Tuesday, January 25, 2011

NAEP Science results (credibility?)

The new NAEP science scores just released, and there is a big problem with credibility of the results.

Very simply, it looks like the proficiency rates could be seriously inflated, which is very unlike the situation for NAEP math and reading. Learn about this in more detail here:


Richard Innes

March 8, 2011 Court Date
For Appeal of
Seattle's High School Math Text Decision

District appeals Judge's order to reconsider text adoption

A court hearing has been set on Tuesday, March 8, 9:30 AM in the Seattle Public Schools' appeal of Judge Julie Spector's 2010 decision in favor of three plaintiffs who challenged the adoption of the Discovering high school math text series.

In the case heard on January 26, 2010, plaintiffs DaZanne Porter, Martha McLaren, and Cliff Mass had presented information in support of their claim that an abundance of evidence showed that the texts were confusing and would impede learning. On February 4th, 2010, Judge Spector ruled the textbook adoption “arbitrary and capricious,” citing a lack of evidence of the texts' efficacy. She ordered the School Board to reconsider its decision. The Seattle School District filed an appeal on March 3, 2010.

In a January 14 brief responding to a “Friend of the Court” statement in support of Seattle Schools by the Washington State School Directors' Association, Plaintiffs' Attorney, Keith Scully stated: “The Superior Court was not empowered to and did not attempt to select a math series for Seattle. It was not empowered to express an opinion on math pedagogy…, and did not do so. There are no impacts of this decision on any other district’s selection of math books, and the Seattle School District is free to develop a record supporting the Discovering Series....[on reconsideration].”

The hearing is scheduled at the Court of Appeals, Division I, One Union Square, 600 University Street, Seattle, at 9:30 AM. The case is listed 6th on the docket; oral arguments in appeals cases are limited to 10 minutes for each side. Presiding over the hearing will be Judges Schindler, Applewick, and Becker.

Link to Plaintiffs' Response to Amicus Curae:

Link to Martha McLaren's blog on this lawsuit, beginning March 4, 2010: http://seattlemathgroup.blogspot.com/

Article IX of the Washington State Constitution states:


It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex.

This is an interesting statement. Look at the performance of the Seattle Public Schools .... There is no mechanism enforcing the delivery of this ample provision for the education of all.

The paramount duty not only lacks funding but lacks any enforcement of performance metrics. So here we sit with the SPS headed to appeals court.

Note: after Judge Spector's ruling, the results from OSPI's annual testing revealed the 10th grade pass rate for Black students dropped to 12.5% for the District, 5.7% at Cleveland, and 3.9% at Rainier Beach High School. The District's response is no change of math program, but rather to keep outside attorneys employed and head to appeals court.

The Washington State Constitution is a shallow hollow document. How can the Superintendent or the Seattle School Board justify such actions? They do not even try; they just act.

It is interesting that the oath of office taken by school directors seems to be violated so often by them:

Each Director has sworn to “support the Constitution and Laws of the United States and the Constitution and Laws of the State of Washington, and will to the best of my judgment, skill and ability, truly, faithfully, diligently and impartially perform the duties of the office of Seattle School Director."

....hummm ... Have any of the directors read the preamble of Article IX?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Opposition to HB 1443 needed NOW.

Please oppose more damage to our schools.

As we have watched the dictates of top down management of schools produce no improvement at great expense, it is NOT the time for more.

The State took $208 million that was headed to local school districts and dropped the entire amount into state funds.

It is time to give schools the support they need not more mandates from above. To fix something try this: put control and resources into the hands of the school principals not centralized bureaucrats. Check out what happened in Baltimore and compare that with Seattle or most districts in WA State.

Please call the legislative hotline and state that you are against House Bill HB 1443.

The Common Core State Standards should not be approved. We hardly need more control from outside the schools districts. In this case it will be control from outside the state.

More administration is not the answer.

This call will take from two to five minutes of your time and is urgently needed -----

Please call the HB1443 Hotline 1-800-562-6000 and voice your opposition to HB1443.

Every call matters. You don't need to explain anything. You need only say you are against it.

If you don't have an opinion on HB1443, look below at bullet points under "Objections to the CCSS, In a Nutshell" (written by Laurie Rogers, author and education activist).

