Monday, November 04, 2019

Who Will Win?

Betcha thought I meant the school board races but no.

Primarily the question is will Superintendent Juneau win on her full-court press to break apart HCC. (And she played college basketball so I'll assume she's good at it.)

To that end she has a "who me?" impassioned op-ed at the Seattle Times about the need to change HCC.

You can read the whole thing but here's what my comment was at the Times:
How handy that the Times had room for this timely op-ed. Clearly, the Superintendent has great passion on this topic. However, what she leaves out is telling.

Let's examine her thoughts:

"When student demographics in any educational service are disproportionate, we must examine our institutional structures to figure out why."
She could have changed the testing mechanism last year and didn't.  She could have directed staff to increase and try new kinds of community outreach. Speaker after speaker, people of color, at Board meetings have stated that they know nothing about the program. Who's job is that? Superintendent Juneau.
"For 17 months, an Advanced Learning Taskforce has been meeting to explore possible solutions to increase diverse representation. Three weeks ago, initial policy recommendations were presented to the School Board. Since then, there’s been confusion about the implications and misinformation about the recommended changes."
Key word? Initial. The Task Force has not completed their work and yet the Superintendent is trying to push thru early recommendations.  Why is that? There's no confusion - she needs to wait for the Task Force to finish their work.
"Under a new model, neighborhood schools would be equipped and supported to identify and serve most of our advanced and gifted students where the cultural context of students and their families is taken into account and honored."
One, the district had allegedly been doing this for years in a system called Advanced Learning Opportunities (ALOs) that were supposed to be how each and every school provides for ANY student that wanted more rigor, including highly capable students.  Guess what? Didn't happen.

Two, the Superintendent wants to roll this out next school year and where's the plan for this? Will all 100 schools have their own plan? Where is the professional development needed for teachers to teach across a wider spectrum of students? The resources? And, most of all, where is the budget for this work for each and every school? 

"However, at every turn, I find that in Seattle, we struggle to live those championed values. I am unwilling to accept this."
You know what parents and communities will not accept? Undermining process. Trying to ignore Board policies for oversight.  NOT listening to ALL parents.

Juneau could do herself a favor and actually listen to parents and not try to shame them. They didn't set up this program; the district did.  The state mandates services for identified highly capable students and if the Superintendent wants to do this in each school, then she needs a clear plan with resources and funding.


Anonymous said...

Anybody remember the Stuart skit on Madd TV?

That's what this is: "Look what I can do!"


Melissa Westbrook said...

Here's one comment at the Times that stands out to me:

"For better diversity and inclusion, the more oppressed your race or gender identity the greater the academic gift, and those with privileged identities need to have their opportunity controlled (for equity).

In this way High Cap will be for everyone."

I think that's it in a nutshell for Juneau but she wouldn't quite want to use those words.

"the greater the academic gift" - I'm unclear if this person means if a student comes from an oppressed minority, they will be smarter or if the "gift" is being in the program.

"...those with privileged identities need to have their opportunity controlled...for equity."

Read: check your privilege. But how would the district do that? And do it legally?

To do that, Juneau would have to say there are X amount of spaces per race? income? I don't know.

Anonymous said...

Of course she wouldn't say "x amount if spaces per race" because racial quotas are illegal.

Juneau is not alone in her outrage over the demographics of SPS HC. Good for her to do something about it.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Finally, this flip the table method is going to solve it? It will not.

POC Caucus said...

The POC caucus does not support Juneau's plan.

Anonymous said...

@Finally. What is the outrage over the demographics at SPS HC? Is it that you don't think that these demographics reflect the eligible HC population and that there is 'red-lining' occurring? Is it SPS that is doing this 'red-lining'? If so, its well within Juneau's power to redress this 'red-lining' without destroying a successful cost-effective program.

Or is it that the demographics do not reflect the broader city demographics, and we need equal allocation of seats in HC (e.g. quotas)?

We need deeper thinking about our outrage


Anonymous said...

We also need deeper thinking about the purpose of public education. Is our goal to educate all students at their level within reason, with special emphasis on those furthest away from educational justice? This seems like a laudable goal. Or is the purpose of the public education system to ensure that all students meet a certain minimum? Let those already above the minimum who want additional opportunities find them for themselves outside of public education.

Again, deeper thinking is needed as to our purpose for public education. Once we agree on its purpose, we can then decide where to allocate funds and what programs to support.


Anonymous said...

So that’s the new Juneau’s SPS motto: to ensure that all students are educated to the minimum. Well at least for the ones Juneau acknowledged, because if you are Asians, in this school district, you are now invisible!

This is what $1 Billion gets you in this school district. I like a refund please.

Wow! Not sure if it’s worth getting my kids up and ready for school if this is what SPS deep thinking gets you.


Anonymous said...

What about the actual substance of Juneau's article? HCC is wholly indefensible. Appeals and private testing have gotten close to 50% in. She could have mentioned how poor the NMSF numbers are. They are pathetic. Small districts on the east side have more NMSF qualifiers. HC students who stay in their neighborhood schools do as well or better than cohorted students. Parents regularly complain about the low level of rigor in HCC.

This is in addition to the segregation. You don't like Juneau quoting actual students who call Garfield Apartheid High or the Slave Ship? These are recent students. Moving it to where "optics" are better won't change the injustice.

Go Juneau!

Anonymous said...

Who will win? Juneau will.
Why? Because despite the "noise" (that is as much as she cares to comment about this blog and it bites, doesn't it?), somebody is finally to do something about the systemic racism in the school district. Like it or not, nobody else has done it before. Of curse there is going to be a whole lot of pushback. It comes with the territory.

Fed Up

Anonymous said...

Things that are glaringly deceiving to me in her opinion post. She only lists demographics as 67% white, 1.6% African American and 1% Native American in trying to make a point that the program is biased toward racism. She does not also list district demographics for comparison, and completely excludes Asians and mixed raced kids who presumably make up 31% of the population! This is also very deceiving as a white issue, as we know on the Eastside whites are underrepresented and Asians are over-represented in similar highly capable programs.

In addition, Garfield is not cohorted. AP classes are opt in. Therefore, her criticism of Garfield could be analagous to Roosevelt versus any lower SES school. Some kids choose and are ready for AP while others do not, but taking away those options and watering down standards do nothing for equity. Shifting HC kids back to neighborhood high schools does nothing for equity either, if anything segregation will grow, that's why the pathway was placed at Garfield and not Roosevelt for example. I do suspect she will come after middle class schools next and limit AP offerings. The writing is on the wall.


Anonymous said...

"Small districts on the east side have more NMSF qualifiers" You forget that SPS used to have more numbers of NMSF qualifying students.

In fact Garfield had more than Lakeside not very long ago. The highest numbers STILL come from Ingraham and Garfield, two pathway schools. What are you arguing exactly? I have a student who tested top 1% (not in K, but in 5th), who would likely also still qualify for services under the proposed model. This does not mean my kid will become a NMSF, but they should still be supported in school with their programming. SPS does not offer anything special to these kids in regards to programming. My guess is other districts do. We are middle class, and do not come from generational educational or wealth privilege.

