Friday Open Thread

What a week.  Confusion over the interim plan for the next school year, GHS teachers/staff take a stand against MAP and a chance of snow flurries? 

Support GHS teachers (and encourage other SPS teachers/staff) to say no to MAP at their Facebook page.  

Don't forget the following activities this weekend:

Saturday, January 12th
  • Kick-off for Schools First campaign for the SPS operations and capital levies (Props 1 and 2) from 10:30-11:30 am at McKinstry's Innnovation Center (just sw of Costco), 210 S. Hudson St.
  • Director Carr Community Meeting from 8:30-10 am at Bethany Community Church, 8023 Green Lake Dr North - Main Sancutary Bld, Classroom A
  • Director Martin-Morris Community Meeting from 9:30-11:30 am at Diva Espresso, 8013 Lake City Way NE
    Director McLaren Community Meeting from 10:15am - 12:15 pm at Delridge Library, 5423 Delridge Way SW
Sunday, January 13th
  • Washington Ceasefire march/rally starting at 1:30 p.m.  We will walk from Westlake Park to Seattle Center.   Will the price of "freedom" be your child's life?  Show up and show your support.   
Good story from Crosscut about an urban farm in Rainier Beach where Rainier Valley high school students are actively participating.

Rainier Beach High School student, Khadijo, signed on when a representative from Seattle Tilth, the leading boots-on-the ground project partner, came to her nutrition class to recruit students for a work-study project in growing and cooking organic food and restoring the wetland. “And I asked myself what’s in our food, like what do we eat? Like what’s in it? I want to know what’s the difference between organic and non-organic.” This morning it’s Khadijo’s turn to remove invasive blackberries and reed canary grass from the heart of the wetlands, a long wide ditch that drains into Lake Washington, while others learn the art of organic cooking in the community kitchen. 
For Abner, a student from South Lake High School, the motivation is about gaining job experience — all students are paid through a city job training program called “STEP” or Student Teen Employment Program. “My Dad used to do this, so I knew this was going to help me in the future. It will be good for my resume in the future so I can get a job.”


Lori said…
Ceasefire indicated on their Facebook page that WEA President Mary Lindquist will be among the speakers making brief statements at the rally on Sunday.

I do believe that as public school parents, gun safety is an issue we can no longer ignore, and I'm interested to hear her take on the matter.

Even if you can't march, consider showing up at the Mural Amphitheater (after the Seahawks game!) at around 215PM for the rally.

Even if you aren't sure where you stand on specific legislation, like the assault weapons ban that Senator Murray will be proposing in 2013, you can still come just to show support for reducing gun violence in general.

We need to get the conversation going. We need Olympia to notice. This is our best hope of getting gun safety on the agenda in 2013. But we need turnout.
Anonymous said…
I think a rally in support of the position taken by Garfield teachers on MAP testing would be wonderful.

-- Dan Dempsey
Eric B said…
I find it just a tad ridiculous that a kickoff rally for education levies is being held in the heart of the SoDo industrial area on a Saturday. I can't think of a worse place for this rally in terms of visibility or accessibility.
Eric M said…
Ballard staff letter concerning the MAP test

The MAP test is a resource expensive and cash expensive program in a district with very finite financial resources,
The MAP test is not used in practice to inform student instruction,
The MAP test is not connected to our curricula,
The MAP test has been repurposed by district administration to form part of a teacher’s evaluation, which is contrary to the purposes it was designed for, as stated by its purveyor, making it part of junk science,
The MAP test has also been repurposed for student placement in courses and programs, for which it was not designed,
The MAP test was purchased under corrupt crony-ist circumstances (Our former superintendent, while employed by SPS sat on the corporation board of NWEA, the purveyor of the MAP test. This was undisclosed to her employer. The initial MAP test was purchased in a no-bid, non-competitive process)
The MAP test was and remains unwanted and unneeded and unsolicited by SPS professional classroom educators, those who work directly with students,
The MAP test is not taken seriously by students, (They don’t need the results for graduation, for applications, for course credit, or any other purpose, so they routinely blow it off.)
The MAP test’s reported testing errors are greater than students’ expected growth,
The technology administration of the MAP test has serious flaws district wide which waste students’ time,

We, the undersigned educators from Ballard High School do hereby support statements and actions of our colleagues at Garfield High School surrounding the MAP test. Specifically, the MAP test program throughout Seattle Public Schools ought to be shut down immediately. It has been and continues to be an embarrassing mistake. Continuing it even another day, let alone another month or year or decade, will not turn this sow’s ear into a silk purse.
Anonymous said…
Well, what about it BHS? Why stop there? Follow the lead of GHS. Now, that would really be a statement.

"Where as'es" only go so far.

