Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Calendar Review

Looking at the calendar, I see a few things coming up. Next week is Spring Break. Then there's WASL April 14-May 2 (good grief! but high school is only the 15-18). Then the first week in May is Teacher Appreciation Week (Does your PTA do something? Do you feel appreciative?). If you roll up all the time between now and the end of the school year, you get a little less than 8 full weeks.

Oh and also, the Alliance for Education is having a breakfast. Here are the details.

"We hope you will join us at the Alliance for Education's 6th Annual Community Breakfast on Wednesday, May 14, at the Seattle Westin.

Featuring

Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson, Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson will update the community on her strategic vision for Seattle Public Schools

And Presenting

The 2008 Recipient of the Thomas B. Foster Award for Excellence

Principal Kaaren Andrews of Madrona K-8

Event Details:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Downtown Seattle Westin

1900 Fifth Avenue

7:00 - 8:45 am

Doors open at 7:00 am

Program begins promptly at 7:30 am

Attendance is free. We hope to inspire guests to make a $150 donation in support of our mission to help every child in Seattle Public Schools achieve academic success."

This could be interesting because many power players should be in attendance plus it will be interesting to hear what Dr. Goodloe-Johnson tells this audience.

58 comments:

Charlie Mas said...

I'm totally going.

Anonymous said...

From the Seattle Times:

District Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson said Andrews' "relentless focus on the academic success of all students" has helped raise Washington Assessment of Student Learning scores, especially in reading and writing. Seventh-grade writing scores rose nearly 30 percent between 2005-07.


Hmmmm. Isn't this the principal who chased out all the white students so she could focus on minority WASL scores? Well, she is getting around 40% pass rate in 4th grade... and a 17% pass rate for 7th and 8th grades. Sounds like she deserves a real round of applause and a big medal for great service to all students!

Charlie Mas said...

"All students" is code for "all underperforming minority students living in poverty". Everybody knows that.

dan dempsey said...

Once again Congratulations are in order for SPS data Cherry-Picking. Dr MG-J and Ms. Santorno should be Noble Prize co-nominees for the Math prize for their bold pioneering work in Statistical Cherry-Picking.

What a revelation it is to look at scores and see what little data drives decisions.
Look HERE

While these scores may look awful for all largely because of demographics, if you use the pull down and select Black you will see an average performance.

It is this not amazing:
that and average performance is recognized by MG-J with an award;

while truly exemplary performance at WSHS gets rated as inconclusive.

Welcome to the Spin Spin Spin zone.

Now I get to watch the Central Admin try to spin their way out of total misalignment with the National Math Panel Recommendations released on March 13th. The arrogance of this crew, detached from reality, has flushed away millions in the Everyday Math adoption and failed to direct elementary schools to even open the boxes that contained the meager Singapore supplement.

I congratulate Principal Andrews on her award, my only additional question is did she even open the Singapore boxes?

How to get an award in the SPS - follow the party line.

What about those who produce significant achievement? - The best they can hope for at several locations is to be ignored rather than reprimanded.

dan dempsey said...

I Have no idea how long Principal Andrews has been at Madrona. There are lots of factors that contribute to score variations when a small population (less than 100 per grade level) is tested. Certainly schools need to do a great many other things than produce test scores but a particular test score was what Dr MG-J chose to mention.

Here are the differences for Black students at Madrona in comparison with the SPS district scores over the last 4 years at grade 7.

Reading grade 7:
04 = +12
05 = +18
06 = +6
07 = +6

Math grade 7:
04 = +9
05 = 0
06 = +7
07 = +1

Writing grade 7:
04 = +9
05 = -2
06 = +8
07 = +22

Here are the differences for Black students at Madrona in comparison with the SPS district scores over the last 4 years at grade 4.

Reading grade 4:
04 = +9
05 = -5
06 = -15
07 = +1

Math grade 4:
04 = +14
05 = -11
06 = -3
07 = +9

Writing grade 4:
04 = -12
05 = -21
06 = -20
07 = -4

Anyone still wondering about why Dr M-GJ chose 7th grade writing for test score improvement.

If Dr M-GJ really wanted to put a super spin on this she could have used the actual percent of improvement based on original score rather than the differential.

Improvement/original x 100 =
percent improved.

For grade 7 witting from 2005 - 2007

This gives:
(70 - 37.5)/37.5 = 0.867

Wow an 86.7% improvement in only two years at grade 7 writing.

She should have consulted with Mr Bernatek, he knows stats and how to publicly use them to push an agenda forward. He could have provided her with the 86.7% improvement.

This is mild by comparison with what was presented to push Everyday Math past the public and the School Board. Lies, damn lies, then comes statistics; unless you look at the underlying data where the truth is often found but seldom publicly revealed.

To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data.

Don't hold your breathe waiting for Dr MG-J to enact that kind of improvement plan.

Anonymous said...

Principal Andrews has been at Madrona for four years now, she works really hard and maybe there are some soft numbers behind her success. Can we not start a thread about this principal? Can she can just be recognized for showing up every day, when other principals leave when the going gets tough? I read the article about Madrona last year, it sounded horrible. But yet, she stayed. The kids love her, so just let her have her 15 minutes in the spotlight. And let’s try to be respectful here; I was pretty appalled at the direction the GTA comments went. Especially when students were reading!

With that said, cannot wait to hear more from Dr G-J. Am very nervous about what she really intends to go within SPS.

Anonymous said...

If it were just 15 minutes of glory and not a front page newspaper article, let's give all our principals 15 minutes for "showing up" and being popular.

Didn't she get 50k (for personal use?) that comes from the Alliance's hard-earned fundraising money?

Good intentions are not enough.

dan dempsey said...