Block the Permanent Adoption of the Common Core State Standards in Washington State

To all who oppose the Common Core State Standards: Now is the time to let the legislature know how you feel. The first bill authorizing the permanent adoption of the CCSS has hit the education committee HB1443. Click on the bill and read it.

Please call your legislators and tell them you are against this bill.


Call the bill Hotline 1-800-562-6000 and voice your opposition to HB1443.

Tell them you don't want unknowns in Washington DC to tell Washingtonians how to educate our children.

Please tell them to vote “No” to HB1443.

The Common Core State Standards are known by the acronym CCSS. These are national learning standards organized by the NGA and the CCSSO and supported by the Department of Education. In an effort to “encourage” states to adopt these national standards, the ED supposedly gives states a leg up on Race to the Top applications if they adopted the CCSS.

Several states are backing away from the adoption of the CCSS over issues of money, quality, state sovereignty, and local control.

Ask your legislators to
1) vote no to HB1443, and
2) actively prepare or co-sponsor a bill to block the permanent adoption of the CCSS in this state.

Key Points

Last year’s SB6696 requires a “legislative review” of the Common Core State Standards before they can be fully adopted. (The CCSS were provisionally adopted last year by Superintendent Dorn.)
Legislators must 1) vote no to HB1443, and 2) prepare a bill this session to block the permanent adoption of the CCSS.
Bob Dean waslchronicles@hotmail.com has prepared a sample bill he’s happy to share.

Objections to the CCSS, In a Nutshell

Expensive: In a time of tightened budgets, the CCSS will cost the state and districts a great deal of money -- no one seems to know exactly how much. It’s certain that the $2 million asked for by OSPI to implement the CCSS is ridiculously low – just the tip of an iceberg. This request does not include district costs, and it’s a small fraction of the taxpayer money spent on previous standards implementations.

Untested: The CCSS are untested and unproved, with no student data to support them. Our children and our teachers are the subjects of this new, federal education experiment.

Weaker: According to the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, as well as various analyses done by professionals in Washington State, the CCSS for math are weaker and less clear than Washington State’s current math standards.

Redundant: Washington State taxpayers just spent $1.6 million developing rigorous math standards in 2008. Districts also spent a great deal of taxpayer money on professional development for these new standards, as well as on curricula, conferences and other related costs. The CCSS will initiate another round of expenditures, without any indication of how they will improve student learning or help teachers.

Loss of local input and control: Adoption of the CCSS will result in a loss of local decision-making and parent input on what our children are learning.

Bottom line:
The CCSS will cost taxpayers an as-yet unknown amount of money in implementation, adoption of new curricula, and professional development – and they will neither help our children learn better, nor help our teachers teach better. They are counterproductive and a waste of taxpayer money.



Signed into law in 2010, SB6696 was designed to force Washington State to apply for the federal Race to the Top "grant" initiative (RTTT), and to make changes in public education according to a federal vision. Initially, SB6696 would have forced Washington to adopt the CCSS sight unseen, with the word "shall." At that point, the CCSS weren’t even written.

That language was changed to require a legislative review. In 2010, after heavy lobbying around the state and school districts by Gov. Gregoire and Superintendent Dorn, Dorn “provisionally” adopted the CCSS. When OSPI presented on the CCSS in Spokane, they were “full steam ahead” on the CCSS and on the RTTT initiative, even though they could not or would not answer questions about process or long-term effects on students and teachers.

HB1443, introduced to the House Education Committee Jan. 21, 2011, is a wide-ranging bill that also authorizes OSPI to permanently adopt the Common Core State Standards.

Taxpayer Money
Adopting the CCSS is “supposed” to give states a leg up in competing for Race to the Top grants. Many states have not received RTTT money, even after falling in line with the federal vision. RTTT grants sound like “found” money, but they are still paid for with taxpayer money. Public education does not need more funding through RTTT. It needs to spend the money it gets in more appropriate ways.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, as of January 2010, the country was projected to spend $664 billion (from all sources - federal, state, local and other) on K-12 education. That number doesn’t include later infusions of “emergency” funding, much of which never made it to the classrooms or even to school districts. As you know. Gov. Gregoire redirected $208 million in Edujobs money to the General Fund. The RTTT deal is that 50% of any money WA gets will stay at the state level with OSPI.

