Friday, May 30, 2014

Math Adoption - You Can Influence the Outcome

We are now at the nth hour for the Math Adoption.  I say that because by Monday, Tuesday - it will be too late.  This is the weekend that any waivering directors will make up their minds. 

There are three Director Community meetings tomorrow morning.  Their e-mail is
schoolboard@seattleschools.org - put "math adoption" in the subject line.

The phone number to leave a message is 252-0040.

By the end of today, the Board agenda will be up and we will see if any directors (so far) are offering amendments to the BAR.

I'll let WSDWG say it:

Everyone: Push for a dual-adoption! At least 3 board members are publicly in favor of it, and what's Ron English going to do? Sue the Board? Get an injunction? Right.

E-mail your school board reps now. Do not wait or let this opportunity go by. Do it.

We have a chance to make a historic and significant improvement in our schools and the daily lives of our kids. DO IT!

E-mail board members NOW and let them know you support a dual-adoption. If any of you watched hour 2 of the 5/21 board meeting, Peters, McLaren and Peaslee were AWESOME in their questioning and advocacy. Give them the support they need! This is HUGE!


My experience is when the district says it "can't" do something, within two years, they turn around and do it (but have different reasoning and the "can't part goes away).

If the Board truly wants choice for schools (and, I believe, better outcomes), they'll go with dual-adoption.

The proof is right before them - years of Everyday Math and unhappiness at both the parent and school level.  Schools who didn't use it?  Mostly better outcomes and happier parents and teachers.  

Of course the Board is very wary of "overstepping" and looking like they don't support the staff.  But you can ask the question - who is the Board elected to "support?"  They are there to support students, parents, teachers, staff and taxpayers.  That's why they get to vote differently from what staff says.  (The Math Adoption Committee's work should also be honored but they weren't given a choice of dual-adoption.)


Anonymous said...

With this dual adoption advocacy, does that mean the District would pay for the more expensive MiF books? Or dual adoption as long as the school itself figures out how t fund it?
-Just clarifying.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post, Melissa. And No, the Math Committee wasn't given the dual adoption choice. But they were told, at the 11th hour, that "alignment with CC" was the most critical factor in the adoption, and they had to base their decision in light of that. Of course that skewed the result at the very end, and btw, WHO SAYS alignment with CC is the most critical factor? Who decided that? Who gets to decide? Staff, or the community? Yes, we have CC to deal with, but as Peaslee said after diligently looking at and talking with Highline's Administration about their experience with Math in Focus, "it aligns 85% with common core, and that's pretty good."

Can you imagine the Gang of Four, whom gave us Discovery Math, consulting another district? Staff didn't do it, the Board had to. Peters took them to task for it at the 5/21 meeting btw, calling them out for not "bench-marking" the materials by talking with Shoreline and Highline, who use EnVision and Math In Focus. "Why didn't you do that? Why wouldn't you do that?" - she asked Staff. She said she found Staff's response to those questions "Befuddling." (Twas a great, long-overdue moment.)

It makes me wonder what we pay those people at JSCEE for, but in the end, I THANK GOD (or your deity of choice) that we have a board that thinks for itself these days, and actually does due diligence for the community, instead of paternalistically patting us all on the head and saying, "you'll be fine" like the Gang of Four did.

Now Tap-Tap-Tap out those e-mails people.

I cannot overstate how important this upcoming Math Adoption vote is to our community.

Once again, DO IT!


Anonymous said...

@Just clarifying: Unlike today, where PTA's fund alternatives, the district would fund it, and yes, MIF is more expensive. But as with anything, we get what we pay for. Highline is gushing over MIF, as the best $ they've ever spent. Gushing! If you've suffered through EDM or CMP2, you'd agree.

Today, wealthier PTA's can fund materials under a waiver, while non-wealthy schools get stuck with bad math. The dual adoption would end that inequity, which is another huge step in the right direction.

Personally, I'd pay three times what EDM cost just to get rid of it. I'm sure many others would agree.


Anonymous said...

Here's what I don't get - and I'm sure people on this blog have explained this many times, but maybe someone can one more time for me: how can Math in Focus not be sufficiently aligned with the common core when Singapore math was used as a model to develop the CC? Is there something in the CC standards that is missing from Math in Focus?


