Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Seattle "Accountability" = Propaganda
School Board Testimony 9-02-2009

Directors, I am Dan Dempsey

The new school calendar states:
"Every person employed by the District is accountable to contribute to our central goal of student achievement."
(page 2)
This quotation while laudable is only "Propaganda". The word “Accountability” has no basis in reality it is only "Propaganda".

USA medicine is the world’s most expensive but it is also arguably the best. It is evidence based. USA education is also the most expensive but NOT the best. In Seattle k-12 math education is NOT the best and is NOT evidence based.

In Seattle we have a pathetic decision-making model, which features no evidence and “ZERO” accountability.

Directors – I urge you to prove me wrong.

At the Superintendent’s urging four of you voted for a high school math adoption that produced a vertical alignment of k-12 instructional materials. Empirical evidence fromVisible Learning”, “Children’s Mathematical Development”, NMAP’s “Foundations for Success”, and “Project Follow Throughall point to the poor quality of that decision.

Directors Bass, Martin-Morris, and DeBell to their credit stated that the k-8 direction needed change …….. the exploration and inquiry model DOES NOT work. The current situation is dire for educationally disadvantaged learners but ……..NO ONE CARES enough to act.

With the adoption of Everyday Math two years ago Seattle traded a bad k-5 instructional program for a worse one. The large unacceptable grade 4 WASL achievement gaps prior to Everyday Math’s adoption all grew larger after one year of use and larger yet after two. (Black Gap is now 50 points.) Who was held accountable? Is anything changing?

I wrote to Chief Academic Officer Enfield:
The SPS has a clear record of futility in Closing achievement gaps and a clear pattern of Expanding achievement gaps.

It is time for a plan based on what works for disadvantaged learners.

I would like a plan of practices from you that will be used and measurable goals that can be measured annually to assess progress. Given the track record of the last decade saying the SPS will focus on anything in math without a written plan and goals is unacceptable. A significant change in direction is needed.

This district has used poor practices and poor materials and has the results to prove it. A written plan to change a decade of futility is in order.

………. looking at NMAP, Project Follow Through and effect sizes from John Hattie's "Visible Learning", it is very apparent that SPS math is misdirected.
She wrote:
Like you, we are committed to closing our achievement gaps and will continue to focus on this very important work in the months ahead.
(same story of the last decade)
So …. Will anything change? Where is the Accountability?
Directors, will we ever see action … or just more propaganda?
end of testimony

From John Hattie we can analyze the up-side-down world of Seattle Math thinking:

SPS pushes the following
Inquiry-based teaching: d=0.31
Differentiated Instruction: not a single study has been done
Problem-based learning: d = 0.15

Things Seattle rejects:

Problem Solving teaching d = 0.61
Direct Instruction d = 0.59
Mastery Learning d = 0.58
Worked Examples d = 0.57

Little wonder the SPS math results are pathetic.

The horrifying part is that the directors continue rubber-stamping administrative decisions based on “Club Ed” Fads, and a prevailing politically correct ideologically rather than examining “Empirical Evidence”.

The nonsense continues because the school board refuses to make decisions based on empirical evidence.



Anonymous said...


Try to get a copy of Titan, the Pulitzer prize winning bio of John D Rockefeller.

Go to the chapter where they describe the quackery going on in med schools in the 19th century and what he funded at Johns Hopkins to be a model to move medical training to a scientific basis.

I think you'll appreciate the parallels to ed schools.

We can dream, can't we, that another such transformation is possible.

Anonymous said...

Don't pass levy's. The cost of educating students is about to go through the roof. It would be far better to have the state dictate policy for districts who's school boards continually misrepresent the public will by pandering to special interest groups. Teacher strikes would be a very effective policy tool. Last year, Bellevue school teachers finally objected to the canned lesson plans that were being forced into classrooms by 'techie' savants. Good riddance. The three-legged stool works for sitting, but it can't run with the herd.

Anonymous said...

Sure is quiet this year at SPS. Everyday Math anybody, anybody.