I think lower numbers likely demonstrate the lack of attention, lack of programming and severely crowded classrooms kids have had in recent years.

It is a disgrace that shows how SPS is actually failing all of its students, including those who are identified. You see something good in this? I did not see Juneau even acknowledge the SPS NMSF students, did you? That sends a CLEAR message. I am certain that Eastside districts highlight, are proud of, and support their NMSF students.


Anonymous said...


"For instance, after San Francisco Unified de-tracked math, the proportion of students failing algebra fell from 40 percent to 8 percent and the proportion of students taking advanced classes rose to a third, the highest percentage in district history. Until 10th grade, students take the same mathematics classes. From 11th grade on, students can choose different pathways.

Eight Bay Area school districts found similar results when they de-tracked middle-school mathematics and provided professional development to teachers. In 2014, 63 percent of students were in advanced classes, whereas in 2015 only 12 percent were in advanced classes and everyone else was taking Math 8. The overall achievement of the students significantly increased after de-tracking. The cohort of students in eighth-grade mathematics in 2015 were 15 months ahead of the previous cohort of students who were mainly in advanced classes.'


Anonymous said...

Juneau's attitudes of limiting "opt in" opportunities for rigor hurts all students. This includes both lower income as well as middle class students.

Her plan is a war on those who will not be able to afford private schools that will provide rigor. One class for all in a large district of 53,000 diverse students, is not an appropriate or realistic reality in SPS.

She will limit AP classes to a core with her line of thinking, it is obvious. Comparing not only to neighboring districts, but nationwide the ability to be prepared for and enter colleges will be limited.

It is already difficult for many general education students, including those from higher SES high schools, to enter competitive majors, UW and other colleges. She is really doing this region a magnet for a highly educated population a disservice. She will not be helping to prepare these kids for jobs in our region with this line of thinking. Higher paying STEM and tech jobs in our area are already filled by those who move here from elsewhere, many India and China.

Good For None

Anonymous said...

What I don't get about Juneau's efforts to kill HCC is that I don't see who benefits. The HCC kids get screwed by sentencing them to years of boredom as they transition to non-existent differentiated teaching approaches. I don't see how the gen ed kids benefit from having a few, new, bored kids in their classes. There's no incremental money freed up to use elsewhere, as the only incremental HCC spending is supplied by the state to run the testing and the buses to HCC schools.

Who benefits from this? Some kids clearly get hurt, but I see no winners here.

Is this all just a symbolic gesture to burnish Juneau's social justice warrior credentials?


Anonymous said...

When you listen to the HCC crowd their argument supports the reason why HCC needs to end. "We are better than you so why do you even try". "We will get into a "good" college and the rest won't".

"We have "special" social emotional needs".

Maybe the pro HCC crowd should read the book "how to make friends and influence people" before you open your collective mouth again.


Anonymous said...

Geeze listen closer and look at what is going on in the schools. This is not just about "the HCC crowd". It is about offering true multiple levels of differentiation for diverse kids. There is an elimination of opt in honors classes, in favor of classes not designed (as past) to prepare students for future AP classes. As I mentioned, this line of thinking of one standard for 53,000 students is unrealistic and will also put all kids at a disadvantage in relation to neighboring districts and nationwide. This line of thinking is against "opt in" rigor. That is what exists at Garfield, as well as all other high schools.

Juneau's goal is to create optics where the achievement gap between groups of kids is narrowed. This is being done by lowering the ceiling and taking away rigorous classes for all. It is a sham and many can see though it.

Good For None

Anonymous said...

Geez - P.S why do you think walk to math has been eliminated and not expanded in elementary schools. Another example of this line of thinking. Look at what is happening big picture. This is not about HC, is is about optics and pressure on Juneau to make the achievement gap appear smaller by limiting opportunities for rigor.

AP and honors are "opt in" and differentiating. Walk to Math is flexible grouping and differentiating.

Good For None

Anonymous said...

I used to walk 4 miles each way to and from football practice because I wanted to and there were no special buses provided for me even though I was one of the best players on the team. There should be no handouts, no special buildings and no special buses. Who do these folks think they are fooling?

--Mandatory draft

Anonymous said...

Two interesting Seattle Times comments about Juneau's op-ed piece to reflect.

"1. I am of two minds on this issue.

My son is competing to be the valedictorian at his Seattle High School, but was completely dismissed by the Highly Capable Test in elementary school as “above average learner” only. His aptitude & habits have not changed.

But Ms. Juneau has all the restraint of a Maoist Cultural Revolutionary. I don’t see anything good coming from changes directed by her. I see her forcing the AP doors open and stealing seats for politically selected under-qualified children of color, actually deepening racial divides. That is what was done at Aviation High School. They created equality by ruining everyone’s educational experience."


"2. Notice the percentages don't include Asians? Could it be that including the percentage of Asians would negate the writer's argument?

"When student demographics in any educational service are disproportionate, we must examine our institutional structures to figure out why."

Have you thought about examining culture, income, and parental level of education?"

Watching Juneau

Anonymous said...

Great ghost writing there Geez. And thanks for the SPS book recommendation. It’ll be next to Trump’s “Art of the Deal”.


Melissa Westbrook said...

" Let those already above the minimum who want additional opportunities find them for themselves outside of public education."

Well,one, that would be some low level of basic education and two, you'd have to change the laws on providing services to Sped, ELL and highly capable.

"Again, deeper thinking is needed as to our purpose for public education. Once we agree on its purpose, we can then decide where to allocate funds and what programs to support."

I think that discussion is happening but behind closed doors. I'll have a thread on that soon but suffice to say, it will not be parents and the public determining the purpose of public education.

Go Juneau, yes, we all know HC needs to be reformed. But the crux of the matter is that Juneau cannot go around established policy and process and the Board should not let her. Because someday it may be another issue around a different policy and Juneau will say, "Well, you allowed us leeway on HC so why not here?" It's a slippery slope.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

All this HCC noise is just foolish. A special interest group some how took power then forced SPS to accommodate them. Special buildings, special buses, special teachers. What in the world has happen to public schools. It looks like HCC has created a charter school inside SPS that only a select few can attend.

I say what is good for HCC is good for every student in SPS. We need vouchers so HCC can get the AL services they need.

HCC vouchers

Melissa Westbrook said...

HCC Vouchers, that "special interest group" is one identified and supported by state law.

I suspect if there were a charter school for gifted kids, it would sell out. But none of them in SPS have any control over how they run.

We do NOT need vouchers in this district, this state or this country.

Seattle Parent said...

HCC Vouchers,

You did read Juneau's Op Ed, right? You do know what's actually happening in schools across the district, right? Your attack on HCC is a false flag.

