A burst of activity late last week brought from 23 to 28 the number of proposed Washington charter schools for which operators say they intend to seek state approval, but they’ll be competing for just eight new openings per year starting this fall. Now filed are notices of intent to apply by November 22, with the first eight winners to be picked in late February by Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s Charter School Commission. We’ve integrated key data from the 28 notices of intent into an Excel spreadsheet which accents a diverse range of actors intending to shake up Washington K-12 public education and model new paths to academic success.
Collaboration in Civic Spheres
Archive for the ‘Education’ Category
by Matt Rosenberg October 25th, 2013
A first-time ever comparison of academic achievement between U.S. states and foreign countries – focused on eighth grade math and science mastery – shows Washington’s rankings are above average globally and nationally but still have a long way to go. Released just this week, the report “U.S. States in a Global Context” from the U.S. government’s Center for Education Statistics shows that Washington eighth-graders on average ranked behind 15 other states in math results and also that their predicted offshore rankings lagged seven of the 47 foreign nations or foreign subdivisions included in study results. The Evergreen state was also bested in average science scores by 21 other U.S. states as well as in predicted global standings by Taipei, South Korea, Japan, Finland, Alberta, the Russian Federation, Slovenia, and Singapore.
by Matt Rosenberg October 2nd, 2013
There’s not yet any evidence the City of Seattle’s Family Support Program for at-risk students in Seattle Public Schools is improving academic outcomes, and changes in the program’s focus, worker training and performance metrics appear necessary, say University of Washington researchers who recently published their findings in the journal Advances in School Mental Health Promotion.
by Matt Rosenberg June 25th, 2013
A new report from Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley suggests the Seattle Public Schools have left uncollected potentially several million dollars of revenues for facility rentals and related costs in recent years, much of it since last September. In addition to 9,000 hours of un-billed rentals, the district is also failing to monitor and collect on past due bills it has issued for facilities rentals; has disguised outside rentals as internal events, causing more revenue loss; has failed to follow insurance documentation requirements for outside events; and hasn’t trained many staff as needed on a new rentals record-keeping system.
According to the new accountability audit, the district failed to collect rental fees for about 9,000 hours worth of use of its facilities by outside at 2,432 special events on premises from last September through this April. District rental rates vary from $8.00 per hour to $88.90 per hour. Additional hourly fees are often charged for utilities, cleaning and security, ranging from $47 to $73.85. Combined rates thus could range from $56 per hour at the low end to as high as $162.75 per hour at the high end. The report says the amount of lost revenue can’t be quantified but that auditors believe it is “substantial.”
If all of the roughly 9,000 un-billed hours hours were charged at the minimum combined rental and services rate the revenue would have been $504,000; if all were billed at the highest combined rental and services rate – something that is unlikely – the recovered revenues would have been $1.46 million.
In addition the audit reports that the school district estimates it has left another $400,000 to $820,000 uncollected from the City of Seattle Parks and Recreation Department in shared 2006-2011 revenues related to adult usage of facilities and lighting fees. The school district failed to invoice Parks and lacks supporting documentation so cannot recover the monies it believes it is due.
The audit also says that of $223,213 in rental fees charged in from last September through this April, $102,913 remains uncollected and those payments are an average of 115 days overdue. The report adds, “The rentals office is not monitoring these past due accounts, nor is it sending delinquent accounts to collections.” Any additional past due amounts before last September can’t be calculated due to lack of records, the audit says.
In three cases, district staff disguised outside events as internal and lost $45,000 in the process, the audit also finds. Further, rentals overseers aren’t documenting insurance and concussion policy compliance, which could increase liability upon a death during an outside event, the audit states. A third of schools tested in the audit were’t using the district’s new online system for scheduling outside events.
The audit recommends the Seattle School District train staff to follow facilities usage guidelines; train staff who are assigned to do scheduling and event approvals in the new online system; follow-up on past due bills; and reconcile shared revenues from Parks with its own calculations of its share.
In a response in the audit the District says it concurs with the findings and will take the recommended corrective steps.
by Mike Klaczynski May 15th, 2013
To graduate from a public high school in Washington, students in the classes of 2013 and 2014 must pass the state’s High School Proficiency Exam (HSPE) in reading and writing and an End-Of-Course (EOC) test in either algebra or geometry. Starting in 2015 those requirements will grow to include EOCs in algebra and geometry, and biology. State assessment tests called the Measurement of Student Progress (MSP) are also given in grades three through eight to help students, parents, teachers and administrators assess academic progress and adjust teaching methods and curriculum as deemed necessary. For non-special education students, passing the regular tests requires a grade of Level 3 (proficient) or Level 4 (advanced). Using Washington state data on achievement tests taken and passed in math and reading in different Seattle public schools across different grade levels, we developed the following interactive data visualization. Explore it to see how neighborhood public schools rate, compared to others in the district.
