Laws and Rules Don’t Seem to Apply to the Colville School District!

Breaking the Law

by Scott Martin

This is a follow up from my article What Does 20 Million Dollars Get the Colville School District where I revealed over half of the students tested in Colville School District are FAILING their state math assessment and almost as many are failing in language at a cost of $20 Million.

In this current time in US history, Rules and Laws don’t seem to apply to politicians or the Government much, but they sure apply to us tax-paying “peasants”! Try to not pay your property tax, and the government will take your house away. Fail to stop at a stop sign and you are fined while your driving record is damaged. If a student fails to follow the rules at school they are disciplined or expelled.

Fail to follow laws, rules and policies as a school board director, superintendent, or school district and what happens? Usually nothing.

So what are these laws, rules, and policies I believe Colville is violating? Here is a list of Washington laws WAC’s (Washington Administrative Code), RCW’s (Revised Code of Washington), and some of Colville School districts own rules/policies. (Links and some text from these are listed at the bottom of this article)

  • WAC 180-105-020
  • RCW 28A.655.100
  • RCW 28A.655.115
  • Policy No.2004
  • Policy No.2090
  • Policy No.2080

Why does any of this matter? Well every one of these laws/rules/policies require the Colville School District to create a yearly “District Improvement Plan”, “District Goals and Objectives” and to “involve the public in the decision making process”, yet the Colville School District has done none of these.

Let me repeat, by law, all of these should be done YEARLY.

For the last three years our Superintendent Mr. Pete Lewis and our School Board appear to have failed to follow any of these laws, rules, or policies. Not one District improvement plan has been made or even presented to the public. Not one!

Our kids are failing at an astounding rate, yet the District has failed to ask the public our opinion, failed to involve the public in any meaningful way and they have no District plan what so ever to improve our children’s test scores.

Don’t believe me? Ask them for a printed copy of a “District Improvement Plan”

Colville School Board is getting ready to spend $21 million of our tax dollars;

  • Without having a District plan to improve our children’s education,
  • Without a District plan to improve our children’s safety,
  • Without a plan that states what the District goals and objectives are,
  • Without asking the public what we want for our children,
  • Without presenting any of this information in a Board meeting open to the public.

Where is the District improvement plan? Where is that money going? Why is Colville not more effective in teaching our kids? Where do they plan to spend the money to improve our kids’ education?

Maybe the more important questions are;

  • Why does Colville School District not follow the law?
  • Why don’t they follow their own policies?
  • Why don’t they ask us “peasants” where and how we want the money spent?
  • Why don’t they tell us their plan?
  • Why hasn’t Colville bought books in three years?
  • Why haven’t we hired more teachers?
  • Why have teachers been fired, while several NEW overpaid Administrators have been hired?

I must say some of the teachers and employees in Colville are by far the best people I have ever known. They are some of the most decent, dedicated, and likable people you could hope to have involved in the education of your children. I am proud to call many of them my friend. As good as many of the people are, they have not been given the tools or environment to do their job as well as they could or should. The best auto mechanic can’t repair your car with only a hammer and a shovel.

School Board Meeting

Colville will be adopting their new 2016-17 $21 Million budget. By law (this law they kind of follow) Colville must allow members of the public to ask ANY and ALL questions about the budget they have and I will be there asking my questions.

Please join me at the next Colville School Board meeting:

Wed, July 27, 2016 at 5:15in the Aster Elementary building, 217 S. Hofstetter

Scott Martin  colvilleparents@yahoo.com

 

Performance Improvement Goals  WAC 180-105-020:

This requires Colville School District to, “adopt district-wide performance improvement goals using the federal requirements”

Performance Goals-Reporting Requirements  RCW 28A.655.100:

This requires Colville to “Annually report to parents and the community in a public meeting and annually report” ”district-wide and school-level plans to achieve the goals, including curriculum and instruction, parental or guardian involvement, and resources available to parents and guardians to help students meet the state standards”.

Outreach and Feedback  RCW 28A.655.115:

“each school shall conduct outreach and seek feedback from a broad and diverse range of parents, other individuals, and organizations in the community” and, “summarize the results in its annual report”

 Accountability Goals  Colville School District Policy No. 2004:

Requires, the Board to, “annually adopt district-wide goals and direct each school to annually establish goals and action plans that include the achievement of all students”.

It also requires, “The district and all schools shall demonstrate satisfactory progress toward the performance improvement goals”

It continues; “Once a year the Board shall issue to parents and present it in a public meeting”

  1. The district and buildings’ improvement goals.
  2. Student performance relative to the goals.
  3. District and building plans to achieve the goals, including curriculum and instruction, parents and guardian involvement”

Further, “Annually, the district will report in a news release the district’s progress toward meeting the district and building goals.

