Thursday, February 26, 2015

Truth is, Common Core (and its Assessments ) are Still in Flux

From a school counselor in Oregon:

Stay out of Ingrahm (if pregnant or if you have an infant)

A notice went out to all the parents at IHS, but there are two confirmed cases of pertussis (whooping cough) at Ingraham. Pregnant women and infants should stay out of the school building for a bit.

Whooping cough in high school?  Get the vaccinations, okay?

Seattle Schools in Wrestling Match with Edline Over Fault in Website

Oh my. 

It appears that the District and Edline, the company that the district contracted with in/around 2010 to redo the District's website, are having a tussle over who is to blame for the inability for blind parents/students to access information on that website. 

Further, they are now arguing over whether Edline still has a contract and should still be providing services to the district.

What is best for low achieving students

An article in the Seattle Times quotes Eric Pettigrew (D-37) as saying "smaller school districts would improve performance for low-achieving children". I'm dying to know what data he has to support that contention. Or could it be that Mr. Pettigrew made the claim without any data to support it?

School Board Candidate Training

A local organization, School Board Leaders for the Future, is offering training for potential school board candidates, and it sure does sound good.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Washington State Common Core: What a Long, Strange Trip

 Update: another timeline from a different group, Stop Common Core in Washington State.

A fascinating history of Common Core in the Washington State legislature from Opt Out Washington. Wonder how come the Times didn't ask a single question about its history in their recent article.  (It has a great graphic with an important notation that I was not able to include here.)

The author, David Spring, provides a lot of detail including:

More Required Reading: Learning Style and Personal vs Personalized Learning

 Think your student has a specific "learning style?"  This thoughtful NY Times op-ed gathers a variety of voices on this issue.   Is learning style the same as a learning disability?  How much weight can/should teachers give this issue? 

Students do have preferences when it comes to receiving information visually or verbally, said Mark A. McDaniel, a psychology professor at Washington University and a co-author of the book “Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning.” 

And, said Harold Pashler, a psychology professor at the University of California, San Diego, and one of Dr. McDaniel’s co-authors on the study, no compelling evidence for teaching to students’ learning styles has emerged in the years since: “There’s one or two somewhat oddball studies,” he said, “but there’s a number of new negative findings that are more substantial.”

Seattle Schools Enrollment Videos for Non-English Speakers

From SPS Enrollment, videos to help non-native English speakers:

廣東話 登記入學 Cantonese Enrollment Video

Español - Spanish Enrollment Video

Thủ tục để đăng ký học Vietnamese Enrollment Video

Emanuel Fails to Win Outright in Chicago

 Update:  in a HUGE win, voters in Chicago voted to have an elected Chicago Board of Education (after 20 years of mayoral appointments.)   From the Chicago Tribune:

Voters in 37 wards overwhelmingly endorsed an elected Chicago Board of Education, according to preliminary tallies Tuesday, a non-binding outcome that nonetheless promises to stoke a long-running debate over the mayor's power to appoint board members.

In the 2012 general election, 89 percent of voters in five Chicago wards approved a similar advisory referendum for an elected board.

Earlier this month, a Tribune poll also reflected broad support for the idea. Seventy-six percent of voters said they favor an elected school board while 14 percent backed an appointed board.

Gee, sounds like voters in Chicago want to democratically elect who represents them in school governance.

I tweeted this story to Mayor Murray and Rep. Eric Pettigrew (who is sponsoring a bill to allow the mayoral to appoint two members to the Seattle School Board).

end of update.

Why should you care that one-term Mayor of Chicago failed to win outright in his bid to continue on?

Because it had a lot to do with how he handled public education in Chicago.

His primary threat - early on - had been head of the Chicago teachers union (and force of nature) Karen Lewis.  Unfortunately Lewis had a brain tumor and was didn't enter the race.  (An early poll had shown that she had a good chance at unseating him.) That turn of events should have been enough for Emanuel to win. 

And yet, it wasn't.

Seattle Smarter Balanced Testing - The First Shot Has Been Fired Across the Bow

The Nathan Hale Senate (effectively their BLT) voted "nearly unanimously" to not give the SBAC to their juniors this year.  (They had also recently voted to not give the PSAT to 10th graders at all.)

The Nathan Hale Senate–a body made up of the teachers, administrators, parents and students–voted nearly unanimously that this test was inappropriate. The vote was taken after careful consideration and much discussion and inquiry, including two school community forums — one of which included University of Washington professor of education and renowned scholar on high-stakes testing, Wayne Au.)

Reasons for refusing the SBAC for 11th graders included (summary):