Wednesday Open Thread

Better late than never.

What's on your mind?


Eric B said…
At our elementary school parent-teacher conference, the teacher said that the report cards wouldn't be issued until December. Has anyone else heard this? Normally, they're out for the conference, so we can discuss them then.
Anonymous said…
News from McClure, more resignations midyear. Will they ever be able to keep any staff?

We thank you for your patience and trust as we worked through the unexpected resignation of Ms. Gregersen our 6th and 7th grade Language Arts teacher. As you all know, this was an extremely difficult situation for the staff as well the students and families and we wish Ms. Gregersen the best as she moves on. We have completed interviews and are pleased to announce that we have hired Mr. Franklin Clark to fill the vacancy left by Ms. Gregersen's resignation. Mr.Clark will begin Tuesday, November 13, 2012.

a parent
Charlie Mas said…
I-1240 says that three people each appoint three members of the Charter School Commission. The governor appoints three, the Speaker of the State House appoints three, and the President of the State Senate appoints three.

The governor will be Jay Inslee. The Speaker of the House will be Frank Chopp. And the President of the Senate will, of course, be the Lieutenant Governor, Brad Owen.

Surprised? You thought the power of appointment would go to Ed Murray, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate? Well, you were wrong.

First, go here to confirm that it is the Lieutenant Governor who is the President of the State Senate. Then go here to confirm that it is the President of the Senate, not the President Pro Tempore, gets to appoint three members of the commission.

From Section 208(2)

"(2) The commission shall consist of nine members, no more than five of whom shall be members of the same political party. Three members shall be appointed by the governor; three members shall be appointed by the president of the senate; and three members shall be appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives. The appointing authorities shall assure diversity among commission members, including representation from various geographic areas of the state and shall assure that at least one member is a parent of a Washington public school student."

I wonder why they didn't simply call him by his usual title, "Lieutenant Governor". Oh. Maybe because the law was written out of state by someone unfamiliar with this state's constitution.
Anonymous said…
anyone go to the Exec Comm mtg?

Anonymous said…
Has anyone contacted AL and gotten their testing date? I haven't gotten an email response or a letter and it's mid-Nov.

Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
Eric B, my second grader mentioned that yesterday, and assumed she'd heard wrong. It doesn't make much sense to me.
-a north parent
Anonymous said…
*I* assumed she'd heard wrong.
-a north parent
Unknown said…
Mirmac, I noticed that as well in Vulcan article. The Mayor has told me, several times, that giving them more height would assure benefits to the City including set-aside space for a downtown elementary. I see nothing here to support that (and you'd think you would).

No set-aside, no BEX money.

Charlie, funny you should mention that because that particular part of the Charter commission just dawned on me the other day.

Again, the Charter Commission, once appointed, is not overseen by anyone. Not the people who appoint them, not OSPI and not BOE. In fact, the article at Cross cut on 1240 has a comment form someone on the BOE who sounds doubtful (and perhaps a little unhappy about a new commission coming in on their turf).
Commet Away said…

LEV is sending this article to it's membership. Comment away!
Anonymous said…
Alys, I emailed AL but have not heard back or received a letter. Also, on their voicemail they mention a couple schools by name that are testing this Saturday the 17th. Guess I'll go on the info from anonymous at 2:37 that my child's will be testing the week before winter break until I hear otherwise. I thought I read at one point that testing would be done by Dec. 2nd, so maybe they've pushed that date back or I misread. SPS is always a mystery to me, so if anyone else has heard about AL testing please share.

-AL tests
Anonymous said…
To Eric B.

Schools have the option to give report cards at the conference, or the actual end of the trimester which is early December. Our elementaryschool is sending reports out early December via Kid Mail. Conferences will be a time to look at actual work. More "child centered" than just grades and test scores.

Anonymous said…
Does anyone know when the open houses are for Garfield and Ingraham?

Anonymous said…
Just found some info on Ingraham's website but I'm unable to locate the Garfield information.

incoming (again)
Anonymous said…
Do you think it would be a good idea to have one of the "No on 1240" folks on the charter commission? I'm thinking it would be. Checks and balances, right? I'd like your opinion.
Anonymous said…
If testing is on a Saturday in mid-Dec, they need to let us know.
--finding it weird.
Anonymous said…
I'll actually be happy if there's no report card at the conference. I would rather talk to the teacher about their impressions and see student work; I always get impatient listening to the spiel about the numbers on the card.

