Education Today - The Battle Rages On

So the on-going battle for the education soul of the Democratic party in Washington State goes on.

Over at Publicola, WEA President Mary Lindquist shot back at heavy Dem donor Nick Hanauer over his e-mail to her. (She is right on one point; he made it sound like every single change put forth in the Legislature has been blocked by the WEA. That's just not true.)

What puzzles me is who gave the e-mail to Publicola? At the end of the e-mail, Hanauer says "share this with the gang." But you'd think he might not have wanted it shared publicly or, just maybe, he did. Maybe he wanted to test the waters of public opinion. The problem is that he wants to make this about the WEA versus ed reformers and that's sure leaves out a lot of other interested parties.

The Times then writes an article that puts this all on display. What's interesting is they have Hanaeur, as well as some other wealthy donors, along with Lisa MacFarlane (holding down the DFER fort all by herself) on one side and the WEA on the other.

Again. Hello? There are other people out here - some of them the actual parents of actual students in public schools - who have plenty to say. Who's asking them? Who represents their interests?

The comments at the Times are either let's all hate the unions OR those rich people whining because they aren't winning the argument. Guess what gets lost? Any real movement forward - together - on better academic outcomes (versus what McKenna would like to do including vouchers).

And Hanauer had a funny line:

He also contends that the Washington Education Association (WEA), the state's largest teachers union, has far too much sway with Democratic leaders and "is literally strangling our public schools to death."

The article states that the WEA has contributed more than $900k to the state Dems since 2002 and more than $300k to various Senate Dem campaigns. Hanauer has donated more than $2.5M sinzel 2001 to Dems campaigns. Hanauer also said:

"The large point is, the leadership of my party is not leading the charge on these issues and in fact is highly resistant to most of them," Hanauer said. "That simply doesn't suit me and most of my progressive friends anymore. Enough is enough."

You know there are many, many people in this country who are frustrated and say enough is enough. Unfortunately, most of us are not Bill Gates or Nick Hanauer.


Jon Bridge, co-chief executive officer and general counsel for Ben Bridge Jeweler, said he opposes charter schools, and is happier with the current teacher-evaluation bill than Hanauer, saying, "half a glass is better than none at all."

And then Rick Santorum, weighs in again on education, this time higher education. He said:

”President Obama wants everybody to go to college. What a snob.”

Hold up your hand if you grew up lower-middle class and/or were first generation in your family do go to college. Do you remember when you told your parents' friends you were going and there was always that person who would say, "Don't let it go to your head" or "Not everyone needs to go to college".

It's snobby to want American kids to go to college? Obama didn't say "has to" or "needs to" or even "should". He expressed that as a want. And maybe that's a want he has for his children. However you can't have people whining about how bad K-12 public education is and then sneer if students who do make the effort to do well end up going to college.

Santorum also said this:

President Obama wants America’s young people to go to college in order to “indoctrinate” students and “remake” them in his image, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum argue on the campaign trail in recent days.

“There are good, decent men and women who work hard every day and put their skills to the test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor,” Santorum told a Tea Party rally Saturday in Troy, Mich.

On the one hand, of course not everyone will go to college. Not everyone needs to go to college. But to put down the idea as snobby or wrong, well, then which children do you encourage and which ones do you not encourage to go to college?

As the Washington Post points out, Santorum's criticisms are silly considering his three degrees. He holds a Bachelor's, a law degree and an M.B.A.

I bring up Santorum again as it is clear, if you listen to the Republican debates, that the Department of Education, under any of their administrations, would disappear. They all would throw most of the responsibility back at states and local districts. We can argue the merits of that idea but to me it would then signal, at a federal level, the green light for a free-for-all with states doing just about anything they want.

It's not a great way to educate a nation.


Anonymous said…
March 1st National Action Day for Education

These organizers have chosen the effective approach: Define the message creatively and demonstrate in numbers

Rich, entitled people should not continue to be given attention. It's like feeding the beast.

--enough already
Sahila said…
New report confirms charter schools lead to more segregation than 30yrs ago... Charter Equity
Pelz's Voice said…
Anonymous said…
Once again, all kinds of smart analytic people are looking for some kind of reasonable logic, when what they should be looking for is social class -

did you ever attend a school with cliques who got to spend their parents' money on all kinds of cool toys and vacations and adventures, and, these cliques thought they were BETTER than those without mummie's and daddie's cash?

the string pullers of ed deform on the Democratic side ARE the kind of elitist snobs that droolers like rush limbaugh rail about! isn't it ... ironic ??

And, too often, these are the people who can AFFORD debates about ... which religion can provide which medical "health" care on which day of the week - instead of having a sound community plan to take care of the community and let the religious people do what they want with their pills and their doctors in the privacy of their homes! Too often, these are the kinds of Democrats who can afford the hits to the 401(k)s and the mutual funds, and, can rationalize NOT giving the Iceland jail cell to their white collar criminal neighbors.

