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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tuesday Open Thread

What's on your mind?

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

OMG. The League of Education founder Nick Hanauer apparently went ballistic on House Speaker Frank Chopp because the democratic party isn't buying what Hanauer is selling (high stakes testing and charters)

Hanauer's letter is equal parts amusing and downright scary.

His letter and Charlie Mas's plea in the previous thread has motivated me. I'll be calling my legislators, and Chopp, today and telling them no on charters.

I am troubled that people like Hanauer think that their money gives them a corner on "right thinking". A whole lotta readers on this blog are more immersed in public education than he is. (Our kids are actually attending public school!) Our opinion counts too.


-skeptical-

Eric B said...

After a lot of procrastination, I finally read the charter schools bill. Holy crap, it's bad. It's not full of loopholes, it's got loading docks. Let's just take for a moment the issue of conversion charter schools, where a regular public school is changed from a public school to a charter.

So you need a charter board. No biggie, put together a few parents and maybe a teacher or two. Then you need a petition to pick up teacher or parent support. you only need a simple majority in either one of those groups, so getting ten to 15 teachers would do for a typical elementary school. Now the fun starts.

If your conversion is approved, you get the state and federal per-student allocation, plus a operations and maintenance levies on a per-student basis from the district. In a low minority area, that could close to double the school's per-student funding. The district also has to give you transportation and food service for free. The kicker? You get the school rent-free.

SPS could dump millions into renovating a school building only to have it pulled and turned into a charter school the next year. Any conversion charter would be an absolute money pit. The system is terribly ripe for abuse.

Disgusted said...

A hissy fit by Hanauer. Throw him Rodney Tom, LEV and Stand together..and it is quite a show.

Kathy said...

For math..I just learned my 8th grader should be taking MAP, EOC and MSP. Ridiculous.

Po3 said...

I am telling the school that my student will ONLY take the EOC and MSP no MAPS. I believe this is something DeBell was/is aware of and you should email the board. This impacts 8th, 9th and 10th graders.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Eric, thanks for taking the time to look at the thing (and I'll bet you only managed to read the charter part as the bill is 45 pages long).

I have said this repeatedly: it does not matter if you like charter schools or not - this is a BAD bill.

But if you just want to get something, anything to get its foot through the door - as LEV, Stand and others do - then you have to want this bill.

We can do better.

Anonymous said...

If a student is taking an EOC for Algebra or Geometry in middle school, do they also need to take the math MSP? That's a bit redundant. Can a student opt out of one portion of the MSP?

For starters, perhaps you should opt them out of the MAP. They have to take the EOC, and should probably take the MSP, but what's the point in taking MAP on top of that?

a reader

Anonymous said...

According to OSPI, there will also be an EOC in biology in Spring 2012 (APP students take biology in 8th grade).

http://www.k12.wa.us/assessment/EndofCourse.aspx

a reader

Anonymous said...

Hot off the email:

"Dear Seattle Public School families,

I am delighted to announce that I have appointed Dr. Shannon McKinney as principal for the new K-5 STEM at Boren, which will be opening in September 2012 in West Seattle

Dr. McKinney comes to Seattle Public Schools from Tucson, Arizona, where she spent the last three years as Turnaround Principal for Hohokam Middle School, an ethnically diverse middle school in the Tucson Unified School District."

etc... It's a long press release. Hopefully this means good things for West Seattle.

Is anyone attending the informaiton night tomorrow? Maybe we can have a thread about it? I am unable to attend.

-yumpears

Charlie Mas said...

I wonder about the joint C&I/Operations committee meeting this week. What is that about?

Is it about program placement?

suep. said...

"Turnaround principal"? Uh oh. Why would a brand new school like Boren need to be "turned around"?

That typically means a charter school principal brandishing a broom (see Time Mag. & Michelle Rhee).

(kidding -- sort of.)

Anonymous said...

HoHoKam Middle School test results:

Scale: % meeting or exceeding standards



Grade 6
Reading
56% (2011)
54% (2010)
45% (2009)
44% (2008)
47% (2007)
The state average for Reading was 81% in 2011.

Writing
21% (2011)
47% (2010)
83% (2009)
69% (2008)
82% (2007)
The state average for Writing was 56% in 2011.

