When a new strategic plan was being put together in 2008 with the new superintendent, Maria Goodloe-Johnson (Broad Supt. Academy, Class of '03), the Broadies needed some really embarrassing piece of information about SPS that could be used to leverage the changes they wanted to initiate: ending the remains of the school integration plan killed by the Roberts Court in 2007, more testing, closing more schools, opening more corporate charters, longer school days, teacher pay and evaluations based on test scores, working to end tenure, and the bringing in Teach for America to replace professional faculty. In short, the disaster capitalists needed a disaster to bring about change before anyone could regain their composure.Brad Bernatek serves [for now] as Director of Research, Evaluation and Assessment for Seattle Public Schools. In this role, Bernatek runs the department responsible for student statistics including enrollment, demographics, evaluation and standardized testing. During his Residency, Bernatek served the district as interim manager for research, evaluation and assessment and as special assistant to the chief operations officer.
The Broadies turned to one of their plants, Brad, and as chief of accountability and stats (I know, it's ironic, right?), he delivered with a whopper of a scary lie presented as fact that would have the entire Seattle community recoiling every time they heard it: only 17 percent of Seattle students graduated ready for college. Shocking, dismal, a scandal! The news, in fact, was so devastating that, under the PR plan developed by the Gates-and-Broad-owned Alliance for Education (see the video here with the lie pasted right about the middle), Goodloe-Johnson's strategic plan was on the fast track.
Here is a bit from a telling Goodloe-Johnson feature from Seattle Woman in 2009 (my bolds):
In June of this year the school board approved a new student assignment plan that departs radically from the past. The heart of its mission is to reinvigorate the neighborhood school, assigning most students to their closest building and working to assure “Excellence for All”— the title of Goodloe-Johnson’s five-year strategic plan which began last year — for every child, and in every school.
With this new plan, Seattle’s long-held priority of integrated schools will take a second seat.
The top priority, says Goodloe-Johnson, sitting forward in her chair, is having high quality education available at every school in the district, not just a few. While she deeply believes in the value of being exposed to people of different backgrounds, the bottom line must be educational quality.
. . . .
Now in her third year, the superintendent has led the district through other challenges as well. A $34 million state budget shortfall had to be dealt with. In addition to closing five buildings, all or part of eight other schools were moved. While predicted to save millions, these moves traumatized hundreds of families and staff. (It must have been affirming, a month or so after the board passed these difficult changes, to have the Gates Foundation announce it was giving the district $7.2 million. In addition, the district is receiving nearly $2 million from Boeing and two foundations.) Transportation schedules have been “tiered,” resulting in nhttp://www.blogger.com/post-edit.g?blogID=14707730&postID=6714122392685599937early 50 fewer buses on the streets this school year. And a new curriculum plan aims to align learning goals throughout the district’s schools.
And so, then, below is the first part from the story about Brad's Big Lie in the Seattle Times. I keep thinking of that number--17 percent. Where have I seen that prominent figure? Oh, now I remember--it is from the only national peer-reviewed evaluation of charter schools:
" . . . [the CREDO Study] found that 17 percent of charter schools reported academic gains that were significantly better than traditional public schools, while 37 percent of charter schools showed gains that were worse than their traditional public school counterparts, with 46 percent of charter schools demonstrating no significant difference.And please don't feel sorry for Brad. Just like the Wall Street accountability experts, Brad will have many job offers from the same corporations that he was serving while being paid by Seattle taxpayers for the past four years:
Seattle Times education reporterThe claim: Starting in 2008, Seattle Public Schools reported that a meager 17 percent of its high-school graduates met the entrance requirements for four-year colleges. The district quietly quit using that number then recently revised it, without comment, to 46 percent.
What we found: A little shock wave went through Seattle's education community when the district first began suggesting that so few of its students took the courses they needed to apply to a four-year college in this state.
The 17 percent was one of the numbers district leaders used to justify the district's five-year plan that included a new system of assigning students to schools, more testing for students, and new teacher and principal evaluations.
That statistic was false, but the district used the number in presentations to the School Board and to the public.
Other groups picked it up as well, using it to lobby for their own priorities.
The Seattle Council PTSA, for example, cited the statistic in stating why the district needed to make the high-school curriculum more consistent from school to school. In a newsletter sent to school PTAs all over the city, the council said Seattle Public Schools' data "shows that only 17 percent of its students finish high school able to meet the actual admission requirements to public four-year colleges and universities in Washington."
And as recently as August, former Seattle Mayor Norm Rice cited the statistic in a similar way in arguing for what he wanted to see in Seattle's new teachers contract.
About two weeks ago, without fanfare, the district reported a new, much higher number. In a ream of data released that day on how its schools and the district as a whole are doing, it said 46 percent of the students who graduated this past June met the entrance requirements for Washington's public four-year universities.
The district did not call attention to the change, or explain why the number had changed so dramatically.
The reason: The 17 percent was never really what it seemed.
Brad Bernatek, the district's director of research, assessment and evaluation, said he came up with the 17 percent figure in 2008, but it was supposed to be a measure of how many high-school graduates were prepared to succeed in four-year colleges, not just get admitted.
To arrive at that figure, he counted only students who took four years of math and three years of science â€” more than what's required by public four-year colleges in this state. He also ruled out any student who didn't have a B average, even though a C average is enough to apply.
Deep in an appendix to the district's strategic plan, that's how the 17 percent figure is described.
But to the public and the School Board, the district described the figure inaccurately.
In a presentation used at community meetings in 2008, for example, the district said only 17 percent of its graduates "met the entrance requirements for a four-year college." . . . .