Elem Mom
Po3 said…
Ditto on report cards. Those K-5 report cards are a total waste of a tree. For MS and HS I find the Source to work just fine, meaning there are never any surprises here.
Someone said…
Hmm... weird - had a comment there re: the Commission language and it's gone so let's try this again

The language re: President of The Senate if virtually identical to that used in Arizona's configuration. Its a fascinating thing to look at how other states configure them - quite a few have appts by a Board of Ed - and require at least some of the appointees be directors of local School districts. I'm not sure I saw any other configuration that was so broad and so lacking in oversight. Things that make you go "hmmmm...."
Anonymous said…
The best quote thus far in the observations about the passage of I-1240 - "People are coming out of the woodwork expressing interest...from in Washington and from out of state." Heard it this morning on the radio as they interviewed one of the interchangable pro-charter proponents...

Like flies to know what.

mirmac1 said…
I see Inslee's transition team includes:

Renton Supt Mary Alice Heuschel, employer of multiple TFA trainees

Brad Smith, Gates surrogate and member of the Burgess "Education Leadership Team". Another corporate lawyer who's now an education expert.
Actually, I like Mary Alice and she didn't support charters.

Actually, I like Mary Alice and she didn't support charters.

Eric B said…
I don't really look too hard at the report card in P-T conferences anyway, and I agree that a lot of it is a waste of paper. I just thought it was surprising, that's all.
Anonymous said…
Late post to the open thread, looking for comments on how people would react to this:

Yesterday there was a cookie event in class. One student took a bite too soon. The teacher had everyone vote on whether she could keep her cookie. Apparently the children voted "no", and the student did not get the rest of her cookie. Two other students who were in "time-out" also were subject to votes, and both were voted to receive their cookie.

-Lessons in Social Justice
mirmac1 said…
You may like her, but she is not abiding by the WAC and not being transparent with her board. Sound familiar?
NESeattleMom said…
Often there are class rules that the students are well aware of about waiting till the exact moment when they can eat their treat. Usually it is when the birthday child says OK. But voting on whether that early bird gets to eat the cookie seems cruel to me.
NESeattleMom said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said…
Or maybeit is a way to do something nice for the city and get a tall bldg. Vulcan i a business that needs to amke money to be abusiness. It employs people. Trusd me Paul Allen has enough money taht making a few million more is not on his radar screen. he is trying to make a business work, add value to his/our city. Maybe not a 24 story bldg is not the best idea but his company employspeople and his is giving something to the city.

I am sick of the poor me on this site.....sheesh. Rich people are not focused ont he money they are focuse don the success of doing something. They have enough money. They are trying to add value!
Carmaig said…
Checks and balances? On radio interview I heard on KUOW, the interviewer said the law specifically says that no one opposed to charter schools can serve on the commission. If anyone who understands language of the initiative could clarify this, it'd be interesting to know.
Unknown said…
Lessons, that's just wrong. What was that teacher thinking? Okay, tell the kid he/she has to wait for everyone but don't give a kid a cookie and allow others to vote to take it away.

I'd talk to the teacher to make sure I had the story right and then ask, why did you make that choice? This is the kind of thing a kid remembers for a long time.

Ted, the rich NEVER have enough money. There is not "poor us" on this blog -it's standing up for the so-called 99%.
Anonymous said…
Charlie, the language re: 'President of the Senate' is standard language used in state statutes when the two chambers appoint members to boards, commissions, etc. This is not an error by out of state initiative writers. By title, Speaker of the House and President of the Senate are uniform.

--- someone who knows
Anonymous said…
Lessons, that is over the top. Which school? This ought to be reported. Lovely public shaming.

Eric B said…
@Carmaig: The initiative text says something to the effect that commission members need to be committed to the success of charter schools. I don't have the initiative text in front of me, or I'd give the full quote.

The idea is to prevent "problems" they had in other states where the charter authorizers basically held up the process for authorizing schools because they didn't like charter schools and/or didn't want them in their district. This way, a charter can always go to a friendly commission rather than a potentially unfriendly school board. I thought it was like letting the parents in the stands referee a Little League game rather than real checks and balances.

@someone who knows: Does that mean that Ed Murray will appoint charter commissioners or that Brad Owen will?
Anonymous said…
Eric B., technically Brad Owen (as President of the Senate) will sign the official document of the Senate appointments to the commission. Likely, the chair of the education committee will make the recommendations (with the input of the D caucus and maybe the R caucus) to the Senate as a whole. Of course, Ed Murray would have input if he wanted it.

--- someone who knows
Charlie Mas said…
Wow, Ted. You sure have an amazing insight into the motivations of other people, including people you have never met (unless, of course, you have met all of the Rich people).

Personally, I'm not sure of all of my motivations, let alone the motivations of others.

