Director Burke's Community Meeting

Last Saturday, Director Rick Burke had his regular community meeting.  It is a bit disturbing that he was the only director having one and that, this Saturday, May 10th, there is not one single director community meeting.  This despite the high interest in the science adoption looming at the upcoming Board meeting on Wednesday, May 15th.

I would have thought the meeting would be packed. There were about 12 people there but not a single Amplify supporter.   There were several teachers there. 

One, a Denny teacher, started the meeting off saying that the SEA had passed a moratorium on testing and got 80% of the teachers to agree.  He said he felt that testing did nothing to close the opportunity gap.  He said, "Data doesn't inform instruction" and that it "told you the economic background of the tester, not what he or she knows." He also said that, at that point, none of the teachers had been given any advice about Muslim students and testing in light of the Ramadan holiday. 

There was a teacher from the World School who said the district was "always chasing the next new thing."  She spoke of "performance-based learning" based on how well a student knows something rather than testing which is does a student know something.

There were also parents from John Stanford who are worried that the district is trying to get rid of Japanese as one of the dual languages taught at their school.  Lincoln has hired a native speaker to teach Japanese since Lincoln will serve the pipeline of students from JSIS to Hamilton and then onto Lincoln.  They said that former ED Kelly Aramaki had unilaterally made a decision that Japanese would be a smaller program than Spanish (1/3 to 2/3).  They expressed shock that no one has signed up for the dual language program at RBHS. 

Another parent was from Washington Middle School.  She wanted to know, if the district is exiting the unpopular principal there, why they were allowing her to stay until the end of the year?  Some parents feel that she should not be part of the budgeting for next year if she isn't going to be there.  She pointed out that WMS' CSIP was not approved because it was half empty.  (How this was gotten away with is a mystery.) She said, "If this was the north end, parents would be listened to."

WMS parents are also upset about being told that 7th graders need to go to summer school because the school/district could not get it together to teach science during the actual school year.

Director Burke said there was a need for a "baseline of continuity with innovation overlaid on top."  (I suspect there is a baseline coming but there will be zero innovation overlay.)  He also mentioned the district going in to bargaining with the teachers again and that the issue of the Time Immemorial curriculum comes up repeatedly.

There was one middle school science coach who talked about the 2002 science adoption (thus disproving the "it's been 25 years since any new science adoption.")  She spoke of knowing Mary Margaret Welch and of her integrity.  The teacher said that "teachers are not curriculum developers" and that "nothing works for all kids."  She said the Foss adoption had been "someplace to start for middle school."  

Director Burke said that teachers had been "systemically starved of instructional materials for many reasons."  He said high school would be "a paradigm shift."  

The parent from WMS said that there needs to be clarification on labs and worried about too much screentime.  She said a teacher told her that it is harder for new teachers to build from older curriculum.

One parent brought her 5th grader who is at View Ridge.  It's always great to listen to child because they tend to be pretty blunt in their assessments.  This student uses Amplify.  She said she preferred doing "hands-on stuff like building circuits" and, with Amplify, there is no touching and it's less fun.  (The mom from JSIS said her child said the same thing.)  The View Ridge student also complained that the screens were sometimes confusing and that you have to do three logins just to get in.

Another parent worried about the data gathering that may be going on.  I concur.

Two Ballard parents - one is a teacher and one is an engineer - also spoke about the high school science adoption.  The engineer was involved with the creation of NGSS and favored the high school  curriculum that the Science Adoption committee has recommended (he was on the committee). He claimed they looked at a dozen different curricula and only one met the standards.  (I'm confused why that would be but that's what he said.) 

The teacher, who previously had been a scientist at Fred Hutch and has a PhD, said that the concern that equity would lower standards isn't true.  She said that it was "a free-for-all in schools" for science with no accountability.  She said math is not being taken out.  

The last parent was a parent of a Sped student at JAMS and said her child's Sped class of 13 was "chaos."  She expressed concern that all the students in that class were children of color.

She also said that she had asked the principal about the lack of teachers of color especially in teaching Social Studies.  She stated that Social Studies tends to be a reflection of the race of who teaches it and an all-white group of teachers would probably not speak to students of color well.  She asked the principal about bringing in parents of color who might be able to broaden discussion but was told that maybe that could happen after school. 


Anonymous said…
WMS parents are also upset about being told that 7th graders need to go to summer school because the school/district could not get it together to teach science during the actual school year.

Whoever allowed WMS's principal to do this, whether knowingly or not, should also be out. The same should be true for WMS's Asst Principal, unless there's good evidence he fought this (and if he did, did he daylight it those who could do something about it?).

For a district that claims to be so concerned about equity, to allow such an inequitable situation is shameful. This is about as inequitable as it get. Those who allowed it to happen should no longer be in a position of power.

District 5 said…
According to facebook, Seattle School Board member Zachary DeWolf was campaigning for a seat on the city council yesterday.
Anonymous said…

Zachary doesn’t even have children! What the hell is he doing on the board? Steppingstone for some other ground political ambitions? Clearly.

But, the entire science curriculums are total crap. He’s going to know that if he votes yes to adopt it, this is going to be a giant albatross that will hang around his neck and follow him wherever he (tries) to go.

Is he seriously that clueless, can he not google what happened to Maria Goodloe-Johnson, and see how she was unemployable after she vandalized SPS with her detached arrogance? If DeWolf screws our kids with this substandard crap fake science, there will be a stain on his career that he won’t be able to burry. Juneau is all about Corp ed reform, and those reforms have never ever solved a child’s suffering or supported a child to reach higher. If he gets sucked in to her wake, he’s a fool.

If Zachary votes yes, he’s got to know that is going to stink up whatever race he ultimately has his eyes on, and whatever good work he might want to do with the LGBTQ and homeless communities will be scuttled because his credibility as a problem solver/policy wonk will be collapsed in a dung heap.

google rocks

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