Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Race to the Top Winner: Puget Sound ESD

The Puget Sound Educational Service District was one of the 13 winner in the latest round of Race to the Top.


Trish Millines Dziko said...

I just wanted to say we at TAF are really excited about this grant. The Community Center for Education Results spent three years getting families, districts, schools, businesses, community agencies and higher ed all on one page (now known as the Road Map Project). That was no easy feat. Before this grant, there were small Road Map Project efforts underway with limited resources. Now this grant will help move those things forward and get others off the ground.

I have participated in many collaborative efforts and this is the first one that truly included everyone and was not a top down approach. That's why it took so long, but it's going to stick.

I hope that folks can get behind this and help bring a better education to the students in the Road Map Project region.

suep. said...

I will withhold judgment until I see how the money is spent. If it is earmarked for the same kind of top-down, federally mandated and discredited corporate ed reforms that the original "Race to Top" extortion scheme pushed -- like merit pay, charter schools, high-stakes standardized testing -- then I will not be raising any toasts to this 'win.'
Anyone know which company gets the online learning contract?
And what was promised in order to qualify for these funds?

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'll have to read the application but yes, I think this is a good thing for a couple of reasons.

One, it was a joint effort which means no one district. I like districts working together towards a common goal.

Two, this was in process and in the approval process BEFORE charters were passed. Previously you had to have charters or were heavily dinged. Naysayers like the Washington Policy Center and the Times said Washington State would never get these funds. They were wrong.

Thanks Trish for that input. I feel better that I know some of the people involved. Trish knows her community.

I had to smile when I read that Mary Jean Ryan, the lead on the Road Map Project, said that she screamed. Mary Jean is a pretty quiet person so clearly, she was happy.

But yes, it will be important to continue to follow this project as it progresses.

Trish Millines Dziko said...

The Road Map Project is truly run from the ground, which is why it has taken three years to really take hold as a true collective impact effort.

There is no Ed Reform jargon, no talk of charters, etc. Everyone is working within the current confines of the system and bringing much needed resources for the region.

I somewhat understand the skepticism, but really hope that people see this for what it is and not spend time trying to figure out the conspiracy or whatever.

There are some good people working on this and every single Superintendent has bought into the level of change that is needed to get the work done. What they need now is support to help the principals, teachers and families through implementation.

Dora said...

According to the Road Map Project website:

1. Minimum federal requirements – these must be met to be eligible for the grant:

Strong focus on personalizing education (not sure what this means, computer based "learning"?)

Stronger teacher, principal and superintendent evaluations by 2014 (I know what this means.)

Complete implementation of Common Core State Standards by the 2014-15 school year (even if the CCS are in some subjects lower than what we have now in WA state?)

Transparent reporting of data and school-level expenditures.

I'm with Sue on this. So far nothing good has come out of Arne Duncan's initiatives. I hope for Seattle students something positive comes out of this.

And yes, I am also curious who is going to cash in on online learning in our state.


Dora said...

This road map is data intensive and will take all of the grant money just to track the following items as indicated on the Road Map's website. (I wonder who has this contract sewn up

Road Map On-Track Indicators

The following is a list of the Road Map Project on-track indicators. These are reported annually against specific targets.

% of children ready to succeed in school by kindergarten
% of students who are proficient in:
3rd grade reading
4th grade math
5th grade science
6th grade reading
7th grade math
8th grade science
% of students triggering Early Warning Indicator 1*
% of students triggering Early Warning Indicator 2*
% of students who graduate high school on time
% of graduating high school students meeting minimum requirements to apply to a Washington state 4-year college
% of students at community and technical colleges enrolling in pre-college coursework
% of students who enroll in postsecondary education by age 24
% of students continuing past the first year of postsecondary
% students who earn a post-secondary credential by age 24

* Early warning indicators are for 6th and 9th grade students. EW1: Six or more absences and one or more course failure(s). EW2: One or more suspension(s) or expulsion(s)
Other Indicators to be Reported

The following is a list of the Road Map Project contributing indicators. These are reported annually or whenever possible, but do not have specific targets. These contributing indicators combined with the on-track indicators make up the full list of Road map Project indicators.

% of children born weighing less than 5.5 pounds
% of eligible children enrolled in select formal early learning programs
% of licensed childcare centers meeting quality criteria
% of families reading to their children daily
% of children meeting age-level expectations at the end of preschool
% of children enrolled in full-day kindergarten
% of students taking algebra by the 8th grade
% of students passing the exams required for high school graduation
% of English language learning students making progress in learning English
% of students taking one or more Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses
% of students absent 20 or more days per year
% of students who make a non-promotional school change
% of students motivated and engaged to succeed in school
% of students attending schools with low state achievement index ratings
% of females age 15-17 giving birth
% of 8th graders reporting select risk factors on the Healthy Youth Survey
% of students exhibiting 21st century skills
% of students who graduate high school by age 21
% of high school graduates completing a formal career and technical education program
% of eligible students who complete the College Bound application by the end of 8th grade
% of graduating College Bound students who have completed the FAFSA
% of students who directly enroll in postsecondary education
% of students who did not complete high school on time who achieve a postsecondary credential
% of students employed within 1 and 5 years of completing or leaving postsecondary education, including wage

So when does educating our students begin to happen?


Dora said...

I'm asking these questions because it doesn't seem that anyone else is. That said, will this help us in Seattle at all with our $17M shortfall?

Will this get us much needed counselors, smaller class sizes or safer school buildings?

