Friday, December 26, 2008

No Dead Zone Here

I think the district, because it's a holiday period, and then we have to shake off the snow blues and the post-holiday stupor, is hoping that no one will be talking about closures. I really doubt if the newspapers will be covering much until school starts. There are no meetings to attend. But I've read through the minutes of the hearings so far and there are few surprises (although some interesting reading).

Yes, we need to plan on how to say farewell (and, in my case, good riddance) to 2008. But let's not let it all go and then suddenly try to snap out of it on January 4th. Because, folks, that's exactly what the district is counting on.

Let's keep up, shall we? This is not a dead zone here.

3 comments:

Johnny Calcagno said...

Yes, it is hard to break out of our tryptophan haze. In case you are like me, and still have some passive energy that needs to dissipate, I have some reading and listening suggestions.

My reading recommendation is Malcolm Gladwell's essay in the 12/15 New Yorker about how we might improve K-12 education by more carefully hiring and evaluating teachers.

My listening recommendation is the 12/19 episode of Warren Olney's To the Point program about the future of education reform under an Obama administration.

Seattlehorn said...

In case you missed this:

*Please Forward Far and Wide*
Educators, Students, & Parents for a Better VISION of Seattle Schools (ESP VISION)
Are you against the school closures? Come join us to plan the next steps in uniting all of the schools together against the closures. We are asking parents, educators, and students from any school -- whether your school is
on the chopping block this time or not -- to come with ideas for how we can save our schools and improve public education in Seattle!

Organizing Meeting:
When: 6pm, Monday, December 29th
Where: Garfield Community Center (corner of Cherry and 23rd)
Contact: Vicky Jambor (vjambor@msn.com) 206-851-4862

...Because Teachers, Students, and Parents know that...
School closures will not achieve "Excellence for All"

3 Classes the Seattle School District should take to understand why school closures will not lead to "Excellence for All"

Basic Math:
You don't have to be a math teacher to see that the current school closure plan will not save anywhere near the amount of money the Seattle School District says it needs. By the District's own figures, the proposed closings and the restructuring of Seattle Public Schools will only save $3.6 million.

Geography:
The last round of school closures drove families out of the Seattle School District. As a November 21, 2007 Seattle PI article pointed out, "A new district analysis shows that, of 732 students at closed schools, only about half of the students went to the schools to which they were assigned. Another 155 left the district." With some 20% of the displaced families abandoning Seattle Public Schools in the last round of closures, the district lost money that the state pays per student enrolled.

Civics:
Under the Basic Education Act passed by Washington's legislature in 1977, the state bears responsibility for fully funding K-12 education--but the level of funding for public schools has steadily declined ever since, with Washington State now ranking 42nd in per-pupil spending. According to the Washington State Parent Teacher Association (PTA), because "the formula for funding the act hasn't changed substantially since 1977," but basic educational needs have, "it doesn't completely fund the Learning Assistance Program, school transportation, Special Education, and English Language Learners."

With the State refusing to fund a 21st century definition of basic education, the Seattle School District, along with teachers, parents, and students, should stand united to demand the funding it is owed—rather than bow to budget shortfalls by closing schools and disrupting communities.

jamie said...

have you seen this?
http://www.cooperschoolworks.com/why.html