1) Make your selections. Under “choose grade,” use the pull-down menu to select a type of school (elementary, K-8, middle, high). Using the “compare schools” tool select one school, or all schools within that category, or a custom combination of schools. Under “choose a test,” select either math or reading.
2) Explore the data. Here’s an example. By choosing all elementary schools and state reading test pass rates, you can: a) get a quick comparative overview via a mouse-over of any school’s dot on the map. You’ll see a pop-up box summary for each dot over which you hover, with a combined multi-year pass rate in the chosen subject, and relative ranking versus peer schools within the district; b) drill in to a school’s data by clicking on its map dot. Then you will have two more views of the data – above to the left (percent low-income and not, plus total number of tests taken); and below (yearly results by grade, subject and income group, versus district averages).
Additional technical notes:
by Matt Rosenberg March 20th, 2013
Under proposed new state regulations all-night vigils by off-campus groups would be allowed outside of Seattle Central Community College, but a no-camping proviso already enacted would stay in place and a series of other guidelines would be enacted around the exercise there of First Amendment-protected free speech rights. Non-college protest groups such as “Occupy Seattle” – whose wild and wooly days-long encampment on the college’s grounds in fall 2011 sparked conflict with the college and neighbors while inspiring declarations of support from faculty and students – would be subject to a registration clause. They’d have to comply with provisions to limit noise; clean-up; pay costs for any litter left and damages caused; and refrain from blocking students and faculty from using college facilities. There’s also a long list of what constitutes prohibited “camping,” as well as a ban on leaflets with obscene language or incitements to violence, and a strong suggestion such flyers include author or group contact information, to encourage accountability.
by Matt Rosenberg March 14th, 2013
In 2012, pass rates on the eighth-grade state achievement test exceeded the state average of 56.6 in four of nine Thurston County School Districts, and were lower in the other five. The best pass rate on that test among the county’s districts was in Olympia, where 66.9 percent of eighth-graders met the state performance standard in math. Three of the five districts which underperformed the state average on this metric had markedly low pass rates. They were Yelm, 39.2 percent; Tenino, 39.4; and Centralia, 43.8 percent. The Centralia, Yelm and Rochester districts include parts of neighboring counties.
The data come from the Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and are viewable through customized visualizations users can create with the Washington Achievement Data Explorer (WADE) developed by the Center for Education Data and Research at the University of Washington-Bothell. The first visualization below portrays the eighth grade state math test pass rates for Thurston County districts versus the state average. They are ranked on the right by 2012 outcomes, but by hovering over any district’s name, the seven-year history for the chosen metric can be tracked.
On the eighth grade state reading achievement test, five of nine Thurston school districts outperformed the state average in 2012 and four underperformed it.
By clicking on “Explore The Data” in the lower right-hand corner of either of the above charts, you can enter the WADE interface at Google Public Data Explorer and devise a customized report from the state data, choosing different measures, grades and districts. Demographic data for each district or school, which is often correlated with outcomes, is also available. Among other features, Google Public Data Explorer provides customized HTML embed code for each data set that is constructed by users. This can be used to easily create charts like those displayed here, for Web sites or blogs. You can also enter the WADE interface, with a tutorial, through the the UW-Bothell/CEDR gateway.
Some previous reports we’ve generated here recently have compared statewide eighth-grade pass rates on the state math and reading tests with results from among major urban region school districts in Washington; and between districts in Pierce, in Snohomish and in King counties. We also examined trends in statewide average pass rates in math and reading for all K-12 grades which take the tests.
Editor’s Note: some of the general explanatory verbiage in this article was borrowed from our own above-linked articles.
by Matt Rosenberg March 11th, 2013
Recently updated state data packaged into customizable visualizations through the University of Washington-Bothell’s Center For Education Data and Research and its Washington Achievement Data Explorer (WADE) tool show that for third, fourth, fifth, eighth and tenth-graders in Washington, average statewide pass rates on state achievement tests in math and reading have been either relatively flat or down between 2006 and 2012. Pass rates on the state tests have grown for sixth and seventh-graders. A series of visualizations follow; as we mine the OSPI/WADE data on statewide pass rate progress for all grades taking the tests. By clicking on “Explore Data” in any of the visualizations, users can enter WADE’s Google Public Data Explorer interface and add in other school districts to compare results to the statewide data.
Some previous reports we’ve generated here recently have compared statewide eighth-grade pass rates on the state math and reading tests with results from among major urban region school districts statewide; and from districts in Pierce, Snohomish and King counties. Now we’ll dive in to the state average pass rate results by grade – and progress, if any – from 2006 through 2012. Hover over the graph line for exact rates by year.