Program Evaluation  Colville School District Policy No.2090:   

“The Superintendent will prepare an annual program evaluation report, which reflects the degree to which district goals and objectives are being accomplished along with recommendations for future adjustment and planning”

Comprehensive Student Assessment System  Colville School District Policy No.2080:  

Requires Colville to, “utilize a variety of assessment procedures and measures to assess student performance including norm-reference tests, District-level and classroom-based performance assessments”

 

 

 

 

 

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Why I Hate Standards Based Grading

15a30f91a0b84b7ac737c756e657813e_pinterest.comI’m not going to mince words here, I really do HATE HATE HATE standards based grading. Why? Because it explains NOTHING. The parents, children, teachers and even the administrators cannot explain exactly what a student has learned, or how well they have grasped the subject. Let me give you an example from one of my experiences:

When my daughter received her first standards based report card:

– We didn’t know what the grades meant.

– We asked our daughter what her grades meant to her and she didn’t know.

– We asked the principal and he didn’t know, he told us to ask the teachers.

– The teachers sent us lots of paperwork, but it didn’t really explain our daughters understanding of what she had been taught.

– We went to the administrators office and after a very long conversation using lots of fancy verbiage that we assumed was an attempt to confuse us, make us feel stupid, or make us leave, they finally admitted that they couldn’t tell us exactly what her grades meant.

End of Story.

What I can’t understand is how so many people believe something is wonderful when nobody can explain what it is or how it works beyond an incredibly generic and non specific concept. The people who love it will tell you it gives them so much MORE understanding of where a student is. Really? Then why can’t you explain my child’s grades when I ask for them?

Here’s another way to explain what’s wrong with standards based grading. Let’s look at the rubrics used by other schools to explain to their staff, students and parents how it works.

Rubrics for Standards Based Grading

I’m inserting links here because they all take a lot of room to explain.

http://www.minnetonka.k12.mn.us/academics/gradingandreporting/reportcards/Pages/GradingRubric.aspx

http://washburn.mpls.k12.mn.us/standard_level_grading

http://www.exemplars.com/resources/rubrics/assessment-rubrics

Pretty clear right? *sarcasm* Every school has a different method for grading. Why is this a good thing? Where are the “standards” in standards based grading?

My child receives a “4” in Washington, but an “8” in Minnesota for the same grade. And then you have different grading rubrics for different subjects. Talk about confusing on a grand scale. They expect us to understand something completely unexplainable – AND they expect our children to understand it too.

The school will run you around with so much double speak on this subject that you are supposed to leave feeling like they are so much smarter than you. It’s not true. I am not stupid and neither are you Do not think you have to accept a ridiculous concept as having any kind of merit when it comes to your children’s futures. If they can’t explain what it means, then it has no meaning.

Grades are a tool used to measure a student’s understanding and knowledge. If a carpenter uses a fluctuating measurement system, anything they make would fall apart. So what good is a fluctuating grading system to our children? Will their futures fall apart if we keep standards based grading in our schools?

Standards Based Grading in Colville Schools (as explained to me in percentages): (if anyone at the school wants to contact me to tell me my chart is wrong, don’t bother.  I get different answers every time I ask and I don’t have room to put in a manual full of explanations – so this is my best interpretation with what I’ve been given.)

4 = 95% or better (A+)

3 = 60% to 94% (C- to A)

2 = 1 to 59%  (D to F – or student wrote their name on the paper.)

1 = Fail

As you can see, the majority of the students will receive a 3, which is anywhere from a C to an A.

The school will tell the parents;

“Your child is doing good, they are getting a 3”.

Well, what the heck does a 3 mean in the first place?

Is it an “A”, a “B”, a “C” or “Nearly failing”?

That statement is worthless when the value of the three is meaningless.

So standards based grading is great if you just want to get through school, but for those students who want to excel, it is bewildering and frustrating on every level.

My son was always grade conscious, but when they went to standards based grading, he didn’t understand his grades anymore and nobody could explain them to him. He became frustrated and apathetic because he didn’t understand what was expected of him and what he WAS doing no longer had any meaning.

For the rest of his school career, he just muddled his way through by pleasing the teachers. This ridiculous system taught him to just ‘do as he was told’. It didn’t seem to have anything to do with actually learning (or teaching?) the subject matter – which is what we thought school was for in the first place.

ANOTHER ANNOYANCE: Continue reading