Thursday, December 23, 2010

Eckstein Music Program Concerns

We had a comment in the "One Last Survey: Middle School LA" thread that I have pulled out for discussion here. I'll just copy and paste it.

Stand Up! said...
Can anyone hear how bad the music at Eckstein sounds?

I have hope,

However, the idea that no one in the the Seattle area is outraged by Eckstein, the flagship of a horribly mismanaged and segregated school district, is anathema to me.

Both Eckstein and Washington have failing music programs by national public standards. These standards are defined first by inclusion and ethical practice, not by showboating and the extolation of a few privilaged kids - much less trophy accumulation.

Exclusion, segregation and remunerative practices mark the poor and cheating programs of the Seattle Public Schools.

The presentation of a facade of accomplishment is foisted upon the public by an incopetent administration and a horribly mismanged district. This district goes so far as to give "jazz" instructors credit cards- credit payed for by you.

Has anyone reviewed the demographics in the Eckstein building over the last 10 years? If you have, you tell me what you think is happening to students of color in that environment.

In terms of the music, does anyone think about the fact hundreds of band students not only never get the opportunity to participate in the illegally funded "Jazz Band" program, but are also constantly bullied in a hostile and reified environment; an environment that is established upon inherently exclusionary and emaciated musical practices?

Did anyone notice the favors that kids who are "soloists" or "featured" performers in the "jazz" bands and musicals get while the others are shouted at and told to be quiet?

Did anyone stop to listen to how awful the large choirs and bands sound at Eckstein this year, or is everyone mesmerized by the "jazz" doodle-ings of about 14 privately instructed rich kids?

FOLLOW THIS BLOG AT:
poorinstruction.blogspot.com
-Former Teacher
Concerned Citizen
12/22/10 10:54 PM

263 comments:

1 – 200 of 263   Newer›   Newest»
Sarah said...

Thought I heard, Eckstein's music program was cut back because music students had inadequate amount of time for academic subjects.

klh said...

I can't locate the blog that the original poster listed in his e-mail. Can you offer any extra info so I can find your blog?

Thanks.

klh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Former Eckstein parent said...

Former Eckstein parent - not a music kid

There's been a type of "don't ask, don't tell" about this fiefdom for years. My kid is a junior in college now and I vividly remember that rarified air that the music program and director occupied at Eckstein - and, of course, similalrly at Roosevelt.

Lisa said...

I found the blog by cutting and pasting the address into my browser window: poorinstruction.blogspot.com

I don't really know a thing about the music program at Eckstein, but I'm thankful my kids have been spared the hyper-competitive jockeying for chairs that I hear about at some schools, Eckstein included. It doesn't exist at Ballard HS and to my ears the bands and jazz bands sound great. Sometimes I wonder how much longer Ballard can stay friendly and inclusive as the music program grows larger each year, and filled with kids who come from a more competitive background at Washington/Hamilton.

I'm not sure how fair it is to demonize kids who have had private instruction, though. Even at non-competitive Ballard those kids tend to shine. Unfortunately you can't usually learn an instrument well through hard work and initiative alone.

ParentofThree said...

Wow, an entire blog for this issue. That is interesting.

Music programs are very competitive in Seattle schools, I am glad my kids play the drums and electric guitar in rock bands. Keeps it on the lighter side and there are so many venues for kids to perform these days.

I did hear a wonderful piece on NPR a couple of weeks ago about the former band teacher at GHS, who recognizes that jazz band participation is limited to certain schools. He started a program, JazzED that sounds amazing.

CCM said...

WMS's music program is alive and well - with nearly 500 kids participating. It doesn't look quite as diverse as the school (roughly 1/3 African-American, 1/3 White, 1/3 Asian) - but there is participation from all programs.
I have heard that maybe the "quality" has been lowered due to the APP split. I can't really tell - the kids seem to enjoy it.
The after-school drum line is a great addition and is one of the most popular performances at the concerts. They only practice once a week.
There are kids that excel due to private lessons, but there are many students that just take at school.
I don't see paying for private lessons for music (one of our kids takes private lessons - one doesn't) any different than participating in year-round sports.
10,000 practice hours to become an expert - not going to get there through in-school instruction alone.

Keith Bowen said...

Dear Charlie Mas,

I am concerned about this posting. I do not have time to write at the moment but I offer you this.

I am very failure with the music programs at Eckstein. I disagree with all the data offered as evidence but I do not have the time to write a long article today. This school provides some of the best middle school musical education available anywhere. A large percentage of the school participates and it is open to all that are assigned to Eckstein.

The writer does not offer his/her name.

There was a nasty dismissal of an Eckstein music teacher last year. Could this be the writer of the article? Some of the subjects commented on in the article revolve around that particular job. If so, it appears to be revenge writing. I do not wish this article to be on this wonderful blog.

If allowed to stay on the identity of the writer should be disclosed so that the accusations could be properly researched.

Thank You,

Keith Bowen

Keith Bowen said...

correction:

I am very "familiar"

Charlie Mas said...

Honestly, I'm not entirely comfortable with the unsupported accusations made in this comment or on the referenced blog. They don't come with my endorsement. I'm not in a position to confirm them or refute them. But neither am I in a position to dismiss the3m.

If the statements made here are false, then they can be refuted, and refuted convincingly. The marketplace of ideas can withstand a few false ones - they will be found out and rejected.

klh said...

Thanks, Lisa - I found the blog cutting and pasting the address. Not being an Eckstein parent, it's a little hard to follow everything there without specific names, facts, etc.

My student is at Hamilton (not APP), and has really benefitted from being able to participate in music. Although they do have some very skilled and talented kids who have had private lessons in the advanced orchestras, there are opportunities for real playing in the lower level groups too. My kid started in a beginning group last year - he had no instrumental music in elementary school. This year, he's the next level up, and I was really impressed with the improvement for the whole group.

I'm worried what we will see for music programs when the board starts dealing with the latest set of budget cuts after the holidays.

casey said...

The post title "Eckstein Music Concerns" sounds alot more rational then the ranting accusatory letter that is copied here.

First of all, the music program is more then Jazz and Band. As a former parent, I can say that the Eckstein ORCHESTRA Program is one of the best in the region. The orchestra teacher's dedication is apparent and there is a place even for students who are just beginning an instrument, if they are willing to work at it, or "do their homework," as well as those who excel before entering Eckstein. For many students the orchestra program gives them a sense of belonging and community is a large school, as well as quality instruction.

It would be much better to offer constructive ideas on how to run a music program which is underfunded and not always respected by administration. I agree with K Bowen that this kind of kind of anonymous anger should not have a place in this blog.

Speechless said...

Charlie, by "just cutting and pasting", aren't you endorsing what the anonymous blogger said? Without a context or comment from you, it really looks to the outsider like you're endorsing it.

Charlie Mas said...

Speechless, now you will know for future reference that my duplication of a statement does not constitute an endorsement of it.

I duplicate a lot of material on the blog including statements by District officials, statements by public figures, articles and editorials from newspapers, and more. None of them come with any endorsement unless specifically stated.

Stu said...

This would be laughable if it wasn't so wrong a volatile! As with elite athletes, math whizzes, spelling champs, and even private-lessoned-musicians (heaven forbid), there are some who will get more attention than others. That this school, or ANY school for that matter, can offer an elite level group, WITH OPEN AUDITIONS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR, within their offerings, is amazing. That these programs are supported virtually entirely with PRIVATE MONEY is amazing. That there are music programs, choirs/bands/orchestras, for ALL WHO WANT TO JOIN is amazing.

Is there competition among the players? Sure . . . is there competition for quarterback? Editor of a school paper or yearbook? Spelling bee champ? Of course. But, unlike many sports programs, there is a no-cut policy in music . . . all who want to participate can.

This original posting is so obviously sour grapes that it almost doesn't dignify a response. Does every level band or orchestra in the public school system sound professional? Of course not . . that's not the point of the program. The point is to offer a musical opportunity/education for all those interested. It's amazing, with the lack of support from the district, how many great programs exist in this district.

stu

Anonymous said...

Charlie, I think you would feel very differently about the morality of posting this rant if you were the one accused of being a sexual predator. Such libelous accusations can be incredibly damaging to dedicated teacher's career and life even when the facts show they were absolutely innocent. Just because you can post something doesn't mean you should. No amount of weaseling and backtracking will make what you have done here right.

Take the thread down.

- Disgusted Parent

Anonymous said...

Of the 9 post-beginner bands & orchestras at Eckstein, (including 3 Jazz bands), only one band and one orchestra are limited by audition. I believe that the most competitive orchestra is also the largest, so it is hardly “rarified”.

The musical is an afterschool program that is not directed by an Eckstein teacher.

I have had kids in both the band and orchestra programs at Eckstein and they learned a lot. Are they “awful”? Well I wouldn’t buy a CD if I didn’t know a kid in the program, but they do learn to play their instruments better.

For one of my children, the orchestra was the only thing that kept her engaged in school during those years. She loved it because she could practice an hour a day or more & progress to harder music & more capable groups. She observed that the kids who practiced the most, advanced more quickly than those who had private lessons, but didn’t practice.

As far as the competition, Eckstein was also very supportive of their math teams’ trophies & the science teams’ awards when we were there. Competition is one way to motivate kids. As long as there are opportunities for kids who prefer not to compete.

band, orchestra & musical parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

I think Charlie was trying to open a possible discussion about music programs here at SPS. I, too, have pulled out comments from threads that I thought might spark discussion.

(I did go and read the blog and would agree with the issue that this person obviously has a beef and that he or she chooses to remain anonymous is very troubling. It is not until you read the blog that you get the idea that this person is accusing a music teacher of alleged attention towards students that would seem wrong. It is not in this thread.)

However,
"Just because you can post something doesn't mean you should. No amount of weaseling and backtracking will make what you have done here right."

I'm sorry but calling Charlie's actions "weaseling and backtracking" when he is explaining why he posted the comment is unfair and unwarranted.

Speechless said...

Charlie, I've been perusing your postings, and it really seems to me that you would never just put a positive statement from MGJ without pointing out what you thought was wrong with it. I agree with many of the people who have requested that you remove this posting. If you feel that freedom of expression precludes you from doing this, then maybe you can make some comments. After all, not all of our rantings have to be on the front page, do they? You always ask for supporting data or evidence. This might be a case where more evidence needs to be brought forward for it to become an important thread.

The Real Arnold said...

Sounds like the original poster has a chip on their shoulder. Notice the ad hominem attacks about "illegal" funding and otehr accusations. No specifics that anyone can take action on.

The Real Arnold said...

Charlie - Illegitimi non carborundum

Post whatever you like. Don't let these self-proclaimed censors intimidate you with their hate.

ds said...

In my opinion, Eckstein’s music program is alive and well. I debated whether or not the original poster deserved a response but felt duty-bound to defend a program and teacher that have meant so much to our family (not just my daughter but also her grandfather who has been moved to tears on many occasions seeing a love of music blossom in not only his granddaughter, but also the many other kids who have had this fantastic opportunity).

Although I was dismayed by the accusations the poster made at the principal and teacher, I was sickened by the comments made about the kids. First came a reference to the “favors that kids who are "soloists" or "featured" performers in the "jazz" bands and musicals get.” What? The teacher encourages all kids in the senior jazz band to solo (they’re required to do this at least once a month during practice) and encourages those in the other bands to do so. My daughter is in senior jazz and is not a soloist in performances; she’s not skilled or practiced enough to be a soloist yet, but she has improved tremendously this year and is inspired to work hard on her own (no private lessons). Maybe she’ll solo at a performance this year, maybe she won’t. But the fact that she has opportunities to solo (in practice) and is encouraged to improve tells me that this program is aimed at developing all kids’ musical abilities. She feels that the kids who solo have earned that honor; there have been no favors granted to them by their teacher (maybe the favors come from their parents who can afford private lessons, but, you know what, good for them).

Then came, “Did anyone stop to listen to how awful the large choirs and bands sound at Eckstein this year, or is everyone mesmerized by the "jazz" doodle-ings of about 14 privately instructed rich kids?” Why bash the kids like this? And, yes, I have stopped to listen to the bands, and they sound fantastic. At this year’s jazz concert, it was amazing to hear the strides made from the junior to senior jazz bands. I was at the senior jazz’s first performance at the beginning of the year and then again at their most recent performance, and there has been HUGE improvement. No, they’re not yet of professional caliber, but these kids, privately instructed or not, are growing as both musicians and responsible citizens, and that’s what counts.

And then there was a reference to girls in pictures with their teacher “holding instruments they can barely play.” Again, this is an unnecessary cut at the kids who this poster seems to want to support. I don’t get it.

As far as any exclusionary practices of the program, as far as I know, the bands are available to everyone. Most 6th graders who have played in elementary school end up in the junior band (a few end up in intermediate…I imagine that those with previous private instruction are more likely to skip ahead, but why wouldn’t they?). Most 7th graders who want to continue with music and who have shown a reasonable amount of effort go on to one of the intermediate bands (jazz and/or concert); some (with or without private lessons) are asked to participate in one of the senior bands. Likewise, most 8th graders who continue their interest in music or have shown a reasonable amount of dedication (with or without private lessons) go on to one of the senior bands. Some kids decide to try singing or another music class and some decide they’d rather try a completely different elective (e.g., art, technology). No, the senior bands aren’t open to absolutely everyone, but why should they be? If kids aren’t ready for algebra because they haven’t demonstrated mastery in prerequisite courses, would we expect them to be placed there automatically? No (I hope not, anyway…it sounds like this happens all the time, though, with ill effect). This would not help the unprepared student and it would not help the rest of the students in the class.
(cont...)

ds said...

(cont..)
And as far as costs being a prohibitive factor (I don’t think Former Teacher mentioned this directly, but perhaps this is considered part of exclusionary practices) kids in need can use instruments provided by the band and clothes donated by previous students. Oh, and that practice of “making students earn extra money for them through performing,” not only do these performances provide invaluable experiences, but that money goes to support things like instruments for kids who can’t afford them and scholarships. And those horrible privileged parents who can afford the private lessons for their kids also tend to donate money (sometimes A LOT of it) and time (bake sales, rummage sale organization) to pay for scholarships so that any student who wants to attend a performance requiring expensive travel can do so.

As far as the teacher himself goes, our experience is that he genuinely cares about his students and their musical and personal development. He is without a question one of the best, if not the best, teachers that my daughter has had in SPS since kindergarten. Yes, he has high expectations and when kids are goofing off, they may be “shouted at and told to be quiet,” but how is that a bad thing? According to my daughter, this teacher is more patient than he needs to be (often making jokes to redirect inappropriate behavior) and many kids appreciate that he won’t let poor behavior get out of hand.