The district has eliminated walk-to-math in most elementary schools, which had many more participants than HCC. The district has eliminated honors English in high school, which had many more participants than HCC. The district wants to eliminate advanced math classes in Middle Schools across the district, which have many more participants than HCC. The district has eliminated advanced social studies in Middle Schools across the district, which had many more participants than HCC. The district wants to eliminate many of the AP High School classes, which have many more participants than HCC.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I urge people to keep questioning the narrative.

If you're on the fence or disagree; just look at the district's demographics and Advanced Learning demographics. The data does not reflect the district's racial narrative--in fact they are currently having to manipulate the data to fit their narrative. Which is why Asian minorities are now being targeted as privileged. The targets will continue to move until the narrative is reflected.

The narrative is racist. It assumes that certain groups are incapable; and given that they are incapable, in order to create equality everyone outside of those groups should be either penalized or have their "opportunity controlled." That's morally abhorrent. We need to expand opportunities, not limit them. Let's examine why certain minority groups are doing better than others? Let's not be afraid to ask questions.

Why is does the district continue to ignore economic disparity as a main factor?

And why continue to push the racial equity narrative? Why have we all bought into it?

Because people genuinely care about fairness and people hate racism. And our concern about both is being manipulated. I hate to sound so cynical, but there is currently serious racial equity $$$ to be had by those at the top. New jobs, new taskforces, government funding, private grant money, public grant money...

Nothing that Juneau is doing will actually hurt the TRULY privileged: they represent a tiny fraction of Seattle Public School demographics; and they can afford private schools. The people it WILL hurt are the middle class and the working class.

--Keep Asking Questions

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

@Go Juneau, your fixation on NMSFs is absurd. Let me explain it again. Students qualify for HCC by scoring at/above the 98th percentile on a nationally normed test. That mean's they are, by that measure, in the top 2% of students in the nation. WA state and Seattle do better overall than many other states and districts, so it makes sense that a larger percentage of WA and SPS students will qualify for HCC by exceeding the national 98th percentile cut-off. That could even mean 3-5% of SPS students meet the national 98th percentile level. The NMSF qualification cut-off, however, is state-based, such that only the top 1% in each state qualify. That is a much smaller pool, with most HC-identified students not likely to qualify.

But why the disproportionate success in SPS compared to our neighbors? Well, in the context of the more exclusive criteria noted above, the experience within a school district becomes more important. Since only a fraction of HC students in WA state can also become NMSFs, the quality of the education high-achieving students received is key. We've seen that SPS has been continually DECREASING rigor and putting ceilings on HCC student opportunities, whereas surrounding districts provide stronger HC services that support student growth and achievement. If SPS efforts to tamp down learning by HC students are even a little bit successful, and/or if other districts' HC services are just a little bit better than ours, then that could easily be enough to skew the NMSF results. Think of it as "keeping up with the Joneses"--if our HC services aren't doing as good a job of providing access to accelerated learning and enhanced instruction (AKA basic ed for HC) as other districts, our HC students will not be able to keep up. They'll still probably score very high, but the deficiencies in the HC services within SPS hold them back just enough so that not as many qualify as NMSFs.

Quite simply, SPS's HC services are weak--which also helps explain why, as you said, "HC students who stay in their neighborhood schools do as well or better than cohorted students" (although there's a lot of selection bias here, not to mention a lack re: the nature of the two interventions...), and why "parents regularly complain about the low level of rigor in HCC." You just helped to explain why HCC students might not do quite as well as HC students elsewhere.

It's not the kids, it's the program. Strengthen our HCC services compared to neighboring schools and our NMSFs will surely go up.

quality matters

Anonymous said...

So all this anxst about HCC, how those kids aren't really different because they all paid to test in, and other kids could be HCC but the district hid qualification info from parents so they wouldn't know how to test in, and all kids can learn the same in the same classroom anyway, and HCC is a better education so it is unfair for only some kids to get that opportunity.

The answer seems clear. Just put all kids in HCC classes, make all classes 2 years ahead for every student in the district.


Anonymous said...

It was two generations ago, and 3,000 miles from Seattle, but as a public school student, I was subjected to a cohort system that was far more rigid and elitist than anything Seattle has yet experienced. However I benefited from it academically, I know now that I suffered from it socially, which offset any academic gains I might have gotten. Learning how to get along in a diverse society is every bit as important, maybe even more so, than learning only the ABCs or the Three Rs, or all the STEM in the world.

Many years later, by the time my daughter entered Hale after a terrific experience at Salmon Bay, and Hale failed to deliver the level of instruction she thought she needed, we knew what to do. We went right to a full load of Running Start, which launched a successful academic career.

The cohorts must go, for so many reasons I wouldn't even know how to begin. But that is more easily done than providing, within SPS, the level of instruction that the most capable students can handle, without the cohorts. To accomplish that, SPS will require smaller class sizes, more teachers, more classrooms, more paraeducators, more Instructional and Linguistic Assistants, more counselors, more tutors, more nurses, more mental health professionals, better textbooks and instructional materials, etc., etc., so that ALL students, even if they are not getting the same level of instruction, are getting the same level of SUPPORT, for the level of instruction that they ARE getting. We owe that to every one of our students. Every one of them. It is our Paramount Duty. Do NOT lay this all on the teachers!

Raise your hands if you think SPS is either ready, or willing, or able, to provide that. Nobody? Thought not.

If your kids need more, they need it NOW. Until such time -- if ever -- that SPS can provide it, they can't wait. And why should they? Because of some bureaucratic bla bla bla? They need Advanced Learning? Put them in Running Start and be done with it. No high school AP matches the community college level of instruction. If they tell you it does, they're blowing smoke. It isn't "college-level" work. It's college work, period -- for college credit.

For those who, for whatever reason, choose to remain in SPS, demand that the level of academic AND SOCIAL support be at the level that all students need, and refuse to settle for less, no matter how many bureaucrats need to be shown the door. My two cents' worth.

-- Ivan Weiss

Anonymous said...

Ingraham and IB will be next to attack, as the same demographic of kids are opting into IB, as those opting into AP classes at Garfield.

Oh and there is also a pathway at that school, so HC will get scapegoated as the excuse. Look for IB classes to get cut.

Next we will see AP classes more largely curtailed at schools such Roosevelt and other schools with majority demographics of kids who opt into AP classes. AP classes will shrink to a small core of classes offered at all schools.

It began this past year when staff and classes were cut from high schools, and accurate student enrollment not funded.


Anonymous said...

Ivan -Running start should not be the only option. It can be great for some kids, but for others they miss the connection to their high school and peers. Many might be accelerated academically, but need a connection to peers and high school socially. This school district needs to continue to offer AP and IB classes so that kids have options.


Anonymous said...

@Ivan Weiss "The cohorts must go, for so many reasons I wouldn't even know how to begin. But that is more easily done than providing, within SPS, the level of instruction that the most capable students can handle, without the cohorts. "

From your post I cannot tell if you are aware that SPS is proposing keeping the cohort for the top 1% of students, but serving them at neighborhood schools?

