About Looking for a New Superintendent

Just one thing I hope to clear up about a new superintendent. 

I hope no one coming in thinks he/she can be one thing on paper or in interviews and another as superintendent.   Anyone who thinks, "Well, I'll just put on my best, most consensus-building game face for the interviews but when I'm superintendent, I'll do what I want." 

Anyone who wants to be superintendent should understand that thinking that way would be a big mistake.  This is not that kind of town. 

It would be a mistake also on the part of the Alliance or LEV or anyone else thinking they can sneak someone in.  

As I have said in the recent past, it is amusing to see these people wring their hands in despair and flail around over the results of the elections.  It is funny to see David Brewster's piece in Crosscut which,was a peek behind the curtain of the thought patterns of the powers that be.  "Well, next time we'll throw more money at the election"  or "Next time, we'll get consultants".  Have at it, kids, it won't make a difference.

TFA?  I would say it was going down in flames but really, it's more like a whimper.  Does anyone really believe that the site-based hiring teams in SPS are suddenly going to get religion and hire more TFA?  And other districts?  They have no money for this inconsequential nonsense.   And seriously, how long can UW spend between $300-400k on a program for 9 people? 

So anyone who would next be superintendent should know - in advance - the lesson that apparently the powers that be have missed.

The parents and staff and voters in this town are not going to be snowed or baffled by bullshit any longer.   They are not going to allow a bunch of wealthy people to take a paternalistic tone and ask parents/staff/voters to donate to their schools and vote for their levies but please, get out of the way of running the district as we know best. 

Anyone coming into being a superintendent should welcome the fact that the parents and staff in this district KNOW this district and have a deep concern for it.  

The Board has many people to please on this decision and I don't envy them.  I certainly hope they will include community members input and allow some public interviews (as they did in the last search).

No one should believe the next superintendent will rule this district.  Life could get mighty uncomfortable for anyone who thinks that.  

 Again, we need to keep the public in public education and I look forward to working with a superintendent who understands that.


Anonymous said…
Thank you for this post. I hope it goes viral. You and Charlie have become respected voices in this town and you need to measure your words perhaps more carefully than in the past. You, too, have a burden that comes with responsibility.

I wish you many blessings for the new year and I am very grateful for your excellent work.

--Dan Dempsey rocks!
SPSLeaks said…
We know who's naughty and nice.

dan dempsey said…
About this:

TFA? I would say it was going down in flames but really, it's more like a whimper. Does anyone really believe that the site-based hiring teams in SPS are suddenly going to get religion and hire more TFA?

My understanding is that Gates F. pumped around $5+ million into TfA for Puget Sound. Running the numbers another $5 million will run a $400k program for 12 years. Look how long Gates F pushed the small schools movement. Just because it is expensive and does not work ... has not always made any difference to Gates F.

Seattle wound up with TfA because the Reform Bloc board nodded approval to Despot MGJ acting on what the oligarchs wanted.

Enfield continued the tradition of pushing what the Oligarchs wanted with highly flawed Action Reports .... and the Reform Bloc board kept nodding approval as that is what they were installed to do.

Betty Patu offen failed to do any nodding at all.

We just received the Cert requests and conditional cert info from OSPI for Teach for America corps members .. Maldonado and Robinette

more to follow.
Anonymous said…
My post from another thread that belongs here:

Smith Blum was shocked about her BFF Susan's decision, according to today's Times article by Rosenthal.

Smith Blum needs a wake-up call! She deplored MGJ because MGJ ignored her (yes, Smith Blum actually stated this at a school board meeting). However, she loved Enfield because Slick Susan treated her like a BFF--then used Smith Blum to vote for TFA (in violation of state law). Next, Smith Blum publicly (in the Times) stated that Mercer was successful because they were under the radar of the district headquarters. At the next board meeting, Slick Susan (ever mindful of her image) publicly contradicted Smith Blum, and spilled the beans (admitting that, yes, she had allowed a different math program at Mercer while denying math waivers to begging teachers and schools all over the district).