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson will update the community on her strategic vision for Seattle Public Schools

As Charlie has often said we are all about planing to make plans and revising plans and informing about the progress in making plans. WOW a vision from MG-J, I can hardly wait to read Charlie's review of this vision after MG-J presents it.

Here is MY VISION:

After a decade plus of total neglect, the Board and MG-J decide it is time to actually enact the provisions of board policies:
D43.00
D44.00 and D45.00
D46.00

In particular D44.00 and D45.00

These require the identification of grade level skills and the teaching of appropriate grade level skills. If students are not learning these skills then effective interventions will be provided. Should the student not learn the skills then non-promotion will be the usual consequence and a better approach than sending an unskilled student to the next grade needs to be used. This would mean the likely use of an intervention plan rather than just a run through of all the same stuff in the same way.

Currently 1/3 of entering 9th graders could not score above level one on the 8th grade math WASL (and that is not much of a math test).

The National Math Panel recommends that all students take an Authentic Algebra course and increasing the number of students who take this rigorous Algebra course prior to 9th grade. This was clearly not in the SPS plans as in January Ms Wise was speaking of non-computationally based Algebra. At that time she envisioned:

Everyday Mathematics K-5
Connected Math Project 2 for 6,7,8
Interactive Math Program at High School

The plan appeared to be NO Authentic Algebra ever.

Now that the legislature has taken the million dollar math standards revision away from OSPI - the district can no longer expect the continuance of Dr Bergeson's failing decade of math reform.

Since Dr Bergeson's hand picked Dana Center (extremely high bidder out of three) and her Standards Revision Team, (that contained no mathematically knowledgeable professionals from industry and was packed with a high number of reform math cronies), have been given the boot, where are we now?

The SPS, Issaquah, and Bethel all adopted Everyday Math for 2007-2008. Really unfortunate choice for the followers of the OSPI politically correct direction. There was absolutely no data that indicated this EM program would be successful in the SPS, without incredibly expensive increases and dedication of time, money, and personnel. In other words enough changes that an improvement could happen in spite of the Everyday Math curriculum.

The politics is now changing to reflect programs that actually work for someone other than the publisher's stock holders.

I would still like to know: Why Ms Santorno unilaterally decided to ignore common sense and adopt the text series most aligned with Washington's failed math standards?

Will any of the mathematically ineffective personnel who advocated and produced this waste of several million dollars in the SPS be held accountable?

The only thing we've seen is if you object to the admin's failing direction you may wind up on Administrative leave, but wasting millions on lunacy is no problem.

My vision is a connection to reality through enforcement of existing board policy and true data driven decision making. Clearly this appears to be 180 degrees off the MG-J plan to make plans and spend money on consultants.

It should be noted that the SPS math direction is 180 degrees off of the National Math Panel recommendations of March 13, 2008

and 180 degrees off from the National Science Foundation's Mathematics Standards Study Group's recommendations of August of 2004 for the essentials of improving mathematics learning.

and 180 degrees off of the proven results of Project Follow Through the largest study in the history of education.

I guess being 180 degrees off from SPS leadership puts one in good company.

Seems like the Phi Delta Kappa $124,000 audit said that SPS had little idea of what they were doing in a whole variety of areas.

Perhaps a starting point would be D44.00 and D45.00
instead of more consultants.

I remain unconvinced that bullying is an acceptable replacement for leadership.

dan dempsey said...

Hey, I do not mean to slam Principal Andrews. Given the amount of misdirection from the Central office most who are principals in Seattle likely deserver our respect and thanks. Again schools are to be a lot more than test scores.

My concern is largely the way the Central Office manipulates people, the public, and data. I am extremely skeptical of praise and condemnation from the Central Office as they far to often have little to do with reality.

I know nothing about Principal Andrews and very little about Marshall Alternative School principal Dr Drake, who I believe is still on administrative leave. Not fired, not working, just being paid.

What I do know is that when district personnel make a big deal about Marshall alternative school WASL test scores and compare them with comprehensive high school scores, something rotten is happening. It is hard to trust the SPS Central Office about any decision in anything given the track record.

My worry about Principal Andrews award arises out of the fact it is given by the often deceptive, usually driven by ulterior motives Central Office. If you think I am too critical, go check the underlying data about most central office decisions.

Anonymous said...

The Foster Award is for the school, not a personal gift of money to the Principal. There are specific requirements regarding what the money is to be used for.

Anonymous said...

Art classes and a garden, perhaps?

grrr said...

I read the same article and my first thought was that the principal should be fired, the school should be closed, and another program put in the very nice building. She refused to serve the population in her neighborhood, refused to add non-factory educational opportunities, and turned away dedicated and talented parent involvement. Quite a few families, neighborhood families who could walk to the school, tranferred out (increasing transportation costs for SPS). The situation at Madrona last year was a perfect example of the ills of SPS. And now we're honoring her? Puh-leeze.

Raising the scores of underperforming, poor, minority students is a good thing. But, it's not the only, or even the main, job of public schools. The main job of public schools is to educate the public, the children of the taxpayers. In the Madrona neighborhood, the public is very diverse and includes affluent and middle class students of a variety of races, with educated parents who want a well-rounded education for their children. It also includes poor and minority children. It includes students working at, above, and below standards. The school needs to serve all of them. Madrona does not. So much so that very few of them go there, and the students who do go there are mostly from other neighborhoods.

I would go private if my child were assigned to Madrona. And, before anyone calls me a racist, I was seriously considering MLK before it closed, and am still considering Montessori at TT Minor. The difference was the availability of programs, and principal who actively reached out to the community for our involvement. I want a diverse school. I do not want a WASL factory.

So, yeah, let's honor this principal for encouraging family participation and helping to bring about neighborhood schools that serve all the children in their neighborhoods well.

Jennifer M said...

