Saturday, March 31, 2012

Opportunity Scholarships

This came to me via State Rep. Tim Probst:

New scholarship program for the middle class taking applications now
Probst’s Opportunity Scholarships will help 3,000 families afford college

OLYMPIA – Washington state high school seniors and college students may apply immediately for a new college scholarship program that reaches far into the middle class.  The Opportunity Scholarships program is accepting applications online, from now until April 16.

The Opportunity Scholarships Act was sponsored by Rep. Tim Probst, D-Vancouver, and passed the Legislature with bipartisan support in 2011. The program will award 3,000 scholarships for $1,000 per year, renewable for up to five years.  It is the first program of its kind in the nation, and is funded through a public-private partnership. The state allocated $5 million in seed money for the program and Boeing and Microsoft have already committed $50 million, combined.

"This is what can happen when Americans focus on serving our neighbors instead of dividing our country,” Probst said. “Companies and government, Democrats and Republicans, we all put our heads together and found a completely new answer. This is how American democracy was supposed to work in the first place."

Called “a G.I. Bill for our middle class students” by its supporters, the program creates Opportunity Scholarships for students studying for bachelor’s degrees in high-demand fields.  The scholarships are designed to address the fact that tuition increases are making college harder to afford for middle income families.  Students from families with earnings up to 125% of the state's average income can apply.

Here are income eligibility limits for the current round of applications (based on 2011 family income)
  • Family of 1 - $53,200
  • Family of 2 - $69,500
  • Family of 3 - $85,900
  • Family of 4 - $102,200
  • Family of 5 - $118,600
  • Family of 6 - $134,900
  • Family of 7 - $138,000
  • Family of 8 - $141,000
  • Family of more than 8 - Add $3,000 more per person

To apply online, students should go to www.collegesuccessfoundation.org

High school seniors through college seniors who plan to attend colleges and universities in Washington state for the entire 2012-13 academic year are eligible to apply. A student must be a Washington state resident, have a 2.75 GPA or higher and have completed a 2012-2013 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to submit an application.

This and That And Good News in our District

Tomorrow, Sunday, April 1, Seattle Children's Hospital will be giving away bike helmets on a first-com, first-serve basis.  They have 400 helmets to give away and your child must be present to be fitted properly.  This is happening at the Ballard Commons Park from 10 am to 1 p.m. 

Salmon Bay's Leo Pfeifer won first place in C-Span's documentary video contest.  He won $3,000 and his video will be aired on C-Span on April 25th.  This is the second year in a row Leo has placed in the top tier of this competition.  Students in grades 6-12 created videos with the theme, "The Constitution and You."  They had to select any provision of the Constitution to work on.  Over 1200 videos were submitted. 

Congrats to Leo, his parents and his teachers at Salmon Bay.

In the Global Reading Challenge competition, two Seattle teams have advanced to the next round: Alki Elementary and Adams Elementary.  Those two teams will compete against a Canadian team in video conference competition on April 13th.

Adams was the city winner with Alki also qualifying.   The competition is between teams made up of 4th and 5th graders. 

Good luck to both teams!

Also out Ballard way, news that the Robotics Club at Ballard High won first place last weekend at the Seattle Olympic Regional FIRST Robotics competition.  They won with a basketball-shooting robot that competed against other robots in a basketball game.  Ballard now goes on to nationals in St. Louis.

Two Hamilton International students, Jessie Ma and Tiffany Shen, designed a state flag for the Youth Art Month flag contest and their entry was selected as the winner.  Both traveled to Washington, D.C. last week with their art teacher to see their flag displayed at the Flags Flying High Celebration.

Roosevelt High teacher Tom Nolet has been named a finalist for Civic Educator of the Year by the state legislature.  Mr. Nolet was co-founder of RHS's Hand for a Bridge program more than a decade ago which sponsors exchanges between RHS students and student in South Africa and Northern Ireland. 

I know Mr Nolet and his work and he is one the best teachers we have in our district.

Principal Appointments

Chanda Oatis at Alki Elementary - She has been serving as interim principal this year and had previously been at Denny as an assistant principal.  She won the Washington State Assistant Principal of the Year for 2012. 

Neil Gerrans at Lawton - Dr. Gerrans has been serving as interim principal at Lawton this year.  Before coming to Lawton, Dr. Gerrans taught in the Renton School District.  Interesting fact: his PhD is in computational electromagnetics.  (Get this guy a STEM school.)

Chris Kinsey at Chief Sealth High School - Mr. Kinsey has also been serving as an interim principal this year.  He has taught at Meany and worked administratively at Hale, Eckstein and Cleveland.

Kristina Bellamy-McClain at Emerson Elementary - Principal Bellamy-McClain has been serving as interim principal and previously was an administrator at Denny. 

The district wants you to know that they use NONE of the ammonia-treated beef (better known as "pink slime") that has been in the news lately. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Friday Open Thread

Things continue to heat up in our district. The BEX IV scenarios are both puzzling and shocking. And, of course, for most people it is short time to digest these ideas before next week's BEX IV meetings throughout the city. (And again, I gripe that this district has 5 regions and the BEX IV scenarios affect people in all regions. Why only three meetings?)

I am thinking of trying to have a meeting to talk about BEX issues before the BEX meeting, either Saturday or Sunday. Would anyone be interested in meeting and going over maps and ideas?

Only director community meeting this week is Director Patu on Saturday.

Times, Do Keep Up

Over at the sleepy T editorial board, they woke up and decided (probably via Councilman Burgess), that they don't like the Creative Approach MOU.    The title of this missive?  "Seattle Public Schools' Innovation Plan Requires Tweaking, Scrutiny"  

Here's what I wrote in the comments:

"The Seattle Public Schools' pursuit of innovation is a work in progress that would benefit from wider, sharper scrutiny."

Hello Times! Where have you been? Over at the Seattle Schools Community Forum blog, we have been discussing this over and over. Many us spoke out against it at Board meetings.

First, it isn't hard to get 80% of people to agree if you have a good plan. It's the details that count and clearly this detail got missed by the Times and Councilman Burgess who sat silently through the entire Board meeting where it was discussed and voted on.

Very funny as well mentioning the education levies have a simple majority. Parents and teachers had to fight to get that to happen. It wasn't always the case and it still isn't for education bonds.

