Seattle Schools Points to Ingraham's Static Academic Record to Justify Principal Firing

Comments

1
*Now* the district begins to dribble out information to justify the firing of principal Floe.

However justified this decision may ultimately prove to be, it was handled in the worst possible way. I can't begin to offer lessons in human relations and community relations to the new superintendent, but my God, she sure needs them.

Aren't there some public relations people on staff there who know better? Surely...somewhere. March in that open door she has and give her the help she needs.

This mess can't be repeated.
2
Does it really make sense to make a Friends of Martin Floe Facebook page?

Shouldn't they just Friend Martin Floe?

Or am I missing something that a preteen would instantly know...?
3
Someone has to be second to last in the school district. If Enfield is using that logic then she can never not fire anyone unless all the schools are tied.
4
Interesting that they underlined the "five percent" figure. High-poverty schools in SPS have lower rates of African-American students meeting the state math standards. This is not an issue that's specific to Ingraham.

In general, the SPS high schools with a majority of students in poverty (getting free or reduced priced lunches) have 5-10% of African-American students meeting state math standards, and the schools with a minority of students in poverty have 15-30% of African-American students meeting those standards.

The two exceptions are Franklin, which does better, and West Seattle, which does worse.

Here are the numbers, pulled from the SPS report cards for 2009-2010:

% of students getting free or reduced-price lunches,

% of African-American students meeting state math standards,

SPS high school

67 / 6 / Cleveland
65 / 4 / Rainier Beach
60 / 17 / Franklin
55 / 10 / Chief Sealth
53 / 5 / Ingraham

46 / 6 / West Seattle
34 / 17 / Garfield
25 / 29 / Nathan Hale
24 / 27 / Ballard
21 / 28 / Roosevelt

And that second-lowest academic growth statistic? I have to dig a little deeper, but I'm going to bet that that's based on the figure in the report cards that no one in SPS administration could explain. The Board asked a staff member to report back with an explanation of how they came up with it, but then I think he left the district.
5
How about canning the whole let's use public funds to send affluent white kids to Paris bullshit and spend public funds how they should be spent, to provide everyone with a basic damned education here.
6
Mr Floe is Ingraham. He was vice principle when I was there Class of 2003. I always thought of him as the principle because he was the leader of the whole school. This is just disgusting and I hope he gets to keep his job. Everyone is so upset they want to pull the kids out of Ingraham. He is the BEST man for the job and that is that.
7
All the children must be above average.

This parental hyperinvolvement is so weird to me. I went to a great high school (not in Seattle) with lots of high achievers (not me, particularly, but oh well). The principal and the three vice-principals had been the same for years. I still barely knew their names. My parents never went to a PTA function after I was in 6th grade. I'm not even sure there WAS a PTA at my latter schools.

The endless testing and pinning of the results on teachers and administrators is just bizarre. We knew who the best teachers were. The crabby uninspiring ones still got the job done.

I'm not convinced that this is leading to anything better. Parents seem to want John or Jane accepted to Stanford or there'll be hell to pay.

But I'm not a parent and therefore not qualified to judge current practices.
8
The real lesson here is that using test scores alone to decide who stays and who gets fired is a completely idiotic way of making these decisions - AND is deeply unpopular with parents and students.

Let's hope people draw the proper conclusions here, and push back hard against Enfield over this. If she gets her way on this, a lot more principals and teachers will be canned over test scores alone. Then all anyone will teach in schools is to the test, and actual education and child development will be abandoned.
9
This is the district's argument for firing a universally-loved principal? Just weak. Every statistic can be countered with other statistics pointing in the opposite direction. But if this is your argument, fine. You win your numbers game. But another fact is that's virtually every person with any connection to Ingraham knows that Martin Floe is doing an excellent job. People who agree on nothing else agree on this.
10
I can't figure out which of their own iffy metrics they're using to come up with this "second-lowest academic growth" figure from. Below are their posted 2009-2010 metrics for academic growth, which puts Ingraham in the middle. Maybe they went back whatever number of years they needed to make Floe look bad?

Academic Gains for 2009-2010 School Year
Source: SPS School Report Cards

Ave. of following two metrics /
% students making gains on the state reading test /
% students making gains on the state math test /
Name of school

71.5: 67 / 76 / Chief Sealth

71.0: 68 / 74 / Roosevelt

70.0: 68 / 69 / Ballard

68.0: 70 / 66 / Nathan Hale

66.5: 70 / 63 / Ingraham

65.0: 68 / 62 / Garfield

62.0: 59 / 65 / Cleveland

60.0: 52 / 68 / Franklin

61.5: 65 / 58 / West Seattle

53.5: 47 / 60 / Rainier Beach
11
Floe is a great principal, if you are in the IB program. Otherwise, good luck graduating high school knowing how to read. No presence, no oversight, no community.
12
they say that the school's standing was not the only reason he was not renewed. If there is something less obvious, they may not be able to make it public because he could sue. A long, painful decision process sounds a bit more complex than academic standing.
13
Is Ingraham in turnaround? Does the state consider it a failing school? Is it in danger of losing money if they keep this guy? If the answer to any of those questions is "yes" - there's no way he's coming back. Standardized testing has basically made these black & white situations, there is no room for nuance or creative solutions. And the parents of the "high achievers" are the ones who are going to be most disappointed in the long run when the fact that standardized test scores matter more than classroom performance finally hits home.

