"De-Tracking" on Track in SPS

The Times has an article this morning on "de-tracking" which is quite illuminating.

First, the expert they site, Carol Burris, is the head of a group I belong to, the Network for Public Education.
Carol Corbett Burris became Executive Director of the Network for Public Education Foundation in August 2015, after serving as principal of South Side High School in the Rockville Centre School District in NY since 2000.  Prior to becoming a principal, she was a teacher at both the middle and high school level. 

Dr. Burris co-authored Detracking for Excellence and Equity (2008) and Opening the Common Core: How to Bring ALL Students to College and Career Readiness (2012), and authored On the Same Track: How Schools Can Join the 21st Century Struggle against Re-segregation (2014).
She is one of the brightest lights in pushing back on corporate ed reform and a great thinker on public education.

The Times' article cites her work in New York where she helped her district's de-track middle/high school students and that work showed an increase for African-American students as well as white, Latinos and Asian students, for the Regents Diploma (for A-A students, the rise was from 32-82% in four years.)

I again note that Maple Elementary tried this in 2006 by having Spectrum-level teaching in all their classrooms. It worked but Maple had to fund this on their own and when they found they could not carry on, the district did not step in to support this pilot effort.  That's too bad.

Washington Middle School, in their own attempt, seems to be seeing results.   

The article cites "a districtwide plan to eliminate all Spectrum-only classrooms in elementary schools" by this fall.  Their link is to a late June Friday Memo authored by Michael Tolley.  The problem with this - that the Times' article doesn't state, either because they didn't ask or didn't know - is that PARENTS were not informed that this was "the plan." And shame on the district for that.

Here's what the article says happens in the classroom - teachers give an assignment - the same content/topic -  that has been differentiation for students with advanced vocabularies and those with lesser reading skills.

Principal Follmer at Washington says something that is key, "Role models are critical," "Take away role models and that's the best way to have low expectations."

First, it is absolutely true that teachers like high achievers in their classrooms.  Those students tend to drive interest and dialog.  (And, while some teachers may say they want all kids in the classroom for diversity, it also serves to help their teaching.)

But that second quote from the principal?  It does not speak well of either a principal or teachers to say that if the high achievers are gone, that means the school has low expectations.  Charlie says this over and over - there is absolutely no reason that schools cannot teach classes at whatever level they want.

But the key seems to be making sure the high achievers are in that classroom.  Studies show that it does help but the kids it helps are the students on the low end.  The students on the high end tend to stagnate.

Again, I have no problem with classes with multiple ability ranges.  But it takes a lot more work for teachers, the ability to know how to differentiate the curriculum and, I believe, smaller class sizes.


Po3 said…
"At Washington Middle, the experiment appears to be working. Principal Susan Follmer reported a 12-point increase in the percentage of sixth-graders passing state tests in Language Arts this spring, compared with the rate two years ago, before the combined-classroom approach."

Two years ago the test was MSP and 82% of 6th graders met standard. Last year was the first SBAC test, 55% of 6th graders met standard.

If comparing against two years ago, the 12 point bump would mean that 94% met standard via the SBAC this year. (unlikely)

If comparing against last year's SBAC, which makes sense, then 67% met standard this year. But can't verify as these scores are not published.

So I question that statement.
z said…
You can always find studies to support your personal beliefs. I've read high quality studies that "prove" ability grouping helps all kids from top to bottom, and blending hurts the highest achievers. People believe what they want to believe and it seems there's little that reality can do to get in the way of that - either way.

I do believe that as long as the ability and achievement ranges are not hugely out of whack that it's not a bad goal to look for more ways to mix students. That is what, in theory, the purposeful elimination of Spectrum is supposed to be. The district has been sneaky and deceitful along the way, but their plan is clear now.

Even still, all through these changes, district administration has been saying that this does not apply to HCC. The ranges are so disparate that the kids' needs cannot be reasonably met in blended classrooms. That's why the program exists, and this appears to be unequivocal, backed up by all the research I've seen.

However, recent changes have been aimed at blending HCC, both at Thurgood Marshall and at Garfield. Yes, the 9th grade honors classes are not purely HCC, but they provide advanced curricula that almost all the HCC kids access, and it's far better than nothing. At ThM, they are looking to blend extremely different students. Blending kids who have been determined to be so different that they, by definition, they require their own classrooms, in a core academic subject. If parents and teachers think the kids aren't going to see and feel stark differences within those classrooms, they are incredibly naive. None of the kids are stupid, they will see it and feel it in the classrooms every day, just as many of the HCC kids did before they moved to HCC.

All the talk about difficulties surrounding blending PE/music are BS. It's at least as difficult, logistically, to blend a core class, very likely much harder. And where is the discussion around the blended philosophy classes as ThM? That sounds like a wonderful way to gain mutual understanding while allowing the kids to continue with their self-contained core classes.
Po3, I was told that those were the scores for non-Spectrum students. I think I'll have to ask for figures from the district.

Z, I agree with you. How could it be hard to blend PE and not social studies?

As well, I agree; kids will know who gets which work. Kids are very watchful of these things.
Anonymous said…
I am dismayed my incoming HCC 9th grader is being shanghaied into one these unpaid teaching assistant roles in a newly blended classroom at GHS. At least that's her expectation, based on past experience: "we won't learn as much and we'll have to spend a lot of our time helping the other students." Comment from the principal? Zero communication to us from Ted Howard.

Why is the Seattle Times coming out so strongly in favor of "de-tracking"? Do they have a stake in pinning the city's racial problems on high achieving kids? Mine's not even white, ironically. Is the district really moving towards an official policy of dismantling HCC for political reasons?

Part of the reason many families choose Garfield is because they value diversity and there are plenty of opportunities to benefit from it there, but not at the cost of their kid's education.

Outsider said…
I will say what I always say: this sort of policy is a joint venture between the rich and PC social engineers, neither of whom want bright kids of the working class and middle class to be well educated. Only rich kids, who don't depend on the public schools, can be well-educated; and whatever positions they can't fill will go to H-1 visa immigrants (all well educated in rigidly tracked schools overseas). Bright kids of the middle class are to be used and discarded. Advanced learners will still pass the standardized test, and that is all anyone cares about. I see a lot of opt-out in the future.
Ambushed, you need to make a couple of things clear to your child's teacher.

1) All kids have gifts to share with classmates and that's great.
2) Your child is not a mini-teacher; your child is there to learn. No teacher has the right to ask kids to teach other kids on any kind of regular basis.

The Times is trying to shore up a lot of ed reform thinking (and why wouldn't they? Their Education Lab is paid for by the Gates Foundation.) That's why you are hearing their drumbeat.

Outsider, I don't agree with you (mostly) but I will say that I believe a lot of this sounds like "training" instead of "educating" which is very much more what business is interested in.
Anonymous said…
The second sentence of the article is classic ed reform boilerplate:

"Dismal school results have persisted so long for many black and Latino students that some observers believe the problem is virtually unchangeable, due to a mountain of social, economic and historical forces no teacher can reverse."

1. What "dismal"? Test scores (on the NAEP) have gained steadily over decades, with scores rising faster for Black and Hispanic students than for white students. Gaps persist but there is progress.

2. Who are these observers, these nameless pessimists who are always the alternative to the magical reform du jour?

Po3 said…
Doesn't matter what group of students the principal is attributing the 12 point gain, the issue is that it is a figure that the reporter did not back up in the article.

My worry is that "observers" will grab onto this stat like a dog with a bone and wag it all over town to support the district-wide dismantling of advanced learning options.

Remember the "17% grad rate" figure? That one took years to fully retract.
Watching said…
"Is the district really moving towards an official policy of dismantling HCC for political reasons?"

We've heard Wynkoop rail against "dual pathways" and "boutique schools". Are we going to see more standardization in the name of equity? Sure seems that way.

Where does board policy on program placement fit into the equation? The state provides funding for advanced learners. Where are these dollars being spent?

Watching said…

"My worry is that "observers" will grab onto this stat like a dog with a bone and wag it all over town to support the district-wide dismantling of advanced learning options."

I agree.
Anonymous said…
"dismantling of advanced learning options."

Key word: options.

Identified students will get advanced learning, but the options will be the same as everyone else, very limited. Parents are just going to have to deal with more and more blended classrooms until they're all gone.

With NSAP we have economic and consequently racial de facto segregation and we can't have an intentional segregation like we have with HCC.

Just like remedial, ELL, SpED, homeless and general ed,the HC students are going to get their service that they are entitled to receive, as best can be provided in a mixed setting.

That where this could be headed.

Lori said…
Over the last few weeks, I've seen very little discussion about the risk of these changes resulting in underachievement for some of the gifted kids. People have suggested that kids who want to go deeper and faster can just take it upon themselves to do so, or that having different leveled materials will go over swimmingly. But that's not going to work for everyone.

Underachievement is a real but often misunderstood phenomenon. It can manifest as the gifted kid who is so unchallenged that he eventually gives up, considers school a joke and starts to get poor grades because he doesn't care any longer (which ironically is then used as "proof" that he was never gifted in the first place, and you can't rely on IQ tests given earlier in life...but that's a different story).

It can also manifest as the kid in a heterogeneous class who just wants to fit in and be accepted by the "regular" kids or the popular kids or whatever the class dynamic is. It might be social suicide to be given the higher level handouts or to be viewed as a nerd who takes on all the extra challenges, so the gifted kid doesn't raise her hand end or put forth her best effort. She tries to hide her ability to gain social acceptance. Truly, this happens. It really does.

Or maybe it's a gifted kid who sees that he can get an A without much effort, and by high school, with sports and after school activities, or maybe because he needs to work and make money to help his family, he decides to just coast, put in as little effort as needed to still get that A. This kid isn't learning how to study or how to take academic chances, and that will not serve him well in college. But as a short-term strategy to get through high school, it might seem like a great approach to that student at that time.

Lots of ways this could backfire for some of the HCC kids. I hope some of the educators take these concerns seriously.
Anonymous said…
I don't want to pretend to sound prescient, but we opted to stay neighborhood for middle and now high school and it's been fine. Yes, more apathetic and harder-to-teach students, way more SpEd and ELL, no question about it. Very different from the self-contained Spectrum we had for awhile...but, the kid is as sharp as ever, very good interpersonal skills, superb empathy, acceptance of others - all the stuff that was really, truly in short supply in self-contained.

Academically it's a problem insofar as being around unmotivated kids, but it requires the child to be more self-motivated, and more confidant in being able to stand with the hard workers and not the slackers.

In other words, more like real life. I strongly support de-tracking and returning HC kids to neighborhood schools. They will be better for it and the non-HC kids will be as well. It's not like they don't pick up on why their neighbors go to the HCC schools. It makes them feel less intelligent and that's wrong.

Anonymous said…
That sounds like it worked great for your kid. Some of my friends' kids have diagnoses of autism, but they have chosen to forego services to avoid the label and because they felt they need them, and it's worked out great for them. Should we get rid of services for autistic children altogether?

Calling BS said…
"I strongly support de-tracking and returning HC kids to neighborhood schools. They will be better for it and the non-HC kids will be as well. It's not like they don't pick up on why their neighbors go to the HCC schools."

Phyllis Campano, Pi, Neufeld Kaier, Howard and anyone else can support what they want. We re talking about program placement and services for which the state provides funding. I've seen these classrooms and they are not challenging for all children.

Say what you want, but we, as a society, will need physicians, surgeons etc., and the classes, that I have seen, will not prepare these high achievers with the skills and the information they need to reach their highest potential.

As Meliss, points out, class size matters. It is absolutely fine for advanced students to tutor their peers, but teachers depend upon these students to run the class.

The board, IMO, gets the last say.

Anonymous said…
Sorry- because they felt they did NOT need them

z said…
Sleeper said: Should we get rid of services for autistic children altogether?


Pi, you perfectly represent what people do NOT understand about HCC. We hear all the time about how "this other model works great for my kid". Wonderful. I'm very happy for you. Keep doing it. Now, leave me and this program the hell alone, because that model does NOT work for my kid, and this program was (perhaps literally) a life saver! You presume to understand everyone, and you do not. Your kid, by your own description, is atypical of HCC, or whatever is left of it now.

What is wrong with people who think there is one single approach to academics, socialization, and learning in general? It's like saying that everyone should take calculus, or everyone should play basketball, or everyone should be in drama...

Please grow up and realize that just like with shoes, one-size-fits-all usually means it only fits those who are average.
Anonymous said…
I've posted my personal experience here as a student before, but I will do so again because I think it bears repeating. Mind you, I've been graduated and out for many years now, but judging from some of the current parents posts above, my experience is still relevant.

I was referred for testing for what was then Horizon/IPP (later Spectrum/APP) in the 1st grade. Qualified for Horizon, just missed IPP. Had to retest every year, always just missing the cut-off for APP. However, the Spectrum site in our cluster was all the way across town, necessitating a nearly hour long bus ride, each day. Rather than ride the bus, I stayed close to home.

A couple of things I remember from elementary school. I was never challenged. I'd frequently find myself in trouble for acting out in class, because I was always done with the in class work in a fraction of the time of the rest of the class. A couple of teachers (1st and 2nd grade particularly stand out in my mind) used to seat me between the weakest students in the class and told me to help them with their assignments when I finished my own work. This went on for a couple of years, at least. There was no differentiation.

Finally, by 4th grade, I stumbled across a teacher who had previously taught Spectrum at a different school. He differentiated. I always had something to do when I was done with the regular class work. This was the first time since Kindergarten that anything different was offered (we had pull-out reading in Kindergarten). This teacher finally called my parents in late in the year and basically told them I needed to be in Spectrum, as the general ed curriculum just wasn't going to be challenging enough.

Fifth grade, on the bus, across town. That was an awful bus ride. The fact that we subject elementary school kids to hour long bus rides so they can receive academic rigor is just nuts. However, the class was reasonably challenging, and despite having been in general ed up until that point, I slipped right in to the curriculum and picked up as if nothing was different. That was a good year.

Middle school is generally an educational wasteland, and though I had a couple of very good honors/Spectrum teachers it was only okay. It felt very much like we were marking time until H.S.

It wasn't until I started really getting into the Honors and AP classes in High School that I truly found coursework that was challenging. My junior year was absolutely brutal, and yet, with the hardest and most difficult classes I'd taken, I had the best GPA of the four years. Some kids just won't fully engage with the class until the rigor is really cranked up... I'm one of them.