That Blum Smith was quickly painted as a buffoon by her BFF over Mercer must have flown right over her entitled head. Smith Blum must have been equally shocked that her perceived BFF didn't consult her first after reading the writing on the wall (i.e. the rest of Seattle was seeing through Enfield's personal Race to the Top agenda).

Smith Blum is intelligent but is lacking in experience outside of her privileged bubble. She also has an ego and sense of her own opinion that keeps getting in the way of facts. Maybe she can participate in the training that she is advocating for teachers--cultural competency.

Dan Dempsey rocks!
dan dempsey said…
On Sept 21 the Board authorized the Superintendent to request conditional certificates from OSPI for TfA corps members Maldonado and Robinette. This had been a process in which getting those Certs ASAP was the plan.....

Except Enfield did not make application for either of these certs until October 24 for Maldonado and November 4 for Robinette

If you look at the above applications, which bear Enfield's signature (and have the redactions wanted by Dean Stritikus), you will notice that instead of the circumstances warrant argument given in the Action Reports to justify these applications BOX 2; Enfield marked BOX 1.

I do not remember anything anbout either of these candidates being described as:

The applicant is highly qualified and experienced in the subject matter to be taught and has unusual distinction or exception talent demonstrated through public records of accomplishment and/or awards. ... say What?

Thus goes the complete spinning of more BS to disguise a plan to replace highly qualified teachers with TfA corps members in an effort to reduce spending just like done in "Broad Prize" winner "Charolotte-Mecklenburg District" and other places.

Fact remains ... SPS Never perfromed a careful review of all options to close achievement gaps .... the Board voted to Authorize the Superintendent to close achievement gaps through the hiring of TfA corp members. The District never conducted the WAC required careful review to justify that circumstances warranted the hiring as a viable plan to close achievement gaps.

In fact Heilig's academic papers which studied peer-reviewed research on TfA shows that in situations like Seattle's, TfA corps members have a negative effect on achievement.

So Enfield (after a month of deliberation or inattention) instead of checking BOX 2 which aligns with what the board authorized her to do.... Her move was to check BOX 1 .... and assume that some King County Superior Court Judge will love the Oligarchs enough to buy this latest lie.
dan dempsey said…
We need to keep public education public ....

well that is going to be a major battle if the District does not improve the progress and overall achievement for various groups of educationally disadvantaged learners. As Charlie says it is about teaching individual students appropriately.

The MGJ plan seems to have been to run the district into the ground .... Then all the Ed Reform solutions would be demanded by an angry public.

Instead the angry public has removed two members of the Reform Bloc school board and MGJ is in Detroit.

Here is a classic example of SPS Enfield style logic...

See Robinette application signed by Enfield =>

The District has determined the applicant is competent on the following basis: see attached

Here is what was attached =>
Ms. Robinette has been selected to teach in the Seattle Public Schools and is a Teach for America candidate. A conditional certificate has been approved by the Seattle School Board and she will receive a Washington State teaching certificate once processed by OSPI. She is currently teaching as a substitute teacher under an Emergency Substitute Certificate.

WOW how is that for a combination of flawed ADD ingredients ... in an attempt to answer the original question.

Applicant is judged competent because ...... ????

SPS has not turned the corned on Ed Reform nonsense.
dan dempsey said…
The purpose of the conditional certificate is to assist local school districts, approved private schools, and educational service districts in meeting the state's educational goals by giving them flexibility in hiring decisions based on shortages or the opportunity to secure the services of unusually talented individuals. The professional educator standards board encourages in all cases the hiring of fully certificated individuals and understands that districts will employ individuals with conditional certificates only after careful review of all other options.

So Harium what were all those other options that were considered? .... and you found TfA appropriate eh?

Oh right your job was just to nod approval back then.
Anonymous said…
We know the Fab Four were bought and sold. However, DeBell and Smith Blum should not get off the hook. They went along with the lie--hook, line and sinker.

