Summer Help in Math

** Do your children need outside help in math?
Have them take a free placement test
to see which skills are missing.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

PDC launching a formal investigation regarding Spokane Public Schools

By Laurie H. Rogers

The Public Disclosure Commission notified me today that, pursuant to my filing of a complaint Sept. 28 with respect to Spokane Public Schools, the Commission is launching a formal investigation.

My complaint focuses on two issues: the district's dealings with school board candidate Deana Brower, and the district's activities with respect to the 2009 bond and levy ballot propositions.

For more on the complaint, please see this page:

Please stay tuned. There will be more to come.


Chud Wendle said...

Wow! We live in Pullman and you are even requesting info from us? Amazing you have so much time on your hand. BTW - I was a 3rd generation product of Spokane Public Schools and wouldn't have changed a thing. Please get on to more productive things than digging into our public records.

Laurie H. Rogers said...

Hello, Mr. Wendle. Thank you for writing. I’m not “digging” into your public records. I’m digging into OUR public records at this publicly funded school district. Shining a little sunlight into what the district does with our $500 million+ taxpayer dollars can only be productive. I haven't requested any information at all from you. I don't know you, and I don't believe you and I have ever talked, have we? I'm always happy to discuss the issues with you whenever you like.

I'm glad you're happy with the education you received. If you didn’t receive outside tutoring or supplementation, and you were qualified to attend college without remediation when you graduated from Spokane Public Schools, then I'm happy for you. Nowadays, an experience like that would be the exception for students in Spokane Public Schools, not the rule.

I’m concerned with how things are for the 28-29,000 students currently in the Spokane system. I suspect if they understood what was happening to them, they might ask the district to begin teaching them sufficient arithmetic, grammar, cursive writing, civics and an objective view of history. They might ask for less group work and more instruction. They might ask for more academic freedom for their teachers.

During the 2008-09 adoption process for high school math materials, the students did ask the district for instruction, clarity, structure, an index, explanations, examples, etc. The district “reframed” all of that valuable feedback, pretty much eliminating it. I worked hard to provide the students' actual feedback to the adoption committee.

I continue to hear from students and parents who want those things. It doesn't seem to matter how many of them there are, Mr. Wendle, or how much they struggle in this failing system. The district appears to not hear them. I believe the students' needs are largely drowned out by the district's nearly complete focus on money.

I'm just a parent, just trying to do a good thing for my community. I am focused on accountability, transparency, and academics. You're correct. My efforts do take a lot of time.

Lately, those efforts are proving to be more productive. They say, however, that if you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door. If you can think of a more efficient, more effective way to persuade the district to provide public-school students with sufficient academics -- and we, the people with accountability and transparency for our half a billion taxpayer dollars -- I'm definitely open to ideas.

Chud Wendle said...

Big difference between "your" and "our" other than missing a "y". Yes, I did have to provide information because of your PRR. Why would you ask for a PRR from us and then follow up with an absolutely crazy question "Have we ever talked?" No, I don't know you and am still scratching my head as to why I received a PRR from you. BTW - Our kids were 4th generation Dist 81 students before we moved to Pullman. I guess our kids along with our friends kids were exceptions. Upon transferring to Pullman School Dist, our kids were ahead or at Pullman's standards (in a college town), which I think is good. I'm just a parent too looking for the best possible education system for our kids and wouldn't have had them go anywhere else in Spokane.

Laurie H. Rogers said...

Hello, Mr. Wendle.

I haven't requested anything from you. I've requested information from the school district. Those are public records, and the public is entitled to see them.

If you want to know what I'm trying to do, feel free to write or call me. I'm happy to talk with you, if you ever want to do that.

If you're satisfied with the results you received in Spokane, I'm glad. Many other parents are confused about why their high-school students and graduates have almost no usable skills in arithmetic or grammar. Their children will need one or more classes of remedial math before beginning college math. Almost half of the students who take remedial math will fail those classes or withdraw early. These statistics were provided to me by the SCC.

The district keeps saying college readiness is the goal, but its math program is inadequate for that task. I've been saying that for five years, and the district has planted its feet on its K-8 math program and refused to budge.

Now, the district is preparing to adopt an untested, unfunded, unproved, unnecessary nationalized math program -- for several million taxpayer dollars. Yet, it tells the people it's short on funds and wants more from the levy.

If that doesn't bother you, that's up to you. It bothers me. I'm doing my best to figure out what the district is doing. It isn't about you or me. It's about accountability, transparency, and academics. That's really all this is about.

Janice Kelly said...

lolx Chud Wendle I'm agreed with you calm down :) and laure i think your post is quit good keep sharing

Anonymous said...

Incredible points. Solid arguments. Keep up the great work.