District Updates

From the Times about the West Seattle robberies of Denny students:

Seattle police believe they may have caught at least one teen connected to the armed muggings and beatings of West Seattle middle-schoolers earlier this week.

When officers approached a dozen teens hanging out around 4 p.m. today near Roxhill Park, where the armed robberies took place, several of them took off running. Officers chased after them and caught eight, all between 14 and 18 years of age.

One 18-year-old was arrested and booked into King County Jail because of a gun and box of ammo in a car he’d been driving. The seven other teens were released, but police say they’re continuing to examine any links between them and recent robberies in the area.

The Stranger Slog is reporting that Salmon Bay K-8 has dropped out of the MAP boycott.   They surmised, (and I believe rightly so) that their middle school could lose funding via the Families and Education levy for their middle school activities.  (The City wants more accountability of the money spent and thus is tying scores to funding.  I suspect many more schools might join the boycott if not for this funding issue.)

Meanwhile, Thornton Creek teachers join the chorus of schools that support those who are boycotting the MAP.   From their open letter (partial):

We, the teachers at Thornton Creek Elementary, voice our wholehearted support for our colleagues around the Seattle School District who are refusing to give the MAP test. We are continuing to take time from teaching to proctor the test at Thornton Creek because we are making a good faith effort to continue our eighteen month negotiation with the District to replace the MAP with an assessment that is more relevant and humane to our students. This decision was made the afternoon we learned of Garfields action. Our continued administration of MAP should in no way be construed as approval of this flawed and expensive test.

Our experiences and research confirm our belief that the MAP inadequately evaluates students’ knowledge, diverts a lot of time and resources from the school, and narrows the scope of a quality education. 

Teachers in Seattle were told the test would inform instruction. This is false: MAP is not helpful. The MAP does not evaluate what is being taught in our classrooms and does not give teachers feedback that could help us understand individual student needs. Teachers don’t know what is on the test and which questions a student got right or wrong resulting in baffling scores. 

We object to the time and money the MAP takes away from curriculum and instruction. Teachers, librarians, and administrators are spending lots of time to develop testing schedules, troubleshoot ongoing network problems, and update the computers in time for the test administration.  Sometimes
building funds are used to hire proctors to administer the test since funds were not supplied by the district. 

We strongly urge the Seattle School Board to direct District staff to discontinue the MAP and consult with teachers to find more appropriate measures of academic progress. The conversation about MAP at Thornton Creek is not over and we thank the Garfield faculty for strengthening our conviction for the work to come.

If you go to either Patu's or DeBell's Community Meetings today, use this thread to let us know about the discussion.  


mirmac1 said…
I find the issue of MAP for FEL "performance indicator" to be troubling. As you can see from these memos (before and after massaging the message), SPS is using MAP for FEL only because they said they would. Is it in the MOU with the City? Use it even if they know it's not valid?

"With regard to using MAP for FEL indicators, this plan has been negotiated for several months by Brad Bernatek, Michael Tolley and Ruth Mdsker. This case does not appear to meet the criteria above, hoever, prior commitments have been made to the City of Seattle to use MAP as a performance indicator. I recommned ensuring that more than one point of data is used so MAP is not a high-stakeds accountability tool, as we had promised to our stakeholders."

MAP uses, Before and After
Ridiculous said…
I would also like to inform readers that we use our PTA funds to keep computers running for this ridiculous test.
Maureen said…
At one of the community meeting for the Art grant (Wallace family?) SPS received, a staffer told me that they weren't able to access FEL money for after school art programs anymore because there was no standardized test connected to art.
Anonymous said…
I'm laughing at how many times you keep misspelling ThorNton. };->

-- Ivan Weiss
Damn, that's right. I just can't get that one through my head.
Jamie said…
Maureen, that is so depressing. I cannot believe that after school programs are subject to standardized tests now. What purpose does that serve? Ugh.
Anonymous said…

Blame it on Holly Miller, Tim Burgess, and their clan's zeal for relevance and propensity for maximal suck-up factor.

FEL Payola
Anonymous said…
Maureen, that is false. There absolutely IS A STANDARDIZED TEST for art. I know because I came to my kids school and he was taking it out in the hall. I asked the art teacher about it and she said she had to give that by law. Its the CBA. Afterschool programs have no such requirement.

Maureen said…
gg, I actually knew that too (my kids took it) and should have been clearer. The art staffer must have known that as well, so I assume the issue is that SPS doesn't administer a MAP or WASL/HSPE in art? The FEL grant money seems to be linked to specific exams. The workshops on evaluating results seem to reference RIT scores, so I'm guessing they require the MAP? (Of course exposure to art could raise math and reading MAP scores as well, but the staffer seemed to think that the FEL framework wouldn't allow that for this year at least.) Maybe someone who knows about this first hand could weigh in?

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