Tuesday Open Thread

U.S. Department of Ed official to visit Cleveland High School today to promote "transformation efforts."  From SPS:

Brenda Dann-Messier, who heads the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Vocational and Adult Education, will visit Seattle’s Cleveland STEM High School on Tuesday, April 30, spotlighting the school’s transformation efforts aimed at promoting educational excellence for its students.

As previewed in President Obama’s State of the Union address, the administration is proposing $300 million for a new High School Redesign program, which would fund competitive grants to districts partnering with postsecondary institutions, businesses and non-profits to help ensure that all students graduate from high school with college credit and career-related experience.  

The irony here is that Cleveland was not created to be self-sustaining (because it got rolled out too quickly because of MGJ's ego) and the school actually needs the very kind of grant the DOE will offer because Cleveland doesn't have enough sustaining partnerships.

I'm going to visit the Charter Commission meeting today over in Bellevue.

I attended the press conference about the continuing boycott of MAP by SPS teachers. (The third window of testing has started and is thru the first week of June.)

The movement is now joined by Ingraham and Thornton Creek. Franklin says if MAP is still being used next year, they, too, will not give it.

The demand is for the district to not renew the contract with NWEA and "scrap the MAP." (FYI, Chicago uses MAP and one of the measures they used in deciding to close 61 schools.) They are appealing to parents to opt-out.

Parent Sue Peters told the group that at her son's middle school, they will be taking seven tests over the next seven weeks.

What's on your mind?


Charlie Mas said…
I read a disturbing message today about the "outsourcing" of grading student essays to student teachers.

Is this being done at any Seattle high schools? Are any schools contemplating it?

Much of my relationship with teachers was built on the essays I submitted and the comments they wrote on them. I not only dread this as another step in the de-professionalization of teaching but as a particularly insidious attack on the teacher-student relationship.
Nothing New Here said…
Forty years ago english teachers had "lay readers" that would read, correct and help grade essays.

After the lay readers would give the initial reading of the essays they would be returned to the primary teacher for their final review and comments.

I suspect, Charlie, that some (all?) of your english teachers used some form of lay reader to assist them in the grading of your essays.

Universities (some of the most prestigious) use student teachers for the initial grading of essay tests.

This isn't really anything new. Rather than de-professionalizing teaching, it might free the teachers to do higher level writing instruction.
Anonymous said…
Where's the funding to support the MAP anywhere in the state? Balance the budget and cut the MAP.

Looks like the legislature in Minnesota is coming to its senses, hopefully WA will follow. From the Star Tribune:

Asked about the testing debate on Thursday, Gov. Mark Dayton said he has been pushing education commissioner Brenda Cassellius “to figure out how we can reduce this excess of testing.”

“You need some testing and accountability,” he said. “But send third graders home thinking they’ve failed life because they failed some test – it’s just the wrong way to get kids to want to learn.”

Bill W. said…
The first integrated prom in Wilcox county(Georgia) school district. It seems proms went private after the schools were integrated in 1971 and there had been two proms ever since. Some students decided to change that this year and they all had a great prom.

Anonymous said…
For the first time, I'm opting my oldest child out of MAP. When my child was in elementary school, I actually found it helpful. But I'm not finding it to be of any use now that my daughter is in 7th grade. Her MAP scores have remained unchanged since she started 6th grade (and I know she is learning a lot). Most 7th graders at Hamilton have a lot of tests this year - MSP (and 7th graders have to do the writing portion) as well as the End of Course exam for algebra. I just can't see the point of the MAP test in middle schoool.

RosieReader said…
A couple of years ago I discovered that an SPS high school teacher was using students to grade work and enter the grades into the on-line gradebook. I let the teacher (and the administration) know that this was a clear violation of FERPA, and I expected it to stop immediately. It did.

I wouldn't be concerned about a student teacher grading, any more than I am concerned when a student teacher is teaching.
Just saying said…
MAP and district exams determine if 5th graders enter into advanced middle school math. Does anyone else think it is too much to expect a 5th grader to spend hours taking MAP, MSP and district exams for ONE class?!