As far as having pictures taken with “14 yr old girls dressed like they are 25 year old lounge singers, either holding instruments they can barely play or with their arms wrapped around him,” well, yes, he has his picture taken with some of the kids, but to imply that there is some sexual motivation behind this is just going WAY too far. Are they dressed like lounge singers? Well, maybe, but this is part of the culture of jazz bands; girls from many other schools wear similar clothing (black dresses). The band teacher has been making a concerted effort to have parents ensure that their kids wear more conservative clothing; perhaps he should tell kids they can’t participate if their skirts are too short, but then he might be accused of discrimination and sexism. The teacher’s band room, with pictures and all, is open to parents ANY time, including once-a-month scheduled band meetings that all parents are encouraged to attend (how many middle school teachers do this?). Why would he post inappropriate pictures in a place to be seen by parents and administrators alike? He respects these kids and is doing what all teachers should do…showing that he cares and developing appropriate relationships with them. Most of the kids (boys or girls) who I know respect him very much.

Although I don’t agree with the principal all the time, I find that she is responsive and seems to care about the welfare of her students (especially those who are less advantaged). Many students and parents last year complained about a new music teacher who was ineffective and (as I’ve heard from many, many parents) publicly humiliated a student at a performance. Many students transferred out of this man’s classes and some either quit or almost quit music altogether because of their experiences. The principal documented the complaints and was able to exit the teacher by early spring; this is what we need to see more of, not less of.

There is a lot wrong with Seattle Public Schools. But, although it’s not perfect, Eckstein’s music program is not one of those things. And the head music teachers (band and orchestra) at Eckstein are not among them either. They are true gems and deserve the community’s utmost respect and support.

Sue said...

I think the post is fine. This is a blog, not the New York Times. Blogs lend themselves to lively and contentious discussion.

I recall when there was a HUGE amount of discussion about Whittier a few years back, much of it inflammatory and inaccurate, and there was no hue and cry to take those posts or discussions down.

Leave it up!

hschinske said...

I think Keith Bowen is right on target, FWIW.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

Thank heavens for principals who are willing to do the work to get rid of punitive & damaging teachers like the music teacher who was fired from Eckstein last year.

Rose M

hschinske said...

To clarify: I mean I think that Keith is right about the person's motivations. I don't mean I necessarily agree with him about whether the post's presence here is a problem. I'm still chewing that over.

Helen Schinske

Anonymous said...

Sue said-"I think the post is fine. This is a blog, not the New York Times. Blogs lend themselves to lively and contentious discussion."

Yeah, who cares if they are directing people to a site that has some crackpot who is demeaning our students and making up accuasations that could ruin good teacher's careers. It's more important that we be entertained by a "lively" discussion, even if its based on easily verified lies. We don't have to pretend to have a conscience when we tear eachother down on the internet. Plus, people did something like this before on another thread, so this kind of attack is obviously ok. End sarcasm.

Ted

Mary said...

Jesus, Charlie, who do you think you are -- Julian Assange?
By reposting this without any fact-checking, you gave it way more credibility than it deserves. You've lost a lot of credibility with me.

MAPsucks said...

Holy Kow, I've read more accusatory licentious stuff in these complaints about accusatory licentious stuff!

There's enough censorship on this blog without advocating for more...

old salt said...

I think that the link should come down. It does not add to the discussion, but it can seriously damage those named or identified.

Violinist's mother said...

In an attempt to advance public school orchestras; Seattle Youth Symphony and Cascade Youth Symphony REQUIRE students to play the same instrument in school and Youth Orchestras.

Unless a student wants to, this practice is unfair for advanced musicians. As a matter of fact, such requirements may burn-out students and will not allow for musical experimentation.

Furthering public school musical agenda is done at the cost of our children.

I'm uncomfortable with anonymous's rant.

Jan said...

I say -- leave the post up. Wildly accusatory -- yup. But many of the things people are complaining about are not in Charlie's copied post. They must be things people went looking for on the original blog. I didn't go there, and probably won't. For me, it is helpful to know that there is someone out there making these kinds of accusations (hard to protect yourself, examine your practices, etc. if you don't know what people are saying). And it was wonderful (and fully expected) to get all the supportive, positive responses refuting the positions taken by the blogger.

I suspect that Charlie tends to "add comments" more when he is in a position to have facts (and opinions based on them) -- and felt that he didn't have first hand knowledge here. But many others who have posted do have facts, and have added them. If, in fact, the blog is slanderous, and contains false accusations that could ruin careers, it might be better not to have posted its address -- but that would have left unsubstantiated text, which would have been equally bad, or worse.

klh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charlie Mas said...

Okay. Let's see if I can make myself clear.

Let's start with some basic facts.

The comment that was copied into the post was made in another thread. It was already on the blog. Yes, I brought it to greater attention, but I didn't solicit it or go out and find it elsewhere. It was already on the blog. If I pull the comment down from this thread then should I also delete it from the other. What other comments should I delete? Right now I only delete ones that break the rules. This one didn't.

The author is anonymous. So is nearly every other person posting on the blog including nearly all of those who complain about this comment. Ironically, many who complain about the anonymity of the commenter are themselves anonymous. It's not cause for censorship.

We can all see that the tone of the comment does not reflect a sober and thoughtful author. The author does not need me to diminish their credibility. The writing does that by itself. I will add that my tone is often bad enough that it inspires opposition. I have thought that Dan and Sahila, just to name two frequent commenters, often get a little too exercised in their prose. Folks on this blog sometimes rant. That's not cause for censorship.

I briefly visited the referenced blog to confirm the URL. All I saw there was a post that appeared to be a copy of this rant. I didn't review it closely and I don't care to. I didn't make a hot link to the other site. You visit it at your own risk. I cannot be responsible for what appears on other web pages, and efforts to make me responsible will fall on deaf ears. I didn't copy or post any accusations that don't appear in Stand Up!'s original comment, so keep that accusation to yourself.

There was the suggestion that my decision to draw this comment out and make a discussion thread about it constituted an endorsement of it. It doesn't. You can try to project that onto me, but I won't accept it and I retain final authority to declare my intentions and motivations. I have not ceded that to anyone else. I do not make conjecture about the motivations of others - at least not without disclosing it as conjecture - and I do not appreciate people making conjectures about mine. It's kind of a sore spot with me, so you're not scoring any points with that tactic. I say what I mean and I mean what I say. If I didn't say it, please don't presume that I mean it. Grant me that as a courtesy if you begrudge it as a right.

I do not now nor have I ever had a child in the Eckstein music program or any music program. I not only do not have first-hand knowledge of this situation, I don't even have second-hand knowledge of this situation. I did, however, have someone who was clearly VERY upset and wanted to discuss some perceived inequities in the Eckstein music program. My sense was - and is - okay, then, let's toss it out there for discussion. Are there inequities in the Eckstein music program? If folks think that there are, they will have the opportunity to say so. If other folk think that there are not, they too will have their chance. The blog is for discussion, so let's discuss. If those with first-hand knowledge report that Stand Up! has a skewed perspective then that will come out. If folks echo Stand Up!'s claims then that will come out as well.

continued...

Charlie Mas said...

...continued


Have I weaseled or backtracked? I don't think so, but I'm open to discussing it. Wouldn't removing the post constitute backtracking? I'm not a big weasel. I'm wrong a lot and I generally acknowledge it when I am. I probably apologize a lot more than anyone else on the blog (and I probably need to). I had to apologize just last week for a cheap shot (at someone I like and respect - I'm such a dick). I'm open to being convinced that I'm wrong, but I haven't read anything convincing yet. Let's remember: the comment was already on the blog. If it needs to come down from this thread then shouldn't it also be deleted from the one where it originally appeared? And if so, then on what grounds?

There seems to be a lot of folks who have presumed that my highlight of the comment constitutes an endorsement of it. As I wrote before; it does not. Nowhere do I make any endorsement of this comment. The endorsement in is your head, not in my text.

There is one person who thinks I had a duty to fact-check the screed before I drew it out for discussion. Get over that. It's a quote - a long one, but a quote. My only responsibility is to make sure I quoted accurately and to make sure that I have properly credited it. I did. If you want to dispute the veracity of the quote you need to direct your questions to the author or the work, not to me. Let's remember that I brought it out for discussion, not for bronzing.

I don't claim to be a journalist.

I don't claim to be a saint or a seer. I cannot see into the hearts of others.

I don't even claim to be a nice man.

Don't be disappointed if I prove to be none of these things.

I am an activist who, on this blog, seeks to foster discovery and discussion. I want to hear from a broad variety of voices and I want those voices to speak for themselves. I could have paraphrased Stand Up!'s concerns in clearer and calmer terms, but I don't see a need or a duty to usurp anyone's voice. I don't presume to speak better for them than they speak for themselves.

I don't know what is happening in the Eckstein music program, but someone on the blog raised concerns. That's reason enough for me to think that we should talk about it. That's it. There's nothing more to it from my side. Anything else is projected by you. It's yours, so you take responsibility for it.

Keith Bowen said...

OK everybody, I started this I will give a few more comments.

The author of the rant does not identify him/her self. They make serious accusations. If they would have provided the public with their identity the credibility of their rant could be tested. They also do not identify themselves on their own blog.
If you are out their please let us know who you are. This blog’s readers are very intelligent people.
The Eckstein music program is fantastic. They do so much with little support from downtown. The district pays for the teachers and the rooms in which they teach. The parents pay for most of the equipment, field trips, outside coaching and scholarships to those who are in need. Many kids play on instruments that belong to the programs. Many parents do not speak English as their primary language. The organizations reach out to other middle schools with joint learning situations including many without competition. The teachers and parents are involved in helping other schools build programs and encouraging administrators to keep these successful programs alive while planning for new ones in other schools. Many professional musicians and music businesses contribute to these programs and have great respect for the teachers. These programs have long histories with many other teachers, parents and community members contributing to their success.
Moc Escobedo is the Band teacher and was recently named an Apple Teacher of the year.
Brad Smith is the Orchestra teacher and has also been recently named as an Apple Teacher of the year.
Echstein has one other music teacher. This position has had several teachers move through it in the past few years.
To have a credible debate the author needs to identify him/her self. It is possible that many facts would be documented within the district’s records.
My children have found a place in their school life because of the experience, talent, dedication and professional conduct of Mr. Smith. Finding a place is difficult. The numbers of Eckstein students that have been positively influenced by these two teachers is fantastic. They have my full support and dedication. If the writer of the rant wishes to publicly debate their problems they need to step up and identify themselves.
There are issues involving access to these programs and the sustainability of quality teachers. These issues revolve around the new SAP and the lack of planning during its implementation. I have never heard of any issue that the rant claimed; nor do I know any parent or teacher that has voiced any similar concerns. This is my fourth year as an Eckstein parent.
I do not find the rant credible at all. I was disturbed that such a rant received a voice. Many blog comments are removed because the rules of the blog are broken. I would have liked similar treatment for an unclaimed rant.

Keith Bowen
Eckstein Parent

klh said...

Keith, I also do not find Stand Up's rant credible. Without being able to read it myself, I wouldn't be able decide one way or another. I'm very glad it wasn't censored by the blog.

Yes, Stand Up's post and blog are insulting to students and staff in the Eckstein program. But he harms his own credibility and reveals his character when he insults the music performances of middle school age children. And he doesn't make himself look any better as the insinuations of inappropriate behavior by staff, etc. continue. Much of it is absolutely ridiculous.

At this point, my take on Stand Up's post and blog are that someone who is not thinking or writing clearly is making some general, unsubstantiated accusations about Eckstein. If it comes up in conversation, I have some facts from others here to refute it.

However, if this was removed from this blog, the story would be different. Besides the rest of us not having information to refute his claims, he would truthfully be able to say he was censored. More fuel for his fire of feeling he's been treated unfairly.

Thanks for leaving it up, Charlie.

mirmac1 said...

Ideally, thinking adults need to hear all sides so that they may come to some conclusion on their own.

I am mindful, particularly, of the many warnings in the last year or two of education reformers trying to "improve" our schools. If those had been censored as incendiary, many of us would be totally clueless as to the pure evil around us. No, I'm not histrionic. When Santa Congress gives TFA a gift of "highly qualified" status over the reasoned judgement of Ninth District jurists, then you know something stinks in fantasyland...

Anonymous said...

So Charlie, is there any site you wouldn't promote, even if it had a portion that you felt was pertinant to your thread?

When our kids promote web content that demeans other children and teachers, its conisidered cyberbullying. The trend is to punish any kid that promoted it. It doensn't matter if the kids agreed with it or not; if they sent more people to the content, they are held accountable for it. Especially when the content is sexually demeaning in nature. Society, justifiably, engages in a lot of handwringing on the topic.

But when Charlie promotes such content, he gets absolved by any responsibility because he is just a "blogger?" A quick, "Hey, I didn't say it. I just brought to all of your attention as a thread topic and gave you the link to this obscure site on the front page of my blog" and you can wash yoru hands of it? Who cares about the kids and teachers and what effect this may have on them?

You could have brought up debatable issues about the music program without directly promoting the link. You could still take the URL down. But you seem to be too mired in self righetousness about your rights to promote the content to do so. It shows an incredible lack of empathy for the victims of the character assination, be they students or teachers.

Ted

mirmac1 said...

Ted, he aint's PROMOTING it, for god's sake! Just because he's not caving into the freakin' hysteria. Sh*t, I'm "promoting" more than him, for arguing for its retention of the thread!

Anonymous said...

Mirmac1 - He absolutely did "promote" the site. Promotion and endorsement are not the same thing.
- Ted

Stand Up! said...

To be clear,

Michael James is an excellent music instructor and I believe Ballard H.S. has done a better job of maintaining an emphasis on inclusion programming.

People speak about the scope of their programs, they participate in inclusive, music based festivals, and Mr. James does his best to work with as many of the programs and students as possible. The choir has also grown since 2007.

I think Lisa made a very important and insightful observation when she pointed out how quickly this dynamic can change.

Also, the orchestra students at Eckstein are still allowed to pay for private lessons during class/rehearsals.

This remunerative practice is what concerns me the most. Some of the responses pointed out how students who take private lessons have the opportunity to excel, and that this is accepted and normalized.

Student's parents paying for private lessons with the intention that their child could get ahead in school has always been accepted, but those lessons took place in private studios AFTER SCHOOL - NOT IN THE BUILDING ON PUBLIC CLASS TIME.

It does not make sense that paying students can get pulled from a public class at anytime by a private teacher/contractor, disappear to any room in the building and receive private instruction during band or orchestra rehearsal.