I just wrapped up a very, very difficult two-year Master's program. I home for Christmas last year, and talking with my folks. I mentioned that intellectually, I was mostly on par with my peers in the program. But what I marveled at was the study skills of my classmates. Some of these kids were super efficient and just prioritizing their tasks, and getting stuff done. They'd have flashcards made, study guides annotated, and assignments done before I'd finished the assigned reading.

Their response (and I'm paraphrasing) - "Well, when you were a kid, you never had to study for anything. All the school work came easy to you, and it wasn't until you were almost done with high school that we saw you getting tripped up and having to really focus and start working through the material over and over again until it made sense. Some of your classmates certainly went to much more rigorous schools than you did, and learned, starting at a much earlier age, how to really get down to business when it came to studying."

I didn't write this as some vanity piece about my own intelligence or work ethic (or lack there of). I do, however, want to illustrate the experience of an advanced student in an non or poorly differentiated general ed classroom.

Anonymous said…
@BS said...
"Say what you want, but we, as a society, will need physicians, surgeons etc., and the classes, that I have seen, will not prepare these high achievers with the skills and the information they need to reach their highest potential." I take it you don't think gen ed students in regular classes can achieve in the sciences? Hmmmm....... - Capitol Hill Parent
Anonymous said…
Of course they can, but not if we get rid of all higher level high school classes so that they can't develop the higher level skills needed to access many professions. Unless of course they go to private school and can get instruction on the topic instead of being allowed to "self study" within the bounds of any given project. I would prefer public schools continue to allow access to intellectual professions.

Anonymous said…
"almost done with high school that we saw you getting tripped up and having to really focus and start working through the material over and over again until it made sense."

The HC kids I know, had plenty of work in the neighborhood middle and high school. In middle school, the teachers made the HC kids work harder for the same grade as non-HC and all the kids learned how to take notes, use flash cards and annotate. I am pretty sure that is what all middle schoolers are taught.

HS classes are quite demanding, sure, an A is always attainable for a HC student, but the courses are not sleepwalk easy. Lots of work and lots of study skills required. The HC kids from the high school have gone on to Ivies, Cal, other top schools. So maybe things have changed since you went NWer.

Check out College Confidential and you'll find college admissions people who state that kids out of segregated gifted programs are not as successful either in getting a four year degree or attending grad school, particularly going to grad school.They state that it's the opposite of what you claim was your problem, lack of skills. The admissions officers believe it's that the kids from gifted magnet schools or self-contained programs like ours are not sufficiently self-reliant or self-starting. Too much has been done for them, they have no experience dealing with people who are very different from themselves.
To save more posts from disgusted,

NESeattleMom said…
Have you ever been in a classroom where each kid reads a few sentences, and it goes around the room? When a kid can't read well, being around proficient readers makes them feel worse/embarrassed. I really have a hard time imagining when there is a wide range of scholastic levels in a class that it will be the best situation (i.e. different level reading assignments) That sounds so weird. So if you read a segment from a complex piece of literature, it will be simplified for less proficient readers. Sounds worse than tracking to me.
Calling BS said…
I take it you don't think gen ed students in regular classes can achieve in the sciences? Hmmmm....... - Capitol Hill Parent

LOL. Have you seen the science in Seattle Public Schools? Middle schools don't even have science books! I maintain that all students can not EXCEED in chemistry etc.

Outsider said…
"Check out College Confidential and you'll find college admissions people who state ..."

That's misleading in lots of ways:

1) College admissions officers tend to be nearly all PC deputy sheriffs or ex-rich kids. They would not be expected to ever have much good to say about smart working/middle class kids.

2) A few kids in self-contained gifted programs will be Aspergers-savants or have mental health issues, and despite academic brilliance, will in fact not thrive in the cut-throat world of academia without a great deal of help (which they don't get). I remember a guy like that from college -- legendary even at a famous exam school in NYC, international math olympiad, kicked our asses at bridge, and dropped out of grad school to become an orthodox rabbi. Being in general ed wouldn't actually rescue those individuals.

3) It really is a mistake to burn kids out in high school, since college is ten times more valuable. Kids who arrive to college already burned out and tired of life won't do as well. I would recommend not taking any AP courses in high school unless you definitely want to shorten your time in college. Too many bright kids now days seem take too many AP courses just to make their transcripts look shiny. But then, what choice does SPS give them? Only AP or general ed, with no third option that would stretch and develop them without trying to cover a whole year of college material.

4) The problem about lack of self-starting comes more from tigercopter parenting than honors classes. An unfortunate dynamic does indeed set up where tigercopter parents see the only shot at a decent education is HCC, so they tiger their kids into HCC, and then copter them through. Those kids might in fact not do so well once required to fly on their own. But just drifting through general ed is not such a great alternative. SPS simply doesn't want to serve those kids, and parents' attempts to beat the system will backfire to some extent. If only... if only public schools would offer challenging work without a fight. Won't ever happen again.

Alas, there is always confusion between challenging work and tons of work. The best thing for bright kids is work that is very challenging but not tons of it. SPS seems to offer only two choices: no challenge, or if you insist and fight hard enough, some challenge coupled with burn-out volume. Take that, smarty pants.
Anonymous said…
segregated is a race thing. hcc is not segregated. stop lying principals and teachers and trolls.

sad that those three folks can be put in the same group. also sad that all south end students will be asked to repeat course work for the gen ed kids that are two years behind but not the north end where things just don't "look" as bad.

this isn't race it's economics and we are pulling ourselves apart at the seams to get to the bottom.

-no caps
n said…
What an interesting read! Just goes to show how different we all are. My story: sophomore in mixed lit class. Small group got to read higher-level books. I remember thinking why them and not me? I never worried about it. I never felt dumber. I just wondered. That's what kids do. Turns out my SATS put me 1 pt beneath honors English.

I think kids don't worry unless their parent make issues of things. I'm grateful that my parents let my teachers teach without all the second guessing.

My experience in elementary is that kids get out of school what they put into it and what their family's expectations are. I have a rep for being fairly demanding. However, I'm not going to make a kid feel bad or work beyond his/her developmental level in elementary. Smart doesn't mean children have learned to make real effort and that is key. If parents monitor and expect that children meet expectations, they will. If parents accept whatever children produce, they won't. Being smart is a lot less success-building that learning to put effort into what one does.

And the children in elementary are still very over-scheduled. That's a problem.
I think you're mostly talking about high school and that is really where the rubber meets the road. I hope students take school seriously but that is a reflection of home. And special teachers who can motivate them to believe they can succeed. Smart isn't everything.

Finally, a parent recently told me his experience. Poor home expectations for school, rarely motivated to work hard or to do excellent work. Got through by getting by. As an adult, matured, understood and got himself into MIT.

I believe all kids should be engaged in school. Engagement - that for me is the big word. We have work to do on that score. There are many kinds of smart. I look for children who make connections over children who remember facts. Look at Bloom's Taxonomy for how to determine "intelligence." Evaluation, synthesis, analysis, adapting, organizing, valuing. Jeopardy tests knowledge. I marvel at people who can remember all these facts. But are they wise? Now, that's a different question altogether.

With parents as vigilant as those of you who post on this blog, your kids will do just fine. Providing, of course, they are more than knowledgeable. They must be willing to put in the effort to learn as well.
Anonymous said…
Thank you Northwestener for your perspective. My child is HCC precisely because I saw the same type of thing happening. We had the added experience of our child being 2E and the school having low expectations of abilities. Things they saw as purely behavioral I thought were boredom and being unengaged. It was only after the official designation from AL did the school start to take my concerns more seriously and changed how they approached learning needs. My child is not a natural self-starter and needs to be stretched (as all students do, I would add). Eliminating HCC would be a disaster for my learner as the first few years in GE were. If that happens we're out of SPS.

NB parent
Anonymous said…
northwesterner's experience is similar to my own, but it's already been established that the white liberals pushing this change don't care about it or about kids of color. If they did, they'd care deeply about ensuring all kids get a challenging education in these classes. But they don't. Instead the white do-gooders actually believe that merely having kids in the same room magically produces better learning - and if you raise any question about it at all, they'll attack you for being a racist. Even a Mexican like me.

If you want to put all kids into the same class, fine, whatever. But the job of our schools is to make sure our kids are learning. If you really care about equity, then you'll care that my kid gets real advanced learning. And you'll show me exactly, precisely, how it's going to be done. Because if that doesn't happen, there goes their chance of getting into a good college. And then you've just reinforced structural racism.

Anonymous said…
Oh, and n, great job blaming parents for the problems kids face in school, or saying kids are just lazy. No racism there, no sir.

NB parent, you're right. A lot of people are just going to head for the exits if they don't think their kids can get a good education in SPS. So then we'll have a bunch of white and Asian kids in private schools while SPS is left with the black and brown kids, still not getting the education they need. What will the white do-gooders say then? Ah, but they don't actually care. As long as they get back at that mean old HCC mom who looked at them the wrong way in the hot yoga class that one time, they're happy.

NESeattleMom said…
Thanks everyone for your differing points of view. It is interesting. The equity goal is not easy to accomplish. Four decades back there was forced busing in this city to accomplish similar goals. It did not work. Why? Maybe those teachers weren't able to differentiate. Those were different times, and "maybe" we as a society have progressed in some ways, but the deep separations of the SES levels have grown.
n said…
Ah, Hermano. Good job picking up on something to complain about and it ends up being called racism. Wow. Both my parents worked. I had no one at home looking over my shoulder. But both parents absolutely expected me to do homework, study, be at school every day, and be respectful. That's all. I believe all children can succeed if they are left taking responsibility for their success and not blaming others. Blaming others has become endemic in our society.

Why so angry?
Anonymous said…
Once again. HCC can't help but compare themselves to very, very special ed and disabilities. No sleeper. Parents of autistic kids have historically banded together to collectively deal with the district. District treats them warily - and with a slight bit better services than other similarly disabling conditions. But, there are NO autistic programs for students in SPS. None. Zero. Zip. It is illegal to have disability based programs. Illegal. Autism is a disability in the DSMV. It is also an educational category under IDEA. If you have a medical diagnosis of Autism - you may or may not qualify for special education. You will not qualify for "an autism program" - because there aren't any. If HCC was special education - then they idea would be to put all students in the least restrictive environment to the maximum extent possible (eg. not in a special class or at a special school) where an educational FLOOR OF OPPORTUNITY could be provided.

Lots of people don't wish a label - because they are stigmatized for it. You don't find scads and scads of people seeking retests, or taking "autism" test-preps so that they can get into a really great special class, and there are no books on how to ace the M-CHAT or the ADOS like there is for acing the CogAt. So sleeper - your comparison falls flat. Again.

Is there no other topic besides the horror of minimal mixing it up for HCC. What would people do if they had a real problem?

n said…
How do you know the decades of busing didn't work? There is evidence out there that shows the LBJ and deseg years absolutely worked. But then came the Reagab years and the rest of the story.
Anonymous said…
And btw sleeper. Your post makes no sense on many levels. If your "friend's" kid is outed for having autism, AND they need no services, then what is the problem? The district doesn't just throw people in special education because somebody claims they have a disability. And even if they have been diagnosed, they might not qualify because the district assesses that. And even if they qualify, they can still reject services. So, nothing you have claimed makes any sense at all - except you know somebody who has a diagnosis and chooses not to disclose it.

So What
Anonymous said…
speedie = mc= troll

it is minimally mixing if you consider it is only necessary in the south... why is that? it isn't minimal if you consider it is the most of one year at GHS? As for transcripts how is ghs going to handle that? please tell me they are going to differentiate the grades too? how is tm going to teach kids in the same class two years apart curriculum. this is tully's mess and nyland has no mind to fix it.

-no caps
Anonymous said…
I didn't say program, I said services. And if a person needs services that are basic education for their child, whatever those are, they certainly will advocate for them, or we will hopefully find someone to help do so. Whether it is successful is a different matter.

The specific analogy doesn't matter. We offering bussing to some kids for some reasons, but one kid doesn't need to or use the bus. That does not mean we should get rid of bussing for whatever reasons we are using it. That means one kid didn't need the bus. We have tissues at school because some kids need tissues. One kid brings all their own tissues from home, or never has a runny nose all year. That does not mean we should stop having tissues at school. We offer math at school on a developmentally appropriate level at school, but some children are homeschooled in math instead, and it works out great. We should not stop offering math at school. We offer HCC for the very good reason that this is the research based best practice way to serve HC kids. Some families don't need or want those services, for their own reasons. That does not mean we don't need the services.

Anonymous said…
@ Speddie and So What, sleeper's point was quite clear--that not all kids need the services that they are entitled to. Some might qualify for Sped services and decline them, just as some may qualify for HCC and not participate. But the fact that either happens doesn't suggest that other children don't need those very same services. The old "I kept my kid at the neighborhood school and it worked for us, so therefore HC services are unnecessary" line is based on faulty logic.

Anonymous said…
There seem to be two things going on here. First is the Carol Burris approach, which is laudable and right. Having all kids in Honors classes is a good idea, as long as it's carried out effectively.

Second is the ed reformers' desire to eliminate all forms of differential programs and curricula in order to impose one single educational model on all children, regardless of their specific needs. This is the thinking behind Common Core, behind high stakes testing, "personalized learning," and so on (and you'll note Carol Burris is a strong opponent of this stuff).

The ed reformers have learned that they can reverse their recent losses by allying with those concerned about equity to attack white progressives. So while there are real concerns with an HCC cohort or with tracking, and while detracking can be good, it can also be a tool for ed reformers to turn allies against each other. Divide and conquer.

Which one is happening here in Seattle? I doubt the Garfield teachers are proposing this because they're ed reformers. But their good intentions could be derailed if the ed reformers at the JSCEE use it as a way to impose personalized learning via iPads and other bad curricula and practices. And if this gets used to fuel an attack on IB, on Middle College, on the option schools, on immersion programs, and so on, then this will have done more harm than good.

That's why it's so, so important that Garfield explain how differentiation and the needs of both advanced learners and the kids who aren't caught up will be addressed. The implementation is everything. While the defenders of this proposal think that merely desegregating the school is enough, it's just not, because if you don't actually ensure all the students get the instruction they need, this will quickly become a disaster. And if it becomes a basis for imposing bad ed reforms, it'll be the kids of color who get hurt the most.