Clearly, something needs to be done, but not this. Not the CCSS. Not RTTT. Not the centralization and federalization of public education. Not the removal of the people’s voice and their vote. We need MORE voice, more choice, and more options for parents and teachers. Competition is good for education. The CCSS, however, will add to costs, lower standards, eliminate choice, and ultimately not help children learn better.

Please ask your legislators to 1) vote no to HB1443, and 2) prepare a bill this session to block the permanent adoption of the CCSS.

The House Education Committee is located at

Call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000, or find a list of state legislator e-mail addresses at http://www.leg.wa.gov/pages/home.aspx

If you have any questions, please contact Laurie Rogers at wlroge@comcast.net

Laurie H. Rogers
Author of "Betrayed: How the Education Establishment Has Betrayed America and What You Can Do about it"
and "Betrayed" - a blog on education

Got Dough? How Billionaires rule our Schools


Got Dough? How Billionaires rule our Schools.

From Winter 2011 - Dissent Magazine

By Joanne Barkan ====


In 2007 I ran for Seattle School Board from West Seattle. Steve Sundquist won that position. He was in favor of corporate philanthropy assisting the schools.

At the time that sounded like a good idea to me.

Now after three and a half years it is most apparent that the Seattle School District is not requesting financial assistance but rather has turned control over to the corporate philanthropists. The district leaders just do what the corporate monarchs tell them to do.

This has been a disaster for the district and especially for educationally disadvantaged learners.

The State Constitution is violated on a regular basis by District decision-makers ... No one could possibly believe the district is making ample provision for the education of all.

Article IX of the WA State Constitution:

Text of Section 1: Preamble.

It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

NSAP = Separate and Increasingly Unequal

As published in EdNews

Seattle's New Student Assignment Plan:

Separate and
Increasingly Unequal Schools


Testimony for January 19, 2011 ….

Directors, I am Dan Dempsey.

Tonight you consider more about the New Student Assignment Plan, but there is no mention of improving schools.

The NSAP shows that separate and increasingly unequal schools are the plan. Check the Data.

The NSAP was to make every school a quality school … but lacked any mechanism to do that.

Recent actions on the transition are about capacity and drawing lines. Not a single thought is given to school quality.

The following data screams separate and increasingly unequal:

May 2007 Everyday Math adopted and
'Achievement Gaps" increased and requests for increased explicit instruction and interventions were ignored.

May 2009 three southeast high school teachers testified that increased practice was needed and that the proposed adoption would fail their students. The Board approved a $1.2 million high school math adoption and lost in Superior Court.

Spring 2010 OSPI testing showed the 10th grade math test pass rate for Black Students in Seattle dropped to 12.5%. At Cleveland after 4 years of UW assistance that rate was 6%. At Rainier Beach after two years of UW College of Ed “math help” the Black student pass rate was 4% … down more than 30 points from 4 years earlier.

You’re operating two districts. The poorest section of the city gets the failing district.

The State constitution prohibits your actions but there is no enforcement. Instead of intelligently applying relevant data and research to increase student achievement, the Superintendent hires law firms to show the district is not operating illegally.

The actions of the Board and Superintendent might not be illegal but are definitely immoral.

Math adoptions, Failure to provide interventions, Teach for America "Newbies", NWEA/MAP testing, Carryover funds transferred away from 31 low income schools, Substandard math performance at every New Tech school, State Auditor Ignored, and the New Student Assignment Plan is for increasingly unequal schools.

The list is incredible …. yet the District fixes nothing.

The District’s response to horrible math pass rates for Black students is sending attorneys to Appeals court, while refusing to make changes.

How long will the inferior district continue?

Tonight is about drawing lines, not providing better programs.
Decisions are all politics, having nothing to do with improving learning. The inferior district is currently planned to continue forever.

The Superintendent regularly fails to intelligently apply relevant data. Instead of accountability the Board dances around the resulting chaos and ignores the public. Separate and increasingly unequal is the plan.

Monday, January 17, 2011

300 Intel Science Winners announced --
-- 3 from WA

2010 population
USA = 308 million
WA state = 6.725 million

So with 300 science winners WA would have 6 ..... NO try 3.
One student from Pullman, one from Sequim, and one from Bonney Lake.

