This post has been updated.
Just as students at Lincoln High School were filing in their seats Monday morning for the start of another school day, their principal, Esther Omogbehin, was sitting down with Superintendent Cindy Marten, mulling whether to walk away from Lincoln.
Between Omogbehin and district staff, one thing was clear: Something had to give.
On Tuesday, Omogbehin made the official call. She’ll bow out, and will be placed on paid administrative leave while the district decides her fate, said Superintendent Cindy Marten.
San Diego Unified will appoint John Ross, a vice principal at Mira Mesa High School, as interim principal until it finds a permanent replacement, Marten said.
Omogbehin, or “Dr. O.,” may be the most polarizing principal within San Diego Unified. In the two years she’s had control of the school, Lincoln has been a war-zone – torn between those who see her hard-lining approach as answer to sputtering test scores, and those who rabidly oppose her top-down leadership style.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
Fact check the anonymous source's statement: A district source who only agreed to speak confidentially said that Omogbehin liked the idea, but didn’t want to have to ask the union for waivers, a necessary step if Lincoln was going to have flexibility from the rules in more traditional schools.During the conversation, Omogbehin told union representatives she didn’t care whether she had their support or not, and as a result, lost Foster as a supporter, the source said.“Right then, (Foster) saw that for Dr. O., this had become more about herself than the kids,” the source said.
Researching San Diego Unified policy, the district has handled the community college courses for years. North of 8, such as Serra High and other high schools, these college courses have been offered at the school site for years. So why is the principal required to meet with the union representatives to get a waiver? Why is district staff and the superintendent being the conduit to the teacher union? Is each and every principal supposed to confer with the Union representatives? The MET school did not require the principal to get the union's approval.
There is an SGT group set out in the union contract which involves the union representatives. A fact check is needed to clarify why any principal would have to procure a waiver directly from the union. By omission, the public did not get the Big Picture and since the source is anonymous, there is not opportunity for the public to gain clarity about these statements.
SAN DIEGO CITY SCHOOLS
OFFICE OF SCHOOL SITE SUPPORT
PERMIT AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE
SAN DIEGO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT AND
THE SAN DIEGO COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT
June 22, 2004
Commencing September 2004, the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) will
implement the Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical High School, a college
preparatory high school (“MET School”) developed in collaboration with the Big Picture
Company, as approved by the Board of Education on March 2, 2004.
Information Bulletin 2: Approved High School Credit Courses Offered by SDCCD Continuing Education ; for Senior High School Principals. Revised 9/19/05 9am
SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPALS
REVISIONS IN BOLD
Approved High School Credit Courses Offered by SDCCD Continuing Education
The following courses offered by San Diego Community College Continuing Education are approved for transfer credit toward a San Diego Unified School District high school diploma for 2005-2006. Some classes will be conducted in a learning center format; others will be carried out in a formal classroom setting on a 9- or 10-week schedule:
SDCCD CONTINUING ED. COURSE TITLE SDUSD COURSE TITLE AND NUMBER
Algebra 1-2 Algebra 1-2 (4041, 4042)
*World History, Geography, Economics 1,2 World History & Geography 1, 2 (6605, 6606)
*U.S. History 1 U.S. History & Geography 1 (6701)
U.S. History 2 U.S. History & Geography 2 (6702)
U.S.Government 1 Government 1 (6757)
Economics Economics 1 (6758)
*American Literature 1, 2 American Literature 1, 2 (1583, 1584)
*Cont. Voices in Literature 1, 2 Cont. Voices in Literature 1, 2 (1612, 1613)
*English 3, 4 English 3, 4 (1570, 1571)
ESLA 431/432, 433 ESL 1, 2 (1575, 1576)
ESLA 434, 435 ESL 3, 4 (1577, 1578)
ESLA 436, 437 ESL 5, 6 (1579, 1580)
SDCCD Continuing Education office systems classes may meet practical arts, computer literacy, and elective credit requirements. Other vocational classes may meet practical arts or elective credit requirements. High school students attending SDCCD Continuing Education should be enrolled using a waiver form (available online at www.sandi.net →For District Staff→Forms→Student Attendance) and should bring a textbook from their high school for courses designated with an asterisk (*). Courses completed should be entered under location 699 with the Out of District set to N. The following is a list of Continuing Education Centers and phone numbers:
Published each Thursday. Items for inclusion are to be sent to the Communications Office, Room 2145,
by noon each Monday for consideration. Effective August 1, 2000, all Circulars and Bulletins will ONLY
be posted on our web site. No hard copies will be sent by mail.
“The mission of San Diego City Schools is to improve student achievement
by supporting teaching and learning in the classroom.”
Information Bulletin No. 2
September 1, 2005
Centre City/Skills Center (619) 388-4600
César Chavéz Center (619) 230-2895
ECC (619) 388-4955
North City Center/Career Center (858) 627-2553
Mid-City Center (619) 388-4550
West City Center/Point Loma Campus (619) 221
For bakajanai et. al.:
In reading the San Diego board meeting agenda item re: Central Office Reorganization (not Cryptic at all). This is how when and how the district moves and shuffles worn out people and positions to create the illusion that something is improving. However some of the names and faces have been around and moved around for years. Not much will change, except the job titles and pay grade - look a bit deeper.
As for teacher evaluations - what is in place via State Assembly Stull Bill is quite adequate. It's the follow through by administrators that fails. Specifically, if an administrator finds a teacher as "needs improvement" or "not satisfactory", that administrator is required by contract to develop a plan (with a stringent timeline) to bring the teacher up to satisfactory - and this can take up to 2 years, and few administrators actually know how or what to do. (see SDEA contract Performance Evaluations). Also, by contract, an administrator can opt for a Special Evaluation at any time - but the plan, timeline, and work involved is heavy.
Now for student/parent evaluation input. Professionals need to be evaluated by professionals. So, next time you're out for diner with the family and get a "How'd we do" card from your server, hand it to your 10 year old to fill out. And for parents - your child is not the same child in class as she/he is at home...Sorry!
