Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Response to 88 slide power point of MGJ on 12-15-2010;
"Excellence for all" is a failure and the Board likely knows it.

I just finished my 13 page response to MGJ's 88 slides. Unfortunately I was so appalled by most of this "Propaganda Push" from the superintendent I did not finish all 88 slides. I watched enough to know a con job.

I wound up making 14 proposals based largely on evidence.

Here is the entire 13 page document.


Here is a piece from near the beginning:

In recent years the huge changes in information technology, enabled productive workers below the middle management level to make decisions in an extremely effective way. This has led to a reduction in the percentage of mid-management employees and an increase in productivity. Workers who are close to the production line level now have access to the information through innovative tools and have become a vital part of businesses decision making. This structure drives productivity gains.

Seattle Schools leadership has encouraged and done the exact opposite:
1. Increased the size of central administration.
2. Increased coaches for teachers
3. Increased class sizes
4. Increase centralized control and decreased school and classroom based decision making
5. Emphasized fidelity of implementation over teacher based decision making.
6. Expressed concern about the math achievement gaps; but produced markedly worse math results for each subgroup of educationally disadvantaged learners. Only last year did things improve in middle school math annual testing but at k-5 and 9-12 the situation remains bleak.

(((The results from the MGJ agenda are terrible.)))


The ending 14 recommendations follow. (Explanations of these are in the last 3 pages of the 13 page linked document.)

1. Board must recognize that current results are sub par and a continuation of the current direction is unadvisable. Here are 2009 to 2010 changes.

2. There is inadequate funding to continue this bloated ineffective and inefficient centralized model preferred by the Superintendent. Despite financial difficulties and predictions of a slowing economy, she proposed lavish spending on experimental programs of questionable worth, while failing to provide efficient and effective interventions for struggling students. ........

3. A much leaner model that focuses on providing instructional programs aimed at academic advancement and suited to each student’s needs, must be put in place. The new model must deal with current realities and focus on the needs of individual students rather than pursuing an ideological and philosophical path of what certain adults believe should happen. .....

4. A huge increase in teacher autonomy is necessary. Teachers need to be supported rather than ordered about by others. Teachers today know what is needed for the students in their classrooms. Example of SPS incompetence. => At the African American Academy the District mandated that Everyday Math and Connected Math be used. These programs do not use much explicit instruction and need increased practice problems and exercises. Teachers had a much better idea about what was needed in Southeast high schools than the central administration during the “Discovering” math adoption. Two teachers from RBHS and one from Franklin testified that increased practice was needed. Glenda Madison, an RBHS math teacher with many years of experience dealing with students at risk, precisely told the Board what was needed for her students to succeed and was ignored. .....

5. In the past a “building based approach” was tried and found wanting. Much better models can now be developed. Recently, a profusion of ideas around models that decentralize school systems has emerged; while some of these ideas are part of misguided “Ed Reform” mania, some are not.

6. Scott Oki suggested a model in his book “Outrageous Learning” for the improvement of schools. While I disagree with some of his suggestions, he has many thoughts worthy of consideration for the decentralization of the current bloated ineffective model.

7. The most prominent feature of the “innovative” model of the Seattle Schools System, which I propose be developed, must be increased school control and guidance by building principals. As Mr. Oki suggested principals need to be held accountable by the community that a particular school serves, he talks about each school having a board of trustees, which supports and assists the principal, while still holding the principal accountable. .....

8. Seattle’s current Superintendent has pushed a plan founded on the way she believes things ought to be. Unfortunately it is a flop. Of particular interest to me was 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."

This is at the core of her inefficient wasteful defective approach to educating students.
She sees the best route as a uniform approach to deliver instruction through almost identical instructional materials and pedagogical practices in nearly every classroom throughout the district. She has dismantled programs that attempt to do otherwise. ......

The fact is her aversion to anything that remotely hints that all students are not the same and may be better off with some placement by ability is causing significant damage to many students. ......... A look at recent OSPI annual testing reveals that English Language Learners and Special Education students are very poorly served by her “Differentiated Instruction” model, which she has attempted to successfully install. The year to year changes in results of OSPI annual school testing for Special Education students reveal that under her direction scores are incredibly worse than before she became superintendent.

9. Dr. Goodloe-Johnson’s moving light years away from placement by ability is unjustified. It even extends all the way to AP Calculus, where she would have anyone that wishes signup for AP Calc. There is a reason for prerequisite skills being required for entrance into many courses, unfortunately she views this as tracking.

10. The percentage of students struggling is increasing under her direction. This would be expected, when decision making occurs without an intelligent application of relevant data. Her proposals for instructional materials and programs are not driven by the evidence of what works for students, but rather by alignment with her “inappropriate for the job at hand” beliefs. The percentages of students struggling in math in SE high schools increased as the UW offered more assistance.

11. An administration that does adequate research before making proposals needs to be put in place. Then decision-makers will not need to hide data, ignore data, and falsely report on what documents state, when explaining decision-making to the public. The frantic rush of proposals has been characteristic of the Goodloe-Johnson administration. Unfortunately, during the rush, four directors regularly choose to improperly weigh the evidence in decision making and to continually support the Superintendent’s poor proposals. This was often apparent in the statements those directors made when explaining their decisions. This needs to change. With a better administration in place, directors will have time to think. Then decision-makers will not need to hide data, ignore data, and falsely report on what documents state, in explaining their decision-making process to the public. The frantic rush of proposals that has been characteristic of the Goodloe-Johnson administration must end.

12. A Superintendent that is accountable for his/her actions and a School Board that holds the Superintendent accountable is drastically needed. The current superintendent has a lengthy list of inadequacies, which the board has apparently continually ignored as only when issues were brought to light in an embarrassing way were they even mentioned. The point about not discussing legal failings because they are in litigation may be a policy but it is not a law. Recently the appeal in regard to the many failings of the Superintendent in regard to the NTN contracts approved at two votes, was dropped. The dropping of ligigation was to enable the board to sanction and/or ask for an investigation of the superintendent. The District fails to fulfill the requirements of RCW 28A 645.020, which requires particular actions from the Board when Board decision’s are appealed. The Superintendent is the secretary of the Board. Instead of providing a certified correct transcript in the NTN case the transcript was inaccurate because of likely evidence tampering, which concealed a forgery. Not a single director has made a comment about this matter. The is no accountability for the Superintendent and apparently the Board is not interested in any accountability from the Superintendent. Like many in the community I have 100% no confidence in the Superintendent and close to 100% no confidence in the School Board as a collective group. Look at the results of the last three years, any confidence would be unjustified.

13. A decentralized model is desperately needed. Seattle has competent teachers and competent principals to put a decentralized model in place. In today’s high Info-Tech environment, there is absolutely no need to continue with bloated levels of management and mid-management. A greatly increased focus needs to be on assisting each student to learn. The current model, Superintendent, and School Board are failing to serve the community.

14. Effective efficient targeted interventions are needed by struggling students and must be provided as this is a high priority. MGJ’s spending was focused on expensive tools for performance management. She provided little usable information to the Board on student performance. TEAM MGJ spent very little on interventions and apparently little time planning for interventions. The Superintendent rarely reports on the academic performance of students in an accurate intelligible honest format to anyone.

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