I want to opt out of MAP, but it might mean my child would not have the opportunity to get into advanced math.
FIRPA researcher said…

Could you tell me which provision of FIRPA is violated when a student grades another's paper?
Christina said…
I have sincere questions of what I read of "Just saying"'s comment:

Why do MAP and district exams determine advanced middle school math?

What scores/percentiles are required/strongly suggested for a teacher to confidently make a recommendation for advanced middle school math?

What are the preferred "bridging" sixth-grade math textbooks and curricula to prepare a student to transition from fifth-grade to seventh-grade?

Was I completely misguided in thinking MAP's only use was for administrations to measure teacher effectiveness, and not at all about measuring the students' aptitudes and optimal learning level?

There's no point trying to correlate MAP score averages with class performance, true?
Just saying said…
I think out sourcing student essays is a great idea. Our teachers have over 150 students, and teachers don't have time to correct and give feedback on papers.

Patrick said…
Christina, I can maybe answer some of that. My daughter was in grade level math through 5th grade and for 6th grade, this year, was advanced to 7th grade math. Her elementary school math MAP scores were in the high 90s percentile, but her grades were mostly "meets expectations" or "meets expectations +", rarely "exceeds expectations". If her teacher recommended her for a grade advanced in math, they sure kept it a secret from me, and I'd been asking for it every year since 3rd grade, so I think it was entirely her MSP and MAP scores. Whatever bridging there was took place in the first weeks of 7th grade math, as there is a whole class of 6th graders taking 7th grade math, however some of them have been one grade ahead for several years. I am glad I continued home study using Singapore Math over the summer even though I had no idea she would be going to 7th grade math in the fall.
Patrick said…
Bill W., wow. The south really is a different country. Segregated proms in 2012, I would never have believed it.
Just Saying said…

I really don't know the answers to your rquestions.

I asked the school if my child could be assessed by the district test, MSP and teacher recommendation. I was told "no". The school likes to have 2 points of reference (district exam and MAP) to determine if students have the apitute for advanced math. MSP only measures grade level skills, and the school is trying to see if students have advanced skills.
Just saying said…
Make that "aptitude".
Christina said…
Patrick, is your daughter currently taking Math 6 Honors (seventh-grade curriculum) class? Is Math 6 Honors class what you and I understand to be seventh-grade math for sixth-graders, as opposed to sixth-graders learning Math 7 with seventh-graders?

I ask as it appears from your previous comments that we send our children to the same school.
Anonymous said…
Re: student grading

Peer grading of papers is allowed under FERPA. Students can hand their quizzes or papers to each other for in class grading. Once they are entered into the grade book, then they fall under FERPA privacy rules. For example, teachers can not leave out a pile of graded papers for students to look through. They can't post grades with identifiable information, such as their name or student ID number.


Our child's teacher makes ample use of peer grading...surprisingly, the peer edits have been more helpful than the teacher's.

Charlie Mas said…
There is a story in the Stranger today about MAP. I recommend it.
mathy said…
For a small group of students - those wanting to accelerate to Algebra in 6th grade - MAP is the only measure used in math placement. Teacher recommendations or other measures count for nothing. Either a student has a MAP score of 250 and qualifies for the advancement, or they don't. There's no appeal of the decision.
Anonymous said…
My children are more than happy to be opted out of MAP, and I'm surprised more students don't beg their parents to get them out of some testing. They sit for the state tests, but we opt out for MAP (they're past the point of needing the scores for placement). We're thankful we can opt out.

Michael Rice said…
Hi Mr. Mas

When I was in 10th honors English in 1976, all of our essays were graded by a lit professor at the University of Puget Sound. We all thought it was extra cool that a college professor was reading and commenting on our work. The great irony is that of all my high school teachers, the one I remember the most and have the greatest respect for all these years later was my 10th honors English teacher.
Anonymous said…
Eckstein use to offer a math placement test each spring. Then they tried using the district placement mechanism (I think that year it was WASL+ teacher rec.) It didn't go so well. So lately they have given a placement test in class to every child in the fall, every year. Also available in the spring for kids who want to try it for the following year placement.

