Friday, February 18, 2011

Open Thread Friday

It's the trifecta: it's Friday, it's a three-day weekend and it's Mid-Winter Break next week. Okay, don't all you parents start jumping up and down at once.

Here's one idea for tomorrow, Saturday the 19th (note: the event is free but if you want to go through the museum exhibits, there's an admission charge):

Learn about opportunities in engineering careers from representatives from the local chapters of national engineering societies, several university engineering departments and student clubs. Grades K through 12 and parents. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. FREE, admission fee for museum exhibits. Popsicle Stick Bridge Contest. Watch local teams of high school students build bridges that are judged, then tested to failure with a hydraulic press. 8 a.m. to noon. Included with admission. $16, $14 seniors, $13 active military, $9 ages 5 to 17, free ages 4 and younger. Age recommendation: All ages. Cost: FREE. Pre-register: No. Phone: 206-764-5720. Saturday,
February 19, 2011, 8:00 AM
5:00 PM. Museum of Flight 9404 E. Marginal Way S. Seattle WA 98108. For more info visit pseconline.org.


How about this next Friday (for those of you home with the kids); the downtown library AND free French fries (this from Red Tricycle Seattle):

These aren’t just regular fries but salted truffle fries and BOKA Kitchen and Bar in the lobby of the fancy Hotel 1000 (1000 1st Ave) will be giving them out free from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm.

You can eat them there or take them with you while you stroll the littles three blocks to the public library (it’s uphill a bit) and make a fun Friday experience out of it.

Lastly, I see by the calendar that if you got started now, you could have a baby born on ..... 11/11/11. I'm not sure a whole other child is worth it just for the cool birthdate but if you like that idea, better get busy.

What's on your mind?

47 comments:

Rufus X said...

Happy Friday!

Shout-out to Amy and another nice lady, whose name I did not get, at SPS enrollment office. I called with specific open enrollment questions and how our family's particular conundrum would be affected by NSAP. Both ladies were very helpful & patient. W00T!

Guppy said...
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Guppy said...

Nathan Hale has been doing the most amazing evening lectures!

Last week they had a dessert & Politics sponsored by the social studies department. The topic was "What is really happening in Egypt?" It was a panel discussion with speakers from Egypt who shared their insights into the recent events taking place, with question and answer afterward.

This week Professor Jack Lee of the UW presented "the curvature of space" where kids explored the mathematical meaning of space being “curved,”.

Evening lectures at Hale are open to the community. Check the Hale website for upcoming events if you are interested.

As disappointed as we are with the district and admin, at the school level we couldn't be more pleased.

Beth said...

The UW staff paper ran this article;
http://www.washington.edu/news/articles/new-report-examines-promises-pitfalls-of-charter-school-autonomy
referencing an article about charter schools.

Thanks, Guppy for the news about the lectures at Hale. That is where my child will be going next year, so I'm very interested in their goings-on.

dj said...

I just wanted to give a shout-out and thank you to the Lion Dance team at Franklin High School, which came to perform last Friday at Thurgood Marshall's lunar new year celebration. The kids were energetic performers and were patient with questions from the elementary kids.

Guppy said...

Welcome to Hale, Beth. It's a fantastic school. If you have time drop by the Bite Of Hale on March 17, at 6P. Rows and rows of booths of great, student cooked, ethnic foods - at bargain prices! Great energy, and a good way to see the school community in action, without being on an organized tour.

monkeypuzzled said...

I'm part of a group of parents at Daniel Bagley Elementary with younger sibs affected by the NSAP. Getting rid of the Barnhart-Waldman algorithm has had a disproportionate effect on our school. Because Bagley has two programs (Montessori and contemporary) with separate enrollment procedures, we have to try and game the system by guessing which program attendance-area families are most likely to opt for. If we guess wrong--we end up shut out of Bagley entirely while the program that wasn't enrolled to capacity by attendance-area families fills up with non-sibling non-attendance area kids. As far as we can tell, this isn't a situation that's possible at any other school (other than Leschi and Graham Hill, which have similar 2-program setups) and it isn't equitable to our kids.

