Saturday, December 6, 2008

A better use of SPS money ... from the Colbert Report

A great suggestion from Marta.

Dan Dempsey wrote:

Now a large expenditure of both time and money is producing substandard results but the SPS administrators continue on as if all is going well.

*It is time to end "Club Ed" decision making and focus on making decisions that will produce substantial academic improvement in a cost efficient manner*.


Maybe Seattle should consider this exciting new pilot program in the hopes of producing substantial academic improvements:

I think this idea has merit.

Marta :)

This is from the Colbert Report on Dec 1, 2008
Roland Fryer, PhD Economist from Harvard
offers a plan to improve urban schools currently being tested in NYC, Chicago, and D.C.

It sure looks like this might even be a better idea than spending money on Math Coaches and a bloated Bureaucracy that has failed to provide significant academic gains.

In regard to the achievement gap for African-American students that Dr. Fryer references, I can only say from a Seattle Analysis that "It is the curriculum".
Over a decade of widening achievement gap in Math for African Americans in the SPS and still no change in the reform math ideological thrust pushed by the SPS administration.

For the Superintendent to say that the IMP high school math adoption process only failed because of politics is most enlightening. It shows her continued allegiance to the nonsense peddled by the UW and her CAO.

There can be little doubt as to why Singapore Math was not implemented in the manner expected by the SPS Board during the 5-30-2007 Elementary Math adoption. The Central Administration just did not want to do what the board told them to do.

There is little doubt as to why the SPS has ignored the WA k-8 math standards this year for the k-8 math curriculum. The Central Administration does not like them. In fact it appears that the Math Program Manager and the CAO do not like the National Math Advisory Panel recommendations.

Let us not forget why the Promotion / Non-promotion polices of the Seattle Schools that require defined grade level necessary skills and on-going interventions for those not acquiring the defined skills have been totally neglected.
The Central Administration does not like those policies.

It is indeed interesting that the Board imagines themselves to be anything other than a rubber stamp for the central administration on at least 95% of their decisions.

WOW!!!! get ready for the coming High School Math adoption. Should we look to the board for leadership??


Anonymous said...

Paying kids for good grades in a two-tier school system and assinine textbooks will result in utter social chaos. Harvard professors ought to poke their tiny heads outside their office window sometime and get a breath of fresh air, they are starting to stink.

Anonymous said...

Dan: For a guy who rightfully criticizes educators for ignoring the data, I'm surprised that you would find some merit in schools and other interested parties paying kids for good grades. Various studies show that this can actually do more harm than good. If it is potentially harmful then there should be no merit in it and should be irrelevant how many people are for or against it.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see the studies that are against paying students for getting good grades. I agree with the anon1227. I don't think Dan agrees either with the article - but if you've ever met a student that gets paid by their parents for getting good grades then you'd understand why it is potentially harmful.

The part about reform that I dislike are all the ways that new policies can be abused by administrators, teachers, and students.

You would think technology stipends would be beneficial, but I happen to know from experience that when such stipends are awarded it is not for an innovation, but usually something as mundane as powerpoint. Why even use computer labs for powerpoint when a ten year old can be taught in a week how to build a multimedia project. We really need more classes that teach programming or hard sciences like computer repair. Science has been so controlled by the fundamentalists that you can't even mention evolution in a biology classroom. Its difficult to argue with a principal who thinks the world is only 6000 years old - best to move on.

dan dempsey said...

I really like the stuff written by W. Edwards Deming.

Try this....

Deming advocated for getting rid of both grade levels and grading. He wanted a focus on learning. I think that the principle defect I see in paying for grades is much the same as the problem with grades and that is grades are the focus not learning.

Can we create a focus on learning without giving grades?

Currently we are grading most places with letter grades and how much focus is there on learning?

Without grades would there be more or less focus on learning?

Anonymous said...

Yes, I think Deming is correct. The worst mistake teachers can make is spend too much time correcting student misbehavior. You make changes incrementally, meaning you enforce one rule at a time.

You cannot transform children overnight, but they will be more willing to cooperate if you use your grades like a savings account for them.

Tardies are an excellent example of a behavior that can take over a year to change. First, you should try to differentiate the behavior that you are changing and always be ready to enforce a wise punishment - it is worse to not follow through with a punishment than to not give one at all.

Grades should not be used to punish students and teachers these days tend to overpunish, while the focus should always be on learning, because that is the perception students already have of teacher's roles in the classroom. I think I would have gotten along well with Deming. I'm glad he said those things.

Anonymous said...

The opposite of integrity, I believe is manipulation. Seems like that is all some kind of people know how to do.