"School turnarounds sometimes require a change in leadership and teachers. "

You mistake what the Creative Approach schools agreement is for. It is not a turnaround plan (that was embedded in the late charter school legislation - what did happen to that?). I have no idea why President DeBell would think that was its sole purpose.

"The board's oversight role needs to be clarified."

Again, where has the Times been? There is NO oversight from the Board because, unbelievably, they voted it AWAY. Oh they can see the applications and give input but oversight? Nope.

"The teachers union, a strong opponent of charters, is enthusiastic in its support of Seattle's plan."

And that may be because they also cut parents out of any kind of oversight or vote. District staff and the union will decide the fate of your school, not parents. Again, like the Board, parents can give input but no vote and there is not a single parent on this CA Oversight Committee.

Also district staff stood side-by-side before the Board for their support of this plan. Don't you put this all on the union - district senior staff WANTED it this way.

Hilarious. Again, Times, do keep up.

Education - The Key Issue in the Governor's Race

Went to the Alliance for Education breakfast today. It was a packed house despite the fact that there was another breakfast fund-raiser going on for King County Dems and the Mayor was off making a policing announcement. 

Yay to the Ingraham band who showed up (and, poor things, had to stay until the end to play us out).  Yay to Maple Elementary's dragon dancers and spoken word performers (but next time, give the kid doing rap the microphone). 

- kind of subdued, almost like people are weary of talking about education
- nice round of applause for Susan Enfield but nothing out of the ordinary despite her departure
- Dr. Enfield called the Alliance "Seattle's local education fund".  
- Sara Morris of the Alliance said the Alliance was both "a critic and a friend to the district" and "the independent guardian of funds."  She also spoke of Seattle someday becoming the "envy of the nation."  I wonder how we get there if we make all the same mistakes other districts that already have ed reform have made.
- Pat Stanford, the widow of the late superintendent, John Stanford, spoke and read from his book.  In it, he said that he worried that the U.S. would lose its way as other civilizations have because we have failed to educate all children. 

There was a (short) interview segment with the candidates for governor - Rob McKenna and Jay Inslee.

McKenna said the first thing he would do is create a budget with education at the top of it.  He said fully funding wouldn't come overnight but over time.  He said he would sign measures that supported ed reform and referenced Washington State being at the bottom of RTTT.   When asked what innovation looked like, he said "no shortcuts, no excuses" and that "poverty is not a learning disability." 

Inslee was equally animated on the subject and said teacher quality is important and teachers who do better should be paid more.  He also is going to roll out his education plan next week that includes some kind of grant program for innovative schools.  He said the most obvious investment that can be made in education is early childhood education and smaller class sizes for K-3.  He referenced a number of districts/schools as examples of innovation (but none in Seattle).  He said that innovation should not be the exception but the rule. 

McKenna's website has a very wide-ranging plan and I give him credit for getting out front on this issue early.  That said, I'm not for charters, governors who appoint school boards, or TFA.  But clearly, he has given it much thought.

Inslee, not so much so far, and I'm surprised.  But listening to him hedge on KUOW last week on charter schools and his talk this morning about teacher assessment leads me to think I might be disappointed with what he rolls out next week.

Charter School Drumbeat Continues at the Times

The Times never runs out of space for people to advocate for charter schools.

"If voters favor charter schools, why can't state lawmakers?" by Robert Enlow and Jonathan Bechtle.

Robert Enlow is president and CEO of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, the legacy foundation of Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman headquartered in Indianapolis. Jonathan Bechtle is CEO of the Freedom Foundation, a free-market think tank based in Olympia.

Lots of comments follow, nearly all pointing out how the authors are wrong.

Let's remember, however, that the people who make decisions in Seattle read the print edition, not the online edition, and they certainly don't read the comments from the riff-raff. If you only read the print edition you would think that everyone loves the idea of charter schools - except for the teachers' union lobbyists who control the Democrats in the legislature and obstruct any kind of reasonable and necessary education reform to protect their own narrow self-interests. Weird, huh?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Live Blogging from BEX IV meeting

A new scenario draft was available at the meeting and it raised some questions.

- it shows that the World School would stay at a renovated Meany but share it with a smaller middle school (400 seats).
- I was told the Roxhill and Arbor Heights principals had okayed a merge but it is not clear it's a done deal.
- the costs for the buildings look better, about $30M for an elementary but I think it could be cheaper and oddly between $45-75 for Thorton Creek K-8 and $70M for Wilson-Pacific and Olympic Hills.
- In EVERY scenario there is $32M for a South Lake Union school. The word I heard (not from staff) is that some businesses would give the land if we build it. Not this BEX. You don't give up that kind of cash when other schools are hurting.
- maybe repurpose Jane Addams as a 6-8 middle school

BEX IV - Full of Mysteries

 Finally had my first look at the BEX IV preliminary plans.  I'm sure there is a rhyme and reason to this plan (actually 4 scenarios) and it all revolves around....portables?

As we learn from page 8, there are 170 portables (of all kinds) being used in our district.  Most are general classroom portables at "active" schools - 114.  There are 14 at closed buildings.  The rest have various uses.

Keep in mind they are only talking about middle/K-8 and elementary school buildings for BEX IV (except for Lincoln, Mann and wherever they put the World School).

They have many tantalizing projects but no explanation of what some of them might be used for. 

The projection out date they are looking to is 2021-22 (how old will I be then?  don't scare me like that).

They do not list possible costs for buildings (could be too soon) but those better be costs that reflect the building costs around the region.  We cannot keep spending on buildings as we have in the past.  

The cost range is from $545M to $825M.  To note, the last BEX was $490M and they are out of their minds if they think they can ask for $825M plus the operating levy of about $250M in Feb. 2013.  I cannot see going to the voters for this amount when (a) some of this is their own doing by not tracking demographics well and (b) not maintaining buildings so they wear out a lot faster and little problems become big problems.

So they have three scenarios:
#1 - w/current level of portables@$545M
#2 -w/portable use reduced to 5% @$725M
#3 -w/portables removed at elementary level @825M

Yes, I know I said 4 plans.  So there is a 2A comprehensive middle school plan and a 2B K-8 "mushroom" plan.   

