The stealth campaign for charter schools found in emails of Seattle Public School employees and the candidacy of Omar Vasquez

too-many-secrets

 

We have published several articles on Summit charter schools and “personalized learning” which is a sugar coated description of placing students in front of a computer for all their lessons and tests. There is nothing personalized about the programs, simply that the student can do the lessons at their own speed and has nothing to do with their interests, strengths or academic weaknesses. The program is prepackaged and a robot could provide the same learning experience.

Speaking of robots, Summit charter school and other commercial enterprises are now developing “academies” where anyone who has a pulse can take a course, become a “trainer”/“facilitator” and be hired by Summit or another online school to respond to student’s questions and track their progress. This is not my idea of receiving a good education but is a cash cow for business enterprises.

Another aspect of the idea of “personalized learning’ is that it is unvetted. No one knows who developed the programs, their credentials, and unlike a text book, you can’t open it and get an idea of the subject matter, its accuracy or whether the information is objective and unbiased.

We have written about how the small Mary Walker School District in Eastern Washington chose to include online charter schools under their umbrella under the guise of ALEs – Alternative Learning Experiences — even though the State Supreme Court had determined that charter schools were unconstitutional in the state. A hefty investment in Mary Walker by the Gates Foundation helped the small, cash-strapped district carry out this charter-laundering deal.

Seattle Education also noted later that in January of 2016, the Mary Walker School District (MWSD) rescinded their request for approval of charter schools in the City of Seattle after requests were made twice, first by The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and then by MWSD, for the school district to recognize the charter schools and thereby provide legitimacy to the schools.

During the legal limbo all Washington charter schools found themselves in after the state’s charter law was (rightly) found unconstitutional in the fall of 2015 and they were declared illegal, Summit Sierra Charter School in Seattle decided to recast itself as a ‘homeschooling center’ and avoid the Mary Walker scheme. But now it is back as a charter school, with no ties to the Seattle School District.

With all of this in mind, why are officials who represent the Seattle Public School district and various principals falling all over themselves to develop relationships with Summit charter schools, wasting valuable time and resources supporting a charter school when Seattle is still struggling with a limited budget and all the complexities of managing 104 actual public schools?

The Seattle Public School board passed a resolution on March 2, 2016 making clear its commitment to public education and its opposition to charter schools. Why are people within the administration ignoring that resolution?

Our next question is, why keep all this activity in the dark for three years, not providing the information to the Seattle Public Schools’ Board of Directors or the School Board’s Curriculum & Instruction Policy Committee? Is Seattle’s School Superintendent Larry Nyland aware of this activity? Michael Tolley, Associate Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, who Michael Starosky reports to, the person who began the chain of events that we will describe, is to report directly to the superintendent. Is that happening? It seems as if there is a shadow district within the Stanford Center that neither the school board, parents nor teachers know anything about.

Per emails that we received through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), there have been numerous conversations between Seattle Public Schools’ key administrators and Summit representatives, meetings at Seattle Public Schools’ administrative offices, the Stanford Center, sharing of district information with Summit Sierra charter school and tours provided by both parties.

There has also been communication between Seattle Public School principals and Summit Sierra charter schools.

We will provide a timeline of the two batches of emails, Part One and Part Two, bringing to light what has been in the shadows for the last three years in a series of posts beginning today.

The focus of this first set of emails is a conversation between Eric Anderson, Director of Research, Evaluation & Assessment within Seattle Public Schools who shows on his LinkedIn page interests in the Broad Foundation (Center), Teach for America, The KIPP Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Malia Burns, Founding Executive Director of Summit Sierra charter schools who refers to herself as “Principal” as the occasion dictates, who is also on the Washington State Teach for America State Board.

Eric Anderson appears to have taken over from Broad Foundation “Resident” Brad Bernatek whom some of you might remember from his false17% stat about graduation rates.

To follow is the first timeline:

The specific emails referenced below can be viewed here. 

10/3/2014

Michael Starosky, Chief of Schools with Seattle Public Schools, does a “virtual introduction” between Malia Burns, former “Principal” of Summit charter schools, and Eric Anderson, Director, Research & Evaluation at Seattle Public Schools.

Starosky suggests Anderson would be a great resource to Burns in “learning in all things SPS”, particularly around data systems and measuring student growth.

10/6/2014

Anderson writes to Burns expressing his excitement in partnering with Summit Sierra charter schools.

4/8/2015

The Seattle Times reports the Seattle School Board has no interest in becoming a charter school authorizer. Unbeknownst to the board and public, Eric Anderson continues to collaborate with Summit Sierra charter school and continues to do so after the board’s position on charters is made public.

7/7/2015

Malia Burns with Summit charter schools contacts Eric Anderson to make arrangements to meet or talk on the phone about student assessments.

7/7/2015

Eric Anderson immediately responds to set up an appointment the next day.

7/7/2015

Malia Burns and Eric Anderson decide to meet at the Stanford Center where the Seattle Public School administration offices are located.

7/9/2015

Malia Burns to Anderson, “It’s great to meet kindred spirits working in education to support the work we all are doing within schools.”

Ms. Burns shares with Eric Anderson the login to Summit’s Personalized Learning Plan and cognitive skills rubric.

2/9/2016

Eric Anderson to Malia Burns, ”With all the Charter School news in recent months I thought I’d check in” and sharing his hope that everything “remains positive” for Summit Sierra charter school.

Anderson expresses interest in bringing a small team from Seattle Public Schools to visit Summit Sierra charter school.

2/9/2016

Malia Burns responds to Eric Anderson that they would “love to have a group visit” from people representing Seattle Public Schools.

2/9/2016

Jen Wickens, Chief Regional Officer for Summit charter schools who is also on the Strategic Advisory Council for Teach for America. Inc. and CEO of Impact Public Schools “providing leadership in the ed reform sector”, replies to Eric Anderson to arrange a visit to Summit suggesting sometime during the week March 14, 2016.

2/9/2016

The same day Eric Anderson responds to Jen Wickens confirming a visit the week of March 14, 2016 and stating an interest in Personalized Learning.  Anderson states he would like to bring in a group of 4-5 people with “our new Senior Research Scientist from my team” and “a couple of others from Teaching & Learning”.

11/10/2016

Jen Wickens and Eric Anderson arrange another onsite visit for Anderson to see a student demonstration of Summit’s Personalized Learning Plan

The next set of emails will focus on correspondence between Summit Sierra charter schools and principals within the Seattle Public School district.

Note: “Chief of Schools” is a new position created for Starosky. Starosky reports to Michael Tolley, Associate Superintendent for Teaching and Learning which is a relatively new position. Starosky oversees the activities of five Executive Directors which is another layer of Seattle Public Schools bureaucracy created by Broad trained Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson six years ago.

Michael Tolley is the last vestige of the Goodloe-Johnson era. The former superintendent brought Tolley with her from Charleston, SC.

*********************************

How Omar Vasquez fits into the push for charter schools in Seattle

Omar Vasquez, who is running for a position on the Seattle School Board, is on the Washington Board of Directors for Summit charter schools but he won’t likely tell you that. Omar started in education as a Teach for America, Inc. recruit, is now on the Washington State Teach for America Board and has been active with charter schools ever since since first working for Teach for America, Inc. Recently all information about his involvement with charter schools has been scrubbed from his website and LinkedIn Page. As an attorney in Seattle, he has represented charter schools.

When Mr. Vasquez was asked about charter schools during his candidate interview with the King County Young Democrats, he lied and said he never had any involvement with charter schools. The Young Democrats decided to endorse him based on that interview.

As Michael Maddox wrote on his blog #hashtag:

Omar Vasquez – I mean, this guy told one group that he supported Charter Schools, and another that he didn’t. The guy lies, and when he’s called out or criticized, shows a temperament that does not lend itself as evidence that he could be a good school board member. Blatant lying, shitty temperament, and support for Charter Schools? HARD PASS.

The Washington State Democratic Party platform states in no uncertain terms that the party opposes charters yet the State Democratic Party gave Vasquez $2,000 worth of in-kind donations to his primary campaign, most likely to obtain access to the vital GOTV tool VoteBuilder, which helped him eke out a second place finish in the primary after Zachary DeWolf and just ahead of Andre Helmstetter. The thousands of dollars from corporate ed reformers like Lindsy Hill, founder of the Washington TFA, and the Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) helped as well. His dishonesty about his charter ties helped smooth the deal. Do the State Democrats know they have been underwriting someone whose positions and work history directly conflict with their platform?

The teacher’s union at least, was not fooled by Vasquez. His Teach for America history would likely have been a deal breaker for them. The short-term  flash-trained TFA recruits have been used as a union-breaking tool and cheap labor for charter schools. As we have pointed out on this blog numerous times, the founder of Teach for America, Inc., Wendy Kopp is married to the founder of one of the biggest charter school franchises, KIPP’s Richard Barth. It’s bitterly ironic that charter schools which claim to aim to serve underprivileged students of color, offer these students the least qualified, high turnover teachers available – in direct contradiction of all research that shows that experienced, stable teaching staff serve these students best.

Vasquez’s Twitter history also reveals his support of charter school’s legal victory in Washington State.