We've all advocated to the board, first for sibling grandfathering, then for making Montessori an option school, and you can probably guess what that has gotten us. In general, the board and the district has shown little interest in the sibling situation this year (in contrast to last year, when there was well-organized district-wide opposition to the NSAP). To be honest, I'm not totally sure Sherry Carr even gets the problem. We're doing some last-ditch organizing to advocate for some sort of manual fix to the "two-program problem" to give us at least the same shot at getting into our school as other siblings have around Seattle. My question for all of you out there: can you think of any resources, other people we can approach, media contacts who might be interested in this situation, anything? Any advice for us?

WE LOVE OUR SCHOOL!

Maureen said...

Hurrah for the TOPS 8th graders who just spent two nights sleeping on service agencies' floors and two days serving the homeless through the Planting the Seeds service learning immersion experience.

Huge thanks to all of the TOPS staff and parent volunteers who made it possible. And to the agencies that welcomed our students and shared their missions with our community. And most of all to all of the men and women out there who shared their world with our kids.

Maureen said...

monkeypuzzled, It seems to me that the basic number of neighborhood kids enrolled at Bagley should be known by the time Open Enrollment starts, or at least ends. Maybe you or your principal could get those numbers from Tracy Libros in enrollment and share them with your parent group. Of course that wouldn't account for ones who didn't pre-enroll or who did but plan to try for another school during open enrollment. But maybe that could give you at least an idea of where the open seats will be. Do ask Sherry Carr for help, she seems to care a lot about Bagley.

Actually, how does that work? If a family moves into Bagley's area in August and wants the Montessori program, do they bump someone who was assigned in May? Or does Montessori enrollment close at some point? Or does it have to infinitely expand like regular neighborhood programs? So confusing. Montessori and Immersion should be Option programs.

Anonymous said...

I just got a mail from our middle school describing in dire terms the state of science in the district. I did find this blurb to be interesting,

Science coaches can best be described as the glue that holds the district science curriculum together. They run professional development sessions, train new teachers, implement kit trainings to help teachers deliver instruction more effectively, and help make sure that science is being taught in a cohesive manner that aligns to state standards. Without the guidance of a Science manager and coaches, the future of science education in the district lacks direction and support.

Sounds like some people are advocating for these coaches.

--parent

SP said...

We haven't heard much from parent feedback after touring schools. Does high school choice still exist? Some schools are still actively recruiting out-of-attendance area students (ie Sealth sent letters to families in the Madison/WSHS attendance area inviting them to their school) but others say they were told by the district that they should not even be doing day time tours and that one choice night is all that is allowed.

Any new information to pass on from school tours?

At Cleveland, no Principal or AP's were present (only the 2 counselors). We learned on the tour that their "extended day" (+30 minutes/day) really does NOT add extra time to the classes, as they also squeeze in a daily 50 minute advisory, as well as 8 total classes (4/every other day) overall instead of six.

Do the math- their 85 minute classes every-other day (all year) is the equivalent of a 42 minute class in other schools (not even the state required minimum 50 minute class, much less the 55 minutes that Roosevelt, Garfield and now WSHS all have)! This will wreck havock when the students take an AP class which assumes more time for the material to be covered.

How does Cleveland do this? Because they have the sanctioned Alternative Learning Experience (ALE) classification. So just because my kid would be able to "earn" 8 credits per year compared to the standard 6, that doesn't mean that the extended day would offer extra time for better understanding of the subject.

Here's the other really interesting thing- because Seattle students are so behind in math skills, all 9th and 10th graders (or at least all those taking Algebra and then geometry) at Cleveland will be required to take a double-dose of those math classes usually reserved in other schools for remedial students (ie geometry 85 minutes every day, all year- compared to the standard 50 or 55 minute class at other schools).

This is fantastic for the struggling math students, but will be excrutiatingly slowed down for students who are looking for an accelerated STEM program especially for math & sciences. They only get one credit for this "double-dosing" so will be earning max. 7 credits for those years. Then suddenly for advaced algebra and the Cleveland required pre-calculus, kids will get the abbreviated 42 minute (yearly average).