The last time I got a look at the placement test it was the final exam for the next class up. If they found it easy then they could take the final exam of another class up. Kids are moved the first few weeks of school. Including moving kids down if they are struggling.

I think it makes sense that if a child can ace the final exam of a class, then there is no point in having them take the class whatever their MAP score is. And if they can successfully complete the final exam of a class 2 or 3 or more years above their placement, then why not let them do something else, even if it is independent study.

Eckstein parent
Patrick said…
Christina, my daughter is in the class of 6th graders at Jane Addams taking 7th grade math. I understand that to be the same as 7th graders get as their regular math class. It doesn't show on her schedule and transcript as "math honors", it shows as "math 7".
Eric B said…
@Patrick: It is a completely different world. On my first visit to a shipyard in the south (about 10 years ago), I noticed that there wasn't a single black man in highly skilled trades let alone management, and not a single white man pushing a broom. Not to mention not a single woman on the premises other than the receptionist/secretary except when my boss came to the meeting.
Anonymous said…
Eckstein's math placement seems to make sense - it's about finding the right placement for each student. Having a fall placement test, in addition to a winter or spring test from the year before, allows for learning that may happen between the end of one year and the beginning of the next.

Why do placement decisions vary by school? Why do some schools seem intent on holding capable kids back, while others allow students to forge ahead?

RosieReader said…
I agree that peer grading can be fine and doesn't violate FIRPA.

Just-Saying, to whom do you suggest that grading be outsourced? I think any parent-volunteer option would run afoul of FIRPA. And if the teacher isn't doing it, how will he or she know what her students need to work on?
Anonymous said…
My understanding of FERPA is that privacy rules kick in once the grades are entered into the grade book. It's at that point it's considered an "educational record." That would mean parent volunteers could help with grading, but not the entering of grades into the grade book. When my child was in elementary school, I would grade simple assessments that could be objectively graded, such as spelling tests, or multiple choice type assessments. The teacher would grade writing or open response type assessments. The understanding was that the parent would keep perfomance of individual students private. I believe we signed a form saying such.

parent volunteer
Years back, at Eckstein, PTA members used to fold and put into envelopes report cards. I was astonished that we were doing that because, well, if you wanted to, you could look at grades, student ID numbers, etc. But the school staff didn't have time, so we did it.

I wouldn't be surprised if they still do this.
Just saying said…
There are plenty of student teachers, grad students, retired teachers etc. that would do a great job.

I do not think parents should do this work.

Typically, individuals correct papers and teachers review work/ corrections. The teacher isn't left out of the process.

Again, this is nothing new.

Anonymous said…
I have mixed feelings about using parent volunteers to grade papers, tests, and quizzes. I've done all these things as a volunteer and signed the paperwork asking to keep such info confidential. I know this helps the teacher by freeing up time.

The thing is there are parents "in the know" who talk about kids and stuff and don't keep things confidential. I know this and I struggle to keep my own mouth shut because I want to refute misinformation or incomplete info. I keep my mouth shut because to open up would be violating that confidentiality and probably make things worse. I know that sounds self-righteous, but I really hate this aspect of parent volunteers. I rather we don't use parent volunteers to do such work and to remind teachers not to discuss certain aspects of student's info (that are not our own child) with us parents, no matter how well-meaning we are.

seattle citizen said…
Wireless Generation, a Gates product databank funded by Rupert Murdoch, is gathering all the student data, so all this talk about non-teachers seeing student work is missing the bigger picture. More powerful people than that kin-hearted volunteer have student data. I'd be waaaay more concerned about THAT.
Linh-Co said…
The district uses a 230 MAP score for placement in advanced math in 6th grade. However some schools, like Whitman, will also use a placement exam.

You need a winter MAP of 250 in order to qualify for algebra in 6th grade. This is for students working 3 grade levels ahead.
Unknown said…
We need to have a discussion about InBloom.

I think it is absolutely incredible that people are trusting some giant company to protect personal data including discipline records and medical records, have it stored in the cloud and enable vendors to gain access to it.

