Friday, November 5, 2010

Lessons in Chaos by Dr. Goodloe-Johnson

Relevant video can be found at 57:22 here:

MGJ’s quotation at time mark 57:25 of part III of 11/3/2010 Board meeting:-

"Assessing every student and placing them according to ability sounds like tracking and discrimination…and we’ve moved light years away from that."

Mike wrote:
She’s unwittingly put her finger on one of the major dysfunctions in public education today.
There exists such a pervasive, intractable, myopic allegiance to a Utopian vision of social justice that the players, and the system as a whole, willingly ignore data that is pertinent to the academic progress and ultimately social welfare of the children. Such narrow-minded zealotry actually perpetuates the very social inequities it purports to alleviate.

Dan writes:
Check the Achievement Gap data in Seattle for Math. Mike is 100% correct.

Dora wrote:
And yet the "supe" does not find it discriminatory to place woefully under-trained teachers, TFA recruits, in low performing, basically "minority" schools.

Charlie wrote:
Placing students according to ability sounds like discrimination to the Superintendent of Seattle Schools.

Ah! So we no longer discriminate based on race, creed, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or ability. That used to be a joke - the idea of not discriminating based on ability. I guess it isn't a joke anymore.

Is the idea for all students, regardless of ability, to take the same classes and receive the same instruction? We have already arrived a place where all 9th grade students, regardless of ability, take algebra. When will all students, regardless of ability, play varsity basketball?

Dan wrote:
All students regardless of ability or achievement are socially promoted to the next grade. The Superintendent attempted to extend this to a minimum G.P.A. of 1.0 is good enough to graduate.

Charlie wrote:
I was struck by a few statements from Dr. Goodloe-Johnson and Dr. Enfield.

They said, at one point, that identifying the academic needs of struggling students and providing for them was the core work of the District. They also said that their plan for doing this - Response to Intervention - was on the drawing board and they were seeking outside funding for it. Why are they relying on outside funding to perform a core duty of the District?

They also said that when they find a struggling student they provide support to the student's teacher. Shouldn't they be providing the support to the student - not the teacher?

Dan wrote:
When you use the MGJ support idea to support teachers more and more overhead bureaucracy will be required, the alternative of supporting students requires teachers.

This meeting of 11/3/2010 clarifies so much for me.
Now I see why for MGJ:

(1) Class size does not matter to her.
(2) The demise of the Alternative schools makes sense to her.
(3) Her lack of commitment to APP and gifted selected by ability etc.
(4) Her flooding of High School AP with anyone who wants to sign up.
(5) Her insistence of continuing baloney "Discovery Math" in defiance of a Superior Court order of Remand to use all the evidence in decision making.
(6) The insistence that NTN Project Based Learning for every class is the way to go at Cleveland. Forget the evidence that shows otherwise and forget Eric M. Anderson's paragraph that makes NTN look like crap shoot. A bit of evidence tampering will take care of that Anderson memo.
(7) The still increasing achievement gaps for Limited English students in most tested subjects at most grade levels are not a concern for her as she believes more training in "Differentiated Instruction" will solve that.

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson is the classic example of a person who is committed to making things work the way she philosophically believes they should work. She is completely detached from reality. Her plans do not work, but she refuses to make any adjustments because of reality. Reality is not going to get in the way of her ideology ... ever. Valid Data reports are rarely used.

"Assessing every student and placing them according to ability sounds like tracking and discrimination…and we’ve moved light years away from that."

Light years away from positive results for many students despite greatly increased spending on a Strategic Plan that does not work.

Yet MGJ blames Teachers and sees TfA as the solution.

To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data. The Superintendent needs to resign ASAP.

-- Dan

Comment #1
I totally agree, Mike!

Let's just take all 6th graders and put them into AP Calc. Most people recognize that as truly stupid. Yet kids are misplaced in classes they CANNOT possibly handle YET (in the future, with the proper preparation I think they can!) and therefore conclude to themselves "I don't have the math gene" or "I am an idiot".

186,000 miles per sec for a year is ONE light year so the comparison is WAY over the top, and the fact we are not allowed to ability group in many places KILLS us!

Nothing works if the task is far too intellectually difficult no matter the work ethic. Yet that is what the "reformers" tell us to do when they are in charge. I thank God every day I am not in Vancouver any more.


Comment #2
Also interesting is the context of the conversation from which the quote was taken. Listen closely to the unfolding conversation. The school board is trying to decide if their “intervention” is needed in admission tracking (for lack of a better word) via policy action. The administration is trying to prevent an intervention via legislative policy, claiming that the concerns of the board fall under the umbrella of the existing academic charge of the district (even though their performance has proven inadequate). Notice how, when backed into an intellectual corner, the lady giving testimony asks MGJ to weigh in. It’s nothing more than a jurisdictional struggle.


Comment #3 more about the TfA proposal

It is very simplistic to think that hiring fresh out of college recruits will close the achievement, or as I like to refer to it as, the "opportunity gap".

The students who you refer to as "low performing" have many other issues besides what teacher they have in terms of their readiness to learn.

The issues include poverty, which in turn affects their home life, the stability of the family unit, having enough food on the table as well medical and emotional issues. When a child is hungry or otherwise distracted, they are not ready to learn and have difficulty focusing in school.

Looking at the success of the Harlem School Zone, much of it is predicated on the fact that there is support for the entire family which in turn supports the student. It is an extremely expensive process, the school depends on large donations from private donors, but that is an example of how a child can succeed.

Bringing in Teach for America, Inc. is also an expensive process and there is no data to support that the efforts of these young, albeit energetic, recruits have any positive impact on the performance of the students.

Also, it is clear in the proposal that these recruits are to go into the "low performing" which can be read as "minority" schools. Placing these TFA, Inc. recruits who are far less prepared then their certified counterparts into these schools is in itself discriminatory. Why should those students receive less prepared and less experienced teachers than their counterparts in other parts of Seattle?


Check out This is what I'm talking about
on the Seattle Schools Blog

1 comment:

dan dempsey said...

It must be time for another no confidence vote. Eh?