've heard for the last decade?)

• Promote collaboration that helps staff maximize instructional time, materials and strategies.
(seems these are just words ... that lack any real meaning)

• Equitably distribute learning resources and ensure funding meets need
(No definition of equitable funding ... look at the complete failure of Seattle's Southeast Education initiative ... it met the criteria above and was a dismal failure.)

Until the PTSA faces up to the fact that ideology, instructional practices and materials are in use that are extremely poor ... all these words and a 48% very important will mean absolutely nothing to most educationally disadvantaged learners.

An in depth look at proposed Core 24 and the coming Common Core State Standards and how the CCSSI will impact educationally disadvantaged learners would be a much more appropriate action than writing words like those on the opportunity gap.

Keep in mind that the PTSA supported the adoption of the CCSSI which will require local districts to pay from district funds $165 million over the next 5-years .... that likely means 330+ fewer teachers per year for the next 5 years.

Smooth move PTSA ... Pierson Publishing appreciates your work as they will make billions on the largest expansion of testing in the universe ... this coming disaster will make the WASL actually look worthwhile by comparison.

seattle citizen said...

As you might imagine, the Opportunity Gap question pissed me off. (When I first heard the term "opportunity gap" bandied about a few years ago, it was used as a countervalance to the "acheivement gap," which seems to place the onus for a "gap" strictly on educators. The opportunity gap was used to show that students didn't have equal access to opportunity, to enrichment, educated families, the secret handshakes of power...now it looks like the term has been co-opted, substituted in for achievement gap but without any of that intention of looking at the broader picture....sigh.)
At any rate, the question is stated in such a way that you're one of those "status quo-ers" if you wanted to (and had the opportunity to) call bs on certain aspects of the gap and its use - It takes at face value some concepts that I believe to be faulty, makes you sound mean if you disagree, and gives you no opportunity to choose an answer reflective of discomfort.

Patrick said...

Surveyor, yes, I was tempted to put "very important" for charters because what is very important is to keep them illegal in Washington. But that would have been misinterpreted, so I put "not important" instead.

Anonymous said...

So... now we know everything is important. Much better to rate things in an order than to just say... "yes everything is important."


Anonymous said...

So, does the PTSA have any priorities? Everything is important? You know what they say in Special Ed and ELL ? Fix the achievement gap and you'll fix ... just about everything.

Not impressed with the PTSA Survey