I won't walk through everything but here are some first impressions:
  • they need to find homes for Lowell APP, Nova and World School.  It appears they would fix up Mann in every scenario so I would assume that is where Nova will go.  It is less clear where Lowell and the World School will go.  They are going to replace Meany (arguably the worst building in the district along with Arbor Heights) but who will be in there?
  • BUT they only have John Marshall down as "interim" and not as renovation or moderization.  Makes me think it won't be a permanent location.
  • unbelievably, at least for me, they have a notation for "South Lake Union-New" in every scenario.  No, no and, did I mention, NO.  Look, that's a wealthy area with a lot of building going on.  Have a company lease/donate a couple of floors in a new building for a school but the district has no business buying land/building a school in that area.  Where is the money for that when we have so many capital needs elsewhere?  This is not a burning need except they are getting pressure from downtown.  That's politics, not good capital planning.  If South Lake Union businesses need a school so badly, then they need to front money/land.  I'm sure if that happened, the district would be glad to plan a school but use capital money now?  NO.
  • Under the K-8 Level 2B scenario, we would get three new K-8s; Thorton Creek, Olympic Hills and Wilson Pacific.  We would end up with nearly as many K-8s as middle schools. 
  • What is interesting is that in the scenarios, several buildings remain on the list but have different notations.  For example, Wilson-Pacific is a K-8 or a middle school and sometimes is new but then might just be "replaced".  Fairmount Park might be opened/updated or modernized. 
  • As I mentioned Arbor Heights should be on the list and is on two scenarios but not the others.  It also has an interesting notation "Roxhill/Arbor Heights@Arbor Heights - New".  That would signal to me that they would close Roxhill and move it to Arbor Heights.
  •  It looks like Rodgers bumped View Ridge out of contention.
  • And look who's on the list: TT Minor.  Really?  And oddly, on the K-8 Level 2B list, McGilvra is in there instead of TT Minor.  Someone is going to have to explain that to me.
  • Mercer is the only current middle school to get anything done to it (addition).   If we didn't have so much need out there, I would have expected to see Eckstein, Whitman or Washington on this list.  
 I'm going to have to listen carefully today at the presentation because I don't get some of what is being put forth.  

Who will work on a new school?

It's not enough to oppose charter schools by saying that public schools can do everything that charter schools can do; the public schools have to actually do it. It's time for innovation advocates - both within the public school structure and outside it - to come together to make it happen for students.

The Board's approval of the MOU with the SEA regarding creative approach schools opens an opportunity for folks to change the way we teach children. I have spoken with a few people about this project and now I want to open the conversation to a larger group.

Who will join a group to develop and staff a new school?

I'm thinking of an elementary school housed in the Columbia building in Columbia City that would be a school that incorporates some of the best ideas that have been proven by innovative practices all around the country.

Hell Gets a Chill

No, hell hasn't frozen over but it is a bit chilly as I find that I actually agree with the Times' editorial board on an education issue.  

We all agree the public should have the opportunity to hear and/or meet the superintendent finalists. 

Then they go and spoil it by showing their motivation to get an ed reformer in there but I am glad they are standing up for more transparency.  They have a great quote from 2003 when the district was again looking for a superintendent.

We warned then that, "Seattle Schools' number-one goal ought to be regaining public trust and confidence. The district compromises this goal when it promises citizen input but fails to deliver."

Amen, brothers and sisters.  But it would seem that in other cases, the Times works to make sure to protect those at the top like Goodloe-Johnson, Sundquist and Maier.  That endangers public trust and confidence as well.

Then they bring out one of their most old and tired lines:

Board members' frustration with critics who disrupt meetings and act in uncivil ways deserves some sympathy.

Here's what I said in the comment section:

Boy, this gets old. There hasn't been any real disruption at a Board meeting in years. And just as one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter, we don't all define speaking out as "uncivil." Martin Luther King certainly didn't.

Later they say:

Yes, the public has a responsibility to ask real questions and leave old grudges at the door.

Well, then leave that old canard you feel the need to state so often out of your future editorials.

And then they say:

Views on charter schools, standardized tests and the achievement gap — to name a few pressing education issues — are fair questions.

Now to be fair, of course, the charter school question might be a fair one for any candidate except that we still don't have any charter law and never have.  It's a bit of a moot point.  I don't see wasting a lot of time on this point. 

As well, the Board would control if there was a charter school in SPS, not the superintendent (at least not with the current charter legislation which I hope by Saturday is done.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spirited Talk at Lowell@Lincoln...About Their Future Location

I attended the PTA meeting at Lowell@Lincoln. Good crowd, I'd say about 50+ people (not including the FACMAC and PTA leaders). And they had brownies.

Opening the meeting, the investigation was topic one. But they felt it imperative to keep to the agenda because this meeting had been previously postponed. They said that Ms. Geoghagan and Nancy Coogan would have a coffee hour soon with parents. (I hope it's an evening coffee hour because clearly you would not draw as many parents in the morning.)

Frankly, everyone in the room seemed fine to move onto the agenda.

Tuesday Open Thread

In the "we can dream, can't we" category, what do you see for education in Seattle in 2062?

The Happiness Initiative, Sustainable Seattle, and the Next 50 present the 2nd Annual Dream A Sound Future Competition

The Happiness Initiative is a national project offering tools and resources to communities and individuals seeking to enhance their well-being.  The mission of the Happiness Initiative is to work for a just, healthy and resilient society where all people have the opportunity to pursue happiness. Based on the Seattle Area Happiness Initiative indicators for sustainability, you can present your ideas on how you see the region in the next 50 years and the steps to get there. Think of the year 2062. Imagine thriving economy, culturally diverse society, carbon emissions free highways, healthy oceans and lush forests. How do we arrive at such a future? What is our best-case scenario?

Our contest asks residents of all ages to share their dreams and visions for a Sustainable Seattle in the next 50 years. The question we would pose to them would be: Where do you see Seattle education in the year 2062? What can we do as a community to start implementing and changing our school systems.

The Dream a Sound Future Competition is calling all visionaries to express these ideas through art, spoken word, dance, song, video, formal presentation, or other medium of choice.
First, go to www.happycounts.org and take the Happiness Survey.

Second, go to www.sustainableseattle.org/programs/dream-a-sound-future/163-library-of-dreams and view our Library of Dreams for inspiration and past contestants.

Third, go to www.sustainableseattle.org/dreamasoundfuture read the rules 

Finally, start formulating and mapping out your dream

Open to all Puget Sound Residents

Submissions accepted March 1st - April 23rd

Award Ceremony on May 12th, 2012 at Seattle Center - Prizes, Performances, and Fame!