Math
28% (2011)
26% (2010)
40% (2009)
35% (2008)
40% (2007)
The state average for Math was 59% in 2011.



Source: AZ Dept. of Education, 2010-2011




Grade 7
Reading
59% (2011)
49% (2010)
53% (2009)
48% (2008)
50% (2007)
The state average for Reading was 82% in 2011.

Writing
20% (2011)
65% (2010)
80% (2009)
63% (2008)
78% (2007)
The state average for Writing was 53% in 2011.

Math
29% (2011)
23% (2010)
46% (2009)
47% (2008)
39% (2007)
The state average for Math was 61% in 2011.



Source: AZ Dept. of Education, 2010-2011




Grade 8
Reading
50% (2011)
40% (2010)
45% (2009)
47% (2008)
37% (2007)
The state average for Reading was 71% in 2011.

Science
34% (2011)
19% (2010)
28% (2009)
32% (2008)
The state average for Science was 63% in 2011.

Writing
80% (2009)
60% (2008)
66% (2007)
The state average for Writing was 86% in 2009.

Math
24% (2011)
18% (2010)
32% (2009)
33% (2008)
30% (2007)
The state average for Math was 54% in 2011.



Source: AZ Dept. of Education, 2010-2011




About the tests
•In 2010-2011 Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) was used to test students in reading and mathematics in grades 3 through 8 and 10, writing in grades 5, 6, 7, and 10, and in science in grades 4, 8 and 10.
•AIMS is a standards-based test, which means that it measures how well students have mastered Arizona's learning standards.
•Students must pass the grade 10 AIMS in order to graduate.
•The goal is for all students to meet or exceed state standards on the test

Anonymous said...

"News from Dr. McKinney - 2011-2012 School Year

Hello!! We at Hohokam Middle School are excited about the wonderful things happening here. As I begin my third year as principal, I am pleased to welcome the following new staff members: Lupe Duran (Assistant Principal), Jennifer Marlow-Johnson (Ex Ed Language Arts), Sue Yarberry (Ex Ed Mathematics), Lynne Dehner (Girl’s PE), and Lisa Persinger (School Psychologist). It has been awesome to begin the new year with so many staff returning. We are on our way to becoming a true learning community focused on your students’ academic and social growth!

Philosophically, we continue to use Standards-Based Grading as a way to gauge student learning. Additionally, we are implementing a block schedule for students to go into depth into the content through Project-Based Learning. As we strive to meet Annual Yearly Progress (AYP), it is essential that we focus on the Arizona State Standards and our students mastering the essential performance objectives tied to these standards. An “I” on a report card indicates not enough information to determine level of mastery. Rubrics are becoming the common language. Must do assignments and activities to assist in your learning and ungraded practice are also part of the common language. We do not accept failure here at Hohokam. We will make sure that if a student does not complete a must do assignment, for whatever reason, he or she will be given the time to complete it. We need YOUR support in this endeavor – students will be required to stay after school and possibly come in on Saturdays if their work is not completed.

What else are we doing to support your students? We currently have students enrolled in our Success Academy class. This class is for 7th and 8th grade students who earned either an “I” or an “F” in mathematics or reading or both. They take this class instead of their grade level mathematics or language arts class. The receive instruction from their teacher and from SuccessMaker. This is a computerized program that is aligned to Arizona State Standards. Rather than socially promoting students into the next grade level lacking academic readiness, students are promoted to every other class in their grade except math and/or language arts - whichever they have not mastered. Students have the opportunity to fill in knowledge gaps so that when they join their peers in the grade level class, they are on track and will experience success. We think this is an innovative way to deal with retention issues.

cont.

Mr. Ed

Anonymous said...

cont.

Your student now has one academic support class for both Mathematics and Reading - Academic Literacy. Students are grouped in these classes according to their academic levels as determined by regular Common Formative Assessments (CFA's). Each student is receiving additional math and reading support at their level. Several weeks will be devoted to either mathematics or reading - your student's greatest need. We hope that this will help our students reach their full potential.