That is some remarkable talent you have there. Promise us that you will only use this superpower in the service of good.
Anonymous said…
Also, Sen. Ed Murray is NOT the President Pro Tempore of the Senate. He is the D caucus elected Senate Majority Leader. These are identical positions.

--- someone who knows
Charlie Mas said…
So, even though the Speaker of the House is the only person named as having authority to name appointees to this commission, the entire house will have input?
Anonymous said…
I meant these ARE NOT identical positions.

--- someone who knows
Charlie Mas said…
Although the initiative says that only people who are charter school supporters can be appointed, there is no one who has authority to overrule any appointments.

So if Jay Inslee appointed Dora Taylor, there isn't anyone who could stop him and there's no way to appeal the decision. Besides, Dora could just claim to support charters and there isn't anyone who could effectively dispute it.
Anonymous said…
Charlie, I don't know for sure if there are House rules pertaining to appointments to boards, commissions, etc. signed by the Speaker. However, it has been my experience and understanding that relevant committee chairs make the recommendations to the Speaker and he officially signs off. There are almost always politics involved that the Speaker may consider that the committee chair may not.

--- someone who knows
Unknown said…
Well, just as Lisa Macfarlane actively opposed charters - for more than a decade - before her epiphany over to charters - it's entirely possible for this election to have triggered many to rethink their positions on charters.

As well, the Charter Commission should be made up of people who care about ALL public schools and now that would include charters.

As Charlie says, this initiative is underwritten so yes, the Governor, the Speaker and the President of the Senate can appoint whoever they want as long as they believe them qualified.
Anonymous said…
Melissa, I am rich and I have enough. That said it doesn't mean that I will not make more. It does mean that I will give more. Yes people here are poor mes.

mirmac1 said…
Well Ted, then I applaud you for not whining over Romney going down in flames with his 47% of blog readers expect government to give them a hand out....
Maje said…
An update on AL testing-
My kindergartener got pulled out of class today for AL testing. I have yet to receive a letter notifying me.

Apparently, the teachers received an email around 8:00 this morning letting them know testing would start at 8:30.
Anonymous said…
Our school is testing 12/8 but they don't have a time available...

Santa train tickets for sale.

Gr 2 mom
Anonymous said…
I voted inslee obama. Dem libertarian all the way. So I am happy.

mirmac1 said…
Interesting insight into the whole "Force a SLU school down our throats" thing.

Got to Build That Vulcan Elementary
NESeattleMom said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said…
I am really annoyed with Advanced Learning - no letter, no response to email or telephone call enquiring about when our test date is or when we can expect to be notified about it.
How are we expected to plan our weekend schedule around weekend testing and what will happen if we are forced to miss the scheduled test because we have (in the absence of any forewarning) made other plans?
How will we ensure our kid gets a good night sleep, hearty breakfast and has some idea of what may be happening if they are just going to pull them out of class without any advance notice?

Grumpy parent
Anonymous said…
Yay Ted. me too.

Anonymous said…

If that really happened, it would make a good "Lessons in Bully Behavior: What to do when your teacher is a bully."
If that was my kiddo, I would be tempted to give the teacher a box of cookies with a bite out of each for her Winter Holiday gift.

Anonymous said…
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mirmac1 said…
Perhaps this is what they were talking about in Exec Session in the Exec Committee:

Westside School proposing to buy Arbor Heights’ Hillcrest Presbyterian Church as its permanent site

Perhaps Westside saw the writing on the wall....
LS said…
From 1240: "(3) Members appointed to the commission shall collectively possess strong experience and expertise in public and nonprofit governance; management and finance; public school leadership, assessment, curriculum, and instruction; and public education law. All members shall have demonstrated an understanding of and commitment to charter schooling as a strategy for strengthening public education. (4) Members shall be appointed to four-year, staggered terms, with initial appointments from each of the appointing authorities consisting of one member appointed to a one-year term, one member appointed to a two-year term, and one member appointed to a three-year term, all of whom thereafter may be reappointed for a four-year term. No member may serve more than two consecutive terms. Initial appointments must be made no later than ninety days after the effective date of this section"

I don't see anywhere in 1240 where there is a process for un-seating an appointed commission member.
Anonymous said…
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suep. said…
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suep. said…
Underscoring what LS posted and regarding the question of who would qualify for appointment to the charter commission, Sec. 208 of I-1240 stipulates that:
"All members shall have demonstrated an understanding of and commitment to charter schooling as a strategy for strengthening public education"

Clearly that stacks the charter commission deck full of pro-charter faithful, not objective thinkers or skeptics.

That also might explain that bizarre article that appeared in the Times shortly before the election in which Lisa Mcfarlane revealed her born-again faith in charters -- she likely is angling to be on the commission.