I agree 100% with grrr. It is appalling that this principal not only got away with her racist behavior, but is now being honored by our district. Public schools have an obligation to educate everyone, not just low income, minority, under performing students. This principal was hostile and unwelcoming toward the gentrifying Madrona community and was unwilling to even attempt to meet the needs of Madrona's neighborhood families. Instead she focused solely on the under achieving, minority students and turned Madrona into a WASL factory, and drove the neighborhood families out with a "don't let the door hit you in the a** on the way out" mentality. Of course those kids test scores went up, but at what expense?? At the expense of art, PE, music, gardening. At the expense of burning kids out?? Don't we want well rounded, happy children anymore?? Do we really want little WASL machines?? Do we really want to honor a principal that drove out neighborhood families??? Do we really want to honor a principal that values one childs education over anothers?? That is willing to meet the needs of an under achieving community at the expense of the average achievers?? If the goal in SPS is to get all kids to perform at grade level, then why is this district punitive toward kids that are already their???

Do we really want to honor a principal that did not value and work toward diversity??

And, last but not least if this were a white principal driving out the minority, under achievers she would not be honored, she'd be on administrative leave!

Charlie Mas said...

Here are a few more items for the calendar:

The Seattle Public Schools will conduct a public hearing pursuant to RCW 28A.335.120, on Thursday, March 27, 2008, at 7:30 p.m. in Room 4 at Crown Hill Elementary, 9250 14th Avenue NW, Seattle, for the purpose of receiving testimony to be given to the School Board on whether the property should be sold. The property is approximately 3.73 acres and includes a school building of approximately 40,000 square feet. The property is currently leased to Small Faces Day Care and the District is currently negotiating to sell the property to the lessee.

The Seattle Public Schools will conduct a public hearing pursuant to RCW 28A.335.120, on Thursday, April 3, 2008, at 6:30 p.m. in the Cafeteria at the Nordic Heritage Museum at the Webster School, 3014 NW 67th Street, Seattle, for the purpose of receiving testimony to be given to the School Board on whether the playground property should be sold. The property is approximately 35,713 square feet and includes a playground area, basketball courts, and an asphalt-paved area utilized for parking. The property is currently leased to City of Seattle Parks Department and the District is currently negotiating to sell the property to the lessee.
The District is not selling the School Building, which is currently leased to the Nordic Heritage Museum.

The Seattle Public Schools will conduct a public hearing pursuant to RCW 28A.335.120, on Thursday, April 10, 2008, at 7:00 p.m. in the auditorium at Lawton Elementary, 4000 27th Avenue West, Seattle, for the purpose of receiving testimony to be given to the School Board on whether the Interbay Playfield property located at 3027 17th Avenue West, Seattle should be sold. The property is approximately 1.72 acres and includes an athletic stadium facility. The property is currently leased to the Seattle Parks Department and the District is currently negotiating to transfer the property to the lessee.

The Seattle Public Schools will conduct a public hearing pursuant to RCW 28A.335.120, on Thursday, April 17, 2008, at 7:30 p.m. in the wood building, Room 7 at Allen School, 6532 Phinney Avenue North, Seattle, for the purpose of receiving testimony to be given to the School Board on whether the property should be sold. The property is approximately 2.54 acres and includes two separate structures, one with approximately 17,868 square feet and one with approximately 28,072 square feet, along with playground and parking areas. The property is currently leased to Phinney Neighborhood Association and the District is currently negotiating to sell the property to the lessee.

Charlie Mas said...

I'm not sure how many times I should write this, but, in the lexicon of Seattle Public Schools, "all students" means "all underperforming minority students living in poverty". Those who question whether the Madrona School serves "all students" need to bear that in mind.

The District is dedicated to serving the academic needs of "all students".

Anonymous said...

Here is one blogger's angry rant on the topic.

Anonymous said...

Why is it a "community breakfast" instead of a "community dinner"?

Educators are part of the "community" but are, hellooo, educating between 7:00 and 8:45 of a morning...

a community member

grrr said...

I read somewhere that Dr. G-J had closed an underperforming school in Charelston and re-opened it with a new staff. I was kind of hoping she was going to do the same with Madrona. Guess that's not going to happen.

Anonymous said...

grrr says:
Raising the scores of underperforming, poor, minority students is a good thing. But, it's not the only, or even the main, job of public schools.

One could reasonably argue that it IS the main job of a public schools to educate those who absolutely cannot do so on their own. Because others who can, will. It is a reasonable minimalist approach, even if you disagree with minimalism. HOWEVER... this principal has done practically NOTHING!!!! Let's see, a lot of 7th graders can write (but not read). 17% are on track to graduate. What high standards ????! It's really hard to believe somebody wants her to get a recognized for just showing up. Sheesh.

Anonymous said...

"One could reasonably argue that it IS the main job of a public schools to educate those who absolutely cannot do so on their own. Because others who can, will."

That is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard. Public schools have the obligation to educate every child. EVERY CHILD. That is what our taxes pay for. It is our constitutional right. Education is not reserved for only the poor, minority and low performing students, it is the right of every single child in this city, and there is no reasonable argument otherwise.

Anonymous said...

It's not ridiculous to the 30 - 50%of Seattle kids who are in private school. If it's an option for you, you CAN use it.

richards1052 said...

Thanks for linking in the above comment to what you called my "rant" about Andrews. As a neighborhood resident, I can tell you that I would never send my children to Madrona under Andrews leadership. I DO send my child to TOPS, which has a diverse student body AND aims to educate all students regardless of their aptitude, race or economic status.

As for the Foster Award being directed to the school and not the principal. If that were the case then the Superintendent would've focussed much less on Andrews & much more on the school & staff. This was clearly meant as a pr buffing for Andrews.

Anonymous said...