The Seattle Public School (SPS) board passed a resolution on March 2, 2016 reaffirming its commitment to public education and its opposition to charter schools.

The final paragraph of the resolution states:

RESOLVED, that the Seattle School Board of Directors (1) requests that the Legislature focus on its paramount duty to amply fund K-12 educational needs first as mandated by the McCleary decision; (2) opposes charter schools and charter school legislation; and (3) disapproves of the establishment of Alternative Learning Experience (ALE) status for former charter schools when operated by non-resident school districts.

No wonder Vasquez is trying to hide his charter connections.

**************************************

Dora Taylor

 

Related articles:

Seattle Public School Board candidates

The scoop on Seattle School Board Candidates Chelsea Byers and Omar Vasquez: Buyer Beware

Summit Sierra charter schools

The inherent racism of Summit “public” (charter) school

A checklist for parents considering Summit Sierra charter school in Seattle

Serious student privacy concerns with new Summit/Facebook platform

Summit (Sierra) charter school: The skinny on the Gates-backed school set for Seattle, Brad Bernatek (remember him?) and a host of others

Personalized Learning

Personalized Learning Pathways & the Gig Economy

Teach for America

Colonizing the Black Natives: Charter Schools and Teach for America

Teach for America

A professor’s encounter with Teach for America

The grifters of corporate ed reform: KIPP charter schools with the aid of the DOE

The Broad Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Got Dough? How Billionaires Rule Our Schools

The Broad Foundation: A Parent Guide to the Broad Foundation’s training programs and education policies

The Battle for Seattle, Part 2: Hijacked!

Bill Gates has spent $440M to push charter schools: Here is the list of recipients

Bill Gates funds the media, including the Seattle Times’ Education Lab, then secretly meets with them

Advertisements

Seattle Public Schools IT Head John Krull answers our questions…well, sort of

istock_laptop_classroom1.jpg

John Krull agreed to answer our questions about what is happening in terms of technology and software programs planned for Seattle Public Schools.

As Krull states in his letter of application for the position within Seattle Public Schools, “I implemented a blended and personal learning infrastructure for 87 urban schools improving overall student engagement”.

To put that in plain English, “blended and personalized learning” means that a student works in front of a computer the greater part of the day and the teacher is then able to manage over 40 to 50 students in a classroom, theoretically, which is a way to cut cost.

This is a popular approach for online charter schools like Summit charter school.

Computers or laptops are programmed with packaged lessons that many times have not been vetted by parents or teachers or as in Seattle, by the school board. There is also experimental software using a Social Emotional Learning (SEL) program that is integrated into the computers to determine a student’s mindset and attitude.

Then there is the concern of student privacy and the culling of personal information that can be provided to third parties with no protections by FERPA.

We raised a red flag when we discovered that John Krull had been hired by Seattle Public Schools after working in Oakland with their public school system which I wrote about in The Progressive.

The following are the ten questions we submitted to John Krull, Chief Information Officer for Seattle Public Schools, with Krull’s answers after each question.

  1. Why did you decide to move to Seattle after two years in Oakland?

I thoroughly enjoyed my almost four years as Chief Technology Officer in Oakland. While there, I led a team that made numerous advancements in use of technology in students’ education.

Seattle Public Schools presents another exciting opportunity to leverage technology to provide the best educational experience for students in an area I call home. I have spent 20 years in the Seattle area where I attended the University of Washington, taught in Shoreline Schools and worked at Microsoft and I look forward to the next 20 years too.

  1. Are you familiar with the Homeroom software? Apparently, it has been installed in some Seattle schools as a pilot program. If you are familiar with the program, what do you see as its value? Do you know what the cost is to buy, install and implement the program along with technology upgrades to sustain this program if it is used within the entire SPS school system?

Seattle Public Schools is testing Educational Data Solutions’ Homeroom software solution as part of improving our data systems. It is part of the district’s strategy to implement Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) to help students according to their individual needs and eliminate opportunity gaps. Both district and school staff will be able to use data collected to enhance and shape supports for their students. Right now we are field testing in 15 schools at a cost of $105,000. Full deployment at all schools will cost approximately $376,750.

  1. Homeroom allows the collection of sensitive behavioral information and there is concern by parents that too much student information is being requested by the software. Do you know who is privy to this information and would it include the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and Seattle’s Department of Early Learning? Do you know if the information will it be tracked as a student continues through high school?

The safety and security of our students is a top priority, including when it comes to collecting personal student data. Currently, discipline data is recorded in PowerSchool and will flow to Homeroom for reporting. This flow, along with training, will improve how data is collected and stored which will allow us to better support the district’s MTSS strategies.  All student information is stored according to retention rules set by the state and will be stored through high school.

  1. What is the Technology Plan for Seattle Public Schools? Will you be writing a new or revised Technology Plan as you did for Oakland Public Schools? 

The Technology Plan for this year and the next 3 years is outlined in the Buildings, Technology and Academics IV (BTA IV) Levy information. You can see the plan under the Technology section of the Seattle Public Schools Levies Information published in Winter 2016 https://bta.seattleschools.org/assets/Uploads/documents/Levies%20Information-Winter%202016%20brochure-Final.pdf .

Implementing our plan is the result of close collaboration with the district’s Curriculum, Assessment, and Instruction, Student Services, Strategy & Partnerships, Business & Finance, HR, and Operations Departments to make sure our technology investments are implemented to align to the district’s strategic plan. Here is a link to the district’s strategic plan. https://www.seattleschools.org/district/strategic_plan

  1. Are you familiar with CASEL? If so, what is your role to be with this program?

I am familiar with CASEL. Currently, the district follows a different Social Emotional Learning (SEL) model. While I don’t have an active role in the direction of SEL, I do believe SEL can be applied to the digital world. For example, Responsible Decision Making applies as much to the physical as the online world.

  1. Do you have a plan for notifying parents of the information that is gathered by software distributed to schools within the Seattle school district including Homeroom?

Again, the safety and security of students is a top priority, including all personal data collected by the district. Here is a link to the district’s policy procedure for collection of data as part of Superintendent Procedure 3231SP: (http://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/School%20Board/Procedures/Series%203000/3231SP_sig.pdf).

  1. On the Seattle Public Schools’ website it notes that you wrote a paper titled “How Do You Measure Return on Investment of EDtech” and another paper “Creating a Platform for Staff and Student Growth”. There were no links provided to these papers. Please include a link in your response or a pdf that we can post.

Here is a link to an article written for Edsurge by a colleague who worked on our presentation “How Do You Measure Return on Investment of Edtech”…  https://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-08-18-how-can-we-measure-edtech-s-return-on-investment Unfortunately, I don’t have any documents supporting my presentation, “Creating a Platform for Staff and Student Growth”, on the internet. I do detail many other presentations on my website, http://www.johnkrull.org/

  1. What are your views on the use of devices such as laptops by young children, particularly between kindergarten and second grade? In Oakland, Clever badges are used by the youngest students to start up their laptops.

My department and staff is dedicated to supporting the use of all devices used by all students across the district. While the district’s education staff make grade-level device decisions, we are looking at Clever badges as a possibility to make logging into devices easier.

  1. You state on the Seattle Public Schools website that you have a vision and commitment for an “equitable, supportable, standardized and secure environment to improve teaching and learning.” What are your definitions of “standardized” and “secure”?

As the largest school district in the Pacific Northwest, we serve more than 53,000 students. This includes providing district technology staff “standard” equipment like computers, projectors, and document cameras to name a few, so they, in turn, can provide students with the best educational experience. The Seattle school district is dedicated to eliminating opportunity gaps for all students and supporting their individual needs. That includes supporting students through access to technology. “Secure” means we use applications and systems that comply with all FERPA and district rules, policies, and procedures to make sure we protect and maintain privacy. The safety and security of our students is a top priority.

  1. You tweeted about IMS Global in January of this year. What is your relationship with IMS Global?

I serve on an advisory panel for IMS Global that is working to develop standards to have education applications work together.

*****************

There you have it. Our questions and concerns were not truly addressed but maybe Krull is thinking more about the technology itself and not what role technology should have in the classroom. That’s a discussion parents and educators should be having now, before IT departments are allowed to pursue their vision.

Recommended articles:

Someone is driving the curriculum in Seattle Public Schools and it’s not educators, parents or the school board

EFF Survey Reveals Gaps in Protecting the Privacy of K-12 Students Using School-Issued Devices and Cloud Apps

McD Happy Meal online schools for all in Seattle with SPS IT Officer John Krull

Washington State’s Digital Promise School Districts: Creating new markets for personalized learning snake oil

Tech Tip o’ the Day for Seattle Public Schools: How to get kids and teachers in front of computers all day

Oops! Study Shows Computer Use in School Doesn’t Help Test Scores

 

 

Tech Tip o’ the Day for Seattle Public Schools: How to get kids and teachers in front of computers all day

 

11486813.jpg

The following email was brought to my attention today. It was sent to all Seattle Public School staff.