Melissa Westbrook said...

How to pay for it?

1) the district seems to have plenty of money for its various projects and project management (or they find it)

2) reading and math are the basics, the cornerstone of academics. Get those wrong and you will get nowhere. If the district was serious, they would cut into other areas (which I'm not going to name because I'm not going to start a fight but again, it's academics against almost everything else).

Anonymous said...

@Parent: One reason MIF aligns only 85% is because some it is advanced beyond CC. Pearson zeroed in on common core so it can brag that it's EnVision is "best aligned." CC is what it says, "common." Which is why Schmitz Park, North Beach and Mercer MS, for example, have such uncommonly high math scores on standardized tests.

Okay, I've said my bits, now I should get to work and let others weigh in. But this one is a biggie folks, so vote with your fingertips and take back control of your district, one curriculum adoption at a time.


Anonymous said...

So there is nothing missing, it's just that Math in Focus provides material beyond CC? I thought CC was meant to be a floor?

I honestly know very little about the CC. I guess I was wondering if the district has a point - if there was something in Math in Focus that was missing that kids needed to learn for the CC assessments. If it's just that Math in Focus provides extra material, I would view that as a good thing.

Thanks, WSDWG


Anonymous said...

Who to approach?

It seems like Peaslee and Peters understand the way a dual adoption can serve children and equity.

Seems like Director Carr is a firm no (she is comfortable with the process and is very sensitive to costs).

Director Blanford is an Alliance guy, and is very arrogant, so he cannot be swayed. He is the classic combination of a man who is impeccably well-educated and thus over-confident but yet is woefully under-informed and has a major blind-spot about his major blind-spot.

Martin-Morris? A party-line kind of guy. So, seems like he'd be a no to dual adoption and not swayable. Even though in the past he was clearly the one who championed one size does not fit all. He said a suite of materials probably makes sense.

That leaves Patu and McClaren. Betty has a huge heart, puts kids first, so she has got to be pro-dual.

Marty is tough to follow. She seems like her heart is with the kids, but then she always seems to do what staff tells her to do. So, my bet is Marty is the one to direct your efforts to, and show up to her meeting. West Seattle parents -- she always says she represents you, so you need to FLOOD her meeting. This is do or die time. If you go to just one meeting in your life -- this is it.

So, lobby Marty.

Also, support Betty to follow her instincts to support kids and do right by immigrant families. Go to her meeting to cement her support. Show her that her instincts are right.

And, email Harium. Remind him of why it will all be okay if dual adoption occurs. Everybody is free to adopt enVision, that won't prevent any school from using that great program, but, it will add access to MIF, which is not text heavy, and so supports (1) disadvantaged students whose literacy may be behind, but not their math smarts, (2) immigrant children, as ELL are hindered from achieving in math if the text is language heavy, and (3) SpEd students, as dyslexics need texts that arent bogged down with heavy text.

C'mon, Harium, join the team. Please. Kids of color are disproportionately impacted by text-heavy math materials. Help support ALL students. Please?

Focus to support dual adoption on these 3 directors. And then, there may be 4 votes.

Ps - Sue Peters rocks. She is thoughtful, thorough, precise, and humble. President next term? Hope so.


Anonymous said...

One word of advice re: approaching Marty: Don't try to bully or overwhelm her. She gets the big picture on multiple levels, but takes equity and cooperation very seriously. Be honest, be sincere, & be passionate, but be respectful and kind as well. She doesn't take to pushy people and it's a fine line sometimes, especially with a subject people are so passionate about.

Anonymous said...

WSDWG, above.

Anonymous said...

Sent an email and posted on Facebook encouraging others to do so as well. Are emails to the general School Board address best or should we be sending messages to the directors individually? Perhaps someone could draft a short message that we could encourage others to just cut and paste into their own message? I know many who would be supportive but don't necessarily know what to say to the Board.


Anonymous said...

Remember, after elementary math adoption, comes middle school adoption! That is equally important to get right, because the only thing worse than EDM is CMP2!

So, if the Board this time out DEMANDS a great outcome, e.g., the best math materials made available to teachers so that they can teach kids and support numeracy, then the Board will be emboldened to not accept BS from staff about the next adoption cycle. And then, high school adoption....