Only 10 states are participating now. What is the time frame for other states? What is the position of OSPI? The State Board of Education? What about the Attorney General? What about the ACLU? Only 10 states are participating now. What is the time frame for other stats? Who will protect the privacy rights of our students?
Unknown said…
Missing boy from Mukilteo, age 15, with Aspergers.
This breaks my heart as this boy goes to my son's school. His name is Evan Stocker. He has black hair and a scar on his left eyebrow and is fairly tall. His mom thinks he may be camping out.
For a picture and more info, please see http://bit.ly/13KNzZF
Watching said…

Don't forget that our district- due to RTT funding- is participating in a data sharing project with CCER.

SPS will be sharing student's personal and identifiable information with CCER and parents can NOT opt out. CCER will receive informaiton on student discipline issues. The MOU also allows for CCER to ask for information that is not outlined in the MOU. Special ed students are included.
Unknown said…
Good news! Evan Stocker was found--"A family member of the Stocker's reached out to KING 5 and told us that Evan was found late Tuesday evening in good condition. Family members say tips led Mukilteo police to Lynnwood where he was found."
seattle citizen said…
oops, Wireless Generation is the education software and assessment system (Gates funded by Murdoch) not the data storage, which Mary identifies as InBloom. Maybe the two interact?
dw said…
We need to have a discussion about InBloom.

Yes we do!

I think it is absolutely incredible that people are trusting some giant company to protect personal data including discipline records and medical records, have it stored in the cloud and enable vendors to gain access to it.

I don't think "trusting" is the word, I think it's "ignorant". Ignorance that it's even happening at all, ignorant of the inherent technical/logistical/security problems, and ignorant of the potential ramifications.

What we need is to educate ALL parents and get the word out. Make sure parents understand that private companies are currently in the process of building massive databases of all of our students, and they will be sharing that data in various ways with other private companies. And it will live forever, long after your kids reach adulthood.

Tell your fellow parents, especially those who aren't in the loop reading this blog every day. Every play date and park visit. Every field trip and band concert. Send out some emails and post stuff on your facebook page.

Only 10 states are participating now. What is the time frame for other states? What is the position of OSPI? The State Board of Education? What about the Attorney General? What about the ACLU? Only 10 states are participating now. What is the time frame for other stats? Who will protect the privacy rights of our students?

These are great questions. I have one huge question to add, and perhaps Melissa can get an answer from someone downtown:

WHY is there no provision to allow parents to opt out? If they're afraid too many parents will opt out, then maybe there's something wrong with what's happening. If only a few will make the effort to opt out, then there's nothing to worry about!

Here are a couple links, but if you search for "inBloom" you'll find many.

inBloom puts sensitive information at risk

New York parents furious at program, inBloom, that compiles private student information for companies that contract with it to create teaching tools
I am going to write about inBloom.

But understand, while this blog enjoys a pretty darn good readership (as well as the people I tweet to), it really should be a group like, say, the PTA sounding this alarm.

What is your PTA doing? The Seattle Council PTA? The State PTA?

I can imagine that the silence on the state and national level is because they get money from Gates.

Silence is just as bad as being a believer.
dw said…
Great news that Evan Stocker was found! Getting the word out definitely helps.

seattle citizen,
Wireless Generation is a subsidiary of NewsCorp, Murdoch's company that was embroiled in a privacy investigation of its own not long ago. Wireless Generation was contracted to build the system (an in-the-bag contract). inBloom is the new name of what used to be the Shared Learning Collaborative, and they are the organization that will be in control of the data and sharing it with other for-profit corporations.

Massachusetts and New York have been involved a bit longer than Seattle, and they're working hard to kill it, but no success so far. Here's a great post on the NY Public School Parents blog about that effort, and more background info:

Growing coalition of education, parent & privacy groups protest plan to share confidential student data with Gates-funded corporation"
Unknown said…
That is a great idea about contacting the PTA. I will email Ramona Hattendorf, who is Washington State PTA's Policy Chair today. The state convention is this weekend, and I may speak to more people there.