Who receives what technical advantages? What music are they working on? Who evaluates the private contractors?
Who counts the money?

It is also extremely disruptive and it undermines band/orchestra rehearsals when the sections are constantly being broken up as kids go in and out of rehearsals. What about ensemble?

A basketball star would never be allowed to take off from PRACTICE, leaving all of his/her teammates behind, to go work with a "private shooting coach" that their parents paid for. Especially if the other team members, or players in the district, did not have access to the same service.

What concern me are exclusion, remuneration and the mismanagement that mark the extolled music programs in the Seattle Public School District. 500 students playing instruments is not 500 students with equal access, equal instruction and balanced systems of validation.

The environment produced by these exclusionary institutional practices has lead to hegemony through symbolic and even economic oppression.

The reality of this process and the resulting racial separation is worth writing about.

Also, please remember, the Seattle Public Schools have a 30 year history of placing these programs, their directors, and a few 'star' students at the center of attention.

Their pervasive conversational emphasis, the intentional 'loading' of these classes with 'gifted' students and the racially divided performance demographics illuminate the socio-cultural impact these programs have had upon integrated, equal access, educational practices the Seattle area.

What about McClure? What about Hamilton? What about Mercer? What happened to Meany? Why didn't these schools get attention and sustained programming?

Music is also historically central to identity formation and learning process for people of color and socio-economic disadvantage. It helps with mentation and healthy ego-development.

This is why inclusive programs were started in public schools in the United States in the first place.

The psychological ramification of the exclusive remunerative environment is that, yes, the validated few excel and gain a dominant learning disposition, while the unrecognized many fall away having developed an aversion to learning and instruction in general.

Often times other students are bullied and intentionally made to feel excluded by the band students, only exacerbating this problem.

As a community built upon democratic principals, with a history of racial agreement and whose leaders have always lead the movement towards integration, we would be remiss to ignore that this thing has been happening and continues to happen.

STAND UP

Stand Up! said...

To be Clear,

Michael James is an excellent music instructor and I believe Ballard H.S. has done a better job of maintaining an emphasis on inclusion programming.

People speak about the scope of their programs, they participate in inclusive, music based festivals, and Mr. James does his best to work with as many of the programs and students as possible. The choir has also grown since 2007.

I think Lisa made a very important and insightful observation when she pointed out how quickly this dynamic can change.

Also, the orchestra students at Eckstein are still allowed to pay for private lessons during class/rehearsals.

This remunerative practice is what concerns me the most. Some of the responses pointed out how students who take private lessons have the opportunity to excel, and that this is accepted and normalized....

...As a community built upon democratic principals, with a history of racial agreement and whose leaders have always lead the movement towards integration, we would be remiss to ignore that this thing has been happening and continues to happen.

STAND UP
Please see entire comment at:http://poorinstruction.blogspot.com/
You can also find it by going to blogspot and looking up "Bad Music: Seattle Public School's Poisin" Elixir

Seattle said...

"The reality of this process and the resulting racial separation is worth writing about. "

Stand up, please explain?

I understand, though don't agree with, your irritation over kids being pulled from band class for private lessons during the school day (which BTW is common practice, even in neighbor school districts). But what I don't understand is how kids taking private lessons during the school day translates to racial separation? Are you suggesting that only white/Asian kids are taking those private lessons and that kids of color are being excluded? That's a harsh accusation, Stand Up, and I think you need to back it up with some facts.

And just who do you suggest is excluding the kids of color from the lessons? A particular teacher? All of the teachers? The school administration? The district? Parents?

Or are you suggesting that ALL kids of color are low income and can't afford lessons and as such are excluded? That theory doesn't really hold water since Eckstein offers scholarships for all band students who can't afford it to purchase instruments, take private and semi-private lessons (during the school day only), and take band trips.

If kids didn't take private lessons at school, they'd take them after school - so let's not split hairs, OK.

So who is it Stand Up? Who is excluding kids of color? And why?

It's time for you to back up your accusations with some facts. Right now you sound like a disgruntled, ex-teacher with an axe to grind.

Stand Up! said...

Seattle,

Can't you tell the difference between parent's making a private choice to pay for services on their own time and those DOUBLE DIPPING BY PAYING TO HAVE THEIR STUDENT RECEIVE ADDITIONAL SERVICES DURING PUBLIC CLASS HOURS THAT ARE PAID FOR BY OUR TAX DOLLARS?

What would be the point of the public space? These parents do this for convenience (they don't want to have to find and get their kid to a legitimate private instructor who maintains a private studio) and because they are allowed to.

If they actually paid a professional private instructor, they would be supporting the overall economy of the city in that they would be working with professional performing artists- not un-certified, self-proclaimed private contractors who need the school and class hours to peddle their product.

Also, it is not the idea of private instruction that is the problem - it is the idea that a privileged few can pay for additional instruction during class hours while others are excluded and never get a full ensemble experience.

Are you suggesting that students of color are not disproportionately affected by socio-economic difference in the Seattle Public Schools?

Are you suggesting that there is no achievement and opportunity gap at Eckstein?

Are you suggesting that the class of students whose parents can afford $50 dollar band fees plus additional private instruction at school is not overwhelmingly white? Have you seen the Eckstein orchestra? It is 95% white, and this is a poor reflection of an already segregated school environment.

Students who pay and who take lessons gain favors and are advanced by the Band Director. I thought I said that clearly. I could give names of students, but it would not be appropriate in the blog space.

I could also give the names of several private contractors who I have personally witnessed behave in a discriminatory manner by choosing to work with certain students and not others, or by providing disparate instruction based upon whose students 'look' the best and whose parents have what clout. Who regulates the choices these instructors make and how do these decisions affect which students progress?

The statistics are everywhere. These facts are not disputed and are the impetus behind the move to the community schools. If you need more facts, visit the Eckstein Band website. The first thing you will see is a request for a band fee. If you don't understand why this is illegal across the nation and in other districts in Washington, please research the term remuneration as it is applied in the Washington State Administrative code.

Is it that hard to comprehend and face? Please think more deeply about the 'facts', as you say, before accusing a concerned and informed commentator of simply grinding an axe.

STAND UP

Stand Up! said...

Seattle,

Can't you tell the difference between parent's making a private choice to pay for services on their own time and those DOUBLE DIPPING BY PAYING TO HAVE THEIR STUDENT RECEIVE ADDITIONAL SERVICES DURING PUBLIC CLASS HOURS THAT ARE PAID FOR BY OUR TAX DOLLARS?

What would be the point of the public space? These parents do this for convenience (they don't want to have to find and get their kid to a legitimate private instructor who maintains a private studio) and because they are allowed to.

If they actually paid a professional private instructor, they would be supporting the overall economy of the city in that they would be working with professional performing artists- not un-certified, self-proclaimed private contractors who need the school and class hours to peddle their product...

cont..

STAND UP

hschinske said...

Er ... some people pay for their children to go to private schools during the *entire* time that they would otherwise be attending the public schools that they have already paid for through their taxes. Your point?

Helen Schinske

skywalkr777 said...

WHAT!

No one said that anyone did not have the choice to send their kids to private school. Obviously, if they can afford it, they should.

This discussion concerns equality and financial corruption in a public space - which is governed by an entirely different set of regulations than the private space - where, by the way, fair instruction and ensemble still tend to be respected. I am completely missing the relevance of your comment hschinske.

STAND UP!

Stand Up! said...

Continued...

Also, it is not the idea of private instruction that is the problem - it is the idea that a privileged few can pay for additional instruction during class hours while others are excluded and never get a full ensemble experience.Are you suggesting that students of color are not disproportionately affected by socio-economic difference in the Seattle Public Schools?

Are you suggesting that there is no achievement and opportunity gap at Eckstein?

Are you suggesting that the class of students whose parents can afford $50 dollar band fees plus additional private instruction at school is not overwhelmingly white? Have you seen the Eckstein orchestra? It is 95% white, and this is a poor reflection of an already segregated school environment.

Students who pay and who take lessons gain favors and are advanced by the Band Director. I thought I said that clearly. I could give names of students, but it would not be appropriate in the blog space.

I could also give the names of several private contractors who I have personally witnessed behave in a discriminatory manner by choosing to work with certain students and not others, or by providing disparate instruction based upon whose students 'look' the best and whose parents have what clout. Who regulates the choices these instructors make and how do these decisions affect which students progress?

The statistics are everywhere. These facts are not disputed and are the impetus behind the move to the community schools.

If you need more facts, visit the Eckstein Band website. The first thing you will see is a request for a band fee. If you don't understand why this is illegal across the nation and in other districts in Washington, please research the term remuneration as it is applied in the Washington State Administrative code.

Is it that hard to comprehend and face? Please think more deeply about the 'facts', as you say, before accusing a concerned and informed commentator of simply grinding an axe.

STAND UP

Stand Up! said...

Please see continued comments at http://poorinstruction.blogspot.com.

STAND UP

Stand Up! said...

Also, it is not the idea of private instruction that is the problem - it is the idea that a privileged few can pay for additional instruction during class hours while others are excluded and never get a full ensemble experience.Are you suggesting that students of color are not disproportionately affected by socio-economic difference in the Seattle Public Schools?

Are you suggesting that there is no achievement and opportunity gap at Eckstein?

Are you suggesting that the class of students whose parents can afford $50 dollar band fees plus additional private instruction at school is not overwhelmingly white? Have you seen the Eckstein orchestra? It is 95% white, and this is a poor reflection of an already segregated school environment.

cont.

Stand Up! said...

Continued...

Students who pay and who take lessons gain favors and are advanced by the Band Director. I thought I said that clearly. I could give names of students, but it would not be appropriate in the blog space.

I could also give the names of several private contractors who I have personally witnessed behave in a discriminatory manner by choosing to work with certain students and not others, or by providing disparate instruction based upon whose students 'look' the best and whose parents have what clout. Who regulates the choices these instructors make and how do these decisions affect which students progress?

The statistics are everywhere. These facts are not disputed and are the impetus behind the move to the community schools.

If you need more facts, visit the Eckstein Band website. The first thing you will see is a request for a band fee. If you don't understand why this is illegal across the nation and in other districts in Washington, please research the term remuneration as it is applied in the Washington State Administrative code.

Is it that hard to comprehend and face? Please think more deeply about the 'facts', as you say, before accusing a concerned and informed commentator of simply grinding an axe.

STAND UP

Stand Up! said...

Continued...

The statistics are everywhere. These facts are not disputed and are the impetus behind the move to the community schools.

If you need more facts, visit the Eckstein Band website. The first thing you will see is a request for a band fee. If you don't understand why this is illegal across the nation and in other districts in Washington, please research the term remuneration as it is applied in the Washington State Administrative code.

Is it that hard to comprehend and face? Please think more deeply about the 'facts', as you say, before accusing a concerned and informed commentator of simply grinding an axe.

STAND UP

mirmac1 said...

And just who do you suggest is excluding the kids of color from the lessons? A particular teacher? All of the teachers? The school administration? The district? Parents?

Seattle, seriously? Who is it? My guess is it's the same people who've made the schools south of the Ship Canal consistently inferior in terms of support and resources since I was in knee britches.

Private lessons during classtime? Is that some kind of entitlement, like special education or ALO? No, it is not.

The more I hear about this, the more merit I see in Stand Up's case. We have enough problems with equity in this district without throwing more imbalance into the mix.

Seattle said...

Are you Skywalker777 or Stand up? I'm confused?

Stand up/skywalker777 said "If they actually paid a professional private instructor, they would be supporting the overall economy of the city "

Um, Stand Up, parents do pay a professional private instructor, whether their kids take their lessons during the school day, or after school.

Then Stand up says " DOUBLE DIPPING BY PAYING TO HAVE THEIR STUDENT RECEIVE ADDITIONAL SERVICES DURING PUBLIC CLASS HOURS THAT ARE PAID FOR BY OUR TAX DOLLARS?"

Not sure what you are talking about here Stand Up? No tax dollars pay for "additional services during public class hours". Teachers do not provide the "private lessons" during the school day. They are provided by private instructors who are paid directly by parents (or the scholarship fund) and not by tax payer dollars. Get you facts straight.

Next Stand up says "it is the idea that a privileged few can pay for additional instruction during class hours while others are excluded"

Wrong again Stand Up. Scholarships are provided for any student who wants to have "additional instruction during class time". Students are not excluded in any way, shape, or form, regardless of their color or ability to pay. Again, get your facts straight stand up.

And lastly stand up says "Have you seen the Eckstein orchestra? It is 95% white"

Well guess what stand up? Only 6.2% of the Eckstein student body is black, so I guess 95% of band being white is representative, huh.

GET YOUR FACT STRAIGHT STAND UP, OR WHOEVER YOU ARE.

We're not idiots.

Seattle said...
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Seattle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wsnorth said...

Are these lessons taking place on school property? If so, then we ARE paying for a large part of "it". Salaries are not the only expense a school has, of course.

One of my kids has a "less than excellent" math teacher - I would love it if a few parents could band (pun intended) together and get our kids out of that period, into a private tutor, on school premises, during class time. Could we do that? I doubt it.

The rest of this does sound like sour grapes, but private lessons should not be allowed on school property during school hours - or at least the option should be available to all subjects, not just band.

Hope I don't get chased down by a band bully swinging their sax at me!

Seattle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stand Up! said...

Seattle,

I am sorry you are having such a hard time understanding the argument and that you are confused by the premises.

I did not say that tax dollars were paying for additional services, I said parents who can afford it are given the opportunity to pay for additional services that are already being paid for through our tax dollars - i.e. BAND instruction.

Please reread the statements.

They are double dipping in that students who can not afford lessons during classroom hours not only miss out on a genuine ensemble experience (which is what the TAX dollars are paying for) the PRIVATE money parents pay gets their kids one on one attention PLUS featured ensemble roles. You are struggling with the distinction between public and private money, public and private time.

Again, I would like you to provide support for your statements about scholarships. Is there any information about them on the band website?

Are you admitting there is a problem with the fact Eckstein is now 94% white? Are you trying to support my argument?

Finally, I am not sure whether or not you checked out the school closure list from 2009 or if you just missed the fact all of the schools that were closed were predominately African American. How are these south end schools getting the majority of funding if they are shut down and relocated - jammed into buildings with other populations who are now competing for resources?

Didn't you just point your finger and blame every teacher, administrator and parent in the South End for the achievement gap? Haven't most of these people been voicing the same concerns I am here for years?

How can you be so angry in defense of something that is so clearly exclusionary? Please try to understand the arguments logically.

STAND UP

Stand Up! said...

