Tuesday Open Thread

There has been discussion of a "June" surprise over APP.  I don't know about that one but I believe there will be some staffing shifts at headquarters.

I also hear the Alliance has been part of yet another "study" of SPS, this about HR. 

Hey, the Governor of Mississippi has an answer for the supposedly poor state of American public education:

Bryant was participating in a Washington Post Live event focused on the importance of ensuring that children read well by the end of third grade. In response to a question about how America became "so mediocre" in regard to educational outcomes, he said: "I think both parents started working. The mom got in the work place."

So much I could say but let's just be candid - he's an idiot.  Good luck with that, Mississippi.

Last full week of school - the kids must be very excited.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
I have to say that my children have rcvd a decent if not fine education within SPS. However, it is due to these fire drills that we have decided to leave the district. I am exhausted.

Wallingford family
Wallingford, I assume you don't mean that literally but about the on-going issues.
Anonymous said…

mirmac1 said…
Posted on another thread:

OSPI Special Education Program Review Report

According to this report, based on a subset of files reviewed, it appears some building staff were not a) completing evaluations and IEPs on time; b) not conscientiously calcing LRE minutes; nor c) providing SDI (some of this responsibility also falls on principals). District Legal did not care to enforce the law and corrective actions. A finding of no mechanisms in place to ensure student specific violations and systemic issues do not recur, means some staff at central were just phoning it in.

Despite this excoriating review, many parents are hopeful that things are on the upswing. Now, if only Ron English would retire...
Anonymous said…
Nathan Hale had a very low turnout for new student night last night. Not sure if it was the basketball game, or the hockey game, or the sunny weather, or the neighborhood assignment finally becoming reality. It looks like next years freshman class will have many less students from Salmon Bay, TOPS and Hamilton. Almost all are from Eckstein now. The number of private school kids is decreasing also. Not sure if that is due to neighborhoods the kids live in or the better economy. The private school I am familiar with is in the Nathan Hale boundaries but draws from all over the area and it is sending kids to Nathan Hale, Shorecrest, Ballard, its high school and other private high schools. Ingraham is being avoided like the plague unless IB is wanted. Kids in the Ingraham area are choosing Shorecrest if they don't want IB.

You make you own future said…
Good think Ingraham area kids are choosing something else...there is a 100 kid wait list for that school.
Anonymous said…
It will be interesting to see what happens at Ingraham over time. The IB program is very attractive for many people but many people are concerned that the IB program is too intense with too much homework while the general education is sub-par. Many of those who didn't want IB went to Nathan Hale instead but that option is being cut-off as the number of neighborhood kids at Nathan Hale increases so they are choosing Shorecrest. Eventually Shorecrest will reach capacity with their neighborhood kids and they will stop accepting North Seattle kids (this will happen in about 5 years). I think Ingraham General Education gets a bad rap and hopefully the good things going on there will catch up and lift its rep.

Often it takes a couple of years for a reputation to catch up with reality. I know that was the case at Nathan Hale.

Anonymous said…
There has been some movement in the wait-list for high schools but I think the overall numbers show the increased numbers of families in the district. There doesn't seem to be any option seats available at many high schools.

As of June 3, 9th grade wait-list:

Ballard 43
Chief Seattle 10
Cleveland 36
Franklin 88
Garfield 78
Ingraham 56
Nathan Hale 61
Roosevelt 91
The Center School 17

No wait-list for 9th grade at
Rainier Beach
West Seattle

HP, the numbers don't bear it out at Ingraham. It had the longest waitlist for high school last year and it's full. Someone is going there. The PTA meeting I attended seemed like a number of engaged parents and staff.
Anonymous said…
As a parent and taxpayer I would like to know whether Ron English or ANYBODY in that Legal Dept is being held accountable for the OSPI finding that that department has "no mechanisms in place to ensure student specific violations and systemic issues do not recur." Gees, how bad does it have to get? What is their understanding of the work they're supposed to be doing in public education? From what I know of Ron English, he burned out quite a while ago and this finding confirms it.

mirmac1 said…

This will blow your mind. Last year, OSPI ordered corrective action and written guidance for building administrators with respect to FERPA and personally-identifiable student information. Legal was required to train principals and asst principals on the FERPA law.

Advance one year's time. Now we have our General Counsel himself breaking the FERPA law to "out" a special education student and parent who prevailed in a dispute with the district.

