Disqus

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tuesday Open Thread

News of the albatross that is the district headquarters, funding high school activities versus junk food and this right-on op-ed about education and poverty from the NY Times.

So why do presumably well-intentioned policy makers ignore, or deny, the correlations of family background and student achievement?

Some honestly believe that schools are capable of offsetting the effects of poverty. Others want to avoid the impression that they set lower expectations for some groups of students for fear that those expectations will be self-fulfilling. In both cases, simply wanting something to be true does not make it so.

Another rationale for denial is to note that some schools, like the Knowledge Is Power Program charter schools, have managed to “beat the odds.” If some schools can succeed, the argument goes, then it is reasonable to expect all schools to. But close scrutiny of charter school performance has shown that many of the success stories have been limited to particular grades or subjects and may be attributable to substantial outside financing or extraordinarily long working hours on the part of teachers. The evidence does not support the view that the few success stories can be scaled up to address the needs of large populations of disadvantaged students.

A final rationale for denying the correlation is more nefarious. As we are now seeing, requiring all schools to meet the same high standards for all students, regardless of family background, will inevitably lead either to large numbers of failing schools or to a dramatic lowering of state standards. Both serve to discredit the public education system and lend support to arguments that the system is failing and needs fundamental change, like privatization.


Education never sleeps. 

What's on your mind?

45 comments:

David said...

Another New York Times article, this one on charter schools:

Profits and Questions at Online Charter Schools

Good discussion of it on Slate:

Out Of The No-Accountability Frying Pan, Into The No-Accountability Fire

dan dempsey said...

There are instructional programs, materials, and practices that have greatly increased success for educationally disadvantaged learners but these are seldom used. {{See Project Follow Through or Visible Learning}}

ED Hirsch's Core Knowledge approach has been very successful when used.... but far less effective reader's workshop and writer's workshop are the "in" thing.

The finally revealed plans of the Common Core State Standards - Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium show it to be a likely coming WASL rerun (but computerized) .... with great emphasis on process at the expense of students learning content.

dan dempsey said...

So why do presumably well-intentioned policy makers ignore, or deny, the correlations of family background and student achievement?

Some honestly believe that schools are capable of offsetting the effects of poverty.


There certainly are programs (instructional materials and practices) that offset the effects of poverty better than others ... These are usually ignored in Seattle.

Auburn v. Seattle data =>
Linked data:
SPS - Auburn reading 2007-2011

http://www.school-truth.com/Grades_reading.pdf


SPS - Auburn math 2007-2011
http://www.school-truth.com/Grades_Math.pdf

Catherine said...

10:36 am governor's press conferences on right now on education reform.

dan dempsey said...

Given the Paramount duty of the state of WA ...... the following needs more research and attention=>

As we are now seeing, requiring all schools to meet the same high standards for all students, regardless of family background, will inevitably lead either to large numbers of failing schools or to a dramatic lowering of state standards.

The fact is that Project Follow Through -GRAPHS- demonstrated that Student groups who would normally average scores at the 20th percentile on tests when leaving grade 3 ... could be leaving with group average scores around the 50th percentile ... by using the best instructional materials and practices from pre-K through grade 3.

Seattle ignores evidence ... See Superintendent's preference for inquiry/discovery math programs ... while avoiding discussion of what actually works.

Dr. Enfield on Mercer HERE.

Teachers supplement the curriculum at their choosing .... Teachers need training and teaching for the students to do math well .... focus on the instruction .. HERE

Where are those waivers?

Josh Hayes said...

I've been thinking a lot about that NYT article about the inescapable links between poverty and poor school performance, and I think one of the unspoken (or at least, unemphasized) reasons for the denial of this effect is that a lot of powerful folks want us to think that poverty doesn't really matter. It's okay that poverty is on the rise, they say, because it shouldn't matter for the kids living in it, or near it, and if it DOES, then it's those darn teachers, not poverty itself.

In short, if poverty is really the big driver that we all know it is, and we want kids to succeed, we have to address poverty. And they - you know: them - don't want to do that, or for us to do that.

Am I out there in la la conspiracy land here?

mirmac1 said...

The Problem Of sky-high Teacher attrition at Harlem Success & other charter schools | GothamSchools

mirmac1 said...

Why teachers are quitting in droves - Slate

ArchStanton said...

In short, if poverty is really the big driver that we all know it is, and we want kids to succeed, we have to address poverty. And they - you know: them - don't want to do that, or for us to do that.

No, it's not poverty; they're just lazy or stupid according to Forbes

Thanks to SV for the link.

mirmac1 said...