I have analyzed Smith Blum. What's with DeBell? Dan, you have remarked that he should become the head of OSPI. Are you kidding?
To me, he may be the most culpable because he knows better.

--you still rock
StopTFA said…
Dan, just an fyi, it was I who informed OSPI that address and contact info was not important for my purposes. The OSPI PRO was relieved, I'm sure, that I was not interested in enforcing my rights under the Public Records Act for this inconsequential.

So, no, Stritikus had nothing to do with this. In fact, his intransigence with regards to the people's rights under the law, has and will expose the UW to over $150K in fines.

Woe, we need more higher ed funding!
dan dempsey said…
About DeBell and SPI ..
Yes I am pro DeBell.

Michael has a realization of how much poor decisions hurt. He gave an excellent explanation in his minority position 4-3 on Discovering Math. He also gave an excellent presentation in his minority position 4-3 on New Tech Network.

Granted both he and ksb both blew it on TfA. It may have been that Michael saw this as just another 4-3 or 5-2 so why not vote for it. He obviously knew of the Reform Bloc four. Again when big money at the Gates F. and other places is driving the train ... hard to tell why any school board member other than the reform bloc acts.

Bergeson was the absolute worst as SPI ... for more reasons than I have ever explained here. Math was just a tiny part.

In 2008 Rich Semeler was my man for SPI .. he did not want the job but chose to run because he was needed. His wife had health problems so he dropped out. He never intended to be SPI for more than one term. i hope Rich and his wife are enjoying retirement.

Randy Dorn is quite a bit better than Bergeson (which ain't sayin' much).

Dorn needs to be removed. His pushing of CCSS was absurd. This was typical of the "oligarchs moves" in Seattle except done at the State level. I have other problems with the Dorn administration as well...... again a continuation of achievement gap talk and commissions and BS. Result = Nothing of consequence to effectively produce achievement.

OSPI's reports on year one of School Improvement Grant schools will be out in January 2012. That should be an interesting read. OSPI selected whom to give the grants based on the applications from the schools. Almost every winner had incredible goals ... annual improvement of MSP reading and math on the order of 15% to 24% each year.

So for example at grade 4
2010 MSP math pass rate = 20%
yearly goals for 4th grade at that school
2011 MSP math pass rate = 40%
2012 MSP math pass rate = 60%
2013 MSP math pass rate = 80%

Anyway so it will take about 500k to $1 million to run against Dorn..... and most of the folks that could get that kind of backing would likely be way worse than Dorn.

So Michael DeBell is my guy at the moment. I have even gone to a few of DeBell's Saturday chats ... he is thoughtful and informed. there is a lot to like about Michael DeBell ... but as always the thought of who would be pulling the strings enters my mind.

So far if anyone can come up with a viable candidate other than Michael ... let me know. I've given this a fair amount of thought and come up empty.
StopTFA said…
Oops, "inconsequential information"...
dan dempsey said…
Remember .... Michael was duped into voting for Everyday Math by Carla Santorno .... and he knows exactly how that turned out.

It seemed that Raj may have been so ineffective that Cheryl Chow and Carla had to be the Despots.
Patrick said…
I hope this post is correct. Yes, we've won a battle, and for a while at least the general public has been woken up. But don't expect the Reformers to give up and go home.
dan dempsey said…
Here is the Board's Action Report for the Superintendent search .... per Jan 4, 2012 Board meeting
Anonymous said…
Heed Patrick's warning, all. We finally scratched and clawed our way back to a neutral board and we're all happy and satisfied like we won something.

Danger Will Robinson! Danger!

We haven't won squat! All we did was pry the lead foot of the Reformers off the gas pedal. We haven't shifted to reverse or even neutral yet. The Reformers still have the momentum and money in their favor, and will not let a crisis go to waste, so watch for lots of drama and panic over the next few months, sure to be addressed by more and more Reform ideas being floated.