So kids like my kid who had scored top 1% would still be in a cohort with tons of other kids from there same demographic at their local neighborhood school. But HC kids from other neighborhoods will be alone. I don't see how that does anything positive at all for anyone.

No, they need to keep the cohorts and better increase or change identification practices for both low income and racial minority kids.


Anonymous said...

@ JK:

I don't know where I said I thought Running Start should be the ONLY option, but if and when SPS gets rid of HCC, which I think they should, the onus will still be on them to provide an equivalent level of instruction for those to choose to remain in SPS, and I see no concrete plans coming from them to ensure that this would be the case, in the absence of HCC.

I agree with you that for those who value the social connections and peer groups that their high school provides, they should be encouraged to strengthen those ties. All I'm suggesting is that there are bound to be tradeoffs, and students and parents should be aware of them.

-- Ivan Weiss

Melissa Westbrook said...

"how those kids aren't really different because they all paid to test in,"

Just no.

However, your idea - of teaching ahead - the district DID try at Maple Elementary, teaching at a Spectrum level. Know what? With supports, it worked. But apparently, it cost money so they ended it. True story.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Weiss--I was part of a pullout HCC program in the 80s. Like you, I have conflicting thoughts on the "cohort" portion--I was bullied in the cohort; but it also provided much(!) needed academic stimulation. As painful as the social experience was, my time in the program was cherished. It was the only AL available to me at the time.

Just as HCC has been the only guaranteed service for my academically-advanced child.

It is imperfect, and I too, believe that the bubble-atmosphere of a cohort is not a good social model. But the model can be edited and amended. At least it exists. I'd rather have something than nothing. As you've pointed out, SPS is in no position to provide better advanced learning services and support in all schools. And Running Start would be a poor fit for my very vulnerable, young child whose social skills lag behind academic skills.

--Keep Asking Questions

Anonymous said...

@quality matters, I agree the fixation on the National Merit Scholar Finalists by some on this blog is peculiar and laughable. The NMSF is an invention of a multimillion dollar data gathering monopoly The College Board to get more students & districts to spend more money on its standardized tests.

First there was the SAT, which already is expensive. Then they added the PSAT to practice taking the test. How do you get people to pay TWICE to take a test? You add a fancy sounding scholarship and call it an honor -- the National Merit Scholarship.

Schools like Lakeside do tons of test prep for the PSAT. No wonder their students do well on it and qualify as NMSF. But it's not a measurement of gifted-ness.

To add to the irony, how ridiculous that commenters like @GoJuneau who attack HCC for equity reasons promote an inequitable standardized test that's known to be racially biased against AA students.


Since at least the late 1970s, the College Board has been subject to criticism from students, educators, and consumer rights activists. The College Board owns the SAT and many students must take SAT exams for admission to competitive colleges such as Ivy League institutions. Although the ACT is usually accepted as an alternative to the SAT, some colleges require students to take the SAT Subject Tests. Some colleges also require students submit a College Board "CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE" when applying for financial aid. As there are no broadly accepted alternatives to College Board's AP, SAT Subject Test, and CSS/Financial Aid products, the company is often criticized as exploiting its monopoly on these products.

FairTest, an organization that advocates against over-dependence on standardized tests in school admissions, maintains that the SAT often underestimates the aptitude of African-American students and others. FairTest maintains a list of more than 1000 SAT-optional colleges on its website.[18]

The consumer rights organization Americans for Educational Testing Reform (AETR) has criticized the College Board for violating its non-profit status through excessive profits and exorbitant executive compensation; nineteen of its executives make more than $300,000 per year, with CEO Gaston Caperton earning $1.3 million in 2009 (including deferred compensation).[19][20] AETR also claims that College Board is acting unethically by selling test preparation materials, directly lobbying legislators and government officials, and refusing to acknowledge test-taker rights.[21]

YesplzGO Juneau!

Anonymous said...

I think something is being flushed out here. Most commenters are voicing that their HCC students are emotionally delayed and they are concerned about going into the general population because of that. So it appears that HCC is allowed to segregate because HCC parents want it , but SPS can't create a segregated SPED focused school because SPED parents don't want it?

I'm sure there are parents in both groups that would accept and welcome just the opposite if it was the LRE for their child.

The final analysis seems to be that the HCC program was created to deal with highly functioning autistic children. So who is benefiting the most from the segregation?

What do other large districts do to serve their autistic students?

--Thought problem

Anonymous said...

Source for above citation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/College_Board

YesplzGO Juneau!

Anonymous said...

@Ivan Weiss I'm sure you know that you can't tear something down before there is a place for people to go. SPS has dismantled blended ALOs in the elementary schools, period. So when the kids act out because they are bored AF, what say you? Put them in special ed? Kick them out? The left wing of SEA has this one wrong.

More Noise Please

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thought Problem:

Most commenters are voicing that their HCC students are emotionally delayed.."

Most of them? Not true. "emotionally delayed?" No, some have different social skills (or lack thereof). It doesn't make them emotionally delayed.

Do not conflate SPed services with HCC services; completely different.

And the DISTRICT created the entire program and never have I found any reason to believe they did self-contained because of parents. Now when people got used to this form of service and the district wanted to change it, parents were unhappy. But the district got rid of Spectrum, so there you go.

The final analysis seems to be that the HCC program was created to deal with highly functioning autistic children. So who is benefiting the most from the segregation?

What do other large districts do to serve their autistic students?"

Absolutely untrue and you are wrong to say such a thing. You have no basis in fact for saying that.

And if you want to go find out how other districts handle Sped kids and highly capable kids, go right ahead.

Anonymous said...

@ More noise please:

Well, yes, I do know that you can't tear something down before there is a place for people to go, because that is exactly what I said. But it appears that is exactly what they ARE going to do, and their denials are just a bunch of window dressing. They won't be adding the additional support I mentioned above. Or at least they offer no concrete evidence that they are moving in that direction. But if they are truly interested in providing equity, this is what will be needed.

I'm not sure the blame lies with "the left wing of SEA." I suspect the culprits occupy the executive suites at the John. But thee are only suspicions and I do not claim to have any inside information.

-- Ivan Weiss

Perplexed said...

Maybe this is a "can't see the forest for the trees" situation, but I do not understand the “why?” behind Juneau’s actions. What is Juneau's endgame here?

1. Is this just about the money? (A straightforward budget grab to free up dollars for a different pet project/interest group or a longer-term play to grow the Seattle School District budget pie)

2. Is it purely political machination? (A divide-and-conquer tactic to distract and de-fang parents along racial/school boundary divides or a way to shore up political support from key interest groups?)

3. Is it a blend of stubborn incompetence? (Juneau and her senior staff are in way over their heads trying to manage the Byzantine bureaucracy that is SSD, genuinely believe this is the correct course and have settled on "damn the parental torpedoes, full speed ahead!")