In this election year, we'll have rubbed in our faces Santorum or pathetic Wall Street "regulation" and welfare for the wealthy. We'll have rubbed in our faces SGK and Palin and Perry and Newt or PP. We'll have rubbed in our faces

Arne or Scott Walker. Obama with Jeb Bush or Florida. New Know Nothings On Education = Nothing New.

How about this for us Know Nobodies -
A plague on both your houses?

At the end of the day, Dr. Suess nailed this DFER social class:

But, because they had stars,

all the Star-Belly Sneetches
Would brag,
“We’re the best kind of Sneetch on the beaches.”

With their snoots in the air,
they would sniff and they’d snort

“We’ll have nothing to do with the Plain-Belly sort!”

And, whenever they met some, when they were out walking,

They’d hike right on past them without even talking.

When the Star-Belly children went out to play ball,

Could a Plain Belly get in the game? Not at all.

You only could play if your bellies had stars
And the Plain-Belly children had none upon thars.

Sahila said…
TFA has at its foundation, and core, a neoliberal goal of the full business privatization of teacher training and the educative process within schools. Why? Well, that is the easy one to and social reproduction by way of infusing business/industrial revolution techniques into the classroom preparing students to work on factory lines (standardized tests, etc.)... Jameson Brewer
Anonymous said…
From the "Chickens Coming Home to Roost" department:

Michelle Rhee's tenure in DC is being investigated by an inspector general, and Arne gets castigated for palling around on panels with the investigation subject (Rhee).

This crowd seems to be utterly unaware of karma.

--enough already
Sahila said…
As a parent I want TEACHERS to know I support you STRIKING; I will stand on the picket lines with you; if what happened in New York today wasnt your line in the sand, what is?

Witch Hunt Continues
Anonymous said…
Sahila, Remember Reagan and the Air Traffic Controllers? I'm not sure the times are right for strike.

And I think it is all about clubs: the elite have one and both sides want to join. Hanauer is just the latest. Eventually, they all want in.

This was my first encounter with what I now like to call the “smart idiots” effect: The fact that politically sophisticated or knowledgeable people are often more biased, and less persuadable, than the ignorant. It’s a reality that generates endless frustration for many scientists—and indeed, for many well-educated, reasonable people.

And most of all, for many liberals.

Let’s face it: We liberals and progressives are absolutely outraged by partisan misinformation.

This article from Alternet discusses recent studies examining the differences between conservatives and liberals. Good reading. While it focuses on climate change it applies generally. I had to post because I'm one of those frustrated liberals who just can't understand why facts don't matter any more.

Sahila said…
@N.... sadly, I am convinced that nothing short of revolution will change anything... there is nothing left of value to lose...

if we dont revolt now, we will be sentencing ourselves and much of the planet to a rapidly accelerating death spiral.... you know all those "mad maxian" movies? We'll be living in one of those...

I you are interested, here's a thought provoking blog: read parts 1-4 of GATEECA: Gateeca

Its hard for me to go down these paths of thought... AND yet... what is it Sherlock Holmes said, in terms of coming to conclusions as to what's really going on? "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth." ....
Sahila said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
"There is nothing left of value to lose."

I don't think most people have lost that much yet. Bottom is a long way down and those who have tumbled to the bottom are invisible. Even if unemployment is 20% - closer to the real number -that leaves 80% who are employed. Undoubtedly they are working harder, longer hours, and are worried about their and their childrens' futures. But they are not yet ready to take a chance on losing it all. Besides, too many still think it can't happen to them.

It seems there are still too few of us who see the bigger picture and empathize with those already fallen. How many of your neighbors and friends are really in synch with your views? Few of my friends - including teachers - have given up much yet. Yes, they feel some hurt. But not enough.

I read recently that the movement will come from the young because they are the ones who had high expectations but are left with high debt, finding low-income jobs if any at all, see bleak futures, and who have been victimized the most. They have little-to-nothing to lose. I will march with them when they finally decide to revolt.

I'm thinking too much. :)

Sahila said…
Does new bill making way through WA legislature create an 8-person committee that has power to control the state with no oversight?
Creating a commission to restructure state government
Sahila said…
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Sahila said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
New article on front page of Times tonight. Korsmo and MacFarlane and Hanauer just can't let charters go. They MUST have their way. Because the KNOW best.

Jackasses all 3 of them. Not because they believe in charters. Because they feel they and they alone are The Annointed to Lead The Way in Education.

"Utterly Disgusted"
Still Trying said…

Charters might end-up on the ballot.
Anonymous said…
n... at 9:12 ---

If I were more tinfoil hatty, I'd think htat the boomers who were teens in the 60's were purposely given Clinton and Obama and the 0'Clint betrayals and 0'Clint soul crushing sell outs to keep them off the streets?

