Sunday, June 29, 2008

Anxious America ... how about Foster High School?
or just WA State Education's continuing Fiascos

Thomas Friedman wrote the following in the New York Times:

Here is a classic quote from his editorial:

"My fellow Americans: We are a country in debt and in decline — not terminal, not irreversible, but in decline. Our political system seems incapable of producing long-range answers to big problems or big opportunities. We are the ones who need a better-functioning democracy — more than the Iraqis and Afghans. We are the ones in need of nation-building. It is our political system that is not working."

Friedman looks at the politics of today and finds it incapable of doing anything.

The nation is confronted by major obstacles and the substantive response is nothing.

He does not mention math or education.

You could certainly insert those topics along with Dr. Bergeson, the SBE and most school boards and produce an excellent fit with Mr. Friedman's thesis.

As our education system continues its decline it is amazing to watch more of the same presented as a solution. I just have a really hard time arguing against Tom Friedman.

Consider this from The Tukwila School District:

POSITION: Secondary Math Instructional Coach at Showalter Middle School and Foster High School

POSITION DESCRIPTION: The position provides instructional development in content to accelerate professional learning. The coach creates a partnership environment where teachers engage in collaborative conversations. The coach establishes a relationship with teachers and facilitates instructional growth though observation, analysis, dialogue, demonstration, problem solving and application of best practices, highly effective and research-based instructional strategies. The coach is supervised by the Executive Director of Learning, Teaching and Student Programs and takes direction from the building principal. The position will serve both Foster High School and Showalter Middle School.

Salary: based on placement on 2008-2009 Certificated Salary Schedule
FTE: 1.0 FTE
Type of Contract: Provisional contract
Union Affiliation: Tukwila Education Association
Benefits: Employee medical/family dental/family vision/long term disability/retirement/sick leave/personal leave/emergency leave/$1200 per FTE for classroom supplies or payment/TRI program (ranges from $4,600-$8,500 per FTE in additional compensation)/Longevity/Retention Incentive (ranges from $400-$2,300 per
FTE)/National Board stipend of $1,000 per FTE (in addition to the state stipend of
$10,000 per FTE)

QUALIFICATIONS AND CONDITIONS: To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform the responsibilities satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the requirements that would enable an individual to perform at appropriate levels. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with
disabilities to meet the required responsibilities.

1. Valid Washington State teaching certificate with Math certification and/or appropriate endorsement to be highly qualified.
2. Minimum five years highly successful experience as a middle or high school classroom teacher.
3. Knowledge of and experience with Understanding by Design and cognitive coaching preferred.
4. Significant multicultural experience and expertise preferred.
5. Ability to work and plan effectively with groups.
6. Training and experience in problem solving and group process methods.
7. Experience in initiating, developing, and presenting instructional and informational programs for staff.

8. Experience with analyzing assessment data and applying it to program planning.
9. Willingness to work in collaboration with teachers and administrators in developing and delivering standard-
based curriculum.

10. Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.
11. Knowledge and understanding of state and federal rules and regulations impacting school improvement
planning and implementation.
12. Knowledge and understanding of district goals and their impact on school improvement planning and
13. Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain successful and positive working relationships with students,
staff, parents, and the community.
14. Demonstrated ability to organize and prioritize responsibilities and assigned tasks for efficient use of time.

If a person could effectively do #8 above..... How could they possible consider #9 delivering standard-
based curriculum
as a reasonable course of action.

It should be noted the grade 10 WASL Math scores have been falling in TSD relative to the state. The state math scores at grade 10 have risen 2.2% in passing rate from 2005 to 2008. The grade 10 WASL Math passing rate announced for Spring 2008 is just below 50%.

WASL MATH grade 10

Year .....District ... State
2004-05 ... 35.0% ... 47.5%
2005-06 ... 34.1% ... 51.0%
2006-07 ... 28.1% ... 50.4%

Spring 2008 rate from OSPI not yet available for Foster High School etc.

It would seem a different approach is needed.
Tom Friedman could speak in King County and his words would certainly apply.


CRHoff said...

N O O O!

What could be more simple?

If we knew our math facts, dead cold, we would succeed at math.

If we don't, we don't!

Discovery should be left to explorers!

Anonymous said...

Once we admit the decline is irreversible then I believe our leaders will wake up. Global warming is a good example of our intellectual decline. The danger with trying to understand large systems like world climate are that small changes (measurable) occur over generations. The cataclysm (e.g. gulf stream stoppage) will only take a few weeks and then extinction (2-3generations) will be irreversible.