Finally, the very popular Engineering academy is not a guarantee. This year only 170 (out of a max. 250 9th graders) entered, but still all the engineering slots were filled, so be prepared that you might be in the Life Sciences academy instead.

(on a side note- it will be interesting to see how the kids do on the algebra & geometry assessment tests with all taking a double-dose this year)

monkeypuzzled said...

Hi Maureen! The problem is knowing how many of the neighborhood kids will opt for Montessori during open enrollment. See, if they're pre-enrolled, they are assigned by default to Contemporary and have to go through open enrollment and ask for assignment to Montessori.

So: Even if we manage to go into open enrollment knowing 1) how many K seats there are total 2) how many are allotted for Montessori vs contemporary and 3) how many attendance area kids there are going to Bagley, we still can't make an informed decision about which program will have space w/out knowing how many attendance area kids want Montessori during open enrollment. Does that make sense?

Aargh, it is horribly confusing. You're absolutely right, Montessori should be an option school--this way of doing things makes no sense whatsoever.

Believe me, we have asked SHerry Carr for help and continue to do so. She seems ... tired of us. Or maybe just tired.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Thanks to the staff and volunteers at Lawton Elementary in Magnolia for all their hard work on the World Cultures Fair last night. As usual it was fantastic. Hip hoppin' kids and tons of parents- it's a great school with great teachers and strong support from the community. Go Dolphins!

Hoop

Anonymous said...

You know, for someone who just had "knee surgery", MGJ seemed to have her strut at the Budget Workshop...?

grumpy

Melissa Westbrook said...

Monkeypuzzle, I can only offer a couple of things.

What has Tracy Libros said?

Also, Harium mentioned at yesterday's Operations Committee meeting that he is a "visual" learner and it really helps to see a problem laid out on paper (or even cooler, a video). I would suggest getting someone in your group to create something to show the problem in graphics.

ALWAYS address your issues to the entire Board. Your Board director is not necessarily the best person to go to. Keep in mind, they cannot "fix" anything. That is not their role. But, if it looks like the district did not consider something in the NSAP, then you might spark their concern.

I wish I could tell you the media would pick up on this but, for one school, probably not. You might contact Phyllis Fletcher at KUOW; she might be interested in a story about on-going issues with the NSAP.

SP, high school choice exists but only at those schools with space. As Charlie and I have said (over and over) the district and the Board went back on a key feature in the NSAP and will NOT have Open Choice seats at every high school. So even at the full high schools, they won't even set aside 10 seats.

I am appalled that the Cleveland principal wasn't at their tour. For a new program, they need all hands on deck. The building isn't full.

Thank you for all the great school news and shout-outs.

Lori said...

mokeypuzzled, I guess it's too late for this, but would it work if Bagley just went to being one choice on the enrollment forms, then once everyone was assigned, the school asked for preferences between traditional and Montessori and made the placements themselves?

I think that's how the international schools work for language choice (first you are assigned, then you get a letter in the mail asking which language you'd prefer for your child). This is also how we got our daughter into a Blended K class (back when they existed) as a "traditionally developing" peer; we requested it once assigned to the school.

I'm probably missing something big in my assessment, but it seems like that might work. ??

SP said...

Yes, Melissa, "Does high school choice still exist?" was a rhetorical question, sadly.

I think it's one of the huge sell-outs that all of the current Board members should realize that they are responsible for, individually and as a group. Families have been sold a bait & switch plan here and it is all of our kids who will be impacted. Elementary parents don't realize yet how deeply that will change each of the high schools years down that road.

Maureen said...

Thanks for the explanation Monkeypuzzle, I didn't realize it worked that way. You guys might want to pull in the PTSAs from Graham Hill and Leschi. Then you won't look like you're just advocating for yourself.

Are there a set number of Montessori seats or do they have to expand it as long as neighborhood families want in?

Too bad about Sherry Carr, I know how that feels. Sometimes I have been afraid Board members would run away when they saw me!

seattle citizen said...