@DDunn First of all, I think it is a little strange for you to address any comment to me "et. al." (sic) as I am not part of any group of others here. I am not sure you understand the proper use of et al. I am also the only one who addressed you so again it is strange to address me with et al. It is not proper to use et al. to refer to "others" whose identities are not explicitly known to the reader. In this case, it is unlikely any reader would have any idea what others you are referring to. (If there are any psychic readers here, I would like to know what happened to Isabel Celis missing in Arizona and Brandon Swanson missing in Minnesota, thank you.) Also, you don't need a period after et and you don't need to add another period to al. at the end of a sentence. Probably, you just don't need to be using et al. at all unless you are writing a bibliography list. People often just overuse or misuse it in order to try to appear educated by attempting to emulate something they have seen in scholarly writing.
Second, I must respectfully disagree with your assessment that your original message was not cryptic. Thank you for clearing up what you found interesting in the meeting minutes for the district. I don't find it that interesting. Large organizations do shuffle people around and some of those people get raises. That is pretty standard practice in both dysfunctional and functional organizations. I fail to see what about that would make anybody "look deeper".
Now if you stated that there was nepotism involved or something else inappropriate about the promotions or something like that, that would be interesting. Likewise, if somebody had been demoted, that could be interesting. I know of a certain person in a school district in Virginia who was a real jerk and a dumb jock who was fast tracked by the good old boys in the district. They made him a principal then promoted him into district upper management as director of secondary curriculum. When some of the good old boys retired and a new sheriff came to town, he was moved back to being a teacher at an alternative school. The official word was that it was not a demotion, but it clearly was. I wish I knew the full story behind what happened. But reading between the lines, I can only conclude that he was a jerk to the wrong person finally or the new sup doesn't like idiots to be in charge of something as important as curriculum for the district. That is an example of interesting school district dirt. I can't see what is interesting about what you are describing since it just seems typical for a large organization.
When you say, "As for teacher evaluations...", I have no idea whom you are addressing or what comment you are addressing. It would be helpful if you would hit reply to whoever's comments on teacher evaluation you are addressing so that your point in bringing it up becomes more clear. Since you began your post to me, it makes it appear that you are addressing something I said about teacher evaluation but I never said anything about teacher evaluation to receive your response in reply so I must assume you are addressing somebody else, but since you didn't reply to any particular posting, it is difficult to know whose ideas you are attempting to correct.
I worked for Esther when she was the principal at Mann Middle School, and I can tell you she absolutely bullies her teacher and is unprofessional. I am an extremely hard working teacher; I would stay until about 5:00 almost everday when I worked for her, and I like being held accountable by my principal. But she took it too far. She and her vice principals were like a mean girl clique; they clearly had favorites and made it known, she didn't want to discipline students, and put an insane amount of pressure on us to get test scores up.
She made us turn in our graded essays to her and then we would have to meet with her to go over how we graded them and the comments we wrote. Has she ever been an English teacher? She said she didn't like how I started off with a positive comment because that gave the kid the wrong idea that his essay was actually good.
She also would compare teachers who taught remedial classes to the ones who taught GATE and wondered why their displayed work wasn't as high level as the GATE one.
I have many more stressful memories of her, but I have to say that she is getting what she deserves. I know there are teachers who don't want to work hard, and they frustrate me too, but Esther is clearly the problem here.
@TC thanks for letting people know!
Fact Check Please! The 14th and 15th sections state, 'By 2012 scores were lowest in district…hemorrhaging students and staff turnover was continuous. That year, when Omogbehin took over she promised to crack down on ineffective teachers.' These sections lead the reader to think there was hemorrhaging of students and continuous turnover BEFORE Omogbehin came to Lincoln. Regarding continuous change of teachers and staff; that is not true at all. As a matter of fact, with the exception of one or two teachers moving away or a few who left when some students left, there was very little staff change.Teachers for the most part chose to stay at Lincoln. That is, until the end of 2011-2012 school year when a new, Lead Principal was placed at Lincoln by former Area Supt. Brenda Campbell. When people started to learn about the heavy-handedness of the new administration they left. The new 2012 school year opened with a turnover of about 30 teachers and more staff left as the year progressed.
Lincoln was losing students but was not hemorrhaging. This can be easily fact checked with district. There was more like a gradual reduction in enrollment from 2007 to 2012, from approximately 2400 in 2007 when school reopened with all its fanfare under Bill Gates money and resources, to approximately 1850 by the end of 2012 school year. The luster of its brand newness had worn off. Then, new Principals, without high school experience came in and Lincoln experienced a sudden, dramatic drop in enrollment to about 1400 within the first six months of 2012/13 school year. The reader of this article would get a very different perspective with the following: 'AFTER, Esther Omogbehin came to Lincoln, there was a dramatic drop in enrollment. When some students learned there were no longer small school centers, they left. This was a unilateral decision made by the principal.Charter schools in the area had a sudden increase; word was, students who were not performing well were advised to leave Lincoln. During this same time period, approximately 30% of the original, 2007 Lincoln teachers and staff members left as well.
Regarding the 50 students who were eligible to graduate, that is also an exaggeration but on the part of the school and district.Lincoln always had 300 to 400 students graduating every year since it opened. That was because the counselors at Lincoln were very good and knew what they were doing.They created four-year plans for all students and referred them to programs and classes to bring up their credits if they needed them to graduate.
There is a small error in the names of the four small
schools. They were, Center for The Arts, Social Justice, Science and
Engineering (not Science and a school for Engineering) and Public Safety. Thank you.
@Lou Dodge Since it seems you are intimately acquainted with the school, could you answer a few questions?
1. What does Omogbehin mean when she says the teachers did not like it that she was forcing them to work. In what way was she forcing them to work?
2. What was the cause of the antipathy between former Principal Collins and the school district?
3. Nearby public high school Morse which draws students from a similar and bordering neighborhood, similar demographic, and similar social background does not have the negative publicity or drama or news coverage that Lincoln has been receiving over the last 7 years. Do you know why this is so?