Seattle,

I am sorry you are having such a hard time understanding the argument and that you are confused by the premises.

I did not say that tax dollars were paying for additional services, I said parents who can afford it are given the opportunity to pay for additional services that are already being paid for through our tax dollars - i.e. BAND instruction.

Please reread the statements.

They are double dipping in that students who can not afford lessons during classroom hours not only miss out on a genuine ensemnle experience, which is what the TAX dollars are paying for, the PRIVATE money parents pay gets their kids one on one attention PLUS featured ensemble roles. You are struggling with the distinction between public and private money, public and private time.

cont.

Stand Up! said...

continued...

Didn't you just point your finger and blame every teacher, administrator and parent in the South End for the achievement gap? Haven't most of these people been voicing the same concerns I am here for years?

How can you be so angry in defense of something that is so clearly exclusionary? Please try to understand the arguments logically.

STAND UP

Stand Up! said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Stand Up! said...

Again, I would like you to provide support for your statements about scholarships. Is there any information about them on the band website?

Are you admitting there is a problem with the fact Eckstein is now 94% white? Are you trying to support my argument?

Finally, I am not sure whether or not you checked out the school closure list from 2009 or if you just missed the fact all of the schools that were closed were predominately African American. How are these south end schools getting funding if they are shut down and relocated - jammed into buildings with other populations who are now competing for resources?

STAND UP

Stand Up! said...

Again, I would like you to provide support for your statements about scholarships. Is there any information about them on the band website?

Are you admitting there is a problem with the fact Eckstein is now 94% white? Are you trying to support my argument?

cont.

Stand Up! said...

Finally, I am not sure whether or not you checked out the school closure list from 2009 or if you just missed the fact all of the schools that were closed were predominately African American. How are these south end schools getting funding if they are shut down and relocated - jammed into buildings with other populations who are now competing for resources?

STAND UP

mirmac1 said...

Seattle, do you live in Seattle or some totally egalitarian fantasyland? So it's the lazy stupid inferior parents and students south of the Ship Canal's fault? That's not even worth a response.

Suffice it to say SPS administration has seen fit to consistently place special education self-contained programs in failing schools, rather than throughout the city. Parents like myself with children in speced have witnessed this manifestation of SPS neglect and/or active destruction of struggling schools for years. This was not fair to the entire population in those schools.

But I digress...

mirmac1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Stand up,

Last year the Eckstein orchestra was majority white children, but nowhere close to 95%. Unless you are saying that all non-African American children are white.

It also included quite a few ELL and children with disabilities. I know because my child was one of them. And had the same opportunities as other children.

Also my child was pulled out for private work with an instrument tutor that was free to us.

You must not know the program as well as you imply.

former eckstein orchestra parent

zb said...

"Also, the orchestra students at Eckstein are still allowed to pay for private lessons during class/rehearsals. "

Is this really true? I find it shocking.

Who teaches these private, for-pay lessons? Are they school employees, who provide private lessons in addition to their paid employment to SPS? Are they private outsiders who enter school property to provide a for-pay service?

If so, I'm horrified and shocked. I do not know of any other instance where teachers might be allowed to provide extra services for pay on school property during school instruction time (or have private instructors come on to school property during school time). Or am I wrong? Are there other for-pay services provided during school time?

Could a group of parents hire a language instructor (Chinese, for example) and have a for-pay Chinese language instruction during school time.

Seattle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seattle said...

Not sure what is so shocking and horrifying ZB?

My oldest child was pulled out of his 5th grade class for one hour, twice a week, all year long, to work with a tutor on his reading and writing skills. The tutor was not an SPS employee and I paid the tutor by check, directly. My youngest child, in a different school, was pulled out of his math class in 4th grade to be tutored. Again, the tutor was not an SPS employee, and I paid for it. Both were suggested by and arranged for by my kids classroom teacher.

The music tutors are private music instructors who come into the school to provide pull out private and semi private lessons to band and orchestra students. They also give lessons before and after school for those that prefer that option. It's totally a families choice whether or not they want to utilize the service. And, it is provided to all kids (via scholarship) regardless of their ability to pay, or as stand up insinuates their race.

Do we really want to tear another successful, thriving, program down? That is shocking and horrifying.

Stand Up! said...

WOW SEATTLE,

At least we can see your self interest clearly now.

It should not be your choice to pay to these tutors, especially because not every child has access to the same person. The idea of a classroom teacher and public hours are totally undermined by what you are supporting.

College tutors who work in buildings are assigned to work first underneath the classroom teacher and then with as many students as possible during any period. They receive no pay.

You should send your child to a private school since you have the resources. See if they break their classroom environments down because some parents have even more money than others, or if everyone gets what they pay for - or if everyone gets the same meal.

Peace to you Seattle

STAND UP

mirmac1 said...

Do we really want to tear another successful, thriving, program down? That is shocking and horrifying.

I didn't hear the shock and the horror when incredibly successful inclusion programs for disabled children were torn down and replaced with...nothing.

Stand Up! said...

Dear anonymous,

Please see the orchestra's yearbook photo and also please provide few numbers.

If the orchestra is 85% white, 5% Asian, 5% children with disabilities and 5% other, in an orchestra of 50, this equates to approximately 1 African American student, 1 latino student, one pacific islander, 2.5 asians and 2.5 students with disabilitites (who could be white). This is close enough to 95% white to be alarming.

This is not integration.

The scholarship program you were refering to must have been for an Endangered Instrument such as Bass, bassoon, oboe or french horn. The lesson's would have had to be in groupings of at least 2, and they were free to the students - paid for through a legitimate grant.

Out of every 40 students participating in private lessons, maybe 4 are playing endangered instruments.

The rest are for pay. The band has heavier participation in this practice than the orchestra.

STAND UP

Seattle said...

So Stand up what would you have the teachers, administration, and /or district do to attract more students of color to join the Eckstein band and orchestra? And keep in mind before you answer that the school only has 6.2% black students?

Instead of just complaining offer your suggestion on how to change what you don't like.

Stand Up! said...

EQUAL AND INCLUSIVE PROGRAMMING

NON DISCRIMINATORY HIRING PRACTICES FOR TEACHERS

A BETTER REFLECTION OF THE GENERAL NORTH SEATTLE DEMOGRAPHIC IN THE BUILDING - OR THE NEIGHBORHOOD COMMUNITY IN ALL BUILDINGS - BY ANY MEANS

NO CLASS DISRUPTIONS FROM PRIVATE CONTRACTORS.

THE QUESTION IS NOT AS MUCH ABOUT RACE AS EQUAL OPPORTUNITY, GUIDELINES AND REGULATION FOR ALL IN A PUBLIC SCHOOL SPACE.

STUDENTS OF COLOR ARE DISPROPORTIONATELY AFFECTED, BUT POOR REGULATION AND DISPROPORTIONATE SERVICING ARE FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEMS OF CURRENT SOCIO-ECONOMICS AND LAW.

MORE IMPORTANTLY, ECKSTEIN HAS MOVED PROGRESSIVELY TOWARDS THIS DEMOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION OVER THE LAST 20 YEARS. IT WAS NOT ALWAYS LIKE THIS. WHAT HAPPENED?

STAND UP

Maureen said...

My oldest child was pulled out of his 5th grade class for one hour, twice a week, all year long, to work with a tutor on his reading and writing skills. The tutor was not an SPS employee and I paid the tutor by check, directly.

This is a surprise to me. I can't imagine the impact this sort of thing must have on the classroom teacher. Is it common for this to happen? How is the child reintegrated into the classroom? How does this impact the classroom teacher? Are they compensated for the extra work they have to do (or is the child skipping an elective class instead?) Why wouldn't such a student be tutored after school instead? It seems clear (to me) that they would benefit from an extended day, not the substitution of tutoring for one of their class periods.

Seattle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seattle said...

I don't know if it is common Maureen? I only have my experience to go on. But it did happen at both of the high performing NE elementary schools that my children attended. Perhaps that's why both of those schools are so successful? Early, and effective, intervention. And, really isn't this what we have been asking for? More remedial and intervention services? Since the district wasn't providing it, I'm glad it was offered at the school level. And, BTW, we were offered full scholarship at both schools. We didn't accept it as we could afford the fee, but we were offered.

zb said...

Wow. Yes I am shocked. Kids are offered for pay tutoring during school hours for math as well? How are the instructors found? Are "scholarships" always offered, and who pays for the scholarship? Is it paid for through school funds? Or private funds (like PTA funds?)

In some developing countries I've heard that teachers stop teaching at school, and offer private tuition, where all the real teaching occurs. I guess we're not talking about that now because the private pay teaching isn't by teachers.

But what else is one allowed to pay for at a school? Can you pay for your own aide?

Seattle said...

Can you pay for your own Aide? Not sure? But several schools including Montlake, and McGilvra have used PTA funds to pay for an extra teacher in order to reduce class size to 22 or so.

Stand Up! said...

Seattle,

Please provide some reference point for your statements about scholarships.

How are they awarded? Is there uniformity in evaluation and award across the district, or is it that certain schools hoard funds and court students who meet a certain cultural and performance demographic? Does every child have access to such scholarships? Is each child informed?

Why was your family offered a scholarship if you did not need it?

How does a PTA have any authority or legal right to hire professionally certified teachers?

The public district hiring process could only be severely compromised by this kind of thing. Are these state certified teachers who are not union members and who are working for lower wages?

What if the neighborhood demographics suggest that one PTA has way more ability to contribute money than another - should they suddenly be able to take control of hiring teachers in a public district?

STAND UP

north seattle mom said...

Stand Up,

You are severely mis-informed about this district in general and your use of all caps removed what little credibility you might have had.

"Tutoring" in all its various forms is a core part of all education. Sometimes, it happens with the teacher working directly with small groups or individuals, per their job. Sometimes, it happens with a different adult providing instruction as a result of LAP funds, FRL funds, or in the resource room per an IEP.

For north end schools that don't have access to these extra funds which are appropriately reserved for higher poverty school, the north end schools self-fund these programs. This has been happening ever since the dawn of weighted student funding. Weighted Student funding was designed so that more funding followed higher needs students. At that time, the district directly told schools that received less funding under this model to self fund everything they lost.

So all this self-funding that you are so critical about was a district mandate! Nobody likes it. Every north end parent I know hates the never-ending fundraising to support these programs but we do it because the funds to pay for programs like these are critical to the overall success of the school.

And you demographic arguments are also steeped in the past. With the NSAP, schools no longer get to "court" a certain type of student. All schools need to accept all learners in their boundaries. Under the old plan, Eckstein reflected the folks that lived less than a mile from the school. Under the new plan, Eckstein will reflect the greater diversity of the Lake City area.

Seattle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seattle said...

"Why was your family offered a scholarship if you did not need it?"

Scholarships are offered to all families. A family can generally receive a scholarship by simply checking a little box on the permission or information form that says "Our family needs a scholarship". It's a simple, confidential, non discriminatory process.

Scholarships are offered for most services that families are asked to pay a fee for such as field trips, school and/or art supplies, fees to play sports in HS, music instruments, tutoring, after school classes, $220 a month pay for K, elementary school band fees (remember families pay "tuition" for band in elementary school since the district does not fully fund it).

hschinske said...

Pull-outs for various reasons are quite common, especially in elementary school -- kids leave the room for speech or physical therapy, for instrumental music lessons, for tutoring, etc. Lots of informal pull-outs happen with parent volunteers (I've sat in the hall with kids giving them spelling tests they'd missed, helping them focus on a tough assignment, scribing for a child who had fine motor problems, etc.).

I really don't see what the big deal is about the music instruction. If anything (especially given the scholarship support) it seems like a way to level the playing field for students whose parents can't cart them around to private lessons.

Helen Schinske

Seattle said...
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Seattle said...

RE: Scholarships, Stand up asks "How are they awarded? Is there uniformity in evaluation and award across the district"

There was no evaluation process required to receive a scholarship in any of the schools that my children attended. You didn't have to provide your tax records, or pay stubs - it was done on the honor system. If you asked, you received.

On most permission forms there were boxes to check that read something like this.

__ I have enclosed a check for $50.
__ My family needs a scholarship.
__ I have enclosed a check for $50 for my child and added an extra $50 to be applied to the scholarship fund for families in need.

You check the box that applies to your families ability to pay. No questions asked, and completely confidential.

The only time there is a formal evaluation process is where the scholarship is nationally funded such as the free and reduced rate lunch program. Families do have to meet specific criteria to qualify for those programs.

zb said...

We're basically talking about the issues of public/private partnerships where some funding comes from public sources and some from private sources. It's easy for that kind of relationship to get carried away and turn into a form of subsidy/subversion of public funds for essentially private services. It's not always easy to see when that happens (Seahawks stadium? Benoroya hall? public schools?).

Would we say that private instruction of athletes would be OK? If scholarships were available to folks who checked the right box?
How are people who are providing private instruction on school property vetted? Are they treated like volunteers (i.e. background checks, etc.)?

And, private fundraising resulting in an aide being hired for a classroom is different from a parent hiring an aide for their own child. Presumably, when one does fundraising to provide the extra support the classroom teacher and the aide decide where it will be deployed based on the children's needs. It is entirely different from paying for a service that will be provided only to your own child.

But, I'm starting to understand how the mechanics are being set up for these extra services being provided on a for-pay basis. In the case of math tutoring, a teacher is identifying a need, the tutoring is offered, and the parent is asked to pay if they can, with support offered if they're not (still not entirely sure whether that money is coming from private fund-raising or not, and how the money is budgeted. I wouldn't be surprised if there's quite a bit of fancy accounting going on).

How are the individuals to be paid hired? Does the school have relationships with a math tutor or math tutoring service? Or could the parent choose the tutor? Could a parent come into school themselves, and pull their child out to provide the math tutoring? Could they hire their own tutor? Could they decide that a tutor was necessary (rather than a teacher identifying the need)?

These details matter, because they separate potentially legitimate practices from worrisome private/public partnerships. Some examples of worrisome ones: could a school contract out its language instruction, and devote 2 hours of the day to that activity, on a for-pay basis to a private company? while providing something different for kids who did not use that service? Could they have an admissions test for the class to make sure the kids were up to the level? Could we offer for pay AP classes on school property, with regular classes being provided by the regular budget?

How does the availability of scholarships influence our decision making? How about official (or de facto) admissions requirements?

Seattle said...