Announcement from District on Family and Community Engagement all day Saturday 3/12:

"There will be a Family and Community Engagement Symposium titled "Supporting Your Student's Success" on March 12 at Ballard High School, where families can get information and resources on early learning, math, apprenticeships, college readiness and more.

The goal of the symposium is to provide learning opportunities to support Seattle Public Schools' families and community members and to be critical partners in their students' academic success. At the symposium, participants will be able to attend workshops and learn how to help support student academic achievement at home, school, and around the community. Some workshops will include but are not limited to: K-12 Math, Literacy, Science, Early Learning Standards, Arts in Education, Advanced Learning, Special Education Transition Planning, Graduation Requirements for College and Career, Looking to the Future Post Secondary Planning in Middle School, Parent Leadership and Advocacy, and more. Resource tables will include Seattle Public Library, Alliance for Education, Title I, Health Services, Service Learning, and Seattle Parks and Recreation.

By request:
Transportation will be available from selected schools to the event.
Supervised child activities will be provided for children 4-12 years of age.

Please click here for the March 12 workshop schedule. Flyers are available in English, Spanish, Somali, Vietnamese, and Chinese languages

Family and Community Engagement Symposium:
Supporting Your Student's Success
Saturday, March 12
9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Ballard High School
1418 NW 65th St.
Seattle, WA 98117

Bernardo Ruiz, Manager, Family and Community Engagement
Phone: 252-0693; bjruiz@seattleschools.org"

Sarah said...

House Bill 1609 is dead.

seattle citizen said...

Strange, I posted this at five pm but it now it's not here. Anyway:

The district announced a Family and Community Engagement event, Saturday March 12, 9:30-2:00 at Ballard HS. From the announcement:

There will be a Family and Community Engagement Symposium titled "Supporting Your Student's Success" on March 12 at Ballard High School, where families can get information and resources on early learning, math, apprenticeships, college readiness and more.

The goal of the symposium is to provide learning opportunities to support Seattle Public Schools' families and community members and to be critical partners in their students' academic success. At the symposium, participants will be able to attend workshops and learn how to help support student academic achievement at home, school, and around the community. Some workshops will include but are not limited to: K-12 Math, Literacy, Science, Early Learning Standards, Arts in Education, Advanced Learning, Special Education Transition Planning, Graduation Requirements for College and Career, Looking to the Future Post Secondary Planning in Middle School, Parent Leadership and Advocacy, and more. Resource tables will include Seattle Public Library, Alliance for Education, Title I, Health Services, Service Learning, and Seattle Parks and Recreation.

By request:
Transportation will be available from selected schools to the event.
Supervised child activities will be provided for children 4-12 years of age.

Please click here for the March 12 workshop schedule. Flyers are available in English, Spanish, Somali, Vietnamese, and Chinese languages.

Family and Community Engagement Symposium:
Supporting Your Student's Success
Saturday, March 12
9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Ballard High School
1418 NW 65th St.
Seattle, WA 98117

Bernardo Ruiz, Manager, Family and Community Engagement
Phone: 252-0693; bjruiz@seattleschools.org

wsnorth said...

Three more portables are coming to Schmitz Park Elementary.

Now it won't matter if there are "not enough 4 square balls" because there will not be anyplace to play 4 square!

seattle citizen said...

Here's another event, FREE, coming in April:

The Alliance 4 Education is having its annual breakfast Thursday April 14, 7:30-8:45 Am.
FREE, but you should RSVP.

Some might go and ask them why they are focusing so much on fronting Gates Ed Reform, instead of the good works they did (and still do) helping real students in real schools.

here is the announcement and link to register.

monkeypuzzled said...

Melissa--this info comes from Tracy Libros, unfortunately. She also recommended choosing contemporary if we want to maximize our chances of getting into the school. I'm not so sure about this advice, frankly, especially considering what might happen if all 10 of us take it. (I'm also not sure that the incoming attendance area parents are necessarily going to choose Montessori in the same nos. as years past, when they *had* to go through open enrollment to even be assigned to a school.) I like the idea of following up our letter to MGJ and the board with a video/visual presentation.