-Ballard resident
mirmac1 said…
Next I would like the entire Ballard staff to decry the rip-off of special ed money by your ethically-challenged principal. How can you condone that? Is it so the rest of you can have classrooms with few, if any, sped students? Or is it that those students with mild learning disabilities don't really need a good education and the services in their IEPs? Love to see a press conference on that illegal practice.
Anonymous said…
Wow. The only think more reliable than Dan bringing MGJ is Mirmac hijacking a thread to dis Ballard. Good thing at this point, you only continue to discredit yourself with your witch hunt.

- north west parent.
Nick Esparza said…
Marty McLaren The Worst Board Director Hands Down
word said…
While we're on the subject of Ballard (!) the Nordic Heritage Center will be screening a documentary on education in Finland as part of their Nordic Lights film festival:

It will be at noon on Saturday Jan. 19th, Information is pasted below:

Finland - Documentary
The Finland Phenomenon 60 min.
Directed by Sean T. Faust

Finland’s education system has consistently ranked among the best in the world for more than a decade. The puzzle is, why Finland? In this film, Dr. Tony Wagner guides the viewer through an inside look at the world’s finest secondary education system. A life-long educator and author of the best-selling book The Global Achievement Gap, Wagner is uniquely qualified to explore and explain Finland’s success.

From within classrooms and through interviews with students, teachers, parents, administrators, and government officials, Wagner reveals the surprising factors accounting for Finland’s rank as the #1 education system in the world.
Eric M said…
From the Garfield PTSA Board:
From the Garfield High School PTSA Board Members. Written by President, Phil Sherburne

You may have seen in the news that the Garfield teachers have decided that they are no longer going to give the MAP tests to 9th grade students at Garfield. These are tests that are given three times during the 9th grade year to assess a student’s performance level in reading and math and their progress during the course of the year. These tests have nothing to do with a student’s grades or their progress toward graduation. The test results are just information for the teachers and the school district.

However, because the tests have no consequences for the student, many students do not take them seriously. As a result the test results do not really measure a student’s knowledge level. Teachers also object because the tests are not connected to what is being taught in the classroom and they take up a lot of time. Further, the teachers are concerned that the test results might be used to evaluate teachers which they believe would be inappropriate. The teachers believe that the grades the students are earning in the classroom are much better measures of the student’s knowledge level and educational progress.

The Garfield PTSA shares the concerns of the teachers at Garfield with the MAP testing and supports termination of these tests. There are many students who start the 9th grade who cannot perform 9th grade level math and english work. Some students are far behind. The real issue is what the school district is going to do, starting early in a student’s educational life, to help as many students as possible perform at grade level. A major effort to get students to grade level performance and to keep them there through graduation requires a focus and resources that we have not seen from the District or the Legislature. It is this focus on improving student achievement and providing the resources to accomplish it that deserves all our attention.
montag said…
I am fairly certain that in the fall either the school board or some district administrator, perhaps the new superintendent, decided to not renew the contract with NWEA for SPS. If this is true it means that the district has already decided to not continue MAP testing in the future. I agree with the idea of questioning any type of educational practice that isn't worthy of valuable time and resources, but if the district isn't going to continue MAP testing I question the use of resources for this protest. But perhaps my memory is faulty or sources were faulty when I heard the district was stopping MAP testing. Maybe someone at GHS should look into this before spending any more time and resources on their protest.
Eric M said…
MAP testing continues apace RIGHT NOW, montag.
No investigation required.
mirmac1 said…
witch hunt nw parent? Speaks volumes. I've fought more battles against MAP than you ever will. Too bad you don't care to do the same for other people's children. Frankly, the sham at Ballard speaks volumes, for those who give a damn, my pretty.
MAP skeptic said…
The district decided to move to 2x a year - Winter and Spring - rather than 3x a year. If students didn't have a Spring '12 MAP score they were tested in Fall '12 (with little or no notice to parents). Schools could opt to test students in the Fall, but the Winter and Spring testing continues. They need 2 scores for teacher evaluations. In an effort to keep my children's scores from being used for teacher evaluations, I try to make sure they aren't tested more than once in a year.
Anonymous said…

Protesting the MAP actually takes *less* time than giving it.

Teachers who do not have to give it and students who do not have to take it are still affected. All computer labs (including the library as a whole) are off limits for class use, researching and studying when the MAP test is being given.

Some students are pulled out of non-MAP testing classes in order to take it. This means those students get behind in their classwork. It doesn't matter that the student was supposed to take a test or complete a lab.

--Old School Music
Anonymous said…
Yes - My child was pulled out of a science lab this fall to take the MAP test, which then meant make-up work for class. I was not happy, nor was my child. We have since opted out.