Others have noted that attacks on advanced learning could also lead to resegregation of schools in Seattle. That is one of the driving factors behind white flight in the 1970s and 1980s. A lot of white parents felt their kids couldn't get the advanced learning they needed in desegregated schools, so they fled. Argue with their reasoning all you want to, condemn them as horrible racists all you want to, but the fact remains that they did leave and the result was more segregated schools.

In this past week I have heard from a surprising number of parents that for the first time they are seriously considering going private or moving to a suburb because of this attack on advanced learning. They're not afraid of diversity - they live in Seattle, after all, and not in Mill Creek - but they are afraid that their kids will no longer get a curriculum that prepares them to go to a good college. They're afraid to even speak up about it for fear of being labeled as racists.

So if the goal really, truly is to desegregate our schools, then we have to take seriously these questions about how these desegregated classes will actually be taught, and address Charlie's questions about how SPS will check to ensure all kids are getting what they need. I know that gets in the way of the witch hunts that some folks want to engage in. But it's just true. You can't force parents to put their kids' academic needs aside.

And we shouldn't have to. This idea that we have to choose between desegregation and high standards is wrong, it's immoral, and it's racist. We can and must have them both.

Fauntleroy Father
Anonymous said…
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NESeattleMom said…
Amen Fauntleroy Father
Anonymous said…
Ohhhhhh. Sleeper you're even more confused than I thought. There are NO autism services either. None. Zero. Zip. Nada. Changing a word doesn't mean anything at all. Charlie has already lectured on that one.

Fauntleroy Father. How about proving that segregation is working now??? Where were all the squawkers before, when there was no proof that the current vastly expanded segregatory scheme was working? In the absence of proof, and there will not be any, we should go with least harm. And the current system we know for a fact, is harmful.

Anonymous said…
Speddie, you willfully misread me. I'm not defending the status quo. I've also seen and heard a lot of criticisms of the way advanced learning has been handled in SPS, including the cohort and separate classes model. What I am saying is that change for its own sake isn't going to produce the actual results we all want to see unless there is a clear and strong plan for addressing students' academic needs. Many of us want Garfield's (and Thurgood Marshall's) plan to succeed and we know that requires more than just putting all kids in the same room and calling it good. I suspect the teachers know this and are planning for this, but many of us want to see the actual details.

Fauntleroy Father
Anonymous said…
Why does your child's perceived need for a rarified segregation, vastly expanded in recent years, without evidence of efficacy, trump basic desegregation? Segregation has plenty of evidence of harm. These teachers aren't trying to do anyone in. They're doing obvious work. I read you loud and clear.

Anonymous said…
I actually also did not say autism services. I said services for autistic children. So I know some kids who have autism, and needed no special ed services. Obviously we should not now refuse services for any child who has been diagnosed with autism, on the premise that they should be fine since one was. It's faulty. It's harmful.

But, of course, this was not the point.

Anonymous said…
Ability based grouping and the segregation you are talking about are two different things. Segregation is separation of different groups of kids *with the same qualifications* (this is the actual Brown v Board language) by race. HCC separates kids with DIFFERENT qualification. Honors is not segregation. It is opt in. Also none of this is tracking, especially not tje opt in open enrollment program Garfielf has had.

There are many things we should do to address inequity, and the inequity of who attends an HCC school. Treating all kids as though they learn the same way at the same pace and so need the exact same thing is not one of them.

Anonymous said…
Funny, they always work out to be the same people.

Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
We have state colleges with entrance exams. Why does no one have a problem with those, yet it’s racist to have a k12 program that kids test into? And in high school, kids don’t even have to test in; the classes are open to anyone that wants to take them.

The kids that will suffer the most if they water down the HCC program are the middle class achieves; they are too poor to afford private school k12 and too rich to qualify for a free ride.

NE Dad
Anonymous said…
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Geogiaa said…
For all the hate being spewed at the district, there are strong advocates for the gifted community.

The AL dept is responsible for growing the program, firstly. They talked staff and the board into lowering the gate, to increase diversity, but what it did was balloon the cohort.

They wanted self-contained Spectrum shut as it was causing problems for the gifted kids, lots of bullying by gened kids, following the lead of parents and sometimes teachers.

A big HCC does help the gifted by providing a less restrictive atmosphere than in a smaller program.

Now it's a different story with the NSAP and the kids would do better going back to blended, the best solution is probably to reduce the entrance threshold lower until all kids are considered Highly Capable.

The first step is declaring all honors for 9th grade History and LA at G'field.

The really stupid thing about that decision is for some students,an A in non-honors, say at Ballard, is better than a B in honors, a lot better. So, Mr Howard is hurting kids' resumes who are that situation or similar.
Anonymous said…
great MC should we start with employers address first. or kids ieps as those are all public knowledge too now thanks to sps' abundance of care.

segregation is based on race.

hcc is not based on race.

no caps
Anonymous said…
Let's get rid of varsity sports.

My clumsy (they say so themselves) kid, who is also a slow runner, wants to be on the varsity football team. I think the skills of the varsity players would make my kid better at football. I am sure osmosis would cause the good football skills to move from those who excel at football into my kid - just being in the same locker room would surely do it.

I know those who excel at football would now win fewer games, but it's in the spirit of equality. While equity (everyone gets a chance at football, but not necessarily on the same football team - frosh, JV, Varsity) makes more sense, we must do equality because that word gives people the warm fuzzies (everyone on the same football team no matter their ability).

Jet City mom said…
Ability is not fixd. It can also indicate quality and amount of practice and coaching.
When the games are against mediocre players who havent been taught advanced technique, it can be difficult to perform at a higher level.
Anonymous said…

sports in HS are so discriminatory, even more than gifted ed, tho music in SPS is worse.

varsity cello
Anonymous said…
I have to let you know. I am not Michael Christopherson. You'll have to take my word for it. But, I am able to use spell check. Interesting, that group thinkers (who hate group projects for their kids) even wish to segregate posters, by clustering all divergent opinions into a single identity that they can hate. The dreaded MC. Segregation is more than simple opt in status. If the results of opt in status for honors designation is black and white, it's still segregated. But yes better. Garfield is simply leading the way. You should be proud that these schools can provide both the clustered cohort you want AND a diverse education.

Anonymous said…
Jet City-

Are you saying that everyone is born with an equal set of abilities? Can anyone be Yo Yo Ma? Can anyone be Serena Williams? Can anyone be Marie Curie?

I don't believe that's so for a second. That's a warm and fuzzy way of thinking as far as I am concerned. Everyone is born with possibilities, but there also needs to be: exposure (a father who introduces you to tennis in Williams' case), innate ability and the willpower to stick with all the practicing. A great tennis coach could not make just anyone into the next Serena Williams.

Then you say: "When the games are against mediocre players who havent (sic) been taught advanced technique, it can be difficult to perform at a higher level." This is exactly the reason why some parents are upset about the "honors" for all at GHS.

Charlie Mas said…
As always, the intentions are good, but the implementation is questionable.

The teachers and principals who are promoting the blending classes of students working below, at, and beyond grade level need to answer some questions, do some work, and assess the results. We are not seeing them answer any of the questions, do any of the work, or make any assessments of the results. That's the problem.

This could be good for everyone, but it appears to be a problem mostly with image and a solution that sacrifices academics to improve that image. That's not acceptable for people who value academics over cosmetics.
Anonymous said…
This policy nicely (cleverly) removes academic accountability from the SPS toward all students. If you have tracked classes you can look at the curriculum for that classroom and evaluate it. However, if you have to rely on the skill of the teacher for differentiation - you will have a much hazier target. Some teachers will do great at this, and succeed at challenging all the students in the class. Some will not. If your class is one of the latter you will be faced with approaching the principal who will tell you that the policy is to differentiate and challenge all students. If the teacher, for whatever reason, is failing to do this - nothing will be done. Furthermore, the classroom differentiation model removes the class capacity problems that the district never seems to be able to transparently handle. These are the reasons for this policy. It is not to help students but to eliminate accountability.....to all students.

Certainly at the high school level students should be offered the opportunity to challenge themselves by accessing defined honors classes.

Anonymous said…
But Charlie, you could just as easily say that the honors segregation scheme was the cosmetics, masking as academics without proof of it, to accomplish tracking. Nobody values cosmetics above academics and that is simply a belittling characterisation, "putting words in other peoples' mouth" as you regularly complain of. But many value their privileged status. We have a long history of that; it isn't cosmetic. There was never any proof of academic achievement in honors. They will not come up with a grand assessment plan for many reasons. But the best reason is.... the kids are already ridiculously assessed, and nobody believes the assessment. Let's not waste time on that, it would be a boondoggle. And nothing is going to change that. Best to let teachers, who best know their jobs, have the freedom to do their jobs, and to do the assessment. You have always advocated for this in the past. This is their solution.

N, thanks for the thoughts from a teacher perspective. I would agree that wanting to do the hard work is very important for a student. I think sometimes kids who are gifted find - for example - learning to read to be easy. And so they think all of learning will be easy and it won't be.

I didn't see N's comments as blaming parents for school issues but parents ARE a big part of how well students do. I'm not sure that can be disputed.

Hermano, as well, thank you for your perspective.

I will note that some people believe that not only will advanced learners help drive the class academically but that they tend to be better behaved. (I myself don't necessarily subscribe to this but I've heard it.) Problem is, a bored kid may act out. I recall my son's teacher telling me it was annoying that my son was always looking out the window. He told me he was bored and just wanted to do something that wouldn't get him in trouble.

Fauntleroy Father, very good thoughts (and it reminds me a thread I need to write about the new meme of "equity" in ed reform.)

I also note for folks that one issue with charter schools, especially urban ones, is that they are helping to resegregate schools.

Speddie, "..current vastly expanded segregatory scheme was working" - what scheme are you referencing here?

"They wanted self-contained Spectrum shut as it was causing problems for the gifted kids, lots of bullying by gened kids, following the lead of parents and sometimes teachers."

I have never once heard this as a reason to close Spectrum.

The really stupid thing about that decision is for some students,an A in non-honors, say at Ballard, is better than a B in honors, a lot better.

To note, college admissions officers look if a student took the highest amount in rigor in high school so honors does look better than non-honors and IB/AP is the best. That said, I recall years back when the Times had an article about SPS high schools and that they knew what an "A" at RBHS meant versus say, Roosevelt.

Speddie, could you not use words like "hate?" If someone disagrees with you, they don't "hate" you.

Nailed it, Charlie.

As well, SPSParent, points out the difficulty as ascertaining whether this is working because every teacher may differentiate in their own way (but using common materials.) I would guess then that if a class isn't doing well, the blame will go to teacher. I am surprised that with this issue - the teacher will get most of the blame for a poor performing class - and class sizes, that "100%" of the LA/SS teachers are Garfield are on-board.

I have to wonder what this change will mean for the CBA.

Anonymous said…
Melissa, when no-caps, a poster on your blog, misidentified me as Michael Christopherson or MC, I believe that is hate. Especially when coupled with the trolling label. I note that you ignore this, and ignore the outing attempt. I believe the hate stems from institutional racism and racist beliefs held by bloggers. And the desperate mob mentality around the prospects of even minimal integration.

Speddie, I had missed that and I deleted it. I personally don't think that is "hate" - it's someone being annoying.

People who comment are readers or commenters, not bloggers. And you say that "bloggers" have "institutional racism and racist beliefs." Tell me how you know this/why you make this accusation.

Or, you can not comment here if you believe that. But I don't have time for people who hide behind a moniker and flamethrow. You might want to take a breath before you post.
kellie said…
This is not an academic solution. This is a capacity solution. It is important to remember that SPS truly is challenged managing capacity in many dimensions over decades.

From 2002-2009, SPS was myopically fixated on closing schools, despite the simple fact that Seattle was the fastest growing City in the US. Let's forget about all the evidence of student growth that was quickly dismissed by the district from parents from every corner of the district. SPS was going to close schools. The closure effort was an enormous waste of time, energy and money from which SPS has still not recovered.

By the time that SPS recognized that they no longer needed to close schools, they were still quite slow to acknowledge the tremendous growth in all parts of Seattle. BTA III and BEX IV were dominated by conversations about over-building. However, both of those levies just barely provided much needed space for students who were already enrolled and not future growth.

As such, since 2009, there has been tremendous pressure to make classrooms more efficient with both larger class sizes and more generic labels so that more students could be slotted into those spaces. Since 2009, there has been a sharp decrease in any specialization that required space to be slightly less efficient.

These arguments about philosophies about advanced learning are as much of a distraction as the closures. While parents from every corner of the district fought to slow down the closures, because of all the in fighting about "which school to close" the closures marched forward.

We have a capacity issue district wide and this time, every unique program in the district is a risk of becoming capacity-managed. Spectrum was never intentionally dismantled. It died a slow and angonizing death one school at a time as there was no longer the capacity to provide it.

kellie said…
Honors for all, is a capacity solution. The distinction between an academic solution and a capacity solution, all has to do with the budget. An academic solution comes with a budget code, to implement that solution. There is no budget code to provide funds to support honors-for-all. It is an illusion and a distraction.

Now, I am certain that all of the teachers involved in implementing this solution will not only do their best but they will do what they always do. Work extremely hard to educate the students in front of them.

Just like teachers all across the district worked hard to educate students in schools that were being split, merged, closed and otherwise capacity managed. Teachers do the hard work in the classroom.

District wide, all of the high schools are making very hard choices about the master schedule and about how to do the best they can, with out adequate funding. Every single high school is cutting advanced options in one way or another and that process is invisible at the high school capacity pressure builds.
Anonymous said…
kellie, I believe what you are saying is true, but it's the teachers at GHS who are cramming this down our throats for apparently ideological or activist reasons, with Ted Howard letting them do it, not the district. Has anyone heard back from anyone at the district level on this? I can't figure out what their stance is.

honors said…

"To note, college admissions officers look if a student took the highest amount in rigor in high school so honors does look better than non-honors and IB/AP is the best."

I think you're wrong on this one.

An A grade in non-honors is better than a B in honors. Students receive .5 ranking GPA points for honors, so an A in non-honors not only gives a better GPA than a B in honors, but also a better ranking. Colleges look at GPA first and then ranking and honors/AP.

Garfield is forcing honors on kids to their detriment, unless it's actually honors option like at Hale.
Anonymous said…
We have never seen a weighted GPA on our child's grade report. It was my understanding only class rank calculations use honors/AP/IB weighting. If a student gets an A in a non-honors class, it averages into the GPA as 4.0; if a student gets an A in an honors class, it averages into the GPA as 4.0. For class rank, however, the GPAs would use 4.0 and 4.5. The "Honors for All" will even out the class ranking advantage during that first year. Does SPS report a weighted GPA to colleges?