"In the case of math tutoring, a teacher is identifying a need, the tutoring is offered, and the parent is asked to pay if they can, with support offered if they're not"

Yes, this is exactly how it is. In our case our son got a "2" on the math WASL in 3rd grade. During the first week of school the following year (4th grade) we were called into a meeting and told that we should consider having our son join the after school math club, and have him pulled out of math class, once a week, to go to an in house tutor. I did not choose the tutor. I never even met the tutor. I don't know if I could have selected another tutor? What I do know is that I was grateful for the assistance, as my son struggled the previous year in math. In the case of my older son who was pulled out for reading and writing assistance, again it was not a tutor that I selected.

I understand that this can be a slippery slope. But I also know first hand that this district has absolutely no intervention or support services for struggling students in north end schools. So the schools take it upon themselves to offer these services where they can.

At my kids schools scholarships were paid for 100% by PTA fundraising dollars.

Melissa Westbrook said...

The Seattle Times had story of a similar nature several years back about Garfield's jazz band. There were no black students in it and the implication was that they couldn't get in as many didn't have years of experience (and private tutoring).

I would not agree with students having private lessons during what is an official class time. Private music lessons should be before or after school.

However, this larger issue of some students coming from families that do better economically is not one that schools can solve. Schools can only provide equitable opportunities. PTAs can take on some of this but again, they can't solve the problem either. That scholarships are even offered is a pretty great thing.

PTAs don't hire any teacher; they provide funding. I think they might be able to hire a writer or artist in residence but not someone who is a teacher at a school.

Stand Up! said...

North Seattle Mom,

My use of capitalization was a means to emphasis critical points. I am not sure how it removes my credibility.

Although I appreciate your attempt to participate in this discussion, NOTHING you said (yes that was all caps) addressed the issue of Private Contracting.

Although I know there are accounting and management issues with funds raised at many of these fundraisers, the question of schools self funding programs is not the issue here at all.

Teachers curricular time being destroyed by interference and support for private contractors working and receiving pay during curricular hours has nothing to due with a school funding the program.

These are private exchanges arranged between private interests and parents. It has noting to do with school fundraisers or initiatives allowing schools to pay for additional services that everybody has access to.

Did you miss the point?

Are you trying to support my argument by admitting that Eckstein was courting students in the last 10 years?

STAND UP!

Dorothy Neville said...

Stand Up has a point, that the private music lessons ARE different from the other tutoring. There is not PTA underpinning, it is strictly for pay.

At least, that's my memory. The EMS music kids come home with fliers at the beginning of the year from the music teachers approved by the EMS music teacher. They offer services at school, during the day and probably after school as well.

One would need to look outside the band room where the fliers are on display to know for sure -- do these private teachers have a scholarship plan worked out?

southmom said...

Well, I can tell you my kid also got a 2 in math on the WASL and MSP and we were offered...absolutely nothing at our Southend school. So it's not just the northend schools, folks.

klh said...

I know I'm just asking the obvious, but -

Why are we doing all this testing? If our kids don't pass, and no one from SPS does anything in either the north end or the south end, why exactly are we bothering to test them?

Seattle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seattle said...

Southend mom, I didn't mean to insinuate that south end schools get intervention and support services that the north end schools do not get I spoke of north end schools because that's all I can speak about, since this is where I live and my kids attend school. I have no idea what is happening in south end schools. But from what I can tell it sounds like the district as a whole stinks at supporting struggling students district wide.

Seattle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seattle said...

I think testing is used more to drive curriculum, garner funding and grants, and to penalize teachers. It does nothing to assist individual students. In fact teachers don't even get their students MSP and HSPE scores back until the school year is almost over. And the new high school End of Course Exams that students will have to pass in order to pass the class (and I believe as part of their graduation requirements too??) will be given at the end of the year, which of course leaves no time to provide support services to kids who don't pass or who are struggling.

Barbara Henry said...

I found it difficult to find "Stand Up!"'s blog about "Seatlle Music Instruction" [sic]. Here is a live link:

http://poorinstruction.blogspot.com/

Barbara Henry said...

Sigh. That didn't work. Sorry. This blog has really got to be seen to be believed. It has "disgruntled-former-music-teacher-who-was-fired-last-year-after-hundreds-of-complaints-by-students, parents, teachers, and administrators" all over it. And yes, I was one of those parents who complained after his public humiliation of a student.

Charlie Mas said...

So... am I off the hook now for bringing this comment out for further discussion?

Bird said...

This is a former teacher? Wow.

How long was this teacher at Eckstein and with the district?

another mom said...

A GHS parent began a program where GHS jazz and orchestra members gave private music lessons -for free- to interested students who attended central area elementary schools. She also was able to get at least one symphony musician to tutor students as well. In addition Friends of WMS music has provided private lessons to students who could not afford them. In that same spirit a new program is now up and running that has programs that meet at Rainier Beach and Cornish with the aim of bringing music instruction specifically Jazz to more kids who otherwise are unable to afford such programs. This program was the brainchild of former WMS and GHS parents. They enlisted both Bob Knatt and Acox to run the programs. You know I get really tired of the bashing of parents of music students. Many of those same people quietly do more than their fair share of volunteer work without fanfare. The outreach is tremendous and goes mostly unnoticed.

mirmac1 said...

Another mom, I don't think anyone's bashing the parents of music students. What a number of us don't like is inequity in our schools. For example, how many out there feel that college athletes (football in particular) get too many freebies and perks? I don't blame their parents, I blame the system that allows that kind of disparity to exist! This kind of crap doesn't happen in a vacuum. BTW, my daughter studies three instruments, only one through school, that we supplement OUT of school on nights and weekends. At the same time, she gets pull-out during school for her disability. I feel that is how it should work, period.

hschinske said...

Another mom, I don't think anyone's bashing the parents of music students.

The former teacher sure did -- and also bashed a parent above for paying an academic tutor: At least we can see your self interest clearly now.

It should not be your choice to pay to these tutors, especially because not every child has access to the same person. The idea of a classroom teacher and public hours are totally undermined by what you are supporting.


I don't think it's right to blame the parent for going along with the system presented to them BY THE SCHOOL as the appropriate way to go. I do think the parent should *also* put two and two together and see that more money should be going to the classrooms for basic educational needs, and take political action as they're able to try to make that happen -- but it's asking a lot to have every such parent go against the classroom teacher's recommendation (which would basically just mean having to find an outside tutor oneself and schedule tutoring at a much less convenient time).

Helen Schinske

Jan said...

I am always amazed when the comments of those "horrified" by inequality all seem to boil down to destroying good programs, that people have spent time and hours nurturing, for the benefit of all of our students. If anything, the availability of some private music instruction INSIDE the schools is a help to those whose parents cannot take time off work to drive them to private lessons after school (and no -- evenings are not always possible -- sometimes the only available slots are in the afternoon), or who do not have a car. My understanding is that ALL of these classes happen during what would otherwise be the child's music period -- AND with the teacher's consent/blessing. So before we go all warpy on the disruption to the class and the teacher -- bear in mind -- any time an instructor is working with a particular section, the others are standing around waiting. Any time an instructor stops to work with an individual student -- ALL the others are standing around. I don't believe for a minute that the class is not better served when the oboist takes a half hour or an hour a week to work in a small session with an oboe teacher -- and then comes back the next week, armed and able to nail the oboe part in the concerto they are working on.

CAN things like this get out of hand? Of course! Should we make sure that some group of teachers/parents is keeping tabs on things and making sure that open access is preserved, lower income students showing an interest in being in orchestra/band are served? -- yes, of course.
But work with private teachers is incredibly valuable to music students. If the best (or in many cases, the ONLY) way to get it to them is the Eckstein/WMS delivery method -- I think we should support what is working so well AND -- to "another mom's" point -- work to export it (or whatever else would work) to other schools. We need to provide opportunities for MORE private instruction to reach MORE kids -- not less.

mirmac1 said...

Jan,
In this day and age, when many are quick to say public education is too expensive and should be handed over to free-market business "experts" (who often wouldn't know their rear if it was handed to 'em), we need to make sure schools do what they should with what they have. That doesn't mean breed elite, award-winning athletes, I mean, musicians during time devoted for the three R's. We need to keep the elements that keep school fun, like art, music and drama. But we don't need to carve out time and public resources for those things that go beyond.

Seattle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seattle said...

Yes, mirmac, mediocracy for all.

All the same, same for all.

Same for all, all the same.

Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat.

Stand Up! said...

re-edited

Jan and Barbara Henry and others,

Was this teacher you are referring to harassed? This is common in the district and well documented. Do you have any documentation concerning the incident you allege happened where a student was "humiliated"?

Aren't all concerts at Eckstein video taped and capable of being uploaded? Was this a teacher of color? Who where the hundreds of others complaining? Were these complaints coming from white parents?

What does this have to do with a discussion concerning discrimination, remunerative practices and segregation?

Jan, who is this "outreach" that you are referring to really helping? Are these qualified music educators performing this outreach? Aren't both Knatt and Acox retired?

Who are the new classroom teachers and what are their approaches to the paid-lesson structure that was set up and that has been running at Eckstein and Washington for the past decade?

Look at the Bands - who is getting help?

These practices, as outlined in the argument and clearly documented (AV) from several sources, have BEEN taking place - and have ALREADY affected culture/education in our city.

Why are you distracting from serious issues to attack yet another teacher who was probably abused and bullied? Apparently you may have been one of the bullies.

Please refocus upon the fact the demographics are clear, these discriminatory practices are happening, and although noble, the new programs focusing on getting free lessons across the board are too little too late.

The students who would have benefited the most from a new culture have already been segregated.

-Stand Up!

hschinske said...

Are these qualified music educators performing this outreach? Aren't both Knatt and Acox retired?

See http://www.seattlejazzed.org/.

"Artistic Directors

Robert Knatt
Director, Beginning & Intermediate Ensembles
Robert Knatt—a recipient of the Washington State Golden Apple Award, has been an educator for over 35 years, most recently at Washington Middle School, where he directed the award-winning middle school jazz ensembles and concert bands. A native of New Iberia, LA, he graduated from Grambling State University. He has inspired thousands of students and helped them develop the discipline to perform jazz at the highest levels.

Clarence Acox
Director, Advanced Ensemble
Clarence Acox—an outstanding educator for over 30 years, directs the award-winning Garfield High School Jazz Ensemble, the only band in the nation to win first place—four times—in the Essentially Ellington competition at Jazz at Lincoln Center. A native of New Orleans, Acox graduated from Southern University. He has received numerous awards including “Educator of the Year” from DownBeat Magazine, Earshot’s “Jazz Musician of the Year” and “Outstanding Music Educator” award from Seattle Music Educator’s Association.

Wayne Horvitz
Director, New Works Ensemble
Wayne Horvitz - Composer, pianist, and keyboardist, performs extensively throughout Europe, Japan, and North America. He is the leader of Sweeter Than the Day, Zony Mash, The 4 Plus 1 Ensemble, the Gravitas Quartet and co-founder of the New York Composer Orchestra. A prolific composer, he has been commissioned by the Seattle Chamber Players, the Icicle Creek Trio, Kronos, BAM, Meet The Composer BAM and others. He has produced CDs for Eddie Palmieri, Fontella Bass, Robin Holcomb and Bill Frisell among others. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2008 NEA American Masterpieces Award the 2003 Rockefeller Map Grant. He currently teaches composition and electronic music at the Cornish College of the Arts and is director of the Jazz Band at the University of Puget Sound."

Helen Schinske

Stand Up! said...

Helen, I did not post this yet - How did you get that quote? Also, I was not referring to any of the teachers you listed.

Are you suggesting these three educators are providing free lessons to every instrumentalist in the district? - Here are the passages where the quote came from:

Jan, Barbara Henry and others,

Was this teacher you are referring to harassed? This is common in the district and well documented. Do you have any documentation concerning the incident where you allege a student was "humiliated"?

Aren't all concerts at Eckstein video taped and easily uploaded? Did the student make a complaint against the teacher? Was this a teacher of color? Who made the hundreds of complaints? Were the complaining parents white?

continued...

Stand Up! said...

...Continued

What does any of this have to do with a discussion concerning discrimination, remuneration
and segregation?

Why are you distracting from serious issues to talk about a teacher who was probably abused and bullied out? Apparently you were one of the bullies, one of the abusers.

Jan, who is this outreach you speak of helping? Are these qualified music educators delivering these services? Aren't Acox and Knatt retired? Just look at the bands - who is benefiting from these practices and why are the demographic so racially one sided?

cont...

Stand Up! said...

Who are the new classroom teachers and what are their approaches to dealing with the paid lesson structure that has been established and running at Eckstein and Washington for the last decade?

The point is these exclusionary and illegal practices have BEEN occurring and have ALREADY affected culture/education in Seattle.

Although noble, the new free-lessons-across the board programs , established I am sure in an attempt to rectify these wrongs, are too little too late. The paid private lessons continue anyway.

The students who would have benefited the most from this new culture have already been segregated.

Stand Up!

Stand Up! said...

Helen,

Where did you get that quote? I had not posted it yet. Also, I was not referring to any of the teachers you mentioned. I was asking: who are the "volunteers'?Are you suggesting that these three teachers are providing free private lessons to every instrumental student in the district?
The following passage appears out of order.

cont...

Stand Up! said...

Jan, Barbara Henry and others,

Was this teacher you are referring to harassed? This is common in the district and well documented. Do you have any documentation concerning the incident where you allege a student was "humiliated"?

Aren't all concerts at Eckstein video taped and easily uploaded? Did the student make a complaint against the teacher? Was this a teacher of color? Who made the hundreds of complaints? Were the complaining parents white?

hschinske said...

Where did you get that quote? I had not posted it yet.

My sekrit mind-reading powers are revealed ;-)

No, actually, the post was up on Google Reader. And it did look in context as though you were talking about Mr. Knatt and Mr. Acox, as Jan had mentioned JazzED and you mentioned their names in the next sentence; sorry for the confusion.

Helen Schinske

Stand Up! said...

Seattle,

How about genuine competition and just evaluation in an equal space.

Then you are right, those who are different will find their rightful place.

Not every kid should be taking any music lessons at all.

The classroom should allow those who compete in the classroom fairly to rise to the top - not the "different cheaters".

Stand Up!

mirmac1 said...

Yeah, Seattle, separate but equal for all, blahdy blahdy blah.

Anonymous said...

Is it inequitable that Ingrahm students can take part in a nationally recognized rocketry program, or that a nationally recognized radio station is part of the curriculum at Nathan Hale or the FIRST robotics program at Cleveland? Is that why we have to discontinue biotech at Ballard and marine biology at Garfield?

We have already seen how well standardizing has worked for us in math. Whatever you do, don’t let any especially gifted math teachers deviate from the pacing guide because it would be inequitable for their students to learn more or, heaven forbid, master something. And if they do get ahead we will make sure they just repeat the same material next year so they don’t benefit from an exceptionality.

