Monday, February 8, 2010

My Major Beefs with SAP, and NTN STEM

I strongly object to the SAP unless they can do something to move toward making every school a quality school. If this Cleveland deal is any model for this, they are doing the exact opposite with this part of the SAP in how it affects kids who struggle. They have the kids go elsewhere and continue to serve them poorly or worse. School test scores will improve even with crappy NTN plan as struggling kids no longer go to Cleveland but the net effect is bad for other schools and worse for struggling students. A typical example of TEAM MGJ's planning. These folks do not research much and usually can not think ahead very far ahead.

[side note: there will be very little validity for tracking progress with student scores because at most schools the student populations will be significantly changing in the near future. Does the district have a plan in place to analyze school effectiveness by finding previous WASL student performance from a different school and applying it to the kid's new schools results? OSPI will not be doing this. It will appear that any rise or drop from 2010 to 2011 will be something having to do with the instructional program at the school ...but ... the really significant factor will be the different students.]

If the kind of students who normally escape Seattle's poorer performing schools are forced to go to those schools, then of course the scores will improve at those previously poorer performing schools. It is just really unfair to the kids that wanted Quality schools. There is a plan to raise test scores at low performing schools there is just no plan to produce quality schools.

I should take some of that back. Kathleen Vasquez may well have a good plan happening for Language Arts in the district. She is a deep thinker and I believe very capable of producing improvement with things she suggests. She would likely do so SAP or not. I know a lot of folks are resistant to some off her proposals, I do not know enough but as for me I'll wait to see if improvement comes. In math nothing like that is going on.
Vasquez in Language Arts ... de la Fuente in Math..... that says it all.

If SAP was really going to do something, we would see the piece it needs to be effective. That is the stopping of rising pointless expensive growth and centralized produced chaos. This mandated uniformity will never work in a city the size and demographically diverse as Seattle. The answer is site managed schools under truly local control, see Oki's plan or how Manual High School is now operating in Denver. As usual MGJ is heading away from what has any hope of working.

The Cleveland problem is going to be that they are replacing the Cleveland students.
They do nothing to help struggling students that is effective, they adopted crappy math k-12. They do not provide effective interventions for kids I am talking k-5 math in particular but with their refusal to follow D44 & D45 it sticks for pretty much everything if you are struggling.

The Seattle Ed Policy person Kacey Guin notes even with the special assistance the city provides at targeted schools there are still huge achieve gaps in math at grade 4 WASL math. The city targeted help includes early childhood as well as after school assistance etc.

If the plan is to help by spending lots of money, why copy lousy NTN schools and pull resources away from other schools. All to create a school that SE kids who struggle will not be attending. What is the district targeting for them? Absolutely nothing as usual.

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