From: Cranston, Gary

Sent: Tuesday, May 16, 2017 12:35 PM

Subject: Tuesdy Tech Tip 5/16/17: Apply TODAY for Summer Blended Learning Institute, Immersive Reader, and Public Folders in OneDrive

Teachers,

This week’s tech tip includes information about how to apply for the 2017 – 2018 Blended Learning Summer Institute, use the Immersive Reader Learning Tool with Office 365 or the Office Lens app, and create a public folder in OneDrive.

Gary

Blended Learning Summer Institute 2017: Cohort 2 August 18, 21 and 22

Click here to apply for the Blended Learning Summer Institute and view additional information about the program.

Blended learning combines online digital media with traditional classroom methods. It provides some element of student control over time, place, path, or pace.

In this series of paid professional learning activities, you will:

  • Explore different blended learning strategies to find the one that works best for you and your students.
  • Design online resources to support personalized learning.
  • Collaborate with other teachers to share resources and strategies.
  • Provide feedback to DoTS and the IT team regarding use of 15 laptops in a blended learning classroom model.

**********

The terms “blended learning” and “personalized learning” refer to having a student in front of a computer the greater part of a school day, just like the term “school choice” actually refers to charter schools, the privatization of public schools. The terms are palatable and sound ideal to many as a positive leaning experience but those are just marketing terms. When you dig down into what software marketeers are actually referring to, it’s completely different. There is nothing personal about using a software program on a computer compared to interacting with a teacher and students.

In an article I wrote describing blended learning, I stated:

Online charter schools, which the capital venturists like to refer to as “blended learning”, is basically putting a student in front of a computer where they are to read, do their lessons and take tests.

Sports, history and the arts are not part of this program, just the basics.

The reason for the proliferation of these enterprises is that they are cheap to run and generate lots of revenue. At this time, Rocketship, one of the largest online charter chains, has recently increased its student to teacher ratio from 40:1 to 50:1. There is very little overhead, no gym, cafeteria, janitors, staff, just a CEO/Principal/Superintendent and administrative staff. The students do their work at home on a computer and communicate with their teachers via e-mail. The parents communicate with the teacher via phone on a schedule set up by the charter school. That’s the “blended” part, communicating with the teacher via e-mail, phone or “special software” that is promoted by these enterprises.

I believe there is a place for this kind of arrangement, when a student is not able to physically attend school, this would be a good option for those situations but that’s not how the online charter chains see it. They won’t be happy until they can get as many students as possible on a computer 6 to 8 hours a day. It’s all about the money.

The desire by private businesses, like DELL computers, is to sell computers and software. They see school districts as another cash cow as they did with charter schools.

So teachers, unless you want to be replaced with software, I suggest you pay attention to what’s going on in your district. Parents, unless you want your student in front of a computer all day in school, start asking questions.

Related articles:

How Online Learning Companies Bought America’s Schools

Profits and Questions at Online Charter Schools

Washington State’s Digital Promise School Districts: Creating new markets for personalized learning snake oil

Washington State’s Digital Promise School Districts: Creating new markets for personalized learning snake oil

Students of Online Schools Are Lagging

Online (Blended) Learning

Ten questions for Seattle Public Schools’ IT Lead John Krull re: EdTech in schools and student privacy

The endgame of corporate reform in public school education: Part 1, What do Betsy DeVos and Seattle Public School’s IT Lead John Krull have in common?

The Ballad of Joseph Olchefske: Middle College, Ed-Reform Market Failure, and the March of Online Learning

An Explosion in Lobbying Around For-Profit K-12 Programs

The inherent racism of Summit “public” (charter) school

Dora Taylor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Someone is driving the curriculum in Seattle Public Schools and it’s not educators, parents or the school board

scP97ZNqA7-6.png

Shortly after publishing a post titled The Seattle school board is asking the question: Where should technology fit into the education of K-12 students? on how the school board wanted to deliberate and have a conversation on the role of technology in Seattle public schools and therefore hold off on large purchases of computers and software, the board voted the next week to buy laptops for half of the students in seven schools.

What will be on the laptop is anyone’s guess.

The curriculum for Seattle Public Schools is overdue for a review and has not been done by the school board. The reason for this delay is because the staff involved with curriculum within the Seattle Public School administration has been dragging their feet.  My guess is that the software  installed on these laptops will have the narrow focus of the Common Core Standards with its concomitant testing and whatever else someone decides to upload to the computers but at this time, it’s anyone’s guess.

At Middle College high school in Seattle with a mostly minority population, a software called Edgenuity was installed for students. The focus of the school is theoretically on social justice. Now there are complaints by students and staff that the software curriculum is racist. No one apparently went through and thoroughly vetted the software before having it installed.

This begs the question, who’s in charge of what Seattle students learn and see when on a computer screen?

So far, it’s not the board because the question has not been asked by them. It’s certainly not local educators or parents to ensure the content is appropriate and within the goals of the school community.

If John Krull has his way, every student in Seattle will have a laptop and teachers will be relagated to the title of “coach” for 30 plus students. This is what occurred in Oakland where Krull was head of IT before making his way to Seattle. Now the Oakland school district is $30M in the hole but hey, all the kids have laptops! My guess, though, is no one knows what’s on them but John Krull and a few others.

Dora Taylor

For related articles, see:

Automated Education + Chasing Skills + Debt = Social Control

Serious student privacy concerns with new Summit/Facebook platform

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Releases Study on Student Data Privacy… or lack thereof

Ten questions for Seattle Public Schools’ IT Lead John Krull re: EdTech in schools and student privacy

From Neighborhood Schools to Learning Eco-Systems, A Dangerous Trade

 

Ten questions for Seattle Public Schools’ IT Lead John Krull re: EdTech in schools and student privacy

questions-main.jpg

John Krull has agreed to answer some questions about what is happening in terms of technology and software programs planned for Seattle Public Schools.

As Krull states in his letter of application for the position within Seattle Public Schools, “I implemented a blended and personal learning infrastructure for 87 urban schools improving overall student engagement”.

To put that in plain English, “blended and personalized learning” means that a student works in front of a computer the greater part of the day and the teacher is then able to manage over 30 students in a class, theoretically, which is a way to cut cost.

Computers or laptops are programmed with Common Core Standard packaged lessons and its associated testing which becomes an integral part of the software. There is also experimentation with using a Social Emotional Learning (SEL) program that is integrated into the computers to determine a student’s mindset and attitude.

Then there is the concern of student privacy and the culling of personal information that can be provided to third parties with no protections by FERPA.

We raised a red flag on this website when we discovered that John Krull had been hired by Seattle Public Schools after working in Oakland with their public school system and I wrote about it for The Progressive.

Mr. Krull has agreed to answer some questions for us and he will have an opportunity, in a second article, to air his disagreement with what has been written so far on this website.

The following are the ten questions we submitted to John Krull, Chief Information Officer for Seattle Public Schools on April 14th.

1. Why did you decide to move to Seattle after working for two years as Chief Information Officer in the Oakland public school system?

2. Are you familiar with the Homeroom software? Apparently, it has been installed in some Seattle schools as a pilot program. If you are familiar with the program, what do you see as its value? Do you know what the cost is to buy, install and implement the program along with technology upgrades to sustain this program if it is used within the entire SPS school system?

3. Homeroom allows the collection of sensitive behavioral information and there is concern by parents that too much student information is being requested by the software. Do you know who is privy to this information and would it include the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and Seattle’s Department of Early Learning?  Do you know if the information will it be tracked as a student continues through high school?

4. What is the Technology Plan for Seattle Public Schools? Will you be writing a new or revised Technology Plan as you did for Oakland Public Schools? 

5. Are you familiar with CASEL? If so, what is your role to be with this program?

6. Do you have a plan for notifying parents of the information that is gathered by software distributed to schools within the Seattle school district including Homeroom?

7. On the Seattle Public Schools’ website it notes that you wrote a paper titled “How Do You Measure Return on Investment of EDtech” and another paper “Creating a Platform for Staff and Student Growth”. There were no links provided to these papers. Please include a link in your response or a pdf that we can post.

8. What are your views on the use of devices such as laptops by young children, particularly between kindergarten and second grade? In Oakland, Clever badges are used by the youngest students to start up their laptops.

9. You state on the Seattle Public Schools website that you have a vision and commitment for an “equitable, supportable, standardized and secure environment to improve teaching and learning.” What are your definitions of “standardized” and “secure”?

10. You tweeted about IMS Global in January of this year. What is your relationship with IMS Global?

Related posts:

EFF Survey Reveals Gaps in Protecting the Privacy of K-12 Students Using School-Issued Devices and Cloud Apps

The Endgame of Corporate Reform, Part 3: Online Learning, Social, Emotional Learning and the Department of Defense

How exactly did the Department of Defense end up in my child’s classroom?

McD Happy Meal online schools for all in Seattle with SPS IT Officer John Krull

The US Department of Education’s Digital Promise to advance the ed-tech field and online learning in public schools

Washington State’s Digital Promise School Districts: Creating new markets for personalized learning snake oil

Oops! Study Shows Computer Use in School Doesn’t Help Test Scores

ACT study: Common Core, not ready for prime time

Video: Clinical Child Psychologist: The Common Core Standards are developmentally inappropriate

Common Sense Questions About the Common Core Test

How we got the Common Core Standards: Federal Manipulation Through Race to the Top

Who wrote the Common Core Standards? The Common Core 24

The facts about the Common Core Standards

Submitted by Dora Taylor

#BlackLivesMatterAtSchool: Hundreds of professors across the country support Seattle educators in their day of action

636055969127142870-2089429759_blm.jpg

Originally posted at I Am an Educator.