How much more testing will be involved to get all of the required "data" on students?

For the additional testing that will be required, is that covered in this grant money?

Hopefully someone has these answers and will be able to provide them here.


Dora said...

"There are some good people working on this and every single Superintendent has bought into the level of change that is needed to get the work done."

Enfield bought into it and Goodloe-Johnson bought into it or brought it with her. I remember her mentioning it in a board meeting when she was here. Banda is not on your list so I wouldn't imply that ALL supe's bought into this.


Trish Millines Dziko said...

Dora, although I'm not in an official capacity to answer your questions, I will tell you what I know in response to your questions/concerns.

Most of the indicators are being track now by various entities including the feds, state, districts and community agencies. The Road Map Project (RMP) folks spent well over a year pulling in all that data for the RMP region and figuring out how to make that data follow each kid so when the kids move from district to district (which happens often) the receiving district has something to work from.

There is no new testing in the works. Districts may want to beef up their current interim assessments, but nobody is suggesting new end of year testing.

Each of the seven districts is committed to the RMP regardless of who the superintendent is, so while this happened before Banda, he is committed to seeing it through.

From what I understand, and I can be wrong, there are no vendors chosen and no contracts promised or signed.

I hope this helps. For more official answers to anyone's questions, contact Mary Jean Ryan.

mirmac1 said...

As usual, there's no emphasis on ensuring students in special education get either a) modified assessment; or modified curriculum and equal outcomes.

seattle citizen said...

While I appreciate Trish's optimism (and thank her again for her individualized attention to student need through her work at TAF) I fear that rather than helping individual students up, many aspects of this program serve instead to mechanize, standardize, digitize, and otherwise continue the trend towards packaged curriculum and assessment.

As noted by others, some of the strands of this grant represent the usual "reform" agenda: On-line, CCSS, et al.

While there is certainly something to be said for some aspects of these things, their placement in a grand and bureaucratic endeavor all but guarantees the whole system will be jerked willy-nilly into these sorts of machines. For there is no doubt that machines they be.
Taylorism is overcoming education - "scientific" management of all aspects. We see that in the calls for "data," in the Danielson Framework, in online systems, in CCSS - everything identified and put in its place. Someone said that anything that can measured isn't worth measuring, and they are right: Heart, civility, even knowledge at its root, can't be measured, yet the "reform" systems will measure it, anyway, and make it theirs. With concurrent profit, for some...
Yes, there are some valuable tools in this grant, but as a package it is, even merely because it is a RTTT product, tainted with the smell of "the system," in this instance the federalized "reform" system, and systems aren't educators, people are.

Dora said...

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."

Attributed to Einstein

Dora said...

I noticed on the Gates Foundation website that Gates contributed $3M to CCER over the last year. Some of that money was specifically tagged for the Road Map submittal.

Did it cost $3M to provide all of the information that was required?

According to how I am reading the information on the CCER website, the extensive list of information as shown above will be required again each year that grant money is received.

Does that mean that each year millions of dollars will need to be spent again just to provide the government, or whoever else can get their hands on it, with this information?

If so, when do we start to use the money to educate our children providing them with necessary resources and an enriched curriculum?


Dora said...

Let's do some math here.

The Puget Sound Educational Service District is made up of 35 school districts:

Auburn School District

Bainbridge Island School District

Bellevue School District

Bethel School District

Carbonado School District

Clover Park School District

Dieringer School District

Eatonville School District

Enumclaw School District

Federal Way School District

Fife School District

Franklin Pierce School District

Highline School District

Issaquah School District

Kent School District

Lake Washington School District

Mercer Island School District

Northshore School District

Orting School District

Peninsula School District

Puyallup School District

Renton School District

Riverview School District

Seattle Public Schools

Shoreline School District

Skykomish School District

Snoqualmie Valley School District

Steilacoom Hist. School District

Sumner School District

Tacoma School District

Tahoma School District

Tukwila School District

University Place School District

Vashon Island School District

White River School District

And the grant award was for $40M.

That is a little over $1M per district.

That's what it will cost just to get together the "data' every year.

What am I missing?


Dora said...

Under reviewer comments for this grant:

Puget Sound was able to document sufficient autonomy and state support for the changes proposed. The state allows Alternative Education plans that individualize or personalize educational experiences that may include parent partnerships,
online courses and other approaches.

There it is...online learning, the cash cow of ed reform.


Dora said...

Here it is again in the comments:

All students would have the chance to enroll in distance or blended learning programs.

"Blended learning programs" is the phrase used for online learning.

Isn't it ironic that Don Neilson is all set up and waiting to cash in on his investment in our state with his online learning company.


Dora said...

By the way teachers, your salaries, along with all other financial information, will now be up on the district's website for all to see. All in the name of "transparency".


Dora said...

According to the comment section of the Department of Education website, the district has agreed to include student test scores in the evaluation of teachers. Which test? The MAP test that was not designed to be used in that fashion? If not, yet another standardized test?

Dora said...

According to the Seattle Times the money includes an "online math program for elementary and middle students in low-income neighborhoods." Wouldn't real life tutors be a far better approach?

Dora said...

One last comment and I'm done.

So out of the 35 school districts that make up the Puget Sound Educational District, 7 districts applied and "won" the money.

As I just posted on Seattle Ed:

According to newspaper reports only 7 out of the above 35 districts will be receiving the grant money. Seattle Public Schools was one of the “winners”.

As always with Race to the Top, there are winners and there are losers.