But as a recent convert, she arguably doesn't qualify, by the initiative's own stipulations.
Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
At McGilvra the Everyday Math curriculum is being abandoned. They're investing now in Common Core Curriculum. It's very confusingg to families. Kind of helter skelter. Is this happening in other schools too?

n said…
You know, times are tough. And now I'm losing my liberal radio: KPTK. How am I going to survive without hearing Thom, Mike, Ed and sometimes Randi? Anybody got any ideas how I can liberal talk into my car? I'm desperate.

The one good thing about the election: Inslee. I sure hope he's a good liberal governor who can get some $$$ out of DC.
Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
parent stated: "At McGilvra the Everyday Math curriculum is being abandoned. They're investing now in Common Core Curriculum. It's very confusing to families. Kind of helter skelter. Is this happening in other schools too? "

The mantras are "literacy" and "college readiness". "All students are to be "college ready."

Common Core Standards have been adopted by Washington State. EALRs/GLEs are being phased out by 2014.
They are not a strategy.

The WASL/HSPE /EOCa/e will be take another name and be based on the CCS.
My critique of the CCS concerns the fact that
1) neither parents, teachers, or administrators will get a glimpse of the type of assessments upon which students will be assessed. This will start in 2014.
I believe Pearson's will be the corporate outfit.

2) A piece of teacher evals will be based on these standards.

3) Teacher evals will have a piece concerning student performance on these assessments we will not have seen (or have an idea of what to expect).

Schools in all districts are supposed to move toward standards - based grading by 2014.

Pros and cons...One thing I know is this: If 48 states are following the same standards, charter outfits have fewer barriers to prevent them from operating in multiple states.

--Old School Music
Charlie Mas said…
In response to a question that had to be deleted because it was unsigned, there is no correlation (that I can see) between a person's position on instructional strategies for math and that person's position on charter schools.

As to the future of math instruction in Seattle, the district-approved materials for middle schools and elementary schools, CMP II and EveryDay Math, are overdue for review and possible replacement. The District has deferred the review to save the cost. I have little doubt that they will be replaced with materials that are more supportive of direct instruction. The Board doesn't want the drama that these materials have created.

It is possible that the Board will make a dual approval - CMP II and textbooks that can be used to support direct instruction - and allow schools to choose one of the two.
Charlie Mas said…
To get liberal talk radio in your car you could try satellite radio or podcasts.
Anonymous said…

Could coup install Rodney Tom as state Senate majority leader?

That would certainly be the basis for getting "charter cheerleaders" onto the state commission...

NESeattleMom said…
KBCS FM 91.3 a community radio station out of Bellevue College

You can see the schedule at

There is news in the morning and afternoon including some locally produced shows such as Music and Ideas (news with a beat) and Hard Knock Radio which has a local urban focus, as well as Democracy Now with Amy Goodman.
Anonymous said…
Well, there's plenty we can do about it, and we need to strike NOW and strike hard, because you can bet the other side is mobilizing.

1240 looks as if it will pass with less than 51 percent of the vote. That's no damn mandate. Let's remember also that 1240 got onto the ballot only because it couldn't make it past the legislature, and because Governor Gregoire, to her undying credit, told legislators that she would veto charter legislation, and that proponents should quit wasting her time.

We need to lobby Inslee's office and transition team, and we need to lobby the Speaker of the House, Frank Chopp, who is no friend, no friend at all, of education "reformers" or of charter schools.

Our message can't be that "we don't want charters." 1240 has passed, and that's just tough sh*t. But having read the language of the initiative over and over ad nauseam, Charlie's point is spot on the money. There is no enforcement mechanism to oversee these appointments. The Governor, or the Speaker of the House, could appoint Dora Taylor, or Melissa, or Charlie, or Sue Peters, to the Charter Commission, and there wouldn't be jack sh*t anybody could do about it.

So what would such an appointment mean, and why should we pursue it? The answer is M-O-N-E-Y. The Governor, or the Speaker, or the President of the Senate could claim, with plenty of justification, that the Charter Commission needs members whose first loyalty is not to "the concept of charter schools," but to the public purse, and to the rigorous oversight of all public money, and how it is spent. Let someone argue against THAT!

In the best-case scenario, such members could conceivably force transparency requirements onto charter operators that they didn't want. But so what? Why should we settle for ANY compromise to transparency when it comes to our tax dollars, ESPECIALLY for education, and ESPECIALLY since McCleary?

We could claim -- and in fact, we MUST claim -- that despite the language of 1240, the public has the same right to nitpick how charter operators spend our money as we do to nitpick how our ELECTED school boards and PUBLIC schools spend it.