Each student is also enrolled in a Core Enrichment class (Homebase). This class meets for 15 minutes at the beginning of the day. The class meets again at the end of the day on M, T, Th, and F. The teacher is taking on the role of advocate for each student in the class. The class focuses on goal setting, organizational skills, standing up against bullying, and Character for Life. Additionally, there is an Academic Vocabulary Across the Curriculum component in this class. The relationship building that occurs between the teacher and each student is critical for middle school adolescents.

Our 21st Century Community Learning Center, CHARGE!, will again be available for students beginning in September! Tutoring, homework help, and engaging activities await your student from 3:45 to 5:00 M, T, Th, and F, and from 2:45 – 5:00 on W, 7:30 – 8:45 T, Th. We will be using teacher referrals to place students in an academic session tied to their needs, then to attend an elective session when permitted. Ms. RoseAnn Montano and Ms. Erica Kane are co-directors for this exciting opportunity!!

As part of our effort to stay connected to home, you will be receiving a progress report from your student’s teachers each two weeks. Be sure to ask for this from your student!

How can YOU become more involved? You are welcome to come to sit in on any of your student’s classes – all we ask is that you check in and out at the front desk. Please email or phone your student’s teacher any time! Also, we are having our monthly Cafecito’s on the first Thursday of each month. Our Site Council will be meeting the second Thursday of each month.

Mr. Ed

dw said...

Wow, those math results at Hohokam are all headed in the wrong direction. From bad to worse. And grade7 writing went from 80% passing to 20% in 2 years !!

Is this the kind of "turnaround" we want here in Seattle?! Seems like a turnaround toward the wrong direction.

Po3 said...

Dr. McKinney has a semesters experience with project based learning in her school.


From her Welcome letter:

"Philosophically, we continue to use Standards-Based Grading as a way to gauge student learning. Additionally, we are implementing a block schedule for students to go into depth into the content through Project-Based Learning.

suep. said...

Eric, you've zeroed in on one of the key focuses and challenges that charter operators face: real estate.

Former Supt. of New Orleans, corp. ed reformer Paul Vallas admitted this on NBC's corp ed reform fest, "Education Nation" in 2010.

Charter operators need buildings. Urban centers like ours don't tend to have lots of cheap real estate available. Buildings can be very expensive - to build, operate.

But guess who does have a lot of real estate? The Seattle Public School District. And when it closes schools, like it did in 2009 and 2006, suddenly there are buildings available.

--Except, of course, when the school district is obliged to reopen schools because of growing enrollment.

That's why charter operators want our public school buildings. And they want them for free.

I suspect that is one of the reasons why businesses like KIPP, Inc., Green Dot, Inc. and Rocketship choose to be charters instead of opening their own independent private schools.

They get free buildings, taxpayer money for each student, can cherrypick which students they accept, and are not accountable to the school board or voters in the way purely public schools are. It can be a very sweet deal for them.

This is one of the reasons why many of us were highly suspicious of Goodloe-Johnson's "capacity management plan" of 2008-09 which closed TT Minor, was gunning for Lowell and other buildings when we knew they would be needed. Were they being set aside for incoming charters?

Another negative scenario to watch out for: in dense cities like New York, charters literally compete for the same space as regular public schools, and in many cases, squeeze existing schools and kids out of their public school building.

There was a heartbreaking video that went around a couple of years ago that showed an elementary school back east losing its library to the charter school that was sharing its building. The charter school elbowed in and turned the school library into its administrative offices.

This is the corporate, business mindset at work here. Those who support charter schools, which they disguise as "choice," believe that schools should "compete" with one another. They don't care to understand that education is a cooperative, collaborative endeavor. But their business model does not work for education. It destroys education and all the relationships that are necessary to nurture our children and build a safe community where they can learn.

That community is called a "school." It is not a "portfolio investment."

We do not need charters in Washington State. Voters have already wisely said No three times.

suep. said...

Whoah. That is not reassuring "data" about Hohokum school. This leads me to wonder, is SPS planning to turn Boren Elem. into a charter school (if a charter bill passes)?

Or is it planning to turn Boren into a stealth charter school, like it kind of has done with Mercer MS?
Staffing it with charter-trained types and TFA-ers, bending the rules that no other schools get to bend (ie. magical math waivers), focusing on test prep and raising standardized test scores at the expense of a full, enriched curriculum, etc?