-GPA confusion
n said…
This is not an academic solution. This is a capacity solution. It is important to remember that SPS truly is challenged managing capacity in many dimensions over decades.

Kellie laid it out well as she always does and provides some historical analysis. Kellie, you've posted the capacity issue before. Thank you for refreshing the conversation with that very large issue. It is definitely in play at my school. As I've posted before, we had a tight budget in 2000 and our school was absolutely under-built.

I want to thank whoever it was that posted the link to an Atlantic article entitled The War on Stupid People.


Many people who have benefited from the current system like to tell themselves that they’re working hard to help the unintelligent become intelligent. This is a marvelous goal, and decades of research have shown that it’s achievable through two approaches: dramatically reducing poverty, and getting young children who are at risk of poor academic performance into intensive early-education programs. The strength of the link between poverty and struggling in school is as close to ironclad as social science gets. Still, there’s little point in discussing alleviating poverty as a solution, because our government and society are not seriously considering any initiatives
capable of making a significant dent in the numbers or conditions of the poor.

The article goes on to say that intervention must be by age three.

I don't think this is off-topic because we are talking about all kids succeeding at higher levels so that maybe all these honors classes might become moot points. In setting priorities, I wish the city would put its power to work for new parents with babies from one-to-three years of age and schools start junior K classes at four. I believe England starts kids at four with a junior K but not sure. Another teacher told me that some years ago. She said they started their kids younger but really kept them at two different levels of K for two years. It can be done if we all agreed to do it.

BTW, why do threads seem to devolve into sped vs. advanced learning discussions?
n said…
Before anyone complains about the use of "stupid," that was the article. I think the author writes a little facetiously at times but really, the topic of the article is that group of children who are of average intelligence to about 90 on the IQ test. None of these kids is stupid but all have had too little mentoring in their lives. I believe that almost every kid starts out with a good brain. Society must do more to nourish all brains.
Anonymous said…
I've seen it on other threads relating to this topic and I want to make sure it gets posted here, just in case it makes the light bulb go off somewhere along the line. What about students with disabilities who need services in General Education? Once you get to middle school, the situation looks pretty bad. These services are NONEXISTENT at TM and there is no "ACCESS" program at WMS or GHS so kids who can do gifted ed and who needs sped services are --like the Dark Ages -- forced to choose. How does this fit into the big sanctimonious call for integration? When does ALL mean ALL when a whole class of students is consistently not even factored in to the discussion. This thread just rings hollow when you think about the ongoing exclusion of students with special needs from the calculation of "equity."

Anonymous said…
Driving while black? Even Seattle’s Ron Sims counts 8 cop stops.
An excellent article describing why integration is important, no essential. The Garfield effort to desegregate features prominently. The thing that I notice is that this is by a current Garfield parent and very reasonable.

We’re ignoring the immutable core issue: much of white and wealthy America is perfectly happy with segregated schools,” wrote Washington state’s 2016 Teacher of the Year, Nate Bowling of Tacoma
And it would seem, all of HCC is happy with segregation, except for occasional opining that we figure out a way to test a few into HCC to reduce the anxiety of the animus.

I don’t know if putting all different learning levels into one class will work. The Lake Wobegon-style nickname gives me pause. But we’ve also got to try to go to class together. We can’t stay in silos and simply hope the cultural misunderstandings and racial animus marring the country dissipate on their own.
Acknowledges hard work, but also points to the real need for this.

And he sums it up:
Despite 50 years of society trying and mostly failing, integration’s the only answer I’ve got for you. We either figure out how to grow up together or we go down apart

Danny nails it, and he's a guy with actual current skin in the game.

Anonymous said…
Sorry, the above article is from today's Seattle Times. Another one we can probably all admire, if not agree on, from the times.

Anonymous said…
We can’t stay in silos and simply hope the cultural misunderstandings and racial animus marring the country dissipate on their own. I'm wondering how this will dissipate the cultural misunderstandings and racial animus marring the country. It's not like these kids haven't been in classes together before. Electives at Washington are blended. Must be some magic in project-based learning. Or not. I can easily imagine some negative impact to student relationships from this experiment.

Speaking of Washington, won't Susan Follmer want to support this effort by blending 8th grade classes?

Wasting Time
Honors, it has been awhile for me so you are likely right on the grading weight for college entrance.

N, what you are speaking of - the need to reduce poverty in this country (especially for children) plus early intervention for low-income kids - is very much a thread I want to write about because, while this is vitally important, I very much get this patronizing, paternalistic vibe from ed reformers ("we know what's best for kids.")

N, I'm going to ignore your comment on Sped vs AL because it is a sad thing but when both the state and the district don't fund/do what they are suppose to do, it pits programs and schools and kids with needs against each other. Wrong, wrong, wrong and we shouldn't fall for it.

Reader, great point. If everyone is going to be in these classrooms, are the supports truly there per IEPs?

E, I'm not sure I'm going for this "segregation" tag. Self-contained classes for highly capable students are very much the norm in this country. I'm thinking if HCC reflected the district's demographic makeup, the complaints would die down.

But it is important for kids - across BOTH background and race - to meet and be in classes together. I think that school may be a great place to start but again, home life and neighborhoods are a huge part of children's lives. Schools cannot solve all these issues of society.

Speaking of Ron Sims, I remember a great article on the front page of the NY Times about Seattle. It was during the time when Gary Locke was governor, Ron Sims was KC executive and Norm Rice was mayor. Each man talked about his journey and how they didn't feel fear of racism when they ran for office. That's one thing I like about this region; people tend to look for qualifications. Washington was one of the few states to have such diversity.

But I also remember Sims telling the story of when he was a little boy, his family was on some kind of car trip and he had fallen off something and hurt himself. When his mother took him to the hospital, they refused to help him.

As a mother, I cried. How could anyone not help an injured person, especially a child?

We have to remember where we were and how far we have come but it's still - clearly - a long road ahead.
WalkToMath said…
It is important to keep the issue of advanced learners in context. The story treats advanced learning as a racial issue. When, in fact, every school deals with the issue of separating advanced learners- even in schools that are predominantly white.

Anonymous said…
Parents in HCC aren't looking for segregation, they're looking for a program that meets their child's needs. Many of them pick HCC in spite of its lack of representative diversity, and have always been troubled by it. So when they ask how their kid's needs are going to be met in a blended class, they're not speaking out against desegregation. They're saying, accurately, that desegregation doesn't solve the underlying problems of how kids get the services and classes they need. And those parents defending this change seem to think it's somehow racist or segregationist to ask how advanced learners are going to be helped here.

We have had integrated schools in this city and in this country in the past and in the present and the act of integration alone has not ended existing inequities or ensured every child gets a good education. If people are serious about integration and equity - and I question whether or not these moves are really just an attack on advanced learning - then people would be happy to help figure out how we provide challenging instruction and meet all kids' needs in blended classes.

We've seen parents of color speak out in this thread about how much they need their kids to have good advanced learning opportunities. None of the defenders of the Garfield plan - not a single one of them - has responded to those parents. That's revealing.

Fauntleroy Father
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
No caps, I have to delete your comment as we don't allow name-calling. You can certainly call out a person's job performance but we aren't calling people names.

Try again.

Anonymous said…
gotcha. i guess i did ascribe my view of who these people are in label form but one person's racist is another person's pres canidate.

again if this was about segregation it would be an issue north as well as south of the ship canal. It is not.

half of all classes are mixed in ghs and wms; and tm could mix in non-academic classes instead of a core subject.

it was honor for none before they realized it was illegal and then it was honors for all. how do you trust that?

this times article clearly is a one sided hit piece.

imho the only people making the case this is segregation are seemingly, yellow journalist, trolls, racist teachers and guilt blinded principals. this is coming from tully and is a coordinated attack on hcc as Kellie said to ease enrollment.

no caps
Anonymous said…
"They're saying, accurately, that desegregation doesn't solve the underlying problems of how kids get the services and classes they need."

THat is the main thing about the proposal at TM - they don't have a plan to differentiate. What, extra work sheets? The Franklin way? Please.

I also recall someone writing that it was too hard to have kids together for PE and music because of teachers' PCP time. Well, I can only say they did it at Whittier when my kids were there (and a couple of other schools at the time.) It can be done.
Anonymous said…
So, why was funding an issue for teaching Spectrum to all at Maple Elementary back in 2006? Why does it cost more than teaching everyone in gen ed? More one-on-one tutoring to keep everyone at a higher level? Materials for fifth grade (other grades could presumably use district provided material one grade ahead)? I'd love to see this happen again... basically just higher expectations for all.

Anonymous said…
Over on the APP blog, they have posted the GHS FAQ on Honors for All. Melissa, could you re-post it here?


Thanks, Capitol Hill Parent
Anonymous said…
The point of integration, isn't to provide opportunities at the least significant periods of the day, it's to provide them during the most significant periods. Nobody would say PE or recess is the most important class - so, integration at that point alone, would be maximally stigmatizing. Exactly not the point. Surely this small break from self contained mindset is worth a shot.

Anonymous said…

this integration is being driven because a few don't understand what it takes to teach hc kids. and unfortunately we were quite as advanced learning dismantle spectrum. now hc kids programs are being modified to solve some problem that is ses based and not race based and yet the optics are too much for those families. to be clear there is no issue with integration in the north but there is in the south?

howard was for chipping away at hc programs and he was for honors for none. he only posted the faq and making it honors for all because he learned his unilateral move brought sps hc program out of compliance. but none the less he is all in to chip away at hc.

- no caps
Anonymous said…
E, you give yourself away when you emphasize a "small break from self contained mindset." You make it clear here your goal isn't integration or effective teaching or eliminating inequities. Your goal is to end self-contained advanced learner classes. Which might be a good idea. But it isn't the same thing as integration or closing the achievement gap or making a meaningful step toward racial and social equity.

Capitol Hill Parent, that FAQ is very helpful. It doesn't answer every question parents have but it answers some, and it gives confidence that the Garfield teachers are approaching this thoughtfully, if not perfectly (group work doesn't actually prepare you for college, and any college admin that tells you that is wrong).

I submit that a big part of the problem with the way this whole idea has been rolled out is that it was seized upon by an angry and aggressive group of deeply resentful parents who saw in it a chance to attack the parents and children they hate so much for being in self-contained classes. That's done a disservice to the Garfield teachers who have a much more detailed and developed approach to this, and they do indeed seem focused on integration, on the achievement gap, and on meaningful and effective strides toward justice and equity.

Fauntleroy Father
Anonymous said…
yeah ff, well said and if you read what the educator had to say about white kids this is no joke. and when you read the principal wants to chip away at this then this is no joke.

just to be clear though this isn't about racial equity it is about ses equity and if anyone knows how to solve that in high school they should be calling the shots; otherwise stop with your plans to dismantle one program that works because it will not solve the ses achievement gap.

-cap hill
Anonymous said…
Someone sent me the quote that a Garfield teacher posted publically on Facebook as the reason they were pushing for "de-tracking." Taking "obnoxious elitist unconscious racists" HCC down a notch, not better education:

The APP apparatheid (sic) stops when they enter our doors. It won't hurt the fragile products of APP to go to class with their brothers and sisters--who, despite some of your assertions, are equally gifted even if they haven't been in APP. The ninth grade English teachers are working hard and carefully (and far beyond what they get paid) to make this a success. They don't need obnoxious elitist unconscious racists dooming them to failure before they have a chance to begin.

Fauntleroy Father ( and anyone else), please don't say "hate." I honestly do not believe anyone hates anyone else's children. They may not like the program or even the parents, but folks, hands off kids.

Ambushed, I note that the teacher who said this does not appear on the list of teachers from the FAQs. I find that confusing because I thought all the LA/SS teachers were for this effort. It may be an oversight from whoever wrote this document.

I did communicate with the teacher and that teacher told me that he/she was referencing commenters (I believe at the HCC blog site) but frankly, that's not how that entire rant reads to me. That said, the last sentence is pretty over-the-top given some of those commenters likely
ARE parents at Garfield. Teachers have power over parents and students and sending that kind of message out would discourage me as a parent.
Watching said…
That is quite a quote, Ambushed. The individual that wrote that quote needs to be exposed and fired.

I'm not convinced that we're not watching a pilot project to dismantle advanced learning classes. The principals showed-up to the board meeting for a reason.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Watching said…
Or middle school abolished advanced history and language arts. I don't believe subsequent classes were as challenging. As well, teachers have 150 students. The mantra is generally..'advanced students will be fine."

Shame that anyone that questions de-tracking is labeled a racist.
Anonymous said…
●Several teachers on the team have also studied and visited the New York Performance Standards Consortium, a group of small high schools in New York that focus on performance assessment.
●We will continue to reach out to a variety of experts for support and guidance throughout the school year.
Resources teachers are using to help them plan include (but are not limited to) the following: ● Detracking for Excellence and Equity by Carol Corbett Burris and Delia T. Garrity ● On the Same Track by Carol Corbett Burris
● Working for Equity in Heterogeneous Classrooms, Elizabeth G. Cohen and Rachel A. Lotan, eds ● Designing Groupwork: Strategies for the Heterogeneous Classroom by Elizabeth Cohen
● Differentiation in Practice: A Resource Guide for Differentiating Curriculum, Grades 9-12 by Carol Ann Tomlinson
● Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom by Thomas Armstrong
● Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons in Theory and Practice by Howard Gardner ● Teaching English by Design by Peter Smagorinsky
● Strategic Reading by Jeffrey D. Wilhelm
● Academic Language for English Language Learners and Struggling Readers by Yvonne S. Freeman and David E. Freeman
● Deeper Reading by Kelly Gallagher
● Scaffolding the Academic Success of Adolescent English Language Learners by Aida Walqui and Leo van Lier
● Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck
● Social Studies for Secondary Schools: Teaching to Learn, Learning to Teach by Alan J. Singer
Which other schools have made this change?
 De-tracking classes is not a new change and is not unique to Garfield. It's been done in different ways in SPS, such as Nathan Hale offering only one track for 9th grade classes, or Roosevelt's AP-for-all model with 10th grade human geography.
Why do you think that this change will benefit all students?
● We believe in this change because it will allow ○ Enhanced engagement in learning
○ Interaction with peers in meaningful ways ○ Authentic interdependency
○ Greater control over academic products
○ Enhanced critical thinking by solving complex problems in a diverse classroom setting ○ The development of a truly inclusive environment
● Multiple research studies show that all students learn better in heterogeneous classrooms with high-level curriculum.
-Capitol Hill Parent (and above post as well)
Anonymous said…
I tried to post the letter from GHS about Honors for All, but it keeps being deleted by this site so only random snippets appear.
Melissa, are you willing to post it? I notice that you have not replied to my earlier request. There is a lot of concern from posters here about the poposal and the informaton might be of help to people. -CHP
Anonymous said…
Is it the Dweck dreck on mindset/grit or the reference to Working for Equity that you find reassuring?
I don't believe this change will have any positive affect on academic results. No teacher will end up with a majority of students with low test scores though. I can see that being the motivator for them.