Please, email Betty and email Marty, and ask for dual adoption.

Fix the Math

Melissa Westbrook said...

Trying, I think sending individual e-mails works best (send all in same message) but the Board office will tally all of them that come in via the Board address.

I agree on the assessment of who to lobby. Marty is a calm person who will listen (and hey, she was a teacher, I think that's worth an appeal). Betty knows the stats on at-risk kids and I'm sure she would wonder why the entire district can't do better.

Anonymous said...

Email Sent! Thanks for the encouragement to do so.


BTDT said...

The board members do take an oath to uphold the law when they take office, so I don't think it is ethical to ask then to break the law (which says they have the power to approve or disapprove of what the intructional materials committee recommends). The legal way for them to do this is disapprove of the recommendation and direct the Superintendent to bring forth another IMC recommendation by a set date. If the IMC wanted to make a dual adoption recommendation but were told that wasn't an option, they should be given the chance to make that recommendation if they truly believe that is the right decision.

Anonymous said...

@BTDT: The Board in '08 voted against their own policy when they split APP, and then, at the same meeting, after the split vote, voted to repeal the policy against splitting APP. They can vote to change policy to comply with their wants.


Lynn said...

Here's something to show Directors McClaren and Patu: Thurgood Marshall math scores. Thurgood Marshall has used Envision for a couple of years now. Last year's low income fifth grade math scores - 22% proficient. District-wide 50% of low income fifth grade students are proficient.

BTDT said...


This I wouldn't be violating a policy (any board can choose to ignore ther own policies), it would be violating the state statue. Who would challenge that in court (and win)? Pearson. So, the Board would violate their ethical duties, bear the costs of a lawsuit, and at the end of the day the decision would be thrown out because the board can't take actions that are arbitrary, capricious, or contrary to law. When the law says that the board can approve or disapprove a recommendation and that is it, it is a sure thing that the district would loose when Pearson challenges it. But if the board does it the right way (disapprove and set a date for a recommendation that isn't falsely limited by "Commom Core is the most important factor" or "you can't recommend a dual adoption"), then it isn't a situation where the board would be giving Pearson a valid basis to challenge the decision.

BTDT said...

Sorry for the typos, big fingers small phone keys.

BTDT said...

Here is the law:

RCW 28A.320.230
Instructional materials — Instructional materials committee.

Every board of directors, unless otherwise specifically provided by law, shall:

(1) Prepare, negotiate, set forth in writing and adopt, policy relative to the selection or deletion of instructional materials. Such policy shall:

(a) State the school district's goals and principles relative to instructional materials;

(b) Delegate responsibility for the preparation and recommendation of teachers' reading lists and specify the procedures to be followed in the selection of all instructional materials including text books;

(c) Establish an instructional materials committee to be appointed, with the approval of the school board, by the school district's chief administrative officer. This committee shall consist of representative members of the district's professional staff, including representation from the district's curriculum development committees, and, in the case of districts which operate elementary school(s) only, the educational service district superintendent, one of whose responsibilities shall be to assure the correlation of those elementary district adoptions with those of the high school district(s) which serve their children. The committee may include parents at the school board's discretion: PROVIDED, That parent members shall make up less than one-half of the total membership of the committee;

(d) Provide for reasonable notice to parents of the opportunity to serve on the committee and for terms of office for members of the instructional materials committee;

(e) Provide a system for receiving, considering and acting upon written complaints regarding instructional materials used by the school district;

(f) Provide free text books, supplies and other instructional materials to be loaned to the pupils of the school, when, in its judgment, the best interests of the district will be subserved thereby and prescribe rules and regulations to preserve such books, supplies and other instructional materials from unnecessary damage.

Recommendation of instructional materials shall be by the district's instructional materials committee in accordance with district policy. Approval or disapproval shall be by the local school district's board of directors.

Districts may pay the necessary travel and subsistence expenses for expert counsel from outside the district. In addition, the committee's expenses incidental to visits to observe other districts' selection procedures may be reimbursed by the school district.

Districts may, within limitations stated in board policy, use and experiment with instructional materials for a period of time before general adoption is formalized.