It Will Only Happen Again if Everyone Turns Away

I see we have come to a sorry place where, once again, the district says things like "handled", "controls are in place" and they "investigated" and all is well.

Problem is, we've heard that before - with the Hill scandal, with Silas Potter, etc. 

For those of us who are community members and taxpayers, it's a sad thing to see schools that are probably not working as well as they should.  It's sad to see, once again, that the focus is off academics because, once again, the district has a crisis.  

Parents, are you really willing to turn away so easily?  All parents, not just Lowell parents should speak up because if you think things like this just happen at other schools, you'd be wrong.

This is your district and you have a right to ask for better.  If you accept every decision and explanation - without question - you will not get better from this district.

Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

The Times Talks To Lowell Parents

The Times talked to parents at Lowell.  They also talked to Susan Enfield via SPS Communications. 

I can appreciate how tired the Lowell community must be.  First one split, then another, then a felon goes on a field trip, then Principal King says he's leaving, then he's staying and now this investigation that calls out both of Lowell's principals.  It's a lot.

And there are questions:

What led a special investigator to conclude that Principal Gregory King and Assistant Principal Rina Geoghagan mishandled the report? If they did mishandle it, why were they not fired? And why were the investigation's findings released after the close of the district's open-enrollment period?

What led the investigator was the evidence which was fairly clear-cut in terms of both principals being told about a behavior issue by one IA by a couple of staff members.  The principals never did an investigation and then, when the district got wind of it, they both proceeded to say the staff members never reported it to them. 

Why were they not fired?  Here's where Dr. Enfield's statement comes in and it's somewhat shocking:

District spokeswoman Lesley Rogers said Interim Superintendent Susan Enfield decided to let the administrators keep their jobs, partly because no foot kissing actually occurred and the incident did not necessarily constitute sexual abuse.

Actually that sentence either was not stated properly or not written properly.   It should read ".. because no foot kissing was ever PROVEN to actually have occurred.

No one, from either side, can definitively say any child's foot was or was not kissed.  It was proven (and the employee in question said it was true), that the child's shoe and sock was taken off and the foot held near the employee's nose.

So the issue for Dr. Enfield is whether or not what was being reported was abuse, sexual or otherwise?  That was never the point (or it shouldn't have been).

The point was that these two principals were less than truthful.  And they were less than truthful in a situation that neither of truly knew WHAT had happened because neither could be bothered to even do their own investigation.   So if it had been abuse, then Enfield would have fired them?

And the last question about the timing of the release of this investigation, after Open Enrollment?

Rogers said the report was supposed to be released last month but that King challenged some of its findings, leading to the delay. Parents seeking to move to another school with space can still do that until Sept. 30, she said.

Gee, thanks SPS.  That's exactly what parents could do anyway. 

It's interesting the way Principal King is allowed to state he is leaving his job, then get his job back when the people at the new job change their minds, have an investigation against him say he misled senior staff on a serious issue and then says the investigation is "made-up facts and faulty, biased assumptions."   That looks like a guy who knew the investigation was coming, tried to jump ship, swam back (to a waiting boat), and was given extra time to get dry. 

Parents new to the school?  Not so much love from the district for them.

Director Smith-Blum also weighed in.

"It's been handled," said Smith-Blum, who represents the Central Area on the board. "Hopefully we can all go back to teaching and learning now."

If I were the PTA president, I would expect more than "I care about your kids, now let's move on."  That's just me.  Because there are new parents and students coming in so no matter what you, as Lowell parent know from your interaction with one or both of them, these new parents are looking at an expensive investigation that showed the principals who lead their child's new school to have told mistruths about investigating the safety and treatment of a child by a staff member.

It might be worth thinking of those parents.  

But given his track record, I'm sure this won't be the last we hear of Principal King. 

From OSPI:  How to report a teacher or educator

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Geek Shall Inherit the Earth

So I know that Charlie is just in heaven because this weekend is Emerald City ComiCon and NEXT weekend is Sakura-Con (deep breaths now, buddy).

But there are also tickets to Geek Girl Con 2012 on sale now.  Caution: breathless prose approaching:

On Wednesday, April 18th at 6:00 p.m., GeekGirlCon and the Association for Women in Computing join forces to host another fantastic event. Darren G. Davis, publisher of Bluewater Productions, will discuss the release of his Bill Gates comic book and give you greater insight into how the Nook and the Kindle are changing the comic book industry.

GeekGirlCon is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting awareness of and celebrating the contribution and involvement of women in all aspects of the sciences, science fiction, comics, gaming and related Geek culture through conventions and events that emphasize both the historic and ongoing contribution and influence of women in this culture.

Now I'm not one to call anyone a geek (though I do have one living in my home) but geeking out is being smart and diving deep in any subject so frankly, it's just a revv'ed up hobbyist.

Luckily our pals at The Stranger Slog have all the details for all these gatherings.  So if you have young geeks in your home, here are some places to send them to find their tribe. 

Welcoming Our New Ombudsman

I had a chance to sit down with the district's new Ombudsman, Ron McGlone and talk with him about his new job.  (And a shout-out to Noel Treat for suggesting the district try out this idea again.)

The district news release set out the long history that Mr. McGlone has with our district.  He has been in SPS since 1990.  He has worked as a non-teacher substitute (and even knew the last previous ombudsman), a family support worker and also worked in Customer Service and Enrollment. 

He also served in the U.S. Army (which explains his great posture and firm handshake). 

Adding up the score from Lowell

As the story at Lowell comes out, there are definitely some lessons learned and some people who come out looking good, bad, and mixed.

Here's the central absurdity: two employees were investigated for failure to report inappropriate behavior and the only evidence against them was their report of the inappropriate behavior - the one that satisfied their requirement to report. The people who accused them were the people to whom they made the report - a report that those folks dismissed out of hand. It makes my head hurt to think about it.

District Announces MAP Meeting

From SPS Communications:

Families and parents will have a chance to talk with Seattle Public Schools staff on April 4 about the 2011 "re-norming" of their children's Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test – as well other questions related to MAP testing. The meeting will be held 5-6 p.m., in Room 2700 at the John Stanford Center. SPS staff, including Mark Teoh from Research, Evaluation, and Assessment (REA) and Bob Vaughan from Advanced Learning, will be joined by John Cronin from the Northwest Evaluation Association (the makers of the MAP assessment).

