MIddle College - Slowly and Disrepectfully Being Dismantled

A great story from the International Examiner by Sharon H. Chang, on the slow dissolve of the Middle College program that serves at-risk teens.  (There is a some confusion over what Middle College is because the Superintendent has said it wasn't a program.  Well, it's not a school so what is it?)

Middle College is a program that succeeds with teens who are at-risk for dropping out and then turning them around.

 Indeed, where graduation may have been in question for these at-risk youth in traditional high school, almost all Middle College students graduate and around 80 percent go to college. 

As many former students - most college grads - stated at last night's Board meeting, "We are not throwaways."

What is deeply disturbing is that the principal of the Middle College program, Cindy Nash, seems to have a tin ear when it comes to making decisions in a transparent manner and then communicating them to her community.

For example, who allows movers with boxes to come into a class that is in session with no notice to the teacher?  What message does that send to the students?
About Middle College's Ida B. Wells program and the displacement of Roger Rigor (bold mine):

The school’s 2015 graduating class was one of the largest ever—its Facebook page reads: “22 brilliant, conscious, ambitious minds … committed to critical consciousness, higher education and changing their communities.” 

Rogelio (Roger) Rigor is a Filipino American public school teacher in his 60s. He has been teaching at the Ida B. Wells High School in Seattle for over 18 years. Deeply beloved by his students and their families, Roger Rigor, the post continues, is “one of the best teachers this world has created.”

How did this happen?

The principal decided on all this,” said Rigor, referring to Middle College principal Cindy Nash and his displacement as the result of “a lot of unilateral decision making.” A replacement has already been hired. Neither of the Wells School’s current two current teachers were involved in the recruitment and interview process, according to Rigor. “We were not informed,” Rigor said. “I didn’t know [she’d] just move forward and interview and replace me without any conversation.”

One question that comes to mind: where's the SEA in all this?

The rationale given for Rigor’s displacement is built upon a technicality. Technically he is not endorsed to administer a specific standardized biology test required for sophomores and freshmen and therefore needs to be replaced by someone who can. Wayne Au, Associate Professor in Educational Studies at University of Washington Bothell and education reform activist, said there was a simple solution to that. “All Cindy Nash would’ve had to do was change Roger’s job description but she decided not to,” Au said. Instead she’s “asking [Rigor] to become highly qualified in a subject he doesn’t teach,” Au explained.

Rigor directed concerned residents to join the public Facebook group, Save Middle College High Point and Ida B. Wells, attend school board meetings, sign the petition at Change.org, and follow the student-initiated hashtag #WeAreNotThrowAways.


Anonymous said…
What a bizarre requirement=>
Technically he is not endorsed to administer a specific standardized biology test required for sophomores and freshmen and therefore needs to be replaced by someone who can.

The administrator of the test is prohibited from helping the students ... yet needs to be highly qualified in Biology.

As this is an end of course assessment these strange rules come from WA State.

Not to difficult to hire a substitute that is highly qualified in Biology to administer the test (as in replaced by someone who can). Instead sack the teacher. Removing an accomplished teacher from a needed program certainly indicates how little teachers are valued by this administrator; but she is likely doing what powers above her desire.

As usual the SEA leadership is missing. No surprise there.

It is not about providing appropriate instruction for each individual student as that is not the goal. It is about getting uniform outcomes from a uniform factory system of education. --- Just look at the evidence if you think otherwise.

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…
This program works and needs to remain regardless of cost. SPS is required by law to educate all students. The facts support this program in its current locations. Overtime we can and should work to prevent the need for the program, but for now let it do it's job.

Is there any humanity left in SPS?

Unknown said…
I believe that this is just a way to make costs go up so they have a reason to close middle college. How can a teacher like Mr. Rigor teach for over 20yrs with no problems and out of the blue be suspended for a bogus reason. Middle College is a wonderful place for at risk youth. Giving these students the opportunity to be successful is totally worth tax payers money. Being a tax payer myself as well as a graduate of Middle college HS I believe SPS really needs to weight the cost to affectiveness in this situation. The actual percentage of the students that go on to become precessionals speaks for itself. I believe Mr. Rigor should be able to retire happily where he has been for several years. That is the least we can do is help be a part in his retirement. He works hard to motivate these students and it takes a special individual like himself to do so.
Amber Kern, RDH
Proud graduate of MCHS@UW class of 1999

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