Could this be Plan B for the corporate ed reformers if charters bills don't pass in Olympia?

And if you add to this scenario the fact that our school board president recently tried to weaken the power of the school board...hmm, starts to look like the corporate ed reform dream scenario. Broad and Bloomberg et al, for example, prefer mayoral control of school districts with no school board at all.

Food for thought...

Eric B said...

I read the whole thing since they usually hide the nasty stuff towards the end. Here's a couple of other little gems:

The Transformation zone district gets the same rights to use "failing" schools as conversion charters, with the same funding streams and financial pain to the district. They go into a statewide district run by OSPI, with management of schools contracted to (someone, not clear who, but at least it appears that they have to be nonprofit). OSPI is mandated to propose 10-20 schools statewide to go into the transformation zone district, with the final decision made by the state board of education.

Anyone go to the Good News Club book event? Because we could get some interesting church-state issues with this bill. The charter board for each school has to be non-sectarian, but there's nothing to stop the leadership of the Mars Hill Church* from forming the Mars Hill Charter Board (totally non-sectarian and non-profit) to open up a school. They could then open up the Mars Hill School (public, nominally non-sectarian) that meets in space donated by the Mars Hill Church (also specifically OK). They could even put in a student code of conduct that strongly discourages those not of the church from joining the school. If a little religion slips into the classroom and nobody complains, who's to say it ever happened?

This bill is bad from start to finish. If I supported charters, I would be embarrassed to be associated with it.

* I'm picking on Mars Hill here, but it could just as well be the Lutherans, Mormons, Scientologists, Muslims, or Pastafarians.

Eric B said...

Sue, only the conversion charters and those weird statewide transformation zone schools get free use of school real estate. Regular charters need to provide their own space, although they can use space at churches, universities, etc. at no cost if the landlord is OK with that. I think they can also go to private companies.

So here's an interesting idea. Suppose KIPP* Shell Company A leases space for a school that KIPP will run. They then "donate" the space to the charter school, picking up a nice tax break in the process. KIPP Shell Company A also runs a massive loss on paper, because it's got all kinds of rent and no income, so there's another tax break for the parent company, which gets all the revenue. You'd have to run it past a tax attorney, but I would be shocked if you couldn't weasel that around to make even more money.

* Again, I'm picking on KIPP. Could be anyone.

Anonymous said...

Math info from Tucson schools:

http://www.tusd1.org/resources/math/index.asp

Discovering Algebra and Everyday Math are listed along other texts.

From the press release (posted on West Seattle blog):

She is also deeply knowledgeable about STEM subjects, as she served as her district’s Mathematics Coordinator, and was responsible for facilitating the vertical articulation and subsequent curriculum development of K-12 Mathematics for the district.

It would be interesting to know what math mterials would be used at Boren STEM (Everyday Math?), and what programs McKinney brought to Tucson as part of the curriculum development.

math parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Eric, yes, I detailed all this elsewhere. It's a hot mess.

And, of course Sue is right. She does her homework.

If you look at the two things existing charters want now, it's real estate (or access to it with the help from the state) and lifting of caps of the numbers of charters in a state.

What are states who have charters finally seeing? That they have a whole bunch of bad schools to close and really, it's harder than it looks.

To keep in mind, Eric, if a district is leasing/sell property, a charter has first right of refusal at or BELOW market value. Terrible stuff.

Maggie Hooks said...

Nick Hanauer -- haranguing the Democrats for their lack of support for ed. "reform", threatening to switch his support from Jay Inslee to Rob McKenna because of the same, and calling Jabe Blumenthal to the dark side.

http://publicola.com/2012/02/14/major-democratic-donor-to-meet-with-mckenna/

just goes to show -- you can be right about some things (progressive income tax) and really wrong about others. he's pretty awful, particularly the big middle section where he professes his undying love for unions while pressing the need to dismantle the protections of the teachers unions...

Anonymous said...

math parent,

Since Boren STEM is essentially Schmitz Park Annex (my words), you can be dammed sure they aren't using Everyday Math.

So what was her expertise? Giving good interview? She was principal 2.5 years.