Exceptional opportunities are available to students because some adult has an exceptional ability or interest in making it available. Limiting every educational experience to the lowest ability or interest level of all teachers in the district so that it can be equitably standardized for all classrooms in the district will turn learning into drudgery.

Instead of trying to stamp out exceptional opportunities, we should be trying to find and encourage them in all schools, even if they are different in different schools. That is what inspires kids & keeps them engaged in school.

Stamping out exceptional learning opportunities in schools guarantees that they will only be available to those students whose parents can provide them at home.

-Foe of Race to the Bottom

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Why are you distracting from serious issues to talk about a teacher who was probably abused and bullied out? Apparently you were one of the bullies, one of the abusers."

These are very serious charges both ways. Look, Stand Up, you can't seriously expect parents to do that unless you come forward with proof and witnesses.

Probably? That doesn't cut it here. And to call someone a bully or abusers or cheaters? Nope. No name-calling here.

And lastly, you are saying a teacher was hurt by his or her race and the race of the parents? A big allegation that needs proof.

I do NOT agree with in-school private lessons. That is class time and working as a group time. I do recall in my middle school years, some students (myself included) getting help from another music teacher but for maybe 10-15 minutes, not a full class. Private lessons = private time. School time IS school time. That's just me and that seems to not be the case at Eckstein. But you can't jell as a group if you don't practice as a group.

Stand Up, you either need to line up evidence and/or parents on your side or you may be whistling in the wind. I can honestly believe that some of what you are saying happened but as I said previously, very serious charges.

Seattle said...

Look, private lessons offered during the school day, with scholarships are actually far more equitable than private lessons that happen after school, off site, only for families whom have the ability to pay $40 per half hour lesson, and who have a car, and who have the time to drive.

I don't know of any music schools, or private instructors that offer scholarships, and none of them offer transportation to/from lessons either.

So be careful what you wish for Stand Up. Lessons only for those who could afford them after school is far more exclusionary and harmful to low income students who wouldn't be able to benefit at all, than offering lessons during music class, at school, for anyone who is interested, regardless of ability to pay.

This sharing of resources at Eckstein, with the wealthy families subsidizing lower income families is a beautiful thing in my opinion. I can't believe anyone would want to destroy it.

Melissa, the private lessons are done once a week or bi-weekly as a pull out, so they are hardly a distraction, and kids do get plenty of time to gel with the band as a group.

lori said...

It seems like this might be an SEA
issue. When teacher contractors come into schools, it presents a whole litany of slippery-slope considerations. After a certain number of hours, it violates the contract.

There is extreme inequity in Seattle Schools regarding parent financing. What started as a response to the Weighted Student Formuala (which I don't think even
exists anymore) became a situation where a quasi-charter school environment has emerged in many elementary schools--private fundraisers almost always expect a voice (and people who give lots of money expect and are granted oversized decision-making power).

Portland Public Schools (and I believe Kent) have dealt with parent financing in more equitable ways. Their parent populations had the integrity to admit that blatant inequities in PTA fundrasing needed to be addressed. It is my understanding that they now spread the wealth.


Seattle, on the other hand, is very NIMBY. "Who will donate if it
doesn't go entirely to their child's school?" and so on...

The list of "extras" listed for RBHS do not generalize to many other schools with high rates of students in poverty.

If all of you who spend hours on your own child (and this blog) would donate some of your time at some of these other schools, you might be surprised...I know, some you already have, just like the TFA
folks

Stand Up! said...

Melissa W.,

I suggested bullying, harassment and abuse may have occurred in the instance of the teacher being referred to. Did anyone bother to ask the teacher?

Thanks for saying you do not support private lessons during class time.

Stand Up!

Stand Up! said...

Seattle,

Lessons can take place in the school building during lunch and afterschool if it is that much of an inconvenience for parents to work with professional artists in their neighborhoods.

Successful programs get legitimate grants to provide free lessons during these time frames, without disrupting curricular time.

This is not what is happening at Eckstein. You are still missing the points concerning curricular hours, MONEY, and equal instructional environments.

A class is a class , all together, for a time frame or it is not a class The room becomes about trying to refocus the kids who don't get the privilege to walk out of class, disruptively, for extra instruction.

Stand Up!

Stand Up! said...

Anonymous,

This has nothing to do with the 'race towards to bottom' as you suggest.

This is about legal issues concerning money and distribution in a public space; a space where everyone is supposed to be guaranteed equal opportunity.

Fair competition in a regulated environment produces achievement - not handily paid for short cuts.

-Stand Up

Melissa Westbrook said...

The problem is I don't even KNOW who this teacher is. So no, I didn't ask but again I will say, be careful with your words.

Anonymous said...

Stand up said, “A class is a class , all together, for a time frame or it is not a class The room becomes about trying to refocus the kids who don't get the privilege to walk out of class, disruptively, for extra instruction.”

How do you think elementary band/orchestra is done? Advanced band leaves during the first part of math, beginning band leaves during the 2nd half of math. Advanced strings leave during the first half of reading, beginning strings during the second half.

Kids also leave for tutoring, special ed, ELL groups, counseling, student council meetings, speech therapy, OT, mentoring, patrol, et cetera. Many of these things take kids out of class in middle & high school as well. They all have a different instructional experience and do not all have a choice about it.

Foe of Race to the Bottom

Seattle said...

I'm guessing that Stand Up wasn't a teacher long enough to realize just how many students are pulled out of class for all sorts of reasons during the school day.

And I'm guessing that Stand Up also doesn't realize that families in North Seattle schools have to pay a fee ($200 in my kids school) if they want their students in elementary band or orchestra - because the district does not fully fund it.

Fees for families are everywhere you look in Seattle schools Stand Up.

hschinske said...

If it's the same guy, he taught for eight years in public schools (including McClure and Eckstein). You'd think that would be enough.

Helen Schinske

ParentofThree said...

I don't care what justification parents use to have their child take paid private music instruction during school hours - it is wrong and I hope any school engaging in this practice is stopped from allowing this to continue.

Dorothy Neville said...

Remember, section coaches are different and are coordinated with the music teacher. Don't confuse them. As for private lessons from private instructors who do not provide scholarships, should this be allowed? Before or after school on the premises perhaps, but during class?

Anonymous said...

I think those kids whose parents put them in beauty pageants, should be allowed to take modeling classes during class.

Stage Mom

Anonymous said...

It is not so simple Dorothy.

These are the section coaches, who also offer private lessons under the endangered instrument program, & who pull groups & individual kids for extra help at the behest of the music teacher.

Parents are paying only in some cases. For example the lessons for endangered instruments are not funded for a full year. So in some cases scholarships allow the child to continue & in some cases the parent pays for the continuing lessons.

Yes, sometimes those instructors volunteer to give time to the program & are paid for other time by either the boosters or parents.


Former Orchestra Parent

Anonymous said...

Stand Up,

I may be missing something, but it sounds like the specific issue that concerns you most is pulling out students for private instruction during class time. I, too, have some concerns about this, though I agree with others who point out that eliminating private instruction during school hours will make it available only to the most privileged (i.e., families who can afford it AND who have the time to take them to lessons). Lunch is too short for lessons at Eckstein (30 min…kids barely have time to eat, especially those who are buying their lunch, including those on FRL) and after-school lessons would create issues of equity in access for those who take a yellow bus (my guess is that these are kids who are more likely to live in the lower income neighborhoods, which are farther away from Eckstein).

But assume for the moment that Eckstein discontinues private lessons during school hours. That still leaves higher income kids having access to private instruction outside of school; you seem to be ok with and even supportive of outside music instruction. Because of differences in access to private lessons at home as well as in “raw talent” and time spent on practice, each of the bands and orchestras will have variability in abilities, and, hopefully, teachers will differentiate their instruction to accommodate this variability. Kids who are ready for more challenge will work on more challenging parts and will likely end up soloing more than others, especially in the senior bands (though I can’t speak for orchestra, I can say that the lead band teacher encourages many different kids, especially in the junior and intermediate bands, to solo during performances). In your mind, is it problematic that some kids solo more or play more advanced parts than others? If so, why do you see this as a problem? And what is your proposed solution to this problem?

Another issue you seem concerned about is the disproportionate number of “white” students at Eckstein. You have indicated that “Eckstein is now 94% white.” But this is simply incorrect. Per the 09-10 school report, 68% of Eckstein students were white (with 1% Native American, 6% African American, 7% Latino, and 18% Asian). This may have changed for 10-11, but, if anything, I’m guessing that Eckstein is now less “white” than last year due to the NSAP (e.g., Lake City area now at Eckstein; Laurelhurst now at Hamilton). Yes, Eckstein is significantly more white than the district average, but I’m not sure what to do about it. So, again, what is your proposal for addressing this issue?

As far as the bands and orchestras not representing the racial and economic composition of the larger school, I imagine that there are a lot of factors at play here. It seems that the Eckstein community is already doing a lot to reach out to less advantaged students: providing instruments as needed, offering scholarships for travel, not charging fees for those who can’t afford them, offering a uniform re-using program. And, again, though I can’t speak for the orchestra teacher, I know the band teacher has done some outreach to elementary schools, including some that have less advantaged populations; he is also involved in trying to strengthen the program at Nathan Hale, one of the high schools into which Eckstein now feeds. I’m sure there is more that Eckstein can do. Again, in the spirit of being proactive, what solutions do you see?

From your previous posts, it sounds like you're pretty upset about the state of some of the district’s music programs. But PLEASE don’t bash the kids and families (or make defamatory statements about teachers). Assuming that you are seeking positive change, this kind of approach can only undermine what you are trying to accomplish.

-Eckstein Parent

Stand Up! said...

Eckstein Parent/Anon

I appreciate the time you took to articulate your argument, however the topics you address again miss the point.

Parents seeking private lessons on their own time is NONE OF THE SCHOOLS BUSINESS.

Their time is their time. If their kids show up better prepared because they took the time to provide additional services to them after-school, they deserve the solo. That is still fair competition in the sense that if music matters it is a sacrifice for any family.

The question is: what is THE PARENTS TIME and WHAT IS PUBLIC SCHOOL CURRICULAR TIME.

This is all that matters becaus tax dollars and cents are involved in school space and time.

cont...

Stand Up! said...

...continued

The question of solo's and featured musicians never arose - it is WHO GETS THE SOLO"S AND HOW that is being discussed.

I never bashed anyone. I asked questions and defended the idea that teachers should not be bullied. I am missing what you are talking about.

I did not say Eckstein was 94%white.

I said the orchestra was. Given the statistics you so readily supplied, my argument is buttressed due to the fact the orchestra and jazz band are not representative of an already segregated population.

If I am not mistaken, Eckstein was once down to 55% white. Again, what happened? Given your information, why don't any of the bands or the orchestra reflect the actual demographics in the building?

Are you missing something?

Sand Up!

Stand Up! said...

Helen, Seattle, Anon and Melissa,

Certified teachers deciding to try different curricular options (i.e. pulling groups of kids out for building activities) has nothing to do with this discussion.

Have any of you successfully incorporated the term "private contracting" into your arguments?

There is a clear distinction between band teachers agreeing with students and teachers to set up extra rehearsals, and private contacting on a regular basis.

Also, rather than paying band fees, parents should be paying for their own child's instrument if they want their kid involved in band.

Beyond that, the teacher should be able to handle their management responsibilities like every other teacher in the building.

cont...

Stand Up! said...

If parents are paying for instruments and the teachers are good (meaning they get something out of band with or with-out private lessons), why would the district have to offer any more
additional funding to a band or orchestra program?

Finally, the endangered instrument program is a legitimate grant. It is designed to protect instruments students rarely choose to play by giving them an incentive.

Instruction takes place in groupings of at least two, times are arranged through the band teacher, they are made available to every student, there are strict grant guidelines, the grant pays the school for the time in the space and NO STUDENT IS ASKED TO PAY FOR THE SERVICE UNDER THE PROGRAM.

If a child chooses to play bassoon, it does not matter how much money their parents have.

The pull out can still, however, be disruptive.

Stand Up!

Seattle said...

Apparently the other band and orchestra teachers at Eckstein, the school administration, and the families disagree with you Stand Up. I guess it's best that you moved on.

Still not sure how asking families to pay for band instruction is any different from asking them to pay $2000 per year for kindergarten, $200 year for band in 4th/5th grade, $200 to play high school Ultimate Frisbee, or over $1000 to travel with the band to out of state music festivals? Are you OK with all of these (and many more) fees being assessed?

uxolo said...

JazzED does offer scholarships and it is after school. Arts in Motion (aimschool.org) has sliding scale classes.

Middle school families may never know about the scholarships offered at Eckstein or Washington. That information needs to be conveyed by a phone call to every kid's family - it is not so simple to explain how a scholarship works or how the lessons are offered and kiddie mail may never make it home. Watching the privileged few exit class for their lessons makes for an uncomfortable situation for those who do not have access to those lessons. If every kid can't get 1:1, perhaps it should not be available for all.

If our supt really wanted to add Music and Art to the whole city, she'd go to Gate$ and flood the elementary schools with trained teachers.

If she wanted to help with academics, she'd put an RTI system in place and get off the plane and into the classrooms. So would the rest of her team.

Stand Up! said...

Seattle,

Please, if you choose to continue posting, try to make relevant points and stop simply defending the structure that is being discussed critically.

NONE of the fees you are talking about have anything to do with private instruction BY PRIVATE CONTRACTORS during curricular hours.

Again, are you going to ever refer to the term that is of most concern in this discussion: private contractor?

Also, fees for extracurricular activities such as sports, festivals and trips do not present a conflict of interest or exclusionary environment. These activities are not classroom based and are chosen extra-curricular activities, not assigned curricular hours.

Stand Up!

Stand Up! said...

Seattle,

Please, if you choose to continue posting, try to make relevant points and stop simply defending the structure that is being discussed critically.

NONE of the fees you are talking about have anything to do with private instruction BY PRIVATE CONTRACTORS during curricular hours.

Stand Up!

Stand Up! said...

...continued

Are you ever going to refer to the term that is of most concern in this discussion: private contractor?

Also, fees for extracurricular activities such as sports, festivals and trips do not present a conflict of interest to the public classroom nor do they necessarily result in exclusionary environment.

These activities are not classroom based and are chosen extra-curricular activities, not assigned curricular hours.

Stand Up!

Stand Up! said...

Finally,

Any fees applied for classroom instruction that is imposed by a teacher or administrator in a public school classroom is wrong.

Any thing that establishes severely segregated and unequal learning environments is wrong.