4. What do you think needs to be done to make Lincoln a better school?
5. What specifically was done that resulted in the math scores going up at Lincoln under Omogbehin?
6. You seem to approve of the small schools. Could you state what elements of the small academies benefited students. Can you explain why test scores remained so low if the small academies were a success? What did students like about the small academies?
7. Since San Diego Unified does not allow evaluation of teachers by student state exam performance (and does not even disaggregate the data for multiple teachers of the same subject), how was Omogbehin identifying "ineffective" teachers? By teacher evaluations and classroom visits I guess? Were those evaluations accurate and fair in your opinion? I always wonder how much those are subject to personal feelings. I also wonder how accurate those are because a lot of the important parts of a teacher's job are those that you cannot see in a few classroom visits, such as how well the teacher coordinates or plans her entire curriculum for the term. That is not visible by seeing isolated lessons.
Thank you. (None of these are rhetorical or sarcastic questions. I do not know the answers and would like to know.)
@bakajanai @bakajanai I'll try. #1 Don't know. teachers worked before she got there and they worked after she got there so not sure. she liked to call teachers into her office and do little reprimands and then do SOPs (summaries of conference) This was not effective to make ppl work more, only drove some away.
#2 Didn't know there was much. He was bought from similar school in Long Beach by Carl Cohn. He actually stayed a Lincoln an extra year since ppl liked him. He was decent and did have experience. Shelia Jackson was instrumental in him staying extra year.
#3 not sure but Morse has higher asian population. H Shelton nice guy.
#4 experienced high school principal; ( tighten up the screening process for principal candidates, have more than one or two ppl do the screening; checks and balances)
bring back 4 centers, engaging classes for our population such as social justice, computer principals class for college credit, women's studies etc, bring back robotics and academic league and probably the middle college concept will help
#5 students who got 'C' or 'D' in previous class, retook class for better grade, then retook same grade CST, most likely (you were on to that from your post)
#6 they liked the personalization, familial atmosphere, scores made slow, steady improvement over years; no tracking in math. tempting to track but Math dept stayed true to no tracking.
#7 She didn't do evaluations! That is the very ironic part about it and hypocritical part. She didn't do them. random and/or subjective, she didn't like ppl if they were ARs or won a grievance against her. i wonder the same things as you. There are things in the teaching profession that are not measurable.
@Lou Dodge Thank you, thank you so much!!
To Lou Dodge--I appreciate you hearing my story and responding in the post below. Nobody else needs to know it. Thank you very much. I am sure that you are a treasure to many teachers at your school.
@Lou Dodge So, just to clarify, a loss of 550 students in 5 years is a gradual reduction, not hemorrhaging? And a turnover of staff, including the principal, would have happened before Omogbehin started in 2012, right?
It seems to me that you're arguing for a nuance, which is a little bit different than calling for a fact check. To suggest Lincoln's woes started and ended with Omogbehin seems to contradict the numbers you mention yourself -- as well as a broader look at the history of this school.
@Mario Koran Hello Mario, I don't think 30 to 40% of staff turnover within 6 months compared to 0 to 10% in 5 years is a nuance. And of the 550 over 5 years, 200 or so came in with the fanfare of coming to a new school. Compared to 350 in 6 months, that is not a nuance. That is an obvious sign of something wrong. I never said the history of Lincoln was not complicated. The title of your article is not about the history of Lincoln though is it?
@bakajanai Hi, it is a shame teachers have to feel threatened instead of supported and too bad you had to actually feel nauseated due to that.. common decency and professionalism should say to let a person know 'why' they are being requested to be seen by the boss. We started to request a reason for being asked in and then if it was anything akin to discipline, we called on the wiengarten rule to ask for representation. Teachers have an extraordinary responsibility and need support not harassment. The no tracking in Math means the classes all remained as heterogenious as possible. There was no grouping the students with high scores in classes together, low together, etc.
I didn't know about the Wiengarten rule. I just googled it. I wonder how it would apply to teachers who are not represented by the union? I think there should be a rep there for the teacher, especially because it can be a he said she said and also because a lot of teachers are afraid of the principal, often with good reason, so it puts them at an unfair disadvantage in that they are often afraid to defend themselves and some principals think they can get away with abusive language or bullying tactics (which they usually can get away with if they wish). Having a rep there for the teachers would really help put a stop to a lot of ugly communication or unreasonable demands. Good job protecting your teachers!!
@Lou Dodge Fair enough, Lou. If those numbers are right, that's a good distinction. Thanks for keeping me on my toes. -mk
@Mario Koran @Lou Dodge your welcome Mario and please do check with personnel at SDU. Though they are bound by privacy protection laws in matters of personnel issues, I should think they would be able to say 'yes' or 'no' to "Was there a large turnover of staff between April of 2012 and say, December of 2012 at Lincoln High School?" and maybe give more info than 'yes' or 'no'.
Mario, and VOSD readers,
Your Rubik's Cube of reading - happens now and then, but this is a big one - district changes, revisions, and likely pay increases for some.
In particular: Items H-3 Central Office Reorganization - a big one
Items G-2, 4, and 5
@DDunn It does not appear that anybody is interested in playing with your Rubik's Cube. Why don't you just make your point instead.
Interesting perspectives from teachers who are in the trenches, and to whom I would remind that the single most powerful political entity in this state is the teacher unions -- who lobby at a monetary rate several times the next most powerful lobby groups.
If teachers want more academic rigor, they could demand it -- and get it.
If teachers wanted greater classroom discipline, they could demand it -- and get it.
If teachers wanted an end to social promotion, they could demand it -- and get it.
If teachers ever walked picket lines for anything other than higher pay and more time off, I am unfamiliar with that picket line even after more than 30 years of writing about California schooling -- it has regressed to the point where it can no longer be called "education."