The battle is far, far from over. WSDWG
Sahila said…
Private citizens pay to instal their choice of school super:


For more info on what Valle's done in New Orleans and Haiti (bringing in charters), talk to Jesse Hagopian...

shock doctrine schooling
Sahila said…
"Beginning on Monday, December 26th, the focus of this blog will be on charter schools. Why charter schools? Because Stand for Children, the League of Education Voters, the Washington State PTA along with DFER will be descending upon our representatives in Olympia trying to convince them that the privatization of our public schools is what our state and children need..."

privatization and commercialization of our public schools
Sahila said…
and while its looking for a non ed deform super, maybe the new Board will do all our kids a favour and also get rid of TFA: Teach for America: The Hidden Curriculum of Liberal Do-Gooders
Anonymous said…
You're on a mission, Dan Dempsey. Thank you.

Michael was duped into voting for Everyday Math by Carla Santorno

I took the DMI series and was told at the time by a key leader(at that time) in the math department that TERC math would be for certain the adoption. I am pro-TERC at elementary.

However, it was not even presented to the Board. When I confronted him later, he sheepishly said that too many board members had signaled that they would not accept TERC. His explanation was that they were on board with the "Where's the Math" group. So, TERC was dropped from consideration.

Why would Santorno redirect a math decision when the District had spent two years training teachers? That doesn't make sense to me.

Anonymous said…
Also, these TFA apps are sort of humorous. Maldonado is a theatre arts major which is actually a good fit for elementary if he has the intellectual prowess in math and science as well.

But Robinette's app doesn't even indicate her area of expertise.

Or perhaps I haven't read far enough ...

Also, I noted Maldonado signed on as an emergency sub in September with a thirty-day limit in one position. I know certificated teachers who are trying to get into the sub pool and can't. That lights my curiosity.

StopTFA said…
Interestingly, the actual conditional certificate page, with issuance date, was not included in either app. I would not put it past OSPI's Certification Office (who colluded with PESB's Wallace to fast-track TFA-ers) to play with enforcement of certificate validity dates.

Oh, and I'm still waiting for a conditional certificate application to be submitted for Daniel Calderon. Hmmm. Yes, his "emergency sub" certificate's 30 day assignment limit ran out sometime ago.
dan dempsey said…
Dear Northender,

Looking at Project Follow Through results and John Hattie's effect sizes in Visible Learning as well as SPS math results over the last decade on WASL and MSP for grades 3 and 4......

I feel fairly confident that TERC/Investigations and Everyday Math are among the two worst math programs every created for educationally disadvantaged learners.

The real positive impact of TERC is that it made countless parents pay a lot more attention to what is happening to their children's math education. It is a primary reason that WTM started.

Sylvan Learning and Kumon likely appreciate the increase in business.

Below (in another comment) will be some numbers I will run today for White minus Black math achievement gaps on OSPI testing in the SPS at grades 3 and 4. .... You can contrast them with reading results.

Terry Bergeson was a huge TERC fan. You are correct in that a skilled teacher may be able to effectively supplement TERC for advantaged students successful while it is much more difficult to do so with EDM's incoherent spiraling.

No I am not a fan of the WASL math test but it is all I have. The MSP math is better.

The 2000-2005 WASL reading test was largely a promotional tool as Iowa reading tests in the same era were reasonably constant. Grade 7 reading WASL was incredible in the gains it showed.

.... Auburn went to teaching the Auburn Power standards based on WA Math Standards and gave out lots of waivers in a decentralization effort. EDM is still the official Auburn adoption because that is what they bought long ago. Auburn no longer buys any of the EDM consumable materials ... They found that too expensive long ago. Lots of Auburn teachers & schools rarely use EDM.

So Auburn Power Standards used in 52% Low Income Auburn .... or "Fidelity of Implementation" used in 43% Low Income Seattle........ and Don't forget the Reading scores.