The meeting will take place prior to the School Board meeting. For questions about this event, please contact the REA department at research@seattleschools.org.

Family and Parent meeting on MAP testing

Wednesday, April 4 from 5-6 p.m.

Room 2700
John Stanford Center
2445 3rd Ave. S.
Seattle, WA 98134

Seattle Schools Week of March 26-31

FACMAC meeting Tuesday 4-7 at JSCEE. 

School Board Work Session - BEX IV
4:00-5:30 pm
No agenda yet.

School Board Work Session - Budget
6:00 pm- 7:30 pm
No agenda yet.

Alliance for Education Annual Breakfast, 7 am at the Sheraton.
This should be good. You see all the movers and shakers in education plus all the elected officials in Seattle. We should see a large crowd (at least in reporters) as two of the speakers are Rob McKenna and Jay Inslee, candidates for governor. Charlie and I will be seated at the pariahs' table.

Arts Education - Southwest meeting at Chief Sealth High School from 6:30-8:30 pm.

Community Meeting with Director Betty Patu at Cafe Vita from 10 am to noon.

Arts Education meeting for students at the Meany building from 10 am to noon. This meeting is geared towards middle and high school students.  More info/RSVP.

Don Kennedy makes a soft landing

Don Kennedy, the former CFOO of Seattle Public Schools was kicked out on his ass a year ago. The School Board softened his landing with six months' severance, but now we know (from this Seattle Times article) that he has landed in clover as the interim operations chief in Bridgeport, Connecticut. At $900 a day, and assuming a 260 day contract, that's $234,000 a year. Any questions? He'll have to get back to you on that.

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson, as we know, has been made the superintendent of the state-run district in Michigan which is made up of all of the "failing" schools taken over by the state. I have no doubt that she got that position based on her analogous success with the Southeast Education Initiative here in Seattle. In case you're wondering, Dr. Goodloe-Johnson really did declare that effort a success.

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson rather famously (or infamously) denied any responsibility for the scandal in the RSBDP saying that she couldn't be expected to know what was happening three levels below her. Let's remember that principals were also three levels below her (MGJ -> CAO -> Exec Dir -> Principal).

For Mr. Kennedy, not only was Mr. Potter just two levels below him, but the scandal revealed the truth about how the budget was written - a truth that was completely different from the story he told the Board and the public. He spoke of reviewing it carefully for savings; he spoke of a top-down process driven by district-wide priorities. The truth was a bottom-up process in which program managers submitted budget requests and got them approved. Silas Potter asked for and received $800,000 from the capital budget and got it just two years after his budget was $100,000, when his work didn't qualify for the capital budget, and while the District had a dreadful maintenance backlog.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Just Wondering

Now we know a few more things about the situation at Lowell and I just have to ask Dr. Enfield and Mr. Apostle a couple of questions:

This was in the comments section on the thread about the release of the investigation report. 

Last year, Gregory King shared with the entire staff during a staff meeting, a "This is my life" power point. In it he revealed that his father had been killed by white racists when he was just a young boy, I believe at age six. His brother was killed as a teen ager, also by presumed gang activities. We knew that he had gone through what would have a major impact on his phyche.

All year, when we saw teachers bullied, and his own outbursts, ranting at the staff, we all somewhat excused him, as we knew that he had suffered much in his growing up years.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Trayvon Martin

FYI - Tomorrow, a rally and march for Trayvon Martin sponsored by the NAACP, Mothers for Police Accountability, American Friends Service Committee, and other activist groups. 

Rally at 4pm Sunday the 25th
Greater Mt.Baker Baptist Church,
2425 South Jackson Street

March at 4:30pm to
MLK Memorial Park,
2200 Martin Luther King Jr Way 

Trayvon Martin was 17.   He had friends, was bright (but got in trouble for tardiness) and had a close-knit family even though his parents had divorced.  He had played football but quit.  He continued volunteering at the team's concession stand for months anyway.  Three weeks ago he was visiting his father's fiancee's home and went out to get some treats at a nearby convenience store. He was shot to death coming back home by a neighborhood watch guy. 

So why bring this up here?  Because I've talked in the past about the need for teens to learn how to deal with police officers.  Things happen. 

I suspect that Trayvon's parents had what many African-American parents who have teen sons call The Talk.   Many of us who have teen sons have our own talk.

One day your son is a little boy.  Then, rather quickly, they grow, sprout hair on their faces and get deeper voices.  But that process does not make them men even though many of them look much older than their years.  But to a stranger on the street, they all look like big scary teenagers who are looking for trouble.

It's not true, of course.  But really, if you saw 3-4 teen girls walking together or 3-4 boys walking together, which do you think would make the average person nervous?

The Talk.  I talked to my sons about being respectful to police officers, answering questions about who you are and where you are going but asking for a lawyer if they made you go to a police station.  And you never, ever, run from a cop.

From friends and listening to NPR this week, I know parents of African-American teen boys have a much more difficult job.  Their sons are regarded with much more suspicion.  Don't loiter, don't go anywhere alone, don't reach into your pocket when speaking with an adult you don't know.

One mother on NPR said she told her son, who is on his high school track team, not to go running anywhere but at the track.  A black teen who is running can't be just...a kid out running.

And to kick it up a notch, we now have Gerald Rivera saying this:

 “The hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was.”

He later said,  ”Trayvon Martin, God bless him, an innocent kid, a wonderful kid, a box of Skittles in his hand didn’t deserve to die, but I’ll bet you money if he didn’t have that hoodie on that nutty neighborhood watch guy wouldn’t have responded in that violent an aggressive way.”

Rivera concluded, “there is no rehabilitating the hoodie…unless it’s raining out or you’re at a track meet, leave the hoodie home.”  It is worth noting that it had been raining the night Trayvon died. 

Now I personally don't like hoodies pulled up in schools.   I think teachers and staff need to see students' faces.  But who blames an article of clothing for someone's death?

I grew up in the '60s and '70s.  Remember those days when any guy with long hair was instantly a hippie and regarded with suspicion (probably was using pot). 

Teens like having a look and the currently popular look is...the hoodie.  It's warm, it keeps rain off and, of course, you can hide away.  Teens like to hide their faces sometimes.

But if only Mr. Zimmerman, as the adult, had said, "Hi, I'm with the neighborhood watch group.  Where are you going tonight, young man?"

And Trayvon would have said, "Back to my father's house at XXX X Street to watch a basketball game."

