Parallel Discussion: HC Task Force #1, Student Identification
The current advanced learning task force has been charged with reviewing the systems and processes for qualifying students for Highly Capable services and Advanced Learning programs in Seattle Public Schools. The committee is supposed to work toward a shared approach for determining which students qualify for Highly Capable services and Advanced Learning programs that best benefits students. Although it is not stated anywhere in the charge to the task force, the members have been told that their goal is to increase representation in advanced learning programs by under-represented groups. It's unclear why this goal is not overtly stated in the charge document.
We should discuss it as well.
The task force was initially given a question to answer. From the minutes of the first meeting:
"The Initial Board Directed Question:
How do we guarantee that the population of the Advanced Learning Programs (all tested into APP, Spectrum, ALO) reflects the diverse demographics of the Seattle School District?"
I wonder why this is characterized as a "Board Directed" question. When did the Board give any such direction? Who on the Board asked that question? What is meant by the word "guarantee" in this context? Sounds like they are looking for a quota system. From the minutes, it appears that the task force rejected the question and wished to substitute a "better" one. I don't blame them. It's a dreadful question.
Our discussion will start with a more open-ended question:
"How could the process used to identify students for eligibility to our advanced learning programs be improved?"
The members of the task force have been specifically directed that they are not to consider the service delivery model and/or systems and processes related to the delivery model. That's a bad idea since the identification of students and the nature of the program are linked. Right away the task force included the notion of making the program more appealing to under-served communities.
Our discussion will not be limited in this way. If some discussion of the delivery model is necessary to the improvement of the identification process, then go ahead and mention it.
Our discussion will, however, have some ground rules:
- This is not a discussion about whether we should or should not have advanced learning programs at all. That topic is not open to discussion within the context of this thread.
- The goal is to make progress towards improvement. Please do not make comments that do not advance the discussion. Let's be constructive.
- Criticism about ideas and suggestions are certainly welcome. Insults, name-calling, and ad hominem attacks are not.
I don't make it a practice to edit comments for content, but I will do so on this thread.
Come on. There are a lot of folks who complain about the demographics of our advanced learning programs. Tell us how the student identification should be done.