I can't wait for the General Counsel's office having to train themselves on FERPA. THAT demonstrates that SPS legal are scofflaws!
Anonymous said…
I can only speak to the private school kids I know who are choosing Ballard, Nathan Hale and Shorecrest over Ingraham. 4 years ago, the 8th graders from the same school were all choosing Ballard, Roosevelt and Shorecrest if they were going public. Since that time, Nathan Hale has replaced Roosevelt in popularity. Eventually what will happen is some of the kids will be assigned Ingraham, they will go there and find it that it is much better than the private school rumor mill and then more will end up going there. That is what happened with Nathan Hale. The alumni word of mouth is very strong and has a huge influence where 8th graders choose to go.

mirmac1 said…
Ronic Lorio, Audit Response Mgr is slated to leave end of June. He is one of the trustworthy folks at JSCEE. : (
Anonymous said…
Well that is a bummer mirmac1.

Anonymous said…
MAP experts: How are MAP data used in the lower elementary grades? Are they used to evaluate teachers, or not, or is it at the discretion of principals? I heard at one point that primary grade teachers weren't evaluated based on MAP scores, but I am not sure.

Northern parent
Anonymous said…
Are all high schools doing EOC tests for Algebra and Geometry this week? Last week was Biology.

Anonymous said…
Has Supt Banda commented on the OSPI findings in regards to SPS Legal? Does he even know about them? Does the Board? Does Legal know about them?

I agree that taxpayers should be informed about how this situation ("no mechanisms in place to ensure student specific violations and systemic issues do not recur") is going to be fixed.

another reader

For those intersected in Seattle Public Schools math curricula:


mirmac1 said…
Yes, Supt Banda was informed of details recently. The conditions cited in this report do not conform to his approach. Give him time. We're working on him. : )
Out said…
The first comment here is from a family saying they are leaving Seattle Public Schools. I wonder how the superintendent and staff feel about that when it happens. Is it viewed as a problem and a failure? Or is it viewed as a success (in that it reduces the capacity problem and who really cares why parents leave the public system or about public schools serving all the kids of Seattle)?
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
I think they view it as a great success. The more families leave SPS, the better. Less capacity problems and more money for less students.
HIMS mom
Out said…
Not actually more money. State funding is per-student. Families leaving reduces the total budget available.
Someone said…
"no mechanisms in place to ensure student specific violations and systemic issues do not recur."

Perhaps this should be the new tagline for SPS - doesn't it pretty much apply to nearly every department there? ;o)
Anonymous said…
Out, you are dead wrong. When more families leave the district, the state's single pot of money for education does not have to be reduced. When more families arrive or stay, the state is forced to cut education because the pot is indeed finite, and empty at this point. State funding is "per student" until it runs out of funding, then they just cut the per-student funding. And that has been happening every year. That's the simple math of the problem. Seattle is the largest district, and increases here are really significant increases in the total the state is supporting. More in private school is best for everyone, including those remaining in public school.

-simple math
Out said…
Simple Math, you are dead wrong. When more families leave the district, the state reduces the money spent on education. When more families arrive or stay, the state is forced to increase funding for education by the state's constitution (and the current debate at the state level is how to do so). That's the simple math of the problem. More in private school is worse for everyone, especially those remaining in public school, as it reduces resources for our public schools.

Yes, I can play this game too. But, seriously, "Simple Math", if you are right, maybe we should try to get everyone we can to leave for private school. In fact, we should means test public education and not provide public school to anyone who can afford private school. Better yet, let's dissolve the public system, as that is the natural consequence of excluding as many families as you can from public schools, and see how that works out for our children. We are already on that path due to people like you pushing families out, which increases support for charters.

Public schools exist to serve the public, as in everyone's children. If you push out the public, you might as well not have public schools.
Watching said…

I can't open the OSPI link. Any suggestions?
Anonymous said…
Out, the state isn't forced to do anything when more students enroll in public ed. It only has X dollars. Unlike the feds, it can't print money or run a deficit. If public school enrollment increases, it cuts the per student funding. Yes, it funds all the students, but at a reduced rate. That has been the actuality of the last few years.

mirmac1 said…

Hmmmm, it works for me. Go to www.scribd.com/spsleaks and see it on the home page. Click on that link.
Linh_Co said…
The Times gets it right with this editorial from Bruce Ramsey - "Bring Real Math to Seattle Schools".


Anonymous said…
I understand math is the focus, since it's time for a new adoption, but the discovery method permeates all subjects in SPS. Students are supposed to learn writing and grammar by osmosis, science through discovery, while content is considered secondary. When there is such a strong belief in discovery methods (and I think it is a belief without basis in factual evidence), it's hard to use reason to fight for improvements. A rational evaluation of materials would not have resulted in the materials used in many SPS classrooms.