Phyllis Fletcher tweets on Gregoire press conference:

Student test scores optional in Gregoire's teacher evals. She says student turnover in some classrooms is >70%, so how can that be fair?

She says reforms are not quid-pro-quo b/c "we have a common interest."

When Gregoire talked to MSFT, Boeing, she said she needed to raise taxes for ed. They asked her to look at reforms; she said yes.

Gregoire says the evals are to deal with the *concern* that we have bad teachers. "We want to make sure the public feels confident."

Gregoire, you're just spitting out reform talking points. Do you ask us what we want when taxes get raised on us poor schlubs?

mirmac1 said...

Wow, look at what the district is crowing about now.

Seattle Public Schools ranks 15th in nation in number of new National Board Certified Teachers


Does experience and training really matter in this day and age of TFA? What does Enfield think?

Anonymous said...

Ahhh josh & Arch:

"Let 'em eat cake." "Are there no workhouses?"

Those of us who believe that poverty is the issue have been fighting this fight for centuries. Those who live in wealth and power are so far removed from those who live in poverty that they can't see it for the reality it is. Instead they like to consider the poor lazy, stupid, or in some other way less deserving.

We've come a long way from the '60s when we were starting to understand the true cost of poverty on the well-being of our country and the planet. I have no idea how to get us back on track; I'm beginning to lose faith that we can.

I hope the "Occupy" movement might be a start, but it needs to find a way to engage the working class, who do not have the time to camp-out to make a statement. We need a better way to voice our concerns and make our numbers known.

Solvay Girl

dan dempsey said...

Mirmac1,

Wonder if Christine G. would consider the positive evidence for education Reform...... can anyone find any?

Wow you think the "Guv" should ask the electorate instead of big money.... No need as long as big money buys votes...

The Peaslee victory in spite of being outspent 5 to 1 ... would be of concern to incumbents .... but that was a freakish happening.

Polarized partisan politics paralyze our legislative systems. Tribalism trumps evidence in attempts to formulate solutions. Politicians use to their advantage, their constituents’ fears and prejudices rather than attempting to find solutions through transparent processes. The pushing of agendas preferred by major campaign contributors displaces truth and distorts searches for truth.

Patrick said...

Wow you think the "Guv" should ask the electorate instead of big money.... No need as long as big money buys votes...

Gregoire already announced she's not going to run for re-election. Do you really think campaign contributions are why she's asking Boeing, Microsoft, etc. what they think?

Anonymous said...

Well surprise, surprise!

http://www.educationvoters.org/2011/12/12/new-beat-for-lev-co-founder-lisa-macfarlane/

Lisa Macfarlane of LEV is now promoting the reformie agenda for pay. The hedge-fund-backed DFER is one of the more heinous reformie organizations.

-- Ivan Weiss

dan dempsey said...

Good point Patrick...

Gregoire already announced she's not going to run for re-election. Do you really think campaign contributions are why she's asking Boeing, Microsoft, etc. what they think?

Although the Guv is the visible leader of the Dems, there is a lot more than campaign contributions involved... The Guv needs to keep the Ed Reform coalition together.

Ever wonder why the CCSS has received so little scrutiny....?
It's pushed by the Guv.

.... It is a rare day in Olympia when any legislative decision is based on evidence.... It's very important to keep the Big Boys in camp.

RosieReader said...

mirmac 1 -- I don't get your comment. The District is crowing about the fact that a bunch of teachers passed what is, by anyone's standard, a pretty rigorous process for demonstrating strong content knowledge and strong classroom skills. And you somehow see this as bad news, and somehow linked to TFA? I'm not following you.

Personally, I saw it as justifiable crowing that we've got some pretty strong teachers in our District. Which I, personally, think is pretty terrific, regardless of when, where and how they got their original credentials.

Anonymous said...

I think Mirmac is making the point that we obviously do have a lot of very highly credentialed, fantastic teachers, so there is no need for TFA which is, supposedly, for areas that cannot get enough qualified teachers. So what was the District's justification for bringing in TFA?

Solvay Girl

seattle citizen said...

I took mirmac's comment to refer to how the district, out of one side of its mouth, says that trainig and experience don't matter ("TFA's five-weeks are fine! Non-certified teachers are equal to certified teachers in the hiring pool!") whilst saying out of the other side of its mouth (I always wonder how one does that...) that certification matters ("Wow, MORE certification sure is great! Bless those Pro-Certs!")

WV is just one letter short of having a diseas. Let's send it healing thoughts.

seattle citizen said...