Solidarity with #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool: Hundreds of professors across the country support Seattle educators in their day of action

Over 200 scholars and professors nationwide sign statement in support of the Seattle teachers’ October 19,, 2016 action to make Black Students’ Lives Matter in the district. The support for making Black Lives Matter in our classrooms has been widespread, yet some around the nation have also responded with messages of hate and fear.  Dr. Wayne Au, Associate Professor in the School of Educational Studies at the University of Washington Bothell and an editor for the social justice teaching publication, Rethinking Schools, put out a call to professors and scholars to publicly tell the Seattle Public Schools and the Seattle School Board that many experts in the field of education and beyond support Seattle teachers. Below is the statement and the list of 212 names and affiliations as of October 17, 2016.

We, the undersigned professors and scholars, publicly express our support for and solidarity with teachers of Seattle Public Schools and their October 19, 2016 action in recognition of making Black Student Lives Matter in our schools. We hope that these teachers are continually supported by the district, the school board, their union, and parents in their struggle for racial justice in Seattle schools.

Name & Affiliation (for informational purposes only)

  1. Curtis Acosta, Education for Liberation Network & University of Arizona South
  2. Alma Flor Ada, Ph. D., Professor Emerita, School of Education, University of San Francisco
  3. Annie Adamian, Assistant Professor, California State University, Chico
  4. Jennifer D. Adams, Associate Professor Science Ed and Earth and Environmental Sciences, CUNY
  5. Tara L. Affolter, Assistant Professor, Middlebury College
  6. Jean Aguilar-Valdez, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education, Portland State University
  7. Lauren Anderson, Associate Professor of Education, Connecticut College
  8. Subini Annamma, Assistant Professor, Special Education, University of Kansas
  9. Zandrea Ambrose, Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh
  10. Nancy Ares, Associate Professor, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
  11. Michael W. Apple, John Bascom Professor of Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Policy Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  12. Awo Okaikor Aryee-Price, Teacher Educator–Montclair State University; EdD student at Rutgers Graduate School of Education
  13. Rick Ayers, Asst. Prof of Education, U of San Francisco.
  14. William Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education (retired), University of Illinois Chicago
  15. Wayne Au, Associate Professor, School of Educational Studies, University of Washington Bothell
  16. Jeff Bale, Associate Professor of Language and Literacy Education, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto
  17. Megan Bang, Associate Professor, learning Sciences and Human Development, Secondary Teacher Education
  18. Lesley Bartlett, Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  19. Teddi Beam-Conroy, Senior Lecturer and Director of the Elementary Teacher Preparation Program, University of Washington
  20. Lee Anne Bell, Professor Emerita, Barnard College
  21. John Benner PhC, University of Washington, College of Education
  22. Jeremy Benson, Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Studies, Rhode Island College
  23. Dan Berger, Assistant professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, University of Washington Bothell
  24. Margarita Bianco, associate professor, School of Education and Human Development, University of Colorado Denver
  25. Anne Blanchard, PhD, Senior Instructor, Western Washington University.
  26. Whitney G. Blankenship, Assistant Professor of Educational Studies & History, Rhode Island College.
  27. Aaron Bodle, Assistant Professor of Social Studies Education, James Madison University
  28. Joshua Bornstein, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership, Felician University.
  29. Samuel Brower, Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Houston
  30. Anthony Brown, Associate Professor, University of Texas Austin
  31. Kristen Buras, Associate Professor, Georgia State University
  32. Dolores Calderon, Associate Professor, Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, Western Washington university
  33. Timothy G. Cashman Associate professor, social studies education, University of Texas at El Paso
  34. Keith C. Catone, Principal Associate, Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University
  35. Charusheela, Assistant professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, University of Washington Bothell
  36. Minerva S. Chávez, Ph. D., Director, Single Subject Credential Program, Associate Professor, Department of Secondary Education, California State University, Fullerton
  37. Linda Christensen, Director Oregon Writing Project at Lewis & Clark College.
  38. Christian W. Chun, Assistant Professor of Culture, Identity and Language Learning, University of Massachusetts Boston
  39. Carrie Cifka-Herrera Ph.D. University California Santa Cruz
  40. Ross Collin, Associate Professor of English Education, Virginia Commonwealth University
  41. Rebekah Cordova, PhD, College of Education, University of Florida
  42. Chris Crowley, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education, Wayne State University
  43. Cindy Cruz, Associate Professor of Education, UC Santa Cruz
  44. Mary Jane Curry, University of Rochester
  45. Karam Dana, Assistant Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, University of Washington Bothell
  46. Chela Delgado, adjunct faculty in San Francisco State University Educational Leadership graduate program
  47. Robert L. Dahlgren, Associate Professor, Department of Curriculum & Instruction, SUNY Fredonia
  48. Noah De Lissovoy, Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Texas at Austin
  49. Betsy DeMulder, Professor, College of Education and Human Development, George Mason University
  50. Robin DiAngelo, Adjunct Faculty, University of Washington School of Social Work.
  51. Maurice E. Dolberry, PhD. Lecturer, School of Educational Studies, University of Washington-Bothell
  52. Michael J. Dumas, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley.
  53. Jody Early, Associate Professor, School of Nursing and Health Studies, University of Washington Bothell
  54. Kimberly Early, adjunct faculty, Education department at Highline College & Applied Behavioral Science department at Seattle Central
  55. Education for Liberation
  56. Kathy Emery, PhD, Lecturer at San Francisco State University
  57. Joseph J Ferrare, Assistant Professor, University of Kentucky
  58. Michelle Fine, Professor, City University of New York Graduate Center
  59. Liza Finkel, Associate Professor of Teacher Education, Lewis & Clark College Graduate School of Education and Counseling
  60. Kara S. Finnigan, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Education Policy, Warner School of Education, University of Rochester
  61. Ryan Flessner, Associate Professor of Teacher Education, Butler University
  62. Susana Flores, PhD Assistant Professor, Curriculum, Supervision and Educational Leadership at Central Washington University
  63. Kristen B. French, Associate Professor & Director, Center for Education, Equity and Diversity, Woodring College of Education, Western Washington University
  64. Victoria Frye, Associate Medical Professor, City University of New York School of Medicine
  65. Derek R. Ford, Assistant Professor of Education Studies, DePauw University
  66. Jill Freidberg, part time lecturer, Media and Communication Studies, University of Washington Bothell.
  67. James A. Gambrell, Assistant Professor of Practice, Graduate School of Education, Portland State University
  68. Arline García, Spanish Instructor, Highline College
  69. Mónica G. GarcíaAssistant Professor Secondary Education, California State University Northridge
  70. Brian Gibbs Assistant Professor of Education University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  71. David Goldstein, Senior Lecturer, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, University of Washington Bothell.
  72. Julie Gorlewski, Associate Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University
  73. Alexandro Jose Gradilla, Associate Professor, Chicana/o Studies, CSU Fullerton.
  74. Sandy Grande, Professor of Education and Director of the center for the comparative study of race and ethnicity, Connecticut College
  75. Allison Green, English Department, Highline College
  76. Kiersten Greene, Assistant Professor of Literacy Education, State University of New York at New Paltz
  77. Susan Gregson, Assistant Professor, College of Education, University of Cincinnati
  78. Martha Groom, Professor, IAS, University of Washington Bothell
  79. Rico Gutstein, University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
  80. Alyssa Hadley Dunn, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education, Michigan State University
  81. Amy Hagopian at University of Washington School of Public Health.
  82. Jessica James Hale, Doctoral Research Fellow, Mathematics Education, Georgia State University Elizabeth Hanson, ESL Professor, Shoreline Community
  83. May Hara, Assistant Professor, College of Education, Framingham State University
  84. Nicholas Hartlep, Assistant Professor of Urban Education, Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, MN
  85. Jill Heiney-Smith, Instructor in Teacher Education, Director of Field Placements, Seattle Pacific University
  86. Mark Helmsing, Coordinator of Social Studies Education, University of Wyoming
  87. Kevin Lawrence Henry, Jr., Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Policy Studies & Practice, College of Education, University of Arizona.
  88. Erica Hernandez-Scott, Master in Teaching Faculty, Evergreen State College
  89. Josh Iddings, Assistant Professor of English, Rhetoric, and Humanistic Studies, Virginia Military Institute
  90. Ann M. Ishimaru, Assistant Professor, University of Washington
  91. Dimpal Jain, Assistant Professor, California State University, Northridge
  92. Brian Jones, City University of New York, Graduate Center
  93. Denisha Jones, Assistant Professor, College of Arts and Sciences, Trinity Washington University
  94. Beth Kalikoff, Associate Professor, Univ. of Washington Seattle
  95. Richard Kahn, Core Faculty in Education, Antioch University Los Angeles
  96. Daniel Katz, Chair, Department of Educational Studies, Seton Hall University
  97. Mary Klehr, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education
  98. Courtney Koestler, Director of the OHIO Center for Equity in Math and Science, Ohio University
  99. Jill Koyama, Associate Professor, Educational Policy Studies and Practice, University of Arizona
  100. Chris Knaus, Associate Professor, University of Washington Tacoma