Since I am the President-elect of the Seattle Special Education PTSA, you can be sure that will come out with a position on this once we have a chance to discuss with the membership. The dissemination of discipline and medical records is definitely something that the Special Education community cares about.
Watching said…
I thank anyone fighting against InBloom and data sharing.

Seattle Public Schools has accepted Federal dollars in the form of RTT. As a result the district has allowed Community Center for Education Reform (CCER) to have personal and identifiable about our students. Student data will be tracked until 2020.

I'm trying to get people to address this issue, including my PTA, but no one seems interested.

I'm encouraging folks to make this an issue within their PTA. Information regarding special ed students and discipline will be tracked. Remember, students are identifiable. Here is the MOU:http://www.scribd.com/doc/126637116/Data-Sharing-for-Research-Studies

Unknown said…
Here is the response from Ramona Hattendorf of the Washington State PTA: "I had a similar question about data, privacy, and longitudinal studies about a month ago. WSPTA does not have a position on the Shared Learning Collaborative (or InBloom) and open-source technology it is fostering. Nor am I aware of any position of National PTA that touches on this.

I will forward the letter from Massachusetts that you sent to the WSPTA president, Novella Fraser, and the legislative director, Shelley Kloba, for their consideration in case they wish to discuss with the board of directors. In general, WSPTA positions are either resolutions (long-term, general advocacy positions that members can cite and use to focus their work) or short-term legislative priorities. I am attaching the forms in case you wish to submit a position a proposal for consideration. The deadline is June 1 for legislative issues; June 15 for resolutions.

So it looks like I will be working with the Seattle Special Education PTSA on writing a proposal for a state PTA position on InBloom and submitting it to the state PTA by June 15.
Thank you, Mary, for following thru.

Interesting how this doesn't seem to be on the radar of state or national. Oh wait, Bill Gates lives here.
mirmac1 said…
Right on Mary!

We should write to members of Congress who sold our students' privacy down the river.

We should write the school board to tell them they must be transparent about MOUs with orgs like CCER, when our students personally-identifiable data is concerned.

We must demand that community whose data is being merchandized has a say in this matter.
Anonymous said…
There is some activity concerning FERPA & Statewide Data systems on the Wa State PTSA legislative listserve currently. It would be good to follow that if you think of bringing the issue up at the convention.

-PTSA mom
Anonymous said…
Mirmac, Melissa, Mary - fortunately the style of "democracy" practiced by SEA - WEA means zip about future meetings is on the web, zip is published to anyone more than a few days or a week before important meetings with important decisions happen, and zip is published after the meeting detailing what happened.
Can you imagine what would happen if members knew what their dues was paying for !!!
Jonathan might not have been able to ram that last minute RTTT application approval down the throats of SEA Representative Assembly members!
If things were open, the average dues paying smuck would know that SEA's and WEA's fingerprints are on this RTTT crap - and then ... what would the cliques behind the curtain do?

Anonymous said…
Please keep the InBloom info coming -- I want to "spread the word" but don't feel like I have a good grasp of what is going on here -- want to read more.

In the meantime, there are several posts about requirements for advanced math (1 yr, 2 yrs, 3 yrs ahead) in MS, and required MAP scores to qualify. Are these requirements anywhere on the sps website? I've never been able to find them. Thanks.

Anonymous said…
Just saw that 3.7 acres of land in Bryant (close to the NE library) is for sale).

The Ravenna-Bryant Community Association recently was informed of the sale of the 3.7 acre property on NE 65th, between 33rd NE and 34th NE, owned by the Children’s Home Society.

See http://bit.ly/YpQqbU

I am sure it's wishful thinking, and the site is very close to Bryant Elementary, but since there are so few properties of this size available in densely populated NE Seattle, it would sure be amazing if SPS could purchase it and build another school. Not that there is $15M lying around, but still...

just fyi said…
Hamilton has their math guidelines/requirements posted on their website, along with the District's math pathway (see new student information link).

HIMS 6th Grade Math Placement
seattle citizen said…
Steve Sundquist has been elected chairman of the Washington Charter School Commission.
Anonymous said…
Thank you "just fyi" for the math placement link. The HIMS document is far more helpful than anything on the sps website!!


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