Auburn v. Seattle the showdown ..... 24-0
dan dempsey said…
Dear Northender,

For openers... here is how bad the SPS ... EDM plan worked in grade 4 last year. These are one year changes from MSP math 2010 to MSP math 2011.

SPS change and State change and the differences for various subgroups for SPS minus State....(always worse for SPS)

Grade 4
MSP MATH 2010 to 2011 Changes
for SPS
for State
with one year SPS Differential change with State in bold

District 2.6 :: -3
State 5.6

Asian/Pac Is -2.5 :: -9
St Asian 6.5

Black 3.6 :: -1.1
St Black 4.7

Hispanic -1.2 :: -9.1
St Hispanic 7.9

Indian -10.2 :: -10.6
St Indian 0.4

White 3.7 :: -2
St White 5.7


Grade three is not much better.

Grade 3
MSP MATH 2010 to 2011 Changes
for SPS
for State
with one year SPS Differential change with State in bold

District -1.6 :: -1.4
State -0.2

Asian/Pac Is -5.4 :: -4.8
St Asian -0.6

Black -6.2 :: -4
St Black -2.2

Hispanic -2.5 :: -4.7
St Hispanic 2.2

Indian 6.4 :: +9
St Indian -2.6

White 2 :: +2
St White 0

the Indian improvement was from an astonishingly low 2010 pass rate of 35.7% to 42.1% in 2011 (still well below Hispanic pass rate..... which the Indians were usually about the same as on the math WASL)

White minus Black math gaps come next.
dan dempsey said…
EDM was adopted for the 2007-2008 school year.

Here are those grade 4
White minus Black achievement Gaps

4th Grade Math
WASL 98 : 52.50% 14.20% 38.30%
WASL 99 : 55.10% 12.00% 43.10%
WASL '00 : 62.90% 17.20% 45.70%
WASL '01 : 65.60% 15.00% 50.60%
WASL '02 : 70.00% 22.30% 47.70%
WASL '03 : 71.80% 31.10% 40.70%
WASL '04 : 78.00% 36.40% 41.60%
WASL '05 : 79.60% 33.10% 46.50%
WASL '06 : 76.00% 31.30% 44.70%
WASL '07 : 79.80% 32.00% 47.80%
WASL '08 : 73.90% 27.60% 46.30% <=EDM
WASL '09 : 78.80% 29.10% 49.70% <=EDM
MSP '10 ..: 77.70% 28.20% 49.50% <=EDM
MSP '11 ..: 81.40% 31.80% 49.60% <=EDM

Note: Carla Santorno pushed through EDM outside the normal "legal"process and said the achievement gaps would be eliminated in 5-years.

In the no results no one ever held accountable world of educational administration .... Carla is set to become the Superintendent of the Tacoma Public Schools.
dan dempsey said…
3rd grade White minus Black Gaps

3rd Grade Math
Year : WHITE : BLACK ::: GAP
WASL '06 81.60% 44.90% 36.70%
WASL '07 85.40% 48.90% 36.50%
WASL '08 86.90% 49.00% 37.90% <=EDM
WASL '09 86.50% 43.20% 43.30% <=EDM
MSP '10 . 81.80% 41.70% 40.10% <=EDM
MSP '11 . 83.80% 35.50% 48.30% <=EDM

5th grade White minus Black gaps

5th Grade Math
Year : WHITE : BLACK ::: GAP
WASL '06 78.50% 28.60% 49.90%
WASL '07 81.40% 33.10% 48.30%
WASL '08 81.30% 38.50% 42.80% <=EDM
WASL '09 84.60% 42.30% 42.30% <=EDM
MSP '10 . 76.50% 28.90% 47.60% <=EDM
MSP '11 . 80.00% 33.80% 46.20% <=EDM


Keep these numbers in mind when you read the open letter to Directors on Tuesday 12-27-2011 about the failure to conduct the legally required "careful review of options for closing achievement GAPS" before requesting conditional certs for TFA corps members.