  101. Matthew Knoester, Associate Professor, University of Evansville
  102. Rita Kohli, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Riverside
  103. Ron Krabill, Associate Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, University of Washington Bothell
  104. Patricia Krueger-Henney, Assistant Professor, College of Education and Human Development, University of Massachusetts Boston.
  105. Saili Kulkarni College of Education Assistant Professor Cal State Dominguez Hills
  106. Scott Kurashige, Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, University of Washington Bothell
  107. Gloria Ladson-Billings Kellner Family Distinguished Chair in Urban Education UW-Madison
  108. Carrie Lanza, MSW and PhD, adjunct faculty, University of Washington Bothell
  109. Douglas Larkin, Associate Professor, Secondary and Special Education, Montclair State University
  110. Alyson L. Lavigne, Associate Professor, College of Education, Roosevelt university
  111. Clifford Lee, Associate Professor, Saint Mary’s College of California
  112. Kari Lerum, Associate Professor, Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, University of Washington
  113. Pauline Lipman, Professor, Educational Policy Studies, University of Illinois-Chicago
  114. Katrina Liu, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education, University of Nevada Las Vegas
  115. Lisa W. Loutzenheiser, Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia
  116. David Low, Assistant professor of literacy education, California State University Fresno
  117. John Lupinacci, Assistant Professor, Department of Teaching & Learning, Washington State University
  118. Wendy Luttrell, Professor, Urban Education & Critical Social Psychology, Sociology, CUNY Graduate Center
  119. Aurolyn Luykx, Assoc. Professor of Anthropology & Education, University of Texas at El Paso.
  120. Tomás Alberto Madrigal, Ph.D., Tacoma Pierce County Health Department
  121. Jan Maher, Senior Scholar, Institute for Ethics in Public Life, State University of NY at Plattsburgh
  122. Curry Malott, Associate Professor, West Chester University of Pennsylvania
  123. Gerardo Mancilla, Ph.D., Director of Education Administration and Leadership, School of Education Faculty, Edgewood College
  124. Roxana Marachi, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Education, San Jose State University
  125. Fernando Marhuenda, PhD, Professor in Teaching and Curriculum at the University of Valencia, in Spain
  126. Tyson Marsh, Associate Professor, Seattle University
  127. Carlos Martínez-Cano, PhD Candidate, University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education
  128. Edwin Mayorga, Assistant Professor, Educational Studies, Swarthmore College
  129. Kate McCoy, Associate Professor of Educational Foundations, SUNY New Paltz
  130. Cynthia McDermott.EdD., Professor and Regional Director, Antioch University Los Angeles
  131. Jacqueline T. McDonnough, Ph.D., Associate Professor Science Education, School of Education, Virginia Commonwealth University
  132. Kathleen McInerney, Professor, School of Education, Saint Xavier University
  133. Deborah Meier, MacArthur fellow, NYU fellow
  134. José Alfredo Menjivar, Doctoral Student, CUNY, Graduate Center and Humanities Alliance Fellow, LaGuardia Community College
  135. Paul Chamness Miller, Professor of International Liberal Arts, Akita International University
  136. Jed Murr, Full-Time Lecturer, Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, University of Washington Bothell
  137. Bill Muth, Associate Professor, Adult Learning and Literacy, Virginia Commonwealth University
  138. Kate Napolitan, Teaching Associate, University of Washington Seattle
  139. Jason M. Naranjo Assistant Professor, Special Education University of Washington Bothell
  140. Pedro E. Nava, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Education, Mills College
  141. Sonia Nieto, Professor Emerita, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  142. Tammy Oberg De La Garza, Associate Professor, College of Education, Roosevelt University
  143. Gilda L. Ochoa, Professor of Sociology and Chicana/o-Latina/o Studies, Pomona College
  144. Margo Okazawa-Rey Professor Emerita, San Francisco State University
  145. Susan Opotow, PhD Professor, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York
  146. Joy Oslund, Coordinator of directed teaching, assistant professor, Madonna University, Livonia, MI
  147. Sandra L. Osorio, Assistant Professor, School of Teaching and Learning, Illinois State University
  148. Carrie Palmer, WSU doctoral student/adjunct faculty at Linn Benton Community College
  149. Django Paris, associate professor, department of teacher education, Michigan State University
  150. Hillary Parkhouse, Assistant Professor of Teaching and Learning, School of Education, Virginia Commonwealth University
  151. Patricia Perez, Professor, California State University Fullerton
  152. Emery Petchauer, Associate Professor. College of Ed. Michigan State University
  153. Bree Picower Associate Professor Montclair State University
  154. Farima Pour-Khorshid, Teacher Educator, University of San Francisco and PhD Candidate at University of California, Santa Cruz
  155. Shameka Powell, Assistant Professor of Educational Studies, Department of Education, Tufts University
  156. Rebecca M Price, Associate Professor, UW Bothell
  157. Sarah A. Robert, Associate Professor, University at Buffalo (SUNY)
  158. Mitchell Robinson, Associate Professor and Chair of Music Education, Michigan State University
  159. Rosalie M. Romano, Associate Professor Emerita, Western Washington University
  160. Ricardo D. Rosa, PhD., Assistant Professor, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies,, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth
  161. Dennis L. Rudnick, Associate Director of Multicultural Education and Research, IUPUI
  162. Lilliana Patricia Saldaña, Associate Professor, Mexican American Studies, University of Texas San Antonio
  163. Jen Sandler, Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  164. Jeff Sapp, professor of education, California State University Dominguez Hills
  165. Alexandra Schindel, Asst Professor, University at Buffalo
  166. Ann Schulte, Professor of Education, CSU Chico
  167. Simone Schweber, Goodman Professor of Education, UW-Madison
  168. Déana Scipio, Postdoctoral fellow, ERC & Chèche Konnen Center at TERC
  169. Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz, Associate Professor, English Education, Teachers College, Columbia University
  170. Doug Selwyn, Professor of Education, State University of New York
  171. Julie Shayne, Senior Lecturer, University of Washington Bothell
  172. Sarah Shear, Assistant Professor of Social Studies Education, Penn State Altoona
  173. Mira Shimabukuro, Lecturer, School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, UW Bothell
  174. Janelle Silva, Assistant Professor, School of IAS, University of Washington Bothell
  175. Carol Simmons. Retired educator, Seattle Public Schools, Seattle University Professor, Seattle Community College, Western State University, City University Professor.
  176. Dana Simone, Instructor, Foundational Studies in Education, West Chester University of Pennsylvania
  177. George Sirrakos, Assistant Professor of Secondary Education, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
  178. Christine Sleeter, Professor Emerita, California State University Monterey Bay
  179. Timothy D. Slekar, Dean, College of Education, Edgewood College, Madison, WI
  180. Beth Sondel, Assistant Professor, Department of Instruction and Learning, University of Pittsburgh
  181. Debbie Sonu, Associate Professor of Education, City University of New York
  182. Mariana Souto-Manning, Associate Professor, Department of Curriculum & Teaching, Teachers College Columbia
  183. Jeremy Stoddard, Associate Professor, College of William & Mary
  184. David Stovall, Professor, University of Illinois Chicago
  185. Rolf Straubhaar, Assistant Research Scientist, University of Georgia.
  186. Katie Strom, Assistant Prof Educational Leadership, Cal State Univ East Bay
  187. Katy Swalwell, Assistant Professor, School of Education, Iowa State University
  188. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Assistant Professor, Dept of African American Studies, Princeton University
  189. Monica Taylor, Associate Professor, Secondary and Special Education, Montclair State University
  190. Cathryn Teasley, Assistant Professor, University of A Coruña (Spain)
  191. Adai Tefera, School of Education, Virginia Commonwealth University
  192. Amoshaun Toft, Assistant Professor, School of IAS, University of Washington Bothell
  193. Sara Tolbert, Assistant professor, College of Education, University of Arizona
  194. Maria Torre, the City University of New York Graduate Center
  195. Diane Torres-Velasquez, Associate Professor, University of New Mexico
  196. Victoria Trinder, Clinical Assistant Professor, College of Education, University of Illinois at Chicago
  197. Eve Tuck, Associate Professor of Critical Race and Indigenous Studies in Education, OISE, University of Toronto
  198. Carrie Tzou, Associate Professor, University of Washington Bothell
  199. Angela Valenzuela, professor of Educational Administration, University of Texas at Austin
  200. Manka Varghese, Associate Professor, University of Washington College of Education
  201. Julian Vasquez-Heilig, Professor, California State University Sacramento
  202. Michael Vavrus, Professor, Interdisciplinary Studies (Education, Political Economy, History), The Evergreen State College
  203. Verónica Vélez, Assistant Professor and Director, Education and Social Justice Minor and Program, Western Washington University
  204. Maiyoua Vang, Associate Professor, College of Education, California State University, Sacramento
  205. Michael Viola, Assistant Professor, Saint Mary’s College of California
  206. Donna Vukelich Selva, Edgewood College, Madison WI
  207. Camille Walsh, JD, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Washington Bothell
  208. Lois Weiner, Professor, Director, Urban Education and Teacher Unionism Policy Project New Jersey City University
  209. Melissa Weiner, Associate Professor of Sociology, College of the Holy Cross
  210. Michael Wickert, Professor of English an Education, Southwestern College, Chula Vista, CA
  211. Gabe Winer, English/ESOL Department Co-chair Berkeley City College
  212. Ken Zeichner Boeing Professor of Teacher Education, University of Washington Seattle
  213. Network for Public Education

SEATTLE’S CEDAR PARK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: IS THERE RACIAL EQUITY?

no stopbus

Editor’s note: Original post written by Kevin Hilman for the Olympic Hills PTA blog. Post re-published with permission.  -Carolyn Leith 

For the last year and a half, the Olympic Hills Elementary School community (in interim at Cedar Park) has pushed hard for Seattle Public Schools (SPS) to revisit the proposed Cedar Park boundary due to major concerns about equity and safety.