The irony is that the state is considering reducing the stipend it pays teachers with Pro Certs...Sort of emblematic of the way educators and education are being devalued on the larger scale...

mirmac1 said...

Yessirree,

How does one say "lookee me, we have lots of teachers others would LOVE to have", while at the same time saying "Gee, these whiz bang TFA neophytes are just as good as the rest of 'em because they went through a 'competitive process'", and "pay shouldn't be tied to meaningless things like experience and professional certification!"

Thanks for 'splaining

dan dempsey said...

Speaking of which side of the mouth one speaks out of .... Here is the latest on TfA and conditional certificates.

Enfield was all about hurry up and get these authorizations for conditional certs completed.... The approvals by the Board asked for were delayed from Sept 7 to Sept 21 .... because of lack of who was funding TfA.... (Seattle Foundation finally fessed up to save Enfield from further embarrassment.)

The the Authorization by the Board was given on September 21 for S. Enfield to seek conditional certs. for Maldonado and Robinette.

Then over six weeks later Enfield finally applied to OSPI for those "conditional certs" and as of today Dec 12 .... still no conditional certs for Maldonado or Robinette yet.

Oddly these two folks started teaching on Day 1 of the school year .... the only certificates they currently hold are "Emergency Substitute Certificates", which limit the holder to a maximum of 30 days consecutive teaching at a position.

dan dempsey said...

Mirmac1,

wrote:
professional certification!

Apparently teaching for 70+ days on a "Emergency Sub Certificate" is good enough.... that is about as far from Professional Certification as possible.

And is hardly following the rules for Emergency Sub Certs .... but rather "extreme bending of the rules".

Good enough for kids in High Poverty / High Minority schools in Seattle.

Anonymous said...

mirmac 1,

Thank you for the Slate article. I'm in my fifth year of teaching, and I can attest to much of what the writer wrote.

More than class, more than poverty, more than teacher quality, more than school quality, the single biggest impediment to a child getting an education in our state is the Washington State Legislature.

DWE

Anonymous said...

Josh: You're 100% correct. And you said a mouthful, too.

Read the anti-social, anti-democratic, humorless, petulant rants from our local LEV Clown-In-Chief for proof positive of what you suggest. Don't just eat cake, Silly Seattle; Choke On It!

Yes, it's soooo generous for all these folks to take over our education system with tax deductible contributions and their non-profits which allow them to have power and discretion over their tax dollars, while the rest of us don't. Wish I could launder my money through JSCEE and the Dept of Ed like Bill does. But I ain't rich enough. And so much for Bill's private Lakeside education. He used to brag about how he and Allen cut their teeth in the UW computer lab near his Laurelhust home, in the wee hours of the morning. Oh, how those little "eating at the public trough" facts disappear over time. (What if we, the public, refused to fund the UW computer labs in the early 70's?)

RFK Jr has a saying: "Anywhere you find a polluter, you'll find a subsidy." And he's absolutely right, time and time again. The hypocrisy of those who pretend to be so benevolent with their "private" dollars is literally gagging at times. So many who grow their private orchards conveniently overlook the public seeds they took for free. But today, don't play by their rules, and they pull the ladder up or take their ball home.

This allows billionaires, oligarchs and plutocrats to control of the commons, while the commoners subsidize their tyranny. What a system, where mandatory taxes on the wealthiest sink lower and lower, freeing up their "philanthropic" dollars, while meanwhile the working stiff pays more and/or gets less. This allows guys like Bill to have increasingly greater sums to barter, gamble, and buy influence with, financially elbowing out of the dialogue anyone he disagrees with.

Taxation without representation. Which side are you on? WSDWG

Rufus X said...

HS walkout tomorrow: https://www.facebook.com/events/148855268555980/

"SWaC (Students of Washington for Change) is a student-run movement in Washington State devoted to raising awareness about and taking action on students’ rights issues. Our main focus is ensuring quality state-funded public education at the K-12 and university level. We are committed to effecting change through non-violent and legal methods, and are unconnected to any other organizations, movements, or administrations. SWaC gives students the opportunity to have their voices heard in issues that affect them directly. United, we will not be ignored any longer."

I was humbled that my eldest asked if it was ok to participate. DUH. Get out there!

Gov. Gregoire: Are you listening? 'Cause the kids are talking.

Jan said...

Humorous point, Dan -- I had forgotten that the first motions to approve certification were done on an "emergency" basis -- because it was so critical that we get the state to grant the certs for the start of school.

Anonymous said...

Awesome video about Stand for Children.

