Friday Open Thread

The end of an unhappy week for Seattle.  Let's hope and work for better going forward.

Anyone attend either of the two education events last night?  Give us some feedback.

It's interesting that a six-year old girl at a spelling bee can easily spell "dirigible" and yet Mitt Romney's campaign can't spell "America"  for their campaign app.  She, like many of the spelling bee contestants and winners, is home-schooled.

I will be attending the Board Retreat tomorrow (Superintendent Banda had promised to come up for it).  The location has been announced as the Best Western Plus Executive Inn, 200 Taylor Ave N.  It is from 10 am-4:30 p.m. and the public can attend (but to listen only).

What's on your mind?


word said…
Any news on the AL task force?
Anonymous said…
When are the Advanced Learning Task Force recommendations going to come out? I heard they punted and are coming out with guiding principles - as opposed to specific recommendations. Was the task force divided in its opinions on what to do?

Word, Charlie and I are not able to answer these questions now. We are waiting for the recommendations to come out.

After they come out, we will be able to comment on the work done and where we go from here.

As you can imagine, it is difficult for Charlie and I to NOT say anything but we want to respect the work and the other members of our committee.
Anonymous said…
Bell Times for 2012-2013? Weren't they due yesterday?

Anonymous said…
Understood Melissa, but do you have any idea when those recommendations will be coming out (or why the apparent delay)?

Christina said…
I'll just echo or ditto what other commentators have written about NWEA's Measurement of Academic Progress scores being unreliable. My tot learned three students' scores from this week's Reading MAP. Two Reading MAP scores are off the charts, yet neither child with a way off score participates in Advanced Learning Opportunities, APP nor Spectrum this year.
The previous four Reading MAP scores have ranged from 60 percentile to 82 percentile, and we don't know what the wide range is meant to suggest other than unreliable data. Any links to pages that refute my current opinion are welcome.
Maureen said…
I saw this posted on a College Confidential thread and figured some here would appreciate it:

My daughter has spent this year teaching at a school that opened this year under the state's voucher system. She and the other teachers were not paid between Nov. and March, then got a lump payment on March 31 when voucher money came in. Since the voucher money went to salary already due them, now they have not been paid since March 31.

Each pay day, the administrator just ignores the fact that it's payday - no explanation, no thanks for being understanding. A couple of times he's told them that checks would be available the next day - including one time when he told them to come to the school at 3 p.m. on a Saturday to pick them up. He didn't show up, and has also scheduled then skipped other meetings.

They recently filed a complaint with the state labor board and contacted their state senator and the department of education. The press is chomping at the story.

Should they go public? She loves her kids. She also feels guilty every time the administrator brings a prospective teacher for next year on a tour of the school. Her thinking is that if this goes public she can safe other teachers from this mess, and if the school is closed now, rather than in the middle of a school year, it will allow the kids to avoid changing schools midyear.

I'm not sure which state the 'voucher' school is in, but expect stories like this play out in charter schools all over the country. Poor kids!
Eric B said…
Bell times were just emailed out:

Per the email, View Ridge, Bryant, Wedgewood, McGilvra, North Beach, and Adams moved more than 30 minutes later than this year.
mirmac1 said…
Okay, I don't get it. I thought the preschool (Head Start) start times not aligning with building times were the whole reason for the transportation budget bu$t (at least according to first reports). The proposed preschool bell times still don't seem to line up with any elementaries that i can tell...
Josh Hayes said…
It appears the latest start times are at 9:30 (several elementary schools); and the earliest are 7:50 (several high schools, including the one my son attends: Ingraham). Ten minutes isn't much, but at THAT hour, it's going to be a challenge.
RosieReader said…
I attended an education event on Wednesday and was truly inspired. It was a "learn about our organization" event sponsored by Facing the Future. Lisa Clarke, an educator from the south sound area who just won the World Affairs Counsel Educator of the year award spoke. Check out the organization's website. Their work is pretty simple, create free and for-purchase curriculum segments that address both sustainability and global issues. And provide educator training, too. Although Sahila will probably disagree, they do not appear to be involved in any way with the reform movement. They are merely doing the good work of providing public school educators with high quality curriculum on topic that are not covered in this "back to basics" era we're in.
Anonymous said…
Reposting a Tuesday open thread from Maureen:

"Re MAP, my 8th grader was asked exactly the same math question twice on the same test (out of fewer than 50 Qs). Also her computer flaked in and out during the test and she's pretty sure she ended up skipping at least one Q.

On Language Arts, she read exactly the same sonnets (Shakespeare) she has had for the last three years, but thinks maybe she was asked different Qs about them. Her friend got the same poems, but had exactly the same Qs about one of them twice on the same exam.

She has learned so much from her teachers this year, but I doubt those exams will measure any of it.


I will add that my 9 year old had questions on Twain and Shakespeare and is hitting the threshold at which additional RIT growth is meaningless. There was no growth in the score from Winter to Spring. How is this a meaningful measure of teacher effectiveness? Does it make a good teacher look bad and a bad teacher look good?
Wondering, I will check in with Bob Vaughn who is responsible for getting these AL recommendations out.

