Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pointless Waiting
for School Directors to raise any objections to MGJ's apparent misdemeanors and felony

I was actually writing letters to the Seattle School Directors in expectation they would act on the Superintendent's apparent misdemeanors and felony, which misled the Public and perhaps some Public officials.

WOW.... I must be a country boy born yesterday.

OK after analyzing Director Carr's action on TfA. Even naive Dan finally gets it.

The executive summary of the report Seattle School Director Sherry Carr referenced, made some major points. Ms. Carr reported on half of one point (marked with blue below) while neglecting everything else.
The report contained the following:

The evidence suggests that districts may benefit from using TFA personnel to fill teacher shortages when the available labor pool consists of temporary or substitute teachers or other novice alternatively and provisionally certified teachers likely to leave in a few years. Nevertheless, if educational leaders plan to use TFA teachers as a solution to the problem of shortages, they should be prepared for constant attrition and the associated costs of ongoing recruitment and training.

A district whose primary goal is to improve achievement should explore and fund other educational reform that may have more promise such as universal preschool, mentoring programs pairing novice and expert teachers, elimination of tracking, and reduction in early grade class size.

It is therefore recommended that policymakers and districts:

Support TFA staffing only when the alternative hiring pool consists of uncertified and emergency teachers or substitutes.

 Consider the significant recurring costs of TFA, estimated at over $70,000 per recruit, and press for a five-year commitment to improve achievement and reduce re-staffing.

Invest strategically in evidence-based educational reform options that build long-term capacity in schools.

As Director Carr picked only the Blue from the Maroon, it seems she wished to mislead the public.

Director Carr's action reminds me of Director Sunquist's statement about supposedly pouring over "Foundations for Success" the National Math Advisory Panel's final report in search of guidance and then making his decision to approve the adoption of Key Curriculum Press's "Discovering Series" on May 6, 2009. This resulted in a 4-3 Board decision, which was "Remanded back to the Board" for failure to include evidence submitted by the Public in decision-making by Judge Julie Spector on 2-4-10, which MGJ appealed on 3-5-10 with support from Directors Carr, Martin-Morris, Sundquist, and Maier.

At the school board meeting on Feb 3, 2010 Director Sundquist read aloud paragraph 23 from NMAP page xxii:

All-encompassing recommendations that instruction should be entirely “student centered” or “teacher directed” are not supported by research. If such recommendations exist, they should be rescinded. If they are being considered, they should be avoided. High-quality research does not support the exclusive use of either approach.

Yet on the next page, Director Sundquist missed paragraph 27:

Explicit instruction with students who have mathematical difficulties has shown consistently positive effects on performance with word problems and computation. Results are consistent for students with learning disabilities, as well as other students who perform in the lowest third of a typical class. By the term explicit instruction, the Panel means that teachers provide clear models for solving a problem type using an array of examples, that students receive extensive practice in use of newly learned strategies and skills, that students are provided with opportunities to think aloud (i.e., talk through the decisions they make and the steps they take), and that students are provided with extensive feedback.

This finding does not mean that all of a student’s mathematics instruction should be delivered in an explicit fashion. However, the Panel recommends that struggling students receive some explicit mathematics instruction regularly. Some of this time should be dedicated to ensuring that these students possess the foundational skills and conceptual knowledge necessary for understanding the mathematics they are learning at their grade level.

On August 24, 2009 Director Sundquist wrote the following to me:

Dan: thank you for copying me on your message. On page three of your letter you state:

"The National Math Advisory Panel recommends against the EDM type of spiraling. The NMAP also recommends “Explicit Instruction” for those struggling to learn math."

I have read the NMAP report, and I recall the first point about spiraling, but not the second about explicit instruction. In fact, my recollection is that the NMAP was quite pointed in stating that high-quality research does not support the exclusive use of either teacher-directed instruction or student-centered instruction (p.45).

I would appreciate it if you would refer me to the citation in the NMAP that you are using as the basis for your second claim above.

Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide.

Best wishes,

Steve Sundquist
Seattle School Board, District 6


To which I quickly responded:


The fact that apparently you missed #27 in the NMAP recommendations about instructional practices on page xxiii is disturbing to me. However, it is not nearly as disturbing as the fact that the HS adoption committee did not use the NMAP final report in making decisions about the high school math adoption. The district provided 1200 pages of materials to attorney Keith Scully in the coming court action involving the appeal of the May 6, 2009 HS adoption decision brought by McLaren, Mas [sic Mass], and Porter. The NMAP final report "Foundations for Success" was not among the materials used by the committee.

Thus the people you represent get to spend thousands of dollars to appeal the decision of the board to adopt materials recommended by a clearly stacked committee, which failed to use the most relevant applicable document.

The Central Administration wishes to continue a failing math plan rather than do it right and four board members assisted the administration in doing so. Check the data for Seattle's k-12 Black and Hispanic Students, read NMAP, read Kirschner-Sweller- Clark, read Sweller on Geary, read Hattie's "Visible Learning" ...... Ten years of ethnically discriminatory math practices straight out of the Bergeson administration continue because the board allows it.

27) Explicit instruction with students who have mathematical difficulties has shown consistently positive effects on performance with word problems and computation. etc. etc.


The result:
I have rarely heard from Director Sundquist since.

He did however voice support on 3-5-10 for the MGJ appeal of the Spector decision and now we wait for the 2011 Spring session of Washington Appeals Court Division I.

I referred to Helig's June 2010 Study as peer-reviewed. While it addresses peer-reviewed articles, the study "Teach For America: A Review of the Evidence" is NOT peer reviewed.

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