California teachers get whatever California teachers want, and that has caused a Top Five salary and a Bottom Five student academic rating.
It must be what teachers want because Sacramento bows and scrapes to the tunes of teacher unions.
LMAO, teachers LOVE misbehaving students in their classrooms :)
I just can't comprehend what you think most of the teachers are doing in their classrooms....nothing?
Excuse the interruption, now back to the Statler and Waldorf show.
@Allen Hemphill Good point, old timer.
Fine Dennis, YOU tell me the last time you walked a teacher picket line demanding greater classroom discipline!
Tell me the last time YOU walked a picket line demanding greater classroom academic rigor!
But hurry please. I am an octagernarian with an unknown but certainly upcoming expiration date.
@Ron Hidinger The better question is what were the students doing? Have you seen what day to day looks like in a typical urban classroom? The students are generally permitted to behave like zoo animals from first grade on. They don't learn anything. They don't know anything. When most of them get to college, they flunk out because they have no academic skills because they have never experienced academic rigor. Do you want them graduated just because they have a pulse and showed up to school every once in awhile? What do you want the counselors to do about it? At my old schools, counselors and the principals made sure seniors graduated by bullying teachers into giving students grades they did not deserve and by magically erasing student absences so that the students would not fail under the district's automatic failure rule for excessive absences from school. Is that what you expect the counselors to do?
Do you really want the high school diploma to continue to be a cheap and meaningless piece of paper that signifies no academic skills whatsoever? Frankly, if a student can't even do basic arithmetic or write a grammatically correct sentence, they do not deserve a high school diploma. That is as true for one student as it is for 300. It is time for some tough love because the current permissive system is not working. If parents and students knew that without academic skills, they would be denied a high school diploma, some of them would behave differently during their many years of free schooling and would actually put their nose to the grind stone and stop the misbehavior. Most people only jump as high as the bar is set.
@bakajanai Bakajanai - what do you think of the program at San Diego High's School of International Studies? How about the Pruess School? Do you think aspects of their programs could be applied to other inner city schools? (I know Preuss is in La Jolla, but almost all the students come from inner city neighborhoods)
@-P @bakajanai No way can Preuss or other selective charter schools be used as a model for education at nonselective public schools like Lincoln. Preuss and most charter schools quite effectively cherry pick students and eliminate students with the worst behavior and worst academic performance/potential. A school like Lincoln has to, for all intents and purposes, basically take any student that enrolls.
What I am going to say is contrary to the standard propaganda put out by the standard news outlets, San Diego Unified, Preuss...but just hear me out before you shut me out. Preuss is a grand illusion. It is a failure. I researched Preuss quite a bit over the years and here is what I found out in a nutshell. There are more students who qualify to go to Preuss than can be admitted. So among those students, a lottery is held. A study was done comparing the academic progress of students who were admitted under the lottery and those who could have been admitted but were not and therefore finished their educations in public high schools. The students at Preuss did not perform any better than the control group. In other words, despite the fact that Preuss has isolated its students from thuggery and Preuss has access to special resources such as support from UCSD, the Preuss students did not make more academic progress than their peers who get to go to school everyday with some fellow students who are disruptive, disrespectful, dangerous, and so on.
I also looked into the AP tests taken by Preuss students. Preuss has a lot of their students take Spanish so that they will do well. Of course, students living in San Diego and students who live in Spanish speaking homes will have an advantage on the AP Spanish test over the average American student. Is it really impressive for Preuss students to do well on AP Spanish when a large number of those students are native Spanish speakers? My friend took beginning Arabic at UCLA. A lot of Arab foreign students took the class to get an easy A. Apparently, out of about 30 students, 8-10 were ethnically Arab and born and raised in the Middle East. Is it impressive for one of them to get an A in beginning Arabic?
What I find really telling is how Preuss students are doing on the AP Calculus tests. Math is basically the gateway class for college and the main subject in which urban students struggle, thereby destroying their college dreams. Relatively few Preuss students take the AP Calculus exam and even fewer do well on it. The few who do and who do well often (maybe always) did not get their math skills at Preuss. For example, a lot of asian students attending Preuss come to Preuss already possessing advanced math skills, which they learned in another country or by way of tutoring schools they attend paid for by the parents. Preuss can hardly take credit if the only student who took and who did well on the AP Calculus exam is a Chinese or Vietnamese student who learned almost all his math abroad if you see what I mean. The AP test information for Preuss is well hidden but I did find numbers for one year once and it appeared than only one or a couple of students took the AP Calc exam and he or she was Chinese. Anyway, if Preuss would like to refute this, I would love it if they would publish how many of their students are taking which AP exams, the scores received, and the ethnicity of those students. My bet is their admin would rather eat a bowlful of cucarachas then have that information public.
I think there is only one way to achieve academic success at schools like Lincoln but it will never be permitted. It is what Henry Gradillas did in Los Angeles (with the famous teacher who worked for him, Jaime Escalante). Read Gradillas' book on the subject. It is very clear about what needs to be done to make a bad urban school an academic success. The problem is, unfortunately, that any principal who does what Gradillas did will get the outcome Gradillas got. That is, they will be railroaded by the school district and driven out of education.
Jaime Escalante was incredible but not that rare. Teachers like Escalante come along pretty often but are not allowed to actually teach. What was rare was for a principal like Gradillas to exist. Gradillas had to fight his school district in order to enforce discipline and high academic standards at his school. He was an incredible man. He understood that he needed to sacrifice some of the worst students at his school in order to protect the majority of the students from violence and disruptive behavior. His career was destroyed because he made the choice to save the educations of those students who were educable.
Unfortunately, there are too many bleeding heart school board members, community members, administrators, teachers, counselors, and politicians who think we can save them all, which only dooms them all.
John Ross better understand that what he has accepted at Lincoln is a political job. He can't improve the academics because he won't be allowed to. So he better be damned good at playing political games and currying favor with the powers that be or else he will end up like every other principal at new Lincoln.