Last week, SPS pell_overlay_cpublished its recommendation to the school board’s operations committee, and unfortunately, the proposal addresses capacity, but not equity.  We are very frustrated, and disappointed with the SPS proposal.

The SPS recommendation is especially troubling because a taskforce (including teachers and parents, myself included) met with SPS staff to attempt to use the SPS racial equity “toolkit” to analyze the boundary, yet the final decision making (which did not include teachers or parents) was based on capacity, not equity.

Have a look at the numbers and compare for yourself.

First, the Cedar Park numbers from the current, board-approved boundaries for 2017-18.  Remember, these are the numbers that caused the initial equity concerns that led to community meetings and the taskforce:

  • 38.6% English language learners (ELL)
  • 65.3% free/reduced lunch (FRL)
  • 72.2% historically underserved

Then, the Cedar Park numbers for the proposed amendment.

  • 43.8% English language learners (ELL)
  • 69.0% free/reduced lunch (FRL)
  • 76.2% historically underserved

All along, our community’s desire has been to reduce the concentration of historically underserved students in Cedar Park.  However, because the proposed solution is based on capacity rather than equity, the percentages for all the categories actually increase.

If you have concerns or comments on this recommendation, let the SPS staff know by writing to growthboundaries@seattleschools.org and also write to the School Board atschoolboard@seattleschools.org.  The School Board will have the final decision on the boundaries.

There will also be upcoming community meetings where SPS will share these decisions:

  • Sept 28, 6:30pm, Olympic Hills  Meeting (at Cedar Park)
  • Oct 5, 6:30pm, John Rogers Meeting (at John Rogers)

Please come and share your thoughts.

-Kevin Hilman

The ESSA and opting out of the SBAC

students-are-not-standardized.jpg

Some state departments of education have threatened to withhold a high school diploma if a student doesn’t take and pass a so-called college readiness test in grade 11. However, no state legislature has passed a statute linking the award of a high school diploma to passing a state or federal mandated college readiness test in grade 11 (and it’s highly unlikely any legislature would).

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was replaced in December, 2015 with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

This new Federal mandate was written to replace the No Child Left Behind Act. The main concerns that Carolyn and I have with ESSA are:

For greater detail on the ESSA, Mercedes Schneider has done a brilliant job of combing through the law and commenting on each aspect of the Federal Act.

About opting out of the Common Core testing, the state of New York in the spring increased their opt out numbers from 20% to 22%. There have been threats and pushback since the opt out numbers came out with the Federal government pressuring New York to come up with forms of punishment for districts who do not adhere to the 95% participation rate but as Sandra Stotsky points out, no state  has been penalized by withholding Title I money and passing a mandated standardized test to graduate from high school needs to be put into law by the state legislature to be legitimate.

We also need to keep in mind that the Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) has yet to be determined to be reliable and valid as an assessment of students’ understanding of subjects taught.

To follow is a repost of the article in full:

Opting out: A civic duty, not civil disobedience

The writers who crafted the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the 2015 bill co-sponsored by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) re-authorizing the Elementary and Secondary Act (ESEA), thought they had worded an airtight case to prevent parents from removing their children from federal mandated testing.

States are responsible for ensuring a 95 percent participation rate of all its K-12 students in exchange for ESSA funds. If the rate is less than 95 percent, the US Secretary of Education has several options. Most allow USED to help the state come up with a plan to address the matter. In effect, ESSA turns state departments of education into school bullies.

Indeed, many state departments of education have begun to rattle their sabers, trying to bluff parents into believing that parents who opt their kids out of a federally mandated test and reduce overall participation to less than 95 percent thereby place the state at risk of not getting the money coming to it for its low-income kids. It remains to be seen how effective this version of a guilt trip will be. In the meantime, some bureaucrats are busy trying to figure out how to make the punishment fit the crime.

Some state departments of education have threatened to withhold a high school diploma if a student doesn’t take and pass a so-called college readiness test in grade 11. However, no state legislature has passed a statute linking the award of a high school diploma to passing a state or federal mandated college readiness test in grade 11 (and it’s highly unlikely any legislature would).

Without such a statute in place, state departments of education cannot make local school boards withhold a high school diploma from students who have met other, legal requirements for a high school diploma. And if a grade 11 test is called a high school exit test, it raises serious questions about USED’s recent decision to let states use the SAT or ACT for an accountability purpose. These tests are known as only college admissions tests, NOT achievement tests or high school exit tests. Moreover, they cannot be constructed validly for more than one of these purposes.

In addition, USED itself sent 13 states a letter in November or December 2015 telling them that they needed to address high opt-out rates throughout the state or in specific school districts. The letter helpfully included possible examples of how states could act, such as lowering a school or district’s rating on state accountability systems, and counting non-participating students as not proficient for accountability purposes.

Opt-outs are the Achilles Heel of federal attempts via mandated Common Core-aligned testing to get very low-achieving students into college and to lower above-average student achievement in order to close demographic gaps. The more opt-outs there are, the less valid are any tests aligned to Common Core’s standards, and the less control federal and state policy makers have over the content of the school curriculum.

It has become difficult to remember that the central purpose of ESEA was to improve the education of low-income children. Civil Rights organizations immediately bought into the first authorization of ESEA in 1965, believing that targeting the education of low-income students with federal money would improve their education. But these organizations have steadfastly hewed to this position for over 50 years despite the fact that low-income kids’ scores have shown almost no improvement on National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests since their inception in the early 1970s, and despite the research showing little relationship between student achievement and spending for schools or per/student.

Will making states responsible for reducing opt-outs be effective and, if so, improve the education of low-income kids? All USED could say in its warning letter to the 13 states with high opt-out rates was that full student participation in its mandated assessments would provide “better information” to parents and teachers. Better than what? Is it the case that our teachers are incapable of discerning students who can read and write from those who can’t? What kind of information did PARCC or SBAC provide in 2015 that was more useful for instruction than information teachers had already gleaned from their own observations and tests?

After 50 years and billions of dollars, it is clear that increased regulations and more testing for all students in K-12 isn’t the answer.

If Common Core’s standards and tests are, as it is claimed, so much better than whatever schools were using before, why not use them only for low-achieving, low-income kids and let them catch up? Why can’t Congress amend ESSA to exempt students already at or above grade level in reading and mathematics and target ESSA funds to curriculum materials, teachers, and tests for just the kids who need a boost? That’s just the beginning. Maybe a different use of federal money is also needed.

We have no explanation from USED of why earlier incarnations of ESEA have been so fruitless. Nor do we know why Congress has been unwilling to demand accountability from its own policy-making education agencies, or why governors haven’t demanded accountability from their own education policy-making boards and departments? That’s where accountability needs to begin, not with teachers.

********

Sandra Stotsky is a former Senior Associate Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Education and is Professor of Education emerita at the University of Arkansas.

********

For more on the SBAC and its validity, rather, the lack thereof, see:

SBAC Tests Show No Validity or Reliability

Pearson and others are exploiting our children by using them to establish the validity, or lack thereof, of the SBAC

 

 

The Struggle over Mayoral Control of Seattle’s School Board

 

student-vote-democracy-word-cloud.jpg

This article was originally published in The Progressive.

Snuffing out Democracy-the Struggle over Mayoral Control of Seattle’s School Board

Seattle and the state of Washington have determinedly resisted the expanding privatization of our nation’s schools. Citizens protested standardized testing and voted three times to oppose charter schools in the state. The issue went to the state’s Supreme Court when a fourth charter school initiative passed with a push from big donors. The Washington State Supreme Court ruled that charter schools were unconstitutional. We watched as cities like Chicago and Detroit folded to privatization interests. We saw charter school operators take over entire districts as in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and the mostly minority communities of Michigan.

We wanted no part of it.

Seattle has taken back control of its local school board from individuals who supported a former Broad-trained Superintendent’s plans to close schools and convert public schools into charters, and who pushed discredited education reforms including an increase in high-stakes testing, use of under-qualified, short-term Teach for America, Inc. trainees, and tying teacher evaluations to student test scores.