Within the limitations of board policy, a school district's chief administrator may purchase instructional materials to meet deviant needs or rapidly changing circumstances.

(2) Establish a depreciation scale for determining the value of texts which students wish to purchase.

Anonymous said...


Where does that statute say that the Board's role is limited to approving or disapproving the recommendation? It says that the Board must approve or disapprove the recommendation, but it doesn't say that the Board can't approve the recommendation and adopt another set of materials as well. I also don't see anything in this statute that requires that the materials adopted by the Board must be recommended by the Committee. This statute describes a process that must be followed but doesn't appear to dictate an outcome. I confess that I only read through this quickly. What am I missing?


Anonymous said...

Lynn -
I support using data, but not cherry-picked data. Perhaps we should show Marty Thurgood Marshall's 4th grade low-income math scores, which shot up to over 70% proficiency? These also represent very small numbers of students. Also, last year was the first year TM used enVision (this year is the second), and we likely need to wait for more than one year to undo the disaster of EDM.

Use Data Wisely

Anonymous said...

Hey, MIF is not as expensive as staff was telling the committee and the board. The cost proposal has nearly a million dollars in manimpulatives that aren't needed, has twice as much PD as the directer of MIF PD at the Houghton Mifflin Harcout told me is necessary...the PD can be delivered on contract days saving millions.

HMH has a train-the-trainer model that can be invoked to bring PD cost down further.

The trainer per diem per teacher is only 2/3 of EnVision's rate. I know this from talking to Pearson and from foia documents.

Before MAC made its final decision, the MIF rep wrote to staff that he had gotten permission to negotiate, provided that the MAC picked MIF as its recommended curricula.

Shouldn't staff had told the mac this, since they had improperly gotten the MAC freaked out about MIF cost?

On May 12 Shauna told directors that SPS would not be able to get the newer 2015 edition of MIF. whereas it would be able to get EnVision.

In fact, we now know from FOIA email dated May 27 that SPS can get 2015 edition by mid august, for same price as the 2013 edition. Also, the purchase order can be filled even if the order doesn't go in until late June.

Sherry Carr asked at board meeting May 21 if per unit cost for MIF would go up if only some of the schools adopt. Staff indicated that it would.

In fact, this is false. We know from FOIA email addressed to Craig Murphy that came in the morning of May 21 (before the board meeting) that the price per student will not go up, and fact may go down, even if only ten schools adopt! The reason it may go down is if some of the schools already have experience with MIF or Singapore, and so need less PD. {Apparently Craig had not yet shared this with staff who attending the Board meeting)

I know this isn't apples to apples cost comparison, but I think when an apples to apples comparison is made, the MIF will not be that much mroe expensive than MIF.

FOIA Forever

Anonymous said...

Hope that in our efforts to affect the final vote we are not disrespecting folks that work their backsides off - boardmembers, staff, et al.

Pls. recall that Marty McLaren was a named plaintiff in the lawsuit against the previous math adoption - my understanding is that the concept of dual adoption was her idea. Whether or not meant, some of the comments on this blog could be read as patronizing and disrespectful of boardmembers who, whether we agree with themn or not, are putting in extraordinary amounts of time and have fiduciary elected duties.

Pls. recall that Sherry Carr has made some courageous public decisions as well - while I was not thrilled with her "thought the process was great" comments (and still have yet to see why Singapore Math was not part of the RFP rounds which would make any litigator's heart sing) I do believe she understands the problems that the previous math adoption has brought. I would NOT write her off. Given the fact that she has queried, indeed, challenged staff in the recent past, I believe that is a mistake.

Harium Martin-Morris has also made courageous votes in the past - to write him off is I think a mistake.

In short, the generalizing and categorizing is I think, weak.

BTDT - you seem to have some expertise in statutes and analysis - pls. advise re background and expertise! You seem to be laying a trail of "can't do it because of xxxx"

FOIA is federal / PDR Public Disclosure Requests are State....

Hope this is one of those shining moments that show we can do what's right.


Anonymous said...

@Lawyer/@BTDT: May turn on what constitutes a "recommendation" under these circumstances, no? I don't see a clear statutory violation under this statute, but actually silent to the act. Maybe there's another statute that explicitly limits their authority? WSDWG

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Hope this is one of those shining moments that show we can do what's right."