"back to basics" era we're in.

Are we in a back to basics era? I'm not sure I think that. I think if we did DO basic stuff like having counselors (both mental and college/career), direct intervention programs (visible ones), etc, we would be better off.

Instead it's testing, testing and charters and TFA. That's not basic.
Anonymous said…
According to NWEA, the reading RIT is accurate up to about 245 (for 2011 norms, that equates to 93-94th% for grade 8 and 90th% for grade 10 on the Spring test), and above that they can't "accurately assess how high they performed."

meh on MAP
Anonymous said…
meh on MAP - if that is true, then why is MAP being used for advanced learning placement, with hard test score cutoffs?

also meh on MAP
Rufus X said…
It really has been a terrible past 10 or so days 'round these parts. This gave me a much-needed laugh today:
CT said…
Maureen - I’m guessing Florida. I’ve heard similar stories from friends who taught a year or so in charter schools in AZ too - when they had the “nerve” to ask for their paychecks, or their full paycheck, they were shamed by the administrator. Of course, the clueless AZ legislators just passed a bill allowing vouchers, so expect to hear even more stories like that, along with an increase in the number of parochial schools, since tax dollars can now be used to fund religious education....
hschinske said…
The 9-year-old is probably hitting the ceiling of the MAP for elementary grades and should have been offered the one for higher grades. The whole point of out-of-level testing is to get truly out of level. Not that I think it's actually worth it, the MAP not being as good a test as it should be, but that would be appropriate protocol.

Helen Schinske
Anonymous said…
It is amazing how many elementary schools start around 9:30 am

BTW can someone explain to me why some schools start at 9:25 and others at 9:30 but both type of schools end at 3:35?

Bell struck
Lori said…
Why do some schools have 5 more "official" minutes of school per day than others? Scan thru the start times for elementaries, and you'll see that some start at 925 and end at 335, while others start at 930 but end at the same time, 335.

Just seems odd that official start times would have some schools, at least on paper, getting 25 more/less minutes of instruction each week.
Anonymous said…
Charlie, Mel, those ALPTF meeting were all open to every member of the public, so as such, seems to me you are completely within your rights to repeat what you said and what was said. The BEX process has been waiting on the recommendations, now it seems like there is nothing concrete, otherwise I bet it would be straightforward for you to speak to the specific program placement recommendations. Pretty please?
--signed, SPS might be opaque, but you don't have to be
Anonymous said…
Any word on when the new and somehow improved enrollment projections (for BEXIV planning)will be released?

North End Mom
Anonymous said…
From a read of NWEA's article, 245 is the ceiling for reading, no matter what test is given. The RIT scale is linear, so administering higher level tests won't make the score any more meaningful. From my understanding, if a student has hit the ceiling, they've hit the ceiling.

meh on MAP
hschinske said…
meh on MAP, that's actually not true. The RIT scores are essentially a form of grade-level-equivalent score. Yeah, you can find out how the average eleventh-grader would typically score on the elementary-level test, but that's not nearly as meaningful as finding out that an elementary-school child scored at the level an average eleventh-grader scored on the test that is meant for eleventh-graders.

Bottom line: you need to have a significant quantity of out-of-level material on the test in order to ascertain that a child's achievement is truly out of level. Adding in a few random high-level questions at the end of a lot of lower-level ones isn't enough to make that distinction.

Helen Schinske
Anonymous said…
According to NWEA's explanation, the RIT "has the same meaning regardless of the grade or age of the student." That's supposed to be the beauty of it. Each test item has a difficulty value associated with it, and the RIT score is supposed to mean the same thing "regardless of grade level."

No matter what "harder" questions are given in later years, once the reading RIT score >245, a student has hit the ceiling. Yes, they may get reported scores greater than 245, but they can't say a score of 260 is any more meaningful than a score of 250, just that they both scored high.

Helen, if a student hits the ceiling in elementary, are you saying that there is no opportunity to get the "harder" questions until 6th grade? Would students then see a sudden jump in their scores in 6th grade? Or a drop? How does this affect the growth calculations?

meh on MAP
Anonymous said…
Five-minute differences are often the result of adding five minutes to lunch time for kids and teachers. At our school we start earlier than the scheduled time to allow kids twenty minutes to eat and twenty minutes on the playground. Half an hour is the protocol but honestly, I don't know of any teacher than gets a full lunch on thirty minutes. Efficiency sounds good but hard to actually implement.

hschinske said…
All they mean by "has the same meaning" is that they're not using a different scale for the different levels. That's it. The rest is essentially handwaving.

The ITBS tests, which tested one grade level at a time, had similar scores. You could get a score in third grade that overlapped with the sixth-grade range. Didn't mean there were actually ANY sixth-grade-level questions on the third-grade test AT ALL.

Helen Schinske

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