In October, Spokane Superintendent Nancy Stowell asked parents in the Citizens Advisory Council what we want to discuss in future meetings. Resoundingly, we said: mathematics. Thus, the agenda of the Nov. 8 CAC meeting was to discuss mathematics. But the Nov. 8 meeting was tightly controlled. There was little opportunity for parent discussion of mathematics.
Citizens Advisory Council Meeting, Nov. 8, 2010, 6:45 p.m.
District administrators devoted the first part of the Nov. 8 meeting to issues other than mathematics.
- Board member Dr. Jeff Bierman discussed the district’s bond sale and the district's wonderful bond rating. (It’s lovely how wonderful the district’s bond rating is, even when the district’s academic programs are so poor.)
- Tim Henkel, of the United Way, asked parents to partner with the United Way. He handed out a sign-up sheet. (I signed his sheet. Why not? Perhaps he can get the district to change the K-8 math materials.)
- Dr. Stowell discussed a “longitudinal study” the district will conduct to determine specific characteristics and “markers” of children who “get off track” in school.
The district presentation included these topics: Collaboration in Buildings, Principals’ Conferences; Walk-Throughs; Data-Driven Dialogue; Standards-Based Grading and Reporting; Professional Development; Coaching; and Curriculum.
According to Dr. Campbell, Biggerstaff, Dennis, Ketcham-Duchow and McKenzie all “work with teachers to build their capacity.” They are “professional development leaders,” as well as writers of curriculum.
An administrator discussed the new emphasis on data-driven dialogue (which is where, mind you, the emphasis should always have been).
An administrator presented graphs showing how Spokane students achieve more than students across the state. Also discussed were “strand data,” and the SAT, NAEP, and TIMSS, all of which supposedly point to student success in Spokane.
When you look at actual pass rates on the WASL, MSP, and HSPE, you can’t help but weep for the children. Look at the pass rates for 2010: (“Pass rates on 2010 math tests shocking”).
During the standards-based grading piece of the presentation, district administrators discussed the new “standards-based grading,” which has caused smart, capable students in Spokane to burst into tears.
- Teacher unions and staff unions can vote no-confidence in the superintendent, the school board, and the district. They can threaten to give up. When that doesn't have an effect, they can walk out.
- Taxpayers can say no to levies and bonds.
- Parents can continue to pull their children out of math classes, out of schools, and out of the district altogether.