Saturday, August 30, 2008


Editorial Board ,
As the parent of Bellevue children, I am concerned by your Editorial Board's refusal to engage in investigative journalism. It is easy to peel the top layer from the Bellevue Schools facade to discover the many layers of discontent breeding among the teachers, parents and students.
This past spring, the Bellevue School Board interviewed over 600 teachers and compiled the data from these interviews. The common complaint? The mandated, scripted lessons. The teachers are not against a common curriculum. This is about the how - mandating a scripted lesson on a predetermined calendar, regardless of whether a teacher has accelerated students or students that need more time. The Bellevue School Board and the administration has had this information for months and refused to act on it. No wonder the teachers are mad.
A larger concern should be that administrators are choosing a common curriculum based on the latest education theory and this has not produced great results:
  1. Bellevue has grown the achievement gap (see attached)
  2. Bellevue has a very high commercial tutoring centers to child ratio , to compensate for those subjects not taught well and that teachers are not allowed to supplement.
  3. Bellevue's SAT scores from 1997-2007 increased only 2.3%
  4. Bellevue dropped the only National ranking test (ITBD and ITED) in 2005. Both of these tests were showing stagnant student achievement, at best. http://www.bsd405. org/default. aspx?tabID= 725
  5. Bellevue has the worst middle school and high school math program in the country. http://ies.ed. gov/ncee/ wwc/pdf/WWC_ CMP_040907. pdf
  6. Our elementary students no longer have spelling tests and are not taught vocabulary and grammar.
Parents want accountability and not a slick marketing campaign explaining a misguided theory . A successful use of the curriculum web would encourage teacher collaboration and an exchange of ideas of how to implement the curriculum, not a mandate. We believe we have the teachers in place to make Bellevue stronger. We believe in a common curriculum. Parents want to know that Bellevue students can compete on a national and international level. However, we have no confidence in the current administration or school board to make those curriculum or supplement decisions.
Thank you for your time,
Sheila Killeen


Anonymous said...

Read the history of Bellevue reform, the teachers in this district were adamantly opposed to the first adoption and even the union was backing them.

Eventually, the math teachers compromised (many left) and agreed to the adoption on condition that they would be allowed to supplement the textbooks.

In return, the district was made a national training center for Core Plus, so the district's administrators would have received extra funds for adopting the program and then disseminating it throughout Washington.

Bellevue's chief rat jumped ship - what a shame. I put him in league with Birsin and Alvarado.

Nationalize the curriculum. Embed curriculum into the standards - Singapore remains by far the best textbook for teaching mathematics to all students.

Anonymous said...

Bellevue was gentrified with Core Plus. I think it was good for property values, but that's about it. Now that Bellevue has been cleansed, they'll go back to a 'traditional' curriculum and all the 'other' districts will continue playing follow the leader.

Social science in Washington is apartheid (Puritan ethics courtesy of the Grand Rapids reformers)

Anonymous said...

The What Works Clearinghouse should not be used as a primary source for information because the research it cites is clearly biased to align with the 'exemplary' curriculum and fails to meet world standards of educational research. Funny because the US created them.

As an example - I would use the Singapore comparison research done by the applied math staff at the UW, which amounts to a survey of textbooks done by faculty using a 3-point scale (above, met, below), the equivalent of MCD (sugar-coated mimsies eating cow brains for breakfast).

Anonymous said...

I noticed the author was careful to distinguish between scripted lesson plans and a common curriculum. As we know, unscrupulous administrators will misdirect and misinform the public.

Why would one be against a common curriculum?

1. Its not a common curriculum.
2. One curriculum is grossly inferior to another, yet it gets treated as though it were the same curriculum.
3. An even better curriculum exists in the world that thoroughly trounces anything currently used in the US, yet 'status quo researchers' overlook it, because 'Asians are better at math' What a bunch of jackass ignoramuses.
4. When the 'common' curriculum fails to meet world standards of educational excellence.

Shouldn't we try a different approach?