David Brewster informed us that in 2007 a small wealthy influential group decided to install four school directors that would use the Ed Reform Governance Model. This is a model in which an enlightened superintendent makes all the decisions and the board normally nods approval of staff’s every request.
Anonymous said…
You've got the numbers, Dan. But I liked TERC for primary which is what I teach because it didn't try to do everything at each grade level (as EDM does), it went deeper, was conceptual (a little too much although I've heard the new TERC fixes that problem) and allowed me time to supplement much, much more. I think one of the problems in the District is the one-size-fits-all mentality. Also, my parents tend to see arithmetic as "math." Much of Singapore seems to be "old math" relying on memory for solutions as opposed to understanding. Although I don't know the District as well as you, that's been my experience.

I linked on another thread the algebra curriculum used in Lebanon, Oregon, which starts in first grade. I have several programs on my shelf I'd rather teach and I try to get some of it in but find it difficult since much of our day is centered on literacy. That's another problem. The District at elementary has increased the time spent on literacy and many teachers I know are finding it difficult to do justice to the math and science curricula.

Truthfully, I support either a longer school day or a year broken into trimesters with longer breaks between each. Yes, I need the longer breaks. Working with twenty-five to thirty clients daily is wearing. And, I would use most of the breaks reorganizing, cleaning, and planning for the next trimester. They aren't "vacations."

I have to think more about the math question. I isn't simple and perhaps scores reflect more than just poor curricula. I can say confidently that K kids do not do enough math. We immerse children in literacy - almost all children - from birth but rarely do they encounter math until school and even then not till first grade. That may be too late. Currently, Seattle's EDM K program is incredibly deficient.

My problem with the WTM people is that they want old-school math which worked for some people and should probably be continued for those who do well with it. But, for those it leaves behind, we need a better and earlier intervention. Honestly, I know how to do that. But this press for alignment and focus on literacy (whether needed or not in a particular classroom) is draining the life out of me and my ability to continue creative problem-solving relevant math instruction. Everything requires time to process and we just don't have it anymore.

Quickly, imagine how much more we are all teaching K-5 than ever before yet our school day and year remain the same.


PS: My observation of this blog is that you hear rarely from elementry teachers. I think we could make a lot of changes at elementary that would lighten the load at middle and high school.

PPS: Dan, from what I've seen, there is a significant leap into more complex math at intermediate level in elementary. My guess is that students are not prepared for the increased complexity and different thinking skills needed for that math. AND I REALLY DO DISLIKE EDM!
Anonymous said…
A few words from Michael DeBell on the Superintendent search:


Signed QAE Parent
Jan said…
Wonderful links, Sahila -- especially the Teach for America one. Thanks.
mitt said…
Regarding community input into the superintendent search:

I hope that Dora Taylor and/or Sue Peters will be willing and invited to serve on the hiring committee.

Does anyone know the process by which community members might suggest representatives?
dan dempsey said…
Northender, You make several interesting points. In several high performing countries the Ed research that drives programs is done at the school level.... bottom up development.....

Most of USA is top down, which is doubly unfortunate as many of the research practices are flawed and following the supposed best practice produces lousy results ... SEE EDM for example #1.

So how much should get done in the shortest school year among developed nations?

I very much disagree with the following generalization => "My problem with the WTM people is that they want old-school math which worked for some people and should probably be continued for those who do well with it."

I consider myself a member of WTM people. I like many other WTMers am an advocate for what works. By works it should work well enough to be consider an efficient effective practice.

My friend Dave O has spent the last 3+ years volunteering half-days in grades 3&4 in a high poverty elementary school. He read a lot of ed research as well. Dave is a WTMer.

I will say that the Singapore extra-Practice that Santorno bought ... was a pointless ridiculous joke. The Singapore texts and workbooks for grades 1 through 6 are amazing. The Singapore model method which is started in grade 3 is incredible. The Singapore challenging word problem books are amazing .... kids are using the modeling in grade 5 and 6 to solve problems that traditional pre-calc students are stumbling over. Singapore develops an understanding so that problems that would require solving by simultaneous equations in two variables can be done by 5th graders with bar modeling.

