Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Plan for Stopping on going Nonsense

Dear Seattle School Directors, 2-10-2010

I have huge concerns about the process that the SPS and the Board used, which resulted in the approval of the $800,000 NTN contract for Cleveland STEM on Feb 3, 2010.

Both the process and the result were pathetic.

Below you will find some bolded portions of an NCES document.

How the CAO Susan Enfield can be speaking about Calculus Required with the mathematically unprepared students coming from Southeast schools, which use the district's inferior k-8 math instructional materials, is completely beyond my understanding.

I believe it is likely that Ms. Enfield is a very nice person, has the best interests of many at heart, and interacts well in professional learning environments but good intentions are not a substitute for intelligent decision making based on evidence.

The AP Calculus "AB" exam is scored from 1 to 5. The SPS has had high Schools that average scores below 2 in fact below 1.5 ... why create a situation that guarantees this below 1.5 situation at Cleveland?

The SPS Staff failed to provide any ( I mean any as in ZERO) empirical evidence that measured the quality of NTN schools. [Why I and Ms. Diaz do the research and those that are paid do none puzzles me.] In the time from beginning my research on January 16, 2010 to the final 4-2 Board approval on February 3, 2010 I and Meg Diaz provided you with more than sufficient evidence needed to make a decision to reject the proposal.

In spite of the fact there was insufficient evidence for any reasonable Board member to approve the NTN contract, four directors did so, apparently by once again neglecting to use empirical evidence provided by the public.

In the successfully appealed math decision of February 4, 2010, the board failed to use the input from public testimony and other communications. A fundamental underpinning of TEAM McLaren's win was the submission of the public's submissions to the Board, which the Board chose not to use in making an "Arbitrary and Capricious" decision.

It certainly appears that February 3, 2010 was a replay of the same flawed and neglectful process used on May 6, 2009 and on May 30, 2007. This is a pattern that the Board needs to Stop.

I have no idea if I can mount the resources necessary to appeal what clearly was an "Arbitrary and Capricious" decision, the execution of which will violate article IX.

I hope that a coalition of citizens and civic organizations can band together and stop yet another SPS action that neglects the needs of educationally disadvantaged learners.

I would urge you to read the research and abandon project based learning for mathematics instruction as well as abandoning an extremely misguided Calculus requirement, as outlined below in the NCES bolding. Again Problem Based Learning has an effect size of 0.15 and all NTN schools are under-performers, why would anyone vote for that?

I would suggest that "The Algebra Readiness System"
from the Mind Reserch Institute, which includes the the three volume text "A Blueprint for the Foundations of Algebra" be used.

I would also suggest you immediately contact NTN and suspend the contract.

In closing, I ask once again for the evidence that making every school a quality school is attainable under Dr. Goodloe-Johnson' s current direction. What is the Superintendent' s plan to increase school quality? Remember "Every School a Quality school" is the foundation of the Student Assignment Plan. So far the STEM Option at Cleveland appears to be doing the exact opposite by sucking resources away from schools that need it.


Danaher M. Dempsey, Jr.


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