Wasting Time
Anonymous said…
Making Groupwork Work by Elizabeth Cohen http://www.csun.edu/~balboa/images/480/Making%20Groupwork%20work.pdf

"Your main task is to draw a metaphor representing the relationship of the three branches of government as described in the U.S. Constitution. You may use single words or phrases but you may not write entire sentences-the finished work must be represented visually.

This task will require many different abilities. Some students will have to be good conceptual thinkers; some will need to be good artists; at least one person will have to be able to quickly find the relevant passages in the Constitution; and someone will need to have strong presentation skills. No one can be good at all these abilities; but each one of you will be good on at least one of them."

This confirms my expectations. Group assignments where complete sentences may not be used. Telling students no one can be good at every academic skill. It brings back the frustration of waiting, waiting, waiting for classmates to understand something so that the teacher can move on. Now they're going to have to wait while a classmate draws a picture. In a high school history class.

Don't get me started on poor Geraldo who wanders around watching his more competent classmates as he struggles to understand something.

Wasting Time
Charlie Mas said…
Here is a link to the Garfield PTSA letter regarding Honors for All.

Here is the letter:
Garfield 9th Grade Honors for All FAQ
Summer 2016

Exactly what is the change?
● All ninth-grade language arts and social studies classes will be honors level.
● This change eliminates the division between the previous "regular" and "honors" tracks.
● The recent Seattle Times article about Garfield used the phrase "cut honors history and English," which is an unfortunate misrepresentation of our plan.

When is this change happening?
● The new honors for all class begins this fall, for the 2016-17 school year

Why are we making this change right now?
● We are making the change to address the opportunity gap for all incoming students, allowing them all access to honors in order to promote equity at Garfield High School.
● Because we are already differentiating for a wide variety of learners, it is simply an extension of our current methodology.

Is special training required for teachers to teach this curriculum? Have all the teachers been trained to be able to teach to different learning styles and levels?
● The teachers on this team have 11 advanced degrees; 6 of our teachers have their National Board Certification.
● We are working with a literacy specialist from the UW College of Education, on reading and vocabulary strategies, and on differentiating readings.
● We are taking a 3-day workshop on "complex instruction," a pedagogy that focuses on effective, ethical, and meaningful group work and critical thinking, which will help students work together in a positive and supportive manner.
● We are working with project based learning as an approach that is highly engaging and succeeds at deeper understanding. We have considerable expertise on the team already with project based learning and a proven track record of project-based successes in AP classes based on pass rates on the AP exam.
● We are co-designing the courses and co-planning the lessons, so the courses will reflect our team’s best ideas. This close collaboration will allow us to revise and improve the courses for all students as the year progresses. The team, both social studies and ELA, will meet on a weekly basis in order deepen collaboration, provide feedback around lessons successes and improvements, and needed supports for students.
●Several teachers on the team have also studied and visited the New York Performance Standards Consortium, a group of small high schools in New York that focus on performance assessment.
●We will continue to reach out to a variety of experts for support and guidance throughout the school year.

Resources teachers are using to help them plan include (but are not limited to) the following:
● Detracking for Excellence and Equity by Carol Corbett Burris and Delia T. Garrity
● On the Same Track by Carol Corbett Burris
● Working for Equity in Heterogeneous Classrooms, Elizabeth G. Cohen and Rachel A. Lotan, eds
● Designing Groupwork: Strategies for the Heterogeneous Classroom by Elizabeth Cohen
● Differentiation in Practice: A Resource Guide for Differentiating Curriculum, Grades 9-12 by Carol Ann Tomlinson
● Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom by Thomas Armstrong
● Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons in Theory and Practice by Howard Gardner ● Teaching English by Design by Peter Smagorinsky
● Strategic Reading by Jeffrey D. Wilhelm
● Academic Language for English Language Learners and Struggling Readers by Yvonne S. Freeman and David E. Freeman
● Deeper Reading by Kelly Gallagher
● Scaffolding the Academic Success of Adolescent English Language Learners by Aida Walqui and Leo van Lier
● Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck
● Social Studies for Secondary Schools: Teaching to Learn, Learning to Teach by Alan J. Singer

Charlie Mas said…
... continued

Which other schools have made this change?
De-tracking classes is not a new change and is not unique to Garfield. It's been done in different ways in SPS, such as Nathan Hale offering only one track for 9th grade classes, or Roosevelt's AP-for-all model with 10th grade human geography.

Why do you think that this change will benefit all students?
● We believe in this change because it will allow
○ Enhanced engagement in learning
○ Interaction with peers in meaningful ways ○ Authentic interdependency
○ Greater control over academic products
○ Enhanced critical thinking by solving complex problems in a diverse classroom setting
○ The development of a truly inclusive environment
● Multiple research studies show that all students learn better in heterogeneous classrooms with high-level curriculum. From the book Detracking for Excellence and Equity, "Our studies (Burris et al., 2006; Burris et al., 2007) as well as the studies of others (Mosteller, Light, & Sachs, 1996; Slavin, 1990) have found that the achievement of highly talented students either is not affected or actually increases when detracking occurs. The key factor, of course, is ensuring that the curriculum remains challenging" (Burris & Garrity, 2008). We are dedicated to making this change benefit all students.
● Furthermore, many employers and colleges are saying that students need more experience problem solving in groups instead of memorizing facts. This curriculum adjustment will help build those "soft skills" employers are looking for.

Will teachers be given extra help in the classroom so no students are overlooked?
● Yes. The social studies and language arts department are sharing an AmeriCorps volunteer who will rotate among classes during the day and be available for after school study sessions, 5 days a week along with at least one teacher per day.
● We will continue to use volunteers from local universities and the community.
● Students who arrive at GHS who have not met standard on the reading portion of the MSP will be placed into a reading class, Read 180, in order to provide literacy support. This class will be in addition to their regular English class, which effectively doubles their time with reading instruction.

Will the classroom makeup be a full range of student abilities or will there be grouping of a range of students and the class size set accordingly?
● All 9th grade social studies and language arts classrooms will be heterogeneous classrooms. The socio-economic, racial, and ability differences of GHS will be reflected in every classroom.

Will the students still be prepared for the 10th grade AP World History test?
● Yes. Our lessons will still be tied to AP learning goals, as they currently are in honors World History. Our teachers have extensive experience with the world history AP requirements, including taking this year's AP Summer Institute for the new World History AP exam design. And by retaining the information better into 10th grade because of scaffolded support and differentiation, the students will actually be better prepared than they have in past years.

Will students still be prepared to move into AP English in 11th and 12th grade?
● Yes. We are not changing our standards or objectives. We are preparing all students to feel confident in choosing an AP class later, so we are still asking students to think deeply and engage in the curriculum at a high level.

Will class sizes be smaller?
● Yes. The 2016-17 budget allows for 9th grade classes to be smaller in order to better support all students.

Charlie Mas said…
... continued

What feedback have you gotten from students?
● Students are overwhelmingly in support of this change. Many students expressed concern about the Seattle Times article that discussed the achievement gap in SPS, which started classroom discussions about tracking. They are aware of the segregation and the subsequent labeling that occur because of the placement tests and tracking, consistently voicing a desire to interact with a wider variety of people.

Will students need to seek help on their own or will the teacher reach out to struggling students?
● As is currently the case, teachers will monitor student progress and suggest extra help for students who need it. This could come in many forms and will be addressed with students one- on-one,with parents, with other teachers, with counseling, and/or with administration.

How will classroom management issues be solved?
● Disruptive behavior comes in many forms and occurs in every classroom. All classroom management techniques and concerns will be addressed according to school policy. Our goal is to create a classroom environment that is engaging and safe for every student who enters. This environment decreases all types of disruptive behavior.

How will you measure the success of this change?
Teachers will collaborate to develop assessments that measure student growth over time. They will use data from these assessments to guide their decision making. Students will also have the chance to give anonymous feedback at the end of each semester which will be reviewed by the team.

How will teachers keep parents informed about assignments, due dates, and other class happenings?
● We are committed to using Schoology and continuing our regular pathways of communication with parents, specifically with emails and phone calls.

How will you keep parents informed about the changes throughout the school year?
● Teachers will be participating in quarterly check-ins with the PTSA and communicate other changes via the GHS web site.

What literature would you recommend parents read to help them understand our change?
● Detracking for Excellence and Equity by Carol Corbett Burris and Delia T. Garrity.
● Designing Groupwork: Strategies for the Heterogeneous Classroom by Elizabeth Cohen ● Any of the books on the list of resources provided earlier in this document.

Teachers on the Team
Adam Gish
Alan Kahn
Kit McCormick
Rosa Powers
Kirsten Otterby
Andrea Soroko

Social Studies
Nathan King
Jeremy Lugo
Corey Allan Martin
Jerry Neufeld-Kaiser
Nathan Simoneaux
Charlie Mas said…
I think this letter does a good job of answering the questions that needed to be answered in advance, showing a commitment to do the work, and laying out a plan to assess the outcomes.

This is what I thought was needed to move forward, I'm satisfied by it, and I'm grateful to see it.
Anonymous said…
Boy Carol Burris's school is (not) just like Garfield.


9 ELL students and 144 economically disadvantaged

Wasting Time
Anonymous said…
And average class size is 19 for their tenth grade English.

What is it at Garfield? Doubting it's similar, in the past our next year.

Anonymous said…
Thank you Charlie for posting the GHS FAQ on Honors for All. - Capitol Hill Parent
Charlie Mas said…
Man, I really hate those two presumptions: "No one can be good at all these abilities;" That's false.
Equally false is the next presumption: "each one of you will be good on at least one of them."

There is nothing mutually exclusive about these skills.
* good conceptual thinker
* good artist
* able to quickly find the relevant passages in the Constitution
* strong presentation skills

There are plenty of people who are good at all of them. And there are plenty of people who stink at all of them.
Anonymous said…
Others have posted about varsity sports, and I think it's relevant. If de-tracking is so good and learning from others with different skills is so helpful, why isn't it also good in sports and music?

Aren't we telling kids on JV that they aren't as good as the varsity kids?

-sporty mcsports
CHP, I wasn't ignoring you. I had started a separate thread but Charlie beat me to the punch.

Sporty, some people say that's because those are team efforts. But it appears there is also group learning/projects in classrooms so again, how is this different?

I am always troubled that some parents are okay with developing/celebrating musical or athletic ability but get very upset if you suggest there are kids with advanced academic abilities.
Anonymous said…
Quit complaining and advocate for detracking sports and music.

I'd be happy if all sports and music were multi-ability and enjoyed by all students, like intramural sports in college or community orchestras. If kids wanted to play, there could be remedial service to help them catch up.

Like academics,it's parents who make all the noise and demand exclusivity for their kids. The kids like to be together.

That's one fear of the HCC parents, their kids might get to enjoy being around kids not in the cohort.

SpEd kids especially are excluded from music/sports.

It would require a total revamping of state and district programs, but would benefit many,many kids.

Charlie Mas said…
Here's how this is different from music and sports.

All students are required to take 9th grade ELA and 9th grade Social Studies. These classes are graduation requirements. So the school can direct them all into the Honors level class.

The school cannot compel students to sign up for a sports team or a music ensemble (it would be pretty interesting if they could!), so these remain self-selected groups that will never represent all students.
Anonymous said…
I am an HCC parent and we specifically chose Garfield because we want our kid to enjoy being around kids not in the cohort. My kid already has plenty of diverse neighborhood and school friends not in the cohort and I think it's great. So that's not true at all. But academic classes are supposed to provide education, not just a way to make friends.

But Charlie, the schools do direct how kids get on a team. Hale has shown that can change and if we are looking for equity and some kind of unification among students, then sports and music should be open to all as well.

Now that doesn't mean all students will ask to join but it certainly would open up the door to more students.

Ambushed, I'm not sure it's so much about making friends as being with a more representative class of the entire school. There is an assumption that kids will understand each other better, learn from each other and therefore go out into the world with better understanding of more different types of people.

Anonymous said…
Sorry, I was just replying to Jordn:

That's one fear of the HCC parents, their kids might get to enjoy being around kids not in the cohort.

I'm not against de-tracking because I fear that.

Anonymous said…
It's more than friendship opportunities or broadening understanding. It's that the composition of HCC itself, the ability for multiple testings, appeals and test scores that traditionally favor a demographic bloc, have resulted in at least 12% of SPS students, mostly Asian and White, being in a segregated cohort for elementary and for large parts of middle and high school with no further academic accountability after admission (often in early elementary school).

Not only Carol Burris, but Diane Ravitch, Linda Darling-Hammond, and amyone with a mimimal sense of fairness, would be utterly appalled.


SusanH said…
In the FAQ that Charlie posted above, they claim that "students are overwhelmingly in support of this change."

What students? I'd like to know. Because the only students this affects are incoming 9th graders (like my child) and no one told them anything about it until now. So who are the students they've apparently discussed this plan with?
Anonymous said…
Baseline, that number is not accurate. 6.8% of SPS 1-12th graders are enrolled in an HCC school. HC designation is applied to kids who test 98th percentile and above statewide. It's logical that many of those children would live in urban areas, so 6.8% in the state's largest city is not "appalling."


Charlie Mas said…
2HC, I believe what baseline thinks is appalling is the fact that there is "no further academic accountability after admission (often in early elementary school)"

There are, actually, a lot of things about the advanced learning programs that are appalling:
* No Standards
* No curriculum
* No stated academic expectations
* No effort to confirm services are provided
* No effort to measure the quality of the program
* No effort to measure the efficacy of the program
* No meaningful definition of the program - a delivery method is not a program
* No meaningful description of the program
* No meaningful statement of the program's purpose
* No communication of how the program is implemented at various sites
* No reference to the program in the CSIPs of most schools that host a program

These things are appalling. As is: * No exit criteria for students

Also, check the percentage of HCC-eligible students among north-end middle schoolers. It's very high.
Anonymous said…
But given all the appalling things about HCC, don't you dare change one thing about it!!