I think we can make quite a bit of headway with this. I have an e-mail in to the Speaker, and will be working on the Governor-elect. Owen is another story, but I think the fiscal transparency argument might well resonate with him, too.

Once more, into the breach? Who's with me?

-- Ivan Weiss
seattle citizen said…
As has been discussed above, Seattle, Washington, and the nation are moving towards Common Core State Standards, to replace our own state's EALRs and GLEs (STATE standards and their subsets)

As was stated, the standards are not a curriculum. But various companies and collectives are designing curricula and templates to be used in delivery of standards in the classroom. Seattle is piloting one, called Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC), which produces templates for use in delivering such instruction. The jury is out on LDC.

It doesn't address Math standards, but certainly various companies are hard at work developing such new curricula.

CCSS is the new, new thing. Parent/guardians should be aware of this, and weigh in on the conversation: Should the nation have one set of standards? Should assessments be standardized across the nation? Should curriculum be standardized to match the standards? Lots of questions, many at the core, the heart, of public education.
Anonymous said…
I'd like to see a list of schools that have abandoned, or are in the process of abandoning, the district mandated math texts.

So far:

North Beach
new K-5 STEM
Schmitz Park
Thornton Creek (?)
Thurgood Marshall
Franklin (?)

Shouldn't this be a red flag to the District? Adopt strong texts, and let schools supplement, rather than supplant the district mandated texts. I wouldn't consider CMP the best choice of what's out there. Not by a longshot. It's not even about a discovery vs traditional debate. The coverage of math concepts simply isn't as comprehensive and complete. A dual adoption sounds like a misuse of limited funds.

math whiner
Unknown said…
Math Whiner, the evidence is out there for all to see. When the district - via Banda - will act on it is another thing.

Yes, LS , I did point this out. The Charter Commission has zero oversight. Not by the people who appoint them, not by the BOE (and I think this may be a source of some agita for them), no one.

And, as you say, no mechanism to remove a low-performer or someone who misuses the office.

I'm thinking that the first Charter Commission will figure all this out for themselves but that seems a little much. Whoever created this initiative certainly left open a lot of doubt and uncertainty.

But I'm sure that was the plan. It might just backfire but that means, as Ivan says, that someone has to fight back.

The WEA did a not-so-great job with their campaign against 1240; let's see what they do now.
Anonymous said…
The first question, before Ivan's, is whether someone is going to file suit against 1240. I mean beyond Randy Dorn.

Anyone know?

mirmac1 said…

If the coalition that made up the No on 1240 campaigns set up an organizing committee I would love to attend and kick in some dough to sue. I see groups representing parents, activists, neighborhoods, community orgs, educators, taxpayers, legislators etc.
suep. said…
I'm with you, Ivan, and thanks.

mirmac, I believe just such a coalition is forming. Here's one element of it: Charter-Watch Washington.
Anonymous said…
I'm not sure about forbidding charter opponents to be on the commission. The state regulations on boards and commissions only states a member must be have an open mind and should Be willing to make compromises. Sounds like an illegal requirement to me.

No lawyer but ...
Math lover said…
@math whiner
Discovery style math is not per se bad. If schools want to change curriculum they can be allowed to do so. The questions to ask are why does more traditional math work better in some schools and why are many schools that use EDM and CMP showing math test scores in the 90's, percentile-wise? Discovery math isn't a plot, it's development is NSF funded and sanctioned bynlargemorganizations like the National Council of Teachers of Mathmatics., 80,000 strong. Let's not get to too simplistic about this subject. Many people way smarter then me and I presume manynofmthe readers here, do not feel discovery-type math is ruining our kids. I would like to see a thoughtful discussion on math choices but for now the district is allowing choice and that's a goodmthing that seems to be working. As usual the district is mum on their reasoning, I wish we could know what they talk about regarding the waivers and their thoughts on math in general. We pay these folks to think about these things and I'm sure they do, maybe they wil share with us someday.
Robyn said…
Melissa, Charlie or anyone else who knows, I have a governance question. Last Spring, the Board adopted and approved transportation standards for this year. The standards are very clear so I don't think there's room for misinterpretation by the Transportation department.

My question is, if the Board adopts and approves standards, whose job is it to make sure the adopted standards are adheared to? The Board says it's not their job.

Please, help me get to the right person. Not adhearing to the adopted standards is costing the District LOTS of money on buses! Meanwhile, transportation takes some kids to their front doors, swim team, music lessons, etc. while our school is losing 1.5 teachers 1/3 of the way into the school year due to having enrollment of 521 kids instead of 525 kids (or something insane like that!).