You all are a trip. It's inevitable that somewhere along these long strings of posts, your racist behavior comes out and of course you have to declare you're not racist. Thou doth protest too much.

I noticed that all of you who are white are sure comfortable with what you call a diverse school as long as your kids aren't in the minority. I know a lot of people like you. You're all for equal rights as long as your rights are more equal.

And I'd be willing to bet that not a single one of you knows first hand what happened at Madrona, but of course you side with the poor little white families that have gentrified the neighborhood but can't the their little way in the school. Please.

Anonymous said...

It is our constitutional right.
Sorry to shock you, but no, education isn't a constitutional right. We might wish it were, but we'd also like medical services to be a right, and home ownership. In these days of declining taxes bases, the obligation of the state is to make sure everyone gets an education, not necessarily a free one. If some are private, so much the better. Keeps tax low.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 8:11 back again.

Yes 30% of Seattle students go to private schools, but does that mean that they do not have a right to a public education??? If they became unhappy with their private school, if it closed down, if their parent gets laid off, or becomes ill and can't work, or they just simply change their mind, the state is obligated to serve them.

So, yes, SPS does have to serve everyone, even those who could afford to go elsewhere for their education. Anything other than this would be absurd. Affluent and middle class pay taxes too, and SPS has to serve them the same as the low income, minority and under achieving.

Anonymous said...

I'm a new reader to this blog, and I have to question you, Charlie about this statement you've made not once, but twice:

"in the lexicon of Seattle Public Schools, "all students" means "all underperforming minority students living in poverty".

I have to ask where you get this impression, and what you could possibly say to back it up.

Since I came to Seattle from a state with neither school choice OR diversity, I paid very careful attention to the way SPS operate, and I've seen some pretty damn great programs for yes, ALL STUDENTS.

Powerful Schools comes to mind. The award-winning music programs at Gsrfield and Roosevelt do too. The Stanford school language program is another. Or do they not count because they are in individual schools? Or are only the ones north of the Ship Canal valid?

As a white parent with a biracial child, I'm offended by yours and other comments on this comment thread that somehow, the low-income, minority peers in my daughter's southend elementary school are less deserving of the attention they might need. And worse, that they are coddled.

Yet, the posts her explain what I've been trying to understand as her school takes in more and more white kids from affluent, gentrifying families. The kids start in kindergarten hanging out together, but begin splitting off by race by 2nd grade. Since obviously the PARENTS of the gentrifying families think they deserve more, it's filtering down to their kids that they don't need to hang around with the poor little brown kids who are getting more than their share.

I don't know the story about Madrona first-hand, but gee, you think maybe the lower income families felt pissed off about being told they were being coddled and needed to let those more deserving white kids get what THEY wanted??

My child's had a great education and I wouldn't move her to a private school even if I could afford it. But boy do I understand the anger of minority families.

--Donna

Anonymous said...

I'm a new reader to this blog, and I have to question you, Charlie about this statement you've made not once, but twice:

"in the lexicon of Seattle Public Schools, "all students" means "all underperforming minority students living in poverty".

I have to ask where you get this impression, and what you could possibly say to back it up.

Since I came to Seattle from a state with neither school choice OR diversity, I paid very careful attention to the way SPS operate, and I've seen some pretty damn great programs for yes, ALL STUDENTS.

Powerful Schools comes to mind. The award-winning music programs at Gsrfield and Roosevelt do too. The Stanford school language program is another. Or do they not count because they are in individual schools? Or are only the ones north of the Ship Canal valid?

As a white parent with a biracial child, I'm offended by yours and other comments on this comment thread that somehow, the low-income, minority peers in my daughter's southend elementary school are less deserving of the attention they might need. And worse, that they are coddled.

Yet, the posts her explain what I've been trying to understand as her school takes in more and more white kids from affluent, gentrifying families. The kids start in kindergarten hanging out together, but begin splitting off by race by 2nd grade. Since obviously the PARENTS of the gentrifying families think they deserve more, it's filtering down to their kids that they don't need to hang around with the poor little brown kids who are getting more than their share.

I don't know the story about Madrona first-hand, but gee, you think maybe the lower income families felt pissed off about being told they were being coddled and needed to let those more deserving white kids get what THEY wanted??

My child's had a great education and I wouldn't move her to a private school even if I could afford it. But boy do I understand the anger of minority families.

--Donna

Melissa Westbrook said...

To comment on some comments:

Anonymous, how do you know,when the majority of posts are anonymous, who is white and who is not?

Whether or not any of us went to Madrona or were at any meetings, it seems clear that some parents were told their ideas did not match with the principal's vision for the school. And, apparently, her vision is the district's and so they left. Whether there is any racism involved, I don't know. But it points out that, once again, parents mostly have no power over what direction their school takes. (And I would warn you; it's only worse in middle and high school.)

Two, education may not be mentioned in the US Constitution but the Washington State Constitution says the "paramount duty" of the state is to provide education to its citizen. (You can look it up.)

Three, how does having more kids in private school lower taxes? I'm not following.

Anonymous said...

We are a biracial family too (white/black) and I am always puzzled to hear the racism, separation, white parents don't let their kids play with the black kids argument. Really baffled?? We have NEVER ever felt this. We live in NE Seattle and have attended an alternative school and a neighborhood school, and our oldest is now in middle school. The issue of race has NEVER come up in any negative way whatsoever. Maybe we are just lucky? Maybe we are accepting of others so they are accepting of us?? Maybe we don't look at people and define them by their color so people don't do it to us either. The neighborhood school my child attends is Bryant. Many many families are affluent. We are not. Several of my sons best friends are affluent. This has never been an issue. At all. Again, maybe we are just lucky??

Anonymous said...

"you think maybe the lower income families felt pissed off about being told they were being coddled and needed to let those more deserving white kids get what THEY wanted??"