4. Is it a brilliant strategy that I am too obtuse to comprehend? (Vanity prevents me from believing this is correct, but I will include it for completeness! :-)

So: one/some/all of the above — or am I missing some other endgame?
-- Perplexed

Anonymous said...

Voting on #3. "Don't ascribe to malice that which is best explained by incompetence."

-almost gone

Melissa Westbrook said...

1) maybe but there has to be dollars spent to implement AL for All. Not sure this helps the budget.

2) Probably right on both counts (divide-and-conquer and shore up the support she wants).

3) I don't know that it's incompetence but stubborn? Yes. I think she came in, having studied the district from afar, and staff said, "You need to ignore the parents as much as you can. Just go for it."

4) Well, yes, it is a strategy. I don't think it so brilliant to try to gaslight the public (and some parents) into thinking that she is listening to the Task Force and wants to work with the Board. Clearly, she doesn't.

I think her strategy is to look like a strong leader, make good connections with the powers that be in Seattle and "implement" as much of the Strategic Plan as possible so that if there is another, better job, she will be ready to present her case.

That she narrowed the definition of which black boys she is guiding the work towards tells me that she needs a smaller group and thus, making it easier to show progress. I wonder what the Somali moms group would think if they knew this was happening (she refers to them a lot).

As I have said before, if the country elects a Dem president next year, I can near-guarantee that she could be offered a job in D. C. in the Department of Education.

Anonymous said...

So walk to math and other flexible grouping and differentiation has been eliminated not expanded in elementary schools. Multiple other changes at middle schools eliminating advanced learning opportunities. Elimination of true honors courses at multiple high schools. The goal is a one size fits all curriculum and limits on advanced learning options.

What is going on is that she is lowering the ceiling, as to improve "optics". On paper it narrows the opportunity/achievement gap.

This issue has been a thorn in the district's side as Seattle has attracted more highly educated and wealthier families in recent years with high achieving kids.

Economics and educational attainment of parents and other factors are the primary driving force for the opportunity gap.

Look at the Eastside for comparison and number of Asian kids achieving and they are also over-represented in highly capable programs. Cannot blame "white institutional racism, segregation or redlining". Mercer island had something like 20% of its population in highly capable programs last time I heard.

While advanced classes and programs do have many affluent kids with parents that have obtained high levels of education, they also have other kids who come from middle income families.

We are one such family with an HC qualifying kid, and actually earn less than many families we know with kids in the general education program. We do not come from generational wealth or educational privilege. Offering advanced learning classes and opportunities are a bridge.

But the district has been busy eliminating any academic differentiation and this hurts all kids. It is far easier it seems for her to take things away from all (not just HC) highly academic kids, than to support those "furthest from educational justice".


Old Timer said...

Juneau is getting hammered in the comment section. Everyone knows that she is lying. The ALTF has not issued a recommendation.

Juneau is also pushing policy changes that haven't gotten vetted through various committees.

Juneau does not know Seattle. This isn't going to end well- for her.

Old Timer said...

There is nothing in me that believes Juneau won't pull another stunt...like this one.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if this is an ethics violation.

This is the day before the election?



Melissa Westbrook said...

Voter, the Superintendent is not governed by the city of Seattle.

Also, she didn't tell anyone how to vote or even ask the Board to consider voting a certain way.

I think it's just a sign that she will play every card she can. I'm not sure she has figured out that many people don't listen to the Times.

Mike said...

Big shout outs to DEEPER THINKING, Keep Asking Questions, and Ivan Weiss - Deeper Thinking and Ivan for mention of our need to start discussions with agreement on the purposes of K-12. Ivan and Keep Asking Questions additionally for noting socialization (into American culture) is one of K-12's core purposes. And bless Keep Asking Questions' heart for noting the thoughtless racism in assuming all black kids need services at the expense of other kids. The finite SPS budget means funding one group leaves less, and maybe not sufficient, money for other groups; which would remain acceptable so long as allocation is based on individual academic needs, not a group's race, ethnicity, gender, etc.

Keep Asking Questions also touched on problems with "equity" CRT adherents TCG, Wayne Au, and, apparently, Supt. Juneau evade: if, by district definition "Educational and racial equity is achieved by providing high quality curricula, support facilities and other resources to eliminate historical barriers even when it means giving more to (black kids than to White/Asian kids)", then how will SPS measure success? Will simply naming the historical barriers, then removing them erase the "test gap" which is pointed to as evidence of "inequity"? How so? Is this a temporary experiment to see if removal of historical barriers is the solution to test gaps? Does the experiment need to last one year, twelve, a generation to determine its efficacy? If it needs to be a permanent program of favoring Blacks generation after generation with services that allow them to catch up to White/Asian test scores, then SPS is providing a corrective to social shortcomings in childrearing as opposed to serving the purposes of Basic Education. Is K-12 replacing DSHS despite not having the requisite money or resources?

Can the Superintendent clarify what is intended in forcing equity onto K-12 kids who are supposed to be preparing for adulthood in a capitalist economy that requires inequity and culturally fosters inequity through competition between individuals, groups and nations? I don't see how as American culture is not about "equity" unless one creates a definition significantly different than what standard dictionaries provide.

Anonymous said...

@ Thought Problem, who says most HCC students are autistic?

all types

Anonymous said...

"Juneau is getting hammered in the comment section."

The is the Seattle Times! Anything remotely progressive gets hammered. It's a MAGA hotbed.


Anonymous said...

Stephan Martin, the former long-term head of HCC/AL services once told me that HCC is designed for students who "think differently". I am only quoting him - that was his vision. I suppose that autistic students could be one of many subsets of students who "think differently" but not, be any means, could the HCC population as a whole be described as generally autistic.


True said...

Clearly, there are a few things that LOL! doesn't understand. I don't feel the need to spell things out.

C'mon said...

C'mon, Mike. the district has never had more money. They continue down the path of standardization.

It is ironic that the people that have fought standardization are the same ones pushing for more standardization.

Anonymous said...

"Did you know Seattle Public Schools has a service called Highly Capable that serves 4,896 of our students, 9% of our student body, while the national average is 2%?" -Juneau

I can't get past the first sentence of her opinion piece. Perhaps it needs a rewrite:

Washington State recognizes that for "highly capable students, access to accelerated learning and enhanced instruction is access to a basic education." Our state provides extra funds to school districts to provide accelerated learning options for highly capable students. States and districts differ in their identification, programming and funding for highly capable students, and we are no different. In Seattle Public Schools, students who test at the 98th percentile on a nationally normed cognitive test generally qualify for HC services. As a large city home to the University of Washington as well as several technological companies, it should come as no surprise that more than 2% of our students qualify for HC services. In fact, almost 9% of SPS students qualify.

...and that's just the rewrite of the first sentence. Did Juneau really write this?? It just reads like someone getting their info from public testimony at Board meetings. It shows a lack of understanding about some very basic stuff.

kinda odd

Anonymous said...