Prevailing Sentiment
Charlie Mas said…
Again, with all of this de-tracking, the legitimate question for Advanced Learning families is:
"How can I be assured that my child will be taught to the same academic Standards as in the cohort delivery model?"

The fundamental problem with this question, of course, is that the academic Standards were never defined in the cohort classroom, so it's impossible to say whether the Standards will be higher, lower, or the same as before.

I would think that the question for non-Advanced Learning families with kids at Thurgood Marshall or Garfield would be:
"How will my child be supported to reach the higher academic expectations in the Honors for All classroom?"
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…

no mc/baseline/jordn/speedie/chp/ms. taylor/mr. howard.

"That's one fear of the HCC parents, their kids might get to enjoy being around kids not in the cohort."

god no.

our fear is if people ever listened to your "segregation" line of thought and actually believed it was truly segregation. there is a teacher at ghs who obviously does. sad. faced with all those learners all she can see is the color of their skin. albeit challenges are inherent in the black experience can we really just bring it all down to race? nearly 40% are frl. roughly 30 kids in a grade have no home. and you think it is race that is the problem? these are ses disadvantaged kids and no high school has the resources to bridge that divide by just mixing the kids together in core classes. as a reminder it was honors for none before it was honors for all. state law brought about that about face. and yet howard as the head of the end of the pathway still feels it is his job to chip away at the program.

blandford canceled his community meeting, to show his support for this decision?

so yeah you are once again wrong and off base when you ascribe hc parents as racist. or afraid of diversity. if that were the case we would be going to our northend school without it.

hcc does not serve poor people well. nor does it serve english learners well.

spp does not serve poor people well. nor does it serve english learners well.

but hcc does try to include accommodations to get more poor people and english learners into the mix.

you all are so wrong.

no caps

Charlie Mas said…
@Prevailing Sentiment, who ever said that people don't want anything changed about HCC?

It's funny how opposition to a damaging change is regarded by some as opposition to all change. So far as I know, the advanced learning community has been advocating for A LOT of change. They have been advocating for program evaluations, for curricula, for transparency, for consistency, for all kinds of changes - just not de-tracking.

And, to be clear, the community isn't opposed to de-tracking if it is done in a way that preserves the academic rigor available prior to de-tracking, but all we have ever seen from the District is de-tracking which was nothing more than the elimination of the program and the total loss of the rigor that is supposed to define the program.

The principal at Washington eliminated Spectrum, just as the principal at McClure (now her boss) did, and just as all of the elementary schools did. Now it's gone. There is no evidence of any differentiation. There is no evidence of any acceleration. There is no evidence of any "deeper learning". There is only the end of the program. This is not a good outcome.

So you can be a little understanding of the distrust around a change that looks a lot like that and has been horribly miscommunicated - when it has been communicated at all.
Anonymous said…
Are rising Garfield ninth grade HCCers truly upset about this change or is it just the parents? Methinks the latter. Time to move on?

Lynn said…
Reposting for:

Anonymous7/11/16, 11:24 AM
We can discuss this in terms of hypotheticals or in terms of probables. The teachers laid out the optimistic, everything is going to get solved case - which should be a pretty big red flag on this. This isn't an objective, studied decision that was made to create the best educational outcomes for all kids, this is a justification for an emotional decision (integration) that was made well before and research was reviewed, plan was made or parents were consulted.

It would be amazing if just by combining all of the kids into the same classroom that we could achieve social objectives and make everyone's academic outcome better. We don't need to give up anything! More realistically, you should assess the benefits of the integration vs elimination of curriculum for advanced kids. The fact that the teachers don't share tradeoffs indicates they are either being disingenuous or don't really know what will happen. Better to just be straightforward, they are solving for a social issue.

I'm an HCC parent. Most parents in the HCC cohort's empirical experience is that very little differentiation actually happens in very broadly mixed classrooms. After all - in a classroom with that broad spectrum, 32 kids and all of the social issues that come with the Garfield population, that is really, really hard.

What is our empirical experience with Garfield doing things that are really hard? 28% of the faculty in the last climate study said they were getting the appropriate resources to differentiate. The school lacked full time teachers last year for Geometry, Spanish and choir, which created huge gaps for all of those kids - the Principal admitted that the kids in those classes were not going to learn much. The school can't fund many of its own basic needs (things that have been funded by the PTSA include the remedial reading program).

If you look at anything else - music, sports, performing arts as examples - wide differences exist among students. Nowhere does the instructor leading those decide that in order to make some of the students better, they will not tier by skill or ability. A simple metaphor - if I play golf with Tiger Woods, I am going to get much better. But will Tiger by playing with me? It only makes sense if you assume that isn't the goal.

The likely outcome here is that this gets done, despite the really unprofessional way it has been rolled out. After all, this is Seattle. There won't be any district or school-led assessment on the impact to the HCC cohort, i.e. there will be no way of knowing whether the teachers were "right" or whether they did what they promised. I think you'll see a continued exodus out of SPS by parents who want a priority on academics.

Finally, since we're making race-based decisions on everything, has anyone noticed that all of the teachers that are doing this are white? Would they support a few of them being forced to find new schools if there was a drive to "integrate" the faculty? Kind of the same principle.
Watching said…
"What students? I'd like to know. Because the only students this affects are incoming 9th graders (like my child) and no one told them anything about it until now. So who are the students they've apparently discussed this plan with?"

That is my question. Were incoming families notified of this change?

I'm also starting to question the definition of "honors" classes in other high schools.

I feel confident we're seeing a model being set-up in Garfield and there will be attempts to expand this model through-out the city.

IMO, standards will be watered down; I've seen it happen in our middle school.
Anonymous said…
oops: nearly 40% are frl. roughly 30 kids in a grade have no home. that is at ghs where we hope to assume some are in the hc cohort but did not mean to imply any race just the dire economic facts of the building.

no cap
Watching said…
"District is de-tracking which was nothing more than the elimination of the program and the total loss of the rigor that is supposed to define the program."

I agree, Charlie.

To those that claim advanced learning programs are a racial issue...look at Whittier Elementary and their Spectrum program.

For years, Charlie and Melissa expressed concern regarding advanced learning. They were correct.

In the FAQ that Charlie posted above, they claim that "students are overwhelmingly in support of this change."

Yes, I noted that as well. I'd like to know when this survey was done. You'd think if that were true, you could look it up in the Garfield newspaper.
Anonymous said…
sidelines, your point is that parents shouldn't be concerned about their kids education ? how many teacher conferences have you been to? you are obviously naive or are making a very hypocritical point. and i am going with the latter. i see you like i see the man with no moniker; one who believes arguing against hcc is good for his kid. his kid isn't posting those post. you move on.

-cap hill
Anonymous said…
sad. faced with all those learners all she can see is the color of their skin

That's because it is so blatantly obvious. To deny something so obvious is testament to deep institutionally based racism. HCC myopia has already driven out 60% of students with disabilities from GHS which has only 5% disability rate, driving out necessary services that supports integration. At some point, enough is enough. There are many, many options for your kid, UW early admission, running start, extra science, humanities, AP everything, etc. This is not about rigor, it's about segregation. Let's take a small step here.

sidelines 2
Anonymous said…
In 2014/15 there were 9 students out of 598 at Cascadia who were FRL. 1.5%. That is the only school that is HCC self contained so the only school that would have an accurate count. I am sure there are a couple of HCC students At GHS who are FRL, but just a handful of the 613 FRL students at GHS in 2014/15.

Anonymous said…
my ghs students knew nothing of this change. how is that even polled? the only thing currently that this will affect is if a child of mine is assigned to ms taylor for a core academic class i will certainly have that changed.

-no caps
Anonymous said…
Active link to South Side High School statistics (posted earlier by Wasting Time):

SOUTH SIDE HIGH SCHOOL - School Report Card Data [2014 - 15]

This is the school used as evidence of the success of de-tracking. Average 10th Grade class sizes are shown as 16-22. Demographics: 76% white, 12% Hispanic or Latino, 6% African American, 4% Asian, and 2% multiracial. 1% ELL and 13% FRL. Rockville Centre, NY, is an upper middle class suburb of NY - median income $112,000.

By comparison, Ballard High School is 72% White, 10% Hispanic or Latino, 7% Asian, 5% African American, and 5% multiracial; 3% Transitional bilingual and 15% FRL. The median income of Seattle is around $71,000. Demographically, South Side High School is closer to Ballard than Garfield, though still probably more affluent than Ballard (higher median home prices).

Will the success of detracking in an affluent, upper middle class suburb of NY transfer to the more diverse population at Garfield?? The detracking was a process that started in Rockville Centre's elementary schools, then their middle schools, and finally their (1) high school. Yes, their (1) high school. The district is less than 4000 students.

Read the Amazon preview of Detracking for Excellence and Equity, by Carol Corbett Burris, for a playbook of how detracking (and "tracking," as defined by Burris, includes ability grouped classes) is happening in SPS.

-growing skeptic
Anonymous said…
Sideline, my HCC kid going into 9th grade said this matter-of-factly when I asked her what she thought: "we won't learn as much and we'll have to spend a lot of our time helping the other students." She wasn't upset, though, because that's pretty normal in her experience.

Anonymous said…
so it is ok for you man with no moniker to talk sped and comparison of services versus al. we got it is all about the kids, especially those that live with you.

-no caps
Po3 said…
What I find fascinating - and what nobody has mentioned as far as I can tell - is that the de-tracking at GHS creates inequities across the high schools.

For example, if you happen to live in the BHS area you can access Honors LA and SS classes in 9th and 10th grade. Not only are Honors classes listed as separate classes in the catalog, BioTech has its own section for LA. BHS also offers honors math classes.

Up the road at IHS, they have an entire Honors Program for Grades 9 and 10 with designated honors classes to prepare students for IB if they choose to go that direction.

So what I don't understand is why are these self-contained Honors classes OK at BHS and IHS but not at GHS?
Anonymous said…
As a Ph.D. scientist who attended a diverse public high school - yes I am in favor of tracking. However, I am opposed to all tracking all the time. To the parents who are concerned that their kids won't learn anything: perhaps you can talk to your kids about the other types of learning opportunities that this will provide them. To the parents who are concerned that one or two easier classes will demotivate their kids academically: it sounds like there is a different skill set your kids need to work on before they are ready to be released into the real world. Do you truly think the real world is going to cater to your kids the same way Cascadia has?

-stirring the pot
z said…
Sidelines asks: Are rising Garfield ninth grade HCCers truly upset about this change or is it just the parents? Methinks the latter. Time to move on?

A more important question, since the rising 9th graders have no clue (except those with older siblings): are the existing Garfield students clamoring for blended classes? The answer, from what I'm told, by multiple students in the building is a solid No. If teachers claim otherwise, back it up, because I think they're lying. Yes, lying. What did they do, send out email blasts after school let out to all their previous students and point them to a SurveyMonkey survey? BS.

The honors and AP classes already have non-HCC kids. They are opt-in, and anyone with the desire and prerequisite classes can take them.

Full Stop, please everyone read and digest the previous 2 sentences.

I have not heard any actual students complaining about the existing honors classes; it's the teachers, and possibly some parents. I'm sure there are a few students who have keyed into the parents' conversations, so it would be easy to say "my neighbor's friend's kid said they wish all the classes were mixed", but there is no significant unrest or movement by either non-HCC kids wishing they could enroll in honors classes (they can) or HCC kids wanting more blended classes. In general, HCC kids want more rigor than they are getting in those classes now, and the non-HCC kids aren't clamoring for more than what they have now.

Should we encourage more non-HCC kids to opt into honors? Sure, sounds like a great idea. But forcing all of them, against their will, into "honors" classes is a disastrous plan. One that will be met by resistance from a majority of students, regardless of background or status. This will be a failure, but staff will never admit it, regardless of how it goes, because they are steadfast in their own beliefs.
Anonymous said…
Po3, I have been thinking about that as well. And stirring the pot brings up Cascadia. Do we expect that self-contained/tracking will be allowed to continue in the south-north end only, just because there is not racial diversity there in the first place? It's not better if the only accelerated tracks (leaving aside AL labels) wind up at places like View Ridge and Eckstein because there are no "optics" to be dealt with.

Anonymous said…
"I'm an HCC parent. Most parents in the HCC cohort's empirical experience is that very little differentiation actually happens in very broadly mixed classrooms. After all - in a classroom with that broad spectrum, 32 kids and all of the social issues that come with the Garfield population, that is really, really hard."

What does this mean? That you like the HCC cohort because it allows you and your kid to "avoid all of the social issues that come with the Garfield population".... ? -CHP
NESeattleMom said…
My guess as the parent of a last year GHS senior, is that the teachers polled the students who took part in Cultural Awareness retreats. There were about eleven in the past four years. I think my kid went to two, the last one having been in May 2016, I think. At those retreats, they try to have proportional distribution of races to represent the same proportion from GHS. And I believe their discussions influence the students to think about systemic advantages that whites have. Since they stay up all night Saturday night talking in their seminars, they could easily be influenced by the people leading the retreat. Also, last school year they tried to have a One Garfield movement, not sure what it was all about, but each student got a t-shirt. I heard the movement was a flop, meaning that separations still exist within GHS, and was demonstrated by the big hoopla over the colors of the graduation gowns that ASB changed this past year. They tried to poll all the rising seniors in the spring of 2015, but in the next school year, there were cultural separations that made a huge difficulty in it being One Garfield.
NESeattleMom said…
I think the social changes being designed and implemented by the teachers will have a difficult time with success. If I were in a class where I received simplified readings and simplified homework, and half my classmates received more difficult readings and homework, I would find it strange. This experiment, if it happens, will have results. We will see what happens.
Anonymous said…
A class is not an "Honors" class if it is the only class available. It is just the class. If the class is a good one, fine. But it is still just "the LA/SS class". So the Seattle Times article was right on the money.

Previously the Garfield tracks were set up so students could choose classes that would jive well with their future college plans. Was that not working?

This is just about capacity management.

Po3 said…

"This is just about capacity management."

Then why can BHS & IHS offer Honors as they are a packed to the gills?
Why is this just a capacity issue at GHS?

Anonymous said…
From the APP blog:

"Anonymous said...

Please attend the AL protest at GHS this wed July 13th 2016 @ 12:00 Noon.