Hey Seattle how is that Fuzzy math going? Discovering adopted for $1.2 million and Seattle's Black student grade ten math pass rate drops to 12.5% with Rainier Beach after a couple years of UW help at 3.9% for Black students down from 36% in 2006-2007 and Cleveland Black students after 4 years of UW help at 5.7%.

300 semi finalists

The Intel Science Talent Search (Intel STS) is America's most prestigious pre-college science competition. Alumni of STS have made extraordinary contributions to science and hold more than 100 of the world's most coveted science and math honors, including seven Nobel Prizes and three National Medals of Science. The Intel STS recognizes 300 students and their schools as Semifinalists each year pulling from approximately 1,700 applicants to compete for $1.25 million in awards. From that select pool, 40 student Finalists are then invited to Washington, D.C. in March to participate in final judging, display their work to the public, meet with notable scientists, and compete for the top award of $100,000.

You can get the full list here:

I attended the Senate hearing about k-12 funding today. It was tragic listening to many of the proposed cuts to balance the budget.

Gifted Education was one of the proposed cuts. {Maybe 3 winners from WA is too many}

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Testimony on
New Student Assignment Plan
producing increasingly unequal schools

Directors, I am Dan Dempsey, 1-5-2011

The Transition for the New Student Assignment Plan is an introduction item.

The NSAP is based on making every school into a quality school, but “Quality Schools” are not mentioned in the transition plan tonight and that “quality school” thought is painfully absent from any thinking lately.

The Southeast Education Initiative results from Aki Kurose, Cleveland, and Rainier Beach showed increased spending produced no improvement, yet increased spending to produce quality is the basis for the NSAP.

To have a quality school requires (1) coherence of instructional planning and (2) execution in the delivery of that instruction. Neither occurs often enough in many schools, largely because of the failing preferences of central leaders.

Does ideology trump data?

IS SEATTLE close to every school a quality school?

(1) Close enough to stop the quality discussion?
(2) Close enough to divert carryover funds from 31 low-income schools to Cleveland STEM?
(3) Close enough to continue using “Discovering Math” in high schools?
(4) Close enough to assign students to separate and increasingly unequal schools?

Seattle widened math achievement gaps with Everyday Math, then “Discovering Math” for the high school. The Black 10th grade OSPI Math test pass rate is now 12.5% at grade 10 …. {White = 68.1%} That achievement gap is 55.6%

Glancing at school report cards for “8th graders ready for high school math,” gives false hope; as further investigation of the school reports reveals shallow statistical coverage disguising serious learning and “grade inflation” problems.

“Ready for high school math” is determined solely from transcripts. In 2009 100% of Madrona 8th graders were ready for high school math, but only 15% passed the math WASL.

Consider Aki Kurose’s 2008 8th graders; 64% were ready for high school math and 24% passed the WASL. Many of that cohort went to Cleveland or Rainier Beach, which in 2010 each had OSPI math pass rates in the teens. 64% ready for high school math, yet only one fourth of them could pass the OSPI high school math test two years later.

Blaine k-8 is the only school where ready for High School math closely matches the OSPI pass rate, where 67% “are ready” aligns with 69% “passing the test”. Aki Kurose in 2010 was less than half way reliable as 73% are supposedly ready but only 35% pass the test.

Not surprisingly for Seattle Math, the schools with the largest mismatches between OSPI pass rates and HS readiness were often Low-Income High Minority schools.

The NSAP transition is not going well unless producing separate and increasingly unequal schools is its goal.

The NSAP in its current form is ethically and academically unacceptable.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Grade Inflation: in Grade 8 Math
Some schools inflate grades
more than others

At last I have finally figured a way to measure grade inflation in eighth grade math in the Seattle Public Schools. Great thanks is extended to the Seattle Central administration for their publication of school report cards for each middle school and the category of 8th grade students leaving and ready for high school math. This percentage was computed from the percentage of students earning a C or better in 8th grade math classes at grade level or above.

The most inflated award goes to Madrona k-8 with 100% ready for high school math in 2009 and yet only 15% passing OSPI's Math WASL in 2009.

The no inflation award goes to Catherine Blaine k-8 where the prepared for high school math is almost the same as the OSPI math pass rate. In fact in 2010 67% prepared for high school math and 69% passing the OSPI MSP math test. Compare that with Aki Kurose in 2010: 73% prepared for high school math and 35% passing the OSPI MSP math test.