Board%20Photo%20Dec%202015_Retake.jpg
From left to right, top to bottom: Stephan Blanford, Rick Burke, Jill Geary, Scott Pinkham, Betty Patu, Leslie Harris, Sue Peters

Some other examples of the Seattle School Board’s progressive actions include: initiating later school start times to better match students’ biological needs; passing a resolution to replace the Common Core SBAC test with more fair and valid assessments; establishing a $2 million “student stability” fund to mitigate upheaval at the start of the school year; demanding that special education students be served in the city’s preschool program; moving public testimony to a time when more working parents can participate; placing a moratorium on suspensions of elementary students for non-violent offenses; cutting ties with the Gates Foundation funded Alliance for Education; reaffirming board support of public schools and its opposition to charter schools and taking a stand with the superintendent opposing law-skirting efforts by the Office of the State Superintendent to channel public funding to illegal charter schools via the tiny Mary Walker School District In Eastern Washington.

At the same time, Seattle’s Mayor Ed Murray has been working behind the scenes to take mayoral control of Seattle’s School Board.

Back when he was a Washington state senator, Murray sponsored a failed bill proposing that any town or city in the state could hand over its school district to mayoral control. In the last few years Murray has assembled his own Department of Education and worked on privatizing preschool, using tax levy dollars to threaten established city- and county-subsidized preschools with a percentage of money taken away based on the number of children who do not perform well on tests.

Seattleites are aware of what has happened around the country with mayoral control and want no part of it. The NAACP opposed a recent bill on mayoral control along with the League of Women Voters of Washington State and various legislative districts.

The Mayor is now looking at other ways to gain control.

Ia letter sent to Mayor Murray from Regina Jones, who is now working for the Mayor’s office as an “executive on loan,” Jones spells out how to take over the school board by “cultivating candidates to serve on the board.” The plan is based on the success of two mayors in San Francisco who essentially embedded one of their own staffers on the school board because, “As in Seattle, [the San Francisco Unified School District] SFUSD was concerned about a takeover of the district by the mayor.” So the mayor needed to find a more subtle way to achieve that end—or something approximating it.

Ms. Jones recommends that the San Francisco superintendent become an “intermediary” engaging Seattle Public Schools at meetings such as the Council for Great City Schools. The San Francisco Superintendent recently quashed the San Francisco school board’s efforts to cut ties with the controversial five-week teacher training enterprise Teach for America.

Another recommendation is to cultivate and support “candidates to run for the board of [Seattle Public Schools] SPS.” This is the same approach the League of Education Voters, Stand for Children and the Democrats for Education Reform have used  to influence  school board meetings in Washington State. Ms. Jones wrote:

“As part of the suggested SF approach of working from “inside out”, have ongoing engagement of key SPS principals, particularly principals in Levy-supported schools, to further focus Levy funding on effective strategies, including full-year, experiential learning supported by business and philanthropic partners.”

An example of this is a partnership with the gaming tech company Zynega.

Mayor Lee, in his strategic plan for SFUSD titled Vision 2025, includes “blended learning” also referred to as “personalized learning.” What that means is each student has her own computer and uses it for lessons and tests, instead of shared class time with other students and interaction with a teacher. Summit charter school and Rocketship Charters are based on this approach. It’s less expensive in terms of operating costs and staff hours.

Vision 2025 also promotes interaction with the private sector, particularly the computer gaming sector. Per the letter:

“After implementing this new vision, the gaming academies are now thriving. More than half of the students are now women of color. The gaming academy at Balboa High School is exactly what tech company Zynega wanted—the academy allows Zynga to steep students in the culture of their industry, while developing a talent pipeline.”

The agreement with Zynega provides students with an opportunity to work with companies while in high school but this also appears to be a business opportunity for Zynega to develop “talent” for their own use.

Regina Jones’ letter is a game plan for gaining control of Seattle’s school board and the district. As Chris Hedges would say, it is “a coup d‘etat in slow motion”.

The Center for Public Education has written:

“Most researchers agree on one negative consequence — when mayors take charge of public schools, the role of parents and the community, especially among minority groups, can be marginalized and can further compromise democratic control of schools.”

In cities that have mayoral control of schools, and in Michigan where the entire state public school system is under the governor’s control, there is little to no opportunity for a democratic process.

In Chicago, under mayoral control, schools have been closed and many converted into charter schools, disrupting neighborhoods and scattering students to schools throughout the city.

Gloria Warner, president of Action Now and a retired teacher, said about the appointed school board in Chicago:

“The injustice being done to our kids through the closing of 50 schools, opening more corrupt charter schools, diverting our neighborhood schools and keeping democracy from the school board affects all of us.”

The statement was made at an event where community members were calling for an elected school board in 2015.

Former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan made an important piece of his agenda mayoral control of urban school districts and once said he would consider his time as education secretary a “failure” if more mayors didn’t take over city school systems by the end of his tenure.

In 2013 twenty-four public schools in the city were closed and five other schools were relocated or merged with other schools. An article published in Philadelphia’s Notebook stated:

“Neighborhoods, many anchored by the schools that were closed in June, were altered forever, leaving many families uncertain about what the future of public education in the city would look like.”

These school communities were made up of minority families whose neighborhoods were targeted for gentrification. Two years later a restaurant opened in a former school building. An article in AlterNet titled The Devastating Impact of School Closures on Students and Communities laid it out:

“a pop-up restaurant on the building’s eighth floor (opened), which served French food, craft beers, and fine wines. The rooftop terrace was decorated with student chairs and other school-related items found inside the building. Young millennials dubbed the restaurant “Philly’s hottest new rooftop bar,” while longtime residents and educators called it “a sick joke.” Situated in a quickly gentrifying community where nearly 40 percent of families still have incomes of less than $35,000, there was little question about who would be sipping champagne and munching on steak tartare on Bok’s top floor.”

Again in 2015, 5,000 Philadelphia students, mostly minority students, were affected by school closures. Many schools were converted into charter schools ignoring the pleas of parents and students who did not want to see their schools closed and/or converted into charter schools. As Diane Ravitch put it:

“Those of us who live in cities under mayoral control know that the primary result is not to improve education or to help struggling children, but to stifle the voices of parents, students, teachers, and community members. Under mayoral control, governance is transferred to the mayor and the power elite, few of whom have children in public schools or even attended one. Mayoral control snuffs out democracy.”

The most egregious example of a politician’s undemocratic control of public schools can be seen in the state of Michigan with the decision by former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm to hire Emergency Financial Managers. The emergency managers have the power to take control of a city’s government, reduce pay, outsource work, reorganize departments and modify employee contracts. Emergency managers can also deem school districts “failing,” close public schools and convert them into charter schools.

Robert BobbThe first appointed emergency manager, Robert Bobb, took over the Detroit Public School system in 2009. The County Circuit Court in 2011 found this takeover illegal but soon after, emergency managers were appointed in mostly minority communities around the state, including the city of Flint. In several of these towns, such as Highland Park, Michigan the public schools were closed and taken over by charter operators.

darnell_early-1Darnell Earley, the unelected manager of Flint, presided over the devastating decision to switch the city’s water supply to the Detroit River resulting in lead poisoning of residents throughout the city. After the water disaster, Mr. Earley was appointed by Governor Rick Snyder to become the CEO of Detroit Public Schools.

Now the Emergency Managers are being named CEOs, as in Chicago, and given more power.

These CEOs can:

  • Assume the financial and academic authority over multiple schools;
  • Assume the role of the locally elected school board for those schools they have been assigned;
  • Control school funds without the consent of the locally elected board;
  • Permanently close a school without the consent of the locally elected board;
  • Sell closed school buildings without the consent of the locally elected board; and
  • Convert schools into charter schools without the consent of the locally elected board.

The people have no voice or control over how their children are educated or by whom. The same holds true for mayoral control. That’s why, in Seattle, people are fighting back.

Dora Taylor

Post Script:

For a good history of Emergency Managers in Detroit, see:

Let’s not celebrate Darnell Earley’s departure from DPS just yet  

Email shows how Seattle Mayor Ed Murray plans to take over the school board

 

Mayor Murray
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray

If Mayor Murray wants to address the “achievement/opportunity gap” in a way that is more appropriate to his office, he needs to focus on a living wage for all in Seattle and affordable housing. That will go a long way in helping children succeed in school and in life. Leave education to the educators not politicians, attorneys and business interests.

The school board in recent years has become troublesome to business interests and those wanting to privatize the Seattle public school system. The board members have accomplished much through hard work and collaboration with each other and the school community, winning successes for students, teachers and families.

Some examples of what has been done by the school board are; initiating a change in school start times to better match students’ biological needs, passing a resolution to initiate the process to replace the SBAC with more fair and valid assessments, started a $2M “student stability” fund to mitigate upheaval at the start of the school year when adjustments of teaching staff per enrollment are made, demanding that special ed students be served in the city’s preschool program, moving public testimony time so that more working parents can participate, passed a resolution to place a moratorium on suspensions of K-5 students for non-violent offenses, passed a resolution in 2016 reaffirming board support of public schools and opposition to charter schools and took a stand with the superintendent opposing participation of Seattle Public Schools (SPS) in efforts by the Office of the State Superintendent to channel public funding to illegal charter schools via the Mary Walker School District.