Lots of that generation dumped their tie dies and because 80's yuppies, and began blowing all the wealth the WW2 generation had built up ... and then we had the sell outs and the betrayals of the 90's and 2006-2010, and now, if you have a 'decent' job - 'decent' has racket-care 'health' access and has not too obvious wall street casino 'retirement' ...

the 20% of unemployed wolves are at the door ...

and you're holding on and keeping your head down until you shuffle off the mortal coil,

and you watch movies and t.v. with all that great protest music of the 60's ...

and you STFU for another paycheck.

Anonymous said…
Hanauer, et al would also like to couch the issue of teacher evaluations as a union vs the enlightened ones of ed reform but I beg to differ on that. See Teacher Evaluation Bill SB 5895 and why it should be opposed vehemently.
anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
anonymous said…
Sahila if what you say is correct and charter schools are more segregated than traditional schools, and we know that charters are "choice" schools, open to all who apply, and we also know that they CANNOT discriminate based on ethnicity then we have to deduce that people are segregating themselves, no?

Most alt schools in SPS, which are also choice schools, are much much less ethnically diverse than most of the traditional schools (Salmon Bay, Pathfinder, Thornton Creek, TOPS, Center, NOVA). Should we do away with our alts?

Don't you think, since we are talking only about "choice" schools, that you should direct the blame for segregation at the people that segregate themselves not at charters?

SeattleSped said…

The "choice" schools in SPS are some of the worst at keeping our kids OUT of their buildings. If by chance there is a SpEd program there, forget about any efforts as inclusion.
dan dempsey said…
"Again. Hello? There are other people out here - some of them the actual parents of actual students in public schools - who have plenty to say. Who's asking them? Who represents their interests?"

Oh but these parents are NOT as knowledgeable as the Ed Elites who know it all. It would be inefficient to get a comment from lowly parents. Much more direct to ask those who have all the answers and PhDs.

We've spent over a decade floundering because those who pretend to have all the answers DO NOT KNOW MUCH. .... so why have things progressed so poorly?

It is not often because of classroom teachers, but rather because of
(1) Poor management and leadership - that fails to make decisions by intelligently applying relevant data.

(2) Lack of transparency in decision making ... because pre-made decisions need to be publicly supported. So then there are the bogus claims --- often called BEST PRACTICES.

A elaborate system of institutions runs in a very complex and organized way. Its principal product is deception.

Consider the appointment of Dr. Shannon McKinney as the STEM k-5 Boren Principal. The results of her leadership at Hohokam MS for mathematics was a disaster.

Dr. Enfield has a definite preference for the Ed Elite approved and PhDs over actual results. When it came to TFA, or New Tech, or Boren ,,,, results were NOT considered, research was not adequately performed, because the Ed Elite know-it-all path was to be followed.

Here is how the system now exists ++==>
Many education PhD theses are little more than glorified book reports. To see many of these as relevant research would be an incredible stretch.

MGJ's was a great example. Much of Dr. McKinney's work could have easily been done by any survey company. Why does it merit an Ed PhD? The same can easily be said for well over 50% of Education PhD theses.

There is so much overhyping and self-promotion sucking down huge quantities of Ed Money in this country. No wonder our average spending per student is so high while our results are mediocre.

How sad for those hardworking and effective teachers and principals seeing their (profession??) occupation getting trashed because of all the stuff that is broken. All the entrenched self-serving bureaucracies and bureaucrats whose primary intent is preserving their status and their piece of the pie in an inefficient systemic culture.

Self-serving feedback loops abound at all levels. Consider the one between government Ed research funders, Ed schools, Ed school researchers, and Ed school instructors teaching the teachers. Mainly producing junk research while crying "research shows" and placing their doctoral students in charge of schools as principals. Just how screwed up is that?

We are stuck and the only way out is to measure stuff. While this is not as popular with current education leaders as just "trust us, we'll take care of it", that practice clearly has not worked.

For humans "just trust us" is not sustainable. Society at large broke out of that flawed monarch and church led mentality a few centuries ago with the advent of the "Scientific Revolution". To say that it can't be intelligently applied to basic student learning is silly. Of course the path to "Scientifically using" the intelligent application of relevant data may not be smooth but it is the only way out of failures that are continually produced by current decision making.
Continued ....
dan dempsey said…
Dr. McKinney was a High School math teacher for 10 years, she was a district math program manager, her PhD thesis topic was.....


In her review of the literature on page 34 she began with ...
The current era of accountability has brought about major changes in the
operation of schools, situated leadership practices under the microscope of public
scrutiny, and challenged current leadership practices, thus leading to the question of what
are now considered effective school leadership practices?

