November 07, 2007
More Good News From The Election
Posted by Jim Miller at November 07, 2007
01:39 PM | Email This
Challengers backed by
Where's the Math? are leading in two
Eastside school board races.
Math curriculum topped candidate races in the Bellevue and Lake Washington districts, where all the
challengers are members of "Where's the Math?" — a statewide group advocating that districts move
away from so-called "new math" curriculum to use more computation-based or traditional math.
In Bellevue, returns showed longtime Bellevue resident Michael Murphy had a slight lead on incumbent
Jan Still for the Director District 4 seat.
. . .
For Lake Washington's Director District 2 position, parent Chris Carlson was winning against Matt Gregory,
who was appointed to the seat in June.
You can track these races here and
(Background on Where's the Math?
Interestingly, when the Lake WA school board had a sudden opening a short while back, Carlson was the only one who had applied for the temporary seat that would be filled until this election. Amazingly, when the board saw that the application deadline had come and gone and that he was the lone applicant, they SLEAZILY decided to "extend" the deadline and proceeded to go looking for someone who they apparently didn't think would rock their croney boat. And instead of appointing him as the one guy who'd met the application deadline and had passion and enthusiasm for the job, 3 kids attending schools in the district and was ready to take on the responsibility, they arrogantly ignored him and got someone else.
When I heard this story a couple weeks ago, I was MAD. I decided right then and there that I was voting for Carlson and got two others to vote for him. This was an especially good win that smacked down the dysfunction going on at the Lk WA board. You go, Chris!
PS--I would like to add that Ravi Shahani was the only one on the board NOT acting like a jerk. He seems to be a good guy and a positive force on the board. The rest.....?
2. Yes, Michele is absoultely right. Not only that, the WEA gave the installed candidate $1000 for his campaign. The opponet, Gregory, was a nice older guy with absoultely no clue what was going on. Unfortunately, he was willing to sell himself to the union and could care less about the future of these kids. After spending four months on the board and hearing very heated testimony from parents over the math curriculum, he still had no opinion yet on the issue. Hardly someone you want to give control to.
3. Coincidental timing???? http://www.bsd405.org/Portals/0/administration/Superintendent/MikeRileyAcceptsCollegeBoardJobNR.pdf
You gotta love the hype in that Bellevue press release!
"Most important was his creating a culture where principals and teachers alike were committed to the idea that, given the right academic support, all students could achieve in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs... This commitment led to extraordinarily high enrollments in advanced courses and the appearance of the district?s high schools in three consecutive publications of Newsweek?s lists of top high schools in the U.S."
What a joke! As a tutor, I saw first-hand the result of Riley's folly. I tutored a kid who *NEVER* should have been placed on the "honors" track. All Riley did was LOWER THE BAR for what qualified as an "honors student". I found myself tutoring a C-student who had been labeled an "honors student" and couldn't even do long division as a graduating senior at the International School!
Under Riley, the term "honors student" has completely lost any credibility or meaning.
5. Well, good news, Riley announced his resignation today. He's been offered a job with the College Board in VA. Let's see what damage he can do there now. The SAT needs to be dumbed down now.
Believe it or not, math in Bellevue was worse before Riley came on board. He made some unpopular changes like standardizing the curriculum across the district and making math teachers talk to each other from K-12. Many teachers quit rather than give up their personalized plans that had no consistency and no accountability. The push towards AP at least gives a standard to reach, the former Honors program was whatever the teacher wanted it to mean.
Given that, the math program in Bellevue has a long ways to go. I'm glad to see that Michael Murphy is beating an incumbent who was never observed speaking at a meeting.
I'm sorry to see Riley go, but most everyone figured he was going to move soon. He spent 12 years hear which is unheard of for superintendents. I'll take Bellevue schools any day over Issaquah, Lake Washington, Mercer Island or North Shore.
I'm going to guess you live in Bellevue and have imbibed quite a bit of the local kool-aid. Turns out, if you didn't live there, you probably wouldn't make that last statement. Especially if you look at the data and see that Bellevue was the *only* district around that went DOWN in math this year - below levels of the other districts you mention (which all showed substantial gains).
Look at WASL and SAT scores. If you were data driven, you'd probably take back your last statement.
Bill - Bellevue tests all possible students, including special needs and recent immigrants. There are probably more recent immigrants in Bellevue than in the other districts I mentioned. They also let anyone take AP who wants to, they don't cherry pick who takes the class and who takes the tests (like Mercer Island, and I'm sure the other eastside districts). The result? Higher than national average for passing the AP tests.
One year does not a trend make on WASL and SAT. Check your statistics.
I don't agree with Riley on a lot of issues. But I appreciate that he always makes himself available for anyone who invites him to speak. He answers his email promptly. He tells you what he thinks, not what you want to hear. He has many fans and many detractors, which supports that he isn't the usual educrat who talks in code words meant to make you nod your head and walk away.
I disagreed with his court suit against the state for school funding. He was for Simple Majority, which I thought was a bad idea. It's easy to take pot shots. Make an informed argument, and I'll take you seriously.
9. Where's the Math has an e-newletter. Contact them and get on the list, it is worthwhile.
Here's the Seattle Times article on Mike Riley leaving:
They report the following to try to gain some balance, I suppose:
"But some teachers and parents have criticized these efforts, saying standardized curriculum and the Curriculum Web constrict teachers and limit their ability to be creative and tailor lessons to individual classrooms.