30% of Seattle students go to private schools. The program is totally inflated in size.

Kinda lame

Anonymous said...

@Kinda lame, it’s not generally HC kids that go private. That doesn’t support your case that it’s inflated.

Lame excuse

Anonymous said...

So I believe the cohort must have started when SPS did not have neighborhood schools. A cohort was needed at that time, to ensure HC kids had access to peers.

Since we have gone to the neighborhood school model, and Seattle has had an influx of highly educated people with lots of kid testing into HC, the cohort has ballooned in our area.

The HC cohort model does need some consideration as in some schools the population of kids qualifying is quite large. Another issue is capacity. When all those HC kids return those already overcrowded schools we will see some big boundary related issues.

Regarding 9%, versus 2% etc. that tells me nothing because Seattle also has been a city drawing the highest number of people with 4 year college degrees in the country.

Keep in mind also that higher percentage of kids test into highly capable programs on the Eastside and neighboring districts, as well as on Mercer Island where I believe it is 20%. We have an area that has highly educated people. They tend to have kids who score high on cognitive and achievement identification tests.

The cohort identification process is flawed. It under-identifies low income kids and some groups of color. Everyone seems to agree that needs to change.

Some neighborhood schools have MANY kids being identified for HC. If the district truly supported differentiation, and had single subject honors in middle school etc. I do think those schools can support HC kids. Other neighborhood schools will have much difficulty.

But the district is schizophrenic, and has also been dismantling walk to math, opt in honors and other differentiation in schools.

One perspective

Anonymous said...

This HCC program is clearly on the wrong side of history.

It was just a matter of time for a leader with a backbone to get hired at just the right time.

Justice Arc

Anonymous said...

Seattle times won't let me post this in the comments. Sigh

Seattle Times/Ms Juneau: please correct this misleading information contained in opening.

"Did you know Seattle Public Schools has a service called Highly Capable that serves 4,896 of our students, 9% of our student body, while the national average is 2%?"
This makes no sense - the national average of WHAT is 2%? Superintendent needs to go back to school for some basic essay writing and statistics. There no such thing as a national average of "Highly Capable". Juneau either does not know how cognitive test (IQ) percentiles work or she is intentionally trying to mislead people. SPS chooses to define Highly Capable students as those who who test at the 98th percentile on a nationally normed cognitive test (ie those that test in top 2% nationwide) As a large city with UW and high tech companies (ie a highly educated workforce) it shouldnt' be surprising that more than 2% of our students qualify for HC services based on these nationally normed criteria. Seattle is not Hickory, NC. It would be possible to use local norms for the cognitive test in which case the 98th percentile would reflect the top 2% in Seattle, or WA state for example.

"Did you know this advanced learning service is highly segregated? Of all participating students, 67% are white, 1.6% are African American, and less than 1% are Native American." This is false. There is no policy of segregation according to ethnicity, income, gender or anything else. The demographics are unfortunate but it is not segregated as this by definition implies a specific intentional policy. Exactly who does she believe is doing the segregating - her own employees? ANY student that achieves the cognitive and math and reading scores set by the district is eligible for the program. The district determines what scores they will accept and what tests they accept, organizes the testing and oversees any appeals. The demographics are the result of socioeconomic/societal factors outside of the districts control AND it's own failure to adopt suggestions by previous ALTFs about identification and recruitment of underserved students. The district could fix that simply by following the recommendations made by it's own task forces.

WA State recognizes that for highly capable students, access to accelerated learning and enhanced instruction is access to a basic education. WA state provides extra funds to school districts to provide accelerated learning options for highly capable students. The district gets this money. it does not specifically go to provide additional resources for HC students in their cohort schools. States and districts differ in their identification, programming and funding for highly capable students. The cohort model is considered one of the best practices according to educational researchers and is a cost effective model - probably why it was chosen in the first place.

Blocked by ST

Anonymous said...

Justice Arc Your argument makes no sense and is completely illogical when you lay out the facts.There will still be a cohort of kids scoring top 1% and the district has stated they will continue to serve them. Even more will now be able to remain in their middle class highly educated neighborhoods thus highly segregated neighborhood schools. But this has already been happening anyway Justice Arc, since we went to the neighborhood school model. About half HC kids have remained in neighborhood schools in recent years.

Mirror Game

Anonymous said...

"This HCC program is clearly on the wrong side of history."

So come up with an actual PLAN for an HCC program and/or HC services that will work better, and we'll surely listen up.

However, simply saying "we should just serve HC students via differentiation and blended classrooms!" is not a plan--it's a belief. That nobody promoting such an approach can provide any details on how it could actually be implemented and effective speaks volumes. What will schools and teachers need to do differently? What additional resources will be needed? How will this affect assignment zones? How will the most-highly-capable of the HC get their needs met? How will more minorities (aside from Asians, who apparently don't count) get identified as HC, or placed into a possible 99th percentile cohort? There are just too many questions. If it's such a great idea, why not share the details so people can get on board?

Juneau is treating this like a PR problem, not an educational one.

all types

Anonymous said...

No. It's your PR problem all types. The problem isn't too few minorities or an identification problem. It's too many white people in the segregated program. Sorry you don't like differentiation. That's the plan. So surely listen up.

Another Arc

Anonymous said...

Another Arc. "Too many white people in the segregated program." Most of those "white people," when they leave HCC, will go to even more white and segregated schools in the north end. And at higher cost too - HCC schools receive some of the fewest dollars per kid. And differentiation is more expensive and less efficient than group acceleration.

And alas, a larger proportion of kids of minority ethnic backgrounds will be going back to neighborhood schools with substantially less acceleration options.

What are you thinking that dissolution of HCC will solve? Who will it help? Sounds like the optics are blinding.


Anonymous said...

Well Arcless, if your kid really is a 1%er without loads of private testing, you’ll be fine. Seems all the handwringing is from the scammers anyway.

HCC isn’t really cheaper per kid when you drive all the expensive kids out like Washington and Garfield did for years.... or concentrate poverty, ELL, special education making those kids way more expensive than they would be in natural proportions. But you already knew that. The fact is, HCC didn’t accomplish much except segregation. And if you hadn’t loved yourself to death, you might have been able to keep your unicorn. But, insult other people all you like. It doesn’t appear to be working.

Another Arc

z said...

Hey GigsUp, let’s talk.

Regarding your hechingerreport.org article linked above, i.e. the one that tries its best to say that the SFUSD experiment with removing advance math opportunities is performing miracles.

Because the entire notion sounded suspect I decided to go digging into it. You’re welcome. First of all, the links embedded in that article are bogus. Very strange. Go ahead, give them a try. The “8 Bay Area school districts found similar results…” link and you’ll learn all about SVMI, the Silicon Valley Mathematics Initiative. Interesting, but irrelevant. The “In the National Assessment of Educational Progress study…” link takes you to some data that shows how the US is doing worse now that a few years ago, and that our achievement gaps are widening. But nowhere does it talk about anything related to tracking. So much for supporting data.