Lori, I like that suggestion. I'm going to add it to my specific "workaround idea" list.

Maureen, I think there are a set number of Montessori seats--but so far they can't/won't? tell us what that number is. We're groping around in the dark here.

Also, we've contacted Graham Hill but have gotten no response from their PTA contact as yet. Leschi does not have the same capacity issues we do.

Thanks all, if anyone has any other ideas pls let me know.

Maureen said...

monkeypuzzled, I wish I better understood the order everything happens in under the NSAP and whether or not new attendance area residents can demand a Montessori seat or just a 'contemporary'(?) seat.

Bagley must accept every kid who lives in the attendance area who shows up. That could mean that they end up with four contemporary K classes with only 21 kids in each, so would have room for all of you, or maybe three classrooms of 28 with no room or some other combination of numbers. Maybe that is Tracy's point - that at least the contemporary classes could have empty seats, whereas the Montessori classes will be filled and then no more will open?

Have any of you attended the tours and asked the incoming families what they are thinking? It looks like Bagley is offering one more tour in March, maybe you could take a reading then.

Eric M said...

I hope that folks are paying attention to the events in Wisconsin.

I especially hope that the tea-party democrats, the ones who sponsored House Bill 1609, particularly my own special Reuven Caryle, are paying attention.

I am so proud of the teachers there for standing up for themselves. A lot of us here are really tired of getting pissed on.

monkeypuzzled said...

Maureen, it's all somewhat opaque. According to our principal, they reserve a "certain number" of seats for attendance area students who transfer in, etc, but no one knows whether they're Montessori or contemporary. In the past, we've run various "what ifs" past Tracy trying to get a better understanding of the situation: what if, for instance, no attendance area parents sign up for Montessori? Would those seats go away? Would some Montessori classrooms become contemporary? I've been told "Tracy doesn't like hypothetical scenarios." Again, in the dark.

I do think however that even attendance area parents have to go through open enrollment to get a Montessori seat. You can't just show up in September and ask to be in Montessori.

We are doing polls (thank you PTA pres!) of tour takers and so far more than half of attendance area parents say they are undecided.

peonypower said...

On Wednesday the Feb. 23rd the NW flower and garden show opens. For the first time ever there will be 3 Seattle high schools competing in the funky junk student competition as well as Interlake High School and Tumwater High School. Nathan Hale, Ingraham, and Ballard horticulture students will have gardens on display. Come check it out!

Dora Taylor said...

Eric,

Check out Fred Klonsky's blog. He's been following the push by the governor to extinguish all unions in Wisconsin.

Also Rachel Maddow has done some awesome coverage and commentary on the subject:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#41633864

She did two shows on the subject. I don't have the time to find the other show but it was either the day before or after this show.

Dora Taylor said...

I want to do a "shout out" to the parents, teachers and members of our community who called on our representatives to use their better judgment on whether or not to judge whether a teacher should be rif'd or not based on student test scores.

Olliesdad said...

To WSea North-

Are you serious??? More portables at Schmitz Park? Will they even have a playground left to play on? I consider that environment no longer a school. I think Schmitz Park has seen its hey day, their entire culture will be completely destroyed. This is depressing. I am sad. West Seattle needs to rise up and revolt. I always think it can't get any worse, and then, it does. Our School Board Rep, well, you know... is the worst thing to happen to West Seattle.

GreyWatch said...

@ maureen and monkeypuzzled

The response I rec'd from Tracy Libros about why montessori and LI programs aren't option programs, included:
1. there is capacity at leschi so that program is still accessible for people who want montessori;
2. the LI program at Mcdonald will provide a short window of accessibility until that program fills.

That's about it. Kay SB seems to believe there will someday be a world in which LI programs are options at all neighborhood schools (dream on) so isn't questioning central's march forward w/o a plan. Sherry replied to my concerns, but I don't think she had anything concrete in terms of opinions or policy direction.

Zebra (or Zulu) said...