And what's right? I get that many people at SPS work very hard and no one said they don't. But this district has been wrong on many issues and they could be wrong here.

Anonymous said...

Soard policy states CCCSS is minimum or baseline. MIF meets this requirement.

The quoted price for MIF can be brought down (eliminate unnecessary maniplutaves, reduce PD below eight days, re-negotiate, use 7 instead of five in the per student per annum cost calculation (staff used the wrong divisor of five) etc.

Staff/Blanford worry about the effect of dual adoptoin on mobile students. Anna Box has been asked to produce the strongest peer reviewed research evidence that says we should be worried about this. I don't think she is going to find anyting. I am pretty sure what she will find is that the caliber of the Teacher in the post-move classroom and effective intervention services is much more important than whether the curricular materials stay the same or not across the transition.

Melissa - you are so right. It is crazy that staff gets very concerned about a million or two difference in curriculum price in the context of a multi-billion dollar budget over the 7+ year cycle but doesn't seem to mind when construction project costs jump up many millions.

If the books are good...keep 'em til they wear out and can't be replaced

Math tutor (Singapore, Saxon, UM, Kutta)

BTDT said...

"Recommendation of instructional materials shall be by the district's instructional materials committee in accordance with district policy. Approval or disapproval shall be by the local school district's board of directors."

Language is pretty darn clear, as is the policy and procedure that exist to implement the statue.

No offense to Director McClaren, but the District won the case she filed. Because the court of appeals determined that all that the board could do was approve or disapprove the recommendation of the IMC, and there was no showing that the Discovery adoption was arbitrary, capricious, or contrary to law.

Lawyer, here is a quote from the case:

"For the process of choosing new textbooks, a statute calls for appointment of an “instructional materials committee” to make a recommendation to the Board. RCW 28A.320.230(1)(c). More than half the committee must be professional staff; the remaining members may include parents. RCW 28A.320.230(1)(c). The Board can only approve or disapprove the recommendation of the instructional materials committee. RCW 28A.320.230(1)."

The whole decision is only at
http://caselaw.findlaw.com/wa-court-of- appeals/1561549.html#sthash.82AMzZnn.dpuf

Anonymous said...

@ WSDWG, I took a quick look and found no definition of recommendation so it will have the normal meaning, i.e., not mandatory. I see nothing else in the surrounding sections that suggests the Board is required to follow the committee's recommendation.

Has someone at SPS claimed that there is a legal barrier to dual adoption?


Anonymous said...

@ BTDT, I don't find the statutory language to be clear. The case law may be, however, as courts read things into statutes all the time. I'll take a look at that case as it may very well be that the courts have embraced the interpretation you are describing.


BRDT said...


BTDT- been there, done that. Been on an adoption committee, but not in Seattle. Live in Seattle, work in another district. We got advice from a really respected attorney because it was not long after the Discovery law suit and my district didn't want to end up in court. Our concern was more focused on a lawsuit by the publisher of a book not recommended who was unhappy with that. Can't go into more detail because of privilege. But I would hate to see Seattle end up in another lawsuit over something that could be fixed by giving the IMC to make a recommendation that isn't based on false constraints.

BTDT said...


Only case is the Porter case, which says "The Board can only approve or disapprove the recommendation of the instructional materials committee. RCW 28A.320.230(1)."

Anonymous said...

Does anyone possibly think Pearson would go to the EXTREME of suing a district that chose NOT to buy its books??? Really???? On what basis? There is no vendor-client contract for purchase, so what exactly would be their standing?

That would pretty much make them out to be Darth Vader if they had the audacity to sue a school district just because the district didn't buy their books. Don't you kinda think that might cause, I don't know, some irreparable and massive damage to theo reputation with ALL school districts?

C'mon, common sense.

Whether I agree with the Directors or not, I respect them all and value their volunteer service to children.

But, if these 4 woman come to the conclusion that common sense must prevail, and they put forward an amendment for dual-adoption, well, Hail Mary, that will be the crowning achievement of any board in recent times. Resisting the intense pressure from staff to buckle under and do what they are told, especially as Mr. English seems to have weighed in, intimating that they'd all be 'criminals' if they did, when it is not clear his plain text reading of the code is exactly, 'nuanced', that would be something to behold.