The Truth Behind Stand for Children: A Video

CT said...

I recently worked in a building where the principal is targeting all of the older, experienced teachers. He persecutes them, holding them to different expectations than the young (and dare I say pretty?) ones. Some of these older, experienced teachers are some of the best teachers I've seen, yet here he is sabotaging their careers in favor of some really poor newbies. He's bought right into the Ed deform BS, sees test scores as the perfect way to measure teacher quality, and has a completely shallow understanding of teaching and learning. Compliance and "fidelity to the curriculum" are all that matters.

Anonymous said...

@CT: What school? Out the SOB, now!

Tyrannical principals - typically over-compensating for their own incompetence and stupidity - are the bane of our existence in SPS and a pox on the system. I don't care about their stooge loyalty to administration, nor should we protect their anonymity. They surrender it when they play their filthy, dirty political games such as you describe.

As with teachers and central administrative staff, the principals work for us. You have to name names. If you don't, tell a friend and have them anonymously name names on this blog. So long as facts are stated truthfully, you have nothing to fear.

Intimidation and fear have no place in our schools, and the community at large will not stand for it. It wasn't just Potter that got the last SI tossed. It was her despicable, intimidating, thuggish behavior that people rebelled against. Potter-gate was just the vehicle to remove her, not the cause.

With all the mean-spirited, knee-jerk, anti-teacher yahoos I've heard from over the past three years, it's time to target the lousy, tyrannical, incompetent, bully principals in this district.

Do not just complain. Call these SOBs out.

Crappy principals - and there's a lot of you out there - your days are numbered! WSDWG

Anonymous said...

A final rationale for denying the correlation is more nefarious. As we are now seeing, requiring all schools to meet the same high standards for all students, regardless of family background, will inevitably lead either to large numbers of failing schools or to a dramatic lowering of state standards. Both serve to discredit the public education system and lend support to arguments that the system is failing and needs fundamental change, like privatization.

Precisely, word for word, borrowed from the Gingrich play book.

Anyone else bothered by the hypocrisy of the so-called "democrats" or "leftists" who bash public entities solely so they can take them over and enrich their buddies? This is precisely what we have witnessed at the federal level, and groups like the Democrats for Education Reform do exactly the same thing.

NCLB was designed to cripple the public education system, thereby facilitating the Milton Friedman "Disaster Capitalism" opportunity created and built upon the public recognition that US Public Education was "In A Crisis."

Think how many times you've heard that come out of the mouths of the folks at LEV, for example. Crisis? Really? Once you account for poverty, the truth is that the US Education system is doing great. Upper middle class kids in US public schools perform as well as any other country's kids, even with UNIONIZED TEACHERS! Gasp!

The great lie behind NCLB belied it's ulterior goals, which was to cripple low performing public schools, ripening them for takeover by private "non-profits" (yeah, right) and for-profit entities alike. And it's happened all over, with millions pouring into the coffers of charter operators, 83% of which perform no better than conventional public schools.

But heck, it's made a lot of rich people richer, so what the heck? WSDWG

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

Anonymous at 8:55 AM, I am quoting this because it is certain to be deleted as unsigned:

Principals were directed by MGJ to rid their buildings of at least two experienced teachers.
The principal in my school has responded by using the Danielson Framework to create unrealistic expectations for those targeted for removal.
The Danielson Framework is a theory that is not supported by empiracal research or scientific proof. It is supposed to "inform" teaching practice. Instead it is being used as a checklist even though two of the four areas are not observable. There are as many as 40 points on which a principal can ding a teacher. Any thinking person who examined the Danielson documents and their abuse could recognize what a set up it is. The teachers who have the best students have the best feedback. In my building thos are the young teachers.
The leadership of SEA has blantantly allowed this to continue.
The principal in my building has NO teaching experience. He knows nothing more than he is told by the toadies downtown.
Teacher evaluation should be simple. Is this teacher effective? Are students meeting state standards? Is there multiple differing assessments that prove this? DONE! Even though this evidence is present for these experienced teachers-the toady princiapls ignore that and rate teachers on manufactued lies and support those with the Danielson Framework. BTW Comrade Charlotte would not last one day in a REAL classroom -she is about as engaging as a cadaver.
The ed reformies starting at the state level have made teacher evaluation complex to fit the needs of weeding out all the experieced teachers.
There is hard data to support this assertion but I bet it is unavailable.

dan dempsey said...

Patrick, thanks for reposting ... sure looks like a good fit for the replace veteran teachers with TfA corps members as is used in Broad Prize winning Charlotte-Mechlenberg.