The irony, of course, is the use of these discovery materials ensures an achievement gap. By dumbing down the materials, and using limited class time on discovery exercises, the accumulated deficit gets larger and larger for students. Students are left without enough time or practice to work towards proficiency. It's criminal.

Bring back real math, real language arts, and real science.

-for real
Anonymous said…
I told my child's science teacher that the discovery method for science wasn't working for her and that she wasn't discovering anything. Discovery is great as a jumping off point but you need to check in that the kids are 'getting it'. Thank goodness we have a ton of science books at home we could supplement what she didn't 'discover' in class.

Linh-Co said…
For Real I agree with you completely. I hate Reader's and Writer's Workshop and the Science kits. Our elementary schools no longer teach grammar or spelling. Process has replaced content. The pendulum has swung too far with child centered activities.
fix the math said…
CMP is a "one star" math book:

CMP math reviews

...After a year of using this book, here's my opinion: I HATE THIS BOOK.

...Parents are not the only ones who are disgusted with these books. Teachers and administrations are also fed up with "Disconnected Math". The book's lobbyists are just too good, and school boards don't know any better, so we're forced to use these books...Parents, if you are loud enough, we CAN get these books dropped from math curricula. Your kids are depending on you.

I am a grad student. I have tackled many math books, but this one is ridiculous. There are no examples. The problems are complicated and poorly worded...

...I have to say, it is the worst book ever used since Everyday Mathematics in elementary school.

...My daughter's school use this textbook. this is the worst textbook I have ever seen. extremely useless.

...As a parent I find this book complete crap.
I heard this analogy made about using the "new math" versus the "old math."

Old math gives you the recipe for a cake and new math allows you to make any kind of cake you want.

Does that at all sound plausible to describe - in the most basic of terms - what is happening?
Anonymous said…
It seems like rather than no recipe kids should be given multiple recipes that they can change as needed. No recipe is often a recipe for disaster if you have no feel for baking. Everyone needs a jumping off point.

fix the math said…
The traditional vs discovery and old vs new debates set up false dichotomies when what is needed is balance. I'd leave all those terms out of the debate. What we need is a quality, comprehensive, balanced curriculum.

CMP is not balanced. It is not comprehensive. It has been described as C#@P.
Anonymous said…
The new book that Lincoln APP is Piloting, Glencoe I believe is straight forward and easy for kids to understand. They know what to do and what is next. It is logical and uses known facts about math to demonstrate the next skill. The CMP math is like baking the cake without knowing what the ingredients are. My daughter finally started to "get it" I'm hoping that middle school programs go back to more straight forward texts
Anonymous said…
EDM and CMP are not even the base of a recipe. There really are zero examples of how to work problems. Kids go home with homework, but they have no way of getting any help. Parents often can't help because the ways kids are shown how to do problems in class are like a foreign language to many parents. I think the "lattice method" for division has to be one of the dumbest things I have never seen. It becomes unworkable with very small problems.

We homeschooled our kid in Algebra 1 this year because I am just sick of the discovery math junk in the school. We used a decent math curriculum and went over pre-algebra before started Alg 1 and found our kid had not been taught some of the pre-algebra material.

I know my child got a far superior Alg 1 education because we homeschooled them using a real math curriculum.

Anonymous said…
It's like icing on a cardboard cake. It looks real until you try cutting into it and you realize there's no substance to it.
Future Ram said…
HP - Not sure what you are talking about regarding Ingraham. Last night was an open house for new students. The principal said this will be the largest 9th grade class and that the event last night had the best attendance ever (had to be moved from library to gym). Majority of kids from Whitman are going to Ingraham (More kids than all the other high schools combined according to my son.)

So, not sure where the statement "avoided like the plague" is anywhere near accurate. My son may do some IB, but not the full program. Don't know about other kids from the neighborhood, but I can't imagine all the kids going are expecting to do IB. Have only heard great things about the teachers at Ingraham.

Maybe a different experience on the other side of town.
Jamie said…
Future Ram - that is very nice to read that so many kids are going to Ingraham. I was at the horrible meeting at Ballard HS when they changed the boundary to 85th. People were very upset. People at my breakout table were yelling at Michael DeBell, etc. It was very unpleasant. My child's father (who went to Ingraham himself) told me there was no way she should go there. Glad to hear things are working well up there and the reputation has improved.
Patrick said…
Discovery Math isn't like learning to bake any kind of cake you want. More like you learn to write a story about how good the cake would taste if only you know how to bake one.