Yes, how dare those white parents wanting to fund raise, and volunteer their time to provide art, more PE, a garden.

Hell, they even wanted recess.

And they had the nerve to want this for everyone. All students?? How selfish and self serving of them.

I'm sure the community is much better off without them.

Anonymous said...

I am white, and I can honestly say that I have never spoken with a family at our school who felt that race was an issue. I have never heard or seen parents at our school divided by race, nor have I ever seen the children divided. Maybe I'm just not part of it, so I am oblivious to it??? Could it be happening right under my nose?

I am asking white parents, under the cloak of anonymity, to talk openly about how you (honestly) feel about your children being in a diverse school, and how you feel about them befriending children of other races and socio economic backgrounds? Or, any other issues around race that you face at school?

Please share

Anonymous said...

"I'm offended by yours and other comments on this comment thread that somehow, the low-income, minority peers in my daughter's southend elementary school are less deserving of the attention they might need."

I think you missed the point? The point was that this district thinks that white, middle class kids are less deserving. Not minority children. Don't be offended, please.

All children should be deserving, but this district does not see it that way. The district pushes the middle class, white, kids to the side, with a "they will take care of themselves attitude", while they coddle minority students. That is simply unjust, and it should be addressed.

Anonymous said...

To the biracial, Bryant family-I'm gratified to hear of your positive experiences. For our part, our daughter has been challenged both by black kids who think she's "too white" and white kids who see only her dark skin. She has never been invited to a single activity after school by a white classmate. Yet she counts several as her friends. However, it's the kids of color who include her in out-of-school activities and their parents are the ones who acknowlege me. I will keep Bryant on my radar. Thanks for your input.

To anonymous @ 9:24-I didn't miss the point. My point is that I do not see any indication anywhere in the district that white, affluent kids are left to fend for themselves. There are a host of great programs district-wide that offer pretty much any student a chance to succeed.

You comment proved my point-you feel that minority students are coddled, yet you don't back that up. Efforts to bring kids with less than stellar home lives up to grade level isn't coddling, it's giving them the tools to succeed that are considered a birthright in more affluent families.

The fact that the APP program is something like 70% white strikes me as the opposite of being left to fend for themselves, as an example.

To me, if you see someone in need, you offer the help that you can. Kids who have to miss breakfast at home because there isn't any; kids who wear the same clothes everyday because that's all they have, aren't going to be as focused on school as the ones with lives of plenty. If you allow THEM to fend for themselves, there's a good chance they'll not make it. Unless, of course, you see that as their problem and gardening programs as more important than making sure that those needy minority kids can read and write at grade level.

But...I get it. Your post and others here and in the newspapers' comment sections whenever race comes up help me get it. Somehow extra help when it's needed is unfair, and minority kids are less deserving. I've even read where some folks think that the Bell Curve was accurate and minority kids aren't a bright as their darling white kids. I get it.

--Donna

Anonymous said...

Our kids go to a popular alternative school. We are hounded for play dates by kids and families of all colors and socio economic backgrounds. We actually have to set "no play date" days aside, just so we can have some family time after school!! We have had black children, bi-racial children, a Jewish child, an Indian girl, a South African exchange student (just to name a few) at our house. Somehow the kids manage to accept one another at our school, and are inclusive. They do not see color, stereo type or exclude. Neither do any of their parents (that I have come in contact with).

Perhaps the racial problems and exlusion that you are experiencing are problems directly related to your school and/or the leadership of your school?? I truly do not believe that intolerance and exclusion are the norm across the city?? I would be ashamed to live here if it were. There are schools that face these issues, like Madrona, but I believe they are few and far between.

I know you said you were very happy with your child's education, but how could you be happy in that environment? What does that say to your child? I would get out as fast as you can (run don't walk), and find a more inclusive community. It's interesting though... that you say you are "very happy with you child's education and wouldn't leave". Perhaps you are part of the problem? Perhaps you perpetuate the situation? Fuel it with your presumptions?? Food for thought....

Anonymous said...

"She has never been invited to a single activity after school by a white classmate."

Has she tried inviting them?

Anonymous said...

To both of the above-what I wouldn't leave is public education, not the school we are at, which we are, in fact, leaving.

And of course, we HAVE made inclusive invitations. We're not big "play date" people, because I work, but for special occassions? We do invite a diverse group; we don't restrict the invitations by color. Then we would, indeed, be part of the problem. The kids who accept these invitations, though, are kids of color (Asian, Latina and black/biracial).

To 11:06-that's great that you're deluged by play date invitations. I'm glad that you actually have time to play-so many kids these days are wildly overscheduled. But, don't think it's a bad thing to "see color".

Black kids know they're black, Asian kids know they are Asian, etc. A writer in a Seattle Woman magazine article a couple of years ago put it this way: to pretend there is NO color makes me invisible. It's when you make my color "less than" that it's a problem.

My daughter is proud of both parts of her genetic make up. She's as at home with her white family as with her black one. She IS a color, "tan" and she very proud of that too. It's when she gets called names because if that it hurts.

--Donna

Charlie Mas said...

Donna,

Thank you for your question. It is a valid one.

I have been a close observer of Seattle Public Schools for about seven years now. In all that time, whenever anyone from the district spoke about providing something for "all students" or making sure that "every student" gets something, they didn't really mean all students or every student. I know that because I asked them. I would ask "When you say 'all students' do you include high performing students?" and they would, usually, be candid enough to say that they didn't really include those students. They would say that they didn't need to include those students because those students didn't need district-sponsored services - as evidenced by the fact that they were high-performing without the benefit of district support.

I have never heard anyone from the district suggest that students of Western European descent need culturally relevent curricula. Have you?

