Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Data viz: Seattle public schools “pass rates” on state tests

by 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:

  • Aggregate pass rates for schools were calculated by the author using number of tests passed versus number taken, from the state’s data because the state’s own pass rates for some schools in some subjects did not match the data.
  • Pass rate data for some schools in some years are not available because it was not included in the state’s datasets.
  • “Low-income” students are currently defined by the state as those eligible for free or reduced-price school meals.
  • The state high school math assessment test was not offered in the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 school years because it was being redesigned.
  • In 2008 and prior, the equivalent of the MSP, HSPE and EOC tests was called the Washington Assessment of Student Learning, or WASL.
  • RELATED: FAQs on state testing from Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction; additional information on who must take what when, and alternative tests.

    Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News. Donate; subscribe (free)/volunteer.

    U.S.: Washington stays near top in carbon-free capitalism

    by May 14th, 2013

    A new report from the U.S. Department of Energy shows Washington state has continued through 2010 to remain near the top among all 50 states in fueling its economy with minimal consumption of carbon dioxide emissions. According to the report from the department’s Energy Information Administration, Washington in 2010 ranked sixth lowest nationally for the tenth year in a row in metric tons of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions per million dollars of gross domestic product (GDP). The only states ranking lower in 2010 in proportion of energy-related carbon dioxide emitted to fuel their economies were, in order, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, California, and Oregon.

    The report emphasizes that what is being measured is based on where the energy is used, not where it is produced. But in the states whose economies are most tied to carbon emissions in the report, a lot of the consumption of that greenhouse gas actually occurs in order to produce fossil fuels.

    The states using the most energy-related carbon dioxide per million dollars GDP were Wyoming, North Dakota, Alaska, West Virginia and Louisiana. The report notes, “All these are fossil-energy-producing states. The activity of producing energy is itself energy intensive.”

    Another important metric in the report is per-capita, or per person, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions per state. There, Washington ranked eighth lowest among all 50 states in 2010, and between sixth and tenth lowest straight through from 2000 to 2009.

    Looking at the percentage decrease in per capita energy-related carbon dioxide emissions from 2000 through 2010, only nine states outpaced Washington, which decreased by nearly one-fifth, in percentage terms.

    The EIA also analyzed each state for 2010 energy-related carbon dioxide emissions by major sector of usage. In Washington, the commercial sector was responsible for 3.8 percent, electric power production for 13.1 percent of the usage, the residential sector for 5.1 percent, industrial 12.0 and transportation a relatively whopping 42.1 percent.


    Study overview page with tables in .pdf and Excel.

    Public Data Ferret’s Energy+Environment archive.

    Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News. Donate; subscribe (free)/volunteer.

    5 years for repeat DUI offender, after Snoqualmie bust

    by May 10th, 2013

    With nine prior convictions from 1986 to 2005 for driving under the influence of alcohol plus felony convictions in Yakima County for two counts of vehicular manslaughter and one for vehicular assault – stemming from a 1991 tragedy when he had a blood alcohol level of .30 – Dwight Lloyd Casady was driving without a legal license along Railroad Avenue at River Street in Snoqualmie, Wash.

    According to King County Court documents, police signaled him to stop because his taillights were covered with mud. He was very slow to respond and drove half on the shoulder for some distance.

    Field sobriety and blood alcohol tests showed him to be clearly impaired.

    Asked to place his right heel to his left toe, he kept falling.

    When an officer who had taken him to the station noticed a particular smell he admitted he had urinated himself.

    Compounded by a high “offender score” from his past record, Casady, 47, of Harrah, Wash. last Friday May 3 in King County Superior Court was sentenced to five years in prison for his felony DUI conviction based on the January arrest in Snoqualmie.

    A charge also filed in connection with the January incident, for driving with a suspended or revoked license, a gross misdemeanor, was ultimately not prosecuted.

    In the 1991 tragedy in Yakima County, Casady’s impaired driving resulted in the deaths of two and the “serious maiming” of a third person, court records state.

    The related convictions for vehicular homicide and vehicular assault earned him a sentence in October 1991 of 89 months, or almost seven-and-a-half years.

    Yet records in the recent case also reveal that by 1997 he was out of jail and convicted in that year for one of his nine DUIs, plus two more in 1998.

    His most recent DUI conviction prior to Friday’s felony sentence was in 2005.

    His extralegal endeavors also include felony convictions in Snohomish County in 2002 for theft and unlawful imprisonment. Overall, Dwight Lloyd Casady has been named as a defendant 57 times in municipal and superior courts in Washington since 1980, primarily in Yakima and Snohomish counties. In 1999, the Seattle Times reported he was attacked with an axe and underwent surgery as a result, after threatening to kill a man for spilling a beer in a Snohomish County bar.

    In response to last week’s felony DUI conviction, Casady’s attorney, Seth D. Conant, immediately filed notice of intent to appeal.

    Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News. Donate; subscribe (free)/volunteer.

    WA Auditor: New finance IT system could cut waste

    by May 9th, 2013

    By rustling up $172 million for a badly needed, contemporary enterprise-wide financial management system Washington state government could reap benefits approaching or perhaps exceeding $228 million in saved effort and improved processes, as awkward computer software workarounds, laborious redundancies and other workaday inefficiencies tied to musty legacy software finally get a proper burial. That’s the conclusion of a new 200-plus page performance audit released Wednesday by Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley.

    12 surgeries for Renton DUI victim; perp gets 6 months

    by May 9th, 2013

    When Garrett A. Bakken last July was charged with the felony DUI offense of vehicular assault after veering off Lake Washington Boulevard in Renton, Wash. and slamming into a pedestrian on a pathway, the story garnered coverage from local television and online news outlets and even made the New York Daily News. According to court files, Bakken’s blood alcohol level was nearly two-and-a-half-times the legal limit, and he initially drove away after the impact. At first, the victim’s identity was unknown. Last week on Friday May 3 to no fanfare Bakken, following an earlier plea agreement, was issued by King County Superior Court Judge Andrea Darvas a “standard range” sentence on the charge for a first-time felony offender: six months work release. Starting later this month the Renton man, 28, will go each weekday to work but spend nights and weekends in county custody until nearly Thanksgiving. For the victim, however, life is nowhere near its “standard range” prior to the accident.

    Few births in Washington outside of marriage; 5th lowest rate

    by May 7th, 2013

    Washington state has one of the lowest rates of out-of-wedlock births in the U.S., according to the Census Bureau. A new report issued in May 2013 says that in the most recent year for which detailed American Community Survey data on the subject are available – 2011 – 35.7 percent of births nationwide were to unmarried women. In Washington, the rate was just 27.7 percent or fifth lowest overall, but it ranged widely within the state by metro region. Tri-Cities and Bremerton were far below the national average, while greater Seattle, Olympia and Bellingham were somewhat below it. Spokane was slightly below the national average, Wenatchee above it, and Longview and Yakima far in excess of it. State-by-state, the only ones with lower overall rates than Washington were Utah, New Hampshire, Montana and Nebraska. They ranged from 14.7 percent to 25.3 percent. It matters, say the authors of the report, because children born outside of marriage are more likely to be raised in poverty, and have poor developmental and behavioral outcomes.

    Software consultant charged in Renton sex sting

    by April 22nd, 2013

    An Orange County, Calif. Oracle software expert who bills himself at his LinkedIn page as current “finance lead consultant at Boeing” has been charged in Washington state with the felony crime of commercial sexual exploitation of a minor after a sting operation by Seattle Police resulted in his arrest at Spring Hill Suites Renton less than two weeks ago.

    According to a report from the Seattle Police Department’s Vice/High Risk Victims Unit, attached to King County Superior Court charging papers in the case, Javier Ramos Palomino, 48, of Aliso Viejo, Calif. was ensnared in a Seattle Police vice unit sting operation that began at an online hook-up site. It involved an apparent 15-year-old female prostitute.

    Prosecutors: online sex predator victimized girls in WA, PA

    by April 17th, 2013

    In separate cases, criminal prosecutors in King County, Washington and Delaware County, Pennsylvania have charged the same 20-year-old Virginia man with felony sex offenses after he used social media to arrange hook-ups allegedly resulting in sex with young teen girls. Charged in King County with Rape of a Child 3 and in Delaware County with a series of alleged sex crimes is Ashley Ryan Hareford. He is now was being held in lieu of a $1 million bond in a Delaware County jail. Although the alleged sex acts with a 14-year-old runaway foster child for which Hareford is charged in King County occurred in May of 2012, the case was not referred to King County for possible prosecution until late January 2013 and charges were filed just more than two weeks ago, on April 1. Despite having aroused suspicions almost as soon as he arrived in Puget Sound last May, Hareford was able to skate out of town within days of admitting to Puyallup Tribal Police he had had sex with the girl, who he claimed had told him she was 18. When she finally came forward in October with a different story, he was long gone. She said he used Facebook and to build trust with her before hitchhiking cross-country to meet in person.

    By no later than Nov. 30, say Delaware County authorities, Hareford had again used social media, in this case the chat app Party In My Dorm, to successfully woo a 13-year-old Radnor Township, Pennsylvania girl upon whom he allegedly also perpetrated a series of felony sex offenses. Whether and when he will have to fully answer for the Washington state child rape charge is unclear at this time. (UPDATE – 4/17/13, 3:51 p.m.: Delaware County District Attorney’s Office spokesperson Emily Harris tells us Hareford pled guilty yesterday and was sentenced on the Pennsylvania charges to 15 to 30 years in prison. reports District Attorney Jack Whelan said Hareford will be extradited to Washington to face the charges there after he finishes his just-issued prison term.)