Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Achievement Gap meeting at Cleveland High on Thursday

Thursday, November 13th, 6-8 p.m. at Cleveland High School
sponsored by the Center for Improved Student Learning (OSPI) . The discussion will be:

"To explore causes and solutions to the African-American student achievement gap. The meetings will let parents, students, educators and community members share their experiences and hopes for the education of African-American students. Feedback gathered from these town hall meetings will inform a comprehensive set of recommendations to close the achievement gap that will presented to the Legislature in late December."


Anonymous said...

African-Americans need alternatives to public schools and so do Hispanics. SPS has provided no assistance in understanding this problem and the drop out rate for minorities, especially males, has worsened in the past decade.

I understand perfectly why African-Americans chose a parallel system of educating their children using academys and charters versus public schools on the East Coast in cities like New York and Philadelphia. The violence between ethnic groups has increased in part from low academic achievement. Use the right curriculum and you will see rapid improvement with less discipline problems. Defiance should not be a chronic problem, but things cannot improve while teachers and administrators continue using the same toxic curriculum. Rewriting standards will not improve textbooks.

dan dempsey said...


Good analysis .. the SPS has certainly not done much except follow OSPI and "Club Ed" ... producing very poor results.

Check out the following:,0,5118646.story

The American Indian Public Charter which has few American Indians but lots of Asians, Blacks, and Hispanics and poverty. Really great results and a very straight forward approach.

Try this link for common sense:
http://www.aipcsii. org/CommonSense. html

Anonymous said...

The LA Times article is a good one. It challenges the attitudes of most educators - you see this particularly with the treatment of male students - I call it hypersensitivity. Adults tend to overreact in front of students who most of the time don't even realize they've done something wrong. Later, of course, when its too late, the behavior becomes harder to change. Most white college-educated teachers don't grasp the situation - you have to have been poor to know poor.

Ask the kids if they've turned on the heat in their house yet?

How many will tell you they sleep like a burrito? Its a joke, but they're serious and if you don't know what they mean then you can't laugh with them.

Michael Rice said...

Anonymous writes: Use the right curriculum and you will see rapid improvement with less discipline problems. Defiance should not be a chronic problem, but things cannot improve while teachers and administrators continue using the same toxic curriculum. Rewriting standards will not improve textbooks.

I find this to be a very interesting statement. How about revealing some details about what the right curriculum is. Please explain to me how a curriculum is toxic in general and how the curriculum we use at Rainier Beach (College Prep Mathematics) is toxic in particular.

SPS is in the process of doing a formal curriculum adoption for the high schools. I certainly hope you will raise your veil and become known so you may impart your wisdom on the people who will be making this very important decision. I realize that SPS made bad choices for elementary and middle school math curriculum. Maybe if you were able to become involved in the process, that won't happen at the high school level.

Anonymous also wrote: The violence between ethnic groups has increased in part from low academic achievement.
This is another interesting comment. Would you be willing to document where you got this information? I would love to read the study on this. Rainier Beach is mostly African American, but we have many other ethnic groups and I would like to be as informed as possible. I feel that the more understanding I have, the more effective a teacher I will become. I like to be part of the solution, not someone who makes assertions behind the cloak of anonymity.

dan dempsey said...


I think that results at RBHS have been quite encouraging over the last few years. It seems to me that RBHS math results in terms of improvement have been very impressive. It would seem counter productive to tell RBHS that a program that better suits the students than CPM is on the way unless there is some proof.

The SPS has been really low on the proof factor. I am still not convinced that one math textbook series at the high school level will be an improvement for all SPS high schools.

Kudos to RBHS. The WASL data is all we have and it certainly looks like RBHS math faculty and others at RBHS are making significant progress.

dan dempsey said...


It seems that with the feeder schools in the SPS using EDM and CMP2 that most students enter grade 9 at RBHS with insufficuient background in arithmetic to successfully undertake high school mathematics.

I see that some schools in Seattle are piloting the MAP test. Are any of the schools in South East piloting the MAP?

Michael Rice said...


We did MAP testing. We tested in mid October. We have not met with the district yet to break down the results yet and analyze them. I hope that in the future we will do this testing no later than the end of September and have the results analyzed by mid October

Anonymous said...

I think CPM is a good plan for secondary.

The problem RBHS has is with the feeder elementaries. You can certainly start teaching algebra to children who have a poor foundation in mathematics, but eventually you will see after a time that the majority of children cannot get past whole numbers.

I fault high schools for not being more flexible. They focus too much attention on algebra than they should.

Senior math is too late for most students and usually boils down to either consumer or businesss math.

In my own senior math class, we are learning basic math skills and focusing on an entry level test for the community college or doing problems to pass other math classes.

We've built fraction strips (ordinarily done in 5th grade) and worked on listening skills, like using a 100's chart and following directions.

The standards model is a failure so far as alternative and remedial education goes.

I went through a Data Director training today. It draws nice pictures for you of students' achievement by class, school, and district. I taught myself how to do a pivot chart and it showed that 2/3's of my students were basic or below in science and math. I sensed this already, but I wanted to know.

I asked the trainers, so what does this do for teachers? And honestly they didn't know.

So the algebra that you are attempting to teach is largely superficial compared to the other issue.

For example, the WASL does not require algebra for success. Therefore, something more has to be affecting WASL scores.

As with most illiterates, students that haven't mastered basic math skills will adapt other strategies by the time they are high school graduates. An 18 year old that can't multiply pretty much fakes it.

Its a bit like watching a person who's grown up without a hand or a foot. They learn to adapt, especially in a world that operates for two hands only its without numbers or at the very least faked numbers.

Expecting an illiterate group of students to perform as well as the literate group without appropriate curriculum or preparation (same or lesser)in most professional circles is understood to be a moderate form of institutional racism.

Signed GIGO