**As an aside, I kind of doubt the supposed academic progress in math at Lincoln under Omogbehin. I am an outsider but just reading between the lines in news articles, it appears that she shuffled students back into remedial math classes or other lower level math classes instead of allowing them to be placed in more advanced math classes. This is the correct thing, to do, in my opinion. However, when those students do better on the state subject matter exams, it does not mean those students learned anything. It can easily only mean that those students were tested on easier material than students from previous years so of course, they performed better. Lincoln, Hoover, and other urban schools tend to place students who cannot do even basic arithmetic into classes like Algebra 2 and Calculus then they tell the teacher to "remediate" the students. Of course, these students do terribly on the state exams for those difficult math classes. It seems Omogbehin was placing more of those students in the classes in which they actually belong, such as basic Algebra or remedial mathematics. I agree with doing that. However, it is an easy way to get better state test scores out of those students and in no way means the students were taught any better under her leadership. Those students would have done better on an easier test, regardless, if you see what I mean.
The new principal won't be able to get instant results with that cheap trick because it has already been used. It will be very difficult for him to show any progress in the academic achievement at the school in math because he will have to depend on real progress, which necessitates students doing real work. Students at Lincoln are not used to actually using their brains or doing real work so if they are forced to do that, they will complain like crazy as will their parents. The backlash would likely kill his career and then it will be "another one bites the dust" as far as principals at Lincoln. I wish him luck. I wouldn't want to be him.
@bakajanai Thank you very much for the well thought out response. I agree with you regarding Preuss, and the selectivity of charter school admissions. I also strongly agree with you about the importance of placing students in classes that match their particular ability - test scores be darned. The other model I was wondering about what you thought of is SDHS-IS, which, as you know, is not a charter school.
@-P @bakajanai Thank you for the appreciation. Many people are offended that my views don't match the politically correct ideology they have been brainwashed with. I myself would have been offended by my own ideas a couple of decades ago. It was being in the trenches and trying my best to understand what the H was going on and further spending years studying, reading about it, digging up the truth in test scores, studies, and from insiders at schools plus what I witnessed myself that led me to believe what I do.
I have not specifically looked into SDHS International Studies so I can't make an informed specific comment. However, I have specifically looked at hundreds of public and charter schools across America in the last decade and I have never found any exceptions to the general guidelines that describe the academics and politics in various classes of American schools. Nearly invariably, when I have read about or been told that a school has found some unique way to improve student learning, it has been a hoax. Have you seen the hoax at Crawford with the students taking AP Calculus in mass numbers? I looked at that very specifically. That teacher is a joke. His state test scores for the math classes which have a state exam are maybe the worst I have ever seen. Then look at the AP Calculus taking and passing rates for his calculus students--terrible! But his program allows for a popular and shallow lie to be spread by his principal, school district, and the news so it is all smoke and mirrors. Yet another urban academic success hoax.
The only genuine case I have come across is what was done by Gradillas and Escalante and even that was turned into a hoax by Hollywood. Their results were real enough. But most people, including educators, are very misinformed about exactly what they did and how they did it thanks to that shallow movie. That movie is actually a good example of why academic rigor is dead in America. Movies like that are popular because they play to popular sentiment. That movie made it appear that a special teacher could remediate students who are years (years!!!!!) behind in math in only one year. The public likes that idea. It does not like the idea that students who are years behind generally cannot be remediated and advanced math skills generally take years of dedicated discipline. When the truth won't sell, successful movie makers sell lies. If you look at the heart of the lie that made Stand and Deliver popular, you are seeing the core of why academic rigor is both dead and forever doomed in mainstream America. Only one thing creates academic excellence and that is a combination of hardwork and fierce competition, neither of which would be tolerated in this country because for some people to succeed when there is real academic rigor, some people will also fail. We are not a nation of people who can stomach our adorable and special children failing. So instead of some students genuinely succeeding, we instead pretend they can all succeed. It is like saying every student can be an NBA basketball player. This is nowhere more true than in our urban schools where the social structure in which the students are reared makes many of them closer to the end of ineducable. I think a large percentage of urban students would be very well educated if we instituted high academic standards and high standards for behavior. But we are not willing to straightforwardly sacrifice the others. So instead, we create an illusion that we can make them all successes and instead create 97% who are complete academic failures.
Is there something you have found interesting at SDHS-IS? I really like hearing about the specific news or happenings at schools so please share what you may know about it.
By the way, I don't know how involved you are in education so I don't know if you know why schools place students into advanced math classes when the students lack basic arithmetic skills. If you don't know the game being played, I will explain it. In some of the urban schools in San Diego, the students have access to a special program that allows them to enter into San Diego State University even with SAT scores that would normally deny them admittance. The catch is that they have to have a B or better in Algebra II and a few other core classes. Therefore, their "student advocates" (the counselors) as well as the administrators push as many students as possible into advanced math and then put enormous pressure (including illegal demands that violate California law) on the teachers to pass these students even though most of the students have few math skills. Then the school district and school administrators can brag about how many of their students go on to college. The program is a backdoor affirmative action program to allow unqualified minority students to attend state college. The vast majority of those students have to take remedial math and English at SDSU and most of them flunk out without ever getting a college degree. I don't know how pushing them into college when they are not ready academically is doing most of them any favors. I wonder how many get stuck with a lifetime of student loan debt? I also wonder how many are getting their educations subsidized by the public even though they are not students who academically belong in college. We should be subsidizing instead the college educations of students who have strong academic skills who can significantly contribute to our medical, military, and other technologies.