That would have been it but instead Zimmerman approached him suspiciously and aggressively. 

Where does that leave us?  We are once again a country roiled over race.  Would Zimmerman have reacted the same why if Trayvon had been a white teenager with a hoodie pulled up?

But, if you have a son, after you have the sex talk, the drug and alcohol talk, have the "teenaged boys can look scary to some people" talk.  

Special Session Updates

Looking around it seems that there is some forward motion but our legislators still haven't gotten enough done.

The gimmicks around waiting one day for a payment to K-12 districts to save some money seem to be off the table.

Here's what the Governor said:

“They have a lot of work to do. I don’t think at this point … they have … made sufficient progress for me to open the doors to bill signing. So I will sign no bills on Monday. I had planned to, and I will not,” Gregoire said.

The last day that any bills passed that need the Governor's signature is next Saturday, March 31st.

I'm thinking that the charter school bill is still in flux but my gut tells me Lisa Macfarlane's  idea/challenge about passing a referendum to send this issue to the voters is a lot of semi-wishful thinking.  It would get charters on the ballot but the issue would be how to win that vote.

Community Meeting Open Thread

If you attend either the Martin-Morris or Smith-Blum community meetings, let us know what you hear.

I suspect Kay will get an earful.  The issue at Lowell is NOT just a personnel matter; parents need to know that their children will be protected and inappropriate conduct investigated.

It's a public trust between parents and schools and it needs to be protected.

Friday, March 23, 2012

In the End, It's Just Depressing - the Lowell Investigation

I first up want to make a couple of statements about this report (which really turns out to be three reports.)

Memo #1 about whether 4 employees fulfilled their mandatory reporting obligations. Memo #2 is about Lowell Elementary School: complaints by two employees.  Number three is a letter to HR head, Paul Apostle, in response to the assertions of Rina Geoghagan and Gregory King about the Report (memo #1). 

One, there are only two people are named - Rina Geoghagan and Gregory King, both administrators at Lowell.  Everyone else gets a code.  It does make it difficult to follow the narrative.

Two, I am deeply saddened at this outcome as it leaves a lot of questions and for the Lowell community much worry.

Three, there is something to be learned here starting with the basics.

Every - single - person in SPS needs to know the protocol about reporting issues around adult and student interaction.

Every - single - administrator MUST be trained on the protocol and asked if they can be responsible for issues reported to them and be able to carry out investigations.

Yarmuth  Wilsdon Calfo, the same law firm that did the review of what the Board knew in the Silas Potter case, did the investigation of this issue.   

Lowell Report Released - Details to Follow

It finally happened.  Will post ASAP.

Future of Seattle Schools Discussed Tonight on Seattle Channel 21

Tonight on Seattle Channel 21 at  7 p.m., on City Inside/Out the topic will be the future of Seattle Public Schools featuring Susan Enfield and Sharon Peaslee.  I did an interview segment awhile back (and nearly forgot about it) so I'll be in there as well.

Just Try Them, You'll Like Them (and we'll throw in a vote to boot)

The lure to legislators, well, I'll let Lisa Macfarlane of DFER tell you:

Speaking of choice, why don't we let the voters decide this fall about whether they'd support a small pilot program for public charter schools? Lawmakers could pass a bill with a referendum clause adding the issue to the November ballot - making the Governor's opposition irrelevant.

Earlier this session, House Democrats insisted that they couldn't even let a charter school bill come to a vote, let alone pass one, because the issue was too important and had to be decided on by voters. So let's see how House Democrats feel about a referendum charter school measure that goes straight to the ballot. Any bets?

One, very clever.  Tack it onto the end of what is going to be an incredibly long ballot this November, get out all your yes votes and watch most voters ignore it.  You win!

Two, did she check in with Senator Tom?  Because he said this kind of vote on education was a "gamble."  Someone should get their stories straight.

Three, I'm sorry but the Legislature passes LAWS, not makes referendums.  

Four, I'd be happy for a vote but not tacked on at the last minute in a crowded ballot.  Then again, if it comes to that, I'm still good.  Because people don't like to be harassed about an issue they have already voted on (several times). 

Superintendent Search Update

School Board President Michael DeBell has sent out a letter describing the status and plan for the Superintendent Search.

March 23, 2012
Dear Seattle Public Schools families, staff and community,
As you know, the Seattle School Board is in the midst of searching for our next superintendent.  We have contracted with an outside firm, Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA), to conduct a national search to find a leader who is a great fit for our schools and community. Last fall, Elway Research, Inc. conducted two surveys to gather input about desired characteristics in the next superintendent from a broad spectrum of the community, including three town hall meetings held in conjunction with Seattle Council PTSA. 
Using the survey results and information gathered from interviews with the Board and community members, the search firm consultants drafted desired characteristics that outline what the community is looking for in a new superintendent, including: 
  • a visionary, inspirational leader
  • an instructional leader who has a proven track record
  • a knowledgeable manager
  • an effective communicator
For a full list of these traits, visit: http://bit.ly/SuperintendentTraits. Your input into these characteristics is important to us, and we are keeping this in mind as we move forward.
We have been receiving applications and expect the 12-person Search Committee to conduct semi-finalist interviews the week of April 9. So far, we have 40 applicants and the deadline to apply is today. We plan to announce our top three candidates between April 18-20 with a letter to staff, families and a media announcement.  The School Board’s process for interviewing the top three finalists includes an interview with the Board, interviews with the 25-person Community Focus Group, school tours and a 45-minute media availability with each candidate. Candidates will spend two days in Seattle during the week of April 23. We hope to have a new Superintendent named in May to start in July. I am confident we will find a great leader to kick off the 2012-13 school year.
You can always find updated information on our Superintendent Search Page, including who is serving on the Search committee, here:http://bit.ly/SuperintendentSearchSite.
Seattle Public Schools deserves a high-caliber leader who exemplifies the leadership traits that you identified for the next chief executive for our 48,500-student system. I am confident we will attract candidates who will lead and inspire, and continue to build on the progress we have made over the past several years.
If you have any questions or concerns about this process, please let the School Board know. We can be reached atschoolboard@seattleschools.org.
Michael DeBell
Seattle School Board

Let's see if Melissa can get press credentials for the 45-minute media availability with the finalists.

School-Level Budgeting

A thread was requested on school-level budgeting that is occurring over the next couple of weeks. 