I'm not sure what else I could offer you in response. I suppose I list a number of situations in which this perspective drove a decision. I think the recent decision by Roosevelt to eliminate AP European History as an option for 10th grade students - when half of the students were taking it - is such an example. The annual assault on Advanced Learning is similarly motivated as was the decision to eliminate AP classes at Hale.

There are some pretty great programs for all students, but note which of them are supported by the District and which are supported by the community.

Advanced learning programs, APP, Spectrum, and ALOs, by the way, get very little money from the District. The District has threatened or tried to dismantle the programs each of the past six years. I would not describe them as getting district support.

Powerful Schools, for example, is NOT a District program. It is an independent effort. The music programs at Garfield and Roosevelt, and at Washington, are largely supported by the communities at those schools. The fundraising for music rivals the fundraising for the building as a whole.

So, no, these don't count, but not because they are at individual schools but because they are not really supported by the District but by the community.

Donna, you have misinterpreted my statement. I strongly believe in equity. I strongly believe that each student needs something different - and should get it. I strongly believe that low performing students need something different or extra and should get it. And I have advocated for it repeatedly. I strongly believe that low income students need something different or extra and should get it. And I have advocated for it repeatedly. And I absolutely agree that teachers and administrators should be aware of their cultural biases and should view students' needs and actions through a culturally aware lens. No doubt about it.

So really, there is no cause for offense. I share your belief that the low-income, minority peers in your daughter's southend elementary school are completely deserving of the services they need. They are no less deserving than any other student. And, in exactly the same way, no other student is any less deserving of the specific services that they need than are the minority students from low income homes.

I find it difficult to join you in the belief that White, affluent families who choose to move into predominantly non-White neighborhoods are racists. That really hasn't been my observation and it really doesn't make a lot of sense.

What does make sense, however, is the idea that folks - all folks - view the world through a lens biased by their culture and circumstances. So someone who values art and gardens for their children presumes - perhaps incorrectly - that art and gardens are right for all children. It isn't evil or racist, it is simply a little cultur-centric (or whatever the appropriate term would be). Similarly, where some folks see gentrification, others see neighborhood improvement.

Donna, since you don't know the story about Madrona - and you wrote that you don't - then I think it would be wise of you to forbear making conjecture about it. It was not a simple situation with good guys and bad guys. There were competing interests, but all of the interests were legitimate, earnest, and positively motivated. In the end, everyone had to do what they believed was right and make their decision about which values would take precedence for them. All of the values were good.

It is interesting to me that you write about the anger of minority families. Are you saying that people bristle at the suggestion that their interests are being served? Or do you think that someone has suggested that the extra support provided to some students is unnecessary, inequitable, or misspent? I certainly wouldn't suggest that. Oddly, I often hear this said about providing needed support for high performing students. Perhaps you could also understand their families' anger?

What I have said is that every student - and I mean every student - should have get equitable treatment from the district, should have equitable access to programs and services, and should get their academic, social, and emotional needs addressed equitably.

Equitable isn't equal. If some students need more A than other students, then they should get more A than other students. If some students need more B than other students, then they should get more B than other students. Just as we shouldn't deny students what they need because they come from low-income households, neither should the district deny students what they need because they come from affluent households.

Is that reasonable or unreasonable?

Anonymous said...

Donna, when I said the kids at our school do not see color, I didn't mean it in an offensive way, geeeeez.

I meant that they do not discriminate, exclude or pick and choose friends based on their color. They see color, of course, but not in that way. They see it in a much more simple way. They realize that black kids, Indian kids, Asian kids, look different than them, but so does the white child with the long curly fire red hair and a face full of freckles. That's the extent of the what they see right now (elementary school). When my kids make friends they don't think about thei color...they don't think "I'm going to make friends with that black child", rather, they think "wow I like playing kickball with that kid".

Not everything is about race. I beg people to stop inserting race into every interaction that takes place. I truly believe that in current day this reading of race into every situation is what is CAUSING the majority of the racial controversies. It's time to stop, and move forward. Geez listen to Obama.....and vote for him!!



Donna, I hope that when you arrive at your new school you bring a new attitude with you. I hope you don't look for racial rifts, and I hope that you are open and accepting of everyone at that school, and free yourself of the weight that drags on you and your child.

Anonymous said...

But anon 2:20, comparing a curly-haired redhead to a racial "minority" ignores the perspective of the minority who suffers the racist consequences of their skin color.
It's easy to say, "we're all different!" but harder to explain to children the ill effects of racism. I don't know how to do this, when to do it, what we do about it...
Heaven only knows I wish I didn't have to deal with race; would that we could all return to the playground innocence of youth, who probably DON'T know "color" as much as they did in the past. But I'm a white guy, and black youth HAVE suffered the slings and arrows of injustice...
You cite Obama, and that's a great place to focus this (EVRYBODY, all of sudden, IS talking about race...how wonderful is that, though hard?).
In his speech, he said, "I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love."

Senator Obama, I believe, is reminding us that race, that political and social construct (for of course it has no meaning outside these constructs) is part of ALL of us. The Black students who are called names, who are profiled, who have suffered the effects of generations of prejudice and racism...These children must deal with race EVERY day.

The good senator was reminding us that he loves his grandma, even when she was prejudiced, but has to go on acknowledging another part of his life, the black community and its on-going struggle up a long hill.

I don't know what happened at Madroan, but I would say, of COURSE race was a part of it, because it's a part of just about everything. This cannot be ignored, especially by whites. It's too easy to say, kids see differences, black, freckled, redheaded...and thereby push to the side the very real perceptions by many in this city that they continue to get a raw deal. I often cite the fact that red-lining (keeping a group "in its place," Blacks in this instance, by denying them property or loans outside a given area, the CD in this instance) was only outlawed in 1973. I use this to cite that while we are making progress, history is mighty close. Today's grandparents were denied capital accumulation because of red-lining and numerous other tactics. Then in TODAY'S paper, I read that Blacks and other minorities are being charged higher loan rates...so it goes on.
Madrona's conflicts had race as an element. To ask that we, and children, merely "celebrate the differences" ignores the costs that continues to be paid by minorities in this nation.
Gordon

Anonymous said...