Maureen said…
Have they replaced the head of transportation yet?
mirmac1 said…
I believe so. Chk the ops comm agenda.
Anonymous said…
Before you assume that EDM and CMP are working for some schools simply because the pass rates on state tests are in the 90's, you have to acknowledge that 1) the pass rate sets a pretty low bar for math proficiency and 2) many parents and teachers supplement the district curriculum.

You can debate until you're blue in the face about discovery vs non-discovery style math. What concerns me is that it's just so darn inefficient. When there is too much discovery style work, it takes up too much time. There are only so many hours in the day and there really needs to be a better balance between allowing exploratory work and covering the basics.

2 cents
Bob W. was at the meeting yesterday so I assume he's the head of Transportation.

Robyn, it's the Superintendent's job to enforce Board policy. If he doesn't, then the Board can call him to task (but Board's rarely do). I'd say go to the media.

Ed Voter, even if there are those who are going take legal action, I'm sure they wouldn't broadcast it here.
suep. said…
Regarding Common Core, is everyone aware that the district is apparently slipping in Common Core based testing in a few schools this year?

Apparently some school administrators have "volunteered" their student populations as guinea pigs in a pilot of this mysterious CCS-based test.

Parents/guardians were not consulted or asked permission for this.

And this will be in addition to MSP and MAP testing.

The two schools I know of whose principals (and possibly some teachers) have volunteered for this new regimen of testing on their students include APP/Lincoln and John Stanford International elementary schools.

Neither one is a typical population (one is the gifted program the other is language immersion) so this will almost certainly skew results.

I have heard that when Bellevue tested out Discovering math and Holt for high school, the Discovering books were placed disproportionately in high achieving schools to potentially skew results in favor of that text.

Someone called foul on that and in the end, Bellevue rejected Discovering for Holt.

I have also heard that the person behind the Common Core test is the same guy who created WASL.

I have asked my child's principal for a clear explanation for how and why our school was chosen for this, and did not get one. I have also asked our Executive Director, Nancy Coogan, for an explanation and details. No response.

Whatever is going on in Seattle with Common Core pilot testing, one thing is certain: No one is publicizing or explaining it.

Anyone know what's going on?
ML said…
@ 2 cents

Totally agree. The best teachers(and parents who are able and willing) supplement. What we want is kids to be able to understand math as much as possible, learn how to learn math, learn to not fear math and prepare those who will learn advanced math in HS or college. Not an easy task for teachers and I applaud those many teachers who manage to do it. Ive always felt it was asking a lot of teachers to learn the new curricula but when they do, it gives them another arrow in their quiver. To just dump it seems a waste of all the time spent learning by staff.
n said…
For the record, Charlie, the post at 9:51 11/15 was mine also. I swear I put my n in the name/url field but it may have dropped out the third or fourth Capcha try. I was rather proud of myself for having remembered to do it.

Sorry it ended up being unsigned as it was commenting on the report card-conference issue which has come up at our school as well. I'll be more careful next time.

I like having report cards with conferences so that I can return to school in January and get started finally teaching without distraction. I think teachers have so many non-teaching items on their plates these days, it feels like you can't really focus on what is important.
Charlie Mas said…
Robyn, I happen to believe that it is the Board's responsibility to enforce policy. Board members, when you speak to them individually, will acknowledge this. But when you speak to them as a group they become non-responsive.

Enforcing policy is EVERYONE'S job, but since so many of the policies are directed at the superintendent it simply isn't possible to expect the superintendent to police himself. In addition, all policy work is governance work. It is the Board's job. Meet with them on Saturday at their community meetings and demand that they enforce the policy.

If the Board's policies are not enforced, then the policies are pointless. If the policies are pointless, then the policy-making body is pointless.

The Board can write policy, but if they do not enforce policy, then they have not made policy.

Any member of the Board can individually enforce policy. They don't need a majority vote of the Board to do it since the policy already has a majority vote of the Board. That's how the policy was adopted.
Anonymous said…

There is more info here on the Common Core Testing currently being piloted in some of Seattle's schools. This test (Smarter Balanced) is going to replace the MSP in 2014-2015.

I'm assuming/hoping that it will also replace MAP? In addition to being an annual assessment, it includes smaller/strategic assessment components that can be given to measure student progress on the CC standards throughout the year.

But seriously, they are calling this new assessment, "Smarter Balanced." That might possibly be the worst named test in the history of education.

seattle citizen said…
LDC, Literacy Design Collaborative - now being tried out in SPS. A way to turn national standards into national curriculum.