Mr Ed

Anonymous said...

What do you bet we see the MLK building in the Madison Valley come into play in this charter/not charter game. It sits nearly empty. Very little effort being put into leasing the space. Was sold with the blessing of MGJ and her agenda to the lowest bidder. Nefarious stuff.

Counting the days

dan dempsey said...

Enfield continues on with her plans to continue pushing what she would like to have work. Dr. Shannon McKinney will fit right in.

There was overwhelming evidence presented that New Tech Schools despite greater spending and teaching a more favorable demographic were underperforming nearby schools. The Project Based Learning requirement at NTN confirms Hattie's effect size of 0.15 for Problem Based Learning.

The HoHoKam Middle School test results certainly support the idea that Enfield hires those that push the politically correct learning agenda and that results DO NOT matter.

Enfield had no substantive plans for k-12 math and she hired a principal that produced an abysmal record in both math and reading. ... So what are the criteria that Enfield uses for screening applicants and eventually selecting principals?

Looking at what Enfield wants for instructional materials "Waiver criteria" and what Enfield would like for Collective Bargaining Agreement "Value Added Measures" of teacher proficiency .... it is clear that Enfield's standards for hiring new principals are much much lower.

The following results are calculated from a huge sample of millions of students. Enfield's wants are patently ridiculous and the hiring of Dr. McKinney was bogus.

[effect sizes from "Visible Learning" by Hattie : the hinge effect value of 0.40 or greater indicates an intervention is likely to bring success]

The current math direction in vogue in many places is centered on:
a. Inquiry based teaching (0.31)
b. Problem based learning (0.15)
c. Differentiated Instruction (no empirical evidence)

Consider the effective practices that could be used:
a. Direct Instruction (0.59).
b. Problem Solving teaching (0.61),
c. Mastery Learning (0.58), and
d. Worked Examples (0.57).

These four innovations are not only effective but could be easily combined into a deliverable package. ..... but Susan Enfield does not care.

How can Enfield be a Highline SD superintendent finalist? .... The easy answer to that is Results DO NOT Matter.

dan dempsey said...

Correction to above:
I meant abysmal record in both Math and Writing
(not reading)

dan dempsey said...

From the data on Math results at HoHoKam MS:

Grade 6 Math:

worst previous score
35% (2008)

Dr. McK =>
28% (2011)
26% (2010)
---------------

Grade 7 Math:

worst previous score
39% (2007)

Dr. McK =>
29% (2011)
23% (2010)
-----------------

Grade 8 Math:

worst previous score
30% (2007)

Dr. McK =>
24% (2011)
18% (2010)
----------------

This reminds me of when Santorno stuck the District with Everyday Math and left.

This is disgusting.

Anon said...

The Hohokum Weekly News (Feb 6-10), posted by the principal, opens with "45 DAYS UNTIL AIMS!" [the state test].

Some reminders include, "make sure you have your Objectives posted [for district walk-throughs] and are reviewing through it throughout your lessons...Data talks will continue." Coming up - "Grade level assemblies to review expectations and share achievement data."

Discuss.

Anonymous said...

<>

I thought we didn't evaluate people based on student test scores.

SPS mom

Anonymous said...

@SPS Mom,

The issues are two-fold. First, trends from test scores have never been discounted here. Second, hypocrisy and double standards need to be called out.

When a superintendent defines principals as "instructional leaders" and uses test scores as a major component of evaluation (as in Martin Floe and subsequent commentary by Enfield), the hiring of an individual with apparently contrary attributes puts the credibility of the superintendent in a tailspin.

--enough already

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

Sending out love and respect for all the people - known and unknown - who are passionate about, and active in, creating a better world for all ...

Sahila said...

In the wake of “National School Choice Week,” COPAA is pleased to release the brief Charter Schools and Students with Disabilities: Preliminary Analysis of the Legal Issues and Concerns written by the Center for Law and Education under contract with COPAA. The stated purpose of National School Choice Week is to “shine a spotlight on effective education options for every child.” Charter schools have long been touted as one of the most promising educational choice options, yet the research remains limited, inconsistent, and for the most part, inconclusive as to whether charter school students are actually more effectively learning and performing than students of similar backgrounds enrolled in traditional public schools. Disturbingly, data shows that students with disabilities (especially low incidence, more significant disabilities) are denied meaningful access to and a free appropriate public education within charter schools.