Here is why SPS wants more potables at Schmitz Park:

OSPI 2010 WASHINGTON ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS
by award category

Overall Excellence: SCHMITZ PARK

Special Recognition in Math: SCHMITZ PARK

Only three elementary schools got the math award in Washington.

Schmitz Park is that school with the waiver to do Singapore Math. They are embarrassing the SPS math gurus. By overcrowding the school they diminish its performance on State Exams. This is not an accident. It is by design.

The other Seattle Elementary that got the award DOES NOT follow the Everyday Math Curriculum...they supplement heavily!


The complete list is with the link.

http://www.k12.wa.us/EducationAwards/WashingtonAchievement/pubdocs/2010AwardWinners.pdf

Also See: http://www.k12.wa.us/EducationAwards/WashingtonAchievement/

wsnorth said...

Yes, you would think the district would try Singapore math at other schools to try to see if it will help close the "math gap". I'm quite convinced it would, myself!

Schmitz Park is becoming more like an overcrowded prison day camp than a nurturing neighborhood school.

StepJ said...

Thank you for posting about the engineering events at the Museum of Flight.

One of my first grade daughters attended with dad today and it was a HUGE hit!

Currently, a popsicle stick bridge is being constructed in the dining room. :-)

StepJ said...

On a more crummy note...

Received a mailing from the city today that application has been filed to build a 12 story building with 283 residential units and 40,000 sq. ft. retail at ground level -- right in front of Roosevelt High School.

Likely, this corner of Roosevelt would become U-District North as there is no market for condos these days.

Perhaps some of the UW students living in the new structure could conduct a study as to the impact of learning to high school students, in an environment devoid of light and air?

StepJ said...

On the old SPS website you could look up e-mail addresses and phone numbers for most staff members - at least managers and above.

I can no longer find this information since the transfer to the new website has begun.

Does anyone know the new location, or has this been eliminated?

seattle citizen said...

The Seattle Times asks a no-brainer question in this article:

Does Gates funding of media taint objectivity?

The Times should also ask itself, as a business-uber-alles spouter of reformist rhetoric, if a desire for profit taints objectivity.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Step J, I have been worried about this as well. I find that if I use an old link to SPS, I can still get to the old website that has the staff page. But what happens when that is gone? I might have to print all those pages off.

Anonymous said...

Along the lines of Schmitz Park and math....

This is a YouTube video linked on Katharine Beals website, Out In Left Field, about Investigations math:

The Unintended Consequences of Investigations Math Curriculum

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YLlX61o8fg&feature=player_embedded

If done with manipulatives, alongside a simple "stacked" problem on paper, it could be a useful exercise. But it seems that they're trying to do hand held manipulations on paper, with large numbers, which only leads to errors, confusion, and frustration. What kid could wouldn't think math is hard after problem after problem like that?

My child is currently going through similar frustrations with Seattle's elementary math curriculum. At home, we focus on the standard (and straightforward) algorithms. At school, they are learning multiple methods that require more steps, which then lead to more frustration and tedium.

Note to Seattle Public Schools: You are turning my math loving kid off to math!

Signed Math parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Zebra, I just did a thread on the Washington Achivement awards. Loyal Height does use Everyday Math but they do have a math tutor as well.

CTEChair said...

Why is SPS contradicting itself [again]?

I'd love to encourage readers of this blog to investigate the new Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes that will be offered this fall in four locations. OOPS-after counselors had been allowed to offer the proposed Advanced Marketing, Green Tech (Manufacturing and Energy Efficiency), Info Tech, and Medical Careers classes for next year; funding for the needed 2.5 FTE's has abruptly been WITHDRAWN. By the way, three of these programs are at either W. Seattle or Cleveland and 4/5 are STEM related. Oh, and all are identified as high wage, high demand career fields.

Even the though Supt. (2009) and the Board (2010) are on written record (also with OSPI, legislators and other valued partners) for approving of and supporting the next phase of the Seattle Skills Center; internal funding was abruptly withdrawn in the last ten days. These economically-relevant classes could draw your student deeper into a field that employs people locally and can enhance their interest in going on to some kind of post- high school learning.