Remember on the first MSP math grade 5 test ... Schmitz Park's 5th grade had the third highest pass rate percentage out of 1089 schools in the state. The NSAP scrambled up kids ... and grade 3 Singapore skills are really needed for grades 4 and 5 ... thus SP grade 5 last year was down.

SP places an enormous number of kids into grade 7 math at Madison skipping grade 6 ....

What I saw when carefully looking at text books was
with Singapore grade 5 texts kids could come out with seventh grade math skills ..... with TERC coming out of grade 5 with 3rd grade skills seemed very likely. ...

Singapore has a small number of topics covered in grades 1 and 2. It is much easier to teach to mastery.

I sure know where you are coming from with the need for a longer day and a year broken into pieces.

High performing countries give teachers more plan time. US has a really short school day ... the OECD school year average is 195 days.

In a recent study of teacher salaries in the US and European counties as well as OECD partners .... the US ranked 22 out of 27.

The measuring stick was a teacher with 15 years of experience ... who does their salary compare with the average of 4 year college grads ... in the US teachers make 60% of that average .... there are other countries where that average is 80% or even 100%. ...thus USA #22/27.

Teaching is a hard job .... but recently it has become a lot harder because of Administrative misdirection.

Many of the requirements and expectations for headstart pre-K kids are absurd. So much of the Kindergarten Academics are of questionable worth, when required so young. .... looks like a goal of school is to have 90% of the student population on antidepressants before age 20. .... not to mention 95% of the parents and 100% of the teachers.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for setting me straight on the WTM folks. I watched a WTM Bellevue meeting - hundreds of people there including Renner and Mass. A teacher spoke who blatantly mischaracterized the TERC by citing a problem that was from the first-grade set as a fifth-grade problem. I recognized it because I had taught it that year. The question was age appropriate and required a high level of problem solving. This was several years ago and I don't recall the details. Still, that left me questioning the integrity of the people behind the campaign.

A resource teacher I know is from England and she says they start students at age 4 but it seems that they take two years to get where we expect our K kids to be in one. She says by second grade, curricular expectations are about the same. Also, my experience with my kids over the years is they are very ready to learn math as long as it is engaging and fun: games, games, games! (Where's the time?)

I am always impressed with your store of knowledge and obvious commitment to teaching. I think we agree more than disagree and I enjoy reading your posts.

Back to having input into the search for a new superintendent, I sure hope it is someone with an authentic educational background and not a business background.

It's late.

Mitt, they should just write the Board and ask. I did.
dan dempsey said…

You wrote: Also, my experience with my kids over the years is they are very ready to learn math as long as it is engaging and fun: games, games, games! (Where's the time?)

Ed USA has never educated everyone to high levels. I doubt there is a nation that ever has done so. Given the huge variability in the human population equal outcomes just are not possible.

OSPI and US Dept of Ed and NCLB are policy ignorant of the above.

Seattle needs a Super, who gets it. Gets that this standardization movement that punishes those that aren't standard needs to end. Seattle fails to provide effective interventions. So many kids need interventions because the "standardized program" is so inappropriate for a huge number of students. The very talented are not pushed.

Currently the District is spending a lot on standardization and dumbing down is the overall result. While some may argue that overall things are better ... given where the SPS and WA State are at, what is occurring is hardly significant. {{The claims of improvement are often marginal changes in OSPI pass rates or MAP mumbo-jumbo and declines are hidden}}

Instead of employing efficient and effective instructional practices and allowing teachers to monitor student results....... The big SPS Ed Product is political spin.