In the meantime, Seattle’s Mayor Murray has been busy in the last few years assembling his own Department of Education and working on privatizing preschool, using levy dollars to threaten established city and county subsidized preschools with a percentage of money taken away by the number of children who do not perform, per assessments, up to an established standard set by the city.

This is what Mayor Murray refers to as ensuring a quality education for all.

He also thinks it’s a good idea to use imaginary unused classroom space for the preschool program.

While a Washington State Senator, Mayor Murray had sponsored a failed bill proposing that any town and city in the state could convert to mayoral control of a school district. Now he is after the Seattle School Board.

Seattleites are aware of what has happened around the country with mayoral control and want no part of it so the Mayor has come up with another way to control the school board by using the example of San Francisco mayors. This is their work-around.

In a letter sent to Mayor Murray from Regina Jones, who is now working for the Mayor’s office as an “executive on loan”, she spells out how to take over the school board by “cultivating candidates to serve on the board” based on the success of two mayors in San Francisco and with the work of Hydra Mendoza because “As in Seattle, SFUSD was concerned about a takeover of the district by the mayor”.

Ms. Mendoza, who works in Mayor Edwin Lee’s office in San Francisco and also served the previous Mayor, is the Senior Adviser of Family and Education Services. She is also on the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) school board. Conflict of interest? Many think so but Mendoza doesn’t, even though she is referred to as the “insider” who “serves as an enforcer” of the mayor’s policies and goals in the letter to Mayor Murray.

To follow are some of the excerpts from the letter:

  • It is recommended in the letter to spend tax dollars to continue “to engage with the Mayor of San Francisco’s key staff and with SFUSD to forge a strong, working relationship on education policy. This should include Seattle staff attendance to observe SFUSD board meetings and key education-related discussions/negotiations between the Mayor’s office and SFUSD….Although it will take an investment of time to bring SPS to the table.
  • Consideration should be given to identifying and pursuing long-term strategies for strengthening district governance, including…having an active role in the selection of the next superintendent…
  • Later in the letter it is suggested to take SFUSD up on its offer to facilitate a discussion with SPS (Seattle Public Schools) on SFUSD’s collective impact process to bring everyone “to the table” in selecting a new superintendent.

Ms. Jones continues with the additional recommendation that the San Francisco superintendent become an “intermediary” engaging SPS at meetings such as the Council for Great City Schools.The SFUSD Superintendent recently squashed the school boards efforts to cut ties with Teach for America. This is the kind of superintendent they like in San Francisco

  • As much as is practical while building collaboration with SPS, design and push forward Seattle versions of San Francisco’s initiatives, some of which are already launched in Seattle…

(Soon to be seen in the Seattle Times’ Education Lab section funded by Bill Gates.)

  • As part of the suggested SF approach of working from “inside out”. Have ongoing engagement of key SPS principals, particularly principals in Levy-supported schools, to further focus Levy funding on effective strategies, including full-year, experiential learning supported by business and philanthropic partners.

An example of this would be Zynega.

Mayor Lee came up with a strategic plan for SFUSD titled Vision 2025 which includes “blended learning” also referred to as “personalized learning”. In other words, every student has their own computer and uses it, replacing shared class time and interaction with a teacher. Summit charter school is based on this. It’s less expensive in terms of operating costs and staff hours.

This vision also includes interaction with the private sector, particularly the gaming and other computer based businesses in San Francisco and surrounding communities. Per the letter:

After implementing this new vision, the gaming academies are now thriving. More than half of the students are now women of color. The gaming academy at Balboa High School is exactly what tech company Zynega wanted- the academy allows Zynga to steep students in the culture of their industry, while developing a talent pipeline.

I think it’s great to provide students with an opportunity to work with these types of companies but it seems more like the business is developing “talent” for their own use.

In the 2013 “Spotlight” newsletter produced by SFUSD, earlier this fall, volunteers from the online social game maker Zynga brought in 20 staff volunteers to work with Balboa High’s Academy of Information Technology students who are learning game programming with tech employees who are a part of Microsoft’s TEALS program.

Interesting that Microsoft is involved with this at some level.

  • There is also an interesting parallel in the letter to Mayor Murray’s plan for preschool in Seattle. Per the letter “The private sector is now focused on early learning…”. Unfortunately the mayor’s program has been a big fail.

The Alliance of Education has been greatly influenced by Bill Gates for many years with millions being donated to the Alliance by way of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Now with ties cut between the Alliance and SPS, there is little power that business and private interests have over the board and SPS in general.

This letter describes an example of another way to gain control of the school board and the district.

If Mayor Murray wants to address the “achievement/opportunity gap” in a way that is more appropriate to his office, he needs to focus on a living wage for all in Seattle and affordable housing. That will go a long way in helping children succeed in school and in life. Leave education to the educators not politicians, attorneys and business interests.

Dora Taylor

For more on the content in this post, see:

 

Wayne Au, PhD: How a whiter Seattle creates more education inequities

racial inequality

Dr. Wayne Au is an Associate Professor of Education at the School of Educational Studies at University of Washington, Bothell, and an editor for Rethinking Schools, a magazine focused on issues of educational justice. He is a product of Seattle Public Schools (Garfield Class of ’90), and he earned his BA and MIT from The Evergreen State College. He also taught in Seattle Public Schools (including teaching at a program for drop outs) and in the Berkeley Unified School District before getting his Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction with a minor in Education Policy Studies, from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is published widely, including multiple articles in top-tier, peer-reviewed education journals, two solo-authored books, three edited books, and a long list of book chapters and magazine articles.

Dr. Au is also an advocate for public education.

This article was originally published at the Seattle Globalist:

How a whiter Seattle creates more education inequities

A recent Stanford study found that, of the nation’s biggest cities, Seattle has the fifth largest test score gap between black and white students in grades 3 through 8. According to the study, African American students in Seattle are 3.5 grade levels behind their white peers. Our city and state should be rightfully concerned.

However, in order to make sense of this achievement gap, it is important to understand the relationship between standardized tests, race, gentrification, and poverty in Seattle.

Economic and racial inequalities are intimately connected to standardized test scores.  Such tests are notorious for reproducing race and class inequalities, and it has been well established that standardized test scores correlate most strongly with wealth and affluence. Indeed, factors outside of school — including food insecurity, housing insecurity, lack of adequate healthcare, exposure to environmental toxins and other issues associated directly with poverty — can explain most of a student’s test score.

This connection between socioeconomic class and standardized tests is important because Seattle has changed. Seattle has gotten Whiter and more affluent in recent years.  In 2013 Seattle was 67 percent White, an almost 2 percent bump from 2010. In 2014 Seattle’s median household income was $71,000, almost 20 percent above the national average.

However, despite Seattle’s increasing wealth overall, Black families have gotten poorer. The Seattle median household income of Black Families in 2014 was only $25,700, down 13.5 percent from 2012. Black families are leaving the city too. The Central District was almost 80 percent African American in the 1970s, and it has decreased to 20 percent today. Many south suburbs now have a higher percentage of African American residents than Seattle’s 7.9 percent.

The decrease in Seattle’s African American population along with the sharp decrease in Black household income signals the likelihood that, in the face of rapid gentrification, Seattle’s Black middle class is leaving the city. One result is that the middle class Black children who would have scored somewhat better on the tests have left too. Another result is that the those African American children still in the city are even more disproportionately poor, where 42 percent of Black people in Seattle under the age of 18 live in poverty.

Given all of this, a significant Black/White test score gap in our city should not surprise anyone. Poverty and unequal access to resources are the one thing standardized tests are good at measuring.

I know from personal conversations that a lot of educators and parents are trying to make sense of Seattle’s test score gaps. Some say it is the fault of teachers. Some fault the state legislature for not meeting their constitutional mandate to fully fund education. Other culprits include district discipline policies and a curriculum that is alienating and not relevant to our kids.

All of these factors do have some responsibility. The recent destruction of alternative schools and programs with social justice, anti-racist curriculum demonstrate Seattle Public Schools’ resistance to materially support content aimed at connecting to the identities and lives of Black children. Teachers need to have a stronger and more critical racial consciousness. The state legislature has failed to fully fund public education funding for years now. Our district discipline policies and practices have consistently produced racist outcomes.

These are all issues we could and should take up if we are interested in improving Black student achievement in Seattle schools. We could implement culturally relevant curriculum and support it with well-funded training and resources, develop stronger and more critical racial awareness among teachers, staff, and administrators, increase the numbers of school counselors, psychologists, and family support workers, end punitive and racist disciplinary policies and practices, push the legislature for full funding, reduce class sizes, ensure access to more art, P.E., librarians, and recess and longer lunch periods.

All of these suggestions would go a long way to making schools more engaging and better places to learn, and they are all changes that can happen relatively quickly. However, if policymakers are interested in educational equity, instead of focusing on the Black/White test score gap , which is an overly-narrow and inherently flawed measure of achievement, they would do better to take issues like affordable housing, food security, access to quality healthcare, and living wages as seriously as any educational reforms they might propose.