Friday, March 5, 2010

Who live-blogs the blogger?

I won't always liveblog the meetings, by the way. I am typing my notes during the meeting, which I would take, anyway, but on things that I know are of urgent interest to the community, I'll post as I go when I can. (Given a choice between that and needing to only pay attention, I'll of course choose the later. But I'm a notetaker by nature.) As last night's meeting apparently did not stream online (?), I thought it might be extra urgent. It does give the cognitive dissonance here of leaving out what I say, but I figure we can always catch up with that later. Here's some notes of what I said last night about the "likely" Level 4 schools, and a few wrap-up notes on the issue.

respect authority of superintendent, but want to ask outright: were these principals fired?
superintendent doesn't like the word, says no, we'd have to move them to apply for federal grant, but she (I'm paraphrasing) sees their having a future with WPS.

comment that this wasn't handled as well as it could be: need to let affected schools know first, but owed it to principals, staff at other schools know that they were not Level 4. Many were very concerned.

refuse to believe that Secretary Duncan and Commissioner Chester know better than we locally do about our schools and how best to run them, refuse also the notion that replacing the principal will raise test scores

measurements were solely predicated on test scores, in violation of new state law, which calls for multiple measures. MOTION for legal opinion of Level 4 list, as it uses only MCAS (in various crunched ways) and not list in new ed law. Motion passes.

four turnaround models are tied to federal grants. We only need to use them IF we are applying for the federal STG money. Four turnaround models are from Chicago, Arne Duncan. Chicago Tribune found them faulty. Why import a failed turnaround model to Worcester?
MOTION that Mrs. Mullaney alluded to : not apply for federal School Turnaround Grant, on a roll call.

This led into Mayor O'Brien's tying this to the Race to the Top grant, which as my commenters have noted, has the same four models in it. He made the motion to request the administration not to apply for the STG until more information is found (that's the terminology; it means "DON'T!"). Later amendments included finding out just what the money might be spent on, when the grant application is due to the state (Massachusetts already applied and was awarded $76 million; now districts apply to the state).
As I noted below, my motion failed 3-4; Mayor O'Brien's motion passed 6-1. This has the effect of Worcester NOT applying for STG money for now, which puts us in a holding pattern until the School Committee has more of an idea of what we're letting ourselves in for.


T-Traveler said...

Can we turn this negative into a postive, rally around these two schools and then rally round all our schools?

Tracy Novick said...

Hmmm...good thought!
Let me think on that.

T-Traveler said...

did u see Beth's post over on Bill Randall's blog? We are told that parental involvement is key but not all principals or district-wide volunteer coordinators have a plan for using us in the schools other than sending us to shelve books.

Tracy Novick said...

I did now! That seems to be a principal by principal thing...thinking on it.
The parent involvement work that CPPAC and the School Committee has been doing is supposed to be directed to that end.