GHS main entrance. More info soon.

July 11, 2016 at 7:59 AM"

Unknown said…
Per the school letter above, Garfield is requiring kids with low test scores to take an additional Language Arts class. With six class slots available, this means most 9th grade students would have the following schedule:

A. Language Arts "fundamentals"
B. Honors for All Language Arts
C. Social Studies Honors for All
D. Math
E. Science
F. PE/Health

So, no art, no band, no orchestra, no electives for students with low test scores. Is that correct?
Charlie Mas said…
Whether the class is "Honors" or not depends on the academic Standards and expectations for the classes. If the classes are taught to the academic expectations for Honors - something beyond the usual work - then they are Honors classes. That's true no matter what portion of the students are in them - including 100%. And if the classes are not taught to the Honors Standard then they are not Honors, even if only 10% of the students are in them.

Never mind the name. They can call the classes Holiday on Ice for all it matters. Focus on the Standards. What are they?
Sidelines2, could you tell us where you found this data? I see 6.1% Sped at OSPI but I'm wondering where the "60%" came from.

"HCC myopia has already driven out 60% of students with disabilities from GHS which has only 5% disability rate, driving out necessary services that supports integration."

Po3, well, I would imagine that all the high schools would have to go this route eventually. It would be interesting to see if the GHS "honors for all" looks the same or much different from an honors class at those other schools (for content.)

Suspicious, I am sorry to delete your post but I will never link or allow a link to that blog. It prints factually inaccurate information.
Anonymous said…
How many of those being registered for LA support classes might also need math support classes? Does that happen after school? Or is this all based on moving to a 3x5 schedule (what happened to that discussion?)?

-growing skeptic
Anonymous said…
We don't need the 3x5 if all the courses are now honors. Everyone will get more credits for every course.
How will we know these courses provide honors level rigor? Well, because the students are getting more credits.

Anonymous said…
This class will teach valuable life lessons: When at first you don't succeed- lower your standards and reassess.
Po3 said…
"I would imagine that all the high schools would have to go this route eventually."

But until then, we have an inequity issue where two high schools get to continue with self-contained Honors classes and BioTech students get their own LA section.
Anonymous said…
Melissa, SPS average sped rate is 15%. Garfield's ranges now between 4-6% annually. What happened to the rest of them? This reduced level translates to less staffing provided centrally. But, on the plus side, should make including them easier.


Anonymous said…
Learn early and well... Others will get the credit and reward for your work. Pay does not correlate to effort. As long as you have ambition and desires you are enslaved.

Group Project
NESeattleMom said…
Yes, Unknown, that will be a 9th grader's schedule at GHS if that student needs remedial reading, according to the plan.

Don't forget if your kid is getting an academic PE waiver at GHS that there are three deadlines for the three required semesters of PE--- the first month of school senior year for spring of junior year; one month after first semester end of senior year, and at the graduation meeting with counselor for spring semester senior year. If your kid misses a single date, no graduation. Plus they need to take a PE written test. And take Health.
Watching said…
I share "stirring the pot's" sentiment.

"growing skeptic" points to S. Shore with a class size of 16-22 students. Highly unlikely Garfield will have classes of 16-22.

PO3 considers entire district. It is important to remember that the principal of Ballard testified- at a board meeting- regarding racial equity and dual pathways. As I have said before, I'm concerned that we're watching a pilot project for the entire district.

My experience: There was a "pilot" to eliminate advanced learning LA. We ended up with all students taking general LA, science and history. Content was geared towards those in the middle. Advanced students are used to help the teacher. From what I am hearing, there are many middle schools that have eliminated advanced classes, as well.

Lynn said…
OMG! The HCC myopia strikes again! How and why did HCC drive students with disabilities out of Ballard and Roosevelt? Both are at just 10%.

The less hysterical explanation for the low rate at Garfield is that the school is entirely unwilling to provide special education services to students.

Anonymous said…
People above are asking about what the students think. Here's the REAL answer:

The kids themselves choose to self-segregate.

Not the parents, not the school, not the teachers or the program or the community. The Students themselves.

Most of the kids in the building can opt into Honors classes if they want, but that's not what they want! They don't want the extra rigor, they'd rather stick with their own friends and typical expectations. What is wrong with that, and why are all the discussions not focusing on what the students themselves want? Is there something wrong with taking "regular" classes? Sheesh, they worked fine for most of us.

Sidelines, the average for the district for Sped students is not the average for high school. You said 60% of kids with disabilities were "driven" from GHS. I'm asking you when GHS had that higher rate.

Joe, I think some students may work with their parents on their classes. As well, some kids may not talk to their counselor and don't realize what is available. Some may want to take harder classes but need support (and don't know if they would get it.) That is a serious issue.

But,I would grant you most kids make their own choices of classes.

Anonymous said…
My son just finished 9th grade at Garfield. I don't have any opinions to express here, but I'm going to add some information about his experience. He is not in HCC, but took Honors LA and Honors World History, as well as Honors Geometry and Honors Biology. FYI, Honors Biology was already a "blended" class -- within the first few weeks of the semester, the students were asked to choose whether they wanted the "Honors" option. If so, I believe they had certain additional expectations. I can't say how much deeper they actually went or what those additional expectations were, but I know that it was my son's favorite class of the four main academic classes.

I don't know how the other honors classes, which were not blended, differed from the non-honors classes for the same subject. I tried to figure this out when we were registering last year, but gave up because the class descriptions were too vague. I relied on his middle school teachers to recommend whether he should sign up for Honors or not. I know he found Honors LA and Honors World History to be challenging. Over the weekend, I asked him and one of his friends what they thought about the change for next year. His friend said that her friends (not HCC) all found Honors World History to be hard and a lot of work. She said she didn't think the change was fair because she chose not to take Honors World History in 9th grade since she wanted to do Honors level work in other subjects, but not in world history so she would have more time to focus on the other classes. I think my son agreed with her, based on his experience. Just a random sample from two Garfield students who just finished 9th grade.

Garfield Mom
Ms206 said…
You are correct that IDEIA does not allow disability-based programs. However, section 300.115 requires that local education agencies (LEA) "must ensure that a continuum of alternative placements is available to meet the needs of children with disabilities for special education and related services." LEAs can and do establish programs That serve the specific NEEDS that arise from particular disabilities. For example, I am a special education teacher who teaches Autistic Support (AS) in Pennsylvania. An AS class is an option for students who have autism. AS classes in Philadelphia, where I teach, have some common programming elements. For example, elementary AS classes use the STAR program, which is an ABA-based program that provides lesson plans and materials for teaching academic, functional, and social skills using the functional routines, pivotal response training, and discrete trial training methods. AS classes use the STAR program because research shows that ABA-based methods are effective for teaching many students with autism. The STAR program allows the teacher to individualize instruction for each student. In my district, students in self-contained classes like the one I teach are supposed to attend lunch, recess, and school-wide events with same age peers. This requirement is in place so that students who are placed in self-contined programs are not completely isolated from peers without disabilities, consistent with the principle of Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). Some of my students receive all instruction in my room while others spend time in the regular education environment for academics or specialist classes. The amount of inclusion/mainstreaming is individualized by the child's IEP team. Some children with autism may be able to receive most or all services in a regular ed classroom. Some children may need to receive pull-out services for direct instruction, but can receive this instruction in a resource room type setting. The programming is individualized. I think it would make sense For SPS to consider establishing programs that are designed to serve the needs of children with autism, such as the Autistic Support programming that is available in Pennsylvania and in some other states.
Lori said…
I know this isn't possible given the capacity crisis, but as a thought experiment, if HCC were removed from Garfield entirely, would it still feel like a "school within a school" or would it feel more balanced? Would the racial makeup of honors and AP classes look more like the neighborhood the school is in if we stopped importing the advanced learners in from all over the city?

The thing that rings hollow to me in the letter is the support for this approach using the NY school that has very different demographics to begin with and then saying that this approach works at Nathan Hale and Roosevelt, thus will work at Garfield too.

Sorry, none of those schools are ideal comparators because none of those schools has a super-concentration of advanced learners who are bused in to access high level courses. In fact, Hale and Roosevelt have *fewer* of the outlier advanced kids to contend with precisely because so many go to Garfield instead! So if anything, there are smaller ability ranges in heterogeneous classes in those schools. Show us some examples of how this worked in a school that by design has 25-30% of the population testing into the top 2% nationally, then we can talk, right?

I'm also thinking now of Dr. Brulles' work with cluster groups in Arizona. Anyone remember a few years ago when she spoke at Wedgwood? Her work was with elementary students, but they didn't have self-contained gifted ed and instead did clusters within classrooms. I remember they intentionally did not put the most highly gifted kids into classes with the "far below average" or with the "high average" kids. They had very intentional groupings, and I remember thinking that it had seemed well thought out. Perhaps some of those principles make sense for this experiment at Garfield?

But instead it sounds like they want to be the full range of abilities into each and every class. In that case, how will groups for PBL be determined? If assigned by teacher, will it be one HCC kid per group or will a group of all HCC kids be allowed? You could make a case for doing it either way.

Ultimately, though, I think this is uncharted territory. That it worked in a small district with a single high school that looks more like Ballard than Garfield is irrelevant.
NESeattleMom said…
Garfield Mom, Thanks for sharing two 9th graders' experiences. When you say "blended" or "non-blended", do you mean Honors and Regular? You don't mean racially diverse, do you? Because my kid's 9th grade Honors LA four years ago was quite diverse, though I think it was all Honors LA.
Anonymous said…
Why am I not surprised? From the Burris article "Closing the Achievement Gap by Detracking":

When all students were taught the high-track curriculum, achievement rose for all groups of students — majority, minority, special education, low-SES, and high SES.

Notice anyone missing? Academically gifted or high-performing students. Overall passing rates and diploma rates may have increased for the groups studied, but that tells you nothing about any positive--or negative--impacts on the highest performing students. Statements along the lines of "even high achievers improved" don't actually refer to high achievers--they refer to groups that had been relatively high achieving at the outset (e.g., whites and Asians). Any negative impact on gifted students is hidden.

Has anyone else noticed that South Side High School (the Burris detracked school) has very few National Merit semifinalists? If this is going so well and works great for "high achievers", why aren't the performing better?

And what do GHS staff anticipate will happen when core 24 kicks in if we stick with the current schedule? Will students be able to get everything they need if they also have to take reading support classes every year in order to have a chance at passing the higher level courses they are forced into?


Lynn said…

I share your distrust of the comparison with Burris's school.

One point on Diana Brulles and cluster grouping; her district has self-contained gifted classrooms. They even have a self-contained preschool program for gifted children. You bring in your private test results and pay tuition for preschool and the student enters the self-contained kindergarten classroom the next year. Imagine the reaction to that in Seattle!

The cluster grouping is something she designed for schools that don't have enough gifted students for self-contained classes. It's not her preferred delivery method. As you noted, cluster grouping has not been implemented properly in Seattle Public Schools.
Anonymous said…
NE Seattle Mom,

By "blended," I meant that his biology class had kids who were taking the Honors option and kids who were not -- all in the same class. His other three Honors classes were self-contained, or all Honors. And, like your experience, based on the other parents who attended Open House in September, all of his classes appeared to be racially diverse.

Garfield Mom
Anonymous said…
Lakeside middle school requires music for all middle schoolers, and string orchestra for all students entering in 5th grade. Not amusing at all. It's awesome.

Lynn said…
You can find a comparison of the demographics of each high school's student body to the students in the school's attendance area beginning on page 93 of this document.

One relevant piece of information is that 146 of the 518 highly capable students at Garfield lived in the attendance area. I don't have any demographic data on the students in the HCC at Garfield.
Anonymous said…
HCC Parents vs Wyeth Jessee
Get your tickets now! Best show in town.

Anonymous said…
Darn good question, HF. Only 2 credits can be waived under special circumstances. Are the students even aware they will be registered for double dose LA?

-growing skeptic
Po3 said…
I agree with you Watching. I also think that this is the first step in dismantling the self-contained HCC program, now that they have done away w/ Spectrum. People say Nyland is an invisible super, I think otherwise. I think he's working very very hard on this and it will be his legacy.

And before you all toss, "the laws says this that and the next thing" the new HCC will be compliant, it just won't be a self-contained program at just a few schools.

And yes, I think it is also capacity driven as all they will need to do is equally divide the students up into the Honors for All classes.

Now what happens to programs like BioTech and IBx--well that will be interesting to watch.
Sidelines2, yes, that will be quite interesting to see how Mr. Jessee manages the AL department.
Anonymous said…
I'm confused The teachers seem to suggest that everyone will get honors level work and meet honors level expectations, but they also refer to Burris' work as the apparent model on which they will base these changes. Burris' books talk about providing differentiated instruction, which includes stark differences in the nature of the assignments. Say level 1 work is typically appropriate for students below grade level, level 2 for at those at level, and level 3 for those able to work above grade level. Do they end up graded on the same scale? In other words, can you get an "A" in Honors LA if you only do below grade level work? Or are those doing level 1 work limited to a max grade of C, while those of level 2 top out at a B? Are grades based on effort and how well you did compared to what the teacher expected you to do, or are they based on objective standards?

Doesn't providing an "honors" version of a course suggest that the differentiation is already in place--that it's differentiated from the regular version? So why are Garfield teachers talking about their special training in differentiation? If students are getting credit for honors level work, how can they get below honors level assignments?

Differentiated Honors?

Lynn said…
growing skeptic,

I doubt they are. I wonder what classes they're expecting to take in the fall. It seems like the wrong tactic if you're trying to increase student engagement.
NESeattleMom said…
And how do you think students who may or not be internally motivated to work super hard. How will those level 3 students (according to "Differentiated Honors?" analysis of Burris) feel about having to do harder work to get an A in Honors LA, and other students do easier work to get what? Do they also get an A in Honors LA doing easier work?
Lynn said…
Burris's detracting plan requires cooperative learning with mixed ability grouping so high-achieving students can help the low-achieving students. Peer role models are important.

Are they going to be writing group papers and receiving group grades on exams too?
Maureen said…
We don't need the 3x5 if all the courses are now honors. Everyone will get more credits for every course. @West, Honors classes are not worth more credit.

... SPS average sped rate is 15%. Garfield's ranges now between 4-6% annually. What happened to the rest of them? @Sidelines2, If 33% of the population at Garfield is HCC and 0% of HCC is also sped (I made up those numbers) then the expected Sped rate at GHS would be 10%, not 15% or 4-6%.