(Don't worry, all the double-dosing positions appear to be safe though!)

Want to help? Write to the CAO, the Supt and the School Board soon-or we may lose the state funds to complement the 2011-2012 staffing needs.
Or write to me-the chair of the Business Advisory Committee for the SPS CTE department at dctwight@mac.com for additional information.

seattle citizen said...

I recntly found a 1894 Washington State Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Education. Fascinating book.
Here's something for all those who think public schools are doing poorly: In 1894, Seattle Public Schools had about 650 students at each age level up to age 11. After that: Age 12 - 597; age 13 - 527; age 14 - 430; age 15 - 284; age 16 - 138; age 17 - 51; age 18 - 35. Not to discount our current dropout rate, but 116 years ago more 50% of the students were no longer in school by the age of 15, 80% were gone by age 16, and 92% were gone by age 17.
More tidbits later.

Unless Word Verifier wants to REBRUT; in that case, I may be driven away by the cloud of aftershave...

StepJ said...

It is interesting to think about the changes in society from the 1800’s to today. Doesn’t seem like such an immense span of time but so many rapid changes.

For a still predominantly agrarian society, such a high drop-out rate for boys does not seem that far out of line. For girls I wonder about the norm. for age of marrying, birth of first child? Women could not legally vote so why would an education be deemed important for a girl?

It would be interesting to see a comparison of Seattle graduation rates to say Boston or NYC – areas much more ‘citified’ by 1894.

Also, soon to come…the Klondike Gold Rush. I wonder if HS attendance dropped even further then?

StepJ said...

Just as an add.

I heart history. :-)

seattle citizen said...

StepJ -
Seattle "a still predominantly agrarian society" in 1894?...Boston or NYC – areas much more ‘citified’ by 1894."?

Seattle, with a population of about 10,000 school eligible people counted (another sizable chunk uncounted, I'd also suggest), had about 50,000 people total in the city at this time. It was a largish city of its time, not an east-coast megalopolis yet, but big.

The citizens of this city were far from agrarian. Yes, more tied to the immediate hinterlands (Issaquah, Shoreline, Kent...) which were agrarian, but the city was mercantile. The kids might have gone to work (instead of school) at, say, a printing plant, but they weren't goin' farmin'.

My point (besides historical conjecture, as I, too, heart history!) is that "society" was already well into a more citified mode in Seattle by 1894, a more "modern" style of existence: electricity, gas, water, sewer, bridges, Musquito Fleet of small steamers serving as an extensive transportation network before cars (many were converted to car-decked boats, dangerous things...), an extensive network of street cars, starting with horse-drawn rail cars to electified city network and interurban network (all tracks and equipment thrown away by the Big Three carmakers in the 1940s...Urban transit privatized by business, dismantled because it competed with the suburban vision of the automobile.)

Seattle was a modern city of its day, as its children were modern. The labor laws and truancy laws might have been more lax, and economic conditions still favored entry into the labor market at an early age, but it was pretty far from an agrarian model by then.

Another interesting stat from 1894: "Percent of school population [9,865 school age] attending public schools [5,080]: 65%"

Wow! So they had MORE students going to private school then! Don't we always say that 25% of students aren't in publics around here, implying they are in private schools? That means more went to privates back then! Or maybe they were at charter schools?

Of course, many children then (under 21?) were "merely" involved in the economic activity of the family, and hence unavailable for public schooling. This should make us reconsider our use of the "25% off to private schools!" concern: Perhaps we should be looking closer at the economic contribution to families many students make now: Many students have jobs that they use (at least partly) to help pay the family's bills. While these students might show up somewhere as "enrolled" (tracking is much tighter nowadays, what with "computers" and all) perhaps we would do well to keep them in school WHILE they help their families by offering economic support and other mechanisms to retain students.

Some students go to private schools. Some students barely scrape by public schools as they contribute to the family's economy. All should be retained. Still, we've come a long way in providing access and expectation: public schools reach many, many children.