-Go Garfield
Anonymous said…
So, MAP is bad 'cause it:
Takes up valuable instruction time
Is used for things it was meant for
Costs too much
Does not match curriculum

Three or four hours a year? Come on, cancel a boring assembly or two
Sounds efficient to use for extra purposes
SPS wastes more on keeping crappynteachers "busy" at the no work sites
Teachers can't teach to the test? I thought we all didn't like that
The union screwed up and put it in the contract. Teachers should find a way to weed out dead wood that is better. I've always found it ridiculous that as a teacher gets older, more burnt out and sometimes downright cynical; they make more money. The youngbloods who are fired up and energetic get half the pay of some of these oldsters. Not saying old is bad, some veterans are fantastic, but many aren't.

My four cents
Anonymous said…
In LASD (Los Angeles) 292 teachers are being "housed" awaiting investigation at an administrative site. Salary for teachers- 1.4 million a month; salary for subs 865,000-again- per month. How many in SPS? Good point, 4 cents.

Maureen said…
In an effort to keep my children's scores from being used for teacher evaluations, I try to make sure they aren't tested more than once in a year.

I've thought of this, but worry that pulling my kid from the stats would make the teacher look worse. I wonder what happens to the stats if a kid skips the winter MAP (zero score) and then takes the Spring one(infinite growth!).

Four cents, time to do some math: "three hours" PER KID per year (actually probably more than twelve hours given math AND reading exams AND transitions AND the fact that they can take as long as they need)= how many people hours at a school like Garfield? 4000+? And that doesn't even include the impact on the kids who are taking the test, but can't access the library and/or computer lab during testing hours, OR the time teachers are expected to spend compiling and interpreting the exam result.

If MAP provided useful feedback then it might be worth it, but why tie up all those hours for something that doesn't provide meaningful information (for 9th graders at least)?
Anonymous said…
maureen, i hate to quibble but one could multiply a one minute pledge of allegiance per school day by 45,000 students in the district and get, what,over 13 years of time per school year spent on the red, white and blue piece of cloth we call our flag.if that is worth our children's time then i guess anything is.

also sayin'
Anonymous said…
Schools are doing their best to make sure students are testing twice a year. If students didn't have a Spring score - either they were new to the district or skipped the Spring test - they were tested in the Fall. If the school had chosen not to do school wide MAP testing in the Fall, this meant a small group of students not only lost instruction time, as with any testing, but they actually missed class.

not a MAP fan
Anonymous said…
4 cents, you must not be from around here. The MSPs take almost a month... even though some kids can probably finish in less than 2 hours. It has to be scheduled. Accommodations for all students who need them must be found and scheduled. (This is important because schools are motivated in this case to make every possible accommodation. Not to mention it's the law.) These resources must be redirected from other things, and those things must be cancelled. At the secondary level, ALL classes should be cancelled until EVERY student is finished. You can't resume some classes without resuming all of them, or else some classes will be ahead of others. All in all - school is suspended for 3 weeks for MSP testing.

After all that - you want to bring in MAP? This introduces yet another resource - the computer. This limited resource has to scheluded, other things put on hold. In secondary schools, students are scheduled in all sorts of ways - but the sample principle applies. You can't cancel some sections of classes, without cancelling them all. Think of doing that 3 times per year. (Sure if it's an elementary school, and 1 teacher is all that's required to test the MAP - then it wouldn't be a big deal) But, that's not the case.

Let's just kill the MAP.

Anonymous said…
And Also-Sayin, the huge interaction between lots of staff, the scheduling, the use of multiple resources in multiple locations (like the library)... makes "taking the MAP" completely different from "reciting the pledge of allegiance". I would say they both have a similar benefit - close to nothing. At least reciting the pledge is a long tradition and may have marginal benefit as such.

seattle citizen said…
New York Times Sunday edition has an article about NYC Gifted and Talented programs, and how they face some of the same issues we face here - testing system is a bit wonky and Whites and Asians proportionately over-represented: Gifted, Talented and Separated -In One School, Students Are Divided by Gifted Label — and Race
Anonymous said…
Great article, great comments. Whites hate other whites who get in. Here it's APP. But a district has to cast wide net to catch the true brainiacs who really need special classes. Plus,gifted programs can help all kids if parents demand similar rigor for gened kids. It has been shown that all students benefit from gifted teaching styles. Don't bring the kids in gifted classes down, bring the rest up!
Charlie Mas said…
The District bought the MAP test for use as a formative assessment. It doesn't work as a formative assessment, so we should get rid of it.
Anonymous said…
Anyone want to try this recipe posted on the school meals page? "Green Apple Avocado Salso."

--Muir Mom

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