Good teachers who are stuck with the discovery math books supplement heavily with lectures and worksheets.
Anonymous said…
Future Ram - That is good to hear. I have tried to update families from my kid's private K-8 that live in the Ingraham area that things are on the upswing there even if you don't want IB. As I said before, I think it will come down to someone going there and then letting all the other kids know that it is way better than they anticipated. That is what happened with Hale at this particular private school. One kid was assigned there and didn't get into Roosevelt like all his buddies. He was really bummed until he started to attend Hale. He is a senior now and really happy with Hale. In my child's class, everyone going public applied to Hale and got in. This year, it is harder to switch out of neighborhood so kids who were assigned Ingraham are going to Shorecrest.

Jamie said - That is exactly the reaction I have seen from people north of 85th. It is good to know that that reaction is becoming the minority.

Linh-Co said…
I know this was posted before by Melissa, but we still need lots of signatures to make the middle school math adoption happen next year. So far we only have 153 signatures we were hoping for at least 1000.

Cliff Mass has helped us out by writing a blog, MJ McDermott made a youtube video on CMP, and Bruce Ramsey wrote an awesome editorial about dumping bad math. Now we just need parents to sign the petition and forward to as many friends and families. My daughter got over 45 signatures from juniors and seniors at Ingraham. Thanks!

Maureen said…
I think the cake analogy is actually pretty apt-though in no way supportive of CMP. Can you even imagine what would happen if you sent a 12 year old to the kitchen and told them to bake a cake without following a recipe? Would they have any concept of what to use for leavening? What's the correct balance of wet to dry ingredients? They would create many messy failures and might never get the balance right. The right way to do it is to use a solid standard recipe until you master it and then try some that a somewhat different and more complicated. Then after you have achieved mastery with existing recipes, you'll know what you can tweak to get good results. Cakes are chemistry. They require precision, not imagination.
Maureen said…
The more I think about it, the better it is: Kids whose parents have been baking with them forever might just be able to create an edible cake with no recipe: they just know which ingredients to use and how hot the oven should be, they might get the number of eggs wrong or overbeat the batter, but it would look like a recipe isn't necessary. Then those kids who only eat store bought cake will look like idiots because they can't "Discover" the correct method themselves.
Tami said…
Just noticed that JSIS Principal position has been posted on the SPS website.
Anonymous said…
My hesitation with signing the petition is that it focuses on meeting the Common Core State Standards, when the 2008 WA State Standards are pretty strong to begin with. I'm not pushing for new middle school books because they are outdated or misaligned with CCSS, but because they were weak books even when they were brand spanking new. I've used books from the 70's that while "dated," are far superior. If the District purchased new CMP3 books that claimed alignment with CCSS, they would be meeting the petition request. Alignment with CCSS should not be the primary driver - it should be about the mathematical soundness of the materials.

Quality, comprehensive, balanced curriculum. That's my mantra.
Linh-Co said…
Anonymous, we are not fans of Common Core. However, this is the strongest argument for Michael DeBell, Shauna Heath, and the Janet Zombro type. They don't think it's necessary to get new textbooks. We'll gamble on a new textbook adoption because it can't be worse than EDM and CMP2.
Anonymous said…
Unless it's CMP3...More videos on Connected Math:





-how not to do math
Linh-Co said…
I hear ya about CMP3. But if there is no adoption process, we can't even influence the outcome.
Anonymous said…
The District has an internal job opening for planning principal at Jane Addams middle school, who becomes permanent principal once school opens 2014-2015. They are to help set the vision for the school. Please tell me it's going to be a regular, comprehensive middle school, where the focus is academics.

k5 parent
Anonymous said…
Changes in Madison principals

Any thoughts on Dr. Gary?

JSIS Neighbor said…
Tami, JSIS Principal Jesely Alvarez has accepted a position in California. She is relocating to be closer to family. She sent a letter to JSIS families on May 30 to announce her departure. The letter can be found on the JSIS website.
Anonymous said…
In light of these postings why didn't mcgivra get to have a real principal search??

TechyMom said…
Does anyone know if bell times have been confirmed for next year? I haven't heard anything about this is awhile.
Jamie said…
Techy Mom - I found the bell times on the West Seattle blog.


Anonymous said…
As someone who's not overly religious ....I applaud the school for not punishing him for expressing his beliefs. It happens all too often where one groups beliefs take precedence over another because of the overly PC crowd. He's not telling anyone else how to believe, he's just expressing himself. Good for him and good for the school for letting it be. Well done young man!!!


TechyMom said…
Thanks, Jamie. Got it.

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