Fix the Math

Anonymous said...


I'm not sure if you're a lawyer or have some legal expertise, so please excuse me if I'm explaining something you already understand.

The language you quote from the Porter case is dicta. In other words, it's a passing comment about the statute that wasn't necessarily given a lot of thought, is not part of the holding of the case, and has no legally binding effect. What I take from the Porter decision is that the Court of Appeals was very deferential to the School Board's decision. If the Board decides to go with dual adoption, I would expect the COA to be similarly deferential.

You never know what will happen in litigation, and the COA could very well decide that the Committee's recommendation is a take it or leave it kind of situation as you suggest. If I were advising the District, however, I would not be overly concerned about the language you quote from Porter. People always want and expect the law to be black and white, but it's rarely so simple. The Porter case did not squarely present the issue of whether the Board can approve the Committee's recommendation but also provide an alternative option. Based on the statutory language and the circumstances we're talking about here, I would expect the COA to uphold dual adoption if that is the approach taken by Board.

I realize that mine is just one opinion and not one the Board is listening to. My point is just that it's not nearly so clear cut as is being portrayed.


BTDT said...


Do you do school law? Because my district got advice from an attorney who is a very experienced school law attorney and if you read the material that Seattle submitted in the Porter case, their attorneys argued that the board could only approve or disapprove. So, the view pin that the Seattle school board took back then was all they could do was vote yes or no. I don't see why they would be reckless and put the decision at risk when it is really simple to just direct the IMC to come back with a recommendation in two weeks without being limited with false constraints. Maybe you have never dealt with Pearson, but they aren't afraid to sue school districts from what we were told.

AnotherParent said...

Is the jist of these comments that we should request the board send additional instructions to the adoption committee so they can reconfirm or modify their recommendations? Or some variation?

a) Consider that Dual Adoption is an option

b) Expected outcomes should be considered equally to adherence to Common Core (or some variant of that)

c) Assume pricing will be negotiated and is not a primary consideration.

These would seem like reasonable instructions from the board. Then the board can vote yes/no on the revised recommendations. Or possibly even only instruction (b)

wsmama3 said...

This from our 5th grade teacher - K-5 STEM uses Singapore Math.

UPDATED Singapore Math Instruction – Grade 5 Data
K5 STEM @ Boren

48% Minority Students
Languages Spoken at Home = Tagalog, Finnish, Oromo, Vietnamese, Hindi, English

Class Mean MAP Math (RIT Score): 243.6
On NWEA National Normative Scale this mean exceeds End-of-Year Mean for Grade 11.

Average Growth For Cohort – RIT Score (Fall 2012 – Spring 2014 – Two Year): 30.6
Normal expected growth for this period is 17.2 RIT Points

Growth Achieved by Targeted (struggling) Students (two year):
Student #1 : +31
Student#2: +16
Student #3: +29

National Normative Data Link: http://www.nwea.org/sites/www.nwea.org/files/resources/2011_Normative_Data_Overview.pdf

BTDT said...

Another Parent-

That is exactly what I would advocate for. And I like how you laid it out. Okay to borrow?

Linh-Co said...

IMC (Instructional Materials Committee) and MAC (Math Adoption Committee) are two different entities. I think The MAC can only make recommendations whereas the IMC is the group that approves the process.

Anonymous said...

Why would Pearson sue, over a dual, since SPS would be buying their books, just not for the entire district? Is this scenario really so likely?

After all, staff seems to be estimating only about ten schools picking up MIF. If they're right, Pearson would be getting about 85% of the sales by volume.

Another questions. If the Board were to ask the Instructional Materials Committee (IMC) to approve dual, but then the IMC said "no" (which seems pretty likely) what is the fallout?

Is it statutorially permissible for the Board to overturn the recommendation of the MAC?

Are there any other (statutorially permissible) actions that might be available to Board here? Any idea, you lawyers?

Just wondering

Anonymous said...

Through public disclosure, I obtained a email from the MIF rep, to Craig Murphy in purchasing. Craig received this email the day before the April 25 MAC meeting, where the final selectino was made.