SPSLeaks said...

I would LOVE to post any incriminating documents generated by these tyrannical or clueless principals....

spsleaks@gmail.com

Julian

Anonymous said...

Crappy principals - and there's a lot of you out there - your days are numbered! WSDWG:

oh?

search McClure & Pritchett.

Julian, who is taking action?

-JC.

SPSLeaks said...

Usually I find that, once the bullies read their rants and threats online ("Teachers don't matter"), they suddenly have some explaining to do. We don't have to say anything. They dig their hole with their own words....

but checked spsleaks@gmail.com. Somebody talk to me!

Julian

dan dempsey said...

Here is the most recent comment on Gary's TfA Blog.

Mike Stack

I “did” TFA. Fortunately I concurrently worked for an MAT at Dominican University. Dominican prepared teachers. TFA prepared soldiers for TFA. TFA is interested in one thing only: the perpetuation of TFA. It distorts numbers, supports charter schools that lie about results, like UNO of Chicago, and is largely a perpetrator of slogans like education being a “Civil Rights Movement of Our TIme”. This politicization of education is what at periodic times in American history has injured American education. TFA claims its all about kids, but in reality its all about TFA and proving a failed concept.

on December 14, 2011

===========
This is the kind of destructive nonsense that Enfield is pushing... Start searching.

Anonymous said...

WSSEADOG posted "If you don't, tell a friend and have them anonymously name names on this blog."

Ick!

While I agree that there are bad seeds out there -- everywhere, really -- inciting these personal attacks is quite ugly.

Would the teachers out there like it if parent-readers started to "name names" of crappy teachers??

Teachers -- you have a union and a process. You also have SPSleaks which appears anxious to publish written proof of poor management,tyranny, etc. Don't lower yourself by making anonymous, unverifiable slurs against another person. We tell our kids not to do this very same kind of stuff on Facebook, etc!!

And let me just head off the inevitable; no, I don't work for the District, am no stooge, etc. I am just utterly dismayed.

Moose

Anonymous said...

I will not name names at this point, and yes there is a process. Unfortunately when the union and central administration and the principals all sleep in the same bed, well, it's proof that the process is broken. Things were reported. Nothing was done other than someone in admiistration informed the principal of the things that were reported. Obviously there was retribution involved. Right now heads are down, necks tucked in, backs against the wall to avoid the knife, and lots of documenting is going on. When enough documentation is gathered, then another attempt will be made to expose what is going on. Perhaps with the changes in the SB, a more receptive audience might be found.
-CT

Anonymous said...

Moose, you said: Don't lower yourself by making anonymous, unverifiable slurs against another person. We tell our kids not to do this very same kind of stuff on Facebook, etc!!

I said this: So long as facts are stated truthfully, you have nothing to fear.

Where did I invite unverifiable slurs?

CT had said: He persecutes them, holding them to different expectations than the young (and dare I say pretty?) ones. Some of these older, experienced teachers are some of the best teachers I've seen, yet here he is sabotaging their careers in favor of some really poor newbies. He's bought right into the Ed deform BS, sees test scores as the perfect way to measure teacher quality, and has a completely shallow understanding of teaching and learning. Compliance and "fidelity to the curriculum" are all that matters.

Facts stated truthfully is what I called for, and much of what CT wrote about would be verifiable, not unverifiable.

I did not call for gossip, rumor or slurs. Quite the opposite. I called for facts - just the facts - including the identity of the players, if in fact there is evidence that a principal is applying double standards and possibly discriminating against senior teachers in this district.

Anyone is free to be grossed out and disagree with me. But don't misstate what I wrote. WSDWG

Anonymous said...

WSEADOG,

I disagree. Nearly everything that you quoted from CT is an interpretation, not (yet) a verifiable fact. Giving preference to the pretty faces?! Persecuting older teachers? Really, you don't see that as inflammatory?

Just because someone says something does not necessarily make it true.

I do agree with you that evidence is needed. It sounds as if CT is going through that process, and for that I commend him/her. I am grossed out at the suggestion however, that what one person deems as "fact" will be posted here, while naming names. We would not do that to teachers here, I would think. We do not call out the names of specific individuals with the charge of incompetence or tyranny. Why should we do that to principals??

I am genuinely curious.

Moose

mirmac1 said...

since there's no Friday open thread, thought I'd post this here:

Some Roosevelt kids who marched yesterday

Anonymous said...

That's because it's THURSDAY.

--Just Saying

mirmac1 said...

OMG, wishful thinking I guess! : )