Also, there is a fact in the education world that students who take Algebra II and other advanced math classes do better academically in college. Some people with an apparent inability to reason have interpreted this as meaning that if a student takes Algebra II, they will be stronger college students. Um, hello, correlation not the same as causation....Isn't it rather obvious that just taking Algebra II doesn't make one magically academically excellent. The students actually have to be academically prepared and have the mental capacity to do the work involved in Algebra II. One would think this was obvious. But apparently it is not. In the past, Algebra II and beyond were reserved for students who had a strong grasp of mathematics. Of course, on average, such students would be either harder workers or smarter than other students (often both) so of course they would do better in college. But instead of recognizing this basic and obvious truth, certain educators believe it is the act of being enrolled in Algebra II that makes a student prepared for college. So it has become popular to shove every mental midget and lazy kid into Algebra II so that they will be successful in college. Mmmm, please, please, tell me somebody else sees how asinine this is. Since those students are generally unprepared for advanced math because they lack the skills or mental capacity or work ethic, the teacher now has to either flunk many students or just start passing everyone with a pulse. Most principals won't allow masses of students to be flunked because of the public backlash, so the result is watering down of coursework and grade inflation. This means that the students who normally would have been fit to take this class and would have encountered academic rigor, now instead have an easier class with easier grading. In other words, the class is dumbed down for everybody. Hmmm, wonder why American kids just keep getting dumber and dumber?
@bakajanai Just to fill you in on SDHS-IS, it's an international baccalaureat school, there are some feeder schools, it's a magnet school, and it has a certain number of slots dedicated to the neighborhood. I don't believe there are admissions requirements (other than being in the appropriate grade), but the academics are pretty rigorous. As you probably know, the IB tests are not exactly like a standardized test, although they are roughly equivalent to AP tests in the eyes of college admissions officers - they may require papers, an oral project & Q&A, a portfolio, etc. depending on the subject, in addition to a standard written test. That, of course, is different than the IB diploma, which is harder, and does have requirements like, I believe, 6 years of a foreign language, an extensive research paper that must be written in addition to the classes/ 6 IB tests, etc. If you look at the school's stats you can see that not many attempt to complete the IB diploma, but most of the students take IB tests. Here's the stuff from US News. I have no idea what the info is like behind the scenes, but I figure if an inner city school is ranked 88 nationally by them, the school is probably doing something right. http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/california/districts/san-diego-unified-school-district/san-diego-high-school-of-international-studies-3222/test-scores
@-P @bakajanai As they say, the devil is in the details. I don't give any credence usually to those types of rankings because in the past I have found them to be often based on shallow or irrelevant criteria. Without digging for hours into that particular ranking and that particular school, I would not trust such a ranking to make any judgments about a school. For example, somebody reports that the only AP test taken at that school is AP History. Is that true? I don't know but if it is even close to true, it is alarming. That is indicative of a sad little game that urban schools and many charter schools play in which they have students take only or mainly easier AP tests such as Spanish or history in order to inflate their pass rates. Most white schools have much higher proportions of students taking AP Calculus, AP Physics, AP Chemistry and other more difficult exams (more difficult in that the concepts require years of proficiency with mathematics and with abstract thinking). So I would want to know which AP or IB tests are being administered at that school and in what numbers. In other words, if few or no students are taking IB exams in mathematics or hard science, then it is hardly impressive if you compare them against a school where proportionally more students are taking such tests. I am sorry if I seem jaded. It is just that I have seen these pathetic games played far too often by schools which serve minority populations to give these schools the benefit of the doubt. Whenever I have dug deeply into it, I have always found the claims to be based on trickery or to be a hoax of some type. Replacing difficult exams for easier exams or cheating on exams is usually the first and easiest way for these schools to cheat the system and create a false impression of academic success.
@bakajanai Hi bakajanai. Yes, it is true that that school's only AP class is US History. But I don't see a problem with that at all, because all the other programs (languages, art, math, bio, physics, film, etc.) offer taking IB tests. I think most of the students take several of the IB tests, if they are going for the IB diploma they must take 6, math and hard sciences being required. From what I can tell, the IB tests seem more rigorous than the AP tests. I believe very few students are taking less than 3.
One thing in particular about IB that I think is just as valuable as a strong math and hard science curriculum is having very strong writing requirements. I know that when I hire people, one of the requirements is that they the ability to communicate well in writing - informally, formal business letters, proposals, manuals, etc. etc. I will not hire somebody who writes poorly.
I certainly agree that replacing tough exams for easy ones is a ridiculous, harmful, thing.
Out of curiosity, have you read anything about Botstein's criticism of the SAT? I think he's exactly right that the new revision of the test has eliminated the most valuable part for evaluating students. http://time.com/15199/college-president-sat-is-part-hoax-and-part-fraud/
@bakajanai Actually bakajanai, only tangentially related to this, but since you do seem to both know what you are talking about, and have strong opinions, I would love ask you what you think about Bard College's experiment with admissions this year. (My mentioning Botstein made me think of this). They gave students the option of not submitting grades, test scores, etc., but rather writing 5 papers from a list of 21, with at least one paper on the Social Sciences, History and Philosophy, one on the Arts and Literature, and one on Science and Math. http://www.bard.edu/bardexam/questions/
The papers are graded by the faculty in the relevant departments, and if the applicant gets an overall score of B+ or better they are admitted.
Apparently only 50 people applied this way, and 17 of those were admitted. One person was caught plagiarizing.
Off hand I can see some potential problems - how will the college tell if somebody else wrote the paper(s)? Scalability is another problem - grading 50 applicants' papers is one thing, grading 6000 is another. And for the applicant, if this becomes the norm, imagine if you are applying to 5 - 10 colleges and they all have different research topics.
@bakajanai Here is the report, which I encourage people to read:
Here are some key quotes from the report (the "comparison group" is the group of students who applied to Preuss but were not selected via lottery to attend. The students who were selected via the random lottery and the control group had similar CST scores when they applied):
* There were significant differences in the scores achieved by students in the Preuss and comparison groups on the standardized tests. Preuss students performed better on multiple tests, including all the English Language Arts tests taken in grades 8 through 11, as well as the physics and chemistry tests. In all instances where there was a statistical difference, students attending the Preuss School outperformed students in the comparison group.
* Preuss students completed the courses required for admission to public colleges and universities at a much higher rate than students in the comparison group.