Here is a quote from the email.

"Price is firm at this stage – If Math in Focus is the Committee’s choice by merit of the program and the District is challenged by the cost, additional price negotiations are possible. Publisher Rep. referred to this program as a “Price Match Plus Premium ”program. If the Committee does not choose Math in Focus as winner by Merit, Publisher will not consider additional price concessions."

As far as I know this information was not shared with the MAC. The MAC had been given - on an earlier date - the message that MIF was much more expensive than enVision Mhat. They were later told to disregard this information, but of course damage was done.

Why did staff not share this additional information that came in April 24?

It seems to me that this information should have been shared, since it might have influenced the outcome of the vote.

We don't know.

Maybe the failure to share this information represents a mispresentation of MIF cost to the MAC?

Does this have any bearing on the discussion about whether the Board can go through with Dual Adoption?

In my view the files I received contain a significant amount of evidence in the Public Disclosure files that I have received that staff has not been acting in good faith around the MIF bid.

Ron English is not looking very good. Can the Board trust his legal advice in the future?

Joan S.

RickB said...

Here's a few more precedent items to add to the melting pot:

State RCW delegates to the IMC, "in accordance with district policy". District policy delegates to the MAC, with the IMC in the role of overseeing that "appropriate process was followed".

I sat on the last MAC which got us EDM (sorry about that - not my vote). The committee deadlocked on two finalists, EDM and TERC Investigations. Essentially a dual adoption. District staff didn't want that, but when Carla Santorno came to town, she personally chose EDM. No MAC, No IMC. Clear policy and RCW violation.

As a member of this cycle's MAC, I personally heard Ron English advise us as a committee, that the board had three options:
1) Approve our recommendation
2) Reject our recommendation
3) Select any of the other programs which were reviewed by the MAC
While he didn't provide us his basis for this interpretation, I took it to mean that the MAC process inherently included a review of all chosen programs, and thus, our complete recommendation includes all the collectively generated pro/con information about all programs, allowing board directors the information to make the best informed decision.

I think the dual adoption is a breath of fresh air. It will be a bit harder for central staff to manage inventory and professional development, but the synergy between two great programs will be a win for the district.

It also might be a bit of a short-term bottleneck for principals to make a 7-year decision in the next 20 days, but that's what they are paid for - plan, engage their staff and community, and make sound decisions. Better get started ASAP.


Anonymous said...


Does the following quotation have any bearing on whether Pearson could sue if SPS does dual adoption?

"Please note that the District will select the successful firm based on the best interests of the District, all factors considered. The District reserves the right to reject any or all proposals, waive minor informalities, and make the award in its best interest. Please note that the District reserves the right to seek clarifications about the proposals, to request post-proposal modifications, including best and final offers and considerations, and to engage in negotiations with a selected short list of vendors. In addition, the District reserves the right to reject any firm that is not willing to accept the District’s Standard terms and conditions."

This was included in the announcement to MIF vendor (and I assume also in similar announcements to other vendors) that submission made the list of finalist candidates.

Anonymous said...


Does the following quotation have any bearing on whether Pearson could sue if SPS does dual adoption?

"Please note that the District will select the successful firm based on the best interests of the District, all factors considered. The District reserves the right to reject any or all proposals, waive minor informalities, and make the award in its best interest. Please note that the District reserves the right to seek clarifications about the proposals, to request post-proposal modifications, including best and final offers and considerations, and to engage in negotiations with a selected short list of vendors. In addition, the District reserves the right to reject any firm that is not willing to accept the District’s Standard terms and conditions."

This was included in the announcement to MIF vendor (and I assume also in similar announcements to other vendors) that submission made the list of finalist candidates.


Anonymous said...

@JS, Pearson can sue SPS and cost the District a lot of money regardless of whether its legal arguments have any merit. The language you refer to was likely part of the request for proposals (RFP) which is a whole 'nother can of worms. Most government RFPs are designed to give the agency maximum flexibility in doing what it wants and maximum protection against liability. I don't think that language in particular has much bearing on dual adoption, but it's really hard to say in the abstract.


Anonymous said...