On page 38
Rather than work to maintain the status quo, transformational leaders challenged
and changed the ways organizations operated (Bass, 1990). Bass suggested that
transformational leaders were proactive; they heightened the interests of followers and
helped them achieve high performance targets

It hardly looks like a transformation with high performance was achieved under Dr. McKinney. Here are the reading and math results for the 8th grade cohort tested in 2011 at Hohokam MS:

Hohokam Middle School in Tucson AZ

45%- grade 6 - 2009
49% -grade 7 - 2010
50% - grade 8 - 2011 -- The state average for Reading in grade 8 was 71% in 2011.

40% - grade 6 - 2009
23% - grade 7 - 2010
24% - grade 8 - 2011 -- The state average for Math in grade 8 was 54% in 2011.

The 2011 reading score was 50/71 = 70.4% of the state average .... remember this was a turnaround school and change is difficult with the turnaround models ((Thanks Arne))

While the 2011 math score was 24/54 = 44.4% of the state average.

So where is that correlation of principal leadership to math student achievement?

Yet Enfield picks this Principal with a PhD in Education to head up a STEM school.

This is just too much like MGJ about to lose her job in Charleston and being hired in Seattle.

As I said in this system Results are NOT important. Until we move out of our fascination with Ed Elite decision making into the era of the Scientific Revolution, we will flounder in ignorance. Apparently being lead by Monarchs with PhDs in the incestuous culture of our Ed System will continue to be our fate.

By 1600 the Scientific Revolution was on the way.
By 1920 it came to medical research and then to medical practice.

In 2012 - the Scientific Revolution has yet to occur in USA Ed circles in either research or practice, except in the classrooms of teachers and schools running under the radar.

HATTIE should be King if we need one.... trust me we don't need a king. We need to intelligently apply relevant data and to stop the production of useless PhD's.

School research should be performed by teachers at the school level ... something needs to be done to stop the proliferation of junk research flowing through our current system.
dan dempsey said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Maureen said…
Actual DATA for dunno re TOPS as compared to SPS and Montlake (the closest non Option school):

Seattle Public Schools Ethnicity Distribution and program enrollment October 2010

District TOPS Montlake

Asian 22% 27% 16%
Black 21% 18% 11%
Latino 11% 7% 5%
Indian 2% 1% 0%
White 45% 48% 68%
Total 100% 100% 100%

FRL 40% 28% 13%
Gen Ed 79% 80% 93%
LEP 12% 10% 0%
Sp Ed 9% 10% 7%

10/10 Enrollment Report, 2010 Demographic Report, School FRL is from individual 2010 school reports.
anonymous said…
Well sure Maureen, TOPS looks diverse when you compare it to Montlake, a school in a primarily white, upscale neighborhood. You can make data dance if you want to.

But, yes, I'll acknowledge that TOPS is a bit more diverse than most alt schools, and I know that the TOPS community works very hard to make that happen.

Sahila said…
@DUNNO.... I dont think alt schools are any less diverse than trad schools; my child went to AS#1 for kindergarten - about as diverse as you can get; but now that there is no more cross-city bussing to alt schools, you might be right that they will soon reflect the ethnicity and SES of the neighbourhoods in which they are physically located...
Sahila said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sahila said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sahila said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sahila said…
@Melissa.... why did you delete my replies to Dan?
Maureen said…
dunno TOPS almost completely matches the diversity of Seattle Public Schools, with the exception of its FRL rate (which I admit is an important exception.) FRL rates have recently been higher in the lower grades and I believe that the relative stability of the nonFRL TOPS population, combined with decreasing commitment to transportation causes more low income families to leave TOPS and be replaced by nonFRL kids. I included the Montlake figures to show what TOPS would quickly become if it were not an Option school (i.e., to address your argument that alts are less diverse than neighborhood schools.)

I chose to send my kids to TOPS so they could be part of a more diverse community than they could have in our north end school (or could in almost any of the south end schools as well). I do not consider KIPP type schools (which are often over 95% minority) to be diverse. TOPS is diverse.

Creating and maintaining a truly diverse K-5 school in Seattle is not an easy thing to do. Given historic patterns of geographic segregation, recent Supreme court rulings and cut backs in transportation, I think TOPS deserves a lot of credit for what it has accomplished. I expect that if someone really looked at the data they would find other alts (Orca?)that are significantly more diverse (in the true sense of the word) than their neighboring schools.

Alts(Option schools, whatever) do have the same "advantage" that charters do in that everyone who shows up there cared enough to seek out the school. That should definitely be acknowledged. But when an Alt/Option school does manage to attract a group of families that so closely reflects the overall population of SPS (and not just of the city of Seattle), I think that should be acknowledged as well.
Charlie Mas said…
This is worth a read.

It is a response to Nick Hanauer from Bill Lyne, a professor at WWU.

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