There are several things that increased with the Strategic Plan:
1.. greatly increased goals (pipe-dreams)
2.. spending on central admin (but the big jump up was Raj's last year)
3.. spending on data tools MAP etc.
4.. time for testing to get numbers for data tools and for central admin to gaze at.
5.. the amount of time spent on Math since EDM is more like all day everyday math ... too jumbled to make progress.
6.. disregard for the knowledge and skills of the existing teaching force. Top Down will tell you what to do and how to do it.
7.. number of spin doctor PR folks.
8.. results fakery "17%" etc.
9.. SEA union collaboration.

There are a great many differences between Ed USA and high performing nations ... many of the effective practices from those nations could be put in place in Seattle. Seattle needs a Superintendent willing to make those kinds of changes. Those changes are the opposite of where Ed USA is headed.

NYC has been big on EDM and Readers and Writers workshops and big on using manipulated results to show improvement. Now that the testing has been carefully analyzed ... it turns out that Mayor Mike B. has accomplished only a bit more than diddle squat in the way of improvement since he took over the schools shortly after his initial election victory.

NYC did a pilot of "Core-Knowledge" materials and practices at K, 1, 2, .... the gains were huge and essentially ignored. ((Sounds a lot like Susan Enfield and Mercer gains at 6th & 7th in Math))

[kids] learn math as long as it is engaging and fun: .... It can be engaging and fun without a lot of games ... but the SPS does not use math materials that are suitably structured to make that happen.

Most Superintendents are excellent at climbing the political totem pole to the top .... and clueless about "real research" ... Seattle does not need one from that most pile. MGJ was an excellent example of picking of the worse from the most pile.

The most important place to begin is decentralization. Increased accountability can be packaged with team building at each school. Scott Oki's "Outrageous Learning" does have some good ideas on decentralization... (skip all his crazy stuff)
dan dempsey said…
Explanation of above:

The very talented are not pushed.

While APP, AP, IB ... etc. serve certain segments of the k-12 population of the above average ... a great many talented students are underserved by lack of suitable academic challenge and being subjected to frustration in the instruction plans put forth by the SPS.

A better Superintendent could offer a better plan and make it work through letting teachers address the needs of their students.
Anonymous said…
My Christmas wish would be for a school like SCPC, School for the Creative and Performing Arts - it's a public K-12 with an arts focus and a college prep curriculum. For entry, you need to audition as well as have good academic standing.


One can dream.
dan dempsey said…
Dear One Can Dream,

How about Tacoma ... with SoTA.

School of The Arts.
Sahila said…
charter schools siphon money out of districts... some districts try to write legislation to keep their money:

winning charter school strategy protect wealthy towns
Anonymous said…
We tend to focus on math education in places like Singapore or Finland that have big cultural differences from the US and ignore examples closer to home. Canada seems to do pretty well on these tests. How do their math materials and instruction compare?

Their success isn't seat time. I took a look at standards in the largest province, Ontario, and it seems that kids there are in school for a couple of weeks longer (beginning of September to the end of June), though for fewer total hours of instruction, than in Washington. (Maybe the shorter summers mean that kids forget less.)

BTW: Though Ontario curricula were completely revised in 2005 to be more traditional and more like US ones, back when I went to school there, the high school materials used a "spiral" curriculum that spread out algebra, geometry, trig, and other topics throughout the pre-calculus years. My parents, who had a traditional US math education, could never get used to the spiral idea. When my kids here in Seattle took very traditional Algebra I and II - obviously not SPS - I was shocked at how disconnected Algebra II was from anything - it was a bunch of abstract material whose utility was never made clear to them.

border crosser
Jan said…
border crosser -- I may be misconstruing your post, but I agree that one of the things that seems to get confused, in talking about math education, is the difference between "pedegogy (direct instruction vs discovery method) and content -- your point about Algebra II being totally disconnected from anything, so it seems useless to kids. Some "old school math" fails to make any connections -- or show kids how what they are learning is useful. But that can be done while still making math "accessible" to kids who need direct instruction techniques (and lots of practice -- to mastery) to learn.

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