* Preuss students had significantly higher cumulative grade point averages than comparison group students. Nearly a 1/2 grade point difference in the cumulative weighted grade point average was large enough to impact college eligibility and the competitive standing of college applications.
I can also add that 100% of the students in the Class of 2013 were accepted to a 4-year university.
Preuss' mission is clear: Increase the college-going rate of low-income, first-generation students by giving them access to a rigorous, college-prep curriculum, a longer school year, and a lot of support. The reason why the students who get admitted to the school outperform their counterparts who didn't "win" the lottery is because we deliver on our mission. It isn't an illusion, and it is possible for districts to recreate our success (I teach at Preuss, by the way).
@Oscar Ramos @bakajanai Great, since you work for Preuss, would you care to go on the record to tell us how many students took calculus last year, how many of those took the official AP Calculus exam last year, and how many received a 3, a 4, and a 5 on it? How many got A's in the class? Let us compare that to the number of 5's on the official exam. I won't hold my breath waiting.
I have no doubt that Preuss students get better grades and I have no doubt why, either. As I recall, one of your principals was dismissed for grade tampering. In the investigation into the allegations, several teachers reported being forced or pressured into inflating grades, as well. This sort of behavior is an epidemic in school's that serve minority populations. It is a sort of affirmative action practiced at the k-12 level.
The school is quite well connected. I am not surprised a bit that they get all the students into college. The majority of your students benefit from affirmative action as well as the powerful connections the school and UCSD have after all.
UCSD practically has a guaranteed admissions program for Preuss students, does it not? (So long as they have good grades. And of course, good grades are practically guaranteed as well, are they not? How many F's do you give at Preuss? You know, having been a teacher in urban schools, I am well aware of how easy a matter it is to 1. not hire teachers who won't inflate grades, or 2. push out teachers who won't inflate grades, or 3. destroy the careers of teachers who won't inflate grades or who whistleblow about grade inflation.)
As to your report. Um, THE report or A report created by and for Preuss and its allies?
Edit: While I can't or don't know how to access information about the proficiency or grade inflation or your calculus students. The state test scores for other math subjects are accessible by anybody.
93% of your 10th grade geometry students did NOT achieve even minimal proficiency in geometry. And, yet, not a single one of them retook the course as an 11th grader in 2013. In other words, Preuss passed ALL of them, right? Is there another explanation for that besides egregious grade inflation?
74% of Preuss' algebra II students were NOT proficient in the subject in 2013. The majority of those students, in my opinion, should have earned a D or F in the class and should have had to retake it. But by your own account, the students at your school receive extremely high grade point averages. I think it is fair to assume that the majority of them received a passing grade, if not an A or B, despite having little competence in the subject. Care to comment (with facts)?
How many Preuss students have to take remedial math after they are admitted to college?
“Because of relentless pressure, (school board Trustee Marne Foster) asked me if I thought it would be best if I went on to a different path instead of having to interface with these weak teachers, these empty vessels that make the most noise and bully other people,” Omogbehin said.
Yikes! That is not exactly taking the high road in this dispute. I also like the strategy of shifting the bullying accusation back to the teachers. Ye olde switcheroo!!! Is there any reason why this woman is being guaranteed another job in the district? Is there a clause in her contract that implies future employment will be guaranteed if, and only if, you blame your failures on everyone else but yourself?
These days people don't like being yelled at, even when they know they are wrong, despite the fact that they might actually learn something as a result. It takes a heavy hand to deal with these kids and if the teachers can't handle it then this school is not for them.
To use the argument that the teachers protested the principles' commands as a reason to presume the principle is the problem overlooks/undermines the value of bringing in a strict-hardline boss to control the flock.
The school will fail, because they will bring in a "nice" principle who lets the teachers do what they want, which is get the heck out each day as fast as they can.....
@jeff scott Do you have first hand knowledge that the principal wanted to take a hard line towards misbehaving students and that she expected teachers to be instrumental in doing this? Or are you just making an unfounded assumption? If you have facts, please share a few.
Why didnt you post your whole post? I found it very informative, you seem like a good teacher, yet you didnt make the connection between this principle and your complaints. Your post tends to say that all principles are a a hindrance to your method (again, sounds like a good one to me). Perhaps you are the exception, would you like to go on the record and say that their are MANY teachers with your method working alongside you?