Did some research, turns out LDC is, wait for it, a Gates product:

“Literacy Design Collaborative Design Team, a national effort to improve secondary-level literacy with partners such as The National Paideia Center, the National Writing Project, Metametrics, Measured Progress, Jobs for the Future, Batelle, New Visions for Public Schools and various state education departments and school disricts”
MetaMetrics® is focused on improving education for learners of all ages. We develop scientific measures of academic achievement and complementary technologies that link assessment results with real-world instruction. Using Data to Predict and Improve Student Outcomes… Digital Test Delivery: Empowering Accessible Test Design to Increase Test Validity for All Students… Minimizing Testing Irregularities in Large Scale Assessment Programs
Marilyn Crawford
Marilyn Crawford currently operates TimeWise Schools LC, a decision-support consulting group working with schools, districts, and state departments of education across the country. She has extensive experience in leading secondary school reform as well as in supporting reform-minded educators in a variety of roles, and specializes in maximizing school-level efficiency and effectiveness in use of secondary resources. She has a PhD in education leadership from Vanderbilt University.

Session II
The Artful Use of Infrastructure: Using Time and Resources Differently
On the surface, designing a master schedule seems routine. Underneath the task, however, sits a complex and intertwined system of decision making that affects everything a school tries to do. The TimeWise Master Schedule Audit is an unprecedented effort to understand how resources are used as instructional strategy, starting with the classroom and building up to school and district viewpoints. This “inside-out” strategy of examining the master schedule for clues --using decisions about time, courses, staff and students as data-- has the potential to help districts make smarter resource allocation and policy decisions, and to help schools use resources efficiently and effectively for teaching and learning.
Marilyn Crawford, Founder, TimeWise

Crawford is on the board of:
Educurious™ is on a mission to reduce our nation’s high school dropout rates. Our project-based curriculum connects students to real issues they care about and equips them with the lifelong learning skills for success. Our courses deliver on Common Core Standards via our web platform, which fosters collaboration among students, teachers and our global network of real-world Experts. Together, we’re creating the 21st-century education that our kids and our country need to thrive in a fast-changing world - list of founders, including venture capital, gaming, Microsoft…

Stacy Galiatsos, a member of the LDC Design Team, is responsible for managing strategic partnerships, supporting technical assistance and co-authoring materials. Most recently, Stacy served as the Chief of Staff at New Visions for Public Schools and as an education consultant to various organizations including New Visions, Expeditionary Learning, New York City Department of Education, Portland Public Schools (OR), and the Pennsylvania Department of Education, among others. Stacy is a former district administrator and high school English teacher New Visions is an Edu-management company in NYC
Anonymous said…
To just dump it seems a waste of all the time spent learning by staff.

Aack. That's a terrible reason to keep something that isn't really working for many kids. How about adopting solid programs that don't require a lot of teacher training?
n said…
The agenda notes that the literacy/science connection has been developed by UC Berkeley Lawrence Hall of Science and they have done some excellent work in the past. Teachers College at Columbia is the writing curriculum we are currently using at elementary. It is working but only for some things. Mostly narrative although some people would argue that because we have developed units in research and non-fiction. However, Lawrence Hall may be able to contribute mightily in an effort to improving curriculum.

I'm willing to wait and see.
Anonymous said…
I happen to believe that it is the Board's responsibility to enforce policy.

So, what exactly are they supposed to do to enforce policy? If a board member sees somebody breaking a board policy, what can he/she do? Should the offender be fired? What else is there really that the board can do. If there isn't anything - well, then that must not really be their job.

Charlie Mas said…
reader asks an excellent question:

"If a board member sees somebody breaking a board policy, what can he/she do?"

While the Board has the duty to enforce policy, they have no process for it. Fortunately, they don't need one. All the Board members needs to do is send the superintendent a message - preferably by email so it is documented - that says:

"Mr. Banda,

You are out of compliance with policy 2200, Equitable Access to Programs and Services, because your quarterly report did not address upcoming program placement decisions, such as the relocation of The NOVA Project to the Mann building and the relocation of the World School to the TT Minor building. Please amend your report so it complies with the policy by the end of business on Friday or advise me of why you will not.

Thank you,
[Board member]"

No process is necessary. No mechanism. No job- or career-threatening action. All that is needed is for a Board member to bring it to the superintendent's attention and set a timeline for compliance or ask for a reason why compliance is not possible.
dan dempsey said…
Suep at 1:53 wrote:

I have heard that when Bellevue tested out Discovering math and Holt for high school, the Discovering books were placed disproportionately in high achieving schools to potentially skew results in favor of that text.

Someone called foul on that and in the end, Bellevue rejected Discovering for Holt.

