Monday, February 20, 2017

Commenting on the Blog

Dear Readers,

I had mentioned previously that I am very frustrated with this district but that's actually a different issue than what I am bringing up here.

I find it difficult to moderate lately and therein lies the frustration.

Charlie and I have basic guidelines on comments but we try to use our best judgment on what stays and what goes.  It's not easy because:

1) if we moderate too much, we're too picky and it's supposed to be an open forum
2) if we moderate too little, then we'll allowing some comments that skirt or go over the edge to some readers.

I can take a certain amount of "personality" to some comments (if only so people see the thinking that is out there).

There is also another issue with the moderation and I said this in the charter school lawsuit update.

I know that some people coming here are paid to do so. They are here to obfuscate and try to run me and other readers in circles.  

Call me old and cranky but I reserve the right call it out or to say no.

It's one thing to have an opinion and another to try to spread ed reform rhetoric on my time and my blog.

This blog is one of the few places where comments are NOT pre-moderated. 

We allow you to pretty much say what you want (even in criticizing us.) Does the Washington Policy Center? Nope. LEV? Nope.

But after doing this for more than a decade, I'm drawing my own line in the sand.

One, if you've made a point and you just keep making the same point over and over, this may not be the blog for you.

Two, if you try to make it sound like others don't care about children -even though they are clearly at a public education blog - this may not be the blog for you.

Three, if you are here to make this personal and about me, this may not be the blog for you.

So, if you don't like those points, then I invite you to go elsewhere. 


In Honor of Presidents Day - Thanks, President Jefferson

From Great Big Story:
Founding father, co-author of the Declaration of Independence, third president of the United States. All great achievements. 

But, we should also recognize Thomas Jefferson for bringing macaroni and cheese into our lives. The creamy combo made its way to the U.S. courtesy of Jefferson, who, while visiting France, became enamored of fashionable pasta dishes there. 

Yum! Thanks TJ.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Seventy-Five Years Ago Today; A Day That Also Should Live in Infamy

From Sol's Civic Minute:
Today is the 75th anniversary of the executive order that President Franklin Roosevelt signed three months after Pearl Harbor creating a system of internment camps to which Japanese Americans were sent.
Seattle writer Mayumi Tsutakawa wrote a piece for the International Examiner looking back at the internment and using it as a warning about Trump's Muslim ban (one of his surrogates suggested during the transition that Roosevelt's executive order could be a model for the new administration);
Thomas Shapley in Crosscut wrote about a small community newspaper on Bainbridge Island that was one of the only local media outlets to speak out against the internment at the time; and,
KING 5's Lori Matsukawa spoke to local residents who were detained in the camps 75 years ago.
(Editor's note: Sol Villarreal is a real estate broker and former staffer in Mayor McGinn's office. His Sol's Civic Minute is a weekly round-up of local news/events.)
Sol's Civic Minute is a weekly email newsletter that I send to my subscribers every Sunday morning at 6 am. As the tagline implies, you can scan the entire thing in under a minute to catch up on what happened in Seattle the previous week. Lots of people tell me it's the only email they get that they read in its entirety, though, so be forewarned that reading the whole thing and clicking on a bunch of the links will take you longer than a minute. My focus is on local politics & government and other related items–the kinds of things that we all want to pay more attention to but that it's tough to take the time to stay up to date on. I spend hours each week reading all the local news I can find so that you don't have to!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Netflix Allows Classroom Access to 13th

Thanks to Soup for Teachers for this heads up.  From Variety:
Netflix has granted public screening access to Ava DuVernay’s Oscar-nominated documentary “13th” for classrooms, community groups, book clubs, and other educational settings.

The streaming service said Tuesday that there has been a groundswell of interest from elementary school, universities, another other educational institutions asking for permission to screen the film. “13th” — which takes its title from the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution abolishing slavery — explores the link between slavery and the modern-day prison system.

“13th” is competing for the best feature documentary Academy Award against “Fire at Sea,” “O.J.: Made in America,” “Life, Animated,” and “I Am Not Your Negro.”

Lincoln High Open Thread

Wanted to throw this up for anyone who attended Director Burke's meeting Friday evening to discuss the reopening of Lincoln High School.   Please weigh in if you attended.

DeVos - Not Off to a Good Start

As you may recall, Secretary of Ed Betsy DeVos, went to a traditional D.C. middle school.  There were a few protestors that apparently so intimidated her that she and her handlers left and then went in a different door.

She visited one classroom and then made a comment about the teachers there being "in a receive mode."  She went on:

“They’re waiting to be told what they have to do, and that’s not going to bring success to an individual child,” DeVos said. “You have to have teachers who are empowered to facilitate great teaching.”

As you can imagine, that "waiting to be told" remark didn't go over well with teachers who are doing tremendous things.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Washington State Charter Law Upheld

Update: the Times has an article on this ruling.  Here's part of my comment in response to something from the Washington State Charter Schools Association:
"Charter public schools have been given a stamp of approval from Washington voters, the state Legislature, and now the state’s judicial system,” he said in a prepared statement. "
This is a factually untrue statement (prepared or not). Why? Because the courts only rule on constitutional issues and, in fact, both the WA Supreme Court AND the King County Superior Court rulings both said that neither case was about whether charters work or are good or bad.

They ruled that the law was constitutional. That's it and Mr. Franta knows it. To say that there is some "stamp of approval" by the courts undermines our judicial system. Maybe Mr. Franta is taking his cue from the Trump administration.

End of update

Judge John Chun of King County Superior Court today ruled in favor of the defendants in upholding the current charter law.

I will say in reading the ruling, I see many places where the judge further validates other rulings and leaves the door wide open for other lawsuits (which I predict will come to pass.)

It's a big win for charter supporters but I don't think it now leaves anyone in a relaxed place.  Or rather, no one should take this ruling to be the end.

Gates' Annual Letter To Buffet Doesn't Mention Education Efforts

For the second year in a row, Bill and Melinda Gates' letter to Warren Buffett on his donation to their foundation doesn't mention what any of their policy and advocacy work in public education.   From fellow public education activist, Leonie Haimson:
..whether related to funding and promoting the Common Core, test-based teacher evaluation, charter schools,  online learning, or data-mining students' personal information. 

Perhaps that's because these policies have failed to improve student outcomes and instead have provoked real anger and resistance among parents and teachers nationwide.
Not one single word.

Friday Open Thread

Apparently this is the number one question that kids ask astronauts.  Science finds a way.

Fifth grade basketball teammates ban together; show your kids and ask what they would do.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Cedar Park Elementary Tour Tonight

Didn't see this on the SPS calendar before so sorry for the late notice.

6-7:30 pm
Cedar Park Elementary 13224 37th Ave. NE

Visit our (maybe your) school set to open in the fall for next school year.  We'll show you around and give you an idea of the what it would be like for your son or daughter to come here.

Cedar Park is what's called an "option school." This means anyone in the Seattle School district is eligible to attend. Submit a "school choice" form (available on Feb. 6) during the open enrollment period that runs Feb. 13 - 24.

A Day Without Immigrants

Today is a “Day Without Immigrants” with protests around the country.

LiveWire Event on Washington State Public School Funding

Want to talk about the costs of NOT fully-funding schools?  Here you go.

Boy, I hope they invite some legislators.