The rest of your post:
For your information, as a teacher, I did have a well behaving classroom because classroom chaos and misbehavior negatively impacts learning. I had a lot to teach in little time, especially as the students were years behind academically, so there was not time to spare for shenanigans. I was very aware of this and very on the ball. However, I was not supported by administration or the counselors in any way in enforcing any type of discipline. I will give you an example. I had a student who was eating food when class started. As a teacher, you sometimes have to pick your battles. So I ignored it and proceeded with the lesson. As soon as the bell rang, I asked the students to open their textbooks. This girl, instead of opening her textbook, chose to chat, giggle and eat her goodies. I then specifically addressed her asking her to open her textbook, please. She rolled her eyes at me and continued to giggle and chat loudly and enjoy her treat. This was the first week of school. Urban students often test teachers in this way. They are accustomed to getting away with this behavior. Please understand that the students at that school were nearly invariably years behind academically. I really had no time to spare for disruptive behavior as their educations were on the line. So I walked over, took her food and threw it in the garbage calmly then continued with the lesson. She protested, got no sympathy from me, and then she sullenly opened her book. She later went hysterically (yes, hysterically, making a big show for sympathy) to her student advocates (the counselors who now officially call themselves a student advocate). The counselors chastised me saying I had severely "traumatized" the poor girl. That she was devastated and cried for hours in their office over this. By the way, she was not eating her lunch. She was eating an after lunch treat so I did not make her go hungry. She was just devastated that she lost part of her goodie. I think you need to understand what conditions teachers are working under. We are expected to have a well behaved classroom but in every single instance, the admin and counselors always sided with and sympathized with the students. If disobeying school policy about food in class, refusing to follow basic classroom instructions, chatting and giggling during the lesson even after being requested to discontinue is apparently ok behavior and I was the monster for giving her a fairly minor consequence of throwing away her treat that she was not to have in class anyway, then I hope you see what teachers are up against. By the way, this girl hated me for about three weeks, I am sure bolstered by whatever the counselors said to her, but she did not attempt to bring food to class again and she did not giggle and chat again in class because she understood that I meant business. The other students also got a good lesson in what would not be tolerated in class. It was not so much what I did as the spirit I brought to class, which said that classroom learning was number one and anything or anybody who interfered with classroom learning would be dealt with by any means necessary. Urban students are very street smart and it does not take them long to see who or what they are dealing with. That is one of their charms. Once they see you are willing to go to any means including standing up to administration and counselors to have order in the class, the majority give you no problems. I believe that secretly many of them were relieved to have an adult create a safe and orderly classroom. I am sure that having to constantly establish a pecking order amongst themselves about who was in charge was exhausting and worrisome for many of them. I made it clear that I was in charge not them and once they understood that, the thuggery ended. I always made clear in the first week of school that I took class time very seriously. I had to fight all my battles for classroom order the first week in general and generally had a well behaved classroom the remainder of the term with a very few exceptions. That student became an A student. I did not give A's easily. She was also a second language learner. The counselors absolutely hated me by the way. I was an absolute beast to them for enforcing classroom discipline. Any student could go to them at any time with a sob story and crying and an oh, poor me tale in order to evoke sympathy. The students, as is natural, are good at playing adults off against each other when they see they can do that. Don't think it is always the teachers who are allowing school misbehavior. In most cases it is the admin allowing it and the teachers, especially new ones, are unable to overcome the dual challenge of unsupportive admin as well as students who are adept at using admin and counselors against the teachers.
I had to do it without admin support and many times against their objections. It took being very creative and sometimes using the law against admin and counselor objections. So if you imagine that principals in urban schools or school district personnel are in favor of well behaved students, then you have a severe misconception. Most modern principals in such schools do not want the trouble that comes with upset parents. They want the students to magically behave but they are unwilling to make any efforts in that direction. A lot of them want to be a pal for the students. Even the ones that talk a good game about behavior in practice just want to be a buddy instead of an adult to the children. They view the students as perpetual victims who are not to be held accountable for their behaviors because their behavior is supposedly the result of an unfair society or not being engaged in learning, which is the teachers fault they believe for not being entertaining enough or making "engaging" lessons. Frankly, that is a bunch of bull crap. Learning is not always fun. Life is not always fun. Sometimes you just have to do things because it is your job to do it. That is reality. The fun of learning is often realized after the work of learning is completed not during. </i>
During the conversation, Omogbehin told union representatives she didn’t care whether she had their support or not, and as a result, lost Foster as a supporter, the source said.
That one line says it all.....the unions have the absolute power and absolute power corrupts.
Is this where we have landed in the 21st century. I recommend a great book _The Hidden Power of Kindness_ by Lawrence G. Lovasik
Where is it that you think we have landed?
I recommend a great book called The Worldly Philosophers: The lives, times, and ideas of the great economic thinkers by Robert L. Heilbroner. The section about Adam Smith is especially wonderful. That would well prepare you to read Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, which is one of the most lovely books I have ever read in my life because Smith so lucidly and in a way poetically explains his economic theories.
If you have the mental stamina to finish that (perhaps dubious considering your trite choice of reading material) then I would recommend A History of Pi by Petr Beckmann, a delightful read that covers the early history of math in an extremely approachable way for even nonmathematicians. I recommend getting out string, paper, and scissors for the part of the book which describes likely ways that early societies first discovered the formulas for the circumference and area of a circle. The area of a circle description describes a method called rearrangement by parts. You could attempt it first by cutting out the pieces for a parallelogram and seeing how they can be rearranged into a rectangle to get the hang of it before doing it for the area of a circle. If you have children, it would be a good educational activity to do with them, nearly as fun as cutting out snowflakes...maybe even more fun for an exceptionally intelligent child.
The small schools movement was the plan for Lincoln. It is a well researched reform that has had success in other urban high schools. However, it takes leadership that believes in it to make it work. If this principal di not believe in this instructional approach, she never should have been placed in Lincoln.
@James Wilson I don't know this for sure but I am not sure that it was just because of Omogbehin that the small schools is being phased out. San Diego Unified is phasing out small schools to save money all across the district even when the principal objects to it. For example, Crawford's **** of a principal strenuously objected to it being phased out there and some of her pet teachers also stepped forward to loudly object but regardless, I think the district went ahead with eliminating the small schools. I don't think the small schools actually has had much success in practice and it is costly. As opposed to being a well researched reform, I think it might be just another education reform of the day whose day is coming to an end. Whether Omogbehin supported small schools or not, I think the district would have ended it. To a large degree, school principals are really puppets of the school district. They mostly don't get to pull their own strings. They do get to yank teachers around on occasion, which must be an amazing power trip. It must be as fun as kicking puppies or any number of other cruel activities for which I doubt I could acquire a taste.
@bakajanai You are undoubtedly right that the Lincoln principal was told to close the small schools. However, career academies have a very strongly researched background and have demonstrated excellent success in reducing the high school dropout rate and in preparing their students for employment. Read my book, Disposable Youth: Education or Incarceration? available on Amazon for the details of this wonderful innovation in education.
As to principals yanking teachers around, teacher evaluation is their primary job. Fortunately, most teachers are competent and don't mind demonstrating their quality instruction.
James C. Wilson, Ed.D.
Are you conflating small schools with vocational training? The two have some occasional overlap but are not the same thing. When your only tool is a hammer, everything becomes a nail?
“Because of relentless pressure, (Foster) asked me if I thought it would be best if I went on to a different path instead of having to interface with these weak teachers, these empty vessels that make the most noise and bully other people."
It's pretty well known I'm a fan of good, contemporary management practices in our schools. It appears for this person, the emphasis is on the contempt.