Anyway the data shows that for the comprehensive middle schools the higher the percentage of white students, coupled with lowest percentage of black students , and having a low percentage of Low Income students correlates with higher OSPI test pass rates and with substantially less grade inflation than in high minority, high poverty, low income SPS schools.

Here is the data for the three most economically advantaged comprehensive middle schools Eckstein, Whitman, and Hamilton; and the three least economically advantaged Aki Kurose, Mercer, and Denny.

Note in 2010:
The three most financially advantaged schools shown in Blue give shocking evidence to separate and unequal schools when compared to the three financially least advantaged schools shown in Green.

The Blue OSPI pass rates in 2010 for Hamilton, Whitman, and Eckstein:
H: 62.1 W: 74.8 E: 84.1 … avg = 73.7%

Prepared of HS math in “10: H: 77% W: 83% E: 92% … avg = 84%
Reliability factors: H: 0.81 W: 0.90 E: 0.92 average = 87.3%

note these are in the same order as expected from Low-Income %:
H: 35.2% W: 24.7% E: 15.2%; avg = 25.0%

The Green pass rates in 2010 for Aki, Mercer, Denny:
A: 34.8 M: 57.0 D: 51.9 … avg = 47.9%
Prepared of HS math in “10: A: 73% M: 86% D: 76% … avg = 78.3%
Reliability factors: A: 0.48 M: 0.66 D: 0.68 average = 60.3%

note these Reliability numbers are in the same order as expected from Low-Income %:
A: 82.3% M: 75.4% D: 65.4%; avg = 74.4%

When I say “expected”; in the SPS the lower the income level of the school the more likely the grades are inflated.
Clearly, no one wants to tell the truth about how bad math is in the Seattle Public Schools, especially in Southeast Seattle and West Seattle.

The prepared for HS math differential is only 6% lower in the three poor schools but the pass rate is 26% lower and the differential in reliability factor is 27% lower.

The district does not care to reliably tell the truth about the poor quality of math education delivered to educationally disadvantaged learners.

If you have not read my "Disproportionality and Discipline in Seattle" check it out at Ed News linked. It is another major part of the ongoing violation of article IX of the State Constitution, which states: It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex.

The full stats are available with my School Board testimony for 1-5-2011 HERE.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

End of Year letter to School Board

Dear Seattle Schools Directors,

The linked article below identifies the Seattle School District's actions quite well. Hope you all get a copy of the book "BETRAYED"; it certainly applies to the piece.

From Schools Matter comes this posting:

"Highly-Qualified" Temporary School Missionaries
for Children Who Need Experienced Teachers


Arne and the Disruptors (great name for a bad band) are always talking about edu-reform taking us beyond the status quo. Well, they are at it again, and the resulting changes this time are like most of the rest, taking the status quo backward, rather than forward.

The arrogant corporate fools in charge of federal education policy have slid language into a continuing resolution that will allow alternate route "certification" programs like TFA to claim that their candidates are "highly qualified" for NCLB purposes after four weeks of preparation.

With these clueless, well-meaning 2-year missionaries of TFA serving only in poor, brown, and black schools that desperately need teachers, rather than trainees, this has to be a solid basis for a civil rights lawsuit.

No sense just stopping there. Let us take a look at plummeting year to year score changes for Seattle's students in Special Ed and for ELL students. Was that well reported on Dec 15 at the Board Work session by MGJ? ... NO ..
So where is the accountability?
Where is the action in response to failing plans?

There is none, the children are Betrayed.

It seems the only hope of constructive action is huge political pressure because evidence is continually rejected as a basis for making Board decisions.

Betrayed and Betrayed again, some strategic plan.

And off the public marches to appeals court over the math decision because the Board just refuses to make use of evidence in decision-making.

So looking at those Black Student Math scores of only 12.5% of Black students passing in math with the Discovering Text in year one (at a cost of $1.2 million). ELL pass rate is now down to 7%.

The UW had their CoE MEC project in action at CHS and RBHS and with increased professional development and produced Black pass rates of 5.7% and 3.9%.

So what is the Plan? Where's the Beef?


Dan Dempsey