JS wrote "In my view the files.. [contain evidence]... that staff has not been acting in good faith around the MIF bid."

Do publishers sue for perceived discrimination?

Just Wondering

Melissa Westbrook said...

Given how the district was able to redo the Genesee Hill RFP - three times - AND fight off complaints from multiple vendors, I'm not going to worry. I mean, from the district's point of view, they have no problem explaining how they get from Point A to Point B in these contracts (that said, maybe in a court, it wouldn't work).

Anonymous said...

@Lawyer's Right: There's nothing stopping Pearson from suing the district and shooting off both feet at the same time. Nothing at all. If they want to win a battle, and lose a war, it's their risk to take.

I could speculate all day about outcomes, but as I recall from the Porter case, it was an appellate court's typical deference to legislative and administrative bodies who follow procedure, even when they bend it and ignore it at times. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought part of that holding was a reversal of the trial judge's finding that the district's behavior was arbitrary and capricious for not including a lot of e-mail and comments in the record, and that even if the district had correctly followed procedure, they could still have decided as they did. I.e., not Arbitrary and Capricious.

I'm really being lazy not to read the case, but since some of you obviously did, am I recalling it right, or confusing it with another case? Maybe another SPS or local school district case?


Anonymous said...

If I have to read it I will, but not right now. Please, somebody have the answer I'm looking for and let me be lazy. It's the weekend! WSDWG

Anonymous said...

Appeals court overturned the trial court being critical of Carr mentioning that she had used Discovery ook with her child to see if it was parent friendly and the trial court relying on statistics of outcomes of schools that used a text that wasn't Discovery.


Anonymous said...

OK, I read it. Basically not Arbitrary and Capricious Board decision because they did enough to comport with required procedures, and they deferred to the Board's decision.

Meanwhile, time to move upstream and start e-mailing everyone on the instructional materials committee and let them know how you feel & what you want, in case it gets sent back to them to re-recommend. They haven't heard from us, but they obviously need to. WSDWG


Anonymous said...

The district is in a pickle on this. The Board and community clearly want the Dual Adoption, but the Instructional Materials Committee (IMC), of which Shauna Heath is a member, doesn't.

But the IMC's recommendation may be required to get the dual adoption. The Statute does read that way, although being silent to many other possibilities. And apparently the MAC and/or Board were advised that they could adopt their own recommendations as well.

Elsewhere I have found legislative comments and summaries which state that Boards can add or subtract materials, but it's not in the statute at hand. So it's hard to say how a Court would read something like the Dual Adoption. Aren't they technically accepting the recommendation, but just adding alternatives to it? Does that mean they are in effect, denying the recommendation? Is any change or modification equivalent to a "no" vote?

The district has ignored Board Policy and State Law in the past, but one possible course is to send the recommendation back through the IMC requesting a change to a dual adoption, as BTDT suggests. But what if they refuse? That's the $64k question.

And if they can do that, then who's really in charge? Our elected, publicly accountable School Board? Or untouchable public administrators?

There's an inherent conflict in the OSPI-sanctioned process which is prone to stand-offs like we may be about to witness between the Board and the IMC. How is the Board the ultimate authority, when all they can say is "yes" or "no." This process allows the IMC to say, "this is what WE want, take it or leave it. But WE get the ultimate choice, not you."

Frankly, I'm curious to watch this play out, because the current statutory framework and Board policies may entrust the ultimate decisions over what our kids read, study and do, not with the Board, but with career administrators, which isn't right.

As for litigation prospects, I'm not that so worried, because there's no contractual interference or breaches to allege at this point. (And do Pearson and others involved want us to see their e-mails?)

Finally, I see is a need for some updated Board Policies, including changes to the waiver process so schools don't have to pay their own freight while we taxpayers pay for un-boxed, unused books we didn't want, and so they don't have to pass through three levels of review, before reaching the Superintendant's desk for a thumbs up or thumbs down.

Having said all that, this fight is more political than legal. We, the community, need to retake control of our schools and vest it in the hands of accountable, elected board members, after almost a decade of recovery from prior boards who sought to outsource it to consultants, big companies and corporate philosophers who rule our economies, for better or worse. (And how'd they do, by the way? Not so good, IMHO.)


mirmac1 said...