The district has the highest turnover rate of teachers of any other district in the state, said Stephen Miller, president of the Bellevue Education Association, which represents the district's 1,200 teachers.
An anonymous survey of hundreds of Bellevue teachers last June showed a high level of dissatisfaction with their jobs. Miller attributes the discontent to the Curriculum Web."
Mike Riley put up a straw dog, and now that it's all coming crashing down he is bailing mid-year leaving the district in the middle of his contract. As the exit exams from Bellevue SD continue to decline and the gap in success with the at risk kids continues to grow he will be long gone and not held accountable.
Wow, Janet seems to be the one uninformed while she spews falsehood after falsehood. Hard to know where to begin.
All districts test all students -- bellevue is not special...except in that our score went down (from not that good a level) while virtually all the other districts she mentions went up (from/to higher levels than us).
One year is not a trend..the trend is not as good for Bellevue compared with the districts you mention. Do you homework so you can be informed.
Let anyone take the AP test? No, here they virtually force all kids to take AP classes and won't let them drop or not take the test. All great to get high on the newsweek list (which measures soley by #ap tests/#seniors)...and our district is a great example of how one can force students to do things to make high marks on such a silly list. A number of friends have been pushed off to Robbinswood because they weren't doing the AP thing....and administration didn't want their schools to lose in the Newsweek rating.
All this results in kids in wrong classes (see post above), huge teacher turnover (highest in the state..how sad) and kids forced into round holes even if they are square learners.
Informed..yes....Janet...hold off on the kool-aid and look objectively.
Go ahead and believe that all districts test all students. Like Seattle deciding that a bunch of sophomores really were freshmen, and so weren't eligible to take the WASL. If a district wants to, they can game the system.
I wouldn't judge any school by their results on the WASL. The test has never been norm tested, no one really knows what it is testing. I know kids who are failing at math who pass, and ones who are brilliant at math who can't pass it. The test is meaningless, which is why the legislature has delayed making it a graduation requirement. (BTW, my kids passed all parts all three times they took it, so this isn't a sour grapes thing.)
Your AP comment is odd. If you look at the results, the passing rate of 3 or better is higher in Bellevue than the national average. That would mean that all those students "forced" into AP classes might actually be learning something that is challenging. Too bad you think that a lot of students are too stupid to be in college prep classes.
It is a myth that Bellevue forces students into AP or forces them to Robinswood. Of course, once a student has signed up, they don't let them out easily, and don't let them drop midway because they are doing poorly. Instead they provide all sorts of support services and tutorials to help the student be successful. Isn't that what everyone here wants, a school district that has high standards and holds their students to it? I'm confused.
Bellevue has a challenge of a large immigrant population and some low income areas that are larger than surrounding districts. Check the scores by individual schools, and you will see the true story of what is going on. Demographics is a better predictor of success than anything else.
1. Most posts here (and you are among them usually) are for accountability. When faced with accountable data that doesn't support your personal belief about your schools, you choose to say the test is bad for all sorts of reasons. Sounds awfully like the liberals you like bashing -- unlike the otherwise conservative postions you prefer (like 60% majority, etc.). Use or don't use data. Don't ignore it when you don't like the results. The funniest thing is your post up above is about the importance of accountability and how teachers quit when held accountable -- so at some level you claim to embrace accountability and facts. Your inconsistency is black/white -- you have your conclusion and you don't care what the facts are.
2. You give one small example about testing -- related to a district that you don't even list in the first case and wasn't my point of argument.
3. Finally, check the percentage of kids leaving us for private school. Last I checked it was nearly 20% -- well above all districts around here except for Seattle. Guess a lot of parents look behind the PR hype and make decisions best for their kids, not Newsweek lists.
Good luck on applying your own standards to your own thinking (accountability, facts) and reading beyond the PR our district spews. Finally, about robbinswood, i know kids and families that indicate how wrong you are about this.
As the co-founder of Where's the Math, I suggest you watch a video we made on Bellevue that points out the truth of the matter. (you can find the video at www.wheresthemath.com ) We have been digging into Bellevue's real scores such as the entrance exam going into any one of the 5 state universities, the SAT's, and the number of kids going into community college who need remedial math. The findings are shocking. Bellevue is nothing more than an orchestrated smoke and screen.
While the WASL scores have continuously gone up over the years, the standardized ITBS and SAT test remained stagnant for the same ten year period. This inconsistency was glaring. So what did OSPI do? They managed to convince the legislature to drop the ITBS. As of now, we parents have no test in place that compares us to other states until the kids take the SAT; and by then it's too late.
Bellevue's teachers are not quitting because they don't want to be accountable, they're quitting because they are forced to teach unproven, faddish crap to their students. It's the ethical teachers who are standing up to Riley and telling him they won't stand for this inferior curriculum. The early round of teachers that quit were all degreed in math. Now, a math degree is secondary, if necessary at all. What Riley wants are teachers indoctrinated in constructivist pedagogy, and real math degrees don't align.
15. My doctorate is in education and if one removes a lot of the political ideology out of the classroom, I believe that Where is the Math is on target with their analysis and what they are doing in the education arena. Watch the video, check out their site. As the kids say, it is all good. We need to get back to basics in education and we need to have an institutional structure which allows good teachers to do what they do best which is to teach kids and change lives for the better.