I guess I’ll have to do my own research.

1) In EdWeek’s A Bold Effort to End Algebra Tracking Shows Promise

Koch said, he tries to explain to parents that 8th grade math under the common core contains a significant amount of algebraic content, such as linear functions, that wasn't in earlier 8th grade math iterations. Algebra isn't so much gone from 8th grade as it is now taught much more deeply over two school years.

So the first big takeaway is that THEY SIGNIFICANTLY CHANGED THE CURRICULUM. We’re no longer comparing apples to apples, and suggesting that the reason for any possible successes is because we’ve limited kids options is already sounding bogus.

2) What are the success metrics they’re referring to? In American Institutes for Research’s Pursuing Equity and Excellence in Mathematics: Course Sequencing and Placement in San Francisco we find the specifics.

1) An increase in the percentage of students earning the highest possible score on eighth-grade tasks from the Mathematics Assessment Resource Service;

2) A decrease in the percentage of students who are repeating Algebra 1; and

3) An increase in the number of students taking math courses beyond Algebra II, including increases among groups that have been historically underserved in mathematics.

#1 is a complete crock. Of course you’ll have higher scores on average when you hold kids back that have already mastered the material 1 or 2 or 3 years earlier. Even you understand this, right? LOL

#2 just shows that if you look hard enough you can come up with a benchmark to support your cause. Seriously, percentages again? When you include kids that have long since mastered the material, this metric says nothing.

#3 is the only possibly interesting point — EXCEPT WE’VE ALREADY DETERMINED THAT THE CURRICULUM WAS CHANGED!

So we really have nothing here. Zero. Nada. Zilch.

Unfortunately, we still live in a world where unicorns are imaginary, and holding kids back does not help students with higher achievement levels.

(more in the following post)

z said...

Let’s continue exploring San Francisco’s math experiment.

Who here in Seattle is familiar with London Breed? I had to do a little research myself, but she is currently the Mayor of San Francisco, and the first African American woman in that role. She is truly amazing, I heartily recommend reading her story, even if it’s only the condensed wikipedia version. She was raised in an extremely poor public housing project, surrounded by drugs and violence not only in her neighborhood, but within her family. She not only survived, but thrived, went to college, has had a successful political career and is now the Mayor of one of the most amazing cities in our nation.

She ran her campaign with a lot of emphasis on education. Let me quote one of her 10 points of emphasis:

9. Protect Algebra + Advanced Math
I will continue to support options for students to accelerate in mathematics. No child should be deprived the opportunity to excel. As mayor I will listen to parents and advocate for math enrichment so motivated students whose passion is not currently met by the curriculum sequencing can thrive.

Feel free to read that again if you need to. One of her goals is to remove the ridiculous barrier to mathematics achievement in San Francisco public schools.

Let’s not continue heading down the same misguided path.

And please, GigsUp or whatever your current handle of the day is, if you’re going to post research, you might want to make sure it actually supports your position.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I note a couple of tweets to the Superintendent in support of her op-ed. The one that stands out is this one:

Jon Morrison Winters
Nov 5

Thank you for your op-ed this morning. Current system isn't just failing students of color. By fetishizing individual exceptionalism and promoting segregation, it is failing everyone.

"Fetishizing?" That's quite the word to use and yet, apparently, he has his own kids in HCC. If HCC is so terrible, why not leave his kids in the Gen Ed class? Hmmm.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

One can say the same thing about Geary and others who criticized HC, yet her own kids were in it.

Another Arc "No. It's your PR problem all types. The problem isn't too few minorities or an identification problem. It's too many white people in the segregated program. Sorry you don't like differentiation. That's the plan. So surely listen up."

One cannot argue about white people and racism entirely in this context, because we also see a higher proportion of Asians qualifying not only in Seattle, but also on the Eastside. Asians are over-represented and whites are under-represented. Nice try. Easier identification is related to many other factors, educational attainment and attitudes of parents, socioeconomics etc.

Regardless there needs to be true differentiation and flexible grouping for hard working kids who are not identified at all schools, but the district has been eliminating it.

I support a different HC program for kids identified at the 1%. My kid is in that group. BTW without any test prep and identified through school testing well after kindergarten. We are also middle class and don't come from generations of educational privilege.

A Mexican-American teacher of color told me my kid taught her how to think differently about math. She was the person who told me about HC and urged we test in first grade after my kid showed unusual math aptitude. We stayed at the neighborhood elementary and there used to be walk to math. Then it disappeared. There needs to be realistic options for these kids. The district has shown they are eliminating advanced learning in neighborhood schools.

That's the facts Arc, come up with a solution instead of insulting people who are just trying to get their kid an appropriate education. You are so blinded by your views you cannot hear what people are saying.


Anonymous said...

@Another Arc "No. It's your PR problem all types. The problem isn't too few minorities or an identification problem. It's too many white people in the segregated program. Sorry you don't like differentiation. That's the plan. So surely listen up."

Again, "differentiation" is not a plan. It's a strategy for using a variety of teaching techniques and lesson/curriculum adaptations to try to meet the needs of diverse learners, including those who "get" things quickly vs. slowly, those who are already way ahead vs. way behind, those who have learning disabilities or attentional disorders, etc. Differentiation is complex, time-consuming, and expensive. It also requires significant teacher expertise. Even then, many teachers argue it's not feasible in large classes with such a span of abilities.

So what is the PLAN to make the infeasible feasible? What steps will/could/should the district take to ensure that teachers have the ability to differentiate? What is the plan to make classes smaller? To provide curricular resources appropriate to all levels? To provide support for all levels of students? To create extra time for teachers to not only work with students at different levels, and using different instructional techniques, but also to redesign their lessons for such efforts?

What is the PLAN to make this strategy actually REALISTIC? Everything we've seen thus far suggests it isn't. Schools have moved further and further away from differentiation, dropping walk-to's and other ALOs because differentiating students by current achievement/ability makes some people feel bad. Garfield's Honors for All initial evaluation similarly showed that teachers struggle to provide challenging material to all students in a heterogeneous setting that spans such a great range of abilities. "Differentiation" is not some magical incantation you shout and...poof! It takes hard work, preparation, and support. Lots of support. So where it the PLAN for how SPS will make this a reality?

all types

Anonymous said...

@Another Arc, I also stand by my assessment that "Juneau is treating this like a PR problem, not an educational one."

If she were attacking it as an educational problem, she'd lay out the plan, clarifying how exactly teachers would be able to effectively implement differentiated instruction with even greater ability and achievement ranges in classrooms, what additional resources would be available for them, what additional training and support would be required, what parents could expect, what educational outcomes would expected for various groups of students, etc. She'd also explain how this will increase access to advanced learning and HC services for students at schools that have had low numbers of AL/HC students identified in the past. She would explain whether a cohort-based program would still exist for a subset of students, clarifying the types of students it would serve, why, and how. In other words, she'd be able to explain the instructional needs of the various students and how they would be met.