CHARTER SCHOOLS FAIL TO PROVIDE SERVICES TO DISABLED STUDENTS

dan dempsey said...

I at this point have no preference for next GUV .... BUT ....

This is an example of a cheap shot:
-----
a Republican candidate who supports the corporate takeover of public schools and who tried to make (and lost) the argument that schools were well funded in the recent Supreme Court decision
------
The State Appealed the decision ... CHRIS is the GUV and chief administrator responsible for the decision to appeal.

McKenna as AG has the duty to make the appeal after the GUV makes the decision.

As near as I can tell .. McKenna has regularly supported fully funding education since he declared to run in the race to be the next GUV.

mirmac1 said...

I'm at the Exec Comm. Mtg of the Whole. The Board will invite 25 people to meet the three Supt finalists. They will be from "recognized groups". Sharon suggested that the 25 should be a broadly representative of the district. She also mentioned that some from the blogger community should be included as well. DeBell said he views bloggers as "media". Gee, I'm not no media.

The HYA rep says she's getting LOTS of people who are interested or who are putting a name forward.

HYA says they've done 800 searches. First question comes to mind - "how many are two-peats or three-peats?" This could be the same 80 people moving from district to district.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Sahila's post on charters and special education deserves a look AND its own thread. It only backs up what my research, Sue Peters' research and the real researchers out there.

Charters do not serve Special Ed students appropriately or the same numbers as traditional schools.

Tracy @ WSB said...

I interviewed the K-5 STEM at Boren principal by phone this afternoon. Hoped to have followup by now but the afternoon has gotten away, so it'll be later tonight. Also new in West Seattle, we just got word of another principal change - Jo Lute-Ervin is not returning to Lafayette for a second year. The letter forwarded to us by a parent does not say why. We've published it.

suep. said...

That's great news for Lafayette! Can she leave now? It could save the community a lot of grief.

Anonymous said...

helloooooo

You think just charter schools underserve disabled students?! The district has a long history of confining special ed students/programs to failing schools to leave more room for the "regular" kids in the popular/high performing schools. Just check out the current discussion in the Special Ed PTSA board on Yahoo groups.

-timetoraiseyourawarenessofwhat'shappening

Melissa Westbrook said...

Time, readers here have made us well aware that Special Education students aren't well-served anywhere. The point is that charter systemically counsel kids out so they don't have to serve them at all.

SeattleSped said...

I would second time's comment. In fact, our district is taking yet another step into the stone age, proposing to effectively eliminate inclusion programs in middle schools. SPS systematically underfunds general education to serve the needs of disabled kids who (legally and morally) should be with their peers in GenEd. So you are either in self-contained, or in GenEd with inadequate supports or funding. SPS, blazing new trails in noncompliance and denial of civil rights...

Anonymous said...

There is a multi-part description of the bullying at Lowell on another thread:

http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2012/02/lowell-sadly-plot-thickens.html

interested reader

Anonymous said...

proposing to effectively eliminate inclusion programs in middle schools.

Proposing? Where have you been? Inclusion programs - you mean programs that enable students with disabilities to go to college? Cheaply, efficiently, and to the satisfaction of parents? Those are GONE. The district has already spent 2 million on ICS, has served not 1 student more in general ed than it ever did before, has served all students WORSE, and has left students hanging out to dry everyhwere?

That's what happens when you have hit and run special ed.

Let's spend $2,000,000... and then let me get a new job. Who cares what happens? Oh yeah. That Obama ed funding won't be coming around next year to continue the mess I made. I'll be on my next job so it won't matter.

-sped parent

Anonymous said...

No Melissa - readers have made you aware that special ed absolutely sucks in Seattle Public Schools. Lots of kids aren't even in ANY public school because they can't be. Students right now are being railroaded into all sorts of placements. We WELCOME charter schools. They coudn't be worse than what SPS is now. Bring 'em on!

another parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Lots of kids aren't even in ANY public school because they can't be."

I would like to see proof of that statement. You can't make a broad statement without data.