Friday Open Thread

Tomorrow - Community Meetings with Harium Martin Morris at Diva Espresso on Lake City from 9:30-11:30 am and also with Director Smith-Blum from 10-11:30 am at the Capitol Hill branch library.

What's on your mind?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

April 26 C & I Meeting - Save the Date

Mark your calendars, folks. You will not want to miss the April 26 meeting of the Curriculum and Instruction committee. And bring a snack because the agenda is going to be packed!

According to the timetable for the policy review process, the C & I committee will consider Phase II revisions for five - count 'em, FIVE - different policies. And not quick, simple, non-contentious policies, but five potentially controversial ones. I'm not sure what else the committee hopes to do in that meeting, but the discussion of these five policies could take a long time.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

New Principal for TOPS K-8

From Dr. Enfield to the TOPS community:

I am excited today to announce the appointment of Chris Scott as your new principal, effective July 30, 2012.
Dr. Scott comes to TOPS from Raleigh, North Carolina, where he is currently the principal of a gifted and talented magnet school. Dr. Scott earned his doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he focused on social justice and equity in public education and conducted research addressing educational opportunities of American Indian students.
Dr. Scott was selected after a hiring process that included interviews with a team consisting of four parents, three certificated staff and one classified staff member. The process was comprehensive and the members of the committee were nominated through the TOPs site council. Candidates also participated in a site-visit.  The selection team committee was particularly impressed with Dr. Scott’s both his personal and professional dedication to social justice. Dr. Scott appreciates the unique culture at TOPS and will be a great fit for the community.
We will set up opportunities for building staff, students and families to meet your new principal. Thank you for the high expectations that you set for every student, and for all that you do. A special “thank you” to the family members and staff who served on the hiring committee.

Live Blogging From the School Board Meeting

You go first and we'll chime in.

Update: Because a reader had asked, last night was the introduction of the Snow Waiver for the two days of school missed because of snow. So it was just introduced last night and the discussion is around (1) cost to make them up and (2) worth doing given how the last days of school are not generally productive.

I'll watch the tape of the meeting and see what the discussion looked like but it looks like the Board is in an either/or situation.

The money for the days is already allotted, I think they should use it for those days. If not, then the Board should direct the Superintendent as to where to spend it. They are in charge of the budget and if extra money comes, it should go at their discretion and not the Superintendent's.

On the other hand, what would you suggest to make those last two days of school productive?

Ramona Hattendorf Sets the Record Straight

A message from Ramona Hattendorf, Washington State PTA Government Relations Coordinator:

There seems to be confusion about WSPTA’s position on charter public schools.

There has been no change in the WSPTA position on charters. The association has qualified support. Please note "qualified." On this blog and others individuals have been posting assumptions and outright fabrications about what I personally am doing and supporting and actions that WSPTA is taking.

I know you value clarity, and while you like to inspire debate it is not your intention to spread misinformation.

To clarify various posts on your blog:

This and That

The Times is reporting that Hamilton's 6th grade field trip to see The Hunger Games has been canceled.  I'm not really surprised - I think an adult should see the film before a decision is made to show it to students.  (And if you want a version of it, check out the Japanese film, Battle Royale, with the same theme of kids being forced to kill each other to stay alive.) 

I am getting a press pass to go and hear Diane Ravitch tomorrow morning at the National Association of Elementary School Principals convention being held this week at the Convention Center.  I have never heard her speak and I am looking forward to it.  I also hope to speak to some principals from other states about their challenges and successes.   The Association includes elementary and middle school principals.  They are also sponsoring a day of service today for Hawthorne Elementary School in support of their new playground.  (I attended an event at Hawthorne this week and there are a couple of threads to come out of that.)

The Snow Days waiver to OSPI has been added to tonight's School Board agenda as an Intro item.   This had been brought up at the Audit & Finance Committee meeting and was only passed onto the full Board as the Board members had some different thoughts on this than staff.  At issue is money and use of time.

The Board members at the committee meeting were not happy at trimming back yet more days from the SPS school year.  The item notes that high school/middle school students would have 175 days and the elementary/K-8 students would have 172 days.  The state law on this subject requires 180 days. 

The district would have to spend about $500k to have those two days of school plus there is the issue of end of the school year days not being as productive.   Most of that money would be transportation and utilities.  But you could argue the money has already been allotted for those days in the budget so school should be held. 

Coming threads:
  • PTA - what does it mean to SPS and to you?  Do parents need to look beyond PTA for empowerment?  Is the fundraising burden getting to be too much?
  • Communication issues - what if you were trying to save a program and no one gave you clear information or answered your questions?
  • Capacity management and BEX IV (and Advanced Learning)

Board Community Engagement Failure

For all of their fancy talk about community engagement, the School Board has the worst community engagement of any department in the District.

Imagine a principal who conducted community engagement by holding two sessions a month, during which no more than 19 people could speak to the principal for no more than two minutes each. The principal would not respond to anything said, not at the session and not afterwards by phone, mail, email, or in person. People could, of course, send the principal email, but the principal wouldn't reply in 90% of the cases. Nor would the principal reply to 90% of voice mail messages. That's it. That's the entire community engagement effort from the principal. Would that be acceptable to anyone?

Could a program manager conduct community engagement like that? Of course not. Could the superintendent? One of them tried and was constantly hounded by the Board to expand and improve her community engagement. They should have removed the beam from their own eye first.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hack Job, Anyone?

I mentioned previously that at the last School Board meeting, Liv Finne of the right-wing Washington Policy Center, got up to support TFA and used a lot of hyperbole to make her point (for example, the district was "banning" TFA).   Her latest epistle is off the charts.  Some excerpts with comments:

TFA educators set high goals for their students: a clear focus on math and science, 40 minutes of reading every night, and a desire to graduate and go on to college. In Seattle and other cities TFA is helping children raise their sights and reach for the stars.

Whenever I read this kind of uplift for one group, I wonder what they think about the other group.  Meaning, if TFA is this great, what do they think regular teachers (read: real teachers) are doing every day and expect to do in the future in their chosen profession?

Not everyone is happy, however. The teachers’ union sees opening schools to TFA graduates as a threat to their power within the system.  Union executives did not want TFA in Seattle in the first place, and now they are doing everything they can to drive these young instructors out of local classrooms.

No, I don't think the SEA thought a bunch of 22-year olds were any kind of power threat but rather a threat to decent teaching for students with high needs.  Also, SEA is doing NOTHING to drive the TFA teachers out.  I haven't heard one thing about that from SEA.  