Honestly, I'm surprised they didn't just shift him to another school. I wonder if that was on the table at any point... it's a pretty standard move.

Unless there is something ugly going on behind the scenes... which since no one has denied, I'm still suspicious about that possibility.
14
@8 - The first year they started tracking test scores was when test scores became the primary criteria for firing people.
15
"Floe is a great principal, if you are in the IB program"

That explains why it's only the white parents doing the "hey hey, ho ho" thing. Yet again, a Seattle teacher gets laid off for failing to teach the unteachables.
16
I don't see how any superintendent can do her or his job in this city when every decision, however poorly PR'ed, is debated and second-guessed in public ad nauseam. At some point the people running the schools have to be able to hold up their hands and say, We are professionals, you have to trust us to some extent and let us do our job. But in Seattle we actually seem to let pitchfork-wielding mobs of parents run the schools.
17
Oh Simac, you just think parents are so annoying and/or useless. Let's look at the facts.

This district has had shitty state audits for years. The last year busted open the whole Pottergate scandal that both the Superintendent AND the Board mostly ignored. We have a $540M backlog of maintenance. We have three interim people in our top leadership - superintendent, COO and CFO. We just let go an HR head who was here 3 months (commuting from Chicago).

Next. PTAs fund 32 full-time positions (including teachers) in SPS. They fund maintenance repairs, after-school clubs, foreign language, you name it.

And we're the idiots and should step back and let the "experts" do their work? I don't think so.

That Dr. Enfield allowed a neophyte Executive Director who has been in this district all of 6 months with her only experience in New Orleans after Katrina (a very one-sided kind of experience) to sway her opinion on Martin Floe is troubling.

If this stands, every single principal in this district will get the message. Toe the high school curriculum alignment plan or you, too, will go.

If this stands, parents will continue to know that no matter what, their principal is ALWAYS in danger of being taken away from their school based on very little evidence. This is the one fear that unites all SPS parents because it happens time and again.

One correction to the story - Dr. Enfield was ready to get a permanent principal in at Ingraham before the end of the school year. She has now backpedaled and said they will get an interim and then allow parents and staff to be part of the process to pick their new principal.

I'm thinking maybe Dr. Enfield might not want to show up at this year's Ingraham graduation - she might not like the response she gets.
18
Has anyone else noticed that the deterioration of the public school system seems to be a direct function of how public schooling is treated as nothing more than political football? The more political public education becomes the worse the deterioration becomes?
19
" deterioration of the public school system seems to be a direct function of how public schooling is treated as nothing more than political footbal"

Which is why we need to boot the loony leftists out of the system with their pandering, 'social justice' programs that have turned SPS into little more than social welfare offices for the unteachable.
20
Be careful with these statistics, folks. These are limited views of a much more complicated situation. Most of the 'African American' students at Ingraham are just that: students of immigrant families from East Africa. They are multi-lingual, and struggle more than other students on standardized tests because of the heavy focus on reading. There are also a significantly higher percentage of students with special needs at Ingraham. They all have to take the tests, even though many of these students can't even read or write. Although it is obvious that more work needs to be done with the low-performers at our school, judging anyone's performance on these limited statistics is appalling. We work with student that the rest of the district won't allow in their buildings anymore, and most of these kids are the hardest ones to teach, and over the last three years programs specifically targeted at these demographic groups have been cut left and right. As our test scores have gone down over the last three years, our economy has imploded, the state test has changed, and the percentage of students living in poverty in our building has increased by a substantial amount. They can find stats to make things look whatever way they want. Look at them all. I'm not trying to make excuses, I just want people to have a more complete picture of the challenges we face.

The simple fact of the matter is that his supervisor, who is brand new and has little to no experience as a teacher or principle of a large high school, has trumped up an overly bad recommendation that has nothing to do with test scores anyway. This test score excuse is all news to us...we hadn't even heard that this was part of the review. He should not be fired, period. He should be given an opportunity to improve in the areas that he has been found insufficient. I hope that his appeal makes the truth blatantly clear, and that the school board has the brains enough to see where the real problem lies.
21
@19, totally missed my point. But anyone who would use the term "leftists" isn't really worth commenting on.
22
Dr. Enfield is lying, plain and simple.

The District measures the growth of student achievement with the statistic that appears on the School Reports: "Students making gains on state math tests" and "Students making gains on state reading tests". By these measures, Ingraham is soliding in the middle of the pack and slightly above average. What to know what school totally sucks? Rainier Beach. Rainier Beach has TWO principals. Are they getting fired? No. The test scores used to justify Mr. Floe's dismissal have been known for about nine months now. Why wait nine months before making this change if it was prompted by these scores?

No, the test scores cannot possibly be the reason for Mr. Floe's dismissal.

Unless... could it be that the District is, once again, promoting false statistics on the School Reports and the District Scorecard, just as they did with the 17% figure for graduates meeting college entrance requirements?

In that case, Dr. Enfield is still lying, just lying about something else. Either way, she's a liar.
23
We need a real journalist with some actual courage, such as Riya Bhattacharjee, to ask the District about the mis-match between the data claimed to justify Mr. Floe's dismissal and the data claimed on Ingraham's School Report. Lord knows that no one from the Times or the TeeVee stations will do it.
24
Dr. Enfield now says that the Seattle Times got it wrong and Mr. Floe's dismissal wasn't about test scores. Hmmm. She won't tell why he was fired - it's a personnel matter and therefore confidential.