As for charters, be careful what you wish for.

SeattleSped said...

I sure as hell don't want or expect charters to be better for our kids. I say we continue to work to improve SPS. But they can't even search for an Exec Dir of SpEd right!

Anonymous said...

I just sent a few tidbits from Hanuar's rant to every democratic legislator in Olympia.

Mr. Ed

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Ed: Excellent. I do hope you added your opinion of Mr. Hanauer's rant to your letter.

-critical-

Anonymous said...

I did. And Sen. Frockt and Sen. Hunt have already replied in a nice, friendly fashion.

Perhaps I should send one to the Republican legislators and ask them if they agree with Hanauer. If so, they don't belong in a deliberative body.

Mr. Ed

Anonymous said...

Concerning the teacher evaluation contract clause referencing the use of test scores, McClure teachers have a free "get out of jail" card.

Chaos rules the administration of the MAP testing process. Students are pulled nearly at random from class to be tested. Students wander in and out of the testing room almost at will.

Students are allowed to take part
of the test and then take more of the test even weeks later. Students talk to their friends about the test and share info and answers, etc.

The test is given during different times of day (squirmy students before lunch and sleepy after) and different times of the year (before or after certain topics are covered in class).

Distractions are the norm with
talking among the students and noise from other parts of the school.

The lack of scientific rigor or even minimal testing security is
breath-taking. Gathering honest or valid data under these conditions is impossible.

So kudos to Sarah Pritchett for letting all McClure teachers off the hook, rendering the onerous testing/evaluation contract clause completely invalid.

And now our wonderful teachers can now let their shoulders drop six inches and get back to teaching academics, not "testing".

McClure watcher

mirmac1 said...

Interesting developments at WS Blog re: Boren STEM new principal

McKinney interview

Jan said...

another parent said: "We WELCOME charter schools. They coudn't be worse than what SPS is now. Bring 'em on!"

Well, yes, they COULD be worse. And as the parent of a SPED kid who went to SPS schools for high school -- I am not part of your "we." Frankly, I think we need to sue -- but I have no clue how to organize it (and my kid has graduated, so maybe I don't even have standing). But if you think a bunch of for-profit folks who want to take as much taxpayer money (and assets) as they can get their hands on -- which means devising systems to weed out any kids who require any extra time or attention -- are going to be your white knight for providing better educational opportunities for SPED kids, well -- I disagree. I know of NO statistical evidence to back up your hope -- and some evidence that specifically indicates that charters do worse at serving special ed kids than regular public schools.

Two more points -- first, those creating "chaos" in hopes that people will throw up their hands and accept ANY change in hopes that it will be better are hoping that people will decide as you have done.

Second, I actually DO think that you could devise a charter system that would create schools that would work BETTER than many current public schools for special ed kids. My child attended such a school (no more expensive than public, very small, probably 40 percent SPED, 60 percent regular/gifted). But it is not any charter legislation that the current proponents would EVER promote -- because it actually funnels money and resources to the kids, and requires a very lean, non-profit management/staff structure at the top. NOT what KIPP, TfA, etc. have in mind. At. All!

Anonymous said...

I've received some grateful responses back from our democratic elected officials. Looks like that Hanauer rant was the best thing to help us non-charter, non high-stakes testing folk. I urge more of you to follow suit.

Mr Ed

David said...

On the topic of reform, might this be worth a full post, Melissa and Charlie? Nicholas Kristof has a column in the New York Times today about "The New Haven Experiment" and says:

A couple of years ago, the school district reached a revolutionary contract with teachers. Pay and benefits would rise, but teachers would embrace reform — including sacrificing job security. With a stronger evaluation system, tenure no longer mattered and weak teachers could be pushed out.

Teachers were protected by a transparent process, and by accountability for principals. But if outside evaluators agreed with administrators that a teacher was failing, the teacher would be out at the end of the school year.

Last year, the school district pushed out 34 teachers, about 2 percent of the total in the district. The union not only didn’t object, but acknowledged that many of them didn’t really belong in the classroom.

So far this year, administrators have warned about 50 more teachers that their jobs are in jeopardy because of weak teaching. That’s out of 1,800 teachers in the district.