Saturday, March 28, 2009

Educate for a Change

Here are 12 points:

Students don’t just suddenly fail; they don’t just suddenly drop out. Their cumulative records show patterns of failure and under-achievement through years of enrollment.

The last three decades have been filled with innovative interventions for low achieving students, but ultimately, only two options have persisted through years of debate: Retention & Social Promotion.

------from "Educate for a Change" blog

Seattle refuses to offer the effective interventions required to bring about successful schools for all. Until the Seattle School Directors recognized that students are of vastly different abilities and that until effective interventions are in place (as per ignored school board poicies D44.00 and D45.00), there will be little if any improvement no matter how much money is spent.

Read the 12 points and visit reality.


Anonymous said...

I think Obama is on the wrong track when he attacks 'bad' teachers. He believes merit pay will improve education? Who is paying him to say these things? Incompetent teachers exist in every society, just as there are 'bad' children. Should we select for children too? Teacher accreditation was Reagan's platform for structural reform in 1983. The events since then have led us to the current hysteria we have today.

Rather than focus on improving the way we write curriculum, we have shifted the spotlight on classrooms.

'Two options have persisted through years of debate: Retention and social promotion.'

I'm not sure I understand the gist of EFC argument, which makes me suspicious of their intentions.

A profitable change agent enjoys stirring up the pot of controversy. Its like shaking loose change from a dunce. What better place to do this than a system as dysfunctional as public schooling.

Is it not unethical to not educate every child? Yet, its been demonstrated time and again there are schools and teachers who select for students based on their academic performance.

Why do we legislate morality? Are we not moral citizens? Or is it rather to serve our wealthy constituents? A social democrat who operates in a free market is indistinguishable from a right wing libertarian.

Anonymous said...

This was dated June 7, 2007
City Nonprofit Group Gets Money for Merit Pay at Charter Schools - New York Times

"The United States Department of Education has awarded a $10.5 million grant to a New York City
nonprofit group to create merit pay systems in 10 local charter schools, local and federal education officials announced yesterday. The grant, to be spent over five years, will allow the charter schools to pay annual performance bonuses of
up to $8,000 for school supervisors, $6,000 for teachers and $2,000 for aides.
The money was awarded to the Center for Educational Innovation — Public Education Association, a
nonprofit group that has long been involved in the city school system."

Without proper oversight charter schools and merit pay will be a continuing financial drain on public education. The public loses in many ways. First, it is an incentive to put money in schools where it is least needed. Second, the funds get 'managed' by a non-profit that has the ethics of a hedge-fund but even fewer regulations.

Here's an incident that was reported on in Washington DC. At least one business that is experiencing growth these days is forensic accounting.

District's Ex-Charter Schools Chief Admits Fraud
Source: By Carol D. Leonnig, Washington Post, Friday, August 10, 2007

Brenda Belton had some gall, by her own admission. As charter school oversight chief for the D.C. Board of Education, she repeatedly stole from the school system, arranging about $649,000 in illegal school payments and sweetheart contracts to herself and her friends.

…… She bypassed the city's competitive bidding process to select contractors to monitor the charter schools, according to D.C. and federal education investigators.

Something similiar occurred in my neighborhood. The CFO and Superintendent (Title I slush fund king) got busted for making illegal contracts, they are still free, and guess what, we have a superintendent that is being accused of doing the same thing as the last one.

When we rebuild a school about 30%of the funding goes into soft costs - planning, design, and permits. Phase II of a 6 year rebuild cost taxpayers $18 million and they got in return 26'updated' classrooms.

Our school was designed for 1100 student; our current enrollment is 2400. We have 19 portables.

Is it no wonder that only 40% of our students graduate on time. We make our AYP - translated means any child that attends a non-performing school may attend our school AND yet we have no Title I program.

NCLB is screwing Americans. Our government is run by a bunch of monkeys (ethics is not in their vocabulary)

dan dempsey said...

Obama .... his education secretary Arne Duncan is from Chicago and Chicago has not really accomplished much in math. Everyday Math is a National Science Foundation funded program from the University of Chicago and widely used in Chicago Schools.

Hard to build much with a quick sand swamp for a foundation.

Anonymous said...

Mike Riley (former Bellevue sup) was educated in Chicago, a Loyola graduate. Not to mention a principal in Frederick County and an Area Superintendent for Baltimore. Dr. Riley's last position was senior vice president for the College Board's EXCELerator Schools program.

What is EXCELerator?

The College Board's EXCELerator program helps create the conditions for low-income and minority students to succeed.

"The EXCELerator model emphasizes increased rigor in the classroom; a stronger focus on school-based college planning and preparation; more personalized support for students; professional development for superintendents, teachers, principals, and counselors to strengthen instructional leadership; and the use of data to measure progress and help drive curriculum and instructional improvements. The model is designed to dramatically increase enrollment in advanced courses such as AP courses in mathematics, science, English, world languages, and social studies offered in each school, and to eventually lead to improved SAT scores."

This claim should be investigated more thoroughly.

There are parallels between math reform and other reform programs which speak about educating for change and success for all. The outcome has been disasterous for minorities - e.g so-called magnet schools for Latinoes. We should be questioning whether these programs provide anything substantive for students, especially those who qualify for Title I funding.

dan dempsey said...

It seems what most of these programs have in common is a lot of increased spending. So far we have not seen much in the way of results.

There is a lot of noise as in PR about improvement but it is largely Spin.

Results that are impressive come from places that get kids to work harder and use a focused curriculum that emphasizes Core Knowledge. Again those places that are producing significant improvement are focused on doing that.

Seattle does not have Math Grade level expectations that are actually in use. These expectations must be accompanied with effective interventions in a well coordinated program.

Without sound materials the SPS is still on the road to nowhere.

If the "Discovering Series" is adopted, the SPS has a k-12 math mess until at least 2014.

It will be time to open more math tutoring centers in neighborhoods that can afford them.

Anonymous said...

The students who are below basic qualify for free tutoring (free for them) Whether the district has enough money to pay for tutors is another matter. LAUSD did not. The ratio for those eligible v. those served was about 20:1

Does SPS have enough money to service 25,0000 students? I doubt it, because LAUSD could only fund 16,000 students and their numbers of eligible students were near 300,000. About 30% of their federal money goes toward paying software vendors and tutoring service providers.

Here's a recent link to what I'm speaking about:

2006-2007 School Year
Number of students eligible to receive SES: 3 million
Estimated number of students enrolled in SES: 700,000

2005-06 School Year
Number of students eligible to receive SES: 2.5 million
Estimated number of students enrolled in SES: 515,000

2004-05 School Year
Number of students eligible to receive SES: 2.4million
Number of student enrolled in SES: 430,000

The flood gates are open and I would expect more pressure will be made on schools to hand over more SES money to private tutors (to teach students basic math and reading skills) Its a major ripoff on public education. Roll back NCLB. Lets rethink this so we don't screw up public education permanently.