What amuses me is this trying to blame the union for everything - next up, unions cause tooth decay in kids.  They don't want to acknowledge that no, the real pushback comes from parents and community members.  

The issue will be decided March 21st (tomorrow), when Seattle School Board members will vote whether to accede to the union and bar TFA teachers from city schools, or allow them to continue educating Seattle children.

Ban or bar, please make up your mind.  

How did this happen? How did we as a community get to a point where our own School Board may end up ousting some of the best-qualified teachers in the country where they are most needed? In October 2010, the Board invited TFA to provide trained instructors for some of the most-needy schools. In response, six young TFA teachers have been working in Seattle classrooms for nearly a year, impressing administrators and parents with their energy, ability and professionalism. Though demanding, they are popular with students, and set high expectations for what they believe kids can achieve.

Again, prove that "best-qualified" teachers issue?  Waiting because they are NOT some of the best-qualified teachers in the country.   And, she can't prove this particular group is any such thing.

I would love to talk to some parents of these teachers but I bet if I asked to at any of the schools, the answer would be no (just as Brian Rosenthal from the Times was not allowed in their classrooms).  Nope, we just have to take her word for it - parents love them.

Then the School Board changed. In the 2011 election the teachers’ union backed two candidates, Marty McLaren and Sharon Peaslee, giving thousands of dollars to their political campaigns. These candidates won, and in what some see as payback, they are now spearheading the union drive to oust TFA from Seattle schools.

This press release almost reads like a Wild West novel. "The election was over, the results known and the skies darkened over Seattle."  

Who had the most money in these campaigns, Peaslee and McClaren or Maier and Sundquist?  Who had ed reform big money from a small group of powerful citizens?   And where is her proof of this "spearheading" that she says McClaren/Peaslees are doing?  That they put it forth at an Executive Committee does not a spearhead make.

There’s more. The Seattle Times reports union-inspired activists are harassing TFA teachers at Aki Kurose Middle School and South Shore K-8, hoping to get them to quit. Their personal information has been posted online.  One teacher’s home was burglarized.

First sentence is absolutely not true and I'd ask for the proof.  Where did anyone say they wanted them to quit?  

Their information was GIVEN via public disclosure and yes, one person put it up but it was not published here.  

Last sentence, well, all I can say is the Times will soon be printing something new on that topic.  I'm hoping Liv will do the same when she sees the evidence.

The program is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, but if the ban is imposed the Seattle-based charity would find it can fund TFA educators in Philadelphia or Boston, but not at John Hay Elementary up the street from their headquarters.
Again, not a ban but Liv seems to not understand the meaning of the word.  Also,  Bill Gates himself has opined that he wishes TFA teachers would work 3-5 years as teachers.  John Hay?  C'mon, Liv. 

Over 3,000 University of Washington graduates apply to TFA each year. If the ban is imposed these U.W. grads would find they are barred from teaching at schools in their own city.

This is one of her more unpleasant sentences, one that she repeats from two weeks ago.  (Again, NOT A BAN.)

And she seems to forget that UW has a College of Education that sends out many, many UW grads, each and every year to...teach.  Oh right, the only good UW Education grad is a TFA education grad.  Boy, that's a pretty disrespectful stance to take. 

If Seattle bans Teach for America it is not the adults who will suffer. TFA teachers will just move to schools in other cities. The real harm from this reactionary and mean-spirited campaign will fall on kids like Enrique, all because some grown-ups think protecting their privileged status is more important than helping children learn.

Again, disrespectful but when you can't win an argument on merit, go for the low blow.

School Board Wants Your Thoughts on Board Meetings

The issue of making the School Board meetings more productive continues.   (It is also the issue of productive for whom?  Are Board meetings for the Board to do business or an event where the public can learn about the business of the school district?)  Also to note, why can't the Board comments be three minutes?

They already cut the speaker time from 3 to 2 minutes starting at tomorrow's Board meeting.  Now, it's the start-time of the Board meetings.  At the Executive Committee meeting, a handout showed four options for Board meetings plus what other districts do, both regionally and nationally.  What other districts do varies wildly.

But now there are five options listed (versus the four on the handout at the meeting).   Three of them have testimony starting before 6 p.m. which I can't see at all as many people work until 5 or 5:30 p.m.  The other two options have it starting at 7 p.m. but that's AFTER all the agenda items have been heard and voted on.  Here's what it says for the 7 p.m. public testimony option:

(Public testimony would begin when the business portion was completed.  Those testifying would need to be prepared to start earlier or later than 7 p.m., depending on the rest of the meeting.)

So you'd need to be there by 6:30 p.m. in case they got through the agenda quickly (but at least you wouldn't need to leave work early).

So the one time - that likely makes sense for the most people which is 6-6:30 p.m. - so that the public can speak to the Board BEFORE it acts, is NOT on this list.

They are asking for feedback so please let the Board know your thoughts.

If you would like to offer feedback, please email Theresa Hale at tlhale@seattleschools.org by April 6, 2012. It would be the most helpful if you address the following questions:

1) Do you support moving the start time of regular Board meetings earlier (i.e. 4:15 p.m. or 4:30 p.m.)?
2) If so, indicate which option you prefer and why.
3) If not, why not?

Improved Oversight

On the Board schedule for this week is a work session specifically for management oversight of the Human Resources department.

As folks will recall, the June 2009 state audit revealed that the previous board completely abdicated their duty to oversee the management of the District. While I want to believe that they took this criticism seriously, the fact is that it was nearly two years before they took any action to address the failure. They didn't get around to their first management oversight work until the Spring of 2011. The first department they reviewed was Human Resources. Soon after, the "Chief Talent Officer" hired by Dr. Goodloe-Johnson out of Arne Duncan's camp, was fired. I guess that's what comes from oversight.

Since then, the Board has codified their (intended) practice into the new Policy 1010, Board Oversight of Management adopted this past summer. There is supposed to be a calendar of these management oversight work sessions. They were supposed to occur quarterly and, in the course of each year, the Board was supposed to perform reviews of every department that should get an annual review and half of the departments that are supposed to get semi-annual reviews. That's the Board's plan for management oversight. They took a very long time developing this plan and a very long time developing the calendar for the reviews. The review of HR scheduled for this week represents the completion of the first year's cycle. How did they do?