Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thinking about NTN and Superior Court.

This is rich conversation filled with deep meaning. (beware)
Please be fully engaged while reading enthusiastically as you prepare for Project Based Learning:

"District will create and approve for implementation a written plan (the “Master Plan”) outlining the District’s tasks, timeline and persons responsible for implementation and on-going operation of each New Tech High School."

SPS is paying NT, but SPS has to write the master plan? I'd expect NT to write that document for that kind of money. Plus, I'd guess that the $800,000 is an NT expense and doesn't include any money for district staff to do what is required by the contract. Writing a master plan for a program like the one required for a new STEM school is a BIG undertaking. If anyone at SPS had that skill, why hire NT?

I've really thought deeply about this.

Having arrived at what I believe to be a deep conceptual understanding, I am considering a future action but realize I may need to become more fully aware of all the environmental conditions. That said here is my current thinking.

The same lunatic decision making that produced the decade long math fiasco and was pummeled by Judge Spector's correct application of Article IX could be applied to this NTN BS in Superior Court.

You can watch the Seattle School Board meeting of 2/03/2010

Testimony starts around minute 6

The District Response and voting begins around minute 64

You get a real feel for arbitrary and capricious decision making Seattle style
as the 4 board members ignore all the evidence of extremely poor achievement at NTN schools on a hunch that maybe they can make this work where others have miserably failed. Of course to fund their hunch they will take resources away from at least 31 other schools that have an average low income population of 54%.

These four directors never explicitly address the pathetic scores. It is like they do not exist. The closest statement is by Director Steve Sundquist with "achievement is mixed". The reasons for voting for the NTN proposal are nearly hilarious.

Peter Maier: Wow it is Stem what a great opportunity for kids I vote Yes.

Harium: It is a foundational piece of our delivery system this is not about content. I vote yes. The best part was when Harium attempted to address concerns about Project Based Learning and Math ... in particular Calculus at Cleveland. Keep in mind this is a program to provide a quality program for kids in the Cleveland Area not just the magnet option privileged kids. Cleveland is 50% Black students and 70% low income.

They use project based learning at Thornton Creek and they have really good 5th grade WASL scores. This is an astonishing statement because just a week ago in Superior court the district attorney said that the Math WASL was not a valid test of math skills. In addition Thornton Creek is 80% white and 8% low income. The idea that an assessment given to 5th graders will predict the success of an entire high school math program culminating in Calculus is laughable. Take a look at the data, NTN schools are serious under performers in math. In fact in Napa Valley Unified School District home of the original highly successful ( Hey I'm just reading the brochure ) New Tech Napa with 19% Low Income, those kids were unable to out score the 44% Low Income NVUSD kids in math.

These folks just spent $800,000 dollars for assistance in copying very low achieving programs that do not work at all for most Low Income kids and are still questionable even with groups with few low income students. It also appears that NTN will not be writing the master plan.

On the video if you listen to the testimony, read my data summary, and listen to Director Kay Smith-Blum, it is clear once again they failed.

Because there is insufficient evidence for any reasonable member to approve the NTN contract... but of course four members did so anyway.

KUOW coverage


"The court finds, based upon a review of the entire administrative record, that there is insufficient evidence for any reasonable Board member to approve the selection of the Discovering Series."

Put it in the record, put it in the record.... Keith Scully said: "think about what might be left out"..... that might be the piece you need to show a violation of article IX


dan dempsey said...

Well we filed on NTN#1 (2/3/2010) and neglected a filing of the initial brief - BIG GOOF - Judge also ruled appellants did not have standing.

My apologies I was too focused on attempted recall of 5 board directors based on Auditor's report.

NTN#2 (4/7/2010) initial brief is due OCT 25, 2010.

Think we can make a good case about standing of appellants and then move on to violation of state law on competitive bids and the irrational decision process where huge amounts of relevant evidence are just chucked out the window in decision-making by the four directors that always vote yes.

dan dempsey said...

Update: We did file an initial brief on Oct 25, 2010 for NTN #2. After receiving convincing evidence of the forging of the Action Report and the submission of evidence to the court by the District that was NOT correct, we eventually dropped our appeal.

The Directors will not discuss items in current litigation and the Attorney General will not act on items in litigation either. Fear that we would win and the district appeal, which would drag this out another year. We dropped our appeal and are now focused on the attempt to hold the Superintendent accountable. Thus far the Board has shown little interest in holding the Superintendent accountable.