The someone did more than call foul...

A PhD. computer scientist, software developer,... took Bellevue district's own pilot data and showed that the District Staff had inaccurately analyzed the data and he demonstrated that the results showed Holt to be superior.

Remember most education decisions at high levels are made via tribal politics.

The Everyday Math data that I presented to Santorno and the Board prior to the EDM adoption showed it to be an inferior program.

Santorno increased EDM math time to 75 minutes per day and scores still got worse on the Math WASL. She now pushes Algebra for all 8th graders in Tacoma. The fact she is superintendent in Tacoma shows how absurd the selection of superintendents can be in some places. I believe that placing students who are performing at the lowest level .. MSP Math level 1 into Algebra in grade 8 degrades Algebra quality and does very little for those students. Perhaps a double dose of math may improve the students overall math performance but it does not make "8th grade Algebra for all" a rational decision.

Tacoma 8th Grade Math pass rates
Year ........... District State (Gap vs State)

2009-10 MSP 35.0% 51.6% (-16.6%)
2010-11 MSP 34.9% 50.4% (-15.5%)
2011-12 MSP 38.6% 55.5% (-16.9%)

percent of 8th graders scoring at level 1 (well below standard)

Tacoma 8th Grade Math percent at level 1
Year ........... District State ( Gap vs State)

2009-10 MSP 39.4% 25.5% (+13.9%)
2010-11 MSP 39.2% 25.6% (+13.6%)
2011-12 MSP 37.3% 23.8% (+13.5%)

Does it really make any sense to put all students in 8th grade algebra in Tacoma?

Look at the MSP grade 7 Math performance

Tacoma 7th Grade Math pass rates
Year ........... District State (Gap vs State)

2009-10 MSP 33.9% 55.3% (-22.4%)
2010-11 MSP 38.2% 57.0% (-18.8%)
2011-12 MSP 42.8% 59.2% (-16.4%)

percent of 7th graders scoring at level 1 (well below standard)

Tacoma 7th Grade Math percent at level 1
Year ........... District State (Gap vs State)

2009-10 MSP 43.4% 24.3% (+19.1%)
2010-11 MSP 40.3% 23.2% (+17.1%)
2011-12 MSP 33.6% 21.0% (+12.6%)

pass rate change in cohort from 7th to 8th
7th 2010 - 33.6% to 34.9% - 8th 2011 (+1.3%)
7th 2011 - 38.2% to 38.6% - 8th 2012 (+0.4%)

pass rate change in cohort from 7th to 8th
7th 2010 - 55.3% to 50.4% - 8th 2011 (-4.9%)
7th 2011 - 57.0% to 55.5% - 8th 2012 (-1.5%)

level 1 change in cohort from 7th to 8th
7th 2010 - 43.4% to 39.2% - 8th 2011 (-4.2%)
7th 2011 - 40.3% to 37.3% - 8th 2012 (-3.0%)

level 1 change in cohort from 7th to 8th
7th 2010 - 24.3% to 25.6% - 8th 2011 (+1.3%)
7th 2011 - 23.2% to 23.8% - 8th 2012 (+0.6%)

Algebra EoC pass rates are below =>
dan dempsey said…

Algebra EoC pass rates for 8th graders
8th Grade EOC Math 1
Year State
2010-11 EOC M1 83.8%
2011-12 EOC M1 85.7%

2012 Level 4: 53.5%
2012 Level 3: 31.8%
2012 Level 2 8.9%
2012 Level 1 5.9%

State Tested 21,227 with Algebra EoC for first time 8th grade Algebra takers....out of 79,146 enrolled 8th graders. About 25%
Algebra EoC pass rates for 8th graders

8th Grade EOC Math 1
Year State
2010-11 EOC M1 37.7%
2011-12 EOC M1 46.4%

2012 Level 4: 19.3%
2012 Level 3: 26.8%
2012 Level 2: 21.6%
2012 Level 1: 32.0%

State Tested 1,768 with Algebra EoC for first time 8th grade Algebra takers....out of 2,033 enrolled 8th graders. About 85%.

The above "Algebra for all" is typical of extremely poor decisions that are pushed in the education system.

Without adequate support and effective interventions "MOST STUDENTS CAN NOT RISE TO MEET INCREASED EXPECTATIONS". --- Tacoma nonsense is a prime example.
Linh-Co said…
The Gates Foundation also funded the creation and development of the Common Core State Standards with a hundred million dollars. How convenient of them to now provide curriculum for the National Standards for our school districts to buy.
marufhosen said…
I am interested in working together. Take a look at what I have done and I'll do the same
Tacoma Roofing

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