Yes, Gordon, let's hold on to our racist tendencies, and keep perpetuating the problem, instead of giving this new generation a new perspective. A perspective of tolerance, acceptance and equality. Let's rob our kids of their innocent views and pound into them the injustices of THE PAST. Let's not move forward. Let's not move on. Let's not celebrate diversity, and watch our kids laugh and play together. Let's continue to divide ourselves. Let's continue the cycle.

Wow, Gordon, your perspective is not only counter productive, it's scary, and it is exactly what keeps racial tension at the forefront.

Anonymous said...

Continued from above.....

You cited Obama's story of his grandmother. His grandmother like all of our grandmothers was a product of the time. She came from a generation that lived racism, oppression, division, and inequality. Just like my father in law who had so few colleges that would accept him because he was black, and couldn't pull into most hotels during a road trip. He still has anger in him, and he is still somewhat untrusting of white people.

But do you think Obama's kids share these views??? Do you think my children, my father in laws grandchildren share these views?? I can tell you that mine do not. We are a new generation. They have not lived this history. They only know what they live, and my kids live in a just, fair, accepting, inclusive Seattle. It's a new day, a new time, a new generation. Let's move forward, please, for the sake of the kids.

Anonymous said...

A couple black kids at my private school were chased out of McGilvra. Staff told them they would "do better somewhere with more diversity." Now they're in private school. They're not the only ones either. But there was no newspaper stories, no crying about how horrible discrimination was/is (since it is the usual case), no Danny Westneat, no irate bloggers. When we get a Madrona situation, it's news, the common discrimination... well, that's not news.

Anonymous said...

I think we are losing sight of the original issue here. It is not a "Madrona issue" that is being discussed. It is the White principal who has very questionable methods of meeting her goals. Somehow she has managed to convince people that she and her methods are Black, and if you disagree with them, you are a racist.

There are millions of principals out there working well and respectfully with parents, staff and children of all races/ethnicities/backgrounds every day. Kaaren Andrews is not one of them.

-Aghast

Melissa Westbrook said...

I've mentioned before; whatever the situation was, a clever principal and a smart district would have been mediators or facilitators and tried, with grace and tact, to find a middle ground. I'm not sure that happened.

The district may say they want private school students back but boy they don't do much to make that happen. We need those dollars attached to those kids. It would likely help Madrona's bottom line.

It is likely that most of us have heard or participated in "over the fence" discussions with friends and neighborhoods about schools. Once a school gets tagged one way, it is hard to shake it.

And, just to give the education reporters a break here, did someone tell them about the McGilvra incident? These reporters work very hard but can't do it alone. Was there a public meeting with other people present to verify it? The newspapers can't go printing stories without some kind of background.

I think Senator Obama had it right that it isn't really (or always about race) in this country; it's about class. We like to think we are a classless society but we aren't. This issue will continue to raise itself again and again.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I've mentioned before; whatever the situation was, a clever principal and a smart district would have been mediators or facilitators and tried, with grace and tact, to find a middle ground. I'm not sure that happened.

The district may say they want private school students back but boy they don't do much to make that happen. We need those dollars attached to those kids. It would likely help Madrona's bottom line.

It is likely that most of us have heard or participated in "over the fence" discussions with friends and neighborhoods about schools. Once a school gets tagged one way, it is hard to shake it.

And, just to give the education reporters a break here, did someone tell them about the McGilvra incident? These reporters work very hard but can't do it alone. Was there a public meeting with other people present to verify it? The newspapers can't go printing stories without some kind of background.

I think Senator Obama had it right that it isn't really (or always about race) in this country; it's about class. We like to think we are a classless society but we aren't. This issue will continue to raise itself again and again.

dan dempsey said...

When one has become accustomed to driving a steamroller it is hard to remember to get off and at least occasionally appear to negotiate.

Anonymous said...

Two, education may not be mentioned in the US Constitution but the Washington State Constitution says the "paramount duty" of the state is to provide education to its citizen. (You can look it up.)

Three, how does having more kids in private school lower taxes? I'm not following.


If a significant percentage of kids get their education privately.... WE, the taxpayers, don't have to pay for it. We have among the lowest state taxes in the nation, and no income tax. People pay for private education, INSTEAD of paying high taxes. Get it now? It's very simple. So, to everyone who bemoans being a taxpayer and complains about their school services... you're not as much of a taxpayer as you would be elsewhere if you lived elsewhere.

The "paramount duty to education" doesn't preclude reducing taxes, keeping a strong private sector of schools, or NOT providing every single person with a Cadillac education at public expense.

If we want Cadillacs, we need to vote them in with adequate funding at the state level. So far, there's no movement in that direction. Personally, I would like a Cadillac education for everyone... and do vote that way. But with fixed funds, we must and do prioritize.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Here's the actual wording from the WA State Constitution:

"Article IX, Section 1. Preamble.

It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex."

That phrase "ample provision" is quite a sticking point because, of course, who can define it? I would say, however, that the schools do not get ample provision from the state. But who said anything about a Cadillac education?

Yes, we do pay less in taxes if there are fewer kids. However, the public schools lose when there are fewer kids (fewer kids = fewer dollars). However, at the same time, the schools have to take ALL comers, no matter what. If our economy continues its downturn, we may see more kids coming into public school and they will have to be served. I support public education so I don't mind paying these taxes. It all comes back to us in the end if we have an educated populace and fewer criminals.