Thanks for enumerating some of the injustice. Band fees? Don't the instruments cost enough? Do middle school band kids really need $1000 trips to Vegas that most of the kids in the building could never afford?

Stand Up!

Melissa Westbrook said...

Stand Up, I think we're done here.

I understand your point but you have done a fair amount of name calling, undocumented accusations and confusing stats. I've asked you to make the case more clearly and you haven't.

You may have a good point in here but it gets lost in your (apparent) anger.

mirmac1 said...

Melissa,
In all fairness, I see pettier remarks from others in this thread. I agree however that we're beating a dead horse.

Anonymous said...

Students at Blaine K-8 can take private piano lessons during school hours. This has been going on for years. As far as I know there are no scholarships given. It really is just a service made available to parents who have the ability to pay for it - and then don't have the inconvience of having to transport their child to private lessons after school.

There is always a waitlist to get one of these private lessons, during school hours. The teacher has her own private room that has a district-owned piano in it.

Magnolia Parent

Stand Up! said...

To you,

Again, please place relevant posts to this blog.

Quote the name calling if you will. Please make sure it is from the thread and not fabricated. I never presumed to have specific statistics - others have enumerated those statistics for me.

Apparently three teachers provide outreach and fair - not for charge - lessons across the district.

Apparently Eckstein's demographic has moved from approximately 55% white to %68 white in the last decade.

cont...

Stand Up! said...

...continued

Apparently the 95% white advanced band and orchestra programs in these schools is NOT representative of an already segregated population - ITS WORSE! (all caps - exclamation).

These are the only numbers I have even presumed to discuss.

The voices of compromised children - even two or three - the future of a possible American community - are not dead.

Stand Up!

Stand Up! said...

Dear Magnolia Parent,

That's not cool.

Stand Up!

Stand Up! said...

sorry,

85 - 90% percent white programs.

Stand Up!

Anonymous said...

Stand Up,

I agree that Eckstein and other school should continue to reach out to less advantaged kids to encourage their involvement in music. This is crucial, and I think the school has already been taking a number of steps to do this. I’m sure there’s more work to do. So, again, Stand Up, I ask you what specific ideas you have that you would like to see implemented to increase the participation of less advantaged kids in the bands and orchestras (in addition to eliminating private instruction during school hours). What constructive steps would you like Eckstein—and all schools for that matter—to take to increase participation? I’m sure you’ve proposed some ideas in your previous posts, but I think they may have been lost in some of the other ideas you’ve expressed…a numbered list of action items would help me better understand where you're coming from.

Regarding demographics of the building, you mentioned that you had not said that Eckstein was 94% white, but please refer to your post of 12/25 at 1:51am (“Are you admitting there is a problem with the fact Eckstein is now 94% white?”). Perhaps you were referring to the orchestra, but I hope you understand why I thought this statement referred to the school as a whole. I’m hopeful that the NSAP, which added Lake City to Eckstein’s attendance area, will result in increased diversity.

You’ve also mentioned some concern about the increase in the number of white students at Eckstein over the past decade or two. If we look at census data from 2000, when Eckstein was 59% white, Eckstein was considerably less white than the kids in its surrounding neighborhood (78% of kids under 18 were white in 98115 and 69% in the combined zips of 98115 and 98133). It will be interesting to see how the 2010 census data compare to the 2010 Eckstein data. It’s certainly possible (likely) that the current 68% figure simply mirrors an increase in white residents in 98115. Clearly, the racial segregation of Seattle is a big issue and opens up an enormous can of worms.

As far as a lack of racial diversity in the bands and orchestras, I must call into question your 94/95% white statistic (though it looks like you may have recently changed this to 85-90%...I wasn’t clear on what you were referring to). As you had asked another blogger to do, I looked at the yearbook from last year, and I would estimate that, on average, the bands and orchestras are about 65-75% white (of the 12 groups, 9 fall within this range, 2 fall below, and 1 falls above). The senior groups might be slightly more white (across the 3 senior groups, I'd estimate about 70-75% white) but this may be due to a number of factors including random chance and access to resources outside of school (including private instruction). Are certain racial or economic groups underrepresented in the bands as a whole and/or in the senior bands? I wouldn’t be surprised if they were, and this is what the school community needs to continue to work toward improving.

Again, I’d really like to see a list of your specific proactive suggestions for how to implement change.

Thanks,
Eckstein Parent

hschinske said...

The number of black students at Eckstein, as far as I know, has been heavily influenced by changes in the student assignment plan and busing policies -- namely the demise of the racial tiebreaker and integration-positive busing.

Helen Schinske

hschinske said...

Music Lessons on Wheels provides private music lessons at a number of Seattle elementaries: see http://www.musiclessonsonwheels.com/.As far as I can make out, some schools may have lessons during the school day (see for example http://www.northbeachelementary.org/PDF/music-registration.pdf), and some definitely have them as after-school activities (see for example http://www.jsisweb.com/student-life/after-school-activities). JSIS does mention scholarships for after-school programs in general being available.

Helen Schinske

Stand Up! said...

Dear Eckstein Parent and Helen S,

Helen, I am not sure that the reduction of 'integration positive busing' was absolutely the most productive step.

Although I am in favor neighborhood schools in the context of reducing 'privileged program busing', I do see your point about how reducing busing could possibly impact integration across the district.

Eckstein parent, although I do not agree with your enumeration, it is still clear through your reports that the demographics, or racial composition, of the Eckstein building as a whole has changed by at least 10% in the last 10 years.

This is a dramatic shift culturally. Ideally, a population representative of genuine American culture, especially in a progressive city, would be near 45% majority or white (considering the number of different ethnic groupings and the fact white Americans always maintain majority over an other single group). Eckstein was supposed to move the OTHER DIRECTION.

cont...

Stand Up! said...

continued...

Although I am repeating myself, here are my initial bullets:

-Non discriminatory hiring practices and racial sensitivity training for Eckstein administrative employees. (Just distribution of racially diverse teachers results in interest from different locations in the student body, regardless of the discipline).

-STOP TEACHER BULLYING. An environment in which teachers of color are harassed or bullied results in a student population that reflects that dynamic. As common sense as this is, and given the fact I am repeating myself, I would hope it is clear how much work and restructuring is implied in meeting this step.

-Equal playing field equals happy players with ethical dispositions.
NO PRIVATE CONTRACTING!
Every kid gets an equal experience during curricular hours - not some get to pay for extra lessons; lessons whose imparted technique - the waiting are subsequently SUBJECTED to. The unjust dynamic, established by this immoral practice, is at the heart of the oppressive and hegemonic culture at Eckstein Middle School.

-STOP OVER-FUNDING EXTRAVAGANT PROGRAMS! Although I was not going to take it this far, you asked.

cont...

Stand Up! said...

continued...

Why are middle school music students, at what is supposed to be one of the top academic institutions in the city, doing concerned about a trip to Silverwood or Vegas?

Why are the other students looking at the band kids - who get these unnecessary and hardly musical/academic opportunities to 'go on the kiddie rides'- as though they are doing anything relevant by getting their parents to pay for an extra amusement park trip?

Much less, why would children even have this type of reward system incorporated into their thinking process when learning in what is supposed to be an equal environment?

cont...

Stand Up! said...

...continued

If parents would focus on day to day instruction and environment instead of ridiculously expensive, extravagant and unnecessary 'amusement' based trips - meaning they are not attending a music festival where they maybe get to go on rides as a treat, but they are going mostly to go on the rides- maybe they would have the clarity to see the gross inadequacies of general instruction and facility in the building.

What is going on with the math and sciences?

Was it necessary to purchase a new, third rate, but horribly expensive, grand piano last year when the Baldwin that has been in the auditorium for years sounds and plays awesome?

Or was this, plus thousands of dollars worth of other unnecessary and extravagant instrumental purchases (many of which result in instruments never actually betting played, but getting locked up in the attic of the band room) really the material equivalent of "maxing my rims out" or "pumping up my hydrolics" for the band teacher?

Stand Up! said...

continued...

And why would any program or teacher in a public middle school get this much additional money for any reason - unless it was about dividing the population into those who can afford it and those who can't?

Modest, culturally rich and rigorous academics are inexpensive. Did everyone forget in the malaise of musical reverie?

The point of the music program is that it is so valuable and so inexpensive when managed properly.

Eckstein parent, I have now re- articulated my primary 3 suggestions with argumentation- if would like me to continue the remuneration - ask again.

-Stand Up!

Stand Up! said...

continued...

And why would any program or teacher in a public middle school get this much additional money for any reason - unless it was about dividing the population into those who can afford it and those who can't?

Modest, culturally rich and rigorous academics are inexpensive. Did everyone forget in the malaise of musical reverie?

The point of the music program is that it is so valuable and so inexpensive when managed properly.

Eckstein parent, I have now re- articulated my primary 3 suggestions with argumentation- if would like me to continue the remuneration - ask again.

-Stand Up!

Seattle said...

"-STOP TEACHER BULLYING. An environment in which teachers of color are harassed or bullied results in a student population that reflects that dynamic. "

Pretty harsh, though vague, accusation Stand Up. Are you saying Eckstein admin, teachers or parents bully teachers of color? If so, you need to back that accusation up with some facts, and specific circumstances.

Seattle said...

And BTW Stand Up even if many teachers of color were recruited to teach at Eckstein it would not change the demographics of the students attending the school. Remember we have a new student assignment plan. There is no more "choice". The students who live within the Eckstein boundary go to Eckstein, and those who don't live within the boundaries don't.

Though recruiting teachers of color to teach at Eckstein would not do anything to add kids of color to the school, the new student assignment plan can, and is adding kid of color to the school. As many have tried to explain to you but you won't acknowledge, the new student assignment plan will draw a more diverse student body to Eckstein. The new boundaries includes Lake City, Cedar Park, Olympic Hills, Northgate, many apartment buildings, and the projects on 145th. All neighborhoods rich with diversity.

Stand Up! said...

Here are my facts:

No Black Male Teachers - Maybe one mixed race female aside from asian.

Why don't you give us the actual racial demographic breakdown of teachers in the Eckstein building Seattle?

Although I do know of particular souls who have been bullied out, I would prefer to let the environment speak for itself.

Stand Up!

Stand Up! said...

Seattle,

Great! I am glad to know you think this about the new plan. I am not sure who 'tried to explain this to me'. Could you please draw from the thread?

Also, I did not say that non-racist hiring practices would draw more students of color to the building, I said balanced distribution helps to attract students to multiple disciplines from different locations in the established student body.

Are you having trouble understanding the argument Seattle?

Stand Up!

Stand Up! said...

continued...

And why would any program or teacher in a public middle school get this much additional money for any reason - unless it was about dividing the population into those who can afford it and those who can't?

Modest, culturally rich and rigorous academics are inexpensive. Did everyone forget in the malaise of musical reverie?

The point of the music program is that it is so valuable and so inexpensive when managed properly.

Eckstein parent, I have now re- articulated my primary 3 suggestions with argumentation- if would like me to continue the remuneration - ask again.

-Stand Up!

Seattle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seattle said...

"Also, I did not say that non-racist hiring practices would draw more students of color to the building, I said balanced distribution helps to attract students to multiple disciplines from different locations in the established student body."

Incoherent.

Seattle said...

Stand Up said " I am glad to know you think this about the new plan. I am not sure who 'tried to explain this to me'. Could you please draw from the thread?"

Have you been reading the posts Stand Up? I'm not sure how you could miss the references.

12/26 North Seattle mom "Under the new plan, Eckstein will reflect the greater diversity of the Lake City area."

12/28 Eckstein parent "I’m guessing that Eckstein is now less “white” than last year due to the NSAP (e.g., Lake City area now at Eckstein)"

12/29 Eckstein Parent "I’m hopeful that the NSAP, which added Lake City to Eckstein’s attendance area, will result in increased diversity."

You have not been able to prove a single one of your accusations.

Having few black teachers at the school does not in any way prove that black teachers are bullied out.

Your arguments are weak and almost incoherent. And your unfounded accusations are troubling.

I do believe that you were the teacher fired last year, and I clearly understand why you were let go.

I'm done with you now and will not respond again.

Stand Up! said...

Seattle,

I am glad you are not going to continue to post. Your post have been acerbic and irrelevant and reflect the administrative attitude at Eckstein.

What is it about using the term "independent contractor" in your arguments that is so difficult?

My statements are not incoherent. You do not understand them.

This type of confusion and inability to weigh the logical ramifications of these arguments, coupled with self-interested and emotionally blinded reactions, is what has lead to a morass of racial inequity in this district.

Your need to attack me for the sake of defending remunerative practices that you have admittedly participated, in belies the inappropriateness of your approach to participating in this blog.

Stand Up!

Stand Up! said...

restated...

And why would any program or teacher in a public middle school get this much additional money for any reason - unless it was about dividing the population into those who can afford it and those who can't?

Modest, culturally rich and rigorous academics are inexpensive. Did everyone forget in the malaise of musical reverie?

The point of the music program is that it is so valuable and so inexpensive when managed properly.

Eckstein parent, I have now re- articulated my primary 3 suggestions with argumentation- if would like me to continue the enumeration - ask again.

-Stand Up!

Stand Up! said...

BTW Seattle,

Change your gracious 'few' to 'none', and maybe I will believe you can count (context - teachers of color at Eckstein Middle School in Seattle).

Stand Up!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting your list; I don't have time to comment on it now but will try to do so later.

In the mean time, I wanted to point out that my kid has at least two Eckstein teachers of color this year, including a black female teacher.

-Eckstein Parent

hschinske said...

If you don't understand why this is illegal across the nation and in other districts in Washington, please research the term remuneration as it is applied in the Washington State Administrative code.

Can you expand on this point? What part of the code would apply to band fees? The only uses of "remuneration" I have found in the WAC are in line with its usual meaning: a payment, whether for a good or service, a repayment of a loan, etc. I have not run across any connotation of illegal activity. Naturally some such payments, such as bribes, kickbacks, etc., are illegal, and designated as such, but that doesn't make "remuneration" an inherently illegal thing any more than "salary" or "payment" is.

Helen Schinske

none1111 said...

Charlie said: "So... am I off the hook now for bringing this comment out for further discussion?"

Not really. :-)

If the goal was to get lots of comments and lots of page views, then promoting the original rant from a comment to a post could be considered a wild success. 176 comments, and counting! But don't worry, I don't believe that was your goal, and it's certainly your right to promote whatever you like. It does still leave me wondering why you bothered to promote this post in particular. Comments crop up all the time that seem like they might deserve more attention, but this one felt from the start like an unsubstantiated rant from someone with an individual bone to pick. But moving on...