If the average SPS SPed rate for HS is more like 9% (see what I am doing to make the math easy?) then the GHS under my assumptions could be 6% without anyone being "driven out."

In other words, it could be on the low side, but not as low as you are implying.

Maureen said…
@growing skeptic, it's my understanding that 9th graders at GHS who read below grade level have been registered for an extra Language Arts class for some time. This is not new and is not a result of Honors for all. I'm open to being corrected if I am wrong about that.
Anonymous said…
My highschooler with Autism reads at the 5th grade level by most people's measure,and attends a different high school. After many, many years of remedial classes for LA, I insisted he be in regular LA and that staff make all necessarily modifications to regular Ed. It was against all their plans. They have modified LA for cases like this. My position, he doesn't need a modified class, he needs regular Ed to be modified for him. A revolutionary concept for some. For him it was great. Real books, real concepts, real students. He learned a ton, just having the opportunity. Yes. His grade is modified. So is his diploma. Why do all of you care that my student is getting a B for work that your student would get an F for? Is this all just about your kid getting more recognition for smartness than other people? I can tell you that this is how it looks, reading all these posts.

His instruction, provided by special educators, includes more scaffolding for writing, and alternate formats like books on tape. He also won't quite get subtleties like cinemagraphic analysis. Again, so what? He did learn what he could, from his unique perspective. And, he detracted from no one. The only thing modified classes offer him - is less. Less of everything. Perhaps they help some. We don't want it. And we won't accept it.

sped parent

Cap hill said…
Not at all. Just that the notion that the teachers can magically differentiate with all of that going on is, well, magical thinking. The reason these teachers don't want to do a multi year transition with a pilot is that they would have to prove it. Here it is "trust the teachers" or "you don't have any other choice".
Anonymous said…
Effects of Ability Grouping on Secondary School Students: A Meta-analysis of Evaluation Findings
Chen-Lin C. Kulik and
James A. Kulik

"This article reports results from a meta-analysis of findings from 52 studies of ability grouping carried out in secondary schools. In the typical study the benefits from grouping were small but significant on achievement examinations—an average increase of one-tenth standard deviations on examination scores, or an increase from the 50th to the 54th percentile for the typical student in a grouped class. The size of achievement effect differed in different types of studies of grouping, however. Studies in which high-ability students received enriched instruction in honors classes produced especially clear effects, for example, while studies of average and below average students produced near-zero effects. The benefits of grouping were also clear in the area of student attitudes. Students in grouped classes developed more positive attitudes toward the subjects they were studying than did students in ungrouped classes."

Scholarly studies for a long time have shown that gifted students learn more when grouped with other gifted learners and taught at an accelerated pace.

Educators don't often read decent research. There is a lot of biased pseudo-science taken as gospel by educators. ... It shows.

Anonymous said…
Here's some from 2016...

Commentary—Sorting It Out: Thoughts on “Does Sorting Students Improve Scores? An Analysis of Class Composition” by Courtney A. Collins and Li Gan
Mary Ruth Blackwell Coleman1
The major take away from this study is that the authors found positive outcomes for ability grouping across a range of students; thus, undermining the argument that grouping, while good for high-achieving students, is detrimental to others. This is exciting news and, if used in light of the concerns raised above, it will help to make the case for appropriate ability grouping as part of our efforts to create learning environ- ments that promote excellence for all our students."

Anonymous said…
Maureen, here's a little more data, just looking at sped numbers surrounding GHS.

WMS the feeder program for GHS has around 11% sped.
Franklin 11% sped.
RBHS 21% sped.

Given that GHS has sizeable sped problems: counselor for black students, known to be awful, is also the 1 counselor for sped students. The Times noted this, but forgot to mention the sped coupling; Garbage collection is a mandatory class for SM4 students at GHS, even the HCC students have noticed this. I imagine that these factors contribute to a high drop out rate for sped students. And, probably there are many others. Clearly very little care is afforded sped at GHS.

The reasons for a low sped rates must be a high drop out rate since the rate for WMS is nearly twice GHS' and the rate is high in nearby schools. But, the reason for low sped numbers doesn't actually matter. Staffing is based on numbers plain and simple, and the numbers are very low.

Anonymous said…
@ sped parent,

I don't think anyone does care that your sped student would get a B for work that another student would get an F for, since, as you say, his diploma is modified. I assume that means there's some indication that the work and expectations were not comparable, correct?

The proposed Honors for All classes, however, are not likely to include any similar notations on transcripts or diplomas. From the outside, an A doing the easy stuff might look better than a B doing the most challenging stuff. Class rankings would be impacted, too. Colleges/universities might also eventually figure out that an Honors class from GHS didn't mean much.

Differentiated Honors?
Anonymous said…
I would love to see a poll for incoming GHS 9th graders (both HCC and non-HCC) about what they think about Honors for All to see if "students are overwhelmingly in support of this change" as claimed. Mine sure isn't (and I've been careful to keep my views to myself because it's not going to help at all for her to have a bad attitude about the class if she has to take it). They are the true eyewitnesses and experts in what goes on in class every day and how it affects them.

Lynn said…
Sidelines 2,

First, a minor point; Washington and Garfield's attendance area are not exactly the same. More to the point, 25% of Garfield's students come from other attendance areas.
Anonymous said…
wms doesn't feed into ghs it is however the pathway for hcc though. which means if you are north of ghs you are likely not going to get into ghs unless you are in hcc. now if the hcc pathway is no longer needed that would all change and more closer-in-proximity kids would get into ghs as would more gen ed/sped kids.

no caps
Anonymous said…
Sped parent,

It seems to me that the parents all just want their kid to be challenged appropriately, to have the opportunity to glean as much as they can. I assume you want the same, which is why you wanted your kid in a gen Ed class to begin with. The difference is, I don't think these parents trust that all that work will go into ensuring the appropriate level for all students, or even three or four groups of students. I doubt anyone begrudges a different grade, but they doubt that the teachers have even thought that far. Given that nailing down even one concise curriculum seems to be a joke in this district, can't say I blame them.

Watching said…
GPA matters in high school. Some students feel stressed. A student that wishes to take an advanced math class and a general ed. LA class no longer has that option.

Jet City mom said…
Sdelines2, I wonder if Garfield students have 504's instead of IEP's?
My kid had an IEP in elem & middle school, but since she could get assistance without an IEP, and since IEPs do not go with you to college, we exited her before she entered high school.

Allowing her to have a counselor based on her last name rather than academic status would have been enough reason to change, imo.
Anonymous said…
The SPED situation is different. They are the one group that in nearly every study that did worse in homogenous ability grouping, and did consistently learn more in heterogeneous learning groups. Gifted kids were excluded from many studies, often because of the ceiling effect of grade level achievement tests did not allow any conclusions to be drawn from analysis. They are different than "high achievers" in the studies by an SD generally. In the studies where they were included they seemed to gain the most from accelerated instruction in homogenous groupings... Pretty consistently... for over 50 years of research.

What do we do when reality does not match the PC hippie plans?

Anonymous said…
When did HCC become a gifted program?

The program is for highly capable, not gifted.
Tagging this program as gifted is highly misleading,
especially when bringing research into the equation.

They are, by definition, very different animals.

Anonymous said…
Because they use quasi IQ testing for entrance in our district, as in nearly every district.
Anonymous said…
Gifted is the terminology used in law and in studies. HCC is the program that Seattle offers as accelerated leaching for those students. That's why. It always was the gifted program, although it has had many names.
Anonymous said…
So West, lets presume everyone here is more or less correct as nobody will concede otherwise. Some students do better in a heterogeneous environment. Some students do better in a homogeneous environment. This poses the basic conflict of needs. Maximizing one group - detracts from the other. In such a situation, where there is a conflict in needs, wouldn't the wise and fair thing to do be a compromise? That way - no student would be completely left out nor completely satisfied? It would appear that this is what we have proposed by GHS. Some segregation (to maximize giftedness presumably), some inclusion (to reduce the opportunity gaps). It seems that any fair minded person might see it this way.

no caps. You are incorrect about the boundaries of GHS. Capitol Hill feeds into GHS and it is definitely north of GHS.

sped parent
GarfieldMom said…
I talk to Garfield students all the time, often daily during the school year, and 1-2 times a week in the summer. And I mean we talk about any and everything. My experience is the complete opposite of z above -- all of the students I've talked to about this (HCC, non-HCC, of various races and SES, various ages) are in favor. They see the segregation at Garfield as a huge problem and they know that there are people actively working to maintain the segregation while pretending it doesn't exist. No one is fooling them with appeals to the importance of "cohorts" or "rigor" or "academic challenge" for some but not for all. They don't want your attacks on their teachers and administrators, your threats of lawsuits and protests. They are not hung up on having blended classes at all. This is not a problem for them, it's a problem for a certain group of parents.

I also know several of the teachers who are working on this. They are passionate, hard-working, highly educated, smart, thoughtful, talented, caring professionals. I can't fathom why it is that some of the same people who criticize education reformers and standardized testing proponents for failing to respect teachers' professional experience and autonomy are now second-guessing those very teachers and deciding that they know better! Give the teachers some credit for knowing a thing or two about teaching, about THEIR school and THEIR student body, and let them do their jobs. You know these teachers are the exact same teachers who would be teaching Honors and AP classes if this change weren't being made -- if you can't trust them to know what they're doing here, how is it that you trust them to teach your kids at all?
Another Dad said…
The districts HCC eligibility criteria do not follow the best practices recommend by the CogAT author and as a result they very likely discriminate based on SES and race. Since the teachers and principals at Garfield and TM can’t change HCC eligibility, they are changing what they can.

The primary instruments used to qualify students as “Highly Capable” in Seattle are the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) and Reading and Math achievement tests (historically, MAP but now also SBAC). The CogAT’s primary author is Professor David Lohman of the University of Iowa.

According to Professor Lohman, “The need for special programming depends most importantly on the discrepancy between a child’s development and that of his or her classmates.” I’ve heard this argument many times on this blog as the justification for HCC.

But in Seattle some of the schools in the north end have 15% plus percent of their students qualify for HCC, while other schools, particularly in the south end, may have less than 1 or 2 percent. To fix that the district should also be considering class rank or percentiles within a school, not just looking at percentiles based on state norms. This is a best practice recommended by Professor Lohman. How does the district justify not following the best practices of the CogAT author?

A second point made by Professor Lohman is that to be fair, all students should be familiar with the test format. To that end, the publisher makes a free sample test available. Unfortunately the district doesn’t follow the publisher’s recommended best practices and doesn't give the practice tests because they are afraid that “even more students would then qualify.” How does the district justify not following the best practices of the CogAT author?

A third point made by Professor Lohman is that the CogAT tests for talent, not giftedness. The distinction is key because giftedness implies something that is “steady” whereas “talent” is something that can be developed. And if the district took the high achievers based on school norms and developed their talents equally within HCC, according to Professor Lohman, it would be fairer. How does the district justify not following the best practices of the CogAT author?

I strongly believe that Seattle schools should offer differentiated classes, not just differentiation within a class. Sure it’s possible to find studies that support both sides of the argument, just like it’s possible to find scientists who still argue against global warming. And there may be reasons to have some mixed classes other than academic achievement like at Garfield. But on balance, the evidence shows that the highest achievers will not learn as much in mixed classes as they would is selective classes.

The district needs to start following the best practices of the CogAT author because otherwise, as we have seen, teachers and principals will change the only things they have power over using the wrong justification. And changing the system so high achievers have to pay to attend a private school in order to receive an appropriate education is a very poor solution.

Another Dad
Anonymous said…
GarfieldMom you are made up. you are probably one of MC's monikers and you suck at lying. Those teachers are calling me a racist. they wanted honors for none before they understood that was illegal. now they want honors for all but with no explanation what that means for the college bound. no worries. social justice in this case means high achievement kids get jammed up. just like the traffic. and poorly performing teachers get to call parents names. boy that is the tail wagging the dog.

Anonymous said…
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Pm said…
I understand both sides of this issue and it pains me to see many of my commentators presenting this as an "us or them" issue. I am an HCC parent and I acknowledge that the demographics of the HCC program do not reflect the demographics of our public schools. However, at the same time, I am unimpressed by all of the people (including teachers!) who don't seem to believe that academically gifted is a real thing. Some of the kids in HCC would be fine in a gen ed class, but others have IQ scores that are as far from an average kid as are the scores of kids with mental disabilities.

Some kids are great at sports. Mine is not, but he is great at reading. My kid does not read like a gen ed kid and would not be served well in a gen ed classroom. He's a 10-year-old who devours adult non-fiction like David McCullough's Pulitzer Prize winning biography of John Adams and books like "Why Nations Fail." I have no idea what he will be ready to do when he's in high school, but I doubt that he will be best served in a gen ed humanities or social science classroom. At the same time, I see the problem. I want him in a classroom of diverse students.

So, what's the solution? I'm not clear why opt-in honors is out of vogue, nor am I clear why Garfield doesn't raise the bar in all of its classes.

I'm guessing that we are watching HCC be dismantled, and in a few years (probably after my kid graduates), the program will be resurrected with higher entrance standards for the true outliers. We'll be going back to the time of IPP.
Anonymous said…
Pm, I think you're too optimistic, as the direction of changes is for differentiation in mixed ability classes. Schools will become more segregated by neighborhood as the cohort can't be moved around and used as an integration tool in low performing schools. More families with means will leave SPS.
Anonymous said…
There are circles that discriminate against all public school kids. We are all of the wrong class no matter what color we are.

Please find more black kids for the HCC. It would be good for my kid too. Teach black kids how to take pseudo-IQ tests. Drop the Cogat altogether, I don't care, it's not that great of a test. Even send HCC kids up a grade, whatever. Have opt-in, have walk to's. Just please teach so he can learn a bunch of stuff and make some progress before he graduates.

I begin to really resent school compulsion laws when the plan is to warehouse my kid. Yes, expecting teachers to teach a spread of 5 years of content, to 30 kids an hour, is warehousing because it won't get done. Having my kid do everyone's group project for them is verging on abusive, and unhelpful for anyone. Using my kid as a role model is perverse, twisting his ego in unhealthy ways, and creating social resentment where there was none. (I sent him to HCC, so he would learn to work hard to learn, and grow strong enough to fail sometimes, you know, before college.) There just has to be some grouping so that classes can be taught appropriately, and a school can run with some efficiency... And all kids can learn a bunch of stuff.

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