Last, ..."keeping a strong private sector of schools"? That's capitalism and private enterprise and I could care less whether there is strong private school system or not.

Anonymous said...

The private schools are having a record recruiting year this year, despite any downturn. There are many, many more applicants than spaces. Local NPR just did a feature on it. Getting more money from the state, doesn't mean you'll have more to spend per child. And per child spending, is the only thing that's interesting. It's like saying, if I take more people out for pizza, it will be cheaper by some strange measure.

"Cadillac" education is a term that has been used by the US Supreme court, btw.

Charlie Mas said...

The trick of "per child" spending, of course, is that some kids cost more to educate than others.

There are some Special Education students who require services that cost ten or twenty times as much as an ordinary student. There are also additional costs associated with English Language Learners and underperforming students living in poverty. The fact is that the public schools are not seeing a lot of competition for these students from the private schools.

The typical private school student is the type that not only costs less to educate, but who also brings money - in the form of family support - to the District.

Let's put some numbers to this for illustration purposes. These numbers are not actual; they are only for illustration. When a typical private school student enrolls at a public school, the District gets additional funding of, say, $5,000. But, because this student doesn't have any special needs that cost money to address (or at least none that the District will spend money to address), the District only has to spend $4,000 to educate the kid. In addition, the student's family contributes $500 to the school. The net result is that the school, because this student is enrolled there, has an extra $1,500 to spend that it would not have otherwise.

So, if the District were successful in attracting students out of private school, the money from the federal government, the state government, and even the local levy would increase at one rate, but the District's costs would increase at a different, lower, rate. The net result would be more money for the schools to spend.

So, yes, we are buying more pizza, but these kids pay for five slices and only eat three, so there is more pizza available for the kids who pay for five slices and need to eat seven.

It's not cheaper for the state - total expeditures increase - but it is cheaper for the school and the District.

Anonymous said...

... and the typical private school student is the one who BRINGS IN THE LEAST AMOUNT OF MONEY also. People have the idea that schools get the same amount for each student enrolled. Not true. Low needs = Low $$$. It still adds up to zero extra benefit, recruiting that private school student doesn't increase per student funding.

Anonymous said...

> the school has an extra $1500 when it gets the funding for the new student

Unless they had to open another class because that student was now #32 or #33 in a second grade class somewhere. In that case, that extra student just cost his school a whopping 70K or so... for the fully burdened extra teacher.

maureen said...

"for the fully burdened extra teacher"

Well, except now both teachers have class sizes of 16 (if there was a classroom available).

This is what worries me about the possible new assignment plan with guarenteed access to your 'neighborhood' school. Your 3rd grader has 17 in their class, in kindergarten it's 33. The current system uses the next school over for over flow--that won't happen any more.

dan dempsey said...

Anon at 1:28 AM,

Said that Education is NOT a constitutional right.

Our State constitution may not guarantee many services but ...

Checking a source finds the above to be totally wrong.

See the following:

Washington State Constitution
Article IX, Section 1. Preamble.

It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex.

Article IX, Section 2. Public school system.

The legislature shall provide for a general and uniform system of public schools. The public school system shall include common schools, and such high schools, normal schools, and technical schools as may hereafter be established. But the entire revenue derived from the common school fund and the state tax for common schools shall be exclusively applied to the support of the common schools.

Anonymous said...

"Unless they had to open another class because that student was now #32 or #33 in a second grade class somewhere. In that case, that extra student just cost his school a whopping 70K or so... for the fully burdened extra teacher."

And if the student was number 24 in a class that would otherwise have been 23, s/he cost the school almost NOTHING extra. There are always tipping points one way or another.

Helen Schinske

dan dempsey said...

There may not be a move for a Cadillac but there is a strong move to get us out of this apparent junker we are currently riding in.

If we want Cadillacs, we need to vote them in with adequate funding at the state level. So far, there's no movement in that direction.

I beg to differ look up information on the"NEWS" lawsuit. Find out about lead attorney Thomas Ahearn's take on how to apply the same strategy used in wildly successful actions in NY and Wyoming. Look for the state to have to actually compute the cost of providing an education that is adequate given the education necessary to compete in the global economy.

This may well happen because the court system will order them to do so. Then the court will rule on an amount and the state will be ordered to fully fund the school system to that dollar amount.

It happened exactly that way in NY and their constitution is a bit weaker than ours.

Why this district is playing nickel and dime games selling off assets until there is a result from the coming "NEWS" trial is beyond my understanding.

Anonymous said...

This may well happen because the court system will order them to do so. Then the court will rule on an amount and the state will be ordered to fully fund the school system to that dollar amount.

Good luck with that wishful thinking. I'm sure it won't happen within the next decade or so when I need it.

Anonymous said...

"And if the student was number 24 in a class that would otherwise have been 23, s/he cost the school almost NOTHING extra."

Exactly. Which is why recruiting students (who bring in the lowest dollar amount) doesn't change the average per pupil spending, and doesn't add ANY economies of scale. The district already has plenty of economies of scale. (arguably too much scale) In one case it may help one school if underbooked... or penalize one that is overbooked. The point that the private school students are the ones who are the "cheapest, easiest to educate" and therefore can fund all the others on average (the special education, the ELL, free and reduced lunch, etc) implies that the expensive students are funded with the monies from the typical, "cheap, easy" students. (Charlie's point: they are paying for 5 pieces of pizza but only eating 3) Guess what? We already had a lawsuit about that. The districts FAILED to prove that the "cheap, easy students" were funding the "expensive students". So no... private school students wouldn't be benefiting anyone else if they came in the public schools. In fact, if anything, the judge seemed to think it could well be the other way around. That is, monies intended for "expensive students" was unaccounted for, and therefore presumably, going to the "cheap, easy" students.