This has been like watching a long, slow train wreck. One barely coherent commenter rants on and on about "private contractors" in the building, but can't keep on topic because he/she is so hell-bent on the notion of "if everyone can't have it, then no one should!" That's a pitiful attitude. Especially when extra effort IS made to help families who can't afford these extras.

Guess what. Private contractors in the buildings have always existed. Hell, when I was in school, even the meals were provided by private contractors. They got to use the facilities, served only a subset of the kids, and made a profit while they were at it. BFD. They may have paid for use of the facility, but do we know for a fact that the private instrumental instructors don't do the same? (I don't know, either way, and I don't care because the incremental cost of turning on the lights in a tiny room are virtually nil).

As for the notion of robbing other kids of "a full ensemble", this is also flailing-away BS, just looking for anything to undermine the lessons. After reading this rant I asked a couple (non-Eckstein) middle school kids about it, and the answer was that they don't even notice which kids aren't there. They are generally out for the whole period, and very few kids are out at any one time. In a large band there are always a few kids absent on any given day anyway. The kids don't notice, nor do they care. And because the lessons help improve some kids' playing ability, that helps ALL the kids by having a better band around them, with less time wasted working with kids who need individual help. There are many sides to this, but StandUp appears to have a single pet peeve that overrides all the good parts.

As for it being a disruption to the class and teacher, who do you think encourages these lessons? (for those of you not in middle school band, it's the band teachers themselves!) If it was such a disruption, they wouldn't allow it, let alone promote it.

The very first line of the original comment was: "Can anyone hear how bad the music at Eckstein sounds?" If StandUp really cared about the quality of the music programs, he/she would not be complaining about ANY kind of lessons, private or otherwise. They all help the quality of instrumental music in these buildings. It's obvious that this person does not care about the quality of the programs at all, but their own pet issues.

All the other crap appears to be either selfishly motivated rants or racial demographic issues that have little to do with band in particular. I can't believe I wasted so much time reading this, let alone writing this reply.

none1111 said...

Charlie said: "So... am I off the hook now for bringing this comment out for further discussion?"

Not really. :-)

If the goal was to get lots of comments and lots of page views, then promoting the original rant from a comment to a post could be considered a wild success. 176 comments, and counting! But don't worry, I don't believe that was your goal, and it's certainly your right to promote whatever you like. It does still leave me wondering why you bothered to promote this post in particular. Comments crop up all the time that seem like they might deserve more attention, but this one felt from the start like an unsubstantiated rant from someone with an individual bone to pick. But moving on...

This has been like watching a long, slow train wreck. One barely coherent commenter rants on and on about "private contractors" in the building, but can't keep on topic because he/she is so hell-bent on the notion of "if everyone can't have it, then no one should!" That's a pitiful attitude. Especially when extra effort IS made to help families who can't afford these extras.

Guess what. Private contractors in the buildings have always existed. Hell, when I was in school, even the meals were provided by private contractors. They got to use the facilities, served only a subset of the kids, and made a profit while they were at it. BFD. They may have paid for use of the facility, but do we know for a fact that the private instrumental instructors don't do the same? (I don't know, either way, and I don't care because the incremental cost of turning on the lights in a tiny room are virtually nil).

As for the notion of robbing other kids of "a full ensemble", this is also flailing-away BS, just looking for anything to undermine the lessons. After reading this rant I asked a couple (non-Eckstein) middle school kids about it, and the answer was that they don't even notice which kids aren't there. They are generally out for the whole period, and very few kids are out at any one time. In a large band there are always a few kids absent on any given day anyway. The kids don't notice, nor do they care. And because the lessons help improve some kids' playing ability, that helps ALL the kids by having a better band around them, with less time wasted working with kids who need individual help. There are many sides to this, but StandUp appears to have a single pet peeve that overrides all the good parts.

As for it being a disruption to the class and teacher, who do you think encourages these lessons? (for those of you not in middle school band, it's the band teachers themselves!) If it was such a disruption, they wouldn't allow it, let alone promote it.

The very first line of the original comment was: "Can anyone hear how bad the music at Eckstein sounds?" If StandUp really cared about the quality of the music programs, he/she would not be complaining about ANY kind of lessons, private or otherwise. They all help the quality of instrumental music in these buildings. It's obvious that this person does not care about the quality of the programs at all, but their own pet issues.

All the other crap appears to be either selfishly motivated rants or racial demographic issues that have little to do with band in particular. I can't believe I wasted so much time reading this, let alone writing this reply.

Sit Down! said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sit Down! said...

Stand Up gave Eckstein a review on Great Schools.net where he accused the school of being segregated and exclusionary. He also said they needed to be restructured and assessed.

He directed readers to the SSS blog, and identified himself as a teacher.

Check it out.

http://www.greatschools.org
/school/parentReviews.page
?id=1556&state=WA#
from..HeaderLink

Stand Up! said...

continued...

Why do the people who accuse the original posting of being a rant use such accusatory, aggressive and 'rant' like language when they write? Is this projection?

Again, this kind of aggressive, logically unfounded and emotional response is at the heart of the phenomena being discussed. The defensive and unfocused anger being directed towards my posts reflects the attitude of the administration at Eckstein.

Try again to understand that a BAND rehearsal, which demands ensemble, thrives on unified sound exercises. These exercises demand participation from everyone in the ensemble throughout the rehearsal.

The reason the music teachers don't complain is because they have poor management skills and are not effective at teaching the instruments across the board. This practice gives them an 'out' but results in a divided ensemble. It has to do with lack of skill and showboating.

I am not going to even entertain the suggestion that you got useful information concerning this topic by asking a few kids you know.

The Greatschools site is a great place to see what some of the students, who also give Eckstein a poor review, are saying about how exclusive the band program is and what their experience with bullying has been like in the space.

-Stand Up!

Stand Up! said...

None, Helen and Sit down,

First, check the code again, it has to do with the collection of any fees for the provision of services or materials that the classroom teacher either profits from or that a private contractor can profit from. In this case, both things are happening. Go ahead and quote the section you found in the WAC.

None, please use more appropriate language and support your arguments with something other than your mistaken understanding of your personal experience.

cont...

Stand Up! said...

Private contracting during classroom hours has NEVER been legal or even regularly accepted. It is a major issue that affects district teachers and programs adversely. It is an issue SEA is concerned with.

Why do the people who accuse the original posting of being a rant use such accusatory, aggressive and 'rant' like language when they write? Again, this kind of aggressive, logically unfounded and emotional response is at the heart of the phenomena being discussed. The defensive and unfocused angered being directed towards my posts reflects the attitude of the administration at Eckstein.

Try again to understand that a BAND rehearsal, that demands ensemble, thrives on unified sound exercises hat demand participation from everyone through out the rehearsal.

The reason the teachers don't complain is because they have poor management skills and are not effective at teaching the instruments across the board themselves. It has to do with lack of skill and showboating the few who get ahead.

I am not going to even entertain the suggestion that you got useful information concerning this topic by asking a few kids you know.

The Greatschools site is a great place to see what some of the students, who also give Eckstein a poor review, are saying about how exclusive the band program is and what their experience with bullying has been like in the space.

-Stand Up!

Stand Up! said...

None, Helen and Sit down,

First, check the code again, it has to do with the collection of any fees for the provision of services or materials that the classroom teacher either profits from or that a private contractor can profit from. In this case, both things are happening. Go ahead and quote the section you found in the WAC.

cont...

Stand Up! said...

None, please use more appropriate language and support your arguments with something other than your mistaken understanding of your personal experience.

Private contracting during classroom hours has NEVER been legal or even regularly accepted. It is a major issue that affects district teachers and programs adversely. It is an issue SEA is concerned with.

Why do the people who accuse the original posting of being a rant use such accusatory, aggressive and 'rant' like language when they write? Again, this kind of aggressive, logically unfounded and emotional response is at the heart of the phenomena being discussed. The defensive and unfocused angered being directed towards my posts reflects the attitude of the administration at Eckstein.

Try again to understand that a BAND rehearsal, that demands ensemble, thrives on unified sound exercises hat demand participation from everyone through out the rehearsal.

The reason the teachers don't complain is because they have poor management skills and are not effective at teaching the instruments across the board themselves. It has to do with lack of skill and showboating the few who get ahead.

I am not going to even entertain the suggestion that you got useful information concerning this topic by asking a few kids you know.

The Greatschools site is a great place to see what some of the students, who also give Eckstein a poor review, are saying about how exclusive the band program is and what their experience with bullying has been like in the space.

-Stand Up!

Stand Up! said...

...continued

None, please use more appropriate language and support your arguments with something other than your mistaken understanding of your personal experience.

cont...

Stand Up! said...

...continued

Private contracting during classroom hours has NEVER been legal or even regularly accepted. It is a major issue that affects district teachers and programs adversely. It is an issue SEA is concerned with.

Why do the people who accuse the original posting of being a rant use such accusatory, aggressive and 'rant' like language when they write? Again, this kind of aggressive, logically unfounded and emotional response is at the heart of the phenomena being discussed. The defensive and unfocused angered being directed towards my posts reflects the attitude of the administration at Eckstein.

cont...

Stand Up! said...

...continued

Try again to understand that a BAND rehearsal, that demands ensemble, thrives on unified sound exercises hat demand participation from everyone through out the rehearsal.

The reason the teachers don't complain is because they have poor management skills and are not effective at teaching the instruments across the board themselves. It has to do with lack of skill and showboating the few who get ahead.

I am not going to even entertain the suggestion that you got useful information concerning this topic by asking a few kids you know.

The Greatschools site is a great place to see what some of the students, who also give Eckstein a poor review, are saying about how exclusive the band program is and what their experience with bullying has been like in the space.

-Stand Up!

Anonymous said...

Charlie said: "So... am I off the hook now for bringing this comment out for further discussion?"

You have made it clear you were never on the hook in your mind. Like you said, you are not tied into this school. It's not your kids or their friends getting thrown under the bus by the site you promoted. You don't have to interact with the teacher getting smeared. So who cares then, right?

Heaven forbid you should take a moment to read the two posts on the site you posted. Or just ask someone familiar with the program to find out the blogger is in all probability a fired teacher with a vendetta and a restraining order to keep him away from the school and its children and staff. You helped him defame them anyway. And you got your thread hits. Congratulations.

-Ted

hschinske said...

First, check the code again, it has to do with the collection of any fees for the provision of services or materials that the classroom teacher either profits from or that a private contractor can profit from. In this case, both things are happening. Go ahead and quote the section you found in the WAC.

Searching at http://www.leg.wa.gov/pages/search.aspx, I found "remuneration" used in lots of boring contexts, but I did not run across anything that would be relevant to your situation.

A typical example:

"(1) In January of the year following any year in which a minimum of sixty days of leave for illness or injury is accrued, and each January thereafter, any eligible employee may exercise an option to receive remuneration for unused leave for illness or injury accumulated in the previous year..."

Since you were the one who brought up the WAC, presumably you can find the relevant passage and cite it. That ball's in your court.

Helen Schinske

Rufus X said...

If StandUp!/Skywalkr is, in fact, the former Eckstein teacher in question, I'm curious about his high school experience at Garfield in the early 90's; my assumption is he was enrolled in the incredible music program there, which would've been a huge boost to his post-secondary education. I wonder if this person took advantage of private instruction offered to Garfield musicians?

Rufus X said...

And another thing -
...This is all that matters becaus tax dollars and cents are involved in school space and time. (re: Private instruction not funded w/ tax dollars during school hours)

Let's say, for instance, a director or composer utilizes the downtown public library's music rehearsal rooms for auditions; the result of these auditions is that musicians will participate in a concert and will be compensated from the concert's proceeds. Is this a misuse of a public facility and the tax dollars that support it? Does the library see a cut of the concert's profits?

I wonder what StandUP!/Skywalkr's opinion would be in this purely hypothetical situation....

Stand Up! said...

Rufus,

Renting a public space such as the library for auditions has nothing to do with this blogg. This is in no means comparable to remuneration during curricular hours.

The public library is not contracted to provide educational services to multiple students for specific curricular hours in specific rooms - it is not a school, it is a library.

cont...

Stand Up! said...

...continued

The library rents rooms and spaces to generate funds. What does this have to do with education? There are no public employees certified to teach in the spaces being rented.

The library always profits from the rental fee. School buildings can rent their rooms out also, but not during curricular hours that are set aside for the children.

cont...

Stand Up! said...

...continued

The private contractors I am referring to do not pay the building rental fees to teach in the rooms, AND they teach during curricular hours.

I am not sure why you confused the contexts like this Rufus.

Also, there were no privately contracted private lessons during rehearsals at Garfield in the early 90's. Students were not allowed to leave rehearsal- they paid for lessons after school in private studios.

cont...

Stand Up! said...

...continued

Helen, the part of the code you quoted is irrelevant. Here is the code as concerns unprofessional practices:

WAC 181-87-090 IMPROPER REMUNERATIVE CONDUCT:

"Any deliberate act, in the course of professional practice, which requires or PRESSURES students to purchase equipment, supplies, or SERVICES from the education practitioner, in a private remunerative capacity, is an act of unprofessional conduct."

cont...

Stand Up! said...

...continued

The band teacher pressures kids to purchase supplies and pay for lessons. The private contractors then walk away with unaccounted for dollars in their pockets.

What is so hard to understand about how wrong this is? These are grounds for dismissal according to the code.

Helen, the ball is in your court. Return it if you can.

-Stand Up!

hschinske said...

Helen, the part of the code you quoted is irrelevant.

That was my point -- that I could not find a section of the code that WAS relevant. Thank you for posting that it was WAC 181-87-090.

The band teacher pressures kids to purchase supplies and pay for lessons. The private contractors then walk away with unaccounted for dollars in their pockets.

What is so hard to understand about how wrong this is? These are grounds for dismissal according to the code.


Concerning the private lessons, I don't see how that's the case at all, given that the band instructor is not the one walking away with the money, nor is the money "unaccounted for." How is it any different from a band teacher encouraging a student to take private lessons at some other location and time? The money would still go from the student's parents to the private teacher -- not to the band teacher.

I don't see any previous mention of teachers pressuring students to purchase supplies. That's a new and separate issue.

Helen Schinske

Stand Up! said...

Helen,

Have you seen the "Band Form"? It asks for money for instruments and supplies in the band room. The teacher himself collects the funds in the band room. The FEE is $50.

Where is the accounting? Who gets to play which purchased instrument?

Is a piano the same kind of purchase as a bass drum stick? Which kid plays piano and which kid plays bass drum? Who gets lessons from who?

cont...

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