But she can't, or won't--because she is viewing this as a problem of optics. She has a plan to make the optics look better, but no plan to make the instruction actually work.

all types

Outsider said...

In the real world, differentiation is neither a plan nor a strategy. It's just a buzzword designed to gaslight people. There is no such thing.

In a general education setting, job one is to get all students up to standard. Job 2 is to meet the sometimes huge needs of whatever high-needs students happen to be there. Jobs 1 and 2 are all consuming and infinite. A teacher can work 120% and never finish jobs 1 and 2. There is no capacity in the system to differentiate for advanced learners, and it doesn't happen. Go actually observe a general ed classroom for more than 20 minutes and see for yourself. Not to mention that at least half of Seattle teachers would rather eat sand than differentiate for advanced learners. AL happens in a cohort setting or it doesn't happen. (Walk-to math, where it survives, is a form of cohorting.) Eliminating the HC cohort is eliminating HC. And that's the goal.

Juneau doesn't care about PD and resources for differentiation because there will never be any such thing. There is no real intention to deliver HC services in a "blended" setting. Delaying for a couple of years to pretend to study and have PD would just be a charade for the sake of optics, and with all the political momentum on your side, why bother?

The commenter in the Times who wrote that "those with privileged identities need to have their opportunity controlled" is the only one telling the truth. The intention is to limit the level of education available in Seattle Schools. Like it or not, you have to respect some one who gives it to you straight rather than spinning it with buzzwords and fake promises.

Anonymous said...

Here's a question: Why did the legislature find the need to mandate special services for HC students, stating that for HC students "basic education" requires access to accelerated learning and enhanced instruction? I'm guessing it was because such students were NOT getting their needs met in regular classrooms, even though effective teaching has always required some level of differentiation.

In other words, the old differentiation wasn't cutting it. What does SPS think will be different about the fancy new differentiation they are "planning"?

all types

Melissa Westbrook said...

All Types, good observation.

The lack of a real plan should stop Geary's amendment cold. But we'll see. Thank God it's still the current Board.

Anonymous said...

No budget attached + No time + No accountability = No differentiation

Clear view

Anonymous said...

Can you read different books? (the hard ones, the cutting edge science research, advanced fiction) Can you write longer papers? (better, more thorough, deeper) Can you write a more complex narrative? Can you do the starred math problems? (At Lakeside, that's differentiation. And those stars are pretty hard.) Can you google a little better? (those "yearning to learn" surely can do at least this) If the 40% private testers can't do these things, how gifted are they really? Perhaps just unmotivated. All these things are free. And every ed school already teaches "differentiation". It's what all teachers do already. And, it's the plan. Sorry you don't like it. Gravy trains never last.

Outsider did indeed hit the cost nail on the head, noting how HCC puts an incredible burden on teachers and general education by increasing their load. That is, it hoards resources. Everyone was happy with how he said it: "Also, putting HC cohort students back into general ed classrooms will lighten the load of teachers on average, and might therefore indirectly benefit other students. HC students tend to behave relatively well and can learn grade-level material easily," Right! Hence the drive to do it. Look, all parents want their kids in the "smart" class and to be with students who don't challenge the teacher. But we can't exact the heaviest burden on the same people over and over again. And there diversity truly is educational as well.


Anonymous said...

The funny thing is, @Arc, our GE school didn't have different (harder) books to read, and the teacher insisted that all students read the same books. At our middle school, the principal said she couldn't get harder books because they were on the HS list and the MS couldn't access them. One of our teachers went rogue and assigned higher level books anyway, although parents had to pony up for them. (So much for equity there!)

Re: science, I doubt that "cutting edge science research books" are compatible with Amplify science. But I suppose parents could pony up for advanced texts for their own kids to read at home or during all that Amplify down time.

Or maybe well-funded PTSAs at schools with a lot of HC students will fund extra science materials and texts to help provide advanced opportunities. Teachers at high performing schools will likely feel more pressure to differentiate.

Simply having kids write "better, more thorough, deeper" papers is not really differentiation. Differentiation is about what the teacher does to help them do that--to push them to work just above their comfort level, as should be true for all students. But research, analysis, and writing are also skills that need to be developed--that's why we have ELA classes and teachers. You don't just tell them to do more--you need to work with them on how to do more. You know, teach.

Do the starred math problems? Really? So if you've mastered the double digit multiplication the rest of the class is learning, maybe you get to move on to triple digits--which is essentially the same thing, but with an extra busy work component built in. That's how the "harder" work is often provided in reality. Or, like in my child's class one year, the equivalent of "starred work" was the hallway math for a handful of kids, "led" by a TA who was completely lost when it came to the upper elementary math they were covering.

What's clear from all this--and is particularly striking in your "they can 'google a little better' if they are really 'yearning to learn'" comment--is that you see differentiation as the kids primarily teaching themselves. Teachers don't really have to dedicate much time to their instruction, because the kids can just us Professor Google to teach them how to do more or go beyond the current lesson. Unfortunately, not only do kids actually need instruction (even HC kids!), but teachers aren't always so hip on students moving ahead on their own. (Funny story: One of my kids routinely gets in trouble for doing internet research during class when the lesson is too simplistic and they want to go deeper. Another is regularly scolded by a teacher for trying to discuss things they've researched at home to deepen their knowledge on the topic at hand, with the teacher pointing out that this is beyond the scope of what the class is covering.)

Suggesting that kids are "unmotivated" if they need actual instruction is a pretty low blow. Does that apply to all students, or only HC students? Maybe all students just need more motivation, that's it! And who said giftedness is related to motivation anyway? There are gifted students who are slackers, and there are motivated students at all levels of intellectual ability.

Plain and simple, differentiation is NOT free. If it doesn't involve additional teacher time and effort, and usually also supplemental materials, etc., it isn't differentiation. It's just words.

all types

Melissa Westbrook said...


" If the 40% private testers can't do these things, how gifted are they really? Perhaps just unmotivated. All these things are free."

Certainly but it's up to teachers to explain what they want to see for rigor/acceleration. Lakeside does just say, "Go forth and you figure it out."

But All Types said it better:

"What's clear from all this--and is particularly striking in your "they can 'google a little better' if they are really 'yearning to learn'" comment--is that you see differentiation as the kids primarily teaching themselves. Teachers don't really have to dedicate much time to their instruction, because the kids can just us Professor Google to teach them how to do more or go beyond the current lesson."

"Everyone was happy with how he said it: "Also, putting HC cohort students back into general ed classrooms will lighten the load of teachers on average, and might therefore indirectly benefit other students. HC students tend to behave relatively well and can learn grade-level material easily,"

Oh well then, thanks for explaining to us what the role of those students is in class. I thought it was to learn.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Melissa Westbrook said...

Arc, try